Vintage Reads #50: Sci-Fi & Fantasy Covers (Part 2)

Another round of science fiction and fantasy covers coming up. (Part one can be found here.) Be prepared for an overdose of trippy imagery and buxom babes.  The transcendent combo of space-age tomfoolery mixed with blatant eroticism is like peanut-butter and chocolate. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't.... but these vintage covers are always interesting. I quite literally could pore over these covers all day.  Enjoy.

Tiger in the Stars by Zach Hughes (1976)

Laser Books was actually the sci-fi line from Harlequin during the seventies. The cover artist obviously took his job very literally:  "Tiger in the stars, you say?  Here you go - here's a picture of a tiger and some stars." The disembodied head seems none too thrilled with said tiger and stars.

New Writings in SF4 (1968)

Compilation books were always the trippiest of all the sci-fi books.  Often having nothing to do with a single story in the collection; the illustrators were basically given license to go buck wild.  "Skeleton bird - check. Random dead chick in a bra - check. We're off to the races."

Sar by John Robert Russell (1974)

Man, I hope this is not the male dress code of the future.  I don't care what kind of technological advances we enjoy, they will be completely offset by men in bikini underwear.  As I side note, I dig the Q-bert designs.

Venus Plus X by Theodore Sturgeon (1960)

The Gates of Creation by Philip Jose Farmer

This is interesting because the cover makes it look like a Saturday Morning Cartoon; yet the blurb on the back sounds rather heavy and dark.  Satanism?
Wolff-Jadawin, demigod in Earthman's guise and Lord of the World of the Tiers, opened his eyes to see the symbol of the Master-Lord Urizen floating below the ceiling. The summons from the cruelest of the universe-makers was direct and urgent. Jadawin's beautiful wife had been abducted and held captive by the satanic Urizen. To redeem her, Jadawin was required to enter the many-leveled universe constructed by Urizen for his personal torment. Joined by several of his siblings, without his extra-human powers, forced to venture through world after booby-trapped world to storm the gates of creation itself!

Love Conquers All by Fred Saberhagen (1978)

What would happen if all social mores became inverted? Sexual depravity suddenly means things like abstinence or virginity. An interesting premise for a novel.

Wandering Stars (1978)

I must say, when I see this cover illustration, Jewish sci-fi isn't the first thing that comes to mind.  What an oddity.

This edition from 1983 is actually a collection of short stories.  I was a bit disappointed with such an intriguing title.

Swords of the Barbarians by Kenneth Bulmer (1970)

I find the summary on the back particularly interesting.  The publisher made damn sure we know Tara gets naked when casting her spells...
A massive migration of the gods threatens the March of Gamelon with apocalyptic change. Only Torr Vorkun of Darkholm and his lovely twin sister, Tara, can preserve order and prepare the people for a new era. Torr is a magnificently powerful youth who bears the magical broadsword, Lycheaper. Tara, too is magnificent, yet her secret power lies in the witchery she can invoke - when naked.

Crash Landing on Iduna by Arthur Tofte (1975)

Our protagonist looks a bit like Mr. Vernon from The Breakfast Club.  Plus, we have yet another example of the carry.

Incident on Ath by E.C. Tubb (1978)

DAW claimed to be the first publisher to deal exclusively with science fiction.  The main character in this series is quite obviously Luke Skywalker.

King Dragon by Andrew J. Offutt (1978)

Yeah, fantasy publishers knew who their target audience was.  The kind of audience that wouldn't mind a chained damsel in a bikini being molested by a dragon.  Nice.

The Star Dwellers by James Blish (1962)

Did I mention that science fiction covers could be trippy?

The Nightmare of God by Mark E. Rogers (1988)

Rumor has it that this was too dark and twisted to stay in print, so Ace let it go under.... which greatly arouses my interest.  I'll be giving this one a try soon.

The Eyes of Sarsis by Andrew Offutt and Richard Lyon

I think this swordmaiden has missed her calling as a dancer.... or stripper.... whichever.

Nectar of Heaven by E.C. Tubb (1981)

An interesting storyline (none of which is represented by the cover, but who's complaining?)
The planet had two unique elements. One was that it produced the galaxy's most desirable hallucinatory drug. The other was that it was a stock broker's paradise. The world was split into rich men's holdings - and every hour, every minute these were being traded on a continuous stock-market. Up and down went values as men conspired to seize others' properties, to push prices down and costs up. Their money game controlled everything else - the common people, workers, farmers, homes, lives, poverty and luxury . . . Earl Dumarest went there to find his next stake. Find the drug-gem or manipulate the market - two possibilities. But behind the scenes stood the advisors of the inhuman Cyclan, determined to fix the odds against Dumarest . 

Irsud by Jo Clayton (1978)

A novel of the diadem... and dat ass

The Diamond Contessa by Kenneth Bulmer (1983)

Galaxy Jane by Ron Goulart (1986)

The Starcrossed by Ben Bova (1984)

I would so watch this TV show it's not even funny.

I saved the best for last. THE END


  1. great post as usual. Surprised though, that you didn't mention the massive phallus & two orbs behind 'Luke' on the cover of 'Incident on Ath' by E.C. Tubb (1978) :)

  2. The Starcrossed by Ben Bova is a satire of his terrible experience as scientific adviser on the Canadian TV series The Starlost back in the 70s. I always wanted to find a copy of that one.

  3. Copycat! I just started posting some sci-fi covers this week! Including a floating eyeball, one of your favorites. Actually, it's an eyeball in an apple, but like you say, they can be trippy.

  4. "One was that it produced the galaxy's most desirable hallucinatory drug. The other was that it was a stock broker's paradise."

    Sounds like America today, doesn't it?

    I remember all of these covers from browsing the used bookstores. While naked.

  5. Galaxy Jane looks like Captain Harlock's female counterpart. :p

  6. Some of these need to be reposted here.

  7. Admittedly Laser Books had the most creative covers and often featured cult artists like Frank Kelly Freas.

    That said, a personal guilty pleasure was the illustrations gracing paperback editions of John Norman's Gor series !