Adventures in Science Fiction Cover Art: Art mysteries! Help Identify the SF Cover Artist (Novels by Clarke + Silverberg + Wilhelm, et al.)

Below are a group of uncredited covers whose artists I have not been able to firmly identify.  Some were brought to my attention by Adam who runs a collectible SF store (link).   I’d love to hear your input — make sure to read the guidelines.

Guidelines: If you think a cover is the work of a particular artist, please please please provide some evidence for your claim: for example, a comparison cover, a citation from a book/resource, or, perhaps a link to a canvas or artist webpage.  This makes identifying the artist more authoritative than a vague claim and readers can follow along more easily.  If you think you’ve identified the author, I recommend peeking at their other credited covers at The Internet Speculative Fiction Database.

Pocket Books was notoriously bad at citing their artists.  If we are able to identify a few of those below (Margaret and I and Journey), we might be able to nail down tens more covers missing citations in their catalogue.

The three covers below for Fred Saberhagen’s Empire in the East sequence are clearly by the same artist—the style seems so familiar!  And, the 1974 Signet edition of Cage a Man (1973), F. M. Busby is credited as FMA only.  I wonder if it’s possible to identify who FMA was.

In some cases, I have a pretty good idea who the artist might be but don’t have enough evidence….  I am convinced that Stanislaw Fernandes created the 1974 Signet edition of New Dimensions IV (1974) , ed. Robert Silverberg.  Although, it would be very early in his career and love to have some firm evidence.

I look forward to your ideas!

EDIT: I’ve gone ahead and indicated which ones have been solved by inserting the artist into the citation.

For more Adventures in SF Cover Art consult the INDEX


(Bob Haberfield’s cover for the 1971 Tandem edition of The Man in the Maze (1968), Robert Silverberg)


(Peter Lloyd’s 1974 Signet edition of New Dimensions IV (1974) , ed. Robert Silverberg)


(Ed Soyka’s (?) cover for the 1978 Pocket Books edition of Double Mobius Sphere: A Story of the Shape of the Universe (1978), P S. Nim)


(FMA’s cover for the 1974 Signet edition of Cage a Man (1973), F. M. Busby)


(Fernando Fernandez’s cover for the 1975 Signet edition of The City and the Stars (1956), Arthur C. Clarke)


(Uncredited cover for the 1970 Pocket Books edition of Nebula Award Stories Three (1968), ed. Roger Zelazny)


(Uncredited cover for the 1978 Pocket Books edition of Margaret and I (1971), Kate Wilhelm)


(Uncredited cover for the 1974 Tandem edition of Changeling Earth (1973), Fred Saberhagen)


(Uncredited cover for the 1973 Tandem edition of Broken Lands (1968), Fred Saberhagen)


(Uncredited cover for the 1973 Tandem edition of The Black Mountains (1971), Fred Saberhagen)


(Uncredited cover for the 1977 Pocket Books edition of The Starchild Trilogy (1977), Frederik Pohl and Jack Williamson)


(Uncredited cover for the 1978 Pocket Books edition of Journey (1978), Marta Randall)


(Uncredited cover for the 1970 Tandem edition of Hawksbill Station (1968), Robert Silverberg)

35 thoughts on “Adventures in Science Fiction Cover Art: Art mysteries! Help Identify the SF Cover Artist (Novels by Clarke + Silverberg + Wilhelm, et al.)

  1. I haven’t seen it confirmed anywhere, but my guess is that “City and the Stars” was done by Dean Ellis, especially since he was doing a lot of Clarke covers for Signet around that time… not 100% sure it’s his style though.

    Most of those Tandem covers are terrible 🙂 And the Nebula Stories 3 looks like a photo-montage.

  2. While I’m not disputing Admiral Ironbombs regarding ‘City and the Stars’, the cover does remind me of Mitchell Hooks – such as his cover for James Gunn’s ‘Immortals’

    • I think you’re right in that the style is close—background building shapes are similarly abstract and the human(s) in the foreground are more detailed—but the majority of the time Hooks included his signature (bottom center-right on the Gunn cover). Signet could have trimmed it though, who knows. Hooks is one of my favorite cover artists.

      • I do think it’s more likely that it’s Eliis. Early on Hooks did some crime and mystery novel covers which are very good, I wish that he had more covers than he does, or at least credited covers!

    • Has Kate Wilhelm’s The Killer Thing been identified?

      Because, that is what stylistically seems the closest to me. Although, the Saberhagen covers seem so much less articulate. Argh, I dunno…

      • This one looks like Jim Burns too. His vehicles and space ships have an organic, vaguely menacing look, and his figures seem to have elongated limbs and heads. Another artist with a similar style is Tony Roberts, but his vehicles aren’t quite the same, and I haven’t seen him include very many human or alien figures in his work.

      • What do you think about Ed Soyka for the 1978 Pocket Books edition of Double Mobius Sphere: A Story of the Shape of the Universe (1978), P S. Nim… and also, for this uncredited Kate Wilhelm cover.

        • I think that is a good match, the styles are very similar. He did some covers for horror novels too which seems to fit his style well.

          The ‘Starchild’ cover looks like some of the art from Analog of around that time but I can’t narrow it down much beyond that. Broeck Steadman comes to mind since he did some black and white interior drawings for Analog that look a bit like the woman on that cover. I can’t find any of examples those online. His full color covers have a much more hyper-realistic style than those b&w works though so it’s probably not him.

          I’d be interested in finding out who did the ‘Margaret and I’ cover too.

  3. I believe the cover for the Signet edition of “The City and the Stars” is by Fernando, aka Fernando Fernandez (ISFDB entry). The style, typography, and gouache/watercolor medium are the same as some other early ’70s Signet editions of Clarke, as well as the 1973 Signet edition of Effinger’s “What Entropy Means to Me.” In the examples below, his signature is only visible on “The Other Side of the Sky.”

    • Arguments I’d make in favor of Fernandes. (1.) The shared motif of little colored discs in the art for “The City and the Stars,” “The Other Side of the Sky” (signature visible), “What Entropy Means to Me” (signature visible), “The Wind from the Sun,” and “Tales of Ten Worlds.” (2.) Note the design of the rocket fins (if that’s what they are) on the cover of “What Entropy Means to Me.” Now look at the sides of the towers, near the top, on the cover of “The City and the Stars.” (3.) Look at the way flesh is painted on the covers of both “The City and the Stars” and “What Entropy Means to Me.” (Note: I’m having second thoughts about the “Glide Path” cover. The motif of little discs is missing, so it may be a different artist.)

      • Looks like it’s Fernandez with a “z” not an “s,” though ISFDB gives “Fernandes” and “Fernando” as alternates. He was a Spanish artist known primarily for his comics work. He produced art for British and American publishers, appearing in “Creepy,” Eerie,” “Heavy Metal,” and “Vampirella.” He also produced comics adaptations of Asimov, as well as B&W illustrations for Dickson’s “Dorsai.” Paperback covers included publishers like Ace, Dell, Bantam, and Signet. Check out the “illustrations / SF” section of the official website (in Spanish):

      • Well, that seals it! Now to get it credited on…. But, apparently that takes some effort. Thanks so much!

        (it is one of his best covers for sure. I love the city, reaching upwards, and, I would find it hard to believe that some collector hasn’t snatched up the original considering it graced the cover of such a famous novel).

    • Tom, I really like the Fernandes attribution, and, I think you’ve provided very convincing arguments. Although I initially thought it might be Ellis, I do see that it has a distinct style.

      Thank you for all your work 🙂

      • I received this today from Hector Fernandez, the son of Fernando Fernandez, concerning the “City and the Stars” cover.

        “Hello Thomas,
        Thank you for your E-mail.
        The answer to your qüestion is yes. This is an artwork of my father Fernando Fernández.
        I am not sure if we have The original book cover. If you are interested in The original please write me …”

  4. My guess that Fernandez worked in gouache/watercolor is probably wrong. Looking at the other art on the official site, yes, he did sometimes use a mixed media technique, but his primary medium was oils. So for commercial assignments like “The City and the Stars,” I would guess he used oils – on illustration board rather than canvas. Oils can be thinned and made fast-drying, so you get results similar to gouache/watercolor, in both aesthetic and practical terms (the latter being a consideration in commercial work). If his son still has the original somewhere. I would guess the price would be between 1,000 and 1,500 euros, again judging by the originals being sold on the official site.

  5. THE STARCHILD TRILOGY and JOURNEY are by the same illustrator, a guy who showed up at Pocket Books in 1978 and completed a couple of dozen cover illustrations for them. I’ve been researching who this guy is for years and I still don’t have a name!

    • Yeah, I matched the style — one reason I included more than one of the same artist, although, as you indicated, so far unknown… alas! (I’ve been in contact with a bookseller who Marta Randall also couldn’t remember, if she ever knew, the artist either).

  6. I have encountered a couple book covers by “FMA” and I own two cover paintings for 1978 reprints of the Bomba series.

    Here is another one that was mentioned on another cover ID page — Signet T6013, Choose Love (1972) by Rose Palmer.

    I would like to figure out who FMA is. Unfortunately the artists are seldom mentioned in the business records of the Stratemeyer Syndicate after 1930. Communication with artists was left to the publisher. I haven’t seen any letters related to these particular reprints.

    I looked in Fiction, Folklore, Fantasy & Poetry for Children, 1876-1985 in the illustrator section and could not find any names that would correspond with these initials.

    I also did not find a suitable artist in Who Was Who in American Art for the initials. Those with FMA died too early or worked in completely different fields.

    It would take more work to go through the names on but it might be the next thing to try.

    Normally I find that artists lived within reasonable distance of their publishers so FMA should be in NYC or nearby such as Connecticut or New Jersey. It’s hard to work with this because he seems to have been active in the 1970s when city directories were less common as a resource.


    • I don’t recall how to show an image on this system. An ordinary image tag didn’t work so I will try to share a link to a hosted image and see if it works. These are the Bomba paintings we bought several years ago from Heritage. They provided no identity of the artist either.


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