I’m collecting science fiction cover art that visualizes the future. It’s organized by date to show the evolution of science fiction in the eyes of artists. The emphasis here is not on the stories, but how artists imagined them. The works were selected to document how the past saw the future, so I give the date of the illustration, not the story.

Art for science fiction book and magazine covers and interior illustrations is very popular on the internet. I’ve linked the artist’s name to sites that display more of their work. There are many sites that specialize in SF cover art. Joachim Boaz blogs about artists and visual themes, see his index. The Facebook group, Space Opera Pulp, has thousands of members who share and discuss these old images. Pinterest has countless collections of SF art. Every few years new coffee table books are published on the history of science fiction art.

Harry Grant Dart, The All-Story, October 1908

1908-10 The All-Story

Everett Shinn, Everybody’s Magazine, June 1917

1917-06 Everbody's Magazine

Howard V. Brown, Science and Invention, August 1923

1923-08 Science and Invention

Frank R. PaulAmazing Stories, November 1928

1928-11 Amazing Stories

Frank R. PaulWonder Stories Quarterly, Winter 1933

1933-Winter Wonder Stories Quarterly


Howard V. BrownAstounding Stories, October 1934

1934-10 Astounding Stories

John Walter Scott, Future Fiction, July 1940

1940-07 Future

Malcolm Smith, Other Worlds Science Stories, May 1950

1950-05 Other Worlds Malcolm Smith

Ed EmshwillerGalaxy Science Fiction, June 1951

1951-01 Galaxy Science Fiction

Alex Schomberg, Winston Science Fiction endpaper, 1952-1960

Winston Science Fiction

Ed Emshwiller, The Black Galaxy by Murray Leinster, 1954

001-Galaxy SF Novel 20 001

Kelly FreasFantastic Universe, April 1955

1955-04 Fantastic Universe

Richard Powers, Reach for Tomorrow, 1956

1956 Reach for Tomorrow by Arthur C. Clarke 2

Chesley Bonestell, The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, April 1956

1956-04 The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction Chesley Bonestell

Ed Emshwiller, World Without Men by Charles Eric Maine, 1958


Wallace Wood, Source unknown, 1958

Wally Wood, Creative Artist

Ed Emshwiller, The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, August 1958

1958-08 The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction Emsh

Unknown artist, City by Clifford Simak, 1985

1958 City by Clifford Simak

Kelly FreasAstounding Science Fiction, February 1959

1959-02 Astounding Science Fiction

Ed Emshwiller, Galaxy Magazine, April 1960

1960-04 Galaxy Ed Emshwiller

Neil Boyle, Stranger in a Strange Land, 1962

1962 Stranger in a Strange Land

John Schoenherr, Analog, September 1964

1964-09 Analog John Schoenherr

Jack Gaughan, Empire Star by Samuel R. Delany, 1966


Kelly Freas, Analog, July 1968

1968-07 Analog Kelly Freas

Vaughn Bode, Worlds of If, November 1968

1968-11 IF Vaughn Bode

Leo and Diane Dillon, Pavane by Keith Roberts, 1969


Kelly Freas, Analog, September 1969

1969-09 Analog Kelly Freas

H. R. Van Dongen, The Best of James Blish, 1979


Unknown artist, The Visitors by Clifford D. Simak, November 1980

1980-11 The Visitors by Clifford Simak

Tom Kidd, To the Resurrection Station by Eleanor Arnason, 1986