Adventures in Science Fiction Cover Art: Women SF Illustrators of the 1960s/70s, Part III: The Galassia Covers of Allison, A.K.A. Mariella Anderlini

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(Cover for Galassia #97, January 1969)

Two of my recent Adventures in Science Fiction Cover Art posts fit (retroactively) into a linked post series on women SF illustrators from the 1960s/70s—which includes The Diagrammatic Minimalism of Ann Jonas and Donald Crews and Haunting Landscapes and Cityscapes: The 1970s Italian SF Art of Allison A.K.A. Mariella Anderlini.  This post is a continuation of the latter and explores the twelve covers Alison created for Galassia in 1969 that showcase her vivid creativity.

Galassia was one of the primary Italian SF publications for most of the 1960s (consult Michael Ashley’s Transformations: The Story of the Science-fiction Magazines from 1950-1970, 311) and introduced translations of English-language social SF novels to Italian audiences.  SF Encyclopedia’s entry on Italian SF is worth reading for more basic information.

Allison’s twelve-month cycle of covers for the year 1969 feature stark yet evocative black and red designs (some appear to be wood block prints).  At first glance they seem distinct from her later covers I featured in Haunting Landscapes and Cityscapes.  However, I notice similarities in the sculpted nature of the forms.

It is a shame that Mariella Anderlini is not better known.  I suspect if she was able to illustrate covers for a handful of Anglo-American SF publications as Karel Thole (the central figure in Italian SF art) was able to, she might be better known to non-Italian audiences….

Absolutely gorgeous.

Thoughts? Comments? Favorites?


For more SF cover art posts consult the INDEX.

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(Cover for Galassia #98, February 1969)

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(Cover for Galassia #99, March 1969)

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(Cover for Galassia #100, April 1969)

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(Cover for Galassia #101, May 1969)


(Cover for Galassia #102, June 1969)

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(Cover for Galassia #103, July 1969)

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(Cover for Galassia #104, August 1969)

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(Cover for Galassia #105, September 1969)

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(Cover for Galassia #106, October 1969)

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(Cover for Galassia #107, November 1969)  Screen Shot 2016-07-23 at 4.13.23 PM

(Cover for Galassia #108, December 1969)

30 thoughts on “Adventures in Science Fiction Cover Art: Women SF Illustrators of the 1960s/70s, Part III: The Galassia Covers of Allison, A.K.A. Mariella Anderlini

  1. Very simple,diagramatic and geometric design patterns,but very effective and telling.Anybody who can achieve these effects with such basic and anodyne techniques,can be called brilliant.

    I think the Italian SF audience must have been more aware and appreciative of the changes occuring within the written genre at the time,than their Anglo-American cousins,if those covers are anything to go by.

    • I read the SF Encyclopedia entry on Italian SF which I linked. It presents a rather different picture… for most of the 1960s they were generally interested in formulaic SF and only later in the early 1970s (so after the New Wave movement was gaining steam) did they translate the more radical English-language works… You have to keep in mind the delay in translation — if you look at the titles of the novels here they are very very standard.

      I should point out, that Galassia was definitely (according to the SF Encyclopedia article) the more experimental in terms of what they published than Urania (the largest more adventure focused publisher). We need to be careful equating covers with contents. Powers pushed a lot of boundaries with his art but often they graced banal space opera….

      I think I’ve been showing quite a few experimental artists from the English-language edition from the same period. Do they not indicate a similar shift in the English-speaking world in the late 60s/70s?

  2. I very strongly think that continental Europe had a much broader SF audience,where nearly everybody read SF,unlike the more exclusive ones in the USA or Britain,particularly in France and perhaps Sweden.As with Glassia,perhaps we need to look at the more radical covers illustrators in those countries.

    Yes,I think you’re right about the excellent Powers,but some,like the Dillons,were doing covers that expressed the more maverick and reationary SF of the times.

    • Regarding who read SF, do you have evidence for that claim or is it more speculative argument? (If you are basing this position on an article etc I’d love to take a look! Foreign SF is a fascinating topic!).

      From the SF encyclopedia article on Italian SF, it does not appear that they published Italian language SF that regularly until the late 60s and 70s. Some of the more avant-garde publications (Gamma in the 60s) published almost entirely translated SF. Consumption of translated SF vs. production of native language SF would be a fascinating thing to explore more generally as well.

      • I’m not saying that nearly the entire populace of those countries read SF,but among the literary crowds,there would have been a more universal respect among them than the more conservative Anglo-American world.It’s acceptance was more mainstream.Yes,it is a bit speculative,but It’s pretty obvious from what I’ve picked this up from bits and pieces I’ve gathered over the years,that it’s not only more popular,but was also more academically studied.

        I’ll look up more about this on Google.

  3. I like the one for the Del Rey novel best of all. This approach–going for a trippy FEEL, the cover sort of getting your head in the space for a SF story.

    This style is in direct opposition to the current approach, which seems to be getting you to see the book as a potential movie property, with you the handsome/beautiful main character, or his/her girlfriend/boyfriend. (In other words, the romance novel approach). IMHO, of course.

  4. Hi Boy are these covers striking. I love the simple palette it makes for very powerful images. I can’t choose between the first Williamson and the Del Rey they both really speak to me. I have to agree about the Starman Jones cover, I cannot image what you would expect from that cover Burroughs or Dick maybe but probably not the adventures of Max, Ellie and her pet spider-monkey Chipsie. This is a great series you have put together.

    Thanks Guy

    • Thanks! If I were to choose I think I would choose the Del Rey cover…. I also really enjoy her the fascinating face in the Campbell, Jr. cover. Top notch work for sure.

  5. I can’t speak for italian or english audience, but as for France, Richard Fahey is extrapolating some truths, I think.
    “but among the literary crowds,there would have been a more universal respect among them than the more conservative Anglo-American world.It’s acceptance was more mainstream.”
    That idea is wrong. The literary crowd has always been smug towards genre, and especially SF. Even in recent year, science-fiction is associated with stories for kids and bad writing.
    But you’re also right when you say that France appreciated better some american writers. The better example being PK Dick, recognized as a great writer since the 60’s. But not by the literary world at large. Only by the minority of SF readers and some underground fanatics. Dick was seen as a cult figure, akin to the beats poet or later, Hunter Thompson, maybe. He was revered in the pages of Actuel or Metal Hurlant but not seen in the literary section of Le Monde until recently.
    And at the same time, big SF writers in America weren’t well known in France (Heinlein for example).
    This situation is changing and Dick is becoming more and more mainstream, but when I worked on his writings for a dissertation at the university 20 years ago, it wasn’t so easy and accepted.
    From what I know about the attitude of the literary world in the US towards genre, I think it isn’t so different from what I experienced here.

    • I know full well that Dick was held in very high regard in France.It was because of that country and a few more in Europe,that Dick had any recognition at all.If it had been the same there as in America,he’d have faded into obscurity a long time ago.He was the author I had in mind when I mentioned France’s appreciatin of American SF.

      I also know that Heinlein wasn’t so popular in France as he was in America.Sales of Dick’s books there succeeded well over his.There’s social and political reasons for this I suppose.

  6. I’m really sorry Joachim if I’ve caused you some mild angst about this once again.I wondered if you might react to my comment like this.Don’t worry though,I do understand,but I am aware of the disparity between us about this,and there is history behind the reasons for my claims.

    He isn’t obscure now,but this wasn’t the case during his lifetime and for some years after his death.During my early SF reading days,his name certainly was very obscure to me,unlike those more immediate and accessable such as Farmer,Moorcock,Aldiss,Vance,Bradbury,Heinlein,Herbert,Silverberg and Ellison,all of whom I was prepared to read if I could find them.Dick however seemed a vague figure whom I felt dubious about,even though I sensed somehow that he might very well be worth reading.In 1977,a fairly large number of his books started to appear on the shelves of shops in Britain,and following a peculiar fanzine article and a review of “Flow My Tears,the Policeman Said”, in a magazine I’d bought and seen three years earlier,but had then took little interest in,I decided that although he wasn’t as famous as the other authors I cited,he was obviously highly regarded by a significant pocket of people rather than being a well-known author,and would be worth reading.The same year,I read my first novel by him,”A Maze of Death”,which at the time,I thought was the greatest SF book I’d ever read.A very short period before this,I also read my first Harlan Ellison book,”The Time of the Eye”,an author whose name had been most on my lips for a few years,and had achieved more success than Dick in America.

    Following his death,I did read more of his books,but it became increasingly clear to me,that a very brilliant author had achieved very little financial or critical success in his lifetime,and now it was too late.I thought this was very sad.His colleague Paul Williams,who had brought some exposure to him in “Rolling Stone”,founded the Philip K.Dick Society,which preserved his memory and kept his work alive.Even following the next two to three years after he died though,very little of his books were being published,and those I did read,were mostly those left over from the late 1970s and early 80s.In Britain,it wasn’t until late in 1984,that “Ubik” and “Time Out of Joint” were published.I had to order “Galactic Pot-Healer” from my library,which wasn’t published here until 1987.I read that much f his stuff was ut of print in America

    Although he won the Hugo award for “The Man in the High Castle” in 1962,the two novels he wrote next,”Martian Time-Slip” and “We Can Build You”,both received magazine publication first,before becoming actual books years later after they had been written.In fact,none of his novels that he wrote up to 1964 were nominated for Hugos,before the Nebulas were introduced the following year,despite having written about ten novels since “The Man in the High Castle”! “The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch”,”Dr Bloodmoney” and “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep” were nominated for Nebulas,and the “Dangerous Visions” novellette “Faith of Our Fathers”,for a Hugo,but none of them won.The later “Ubik” and “Galactic Pot-Healer” weren’t even nominated,as weren’t “A Maze of Death” and “Our Friends from Frolix-8”.Even his much acclaimed “A Scanner Darkly” of the late 1970s,wasn’t nominated for either award.

    His ascention in France is factual.It’s well known that he gained recognition there before he did in America.He said so himself.I’ve already said that he outsold Heinlein there,which he never did in America during his lifetime,which is factual not speculative.In Larry Sutin’s biography of him,”Divine Invasions”,he states that foreign sales often kept him going,although even then,he was far from rich,and on French tv,it was suggested he should be nominated for the Nobel Prize.

    I read your link for Norman Spinrad.I can understand your feelings for him.I admit to neglecting his stuff.He was also a staunch advocate of Dick’s.

    I hope I’ve cleared-up much of the misunderstanding on the subject.I assure you I have no feelings favouritism or loyality for what I think.I’ve tried to make this as factual and unbiased as possible.The trouble is I think,that there’s this generational gap between us.

    Thanks for a great post.

    • Your definition of obscure: Author not considered in the top 10 of all time during lifetime but continuously reprinted and critically acclaimed throughout lifetime (yes, perhaps a little less than you might like for your favorite author) + movie deal right before death. Omg, I don’t sell as much as Heinlein… come on, do you know how ridiculous that sounds as some metric of popularity?

      Even his crappiest novels were continuously reprinted:

      My definition of obscure: Katherine MacLean, Nebula-nominated masterpiece Missing Man (1975) — only a handful of reprints in the US. None in the UK. You didn’t even have access to it. Yes, you had access to all of PKDs novels + short story collections.

      As for your “favoritism”, well, to claim otherwise is ridiculous.

      • Joachim,thank you for your comments.You have responded truthfully but with what you think is factual insight,as I did,even if we don’t entirely agree.I can’t convince you that I’m not acting out of favouritism,but some of my remarks are probably overemphasised,as in regards to Heinlein,but I was just trying to make a point as to what I thought was the truth,not commercial popularity.

        I was merely responding in agreement to Laurent and his comments about the high regard American SF,particularly Dick,has in France.Many others have said the same as me about the level of his critical success,not mentioning any names,but I’ll close the matter with you now,and leave it for a higher authority to decide.

        Thank you anyway.

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