(Michael Payne’s cover for the 1978 edition of Envisaged Worlds (1978), ed. Paul Collins)
Michael Payne created a handful of covers for Australian SF presses in the 1970s. They are difficult to track down (especially in high-quality images) so I’ve provided three tantalizing covers that suggest potential if he had continued to produce SF art. They feature careful pencil work and an eye for the slightly surreal–especially the repeated human figures in Envisaged Worlds (1978) (my favorite of the bunch).
This post is also a call for any additional information you might be able to find about his career, non-SF art (if any), or even the Australian presses (Wren and Void Publications). The art for Beyond Tomorrow (1976) also appeared on the 1975 Science Fiction Monthly, July 1975 “AussieCon Special” edition. If someone has that copy of Science Fiction Monthly please let me know as Michael Payne provided additional interior art.
Certainly paddling along an esoteric “eddy,” as a reader called my various explorations. I’ve posted far superior pencil SF covers in the past—my post on Claude Lacroix’s Delicate Lines and Mutations (60s/70s covers for the French SF Magazine Fiction) comes to mind.
As always, thoughts and comments are welcome.
For additional Adventures in SF art (including many less esoteric artists and themes) consult the INDEX.
(Michael Payne’s cover for the 1979 edition of Rooms of Paradise (1978), ed. Lee Harding)
(Michael Payne’s cover for the 1976 edition of Beyond Tomorrow (1976), ed. Lee Harding)
16 thoughts on “Adventures in Science Fiction Cover Art: Three Tantalizing Australian SF Covers by Michael Payne”
Very striking! I like the one for Rooms of Paradise – very psychedelic!
I didn’t care for it at first but it’s growing on me — especially that strange flower room near his head….
I still think my favorite is the one for Envisaged Worlds. The human forms are so uncanny.
A follower on twitter suspects the artist is this Michael Payne (there are a lot of them!)
Yep. That’s me.
Thanks for stopping by! (and I apologize for the late reply as I was on something of a hiatus).
Were there any other SF covers you illustrated? I’d love to know which ones I missed.
Apologies for the slow response. I will make a point of visiting here much more frequently.
I left Australia in 1978 and moved to Germany for 8 years. I did half a dozen SF covers each year for Hayne Verlag in Munich. My last was in 1987 before returning to Australia. My main website is http://www.Mipagraf.com.au
I tweeted about this other book cover he did for Wren publishing. From the description, it isn’t SF, though if you didn’t read that, looking at the cover and the title, you might think it was. It does take place in the Outback though–so who knows maybe there is a little strangeness in the book. https://twitter.com/jftuckerman/status/884513309743034372
Thanks for the comment John. It’s a wonderful evocative cover — despite not being SF (as you indicate, it’s not like you can tell from the cover).
The other two I found were not as fascinating…
The Weeping Sky (1977)
And Ron Graham Presents: Other Worlds (1978)
I like that cover for “The Weeping Sky”.It shows strong technical skill with the way the light reflects in the bubble,and the precision and expression of the strong face looking out.The colour scheme is excellent too.
I didn’t include The Weeping Sky cover because I disliked it so intensely (mostly the face). Haha.
No it’s alright,I think I would have said it anyway.I can’t help admiring a cover that has a certain technical expertise.It’s mysterious and evocative I think.
Why are you apologizing Richard? It’s very confusing!
I don’t think I am,I really do like it,much more than the one below.
I seem to recognize his style, it’s possible he did a lot of uncredited and anonymous work for the paperback field. Artists really get no respect.
Or, he’s inspired by a better known artist. I do get the sense he predominately made covers for Australian presses.
The July issue of Sf Monthly: