Adventures in Science Fiction Cover Art: The Diagrammatic Minimalism of Donald Crews and Ann Jonas

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(Cover for the 1967 edition of Extrapolasis (1967), Alexander Malec)

Between 1965 and 1971, the husband-and-wife team Donald Crews and Ann Jonas created a handful of fascinating minimalistic and diagrammatic covers for Doubleday.   I should note that their cover for the 1966 edition of Nebula Award Stories 1965 (1966), ed. Damon Knight was reused in different colors for multiple Nebula anthologies (1967, 1971, 1971).  Thus, their new covers for Doubleday appeared only (to the best of my knowledge) in a two-year span from 1965 and 1967.

A while back I explored the idea of the diagram (maps, brain/skull size, molecules, orbits) in SF art.  Donald and Ann Crews take the diagram in more minimalistic directions—what they might indicate, if anything at all, is purposefully abstract into pattern.  For example, my favorite—created for the the 1967 edition of Alexander Malec’s collection Extrapolasis (1967)—connects a series of tight spirals of carrying shapes, almost indicating short stories linked by shared themes and ideas.  Some are reduced entirely to pattern, for example, the 1965 edition of Three by Heinlein (1965), Robert A. Heinlein.

On the whole they transfix and intrigue.  I wish Doubleday used more of their art!

Enjoy!

What are your favorites?

__

Previous installments of my Adventures in Science Fiction Cover Art pseudo-series on Doubleday.

1. The Brothers Quay and SF Covers

2. The 1960s Covers of Emanuel Schongut

3. An interview with Emanuel Schongut is on the horizon.  Stay tuned.

Complete INDEX of SF art posts here.

MLO110

(Cover for the 1967 edition of Nebula Award Stories Two (1967), ed. Brian W. Aldiss and Harry Harrison)THBSFCTN451966

(Cover for the 1966 edition of The Best from Fantasy and Science Fiction: Fifteenth Series (1966), ed. Edward L. Ferman)

NBLWRDSTRS1967

(Cover for the 1966 edition of Nebula Award Stories 1965 (1966), ed. Damon Knight)TRBYHLN1965

(Cover for the 1965 edition of Three by Heinlein (1965), Robert A. Heinlein)

THBSFCTN471967

(Cover for the 1967 edition of The Best from Fantasy and Science Fiction: 16th Series (1967), ed. Edward L. Ferman)

8 Replies to “Adventures in Science Fiction Cover Art: The Diagrammatic Minimalism of Donald Crews and Ann Jonas”

  1. Very evocative.Nebulous in design.Much more telling of the actual pieces within than more literal SF tropes depicted on covers.They were well suited to the “new wave” at the time.

    1. I’m not so sure. It’s rare to see covers like this for SF — so, the 60s/70s seem like the decades they would have to be from 😉

      Alas, we’re in another era of extremely clichéd covers.

  2. Taking your question more broadly, a favourite cover of mine is by Amy Halperin for the 1998 book Signal to Noise by Eric S Nylund. Great book, although the science (about DNA) has progressed massively since it was written and it’s unfortunately already very dated.
    http://www.isfdb.org/cgi-bin/title.cgi?962768
    I remember liking her cover for Danvers’ Circuit of Heaven around the same time as well.

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