Although they’re not as striking as his black and white inks, Virgil Finlay‘s color paintings like this one for the cover of Galaxy are always filled with background detail other artist might not bother with. Depicting a futuristic sport called space diving from Fritz Leiber’s story “The Beat Cluster”, Finlay shows the beatnik musicians, artists and dancers that inhabit the hamster-tube enclosure in high Earth orbit, as well as those whose thrills require them to wear spacesuits in the vacuum of space.
Chesley Bonestell‘s cover painting for the October, 1961 issue of The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction combines the artist’s ultra-realistic style of depicting both space hardware and space landscape. Most Americans were first introduced to Bonestell’s work when LIFE magazine published a series of paintings of Saturn as seen from several of its moons in 1944. This cover is intriguing because it is not immediately apparent whether the rocket ships are taking off from the cratered planet or landing.
A side note on this particular issue of F&SF is that it contained the first printing of Kurt Vonnegut’s Hugo award-winning short story, “Harrison Bergeron”
Amazing Stories‘ October cover, like the month before, is by Alex Schomburg and is another depiction of near future technology in the vein of Popular Mechanics. It depicts off shore missile silos that seem rather impractical and unneccessary in an era where both the United States and the USSR were rapidly developing and deploying submarines armed with nuclear missiles.
Schomburg spent the 1940s working in comic books for companies like Marvel’s precursor Timely Comics. Stan Lee called him the Norman Rockwell of comic books. Before he left comic books for magazines in the early 1950s, Schomburg had drawn almost 600 covers for comic books featuring characters like Captain America, the Sub-Mariner and the Human Torch. The amount of detail he put into even the most ephemeral of media was matched by only a few other artists of the time (like George Evans with whom Schomburg shared cover duties on Aces High ).
John Schoenherr‘s cover for Analog Science Fact-Fiction once again shows off the talent Schoenherr honed while doing freelance work for the Bronx Zoo in the early 1960s. In addition to the cover, Schoenherr also did the interior illustrations for the story, “Lion Loose…” by James Schmitz.