67 Years Of Classic Sci-Fi Covers In One Incredible Image [Infographic]

A "color trend timeline" breaks down 1984, Cat's Cradle, and more.

Science-fiction author Jules Verne (Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea, Journey to the Center of the Earth) has a birthday coming up on February 8. To wish him well for his 185th, Penguin artist Arthur Buxton has released this lovely print of classic sci-fi covers through the years.

Each bar is a "color trend timeline" showing what colors were used for the books' covers over the years. The longer a certain cover was in print, the more space Buxton gives it on the timeline. As for the individual covers: Buxton reduced each one to its five most common colors, then gave those colors space that is directly proportional to how prominently they figured on the cover.

And there's some interesting stuff here! There was a dijon-mustard edition of The War of the Worlds that lasted for decades. Philip K. Dick's The Man in the High Castle had a brief fling with a rainbow palette. Red and eggshell-white were apparently big mid-century choices. It's enough to make you want to track them all down.

Penguin Science Fiction Covers
Arthur Buxton