I recently attended ConVersion here in Calgary and found a fellow selling old SF pulps in great condition.
The oldest, from 1939, is from an era before we had the photo quality we get now from probes and imaging systems. So the depiction of a Jupiter-like planet and the cast shadow across the rings really caught my eye. And the understated, modern typography gridded out makes this composition sing. Just a few months earlier, they had been using the more decorative type design that had been prevalent through the Teens and Twenties.
Fast forward to the Fifties and we’re still looking at aerodynamic rockets, but we’re now living in the Cold War era and its imminent threat of nuclear devastation.
This one just creeps me out, and reminds me of Dr. Manhattan reintegrating in The Watchmen.
A bit more subtle. Chilling in its own way. Imagine sitting in the silence of the Moon and watching those flashes.
As an ink guy, I like the poster quality this one has.
No nuclear threat here. A lot more gentle. Reminds me of the feeling Bradbury’s writing gives me. Instead of the romance of space opera a generation before, there is the symbology of middle America being attached to dreams of space. Stories and images like this really helped move the consciousness of the public from thinking of space flight as fantasy to one of challenge and goal.
What I really like about this era of Astounding was the amazingly clean design that showed respect for the image. Try doing this today in a market that has gone nuts with cover lines.
By the Sixties, science had taken firm hold of the visual language of space flight. There is no fantasy or dream here, just communication of some of the concepts which were beginning to come true.
Can anyone say sperm and egg?