The arts of Penguin science fiction

Nice collection of book covers from Penguin’s science fiction back catalogue on this site: http://www.penguinsciencefiction.org/

A browse through the selection suggests that the designers had a particular affinity for Surrealist aesthetics in their creations (with the occasional forays into Cubist/Futurist/Vorticist terrain). Covers incorporate works from Ernst, Klee, Margritte and others. The aesthetic link here between sci-fi and surrealism is unsurprising. Edgar Allen Poe, credited by many as an early pioneer of the science fiction genre, was also regularly cited by surrealists as a leading influence on their own work. Both forms take great pleasure in challenging notions of perception and the real. They act as dreamscape flip sides to a universal currency of reason and scientific rationality, exploring oscillating currents of utopia and dystopia, and envisioning fourth dimension-like unsettled alternative realities. It is a shared type of visual imagination that embraces the distinct visions of mathematical forms and linear perspectives, while simultaneously striving to meld them into the dynamic and fluid nature of the imagination and irrationality. They love the strange-yet-familiar uncanny quality that such contrasting oscillations create. Science/Fiction. Sur (beyond)/Réalism (realism).

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