Adventures in Science Fiction Cover Art: Through the View Screen, Through the Window

(Julian S. Krupa’s cover for the July 1947 issue of Amazing Stories)

Through the window, through the view screen cities are discovered, worlds end in searing flame,  vectors to unknown lands are plotted, the horrors of earth are left behind.  Alone in a space station an astronaut observes the fragile construction arrayed around him.  Through the window, through the view screen aliens observe our strife, loved ones watch in agony, and the culmination of our era’s scientific endeavors are arrayed in orderly rows.  

In short, the possibilities are endless.  The glass (or some scientifically advanced clear material) frames the story, we watch others watching or we see what they see while we stand among them… 

Definitely a delightful sci-fi cover art trope worth exploring.  Here are a broad selection of covers from juvenile science fiction novels, pulp magazines, edited collections etc touching on the themes I mentioned above.

By far my favorite is Julian S. Krupa’s cover for the July 1947 edition of Amazing Stories (above).  The excitement of discover is manifested so adeptly in the hand gesture, the spaceship (harkening back to fighter pilot cockpits) exudes speed, and city arrayed against the lunar-esque landscape beckons seductively.


(Dean Ellis’ cover for the 1976 edition of The Starmen of Llyrdis (1976), Leigh Brackett)

(Uncredited cover for a 50s edition? of After Worlds End (variant title, The Legion of Time) (magazine 1939), Jack Williamson)

(Uncredited cover for Tom Swift and His Space Solartron (1958), Victor Appleton II i.e. Jim Lawrence)

(Uncredited cover for the 1955 edition of The Green Plantations (1955), John Elton)

(Uncredited cover for a 60s? edition The Far Reality (variant title: The Fairy Chessmen) (magazine 1946), Lewis Padgett i.e. Henry Kuttner and C. L. Moore)

(Howard V. Brown’s cover for the August 1940 issue of Thrilling Wonder Stories)

(Earle Bergey’s cover for the April 1948 edition of Thrilling Wonder Stories)

(Herb Mott’s cover for the 1960 edition of The Best from Fantasy and Science Fiction: Ninth Series (1960), ed. Robert P. Mills)

For similar posts consult the Adventures in Science Fiction Cover Art INDEX

8 thoughts on “Adventures in Science Fiction Cover Art: Through the View Screen, Through the Window

  1. Those are all really fun covers. I especially like the one for Brackett’s book. The space ships remind me a bit of Vincent di Fate’s work.

    This Frank Frazetta image is one of my favorite ‘through the view screen’ images:

    • I had fun searching for them 🙂 I enjoy the Brackett cover but something about the late 70s style puts me off — I dunno… Covers go down hill in the 80s that’s for sure!

      • The Franzetta image is great! I have many many many more on this post’s theme… I thought the Howard V. Brown’s cover for the August 1940 issue of Thrilling Wonder Stories was hilariously ironic — through a sort of screen, a MOVIE SCREEN! haha

  2. Pingback: SF Tidbits for 3/7/12 - SF Signal – A Speculative Fiction Blog

    • Hahaha, I love that cover. I included it as a sort of joke — through the movie screen comes, ALIENS!!! i.e. the silliest way for aliens to attack, ever, well, there are sillier ways I guess….

      • The alien attack that annoys me the most and I find the silliest is the Tom Cruise movie version of War of the Worlds. Funny how the aliens, buried so long ago, managed to plan for themselves to end up at strategic positions in major cities.

        I want to see the alternate (and probably better) version of the movie with the tripods trudging despondently through the Saharan dunes or the ocean depths on their way to their distant victims. 😉

      • Thankfully I never watched Spielberg’s abomination…. Some of his sci-fi films are pretty good — A.I. Artificial Intelligence and Minority Report for example so I had high hopes, and then the reviews came out… hehe

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