Blast Off! Art & Design of 36 Retro Sci Fi Book Covers

Science fiction book covers are the most wildly decorated on the shelf. With fantastic images in a variety of beautiful designs, here’s a look at retro and pulp science fiction book covers that exemplify what is best about sci fi: gorgeous vistas on alien worlds, space men challenging the boundaries of known space, and hostile alien creatures on the verge of attack.

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Teenage boys were one of the main demographics that read pulp science fiction, and the cover art reflects that. A large majority of the covers showcase a gorgeous woman being saved from certain death. How thankful she’ll be when the alien is defeated!

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These stories were popular because of how outrageous and strange they were. Publishing houses competed with each other to have the most unique plots involving giant aliens, killer robots, and space adventurers.

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The talent of these artists is apparent in all of their covers, but some are more startlingly artistic in nature. The toned down covers can sometimes be the most eye-catching.

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If there’s one thing every futurist knows, it’s that spheres are the future. Book artists are well aware and have painted accordingly!

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What would a sci fi book be without a daring adventurer for young readers to emulate? The astronaut was part Boy Scout, Scientist, and Bounty Hunter, but always all-American.

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The ships featured on vintage science fiction covers were always fantastic. Huge in scope and wildly varying in design, some of them seemed more organic than mechanical.

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Not all women were portrayed as damsels in distress. Here are two example of when the tables were turned.

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Some of the best book art comes from the classic storylines that have continued to entrance sci fi fans for generations.

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Not all Sci Fi book art is great, but it is always entertaining. Here are some of the more ridiculous examples of a crazy storyline mixing with an ambitious artist.