(Cover for the 1960 edition of Out of Silent Planet (1938), C. S. Lewis)
Art Sussman produced a remarkable corpus of SF and other pulp covers (mysteries, crime, etc). He could easily shift gears between Richard Powers-esque surrealism—although distinctly his own take—to covers that suited an Agatha Christie mystery (browse the range here). I would be wary comparing him to Powers until you skim through the latter’s late 50s early 60s art (definitely an enjoyable activity!). Although Powers is still far superior, both were part of the SF art movement increasingly experimented with surreal/metaphoric and experimental art (there are still spaceships lurking around the edges, and futuristic cities, and other pulpy moments).
There is a precision of vision with Sussman’s art—his cover for the 1960 edition of Out of Silent Planet (1938), C. S. Lewis places the astronauts in an outline of a vessel with strange hints at alien planets and experiences scattered gem-like in the distance. Sussman’s focus on the human form — often surrounded by surreal forms and humanlike membranes — showcases agony and despair. A great example (and my favorite of the bunch) pairs jagged black fields with a bloodied man, the 1960 edition of Beyond (1960), Theodore Sturgeon.
Thoughts and comments are welcome! Do you have a favorite cover? Have you read any of the books?
I read and reviewed Judith Merril’s collection Out of Bounds (1960). I read and somewhat enjoyed C. S. Lewis’ Out of Silent Planet (1938) but did not continue with the sequels in the Cosmic Trilogy….
You all know my opinions of A. E. van Vogt….
For more explorations of cover art consult the INDEX
(Cover for the 1958 edition of The Mind Cage (1957), A. E. van Vogt)
(Cover for the 1956 edition of The Moon Pool (serialized 1919), A. Merritt)
(Cover for the 1957 edition of The Planet Explorer (variant title: Colonial Survey) (1956), Murray Leinster)
(Cover for the 1959 edition of Wasp (1957), Eric Frank Russell)
(Cover for the 1958 edition of Children of the Atom (1953), Wilmar H. Shiras)
(Cover for the 1958 edition of ESPer (variant title: Jack of Eagles) (1952), James Blish)
(Cover for the 1959 edition of Aliens 4 (1959), Theodore Sturgeon)
(Cover for the 1962 edition of The Fantastic Universe Omnibus (1960), ed. Hans Stefan Santesson)
(Cover for the 1960 edition of Out of Bounds (1960), Judith Merril)
(Cover for the 1957 edition of Face in the Abyss (1931), A. Merritt)
(Cover for the 1956 edition of 21st Century Sub (variant title: Under Pressure), Frank Herbert)
(Cover for the 1957 edition of Perelandra (1943), C. S. Lewis)