Just finished up "Sci Fi Art" by Steve Holland. The book is a rare compilation of pop culture images that shaped the way we view the future from HG Wells to Final Fantasy. Books, , comics, movie posters, album art and toys are examined through a primarily historical/artist biography point of view, though a couple conceptual/psychological insights are found.
My favorite comes from , whose advertising background influenced a career spent creating scifi book covers for and Ballantine. Speaking about depcting spaceships, he notes, "For some reason, the more successful paintings always seem to have the viewer looking up at the craft. We will always think of space as up until the day it becomes out."
Another critical passage details how comic book heroes from the 1930s-40s, many of whom relied on magic for their powers, were updated in the 1950s-60s with scientific (often radition-derived) back stories, reflecting fears and hopes of the new atomic age.