Monday, March 29, 2010

Science Fiction Covers

And now to science fiction. Rather than try to sort this lot out, I'll leave them to speak for themselves, bearing in mind that these are responses to the question 'What sort of cover puts you off an SF book?':


Jesper Krogsgaard: Ewoks. Cute and fuzzy. Using conventional pictures doesn't provide enough mystery unless you twist it. Again, like with fantasy, I like it gritty, dark and dangerous.

Colin Strawbridge: I think the typefaces used are more important than pictures; Gollancz have managed pretty well all these years without resorting to lurid graphics.One thing i find especially disconcerting is when they put celebrity reviewers names in much larger print than the actual author.

Andy Plumbly: Something that seems totally irrelevant to sci-fi. Like an apple. I'm quite happy with a spaceship or planet. Simple mind I guess.

Colin Strawbridge: I love how what on initial inspection seems like a random picture eventually starts to make sense as one gets further into the book.

Peter Nugent: Something original. If it's the bog standard hero with a smoking gun on an alien landscape that looks suspiciously like a desert i'm usually not interested.

Bob Lock: Squids in spacesuits...

Stuart McMillan: Complicated scenes and complicated fonts. Keep It Simple, Stupid (KISS) principles must apply.

Jon Bodan: On further reflection, I think that if you had the book name in the Tron font, and your name in the mid-80s digital font, it would be ace. Lol

Roger Fourt: Winners: M M Smith, Jeff Noon, Asher (I wouldn't lie)
Losers: Hamilton, Reynolds, Morgan.
Simple premise: avoid badly painted unfeasibly large spaceships.

Susan Hopkins Carpenter: I agree with Stuart, simple generally works best for me too. What puts me off is something too esoteric, I just know I'm going to be wading through pretentions claptrap.
Zeon D V Kitchiner: Anything with gold embossed lettering and roses.

Dave Wells: I find it's normally something on the cover that catches my eye which then prompts me to read the synopsis etc rather than anything specific putting me off. Course if it has ASHER on it then I pick it up just to have a look even though I've already got all of your books :)

Chuck McKenzie: Cartoony spaceships.

Owen Roberts: Depictions of characters.

8 comments:

Larry said...

Hmm, I didnt recognise any of those names. Are these all references to bad artists?

Neal Asher said...

They are replies to the question in the post from people on Facebook, Larry.

Larry said...

Ah right! Havent been on facebook for ages-its crap since they changed it.

Sparks said...

I think I might be odd here - if I buy a hardback, which I can do more often these days, the first thing I do is remove the dust cover and bin it.

If it's softback/paperback, I'm stuck with it, but frankly, I've zero positive interest in the cover. I can get put off, certainly, if the cover is overtly pornographic in nature - if I wanted that, I'd shop in a different shop. I guess it's my stuck-in-the-mud nature.

Generally though, the first thing I look at on the cover is the author's name; the second is the title; if I then pick it up, the plot summary comes in third; and fourth and final is the pricetag. I generally don't bother with anything else.

Larry said...

@Sparks, you bin the covers!! Thats sacrilege-I couldnt dream of doing that-especially on some of my first editions!

Heather Massey said...

Squids in spacesuits...

I would totally buy that just for the cover.

Sparks said...

@Larry - Well, yeah. I buy these to read them, not to collect them. In fact, in thirty-odd years, I've only ever come across a single dust cover I've kept and it's from a cookery book - Alton Brown's _Good Eats the Early Years_ - and I only kept it because it's made to be taken off, unfolded into a faux-movie-of-the-book poster, and put up on a wall. *That* was added value. Normal dust covers... well, all they do is let the book slip out of my hand while I read. No thanks!

BadBeast said...

I'm almost ashamed to admit I was put off from reading Dune for many years, on the strength of the cover art. Superficial of me, I know, but hey, we are what we are. On reflection though, good cover art, has led me to many well loved authors, (Michael Moorcock, for instance) whom I might otherwise never have been aware of.