Adventures in Science Fiction Cover Art: Eye[s] in the Sky

(Ed Valigursky’s cover for the 1957 edition of Eye in the Sky (1957), Philip K. Dick)

Inspired by Ed Valigursky’s stunning cover for the 1957 edition of Philip K. Dick’s early novel Eye in the Sky (1957), I kept on the lookout for novels with similar disembodied eyes (floating, gazing with menacing presence at fearful scurrying forms arrayed below).  I discovered that it was a common theme — sci-fi artists use eyes to illustrate otherworldly (alien, spiritual) presence, big brother-esque governmental control, inhuman powers…  Few equal the true presence of Ed Valigursky’s cover but are fascinating nevertheless.

Many years ago I read Eye in the Sky but remember little.  I was intrigued but not blown away by Simak’s Way Station (below).  Dr. Futurity (below) is waiting to be read on my shelf and I adored The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch (below).  The uncredited cover for The Three Stigmata is in my top ten covers!  Does anyone know the artist?

Are the others worth reading?

Enjoy!

(Kelly Freas’ cover for the 1968 edition of Eye in the Sky (1957), Philip K. Dick)

(Ed Valigursky’s cover for the 1960 edition of Dr. Futurity (1960), Philip K. Dick)

(Leo Manso’s cover for the January 1953 issue of Avon Science Fiction and Fantasy Reader)

(Uncredited cover for the 1975 edition of Way Station (1963), Clifford D. Simak)

(Earle Bigley’s cover for the 1950 edition of The Big Eye (1949), Max Ehrlich)

(Uncredited cover for the 1969 edition of The Iron Thorn (1967), Algis Budrys)

(Uncredited cover for the 1963 edition of The Mind Cage (1957), A. E. Van Vogt)

(Uncredited cover for the 1970 edition of The Ticking is in Your Head (1969), Leonard Daventry)

(Uncredited cover for the 1966 edition of The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch (1965), Philip K. Dick)

(Paul Lehr’s cover for the 1973 edition of Nine Tomorrows (1959), Isaac Asimov)

(Uncredited cover for the 1968 edition of Pyschogeist (1966), L. P. Davies)

(Everett Raymond Kinstler’s cover for the 1961 edition of No Place Like Earth (1952), ed. John Carnell)

(Hubert Rogers’ cover for the January 1949 issue of Astounding Science Fiction)

(Uncredited cover for the 1973 edition of The Sky Is Falling (1963), Lester Del Rey)

For similar posts consult the cover art INDEX

27 Replies to “Adventures in Science Fiction Cover Art: Eye[s] in the Sky”

    1. What’s your favorite of Asimov’s works? I tend to lump him in the overrated category — Foundation was worthwhile but not one of the all time best sci-fi novels of all time.

      1. I’m actually a pretty big Asimov fan. I’ve read some so-so works, and I was a little less impressed with the Foundation trilogy on my recent re-read, but overall I enjoy him. Favorite novels would be The Currents of Space and The Positronic Man (written with Silverberg). My favorite of all of his stuff is the I, Robot collection though.

      2. The Currents of Space was one of the first sci-fi books I read — it was one of the only ones my dad still had on the shelf. I read the I, Robot collection shortly afterward. I guess the Foundation trilogy is my main source of frustration…. I reread it a few years back as well.

      3. I was impressed with the Foundation Trilogy when I was young, but disappointed when I reread it in my 50s. However, in my 50s I discovered I loved The Naked Sun by Asimov, a book I read in my youth and thought so-so back then. I’ve read or reread some other Asimov novels in the last few years, but The Naked Sun is by far my favorite.

      4. I also read the two 80s installments of the I, Robot series — The Robots of Dawn (1983) and Robots and Empire (1985) — terrible, terrible….

      5. Oh, and Nemesis (1989) — egregious, dull, boring….

        The Gods Themselves (1972) was readable and often thought provoking but NOT deserving of the Hugo award for best novel.

    1. I agree — and the simple tricks that artists perform to heighten the “mystical paranoia” — take the first one for example, the simple perspective lines enhance the SIZE of the eye and the distance — and emphasize the speed of the forms, running, in sheer fright.

      1. Joachim, go to Google, and then do an image search on “eye in the sky” and see how often this them comes up. I think you’ve discovered a visual theme.

      2. Yup yup — it’s a theme for good reason, the idea of a being observing us is a powerful one…. I just didn’t realize how prevalent it was in sci-fi art. I have many more images in my archive…

  1. My goodness! An optician’s dream come true… Well, they certainly don’t make them like THAT any more! Can’t help wondering if it’s a good or bad thing…

      1. That is a creepy one. Love Michael Whelan’s work, but not that image at all. I’m not fond of any of his horror-related stuff. Or really of any of that style of art. Am very fond of Lovecraft though.

      2. What’s your favorite Whelan cover? I’m currently reviewing Stableford’s The Florians (1976) with a downright atrocious Whelan cover — although, there’s nothing in the novel to provide better inspiration….

      3. My favorites include the cover for Second Foundation and Foundation’s Edge. I like the cover of Friedman’s This Alien Shore.

        But absolute favorites include the recent cover for Brandon Sanderson’s The Way of Kings. His best works though are his personal works, some of which end up being purchased for covers. I like the one that was used for the first Eclipse anthology, Eclipse One, edited by Jonathan Strahan and Elsie’s Moon, the image used for this year’s Nebula Awards Showcase.

      4. I apologize for taking so long to answer your response, I completely forgot…

        I dunno, so many of his covers strike me as somewhat standard. Especially The Way of Kings cover (normal fantasy poses etc). But then again, I guess a Powers cover was somewhat standard back in the day considering how many he produced.

    1. Hahaha! Well, I’m glad you found it now 🙂 I have many many many many more pieces of cover art for another post. But, I’ve been rather busy of late. Trying to get some book reviews up.

  2. My favorite theme for SF cover art, and, as accompaniment, this is a great tune by The Alan Parsons Project:

    Cheers, here’s looking at you!

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