Adventures in Science Fiction Cover Art: The Space Age Family

(Malcolm Smith’s cover for the 1951 edition of Space on My Hands (1951), Frederic Brown)

I’ve scrounged through my collection of cover images over and over again trying to find families — and not alien families being slaughtered by intrepid earthmen à la The Red Planet (below).  Simply put, sci-fi generally revolves around characters who set off on their own, occasionally (at the end) finding a spouse (alien or not) and starting a family.  Heinlein’s juveniles are a great example — boy from broken family (dead mother, abandoned orphan…) learns all the math necessary for navigating in space from a book, sets off (or stows away) in the nearest possible spaceship and goes on grand adventures — perhaps killing some alien families along the way…..

I’ve still managed to find a few.  The best is by far Malcolm Smith’s cover for Frederic Brown’s the short story collection Space on My Hands (1951).  The rest are, well, not the best of the sci-fi cover crop but interesting nevertheless.  Of course, the horrific The Space Olympics (1976) cover makes a showing.

Does anyone know any covers with families?  I’ve looked through the majority of editions of Heinlein’s juveniles etc with no luck.


(Ralph Brillhart’s cover for the 1961 edition of The Red Planet (1962), Russ Winterbotham)

(Carl Lundgren’s cover for the 1981 edition of Farnham’s Freehold (1964), Robert Heinlein)

(Uncredited cover for the 1965 edition of Pilgrimage: The Book of the People (1961), Zenna Henderson)

(Ronald Walosky’s cover for the 1967 edition of Living Way Out (1967), Wyman Guin)

(Uncredited cover for the 1967 edition of The Space Olympics (1967), A. M. Lightner)

For similar posts, consult the science fiction cover art INDEX

4 thoughts on “Adventures in Science Fiction Cover Art: The Space Age Family

  1. I can’t think of any covers right now off the top of my head, but novels about families makes me think of Heinlein’s book, The Rolling Stones, which is all about a typical (in the 50’s) family: mom, dad, two sons, one daughter, and grandma. And it is a great book as well.

    • I thought of that one as well (my frustrations with those covers spurned me to look at all of the ones I have on my comp and on my shelves) — but virtually all the editions just have the twin sons!

  2. What this does highlight is just how much the family unit ISN’T discussed or written about very much in science fiction… Love the covers you uncovered, by the way!

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