Category Archives: SF Cover Art

Adventures in Science Fiction Cover Art: A Handful of Tufted Gumby Aliens and Mushroom People

(David Hardy’s cover for the November 1975 issue of The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction)

I couldn’t stop laughing while putting together this post from my collection of gleaned covers: gumby in space with two fuzzy tufts and three unsymmetrical eye ridges (or, his fingers) ogling at a space probe, mushroom people transfixed by a mysterious white tentacled orb hoisted aloft by man in a pink cape and a skimpy pink unitard, evil nosed caterpillars, scary monstrous mole monster, etc.  Did the editors KNOW precisely what the art looked like before it appeared on the covers evoking such throat hurting unintended (or perhaps intended) consequences?  But, I have to admit there’s nothing like a cool (and funny alien) to make me pick up a book or magazine.

As always, what are your favorite funny alien covers which I haven’t posted?

I’ve read a few of Vance’s novels so I’ll probably pick up The Eyes of the Overworld Continue reading Adventures in Science Fiction Cover Art: A Handful of Tufted Gumby Aliens and Mushroom People

Adventures in Science Fiction Cover Art: A Selection of Bleak Alien Landscapes

(Alex Schomburg’s cover for the 1953 edition of Space, Space, Space (1953), ed. William Sloane)

Our science fiction heroes are often confronted by bleak alien landscapes adorned with rocks, vast deserts, adverse atmospheres — commonly these vistas are traversed, colonized, tamed…  Spaceships touch down on virgin surfaces, the explorers tentatively step forward, aliens peer from the distance.  When settlements are built the alien vista remains an ever present source of fear and fascination.  The depiction of a convincingly bleak alien landscape (think Arrakis in Frank Herbert’s Dune) can be of paramount importance in conveying not only  otherworldliness but the backdrop for human drama and the challenges our heroes must overcome (by technology or other Continue reading Adventures in Science Fiction Cover Art: A Selection of Bleak Alien Landscapes

Adventures in Science Fiction Cover Art: A Handful of Funny Robots

Unless those arms extend the robot's only use will be to run over people -- which it's about to do.

(Ed Valigursky’s cover for the the 1962 edition of Next Stop The Stars (1962), Robert Silverberg)

While browsing through my rapidly growing collection of cover images on my computer I couldn’t stop laughing at the hilarious robots that pop up every now and then.  From evil looking R2D2s (with legs) to multi-handed flying death robots with unfortunate double smiley faces!  Oh, and the crying rescue robot….

If I were in the robot designing business I’d conjure up a robot that could cry — a good use of time — as useful as Data with his emotion chip talking to his tricorder or finally understanding jokes: “Geordi: The Farpoint mission? Data, that was seven years ago. Data: I know! I just got it! Very Continue reading Adventures in Science Fiction Cover Art: A Handful of Funny Robots

Adventures in Science Fiction Cover Art: A Selection of Elevated Cities Part I

(uncredited cover for the 1975 edition of Growing Up in Tier 3000 (1975), Felix C. Gotschalk)

“After a seven days’ march through woodland, the traveler directed towards Baucis cannot see the city and yet he has arrived.  The slender stilts that rise from the grown at a great distance from one another and are lost above the clouds that support the city […] There are three hypotheses about the inhabitants of Baucis: that they hate the earth; that they respect it to much they avoid all contact; that they love it as it was before they existed and with spyglasses and telescopes aimed downward they never tire of examining it, leaf by leaf, stone by stone, ant by ant, contemplating with fascination their own absence” — Italo Calvino (Invisible Cities, 1972, pg. 77)

I’ve always been fascinated by imaginary and historical cities: the utopian (Tommaso Campanella’s 1602 work The City of the Sun), the allegorical (Calvino’s Invisible Cities), the multi-layered (Rome), the planned (16th century Palmanova), the decaying (Jeff VanderMeer’s Ambergris), the multi-tiered (Tolkein’s Minas Tirith)…   Continue reading Adventures in Science Fiction Cover Art: A Selection of Elevated Cities Part I

Adventures in Science Fiction Cover Art: Hoot von Zitzewitz’s Fantastic Flights of Fancy

(Hoot von Zitzewitz’s cover for the 1967 edition of The Winged Man (1966), A. E. van Vogt and E. Mayne Hull)

In the 1960s the sci-fi covers of the major publishers Dell, Berkley Medallion, Signet, Avon, Ace (etc) ran the gamut from Richard Powers’ avant-garde landscapes and conglomerate faces to the fantastic collages of a relatively unknown artist by the name of Hoot von Zitzewitz (Hubertus Octavio von Zitzewitz).

I’ve cobbled together a few bits of a biography (if any one knows some more concrete facts let me know).  He was a fine arts teacher at Hofstra University and passed away around 2002.  Hoot worke Continue reading Adventures in Science Fiction Cover Art: Hoot von Zitzewitz’s Fantastic Flights of Fancy

Adventures in Science Fiction Cover Art: The Best of Alex Schomburg’s 60s Novel Covers

(Alex Schomburg’s cover for the 1965 edition of The Well of the Worlds (1953), Henry Kuttner)

Alex Schomburg (1905-1998) produced only a handful of novel covers in the 60s (his classic 50s covers can be found here).  But what a beautiful handful!  It’s a shame because they evoke genuine excitement and wonder — especially Kuttner’s The Well of the Worlds (above) and one of my favorites, Moore and Kuttner’s Earth’s Last Citadel (below).  They are dynamic, vivid, and occasionally Continue reading Adventures in Science Fiction Cover Art: The Best of Alex Schomburg’s 60s Novel Covers

Adventures in Science Fiction Cover Art: A Selection of Vincent Di Fate’s early 70s Covers

(Cover for the 1972 edition of Plunder (1972), Ron Goulart)

The covers of Vincent Di Fate (1945-) often evoke a Terry Gilliam-esque romp — for example, Ron Goulart’s Plunder — a lone facade and a house dot a purple and green plain, mountains emerge in the distance, planets pepper the sky, a head floats ominously, a bizarre reptilian creature in a boatie rides an antique bicycle.  I desperately want to know if it’s a scene from the book.  If so, I’m tracking down a copy!

Vincent Di Fate’s work graced a few of the great works of the genre Continue reading Adventures in Science Fiction Cover Art: A Selection of Vincent Di Fate’s early 70s Covers