Astounding Science Fiction – September, 1949

Astounding Science Fiction - September, 1949

With this retro book cover, we’re traveling back to the Golden Age of science fiction. This is the September, 1949 edition of the sci-fi magazine Astounding Science Fiction.

This wonderful cover features pretty much everything you need for a delightful evening of 1940s sci-fi pleasure. It shows a gooey space backdrop with ghosted rockets and ringed planets, along with a ghostlike caped figure. Then the guy we presume is the villain of the piece has green skin, a military haircut, and the kind of face that says “Don’t mess with me, ya mook.” If none of this is enough to clue you in on his villainous status, his disembodied head is also surrounded by nukes, cash, and booze.

The featured story in this issue was “The Double-Dyed Villains” by Poul Anderson (who also wrote Orbit Unlimited).

According to the inside of the cover, this amazing piece of artwork was illustrated by Cartier, Hicks, and Orban, and the graphic design seems to have been done by Orban. Orban also illustrated the Anderson story. Here’s an example of his work:

Astounding Science Fiction - September, 1949

Since the cover only referred to this man by his last name, we did some digging to find out that this was Paul Orban, who contributed to a number of pulp magazines. He created several other covers for Astounding Sci-Fi, and also provided illustrations for Doc Savage, Amazing Stories, and Thrilling Wonder Stories. In addition to his magazine work, Orban drew covers for novels like Poul Anderson’s Vault of the Ages and Lester del Rey’s Marooned on Mars.

The other two men credited for their art are Edd Cartier and Arnold Lorne Hicks.