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Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Book Art

I'm a sucker for a good book cover.

I've always been annoyed at some of the fantasy novel book covers...or ones that are all shiny, or have scary yucky things on them. I don't want to touch them as I read them. Makes me feel odd. Sometimes I get lucky...Spin is a fantastic novel (won a Hugo) we picked just because it looked interesting. Sure I've picked some duds up at the library that looked cool, and read some amazing books with terribly tacky covers, but usually you can tell at least a little bit about the author or the contents from the cover.
My point is this: I am greatly annoyed when a cover has absolutely nothing to do with the book. I'm not talking that it's just some scenery, or of random people, or skulls or lame unicorns or what have you...I'm talking completely and totally irrelevant or unrelated art.

Case in Point: this cover for The Man in the High Castle by Philip K. Dick


I have to ask: What the flying frack does this have to do with *ANYTHING* remotely involved in the novel? Anyone? A book set in an alternate world, where WW2 was won by Germany and things are dominated by Chinese culture...naturally makes me think of a lame looking shiny torso floating in geometry. How about you? I know the first thing that comes to mind when I think about the I Ching is "ooh...torso!"
I've been told that often Dick's covers do not match his stories at all. The covers in the Wikipedia article iare at least related to the novel in some way. The one I read (above) does not resemble anything at all to do with the story.

Boo to this I say...I will have none of it, sir.

If I saw this book in a store I would make a point of *not* reading it, simply based on the utter lameness of the cover. It came highly recommended and I enjoyed the discussion of the book afterwards. But the cover?

It's silly.
Fiction and science fiction get enough razzing as it is without this sort of thing going on...

6 comments:

Andrew said...

Yes, I agree, sometimes the more shiny the cover the less good the book. Check out my novel called, " The Flame of Heaven" by Andrew P. Wright on Amazon and tell me what you think of the cover.

the Bag Lady said...

You are so right about this! The cover art should have at least a remote connection to the content of the book....

Missicat said...

That's funny - I always check out the book cover art when I pick up a book at the library or bookstore, and sometimes it does make a difference whether or not I will take a peek inside.
Thought it was just me.

Rimshot said...

There's some good money in book art covers.

Oh, hi. Sorry I've been such a poor comment-leaver and infrequent visitor.

diddums said...

I thought for a moment you were going to say you liked that book cover, and I was both impressed and wondering what you saw in it! The geometry bit has some nice graduated shades in it, but the stone torso has never been something that I liked.

It makes me think of: humanism, The Renaissance, Florence, Italy, patronage, art, Greece. Oh, and the Nazis were keen on nabbing all the art if they could, while everybody else was trying to smuggle them away, protect them from bombs or hide them in the garden with the silver.

Hmm. Not my kind of book cover either. :-) I also hate it when they have a brunette or red-head in the novel and the cover shows a platinum blonde.

Pacian said...

I thought I commented on this post... The cover to the British edition I've seen is a US flag with swastikas instead of stars - which I think looks pretty snazzy.

Obviously I mean that from an artistic rather than fascist standpoint.