Adventures in Science Fiction Cover Art: Crashed Spaceships

(Gaylord Welker’s cover for the December 1952 issue of Astounding Science Fiction)

Gaylord Welker’s cover for the December 1952 issue of Astounding Science Fiction appeared in my best sci-fi cover post a while back.  Although I rarely recycle images, whenever I see his masterful cover I’m impressed with the sheer desolation and desperation of the scene.  Inspired by the image I set off to find more covers depicting crashed spaceships (alien or human on Earth, the moon, distant planets….).

Hannes Bok’s cover for Campbell’s The Moon is Hell (1951), Hubert Roger’s cover for the February 1939 issue of Astounding, Earle Bergey’s cover for the November 1952 issue of Fantastic Story, and Walker Brook’s cover for the 1953 edition of Simak’s First He Died (variant title: Time and Again) are thematically similar but less successful.  The others include one of my personal favorites (not one of the best by a long shot) — Earle Bergey’s cover the June 1952 issue of Startling Stories — where a man and a woman rescue two green tentacled aliens from their crashed saucer.  Often humans gaze in fear at the occupants of a spaceship landing on Earth but these two individuals are deeply concerned about their alien friends (I really need to read the story which the cover illustrates). 


(Hannes Bok’s cover for the 1951 edition of The Moon is Hell! (1951), John W. Campbell, Jr)

(Earle Bergey’s cover for the June 1952 issue of Startling Stories)

(Walter Brook’s cover for the 1953 edition of First He Died (variant title: Time and Again) (1950), Clifford D. Simak)

(Hubert Roger’s cover for the February 1939 issue of Astounding Science-Fiction)

(Earle K. Bergey’s cover for the November 1952 issue of Fantastic Story Magazine)

(Virgil Finlay’s cover for the February 1958 issue of Fantastic Universe)

(Richard Carlson’s cover for the September 1959 issue of Fantastic Universe)

(Ed Emshwiller’s cover for the 1963 edition of Automated Goliath (1963), William F. Temple)

(Johnny Bruck’s cover for the 1965 edition of Perry Rhodan, #218: Brennpunkt Twin (1965), H. G. Ewers)

(Johnny Bruck’s cover for the 1972 edition of Perry Rhodan, #548 Testflug zur Erde (1972), H. G. Francis)

(Ed Valigursky’s cover for the 1959 edition of The War of Two Worlds (1959), Poul Anderson)

(Alex Schomburg’s cover for the 1956 edition of Mission to the Moon (1956), Lester Del Rey)

(Carlo Jacono’s cover for the 1957 edition of Mission to the Moon (1956), Lester Del Rey)

(Carlo Jacono’s cover for the 1958 edition of Les Conquérants de l’Universe (1951), F. Richard-Bessière)

(Paul Alexander’s cover for the 1977 edition of Space Visitor (1977), Mack Reynolds)

For similar posts consult the INDEX

10 thoughts on “Adventures in Science Fiction Cover Art: Crashed Spaceships

  1. Oh look, it’s Testflug zur Erde! I think that might have been the first Science Fiction novel I ever read, grabbed (if memory serves me well) from the then-boyfriend of my aunt who was into that kind of stuff. From what I remember, I found it terribly boring, but then I was nine years old at the time…

      • Not that particularly installment, but later on I did read the series for a while – there really is not way around if you’re at all interested in Science Fiction in Germany. They still seem to be going strong, at least they’re all over the Sci-Fi e-book section on It’s pretty awful stuff, but seeing how it likely got quite a few people interested in Science Fiction who otherwise might never have touched it, one can’t dismiss it completely.

      • Are there any other German sci-fi authors worth reading (I’d be especially curious if they were in translation — my German is rather lackluster)?

        I know Herbert W. Franke wrote in German but he’s Austrian… DAW published a bunch of his 60s works in the 70s but don’t own any of them. I’m (sadly) wholly ignorant of the works of continental Europe (besides the masterful corpus of Stanislaw Lem).

        I know that Brian Stableford (a somewhat average sci-fi writer in his own fight) continues to translate and edit a series of “famous” French science fiction novels from the last century but I haven’t picked up any of his editions (yet).

  2. Hmmm, well, I have not read any German for um, decades, so please take this with several grains of salt…
    There’s Herbert W. Franke who wrote some interesting stuff – I don’t really distinguish between German and Austrian there since differences tend to not be that pronounced. There is also Wolfgang Jeschke who I seem to remember wrote some excellent stories, not so sure about his novels. One of those even seems to have been translated as “The Last Day of Creation”.
    Other than that, the only one I could think of who might even faintly interest you is Andreas Eschbach, specifically his first novel “Die Haarteppichknüpfer”, which is supposed to be quite good (have not read it myself yet, though). It has been translated into English as “The Carpet Makers” and apparently is still available as a Tor trade paperback.

  3. I’m not crazy about the cover art for the issue of Fantastic Story, but I love the title of the story they featured. Now we know “What’s The Matter With Kansas.”

Comment! Join the discussion!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.