[LMB] [OT] Bad covers

Robert Woodward robertaw at drizzle.com
Sun Apr 9 06:11:37 BST 2006

On Apr 8, 2006, at 7:19 PM, Andrew wrote:

(piggy backing)

>> Dear lord. Puts the battle-nighty and the B*stard Zombie into the  
>> shade,
>> now, doesn't it?
>> And speaking of which, I think I'll start soliciting for  
>> nominations for
>> crappy SF/Fantasy book covers. If you have digital images, great,
>> otherwise, point me to an online example (such as Amazon or  
>> Bartelby),
>> and give me a brief outline of why YOU think it's crap.

Several years ago, I had the idea of putting together a post on cover  
art of alternate history books. I started with the working title of  
"The Good, the Ugly, and the Stupid", but I discovered that I didn't  
know any AH titles with good cover art. Stupid on the other hand ...

Anyway, here is what I written when I dropped the idea (IBTW, I just  
checked the links and they all still work):

I do have a definite choice for an ugly cover: the Congden & Weed  
hardcover of Turtledove's _A Different Flesh_. I found an image on  
Steven Silver's Turtledove site <URL http://www.sfsite.com/~silverag/ 
flesh.jpg> for those who never saw that edition and wish to lose  
their innocence.

By stupid cover, I mean a cover that makes me scratch my head and  
wonder "Just what were they thinking?" For example, there is the  
cover for Kirk Mitchell's _Procurator_ (found this on Amazon, <URL  
http://images.amazon.com/images/P/0441680291.01.LZZZZZZZ.jpg>); this  
book has a Roman Empire enduring 2000 years after Octavian became  
Augustus. My reaction to seeing this cover was not "They got that  
thing stuck and they will never get it loose" but "How did they get  
it that far without getting stuck". I believe that is supposed to be  
what the text calls a sand-galley, but somebody took the name far too  
literally (there is a dream sequence in chapter 10 that suggests that  
a sand-galley is a large tank -  the cover art for _Alternate  
Generals_ might be appropriate).  The covers of the two sequels (_New  
Barbarians_ <URL http://images.amazon.com/images/P/ 
0441571018.01.LZZZZZZZ.jpg> and _Cry Republic <URL http:// 
images.amazon.com/images/P/0441123899.01.LZZZZZZZ.jpg>) have problems  
as well, though less serious. The gun platform cantilevered off the  
bow of the ship on _New Barbarians_ is going to break away when the  
gun is fired (maybe not the first time, but it is going to do so  
eventually). IMHO, the wings of the airplane on the cover of _Cry  
Republic_ are too small (the airplane in the book was a 2 seater as  
well; I don't remember if it was a pusher or not). Also, to the best  
of my knowledge, putting a pusher engine on the fuselage that way  
just isn't done (there were WWI fighters that were pushers, but their  
tails were supported by two booms flanking the engine). Another  
example is from a 1988 paperback of Turtledove's Agent of Byzantium  
(http://www.sfsite.com/~silverag/agent.gif). I didn't notice this  
when I bought my copy, but the gun appears to be floating behind  
Basil, not being carried by him (it is completely unrealistic as  
well). Also, I noticed, upon reexamination of the cover while writing  
this post, that what I believe is Hagia Sophia in the background on  
the far left appears to have minarets (the Turks added them when they  
converted Hagia Sophia to a mosque). Unfortunately, I didn't find a  
scan of the cover with enough detail to show this.

Robert A. Woodward - robertaw at drizzle.com

"We have advanced to new and surprising levels of bafflement."
Imperial Auditor Miles Vorkosigan describes progress in _Komarr_.

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