Wednesday, April 16, 2008

You Can't Judge A Cover By Its Book.

OK, first of all, this happens more often in SF I'd imagine than in other genres, but does it annoy you guys as much as it does me how often the cover of a book seems totally unrelated to the book? I'm not talking about the space ships looking different than they do in my imagination, or the alien not being what I'd picture. I'm talking about books where the author describes the character and the cover artist doesn't read the book or ask anybody what the character should look like.

If you follow the side banner, you know I'm reading The Planet Pirates. The book is a trade edition that puts three previously published books together in one. It's terrific. I'm almost finished and enjoying it immensely.

But click on the link I made for you in the last paragraph. It should take you to a close-up of the book cover. Now we know the character pictured is supposed to be Sassinak. It says so right on the forehead of her armor. What's wrong? Well, for one, the book makes repeated references to how Sassinak keeps her hair short for space duty. The chick on the cover has freakin' braids down to her waist. (Actually the braids go down to her crotch, but I'm not going to get into that.) She's also holding a key very meaningfully. Maybe that will come into play at some point, but so keys in the story. Or maybe its just supposed to be the key to her heavy cruiser. "Hey, XO, have you seen the cruiser-key? I may have left it in my other jumpsuit."

And this doesn't bear on the accuracy of the picture, but that's about the most retarded space armor I've ever seen. Bulky as all git out; big arms reaching up out of the back of the shoulders for thrusters? And WTF is that between her legs? Are those the tips of folded wings? WTF!

Don't authors get any input into their covers?


Random Michelle K said...

1. Authors rarely get input into their covers.

2. Fantasy is just as bad.

3. Romance is worse. See here. (Warning, you'll lose an entire day there, and you may well laugh aloud.)

Actually, the Smart Bitches site sums everything up and then some.

Janiece said...

Um...because chicks with shaved heads aren't as sexy as chicks with braids down to their crotches?

But, yeah, good series.

Nathan said...

"because chicks with shaved heads aren't as sexy as chicks with braids down to their crotches?"

Says who? Rawr!

Nathan said...


I waited 'til I had some time before going to your link.


Random Michelle K said...


Aren't they AWFUL?!

That's what got me started reading Smart Bitches in the first place, even though I don't like romance.

mattw said...

What a terrible cover. I don't think I'd ever pick that up if I were in a store and knew nothing about it.

Nathan said...

Matt, I'm a big fan of Elizabeth Moon and I'd heard good things about Anne McCaffrey. That and the description on the back made it sound like a good one...and it was.

But yeah, the cover is bleah!

Anonymous said...

My husband seems to think the covers on Weber's books get Honor Harrington right. And Pratchett does fairly well with relevant, yet still entertaining, covers. I can think of a few (admittedly, only a few) other examples of accurate SF covers (nothing by Card or Heinlein springs to mind, but Scalzi seems to be doing OK).

So maybe there's someone out there who doesn't have their heads completely up their arses?

(michelle k: that site is a scream.)

Nathan said...


I agree on the Weber and Pratchett books, but I'd bet they have a lot of input.

And even though I've given up on the "Cally's War" series, I'm sure the Amazon on the covers is exactly what Ringo has in mind.

There's just so many others where the book describes green reptilian aliens and then the cover has blue amorphous blobs. Bleah!