(Cover for the 1965 edition of All Flesh is Grass (1965), Clifford D. Simak)
On twitter I like to highlight the birthdays of often lesser known SF artists and authors—and today is Emanuel Schongut’s birthday! The 1960s SF covers of Emanuel Schongut (b. 1936) demonstrate an eye for the simple form, the surrealist twist, the optical trick…. In 2012 I compiled a list of my favorite fifteen (as of then) SF covers [here]—although I suspect some of the list would change, his cover for the 1966 edition of Watchers of the Dark (1966) [below] by Lloyd Biggle, Jr. would retain its privileged place.
Although few of the other covers rise to the heights of Watchers of the Dark, some of his others from the 1960s still transfix and leave haunting impressions! For example, his cover for the 1965 edition of All Flesh is Grass (1965), Clifford D. Simak conveys a uncanny transformation, faces peer (details obscured), from the petals. I love how Doubleday steered clear of a lot of the main tendencies in SF art of the period and gave canvas space to some lesser known surrealists—Margo Herr, Emanuel Shongut, and Lawrence Ratzkin to name a few.
I’d love to hear your thoughts, your favorites, and whether or not you’ve read any of the books graced by his covers. As a kid I read Simak’s All Flesh is Grass (1965) and more recently I reviewed Kate Wilhelm’s wonderful collection, The Downstairs Room and Other Works of Speculative Fiction (1968)…. If there’s enough interest I’ll put together a post on his 70s covers as well.
For more on his work see his website [here] and his SF encyclopedia entry [here].
For more cover art posts see the INDEX
(Cover for the 1966 edition of FROOMB! (1964), John Lymington)
(Cover for the 1966 edition of Watchers of the Dark (1966), Lloyd Biggle, Jr.)
(Cover for the 1967 edition of Planet Run (1967), Keith Laumer and Gordon R. Dickson)
(Cover for the 1967 edition of The Artificial Man (1965), L.P. Davies)
(Cover for the 1967 edition of The Night Spiders (1967), John Lymington)
(Cover for the 1967 edition of Quicksand (1967), John Brunner)
(Cover for the 1968 edition of Dimension A (1968), L. P. Davies)
(Cover for the 1968 edition of Retief and the Warlords (1968), Keith Laumer)
(Cover for the 1968 edition of The Downstairs Room and Other Speculative Fictions (1968), Kate Wilhelm)
(Cover for the 1968 edition of The Still Small Voice of Trumpets (1968), Lloyd Biggle, Jr.)
(Cover for the 1968 edition of Twilight Love (1967), L. P. Davies)
(Cover for the 1969 edition of Across a Billion Years (1969), Robert Silverberg)
(Cover for the 1969 edition of Retief: Ambassador to Space (1969), Keith Laumer)
(Cover for the 1969 edition of 7 Conquests: An Adventure in Science Fiction (1969), Poul Anderson)
36 thoughts on “Adventures in Science Fiction Cover Art: The 1960s covers of Emanuel Schongut”
Those covers are fabulous! I wish the folks that did them were still around to do the ones for my books.
What’s your favorite?
Slightly confused by your comment as the artist, Emanuel Schongut, is still alive!
Sorry. Mea culpa. I didn’t realize it was one guy doing it all. That’s even better. And he’s still alive, to boot!
I really admire the sci-fi/fantasy art from the pulp magazines. Especially Margaret Brundage’s gutsy stuff for “Weird Tales”. Unfortunately, she and the men like her are truly all gone now.
Definitely prefer SF art when it moved into the late 50s/60s/70s — but, I 100% respect her work!
Nice covers. I love the one for Simak’s All Flesh is Grass, I read it years ago and remember it as very typical Simak, which I always like, I will probably reread it now. I enjoyed Lymington’s Ten Million Years to Friday, and I am hoping to post about it this summer. I have been meaning to read more of his work, The Night Spiders cover is great. One writer I am not familiar with is Davis, but reading up on him on the web I suspect I would enjoy him. It is hard to pick a favourite Schongut from your post there are some great covers but it would be either Night Spiders or Retief and the Warlords, guess I just like arthropods.
All the best
Hello Guy, am I right to assume that Lymington’s Ten Million Years to Friday is solid pulp? Does it rise about its pulp story/delivery? Davies seems to have been pretty popular — I saw a copy of his The Artificial Man in a used bookstore a while back but decided not to get it.
Many of these average pulp authors just don’t interest me as much as some less known New Wave figures (personal preference I guess).
As for the covers, I do enjoy the arthropod covers as well — I have a love hate relationship with his work. I really do not like his cover for the 1969 edition of Retief: Ambassador to Space (1969) by Keith Laumer.
Sorry L.P. Davies., I see he is compared to John Lymington and another writer John Blackburn in the Encyclopedia of SF. So I will be looking for books by all three of them.
Don’t get L.P. Davies mixed up with L.P. Hartley either. Hartley wrote a ton of ghost stories, but no SF.
L. P. Hartley did write SF!
Blurb: “Post World War III novel with underground population again coming to live on the surface.”
Shit. I was wrong about L.P., by the looks of it. They only have his collected stories and “The Go-Between” at my local library. Just goes to show that my personal theory that writers and artists are much more than just their best known works has some validity to it.
Ah, I did not know he wrote The Go-Between! I enjoyed the Joseph Losey (1971) film adaptation of the novel (Harold Pinter wrote the screenplay).
As soon as I saw the title Froomb, I said to myself ‘Fluid Running Out Of My Brakes’, which was an acronym I encountered in a sf book by Cory Panshin I read back in the 70s called The Thurb Revolution (1968). It was zany, escapist sf and the exclamation ‘Froomb’ was used in it a few times.
I got the impression that it was briefly a catchphrase at sf cons, etc. A quick check confirms that it’s original source was the Lymington novel.
I’ve read two or three of the titles illustrated but only maybe the Lloyd Biggle edition used Schongut’s art, although I’ve seen some of the covers since. Dramatic looking stuff.
Ah, I had no idea Cory Panshin wrote books with Alexei Panshin. Was he his brother? They seemed to write some books together but not The Thurb Revolution (1968) — which, according to isfdb.org was written individually by Alexei… http://www.isfdb.org/cgi-bin/title.cgi?2612
But what exactly (other than the literal sense) does the phrase even mean?
Cory was or is Alexei’s wife. They wrote one of the greatest books of sci-fi criticism together, “The World Beyond The Hill.” Made me think about E.E. Smith and my hero A.E. Van Vogt in totally new ways.
Your “hero A.E. Van Vogt” — oh no! *runs and hides*
In jest, in jest! (I despise him, alas — at least my dislike is not veiled).
I have good reason for him being my hero. I’m Canadian, and proud of it. He was a Canadian writing SF at a time when absolutely no one else was doing it there. NO ONE! Obviously, John W. Campbell thought he was doing something right, or he never would have published his stuff to begin with. So Van made it possible for Canadian writers to dream their own not little dreams among the American big boys. And that led to, among others. Phyllis Gotleib, Robert Sawyer, Tanya Huff, Guy Gavriel Kay, and Charles De Lint, and, ultimately, to me.
I certainly think that “Slan”, with its pertinent theme of a persecuted underdogs gaining success, is pretty much the blueprint for every thing I’ve written of any length. As is, likewise, his tales of the Weapon Shops of Isher. It’s true “The World of Null A” is incomprehensible sometimes, and the Space Beagle stories are a bit too American. And it’s also true that he abandoned writing for a while after L. Ron Hubbard brainwashed him into thinking what a great idea Scientology is.
But I don’t hold that against him. He was a lonely man doing a lonely job, as most pulp fiction writers were then. But nobody wrote better or more effectively than he did in his prime, and he did so living in my native country, yet. When it comes to SF in Canada, he’s the great spirit that made us all.
I’m not going to argue about him — especially considering your intense nostalgia and claim of intellectual lineage (all of which I understand!). Sorry. I find him to be a pulp hack through and through (I do admit that he was historically important for the genre).
That said, I recommend visiting my friend MPorcius’ Fiction Log (sometimes he comments on my site) — he is definitely a fan and has many many many reviews of Van Vogt’s work! Sometimes it feels, simply to spite me 😉 hah
Oops! I meant to say Alexi but David has clarified what I said below. I don’t really remember exactly what the phrase signified but it was along the lines of a cry of despair as a character hurtled (literally or metaphorically) towards disaster and felt unable to stop. Of course, something always came up. iirc, the books were like a full on Retief or Stainless Steel Rat, with the hero pin-balling from crisis to crisis.
The acronym was the most memorable thing about the novel.
(turns out I do have some of Panshin’s short stories which are in Farewell to Yesterday’s Tomorrow at home, the later ones are very New Wave, esp. When the Vertical World Becomes Horizontal. I’ll maybe read more this evening, inc. Lady Sunshine)
I might take the Panshin stories on my approaching vacation… It’s always so hard to pick reading for trips, and, of course, I rarely end up reading that much.
How was your reread? (if you ended up getting around to them).
To answer your question. “Lymington’s Ten Million Years to Friday is solid pulp? Does it rise about its pulp story/delivery? ” I think it does, but I have low tastes. It is an interesting mixture of the British last man in an empty city/not quite cozy catastrophe with the best elements of Lovecraft’s cosmicism. I also think the character development is a lost stronger. I enjoy a lot of British SF and I do think their work even the fairly standard commercial writing is sometimes surprisingly strong. I hope to do an extended post on this title for my HPL blog in early June when I get to the cabin, I want to read a couple of his other books first. I have read some Mack Reynolds especially his Section G stories over the last couple of days and I would very much describe that as pulp that does not really rise above it’s origins.
Hope this answers your question
I can’t tolerate Mack Reynolds. Read Rolltown and the entire book was a bland political lecture…. I’ve encountered a few of his short stories here and there and have been unimpressed as well—I am unsure why he was so popular!
Probably he knew people. He wrote one of the first “Star Trek” tie-in books, so he knew people in the film biz. He also collaborated with one of my heroes, Fredric Brown, towards the end of that man’s career, but, given how you think of him, I’m inclined to believe that Fred did most of the creative heavy lifting there.
I quite enjoyed The Rival Rigelians (half an Ace Double) by Mack Reynolds back when I read it. But I was probably something like 12 y.o. at the time. Two different, regressed lost colonies each get help from members of a team sent to aid them, but arguments, tension and an arms war ensue! https://www.fantasticfiction.com/r/mack-reynolds/rival-rigelians.htm
The other half was a Commodore Grimes adventure by A. Bertram Chandler.
I did re-read When the Vertical World Becomes Horizontal by Alexei Panshin, and enjoyed it! Quite strange and surreal at times. Lady Sunshine was quite a bit longer and I’ve not tackled it yet (and may not get around to it at all)
I have yet to read any of Fredric Brown’s work (perhaps a story here and there).
Do it. He’s worth it in my mind, and I’m hardly the only one who thinks so, given how highly regarded he remains now. Even though you can’t hardly find him in paper form, which is the way I prefer to read by a long shot, outside of the on line book sellers. Certainly not at my local library, though they have e-books of some of his stuff.
His stuff is getting easier to find than it used to be, thankfully. NESFA has issued all of his SF stories and novels in two handsome omnibuses, and Centipede Books has reissued a large number of his mystery novels in hard-cover form in the last few years. Planning to get ’em all once I get enough coin. ‘Cause, like I said, he’s worth it.
Nobody wrote either mysteries or SF like him at all in his time, or even today. He’s a genre in and of himself. And he practically invented flash fiction- or at least he was writing it way before anyone else. He certainly showed me you didn’t need to write a long story if you wanted to make your point quickly. Which is so important for writers to do today, in a way it never was in his time.
I already have a copy of Martians, Go Home (1955) and The Lights in the Sky Are Stars (1953).
I don’t use eReaders — alas.
That’s what all the people who love their e-readers to death always forget. Not everyone does the same things you do and likes the same things as you, idiots! Unfortunately there’s way too many of them in the media now, so a lot of it gets slanted the way they see the world now- unfortunately.
I wish I read SF when I was twelve — perhaps I would have a greater nostalgic value attached to pulp (which I generally can’t tolerate now).
The Rival Rigelians definitely seems interesting! But, his books tend to devolve into characters giving each other endless political lectures (and that’s the problem, I am absolutely fine with politically-themed SF but, the “lecture mode” is painful).
This is a stunning collection of cover art, thanks for sharing Joachim.
How cool is this! Mr. Schongut is my uncle. He lives in San Francisco and is still painting and drawing. You can see more of his beautiful watercolours at https://www.flickr.com/search/?text=schongut
Thanks for stopping by! That’s great.
I did come across that image gallery when I was looking around for images of his 1960s covers. However, the images that are not large enough (at least of covers) for me to easily use.
Thank you so much for the lovely tribute, certainly the best birthday gift anyone could wish for!
The book jacket, cover period of my career was one of the most creatively interesting and fun. Fortunately I had an excellent and supportive art director at Doubleday, Margo Herr. She gave me the freedom to explore design and my imagination as long as I was true to the book. ! also had the excuse to spend time reading the books!
I am still a working artist, mostly for myself, only an occasional commission if it interests me. I have been archiving my work on Flickr for some time. You can see the breakdown by group here
I am truly honored by your recognition, interest, and attention but I have one tiny correction, I was born in 1936.
Thank you again
Thank you for stopping by. Doubleday produced a fascinating line-up of SF covers (and took some worthwhile risks with the novels they published, especially on first-time novelists). I would love to know more about working with for Doubleday and Margo Herr (I will put together a post on her covers as well in the near future).
Thank you for providing the link to your work.
Would you be interested in a short written interview about your SF covers? If so, you can go ahead and contact me at ciceroplatobooks [at] gmail [dot] com. I look forward to learning more about your SF art!
Another great post, I enjoyed the link to Mr Schongut’s more recent work I really liked the store front mural. I was impressed that he actually read the novels before he did the covers, they are wonderful I fully intend to get some by L. P. Davies and Lymington. Your first post inspired me to read Lymington Night of the Big Heat.
Sorry I managed to attach this comment to your earlier post while flipping back and forth between the two.
Hello Guy, thank you for looking at my work!
I really do recommend L. P. Davies for a mix of SF, mystery, and horror.
His covers were a pleasure to do.