Posts Categorized: Cover Art

RAILSEA by China Mieville

Not much is known about the novel, beyond the title. On The Wertzone, Adam Whitehead suggest that Railsea might be Mieville’s second YA novel (after Un Lun Dun), which seems like an appropriate guess based on this cover. It’s all reminiscent of Paolo Bacigalupi’s Ship Breaker, his highly regarded YA novel. I’ll be sure to let you know when I find out more about the novel.

Via The Mad Hatter:

Black Bottle by Anthony Huso


After catching my eye with the beautiful cover for his first novel, The Last Page, I can’t help but be disappointed by Huso’s sophmore novel, Black Bottle. What happened to the grab-you-by-the-balls awesome, ethereal cover of the first novel. And what’s with the penis building?

Tabloids sold in the Duchy of Stonehold claim that the High King, Caliph Howl, has been raised from the dead. His consort, Sena Iilool, both blamed and celebrated for this act, finds that a macabre cult has sprung up around her.

As the news spreads, Stonehold—long considered unimportant—comes to the attention of the emperors in the southern countries. They have learned that the seed of Sena’s immense power lies in an occult book, and they are eager to claim it for their own.

Desperate to protect his people from the southern threat, Caliph is drawn into a summit of the world’s leaders despite the knowledge that it is a trap. As Sena’s bizarre actions threaten to unravel the summit, Caliph watches her slip through his fingers into madness.

But is it really madness? Sena is playing a dangerous game of strategy and deceit as she attempts to outwit a force that has spent millennia preparing for this day. Caliph is the only connection left to her former life, but it’s his blood that Sena needs to see her plans through to their explosive finish.

Dark and rich, epic in scope, Anthony Huso has crafted a fantasy like no other, teeming with unthinkable horrors and stylish wonders.

Regardless, The Last Page was terrific, and I’ve got high hopes for Black Bottle. It hits store shelves in August, 2012.

Halo Reach Cover Art

As has been bemoaned on this blog many times, the state of cover art in the Fantasy and Science Fiction fields is often underwhelming. Sure, there are gems, and there are some publishers who’re taking risks and doing wonderful work, but the duds far outweigh the studs. The same can be said for videogame covers. I won’t go into the the Japan/North America debate (needless to say, it’s very similar to the UK/USA debate for book covers), but instead point you to a group of artists who are trying to right the problem, thanks to the removable sleeves found in videogame cases.

It’s no secret that videogame concept artists have some wonderful names among their ranks (Kekai Kotaki, for instance, and Jason Chan), but more often than not the covers for the videogames feature staid and boring computer generated figures doing boring things and looking generic. These artists on NeoGAF recognized the problem and have taken the gorgeous concept art from various games and used it to re-work the covers into things of beauty.

And aren’t they pretty?

Shadow of the Colossus Cover Art Dark Souls Cover Art Skyrim Cover Art

And a few others that caught my eye:

Alternate Videogame Covers

I’ve included a few of my favourites, but many, many more titles can be found on the official NeoGAF thread. Kudos to all the wonderful artists involved.


REDSHIRTS by John Scalzi

I really like it. It’s simple and calls enough on Star Trek (where the term originated thanks to those ill-fated, low-ranking security officers and engineers included on away missions) to be familiar and nostalgic, but also clear that it’s not a spin-off. It also seems geared more towards a more commercial/general audience (outside of tried-and-true Science Fiction fans) than Scalzi’s previous books with a cover that doesn’t scream its genre. Classy work from Irene Gallo and the team at Tor.

Scalzi likes it, too:

I love love love love love it.

Why do I love it? Let me count the ways.

1. The title of the book is Redshirts. What should the cover be? I mean, duh, this is not rocket science. It’s simple, iconic and obvious in the best way.

2. Also, the cover looks almost exactly like I imagined it should look like in my head.

3. But it actually looks better than I imagined it in my head, because I am not an art designer or an art director, whereas Irene Gallo and Peter Lutjen are, and this is what they do. I love it when reality is better than what you imagined.

4. And aside from any of this, I think this is a magnificent piece of commercial art. Book covers are advertisements, both to readers and to booksellers. This cover works because it’s clear from the cover what you’re getting in the book, and you can see the thing from across a crowded real world bookstore — or in a tiny thumbnail on your favorite online bookstore. It’s an eye-catcher, and if you know what a “red shirt” is, and almost everyone does at this point, it’ll make you smile.

In short: Love love love love love it. I really could not be happier with this cover. also shows off various alternate covers, all of which are just as nice:

REDSHIRTS by John Scalzi -- Alternate Covers

In particular, I like the third cover, which is kitschy and fun. Scalzi suggests that these covers might be even more suited to a commercial audience and it’s easy to see these sitting alongside Chabon, Grossman, Cronin or Fforde in the ‘Literature’ section of any given bookstore. I love how the ‘Redshirt’ on the first cover is made anonymous by the title of the novel, very clever.


Ensign Andrew Dahl has just been assigned to the Universal Union Capital Ship Intrepid, flagship of the Universal Union since the year 2456. It’s a prestige posting, and Andrew is thrilled all the more to be assigned to the ship’s Xenobiology laboratory. Life couldn’t be better…until Andrew begins to pick up on the fact that (1) every Away Mission involves some kind of lethal confrontation with alien forces, (2) the ship’s captain, its chief science officer, and the handsome Lieutenant Kerensky always survive these confrontations, and (3) at least one low-ranked crew member is, sadly, always killed. Not surprisingly, a great deal of energy belowdecks is expended on avoiding, at all costs, being assigned to an Away Mission. Then Andrew stumbles on information that completely transforms his and his colleagues’ understanding of what the starship Intrepid really is…and offers them a crazy, high-risk chance to save their own lives.

Being a Scalzi novel, you know it’s going to be fun, engaging and a blazing fast read. I can also almost guarantee that the protagonist will be exceptionally witty, handsome and able to get out of sticky situations with nothing but a bit of elbow grease, a lot of good luck and some fairly acidic dialogue. I’m excited.

Modern covers for classic Science Fiction

The design of this series is meant to relate to the readers of Sci Fi but at the same time move away from its “geeky” reputation. All the covers have a specific illustration on the front page relating to the topic of the novel.

By restricting to 45 and 90 degree angles, the illustrations underline the fact that these novels are parts of a series and also give them that retro Sci-Fi feel.

Simple and clean, these covers manage to feel appropriately SFish while embracing solid design and not relying on tropes of the genre (spaceships, alien figures, laser guns) to sell the idea. From a marketing perspective they might be a bit of a hard sell (the title and author are often hard to make out, unlike these similar re-coverings from Gollancz), but they’d sure look purty on a bookshelf.

More of artist Martin Dellin’s re-imagined covers can be viewed here.