Posts Tagged ‘sci fi art’

So thanks to twitter again today, I’ve noticed a phenomenon in SFF publishing. It’s not the first time I’ve noticed it, but it happened again today and hey look! For once I have the time to do something about it.

So what the hell is it? [Insert Monty Python and the Holy Grail yelling GET ON WITH IT!]

Short answer, international cover art is way cooler.

humandivEhumandivjapanesexample A…. John Scalzi‘s Human Division dropped in Japan with this pile of kick ass on the right. Now… don’t get me wrong, the US version looks pretty damn spiffy but it also looks somewhat traditional. I don’t need to be a marketing genius or some sort of cultural expert to see that the manga looking cover is going to have a lot more attraction in Japan than the traditional space station.

Now actually, as far as traditional SF covers go, I think the Human Division cover is pretty damn spiffy. It’s got a nice color palate instead of black starscapes. But, I am partial to covers that show characters and while the Japanese cover doesn’t show an actual scene from the book, people are always more interesting than tech alone. I also agree with what Scalzi said himself that it’s great they show Ambassador Abumwe and not just the shooters.

So both good, but Japan wins. Like woah.

lockelamora-uslockelamora-ukExample B…. Scott Lynch‘s The Lies of Locke Lamora. Full disclosure, Lies is one of my all time favorites. But I totally did not pick it up off the shelf because of the cover. I actually picked up it’s sequel off the shelf first because of it’s cover. Again with the US cover, kind of traditional. I dunno what the hell Locke is supposed to be thinking sitting there. He’s certainly not being a very good thief sitting out in the open like that. It would bother me a lot less if that was something that happened in the book, but he never stares off at Camorr’s towers looking all pensive, wry and slightly emo.

UK over on the right still has Locke perched in odd places for some reason, but that captures the feel of the city and the book so much more. Locke’s version of Camorr is the dirty slums where you’re more likely to get shanked and dumped into the canal.

UK absolutely wins here and I’m pretty sure they stayed with the same artist for all the covers going forward, US and UK.

breachzone-usbreachzone-ukExample C…. Myke Cole‘s upcoming (and greatly anticipated) Shadow Ops Breach Zone, or in the UK, just plain Breach Zone. Now, again here, I don’t think the American cover is bad, I just think that the UK one is a whole lot better. Over on the left, Harlequin looks pretty damn impressive. Scylla looking pretty cool down in the corner but it’s totally Harlequin’s show and he could be a poster child for a recruitment poster there. Which is the point. We know this because we’ve met Harlequin before and I think the cover captures him pretty well.

But poor Harlequin can’t hold a damn candle to Scylla over in the UK on the right. She is fucking Bad Ass. Capitol letters and all. Seriously. Like Betty White, Scylla is sick of your shit. It captures the character more perfectly than any cover I’ve seen in a while. I want to find some British pounds to get my hands on that one.

Also, there’s a new blurb on the UK cover. The Peter Brett blurb on the left is a good one, (though nothing beats “I do not wish Sam Sykes dead” in Tome of the Undergates) but it’s the same one through all three books.

I’m getting into the rhetorical territory here now but I’m wondering why the covers are so different. The Japanese cover isn’t too hard to figure out but do the marketing departments in London and New York really so divergent? I was clicking around on goodreads and some people have wild variants around the world with their covers. Peter Brett, China Miéville and the afore mentioned Sam Sykes all have completely different covers out in EuropeIf you call up Boneshaker by Cherie Priest, one of my favorite covers, it’s the same across the world. I’m not sitting around in the publishing house or anything but I think it would be very interesting to be a fly on the wall to get some insight into the why’s of these decisions.

A Cover is Worth 1K Words

Posted: October 28, 2012 in Genre, Stuff
Tags: ,

Don’t judge a book by it’s cover. That’s a given. But remember… a picture is worth a thousand words.

The art of our genre has always been a special part of it. The Hugo and Locus Awards have categories for artists alongside the writers. So I decided to pick out my favorite covers from off my shelves. Most of what I ended up with is more modern. Classic fantasy and/or space opera covers get the job done but I’ve seen so many of them over the years, they tend to fade into the background. Case in point, the Honor Harrington books. Great books but the Dramatic Pose and a Ship isn’t unique. So the covers I like the best are usually with books pushing the edges of genre and the art mirrors it. There’s some steampunk, cyberpunk-ish and anti-genre.

Enjoy the art!

6 – Signal to Noise by Eric S Nylund

It doesn’t exactly tell you much of what goes on, but it’s a beautiful cover and has a futuristic feel matching the crazy cyberpunk goodness.

5 – Jennifer Government by Max Berry

It’s simple and very dramatic. The barcode is an actual representation of the main character and some good foreshadowing.

4 – Boneshaker by Cherie Priest

This is the granddaddy of all steampunk books and the cover matches it without being terribly cheesy. Too often steampunk just slaps some gears on things and is done with it. This is steampunk art doing it right by focusing on the character first and gear second.

3 – vN by Madeline Ashby

Back in my post about this book I went out of my way to note that this cover is cool. I find the portrait of the AI sinking into a mass of electronics very haunting.

2 – My Life as a White Trash Zombie by Diana Rowland

The artwork is by Daniel Dos Santos and every bit of it is awesome. Back at Boskone 49 they had the full size four foot high original painting on display. It’s even better life size.

1 – Blackbirds by Chuck Wendig

I’ve been unsuccessful in finding a print of this to hang in my office so I’ve been looking for a shadowbox for the book. It’s that awesome. Joey Hi-Fi is the man. Pull up a high rez version of this and just look at the crazy detail on this.

Honorable Mention – Moxyland by Lauren Beukes and The Sad Tale of the Brothers Grossbart by Jesse Bullington

That’s Joey Hi-Fi again on the Moxyland cover, but HM only because I don’t actually have that. The cover on my copy is pretty cool, but not Joey Hi-Fi cool. Grossbart is hard to see small, but it’s an optical illusion. The skull is made by the brothers robbing graves. HM because I don’t own that anymore as I didn’t actually like the book.