Adventures in Science Fiction Cover Art: The City on the Horizon


(Karel Thole’s cover for the 1962 edition of Starman’s Quest (1958), Robert Silverberg)

Some of my favorite cover art posts over the last two years were on the theme of cities — Elevated Cities (Part I, Part II), Domed Cities (Part I, Part II, Part III), Doomed Cities (Part I, Part II, Part III), and Ice-Covered Cities.  I’m starting a new series on science fiction cities  — The City on the Horizon — I already have two additional posts lined up on the theme.

The City on the Horizon — a glimmer of hope for beleaguered travelers, an beacon of habitation of an unknown civilization on an alien world, an organic mass rising from the desert sands, or a refuge of the ultra wealthy rising majestic from a slum… The possibilities are limitless…

I found so many great covers on the theme.   My favorite cover — by the Dutch sci-fi illustrator Karel Thole’s cover for the 1962 edition of Starman’s Quest (1958), Robert Silverberg) — depicts the city undulating across the horizon, yet, tantalizingly undefined …  our voyager pauses and takes in the sight.  As always, Richard Powers’ covers are also incredibly evokative — in particular, the 1958 edition of Three Times Infinity (1958), ed. Leo Margulies.

What are your favorites?


Screen shot 2012-09-21 at 2.10.09 PM

(Paul Lehr’s cover for the 1976 edition of Sandworld (1976), Richard A. Lupoff)


(Richard Powers’ cover for the 1958 edition of Three Times Infinity (1958), ed. Leo Margulies)


(Leo Morey’s cover for the April 1936 issue of Amazing Stories)


(Uncredited cover for the 1951 issue of Amazing Science Stories)


(Dean Ellis’ cover for the 1973 edition of A World of Trouble (1973), Robert E. Toomey, Jr.)


(Jack Gaughan’s cover for the 1977 edition of Operation Time Search (1967), Andre Norton)

(Davis Meltzer’s cover for the 1977 edition of Equality: In the Year 2000 (1977), Mack Reynolds)


(Jim Steranko’s cover for the 1969 edition of Return to the Stars (1968), Edmond Hamilton)

(Kelly Freas’ cover for the 1974 edition of Monitor Found in Orbit (1974), Michael G. Coney)

Screen shot 2012-01-10 at 12.22.39 PM

(Paul Lehr’s cover for the 1964 edition of Astounding Tales of Space and Time (1957), ed. John W. Campbell, Jr.)

Screen shot 2012-06-02 at 10.35.30 AM

(Ed Emshwiller’s cover for the 1960 edition of The Pawns of Null-A (1948), A. E. Van Vogt)

Screen shot 2012-09-03 at 5.57.12 PM

(Ed Valigrusky’s cover for the 1960 edition of 5 Galaxy Short Novels (1960), ed. H. L. Gold)

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(Hubert Rogers’ cover for the November 1940 issue of Astounding Science-Fiction)


(Jack Gaughan’s cover for the 1968 edition of The Unholy City (1937), Charles G. Finney)


(Uncredited cover for the 1961 edition of The Outlaws of Mars (1933), Otis Adelbert Kline)

WRLDWTHE1964(Richard Powers’ cover for the 1964 edition of Worlds Without End (1964), Clifford D. Simak)

For similar posts consult the INDEX

18 thoughts on “Adventures in Science Fiction Cover Art: The City on the Horizon

  1. 3 X Infinity for a long time was the only place where you could find the Leigh Brackett/Ray Bradbury story Lorelei of the Red Mist. Brackett was making money on Hollywood scripts (she did the classic “The Big Sleep”) and did not have time to finish a minor SF story. She let the very young Bradbury have a shot at it. It is fun while you are reading to find the point where Brackett ends and Bradbury begins. Not a great story, but a fun read by two of my favorite authors. As I remember the other stories are good too.

    Always buy collections of Novellas. They sometimes represent some of a writer’s best work, but most appeared once in the original magazine and then were lost forever. You will never be disappointed.

    • Yeah, I have a personal collection of almost a thousand — refuse to buy ebooks for that very reason, love having them in my hand, the smell, everything 🙂

      Thanks for visiting.

  2. Hubert Rogers is one of my favorites. He did quite a few covers for Astounding in the 40’s, such as ones for the Lensman series. His space ships and alien architecture tends to have a clean look, almost art-deco. It’s too bad that most of his work was for the pulps instead of for books, makes it hard to find anything by him at the used bookstores!

  3. Erm…I barely know how to say this without sounding terrible, but, I think this might be the greatest blog on the internet? I’m so glad you commented upon my post, for I seriously need to go and jawdrop at the wonder and variety of covers and books you’ve detailed here. Oh my.

    • Haha, thanks for the kind words.

      …I try to be more of a sci-fi (40s-70s) book review blog. I have easily three times as many book reviews as cover art posts.

      Here’s an index of the cover art posts — here.

      And a book review index — here.

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