The first great sci-fi cover artist was Frank R. Paul,
discovered by the father of science fiction publisher Hugo Gernsback in 1914.
Paul defined the imagery that came to be associated with sci-fi tales,
his covers of amazing stories, the first magazine devoted solely to this new genre,
features spectacular space ships and spacemen, giant insects,
其封面形象有壮观的太空船 宇航员 巨大的虫子
laser guns and a lot of really odd looking aliens.
In those years, the middle 1920s, these covers were probably
among the strangest art that the average American ever got to see.
On newstands, these colorful garish, nightmare visions
left into the imaginations of young readers.
Paul is such a towering figure in science fiction
because so many influential writers and artists in the field.
Not to mention readers can trace their obsession with the genre
to the unforgettable experience of seeing his covers for the first time.
The purpose of a book cover, of course, is to draw you in,
to pick your interest enough to read the story behind it.
But on these covers, Paul launched a fascinating genre of painting
and designing that rarely gets the attention it deserves.
In the same way that science fiction and fantasy as genres
historically didn’t get the attention that they deserved.
Interestingly, one of the byproducts I think of this lack of attention was that
the cover art for these pulp books got to explore weirder
and more avant-garde artistic styles than they would have otherwise.
The revolution in sci-fi covers came with a revolution and book selling.
In 1939, Robert F. de Graff launched pocket books,
1939年 罗伯特 F. 德格拉夫发明了口袋书
the first mass-market publisher of paperbacks in America
and he was hugely successful.
Amazing as it sounds, no one really thought that people would read paperbacks.
But when the pocket version of James Hilton’s Lost Horizon sold 2,500,000 copies,
people knew that there was a change in the air.
As Mark Derry noted in The Daily Beast,
suddenly, the 4.3 by 7 inch format of mass-market paperbacks
became the canvas for cover artists.
And with more sci-fi selling in with the genre getting more of its due culturally.
Publishers looked artists who could reflect the deep themes that
the stories explored, take penguin, the British bookseller.
In the 40s and 50s, they were known for their classic orange and white covers.
Then in the 60s,
in an effort to raise the sophistication of their science-fiction offering,
art director Germano Fischetti started pairing novels with covers featuring the work
of popular modern artists.
For example, James Blish is a case of conscience, takes place on the planet
with organic almost biological shaped buildings.
For the cover, Fassett chose a detail from Dadaist
and surrealist painter Max Ernst’s, The Eye of Silence
or J.G. Ballard’s, The Drowned World,
a post-apocalyptic novel set in a bleak flooded uninhabitable London.
For this Fassett chose Eve 10g surreal landscape of battered shapes
and odd configurations called The Palace of Windowed Rocks.
After Fassett, a series of art directors through the 60s and 70s
commissioned original works or did it themselves.
There was Alan Aldridge who created a series of beautiful psychedelic images
over black in the late 1960s.
There was Franco Grignani who pioneered methods of experimental photography
resulting in monochromatic kaleidoscopic images in 1970.
Then there was David Pelham who made this iconic cover for A Clockwork Orange in 1972
and these gorgeous reprints of the Ballard classics a few years later.
Over at Ballantine Books,
it was Richard Powers who was really pushing the limits of the form.
The Ballantine’s essentially gave powers free rein
to pull from all his modernists and surrealist influences,
sometimes pulling completely away from the actual content of the book.
The result was hundreds of covers that could have easily filled
gallery spaces and modern art museums.
And while they were increasingly abstract powers covers
mind the subconscious in the surreal.
In the same way that the best science fiction does.
They present a world that’s warped often in radical ways.
As a reaction to the world, that is.
One of the things I love about sci-fi cover art is how accessible it is.
Like literally accessible, you can walk into any use bookstore, anywhere
and get five of these old pulp books for a dollar each.
I can own a Vincent Di Fate and a Bob Pepper
and Ian Miller’s insane cover for Bradbury’s long after midnight.
And then, the art is with you, it’s in your home,
然后 艺术住进你家 与你同在
as you read the stories, it’s on your bedside table.
It’s art you hold with your hands, it’s not precious, it’s been and folded and creased.
这是你拿在手中的艺术 不昂贵 持久 可折叠 有折痕
And above all, it’s weird.
Sci-fi and fantasy covers had the chance to be weird,
not only because of the weird things going on in the stories
but because the genre was categorized as pulp,
and weird imagery sort of came with the territory.
There are hundreds of artists and thousands upon thousands of books in this tradition
I can’t possibly cover it all here.
Partly because a good amount of it is forgotten.
Hiding away in crates at the back of bookstores.
Next time you’re at one, pull some of those crates out
and see if you can’t find a lost chapter in this eclectic
and underappreciated sub- genre of art history.
Hey, everybody, thank you so much for watching and indulging me in this passion
嘿 非常感谢大家观看我的影片 给我鼓励
I have for sci-fi book covers I’ve been wanting to do this video for a while,
so I’m really really glad that I finally did it.
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Thanks again guys, I’ll see you next time.
The first great sci-fi cover artist was Frank R. Paul,