Category Archives: SF Cover Art

Adventures in Science Fiction Cover Art: The Cosmic Glimpses of Luciana Tom Matalon

Luciana Tom Matalon, “Untitled” (1971)

Non-English language science fiction presses present a fascinating territory to explore. Their volumes provide not only a window into what SF was available to read but also the distinct visual language used to convey those works. Italian SF cover art remains a firm favorite–from Karel Thole’s Philip K. Dick covers to the haunting landscapes of Mariella Anderlini.  And a new artist joins the ranks!

Luciana Tom Matalon was born in 1937 near Venice and studied art in Milan.  Her paintings, sculpture, and jewelry have appeared in exhibitions around the world. She has a short biography on her eponymous foundation website. You Continue reading Adventures in Science Fiction Cover Art: The Cosmic Glimpses of Luciana Tom Matalon

Adventures in Science Fiction Cover Art: The Surrealism of Carlos Ochagavia, Part I

Canvas for the 1977 edition of Universe 7, ed. Terry Carr (1978)

The covers for Pocket Books and Popular Library tend not to scream “visual zeitgeist of the 70s” like the catalogs of DAW, Ace, and Del Rey/Ballantine Books (note 1). But amongst the former’s primarily forgettable stable of artists who are often uncredited (2), a few gems emerge–notably the work of Carlos Ochagavia (1913-2006) (3).

I cannot find more than a few sentences of biographical material on Ochagavia online. He was born in Spain and moved at a young age to Argentina. He arrived in the United States Continue reading Adventures in Science Fiction Cover Art: The Surrealism of Carlos Ochagavia, Part I

Adventures in Science Fiction Cover Art: Space Elephants!

(Tony Roberts’ (?) cover for the 1975 edition of Ten Thousand Light-Years From Home (1973), James Tiptree, Jr.)

Here’s a lighthearted themed science fiction art post on elephants, elephantine aliens, and prehistoric mammoths that I’ve cobbled together over the last few weeks. Elephants have always made me happy–especially baby elephants…. and yes, I have been known to watch Youtube videos of baby elephant antics. I digress.

The SF novel that first came to mind was Robert Silverberg’s masterful rumination on colonization on a decaying world Downward to the Earth (1970). Rather than Continue reading Adventures in Science Fiction Cover Art: Space Elephants!

Adventures in Science Fiction Cover Art: The Strange Visages of Burt Shonberg (1933-1977)

(Burt Shonberg, 1964 Ibiza Spain)

Burt Shonberg (1933-1977) produced only one SF cover for the Fantastic Science Fiction Stories (June 1960), ed. Cele Goldsmith. I adore the etched helmet, the lack of a distinct face, the looking backward at a similar form emerging…. I wish more magazines commissioned covers from him–he could have added a nice visual wrinkle to the fair of the day. Here’s the isfdb.org listing for the issue–do you know which story he’s illustrating?

(Fantastic Science Fiction Stories (June 1960), ed. Cele Goldsmith)

So who was he? His biography, which the following paragraph is based on, lays out an intriguing life. Born in Continue reading Adventures in Science Fiction Cover Art: The Strange Visages of Burt Shonberg (1933-1977)

Adventures in Science Fiction Cover Art: Cathy Millet illustrates Michael Moorcock, Bob Shaw, and John Cristopher

(Interior art for the 1975 French OPTA edition of The Death of Grass (1956) and The Long Winter (1962), John Christopher)

I cannot ascertain the identity of Cathy Millet. There is a well known Catherine Millet—a French writer, art critic, curator, etc. However, I do not think they are the same. If you know more information about who she might be, please please please let me know! (French articles are fine — I can read them easily).

Cathy Millet created a handful of covers and larger number of interior illustrations for the French publisher OPTA. Here’s her incomplete isfdb.org listing which I used as a jumping off point. The ones which caught my eye are her spectacular interior illustrations for two John Christopher post-apocalyptic Continue reading Adventures in Science Fiction Cover Art: Cathy Millet illustrates Michael Moorcock, Bob Shaw, and John Cristopher

Adventures in Science Fiction Cover Art: The Spectral Visions of Terry James, Part I

(The 1967 edition of Mindswap (1966), Robert Sheckley)

A few weeks ago I reviewed Clifford D. Simak’s The Werewolf Principle (1967) and came across Terry James’ cover (below) for the 1969 Science Fiction Book Club (UK) edition. The spectral shedding/transforming of the human figure matched the uncanny vibe of the novel. And I headed immediately to isfdb.org to browse his ouvre (note: a few volumes in the pub. series are clearly his but remain uncredited)! And I decided to put together a series of posts showcasing his work.

His art, the entire catalog of SFBC editions between 1968 and the mid-way point of 1971, works with little Continue reading Adventures in Science Fiction Cover Art: The Spectral Visions of Terry James, Part I

Adventures in Science Fiction Cover Art: The Surreal Cityscape Covers of Ludovico De Luigi

(Ludovico De Luigi’s “Thomas Mann,” 2007)

When you think of Italian SF art, the name that immediately springs to mind is the brilliant Dutch painter Karel Thole (1914-2000), who seemed to illustrate half of the Italian SF publications in the 60s/70s…. However, a whole series of fascinating artists were brought in for short spats of covers. Continue reading Adventures in Science Fiction Cover Art: The Surreal Cityscape Covers of Ludovico De Luigi

Adventures in Science Fiction Interior Art: Monday Maps and Diagrams (Science Fiction) 7/15/19: Greg Bear’s Hegira (1979)

Today’s installment of Monday Maps and Diagrams returns to a recent acquisition of mine—a signed copy of Greg Bear’s first published novel Hegira (1979), which seems to be a Riverworld and Ringworld inspired read involving the discovery of the nature of an unusual world…

I’m impressed with the simple effectiveness of Greg Bear’s map—created by his own hand (citation bottom right corner). The ocean is nicely indicated as are the rivers and regions (and of course, the unusual wall in the far north–one of the story’s many mysteries).

Enjoy! And, as always, comments are welcome and appreciated!

For my recent acquisition post which included novel’s plot blurb and discussion in comment section about the Greg Bear’s early works, click here.

Citation: Greg Bear’s own map for the Dell 1st edition of Hegira (1979), Greg Bear. Continue reading Adventures in Science Fiction Interior Art: Monday Maps and Diagrams (Science Fiction) 7/15/19: Greg Bear’s Hegira (1979)

Adventures in Science Fiction Cover Art: Ice-Covered Cities, Part II

(Steve Crisp’s cover for the 1985 edition of The World in Winter (variant title: The Long Winter) (1962), John Christopher)

Hello fellow vintage SF fans!

I have for you Part II of my Ice-Covered Cities SF art post series–check out Part I (posted way back in 2012).  In Part I, I discussed the allure of the apocalyptic scenario of a coming Ice Age, inspired by my read through of John Carpenter’s odd black comedy The Long Winter (variant title: The Winter of the World) (1962). SF artists love destroying famous landmarks and a coming ice disaster is yet another exciting visual strategy for destroying urban symbology. Unsurprisingly, New York City (Twin Towers) and London Continue reading Adventures in Science Fiction Cover Art: Ice-Covered Cities, Part II