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A Gallery of Bhen F&SF Covers

Most covers for Fantasy & Science Fiction illustrate a particular story. But in 1975, when public interest in NASA and space exploration seemed to be declining, David A. Hardy created an illustration to draw attention to NASA’s work and make space seem fun again. He named the alien Bhen (we’ll find out why in an interview with Bhen coming to the blog on Friday), and over the next 40 years the fun-loving big green alien appeared on a dozen F&SF covers, including the current November/December 2015 issue.

Here are all the covers, collected in one place for the first time.

(To see high resolution images of the Bhen illustrations, uncluttered by F&SF logos and text, as well some of Bhen’s non-F&SF appearances, visit David Hardy’s webpage at

Some images courtesy of the Visual Index of Science Fiction Art.

Fantasy & Science Fiction, November 1975, cover by David Hardy

1. November 1975

The very first Bhen cover! Bhen discovers the Viking I on Mars. The Viking I was sent to discover life, but life discovered it first.

Fantasy & Science Fiction, May 1976, cover by David Hardy

2. May 1976

Bhen takes the Lunar Rover left behind at Hadley Base by Apollo 15 for a joyride.

Fantasy & Science Fiction, September 1976, cover by David Hardy

3. September 1976

Bhen rides the satellite bowl of Pioneer 11 as it flies by Saturn.

Fantasy & Science Fiction, January 1978, cover by David Hardy

4. January 1978

Here we are on Uranus’s icy moon, Miranda. I like to think Bhen’s humming “On Miranda, we can build a snowbhen. We’ll pretend that he is Parson Brown. . .”

Fantasy & Science Fiction, October 1978, cover by David Hardy

5. October 1978

Here we see Bhen trying to hitchhike a ride on the Space Shuttle, but there’s no evidence he ever made it down to the surface of Earth.

Fantasy & Science Fiction, June 1980, cover by David Hardy

6. June 1980

In 1980, cable was still in its infancy and streaming had yet to be invented. Here Bhen treats the Intelsat communications satellite like a couch and plugs in his TV to watch Alien.

Fantasy & Science Fiction, May 1983, cover by David Hardy

7. May 1983

Bhen loves the beach as much as he loves snow. Here he’s sun-bathing near Mercury on a solar panel of the Mariner 10 probe.

Fantasy & Science Fiction, June 1985, cover by David Hardy

8. June 1985

The 1980s saw the beginning of Bhen’s extreme sports phase. Here he’s seen parachuting through the clouds of Jupiter with the probe released by the Galileo orbiter.

Fantasy & Science Fiction, June 1989, cover by David Hardy

9. June 1989

Continuing the extreme sports theme, Bhen returns to Miranda, but this time it’s to climb the 15 kilometer high ice cliffs while Uranus looms in the background.

Fantasy & Science Fiction, January 1992, cover by David Hardy

10. January 1992

Here Bhen takes another Jupiter holiday and goes skiing down the icy slopes of Europa.

Fantasy & Science Fiction, September 1994, cover by David Hardy

11. September 1994

When we discovered that there were geysers on Neptune’s moon Triton, Bhen naturally went there to balance balls on them and do a little arcade-style shooting.

Fantasy & Science Fiction, Nov/Dec 2015, cover by David Hardy

12. Nov/Dec 2015

Bhen returns to Mars, this time with the ESA’s ExoMars Rover. Comparing this cover to the first Mars cover in 1975, what’s wonderful is how much more we know now about how Mars looks and what the light is like.

I also like this cover because Bhen leaves his mark — literally, with his graffiti, and figuratively by his appearance on so many F&SF covers spanning more than half of the magazine’s history.

C.C. Finlay


2 Responses to “A Gallery of Bhen F&SF Covers”

  1. The Story Behind Bhen On The Cover Of The Magazine Of Fantasy & Science Fiction - FunaGram on November 7th, 2015

    […] The magazine has a gallery of other images from the lovable alien over on their website[2]. […]

  2. Bhen is back! | International Association of Astronomical Artists on November 12th, 2015

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