Adventures in Science Fiction Cover Art: Domed Cities of the Future, Part III

(Kelly Freas’ cover for the 1955 edition of City of Glass (1942 magazine), Noel Loomis)

Part I, Part II of my series on domed cities of the future.

Bob Watkin’s cover for the 1955 issue of If Magazine depicts an old man regaling stories of futuristic domed cities.  His fantastic visions are reduced to their key elements in sketch form — a translucent dome, buildings.  I’ve selected a variety of images from pulp 50s works until the late 70s depicting more fantastic/futuristic domed cities than the old man’s imagination conjures.  Ed Emshwiller’s cover for the  1953 edition of City at World’s End (1950) depicts two futuristic metropoli — a trend in future city development?  The first is a planned circular city spreading horizontally across the plain.  The other, an incredibly stylized “futuristic complex” which abandons many current notions of a possible “city.”

Many domed cities are colonies on foreign worlds, the atmospheric conditions or extreme cold the reason for such cityscapes….

Others, for example the uncredited 1977 cover for Ian Wallace’s The Sign of the Mute Medusa (1977) and the the uncredited cover for The Wounded Planet (1974), imply a polluted world where the domes — rising from the ruins of older cities — now protect their inhabitants from manmade destruction.

I have a part IV in the works….

What are your favorites?


(Ed Emshwiller’s cover for the 1953 edition of City at World’s End (1950), Edmond Hamilton)

(Bob Watkins’ cover for the February 1955 issue of If)

(Uncredited cover for the 1972 edition of Agent of Chaos (1967), Norman Spinrad)

(Jack Gaughan’s cover for the 1965 issue of Alpha Yes, Terra No! (1965), Emil Petaja)

(Ron Turner’s cover for the 1954 edition of The Master Weed (1954), John Rackham (i.e. John T. Phillifent)

(Uncredited (can’t make out the signature — Richardson?) cover for the 1954 issue of Journey to Mars (1954), E. C. Tubb)

(Uncredited cover for the 1974 edition of The Wounded Planet (1974), ed. Roger Elwood and Virginia Kidd)

(Uncredited cover for the 1977 edition of The Sign of the Mute Medusa (1977), Ian Wallace)

(Uncredited cover for the 1962 edition of The Diploids (1962), Katherine MacLean)

(Brian Lewis’ cover for the 1979 edition of The Wall of Years (1979), Andrew M. Stephenson)

(John Schoenherr’s cover for the November 1971 issue of Analog Science Fiction Science Fact)

For similar covers consult the INDEX

23 thoughts on “Adventures in Science Fiction Cover Art: Domed Cities of the Future, Part III

    • I’m glad that Freas in general is not “creating with his images” our present… All his soft colors, fuzzy edges, hokey fashions, silly animals…

      (As you can tell, I’ve never liked his art)

  1. I was intrigued by “The Diploids.” Both the cover and the title caught my attention. There’s a pretty good Wikipedia article about Katherine MacLean that further sparked my interest, so I ordered a copy of the book! The article has an amusing account of how MacClean met John W. Campbell.

    • I just picked up The Diploids last week, and love the cover – it reminds me a little of Bill Hofmann’s covers (like The Joy Makers), with small, detailed figures against an abstract background. Reminds me of the Alas, Babylon cover too.

      Most of the stories in the Diploids are from the 50’s – it’s amazing how many writers who were much bigger 15-20 years later were producing great stories in the 50’s, like Philip José Farmer and MacLean.

      I also picked up the Nebula Awards Stories volume with The Missing Man & am interested to see how the novella compares with the novel.

      • Well, MacLean’s heyday is actually the 50s — hehe (she’s mostly known for her 50s short stories). She wrote one 60s novel. But yes, she still produced a few works in the 70s (Missing Man for example) — but very few. I’d love to know how the two compare.

        I don’t think it is Hofmann — but yeah, there are some similarities.

        Probably either Schoenherr or Gaughan

        Regardless, I love it.

      • I was pleased to discover, last night, that I had a copy of Nebula Award Stories IV, which is the volume with The Missing Man! I collect way faster than I read, and sometimes I can’t remember what’s on my shelf any more.

  2. Thanks, Joachim — I’ll have to look for Missing Man, too!

    I need to correct an earlier comment: I read the Wikipedia article too fast! MacLean’s account is about how she walked in on a convention for electronics engineers and they all knew who she was because they’d read her work in science fiction magazines! One of them just happened to look like J.W. Campbell.

    • No problem. It’s cool that her 50s short stories were so well known. Unfortunately, lesser known now. I really should track down a copy of The Diploids or The Trouble with You Earth People (1980) — although the latter has an egregious fuzzy girl/soft colors Freas cover.

      • I can see why Joachim doesn’t like Freas, and I agree that his cutsie stuff is sometimes irritating. (It’s the same thing that irritates me about Star Wars — the implication that sf is purely juvenile!) But I still like Freas despite his flaws.

      • Ahh, but 90% of his work has the same cutsie feel. I suspect there are one or two covers of his that I can tolerate. This one for example — Freas being plain…

        I guess there’s only so much of tis type of art I can stomach.

  3. I’m always pulled in by the combination of colors/font/artwork/layout or whatever it was that Bantam frequently used for their covers in the 1970’s as seen in ‘The Wounded Planet’ collection.

  4. The cover Art for Andrew M. Stephenson’s “The Wall Of Years” was as you correctly say the last published work of Brian Lewis, but what many people don’t Know is that it was in fact Unfinished at time of publication due to Brian’s untimely death. I know this to be fact, as being his youngest son I spent many an hour watching him work & drawing myself trying to emulate his great skills may he Rest In Peace. A piece of Trivia I thought people may enjoy……

  5. The cover for JOURNEY TO MARS is by John Richards who went on to be Art director of Corgi books when he painted most of their SF covers. He also did covers for war books, romances, westerns and crime books including Mickey Spillane. The cover for THE DIPLOIDS I’m almost certain is by Paul Lehr.

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