(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.
(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