City by Clifford D. Simak

City by Clifford D. Simak

Clifford D. Simak’s City is what’s known in the science fiction world as a “fix-up,” a novel created from several short stories. The eight tales in City were originally published between 1944 and 1951, and the complete novel was published in 1952.

The novel was well received at release, winning the 1952 International Fantasy Award. Although the cover claims that this book is a Hugo Award winner, that doesn’t seem to be the case. Simak won three Hugos over the course of his career, and it’s possible that the cover is referring to this.

This incredible cover — which is the work of Davis Meltzer — is from a paperback edition published by Ace Books in 1973. Later editions of this book include an addition City story from Simek, titled “Epilog.”

City by Clifford D. Simak

Meltzer’s art career was unusually varied. While he created a number of book covers for publishers like Ace — including this cover for Clans of the Alphane Moon by Philip K. Dick — he also provided illustrations for NASA, the United States Postal Service, and National Geographic. Unsurprisingly, space-themed illustrations were his speciality.

Meltzer paints an Apollo spacecraft for the March 1964 issue of National Geographic.

Because Meltzer worked with National Geographic for more than thirty years, he had access to things many science fiction artists could only dream of. For example, he was able to see NASA’s Apollo 11 plans in 1964, years before humans finally landed on the moon in 1969. While Meltzer retired in the 1980s, he still takes on the occasional artistic project.