Pulp artist Edd Cartier illustrated dozens of novels and magazine covers. But his most unusual work may come from Travelers of Space, a 1951 anthology of short science fiction. In addition to illustrating the book’s cover, Cartier collaborated with writer David Kyle on “The Interstellar Zoo,” creating a menagerie of bizarre, detailed, and strangely compelling beings from other worlds.Cartier contributed his own essay to the anthology, “Life on Other Worlds,” and it’s clear from these drawings that he and Kyle both have an eye for unusual physiology. They take familiar anatomical structures – flippers, tentacles, antennae, gills – and combines them in novel yet plausible ways so that we can almost imagine how these alien creatures move when not in two-dimensional captivity.
If there is not a feminist theory as to why so many science fiction illustrations look like a vulva with tentacles glued to weird places I think I am going to have to write a book at some point.
I like the legs, especially in the top one. They are just earthlike enough to seem functional, but otherwise completely alien.