I enjoy trolling various forums to get a look at upcoming cover art. Some weeks give me lots of material I want to highlight, other weeks give me nothing. For someone who hasn’t bought a book based on a cover in five years I find the entire exercise a little odd, but I’m a sucker for good paintin’. And I love almost nothing more than a tragically bad cover. I found three this week that felt deserved some commentary.
The first that caught my eye was this beauty from Michal Karcz for Kim Stanley Robinson’s forthcoming novel, Shaman:
I mean look at it. . . a novel of the ice age? With a guy on a snow drift with a big fucking space ship about to land on his head? Are you kidding me? The whole concept just sucks me in. It’s also a really well composed cover, coming off more like a movie poster than a novel. I’m feeling like it has some real cross over appeal without even reading the blurb. Thoughts?
If the Shaman cover is ‘the good’, then I’m afraid that makes Marc Simonetti’s cover for Michael J. Sullivan’s The Hollow World, ‘the bad’.
Of course there’s no title, or author name, or cropping, or whatever else goes in to producing a final cover, but I just don’t think these kinds of covers entice readers. From a purely compositional perspective, I think Marc Simonetti has once again produced a beautiful work of art, albeit faintly reminiscent of something done by Stephan Martiniere. But, as a book cover? Eh. I don’t think it connects with me in any meaningful way. I’ve seen too many of these style covers transition to more character driven ones in second and third books to impart a more dynamic representation for the impulse buy. Am I way off base?
Finally, I leave you with ‘WTF’. I’m not even sure it needs any additional explanation. Baen does it again:
What an interesting bikini top she has!