Monday, February 18, 2008
David S. Zondy presents some great images of life on other worlds, as well as futuristic depictions in his "tales of Future Past" series:
In the 1920s and '30s the most influential of science fiction illustrators was Frank R. Paul. He supplied many of the covers for Hugo Gernsback's magazines such as Amazing Stories and though the people he drew looked like suet poured into clothes, his buildings, machines, and aliens had a complexity, detail, and drama about them that provided artists with the visual vocabulary of science fiction to this day.
In the late '30s, Paul had a chance to let his imagination run for a bit with a series of back-cover pieces depicting cities on other planets and the creatures that inhabit them. His ideas of what our neighbours in the Solar System and beyond look like were often strikingly beautiful and showed a creativity that put the standard Star Trek man-with-a-lumpy-forehead school to shame. They were meant as flights of fancy rather than educated theories, but it says a lot about the times that his Martians, Venusians, and Whateverians were taken seriously and not as the product of using paint thinner in an unventilated space.
The image is courtesy of Fabio Feminò, who has an excellent online collection of SF art. His site is in Italian, but if you go in through the home page you can click on the Babelfish link, which will translate all the text on the site.
Femino has a collection of covers of Robert Heinlein novels published in Italy, Chesley Bonestell, the Colliers series of space explorations depictions from the Fifties, and other futuristic art.