The history of science fiction art begins with Amazing Stories of April 1926, Hugo Gernsback's magazine devoted to "scientifiction." From that point a distinct and unbroken tradition of sf art has developed, marked by the expansion of the magazine field and the appearance of science fiction in paperback and hard-cover books. This essay will trace the path of that development and suggest points of contact with the literature of sf and with the world of art. If Amazing Stories marks the genesis of American science fiction, then Frank R. Paul is the originator of sf art. His numerous covers for early sf pulp magazines established the dominant thematic and stylistic ingredients which would endure through the 1930s. The November 1928 issue strong color contrasts, simple compositions, and realism, Paul achieves the two prerequisites of a successful pulp cover: to establish immediately the nature of the publication and to attract a buyer. This early cover practically exhausts sf iconography with its spaceship, extraterrestrial landscape and emotionally reacting figures. It only lacks a bug-eyed monster. of Amazing (Fig. 1) offers a prime example of emerging sf art. With From the outset the depiction of extraterrestrial settings provided an immediate and
The Missouri Review – University of Missouri
Published: Oct 5, 1984
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