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.

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