(Hannes Bok’s cover for the Space Science Fiction [UK], Volume 1 No. 4 (1953), ed. unlisted)
A spaceship arrives on Mars… After a cursory initial exploration, the human astronauts conclude that the planet has always been barren and uninhabited. But in some chasm or scattered in desolate plain, a column is found, and rows of mysterious buildings, and a pulsating crystal… An abandoned outpost of an alien society? Or, Earth’s mysterious forebearers… Summaries such as this one proliferate the dusty SF paperbacks on back shelves of used book stores and the closets of SF fans — the variations are countless.
Queue my cover art theme: The future discovery of mysterious ruins/artifacts of a lost society. Some are wonder inducing: Hannes Bok’s cover for the Space Science Fiction [UK], Volume 1 No. 4 (1953) is perhaps my single favorite. I’m generally not a fan of his work so this one is a pleasant surprise…. The Space Science Fiction series would make fantastic posters. Ken Fagg’s cover for the March 1954 issue of If and Douglass Chaffee’s cover for the October 1958 issue of If convey in an evocative manner the sense of discovery…
And if Virgil Finlay’s cover for the October 1963 issue of Worlds of Tomorrow certainly justifies Barry N. Malzberg’s tirades on the priapic nature of the space industry and pulp SF…
What are your favorites? Because this is such a common theme I’d love to know of more examples that I could put in a Part II.
(Ken Fagg’s cover for the March 1954 issue of If, ed. James L. Quinn)
(Douglass Chaffee’s cover for the October 1958 issue of If, ed. Frederik Pohl)
(Virgil Finlay’s cover for the October 1963 issue of Worlds of Tomorrow)
(David A. Hardy’s cover for the 1974 edition of A Sense of Wonder (1967), ed. Sam Moskowitz)
(Larry Kresek’s cover for the 1978 edition of As On a Darkling Plain (fix-up novel 1972), Ben Bova)
(Ron Turner’s cover for the 1954 edition of Slave Traders of the Sky (1954), Steve Future)
(Jack Gaughan’s cover for the 1978 edition of Yurth Burden (1978), Andre Norton)
(Hans Ulrich Osterwalder and Ute Osterwalder’s cover for the 1974 edition of As The Curtain Falls (1974), Robert Chilson)
(Brian Lewis’ cover for the January 1959 issue of New Worlds Science Fiction)
(Neutzell’s (?) cover for the 1957 issue of The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction)
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