(Uncredited cover for the 1968 edition of Operation Terror (1962), Murray Leinster)
Barry N. Malzberg’s depressed/depraved astronauts have inspired me to make a post! (unfortunately, the covers for his books do not really fit the bill).
Guy Billot’s cover for the 1975 edition of Brian Stableford’s Man in a Cage (1975) perfectly embodies the feel of existential crisis—man, hemmed in by a single red line, raises his arms against the star-studded sky in anguish. The nature of the crisis is left oblique. I have selected a variety of covers that convey—with varying degrees of success/precision—this same mental state.
I admit that some might not fit the bill exactly—for example, in the uncredited cover for the 1968 edition of Murray Leinster’s Operation Terror (1962) the cause of the crisis is apparent, the mysterious red sphere/alien thing. However, the face of anguish is bone-chilling.
The uncredited cover for the 1955 edition of Ray Bradbury’s The Illustrated Man (1951) is in my top 20 covers of all-time. The vague shapes of spaceships, the cityscape, the perspective, the text, and the man, at a moment of crisis, head down, still. Does anyone know the artists? They DESERVE some recognition for this masterpiece of SF art!
Albert Nuetzell’s cover for the July 1961 issue of Amazing Stories is one of the more effecting stranded on an alien planet covers I have encountered. The story is clear from the image—the spaceship flies off leaving the astronaut abandoned with a gun and one extra tank of oxygen.
What are your favorites?
(Albert Nuetzell’s cover for the July 1961 issue of Amazing Stories, Cele Goldsmith)
(Alex Schomburg’s cover for the April 1964 issue of Amazing Stories, ed. Cele Goldsmith)
(Guy Billot’s cover for the 1975 edition of Man in a Cage (1975), Brian Stableford)
(Uncredited cover for the 1970 edition of Why Call Them Back From Heaven? (1967), Clifford Simak)
(John Penderson, Jr.’s cover for the May 1970 issue of Amazing Science Fiction, ed. Ted White)
(Uncredited cover for the 1969 edition of Double Jeopardy (1952), Fletcher Pratt)
(Uncredited cover for the 1975 edition of The Earth is Near (1973), Ludek Pesek)
(Josh Kirby’s cover for the 1970 edition of SF The Best of the Best Part Two (1970), ed. Judith Merril)
(Uncredited cover for 1969 edition of The Last Astronaut (1963), Pel Torro i.e. R. L. Fanthorpe)
(Uncredited cover for the 1973 edition of The Second Trip (serialized 1971), Robert Silverberg)
(Uncredited cover (but might be Powers) for the 1960 edition of The Stars are Too High (1959), Agnew H. Brahnson, Jr.)
For more cover art posts consult the INDEX