Sci-Fi and Fantasy paperbacks were nothing if not interesting back in the day. When I look at the genre shelves now it seems like the covers are consumed by the author's name, leaving little to no room for artwork. There's rows and rows of series (i.e. Star Wars, Star Trek, Dungeons and Dragons, etc.) but very little oddball stand-alone books.
Here's just a random collection of interesting, cool, and awful sci-fi and fantasy covers for your viewing enjoyment.
If there's one thing I love on a cover is an Underwater Tyrannosaurus Rex and a Dinosaur Manta Ray with lasers.
I don't know what's more menacing, the generic alien legion or the giant snowball headed right for his house. The disembodied head with windswept hair seems oddly out of place.
The UFO thing was big in the seventies and early eighties.... real big. Definitely worthy of a Retrospace post unto itself (in fact, I think I'll make one after this).
Never a big fan of the "what if?" genre, especially when they're this incomprehensibly lame.
A good Boris Vallejo cover could always sucker me into buying the book. As could a Frazetta....
Frazetta's infatuation with the female booty is the stuff of legend. Like Caravaggio peaches, Frazetta's butt cheeks were his especiality, unequaled before or since.
A hallmark of the science fiction cover was the "trippy mindbender" illustration. They all seemed to proclaim "Are you ready for your mind to be blown?"
I can only assume what's in that syringe straightens a bad home-perm.
I love looking at old depictions of computers. Yet another great idea for a Retrospace post. They almost always featured the whirring tape drives and plenty of multi-colored buttons.
Women never wear baggy jeans in the future. In science fiction, they're always dressed to kill.
Thirty thousand years into the future is a freaking long time for any science fiction setting. And you would think that the cover illustration would center on the "winged man".
Another Boris Vallejo just because.
I used to be infatuated with the GOR books. This is one of the less racy covers.
Optiman, arch enemy of Mediocre-man and Milquetoast-man.
This would be an example of a bad cover. I can't put my finger on why - but it's neither interesting or well conceived. Sort of "blah".
I know I've been snarky towards these books, but I really do have a great deal of respect for the genre. Oftentimes, their content lived up to the covers (and beyond). There's nothing better than that head rush you get when you hit a particularly deep moment in a sci-fi novel and whisper "whooooaaaa".
I simply had to include this. Sorry, Kansas. The Gods hate you.