Adventures in Science Fiction Cover Art: On the Doctor’s Table

(Ed Emshwiller’s cover for the 1962 edition of Recalled to Life (magazine publication 1958), Robert Silverberg)

The science fiction doctor’s table — a place of healing, a place of inhuman manipulation, unusual prosthetic limbs are attached, immortality conferred, brains are transfered, descending mechanical arms wield their scalpels, vast arenas expose the spectacle, a mad scientist’s altar for ritualistic modification/sacrifice in the name of science or personal gain (legions of super men, alien/human hybrids, etc)…

I LOVE Ed Emshwiller’s cover for the 1962 edition of Silverberg’s Recalled to Life (1958).  The book itself is suposed to be one of Silverberg’s weaker ones.  I have read Silverberg’s To Live Again (1969) — a work filled with interesting concepts which are sadly not sustained throughout.  Also, the continuous misogyny is painful to read…  Regardless, Paul Alexander’s cover for the 1978 edition is pretty good considering the standard late 70s fare.


(Chris Foss’ cover for the 1975 edition of Recalled to Life (magazine publication 1958), Robert Silverberg)

(Paul Alexander’s cover for the 1978 edition of To Live Again (1969), Robert Silverberg)

(Ed Valigursky’s cover for the 1958 edition of Tomorrow’s Gift (1958), Edmund Cooper)

(Gordon C. Davies cover for the 1954 edition of Time Drug (1954), Miles Casson)

(Roy G. Krenkel’s cover for the 1963 edition of The Master Mind of Mars (1927), Edgard Rice Burroughs)

For similar posts, consult the Adventures in Science Fiction Cover Art Index

15 thoughts on “Adventures in Science Fiction Cover Art: On the Doctor’s Table”

  1. Though it was more like a series of short stories than a novel, I enjoyed reading Ambulance Ship by James White. It was part of a long series of books called the Sector General series, though I never read those. It was interesting to read a book whose dramatic tension was medical in nature, rather than martial, even if the writing itself could use a lot of cleaning up.

  2. Don’t be too sure that the Emsh cover for the Lancer edition of “Recalled to Life” dates from 1962. That 75-cent cover price suggests an edition of 7-8 years later. If the book has a 1962 copyright date, then this copy is a reprint, and the original printing may have had a different cover.

    1. Hmm, not according to the Internet Speculative Fiction Database… But they are often incomplete.

      Here’s the entry.

      Lancer was putting out many books in 1962 with very similar covers…

      But yeah, the price seems to high especially since the later Lancer edition (with a different cover) has a lower price. I guess Lancer put out another edition with the earlier cover art — by Emsh.

  3. I read the first Sector General novel last year and enjoyed it. Fun premise of having an enormous alien hospital in space with a few recurring characters and a series of short stories focusing on different episodes in the hospital’s history. Worth checking out, and some of them have wonderful covers too.

    Like the Foss cover a lot.

    I haven’t read much Silverberg at all but am in the process right now of checking out his recently released collection of pulp sf stories, Hunt the Space-Witch!. Looking forward to it. His article’s in Asimov’s are always intriguing and I hope to enjoy his fiction.

    1. As you probably already know, Silverberg’s best work is definitely from around 1967 – 1975…. His early pulp stuff is fun but empty. But, Hawksbill Station, The World Inside, The Man in the Maze, A Time of Changes, Downward to Earth, are all masterpieces…

      1. I’m actually looking forward to these stories. I don’t expect them to be examples of “must-read” science fiction, but I do hope they have the level of fun that they promise.

      2. I’m confused. What is not “must-read”? His pulp stuff? If so yes, but the ones I listed are from his glory period (1967-1975) and are definitely classics.


        1. I meant the stories that are in the Hunt the Space-Witch! collection from Planet Stories. I doubt that any of the pulp stories are “must read”, but I am nevertheless looking forward to checking them out. The first one was standard space-adventure fare and had some of the limitations common in fiction written for a restricted space (magazines) but it was still FUN, which is all I’m looking for in this collection.

          I will be checking out some of his stories from his “glory period” in the future though, thanks for the information. Sorry about the confusion.

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