The Art Of The Sublime, Part One

It seems like an age since I started photographing and sharing my collection of beloved vintage paperbacks for an admittedly limited audience of like-minded aficionados. In that time however, I’d like to think that I’ve offered a few rather interesting choices of cover art and maybe inspired someone to add a particular book to their list of future acquisitions. I’ve long been interested in developing themes within cover art and have therefore tended to concentrate on putting such selections together. I’ve tried to supplement this trend by opening up my library in a rather more random sense but despite this, the themes still keep on appearing.

The point of this article then is twofold; there is no unifying concept whatsoever between any of the covers presented here. I have also decided to base my choices on twelve examples of what I feel are outstanding examples of period sci-fi genre artwork executed at the highest standards. In short, these are some of my absolutely favourite cover pieces. It may be worth mentioning that my favourite artist Richard Powers is not represented in either of these articles as I have covered his work extensively here, here and here.

For the sake of brevity and ease of viewing I’ll split this article into two bite-sized portions, this being my first batch of six covers with the remaining six to follow next week. What are your thoughts on these sublime pieces of artwork? Comments at the ready.

The Book Of Imaginary Beings by Jorge Luís Borges and Margarita Guerrero
This version was published in 1974 by Penguin Books
The cover artist is Peter Goodfellow

Not strictly speaking a science fiction title, this is more of a bestiary but Goodfellow’s surrealistically psychedelic cover painting steals the show here for me.

Borges The Book Of Imaginary Beings

The E.S.P. Worm by Robert Margroff & Piers Anthony
This version was published in 1970 by Paperback Library Books
The cover artist is Herbert Norton Rogoff

Strangely, tantalisingly odd in every respect!

Margroff Anthony The E. S. P. Worm

The Dark Side Of The Earth by Alfred Bester
This version was published in 1970 by Signet / New American Library of Canada Books
The cover artist is Bob Pepper

Beautifully psychedelic cover art from the always brilliant Bob Pepper on this excellent collection which I purchased from the States.

Bester, The Dark Side of the Earth

The Gate Of Time by Philip Jose Farmer
This version was published in 1970 by Belmont Books
The cover artist is uncredited

This piece has so much going for it and bridges the 60s & 70s so well that it’s almost criminal an artist hasn’t been given any credit.

Farmer The Gate Of Time

Tomorrow Times Seven by Frederik Pohl
This version was published in 1969 by Ballantine Books
The cover artist is Robert Foster

Part of a series of six titles bearing Foster’s inimitable artwork of which, sadly I only own two

Pohl Tomorrow Times Seven

Worlds For The Taking by Kenneth Bulmer
This version was published in 1966 by Ace Books
The cover artist is Hoot von Zitzewitz

Hoot von Zitzewitz, the oddly named king of the cover collage.

Bulmer Worlds For The Taking


6 thoughts on “The Art Of The Sublime, Part One

  1. Lestaret 03/06/2015 / 9:01 pm

    Some great covers these, but two stand out for me particularly. The uncredited ‘Gate of Time’ ticks a number of my graphic design boxes and perhaps the least ‘dated’ of the selection. I love the Bob Pepper art too – a bit of a master class of style all round! Great selection – you must lend me the bestiary at some point too!

    Liked by 1 person

    • unsubscriber 03/06/2015 / 9:28 pm

      I value your comments as a designer of some considerable standing Mr Lestaret. It frustrates me greatly that the artist responsible for Gate of Time is uncredited as I think it’s such a strong image. The Bob Pepper cover is quite typical of his other work in this period and is beautifully psychedelic. Glad you enjoyed this selection, let’s see what you make of my next six choices. I’ll happily loan you the Borges title next time you’re up.


  2. Bernie 04/06/2015 / 9:28 am

    Interesting selection here, the real knock-out is the Peter Goodfellow, it’s amazing and if I’d had to guess at the artist I’d have said Bosch. I know next to nothing about Bosch, but what’s in my head about him is just like this!!

    Take care, Bernie xxx

    Liked by 1 person

    • unsubscriber 08/06/2015 / 3:01 pm

      Glad you opted for the Goodfellow Bernie, it’s one of my strong favourites too and very Bosch like. As I said in the article, not strictly a sci-if title but I couldn’t resist including it. Hope you’re well, all the best too xxxx


  3. lcmt 11/06/2015 / 8:22 pm

    I have found inspiration for my own work in The Book of Imaginary Beings, and that its cover reminiscent of Hieronymus Bosch has its appeal, but it’s the cover for The ESP Worm that catches my eye. Those shades of pink and green–they both repel and attract.


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