(Cover for the 1971 edition of Fifth Planet (1963), Fred and Geoffrey Hoyle)
On twitter I occasionally post the birthdays of important figures in SF history (artists, authors, and editors). Every morning I scan The Internet Speculative Fiction Database’s birthday list on their main page and lo and behold a name immediately popped out for May 12th–the iconic 70s SF artist David Pelham (1938-present). Enough has been written about his distinctive and surreal covers for Penguin that I won’t go into detail here. Instead I’ve included a few links if you wish to learn more below.
I invite my readers to link in the comments their favorite articles and tidbits about David Pelham and I’ll include any links I receive in my list as well.
I’ve chosen to include in this post his first three SF covers, which happen to be stylistically and thematically similar. Although his catalogue is probably recognizable to most SF readers (especially those in the UK), these three are probably less known (and for good reason). His most minimal, hinting at cosmic moments, lunar measurements…
As an extra bonus if early Pelham doesn’t sit well with you, I’ve included my favorite of all his covers…. and the only one I own.
Enjoy! Have a favorite Pelham cover (maybe one I didn’t include!)?
1) A 2012 interview with Pelham about his J. G. Ballard covers.
3) A 2010 article by James Pardey about Pelham’s ability to embody the essence of Ballard’s early fiction.
5) Speaker to Animals gathered all of his covers here.
6) For a visually fascinating collection of all the Penguin SF novels see the press’ homepage.
(Cover for the 1971 edition of October the First is Too Late (1966), Fred Hoyle)
(Cover for the 1971 edition of The Black Cloud (1957), Fred Hoyle)
(Cover for the 1974 edition of Terminal Beach (1964), J.G. Ballard)
For more adventures in SF cover art consult the INDEX