As a writer and reader of science fiction, I am a fan of the genre in its many incarnations–hard, soft, cyberpunk, space opera–and the list goes on. From epic literary masterpieces like Dune and The Foundation Trilogy to the guilty pleasures of pulp sci-fi and its scantily clad damsels in distress, I maintain an appreciation for all stories that transport us beyond this world.
Today, I’ll focus more so on the latter–specifically in regards to the awesome, sexy and ridiculous vintage book and magazine cover art that often accompanied such stories. There is something stirring and admittedly salacious about the juxtaposition of a beautiful woman and a monstrous alien creature. And this preoccupation is nothing new.
As a modern woman, I am all about strong heroines who don’t need any saving. They are, in fact, my favorite kinds of characters–women who fight and hunt and lead. As a kid, one of my favorite stories was about the goddess Artemis. She catches a group of peeping men watching her as she bathes naked in a lake, then subsequently turns them into boars and hunts them to death.
That said, that doesn’t mean I can’t enjoy a good ol’ tentacle nude or find some guilty pleasure in the provocative stories and images dreamed up by the genre’s creative (and often dirty) minds.
And so, without further ado (and without judgment), please enjoy these vintage science fiction book and magazine covers.
The Green Girl by Jack Williamson
Dwellers in the Mirage by A. Merritt
“The Love Slave and the Scientists” by Frank Belknap Long, Avon Fantasy Reader No. 13
“Pawn of Hideous Desire” by Ray Cummings, Uncanny Tales
Strange Relations by Philip Jose Farmer