Adventures in Science Fiction Cover Art: The City as Canvas, Part I

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(Richard Powers’ cover for the 1969 edition of Cosmic Engineers (1939), Clifford D. Simak)

The theme of this post is the future metropolis as canvas where the entire surface of the cover is arrayed and ordered by the forms and forces of the city.    The city as a matrix that holds the scene unfolding amongst its spires…  Richard Powers’ masterful cover for the 1969 edition of Cosmic Engineers is the perfect example.  The mass of the buildings arch, indistinct, upward — causeways and platforms amongst the cityscape hold faceless humanoid forms that “look” Continue reading

Adventures in Science Fiction Cover Art: Domed Cities (and Outposts) of the Future, Part IV

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(Ley Kenyon’s cover for the 1953 edition of Adventures in Tomorrow (1951), ed. Kendell F. Crossen)

Since the release of the TV series Under the Dome (2013-), based on Stephen King’s 2009 novel by the same name, there has been a resurgence of interest in domed cities.  And for good reason — the trope is one of the most popular of science fiction artists and authors since the 30s (and probably earlier).  Not only do the societal implications and visual allure of the trope of a domed outpost on a harsh planet or a domed city amidst the ruins of Earth arouse the creative authorial juices but also generate some fantastically Continue reading

Adventures in Science Fiction Cover Art: The City on the Horizon


(Karel Thole’s cover for the 1962 edition of Starman’s Quest (1958), Robert Silverberg)

Some of my favorite cover art posts over the last two years were on the theme of cities — Elevated Cities (Part I, Part II), Domed Cities (Part I, Part II, Part III), Doomed Cities (Part I, Part II, Part III), and Ice-Covered Cities.  I’m starting a new series on science fiction cities  — The City on the Horizon — I already have two additional posts lined up on the theme.

The City on the Horizon — a glimmer of hope for beleaguered travelers, an beacon of habitation of an unknown civilization on an alien world, an organic mass rising from the desert sands, or a refuge of the ultra wealthy rising majestic from a slum… The possibilities are Continue reading

Adventures in Science Fiction Cover Art: The Domed Cities of the Future Part I

(Uncredited cover for the 1965 edition of Beyond the Sealed World (1965), Rena M. Vale)

While browsing through my collection of cover images I’ve collated over the last few months for science fiction art post ideas, I came across the uncredited cover for Rena Vale’s Beyond the Sealed World (1965) and was transfixed!  The angle of the text, the mountain, the dark expanse of space, the little spaceship, the figures silhouetted against the night, and the surreal shape of the domed city connected to other distant domed cities… If anyone knows the artist (or has a good educated guess) please let me know!  The second edition cover (below) still has beautiful domed cities but the caveman, helmeted soldier, and white-clad (not for long, the dress is slipping) woman tableau ruins the feel.

Particularly noteworthy is Jack Gaughan’s elevated domed city cover Continue reading