(Ley Kenyon’s cover for the 1953 edition of Adventures in Tomorrow (1951), ed. Kendell F. Crossen)
Since the release of the TV series Under the Dome (2013-), based on Stephen King’s 2009 novel by the same name, there has been a resurgence of interest in domed cities. And for good reason — the trope is one of the most popular of science fiction artists and authors since the 30s (and probably earlier). Not only do the societal implications and visual allure of the trope of a domed outpost on a harsh planet or a domed city amidst the ruins of Earth arouse the creative authorial juices but also generate some fantastically seductive material for the cover artist.
Over the last few years I have cobbled together a vast variety of images on the trope (with more waiting for later posts) — feel free to check out the other parts if you haven’t already — Part I, Part II, Part III.
A few things I enjoy about domed cities:
1) Physically moving past an all-encompassing dome heightens the impact of “breaking out” of a repressed world….
2) The presence of a translucent dome magnifies the harsh nature of the surrounding environment. The inhabitants have to live behind the wall in order to survive…. And, one is constantly reminded of the environment outside.
3) The dome is downright futuristic looking… The towers of the city rise behind the sheen of the translucent material. The polluted world, wrecked and abandoned, is visible in all directions. The city becomes a beacon of human ingenuity and simultaneously a symbol of the destruction caused by earlier urban endeavors.
4) The idea of people living behind a dome, perhaps oblivious to the world around them, is profoundly unsettling.
Of this bunch, my favorite is Ley Kenyon’s cover for the 1953 edition of Adventures in Tomorrow (1951) with Stanley Pitt’s rather stylized cover for the 1954 issue of American Science Fiction Magazine (#29) a close second.
What are your favorites? Why do you like domed cities?
(Paul Alexander’s cover for the 1978 edition of The Santaroga Barrier (1967), Frank Herbert)
(Davis’ cover for the February 1954 issue of Authentic Science Fiction Monthly)
(Uncredited cover for the 70s? issue of Assignment in Eternity (1953), Robert A. Heinlein)
(Ed Emshwiller’s cover for the May 1956 issue of Science Fiction Stories)
(Frank R. Paul’s cover for the March 1939 issue of Science Fiction)
(Ed Emshwiller’s cover for the May 1957 issue of Science Fiction Stories)
(Ron Walotsky’s cover for the 1979 edition of Catacomb Years (1979), Michael Bishop)
(Davis’ cover for the January 1955 issue of Authentic Science Fiction Monthly)
(Ric Binkley’s cover for the 1953 edition of Assignment in Eternity (1953), Robert A. Heinlein)
For more book reviews consult the INDEX