Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Bad Covers

The more I look at Kage Baker's fine new novel, "The Children of the Company," the more disheartened I am by its cover art. Tell me, why is Patrick Stewart's disembodied head hovering above the swarthy, berobed gentleman? (You can tell this is the future, because all the buildings lack square edges.) This illustration gives no hint of the historical sweep of Baker's funny and suspenseful tale.

Compare it with the cover of her "Black Projects, White Knights," from Golden Gryphon.

Which would you be more likely to pick up?

In my capacity as a book reviewer, I see a lot of bad cover art, not always from small publishers who can't afford better. Below are two of my recent favorites, both featuring giant reptiles. I kind of like the evil iguana with the glowing green orb. He's really choking the bejeesus of that poor guy, isn't he? But the snake sitting on the throne? Why would a snake, albeit a presumably royal one, want a throne? And what does he do with the mirror? Check for food stuck in his forked tongue?

I know nothing about the quality of either of these books. They both could be masterpieces, I suppose. But those covers, man, they just don't do them any favors.

Monday, November 28, 2005

Baker, Priest, Carroll and Powell

Yesterday, The San Francisco Chronicle ran my review of new books by Kage Baker, Cherie Priest, Jonathan Carroll and comics creator Eric Powell.

Monday, November 21, 2005

The Best

Yesterday The Chronicle ran my list of The Best Science Fiction and Fantasy of 2005.

And while we're on the subject of superlatives, it's distressing how the best comedy on television can be canceled while "The War at Home," "Yes, Dear," "Joey" and "According to Jim" are still stinking up the airwaves.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Kinder Words from The Sun and Newsday

Itamar Moses's "Bach at Leipzig" fares better in reviews from The New York Sun and Newsday.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Even Proteges Get Panned

Neither The Miami Herald or The New York Times are loving "Bach at Leipzig," the new play written by Itamar Moses and championed by Tom Stoppard. (Registration req. Or visit bugmenot.)

Thursday, November 10, 2005

A Singularly Unperceptive Review

From an iScotland review of "The Real Thing":

The play had some very funny moments but without a detailed knowledge of literature and the arts, some of the gags can go right over your head!

Yeah, that'll happen.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Thinking Woman's Crumpet?

Tom Conti is getting ready to star in Stoppard's "The Real Thing."

Monday, November 07, 2005

The Times Asks, The Next Stoppard?

For the second time in a month, The New York Times has mentioned Tom Stoppard and young playwright Itamar Moses in the same article. Moses' "Bach at Leipzig" certainly sounds Stoppardian. And apparently the two writers are mutual admirers.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Though Really Weary of Eggers and His Ilk...

The September issue of The Believer features a substantial interview with Tom Stoppard. Here's a teaser for the full article. It's also available in "The Believer Book of Writers Talking to Writers."