Big Illustrated Books
Starting when I was probably 10 years old or so, I began to acquire big illustrated books related one way or another to science fiction. Stewart Cowley’s “Terran Trade Authority” series, for example, were unabashedly SF themselves—beautiful collections of SF paintings of spaceships and alien worlds held thematically together with blueprint-like technical drawings on the end papers, plus the smooth veneer of a glibly imagined future history inside. As a kid I greatly enjoyed these.
Later I picked up texts on the history of SF as well, often richly illustrated with reproductions of the covers and interior drawings from the pulp magazines of the 1930s, ’40s, and ’50s, and repros of major book covers as well. These helped broaden my understanding of the field, but of course they were always fun simply to leaf through, too.
Also in my collection are works that explore the interplay of science fiction and science fact. Some are like the Spacecraft in Fact and Fiction of Harry Harrison and Malcolm Edwards, or Peter Nicholls’ book on the science of SF, while others, like Across the Space Frontier, are speculation from just before the dawn of the Space Age. Though different in thrust from the historical overviews, they are little less colorful and entertaining.
While I would dearly love to showcase about ten times much art from inside these books as I have, many of them are softcover and simply won’t stand being opened that far. The covers, however, are easy game for the scanning, and I have taken a whack at some particularly irresistible interiors from certain of these large texts, too. On the pages linked below I have posted my collection of these big book covers and, occasionally, interior art. Oh, and big they are, by the way—some are larger than my scanner, and they hence are missing edges here and there or have sections mated together with varying levels of exactitude...