Adventures in Science Fiction Art: Tentacles and Other Strange Appendages


(John Schoenherr’s cover for the 1964 edition of Alien Worlds (1964), ed. Roger Elwood)

Michael Whelan’s cover for the 1979 Dutch edition of Greybeard (1964) by Brian W. Aldiss appeared in a collection of SF art Space Wars, Worlds & Weapons (1977).  I remember encountering the collection at a used bookstore, perhaps in Philadelphia when I went to visit my grandparents…  It terrified me for years.  The bizarre metal construct looming over the destroyed world—and most of all, the strange tentacled hands…

…hence, today’s themed art post!

Tentacles and Other Strange Appendages.

 I have a confession:  I am warming to the art of Charles Moll—1974 edition of New Dimensions 3 ed. Robert Silverberg.  His covers for Malzberg and Spinrad for example really encapsulate the outlandish experimentation, irreverent dismantlement of cliché and convention, etc. of their work.

This can easily be a series so if you know of any I did not include (there are probably hundreds of covers that match the theme) let me know.  Also, what are your favorites? Why?


(Leo Morey’s cover for the February 1936 issue of Amazing Stories, ed. T. O’Conor Sloane)


(Julian S. Krupa’s cover for the June 1940 issues of Amazing Stories, ed. Raymond A. Palmer)


(Ralph McQuarrie’s cover for the 1986 edition of Sinister Barrier (1939), Eric Frank Russell)


(Ronald Walotsky’s cover for the 1969 edition of Dark Stars (1969), ed. Robert Silverberg)


(Paul Lehr’s cover for the 1969 edition of The Aliens Among Us (1969), James White)


(John Holmes’ cover for the 1982 edition of Honeymoon in Hell (1958), Frederic Brown)


(Michael Whelan’s cover for the 1979 Dutch edition of Greybeard (1964), Brian W. Aldiss)


(Brian Lewis’ cover for the November 1957 issue of New Worlds, ed. John Carnell)


(Gerard Quinn’s cover for the September 1961 issue of New Worlds, ed. John Carnell)


(Charles Moll’s cover for the 1974 edition of New Dimensions 3 (variant title: New Dimensions III) (1973), ed. Robert Silverberg)


(Malcolm Smith’s cover for the May 1950 issue of Other Worlds Science Fiction, ed. Raymond A. Palmer)


(Luis Rey’s cover for the 1988 edition of The Secret Ascension or Philip K. Dick Is Dead, Alas (1987), Michael Bishop)

 Screen shot 2011-11-10 at 12.31.56 PM

(Ed Emshwiller’s cover for the 1964 edition of To Conquer Chaos (1963), John Brunner)

Screen shot 2011-12-14 at 5.28.05 PM

(Jack Gaughan’s cover for the 1966 edition of The Planeteers (1966), John W. Campbell, Jr.)


(Jack Gaughan’s cover for The Second War of the Worlds (1976), George H. Smith)


(Richard Powers’ cover for the 1957 edition of Those Idiots from Earth (1957), Richard Wilson)


(Vincent Di Fate’s cover for the 1977 edition of The Tritonian Ring (1951), L. Sprague de Camp)


(Uncredited (Karen Thole?) cover for the 1967 edition of Hospital Station (1962), James White)


(Robert Foster’s cover for the 1971 edition of A Wilderness of Stars (1969), ed. William F. Nolan) XTLFNCBHQM1953

(Ron Turner’s cover for the 1953 edition of Exit Life (1953), John Russell Fearn)


(John Cayea’s cover for the 1978 edition of Unto Zeor, Forever (1978), Jacqueline Lichtenberg)

For many many many more art posts consult the INDEX

25 thoughts on “Adventures in Science Fiction Art: Tentacles and Other Strange Appendages

      • Oh yes, definitely. But more so the list of featured authors below the title. Names like Malzberg, Tiptree, and – a favorite of mine then, and still today – Lafferty.

        • Well, there you go — Moll is wonderful IN CONJUNCTION with the right author of the time. 😉

          I’ve read (and enjoyed) numerous of Lafferty’s short stories…. But, as of now, I’ve not yet been intrigued enough to read his novels. Not sure why. Perhaps when I’ve finished Malzberg’s ouvre…. Also, I know I’ll like Lafferty’s novel length work — it’s just a matter of when I get around to reading him 😉

  1. Lots of pulpy goodness on many of these covers. I agree: they do not make them like they used to. In the drive to have science fiction appear more “respectable” and “mature” so much of the cover artwork of the last few decades has just been so dull. Give me some good old-fashioned BEMs!

    I’ve got to say, the octopuses on Leo Morey’s cover for the February 1936 issue of Amazing Stories are not so much menacing as rather adorable with those big, wide, round eyes. The same thing with the whatever-it-is on Julian S. Krupa’s cover for the June 1940 issue of Amazing Stories.

    But… all this talk of tentacles and nothing either written by or inspired by H.P. Lovecraft? Where is Cthulhu? With the absence of the Great Old Ones from this blog post, I am compelled to post a link to this amazing painting, Cthulhu Awakens by Bob Eggleton, which was used for the cover of the Best of Weird Tales anthology published in 1995:

  2. I hope I’m not shattering any fond childhood memories by informing you that “In de nadagen” is not German at all – Google Translate claims it to be Dutch and gives its meaning as “In the Twilight”.

    As for Lafferty, he was one of the, possibly even the most brilliant authors of SF stories, but his novels (at least the two I read) are far inferior to his short fiction work, they just don’t have the depth of the best of the stories and their humour felt very forced to me. The stories on the other hand…. I hope someone does an affordable re-issue soon, they really deserve a much wider recognition.

    • Yes, a nice, fat hardcover (and paperback) edition of the “The Best of R. A. Lafferty” – something along the lines of “A Jack Vance Treasury,” or “Two-Handed Engine” (Kuttner and Moore), or NESFA’s two-volume “Complete Science Fiction of William Tenn.” And may I add – though I know he doesn’t get much love here – it’s long past time there was an omnibus volume of Theodore R. Cogswell? And Robert F. Young. And …

  3. My favourite has to be Paul Lehr’s cover for The Aliens Among Us. It’s really elaborate, but somehow that alien creature manages to look bored (“Jeez, I hate Mondays, guess I’d better fiddle with this guy’s brain.”). I find the Ed Emshwiller a bit unsettling because I dislike worms and the creature looks very wormy. Artistically speaking, I like the John Cayea.

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