Worst book covers

Brian G Turner

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I happened across a picture of the old cover for Robert Jordan's "Lords of Chaos" - and was reminded that I always found this to be one of the worst fantasy covers ever.

I dare anyone to best the accolade of worst cover ever. I mean, just look: the man in the white shirt - is he doing an Elvis impression, or is he a dazed country and western singer desperate for the toilet?

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Good to see hos covers getting a proper revamp - there's a nice image here which shows the old ones alongside the newer UK and US versions:

http://worldofcovers.files.wordpress.com/2011/05/robertjordanbs_wheeloftime1.jpg

So, any more terrible covers?

Oh, wait - I just remembered some of those random looking Lovecraft ones ... !
 
I happened across a picture of the old cover for Robert Jordan's "Lords of Chaos" - and was reminded that I always found this to be one of the worst fantasy covers ever.

I dare anyone to best the accolade of worst cover ever. I mean, just look: the man in the white shirt - is he doing an Elvis impression, or is he a dazed country and western singer desperate for the toilet?

3157047183_a0b684d667_z.jpg


Good to see hos covers getting a proper revamp - there's a nice image here which shows the old ones alongside the newer UK and US versions:

http://worldofcovers.files.wordpress.com/2011/05/robertjordanbs_wheeloftime1.jpg

So, any more terrible covers?

Oh, wait - I just remembered some of those random looking Lovecraft ones ... !
Hehe, yeah, I, Brian, I very much agree that that book cover is terrible.

My personal vote would go to the next book's cover, A Crown of Swords, but really, that entire series has REALLY BAD covers.

I think the character on this image looks even sillier.

WoT07_ACrownOfSwords.jpg
 
I cannot, just cannot understand how those original US covers of Wheel of Time got anywhere near the printers. Not only are they badly executed, they're almost entirely devoid of drama or interest. Was someone trying to sabotage the series?

The UK ones are much safer, but also dull. I do quite like the new US ones though.

Victoria, that is truly terrible.
 
I cannot, just cannot understand how those original US covers of Wheel of Time got anywhere near the printers. Not only are they badly executed, they're almost entirely devoid of drama or interest. Was someone trying to sabotage the series?

The UK ones are much safer, but also dull. I do quite like the new US ones though.

Victoria, that is truly terrible.

I've always felt book cover design is better in the UK than the US.

Speaking of bad covers, though, there's a whole mess of them here.

Also, not sure which edition this conforms to, but it's just...no.

Rothfuss_Name-of-the-Wind03_DonatoGiancola.jpg
 
Well, I guess The Wheel Of Time currently holds the record for worst book covers ever. Here's a pretty bad one:

WoT11_KnifeOfDreams.jpg


With this one it seems like the artwork just isn't great and doesn't say anything.

Oh, thanks for the link, I, Brian. Those new covers look amazing.
 
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Also, not sure which edition this conforms to, but it's just...no.

Rothfuss_Name-of-the-Wind03_DonatoGiancola.jpg

This was the first print of the hardcover I believe, and is actually the cover on my copy. I agree wholeheartedly, its pretty bad. :) I would never have picked it up if I just saw it in the bookstore. Thankfully I did based on recommendations here. And thankfully they changed the cover. Although, when I had him sign my book a couple weeks ago, he could tell I had been a fan since the beginning based strictly on this cover.
 
I cannot, just cannot understand how those original US covers of Wheel of Time got anywhere near the printers. Not only are they badly executed, they're almost entirely devoid of drama or interest. Was someone trying to sabotage the series?

I don't think so. Plenty of fans must be attracted to Darrell K Sweet's style of cover, because he's done so many of them, and why would publishers continue to commission them if they don't work?

I actually like some of his early covers, but it seems like over the years his artwork has become sloppier and sloppier (maybe too many commission to give any of them the time they deserve?), and progressively more boring. The colors, too, can be so garish.

But still ... they sell books. I don't know why.

I love the newest covers. I would buy those books if I didn't already know that I wouldn't like what's inside.
 
I always get the impression that American and British paperbacks are quite different. American ones seem to be slightly smaller, which is very useful if you want to carry a book around with you, and the covers seem to be rather more Errol Flynn than the British ones, which tend to go for mystery rather than straight depiction. Of course I'm generalising enormously here.

Anyhow, here is a site devoted to absurd cover pictures: http://www.goodshowsir.co.uk

The reason I know about this is because my first book is on it. In fairness, though, when I pointed out that the cover was a well-drawn and literal interpretation of the events of the story, they did retract the comment that it was bad.

http://www.goodshowsir.co.uk/2009/09/space-captain-smith/

(And I don't know where they got the idea that that was me dressed up on the cover...)

EDIT: whoops, I hadn't realised that site had been posted earlier.
 
I always rather liked your cover.

I wonder if covers that are awful actually end up being useful, in that they attract attention. I think I'd rather have an awful cover then a bland, mediocre one (although obviously Bane of Souls has a fantastic cover and so does Journey to Altmortis).
 
Anyhow, here is a site devoted to absurd cover pictures: http://www.goodshowsir.co.uk

A lot of horrible covers there, but several of them I rather liked. It's all a matter of taste, as they say. Interestingly, when I was studying how to make a good cover, I ran into some that were supposed to be good, but weren't by any logical definition. I'm sorry, but if you can barely make out the title and author even at full size because of clever graphics and bizarre fonts, then it's not a good cover.
 
More or less in order of worstness (which is also chronological - they thought they had a good thing going).

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A sort of a Tanith in Day By Night. And a fish. That Silver Metal Lover is hilarious. Mind-blowing. Something.
 
Other than SML, Lee got off lightly compared to Cherryh.

Try to contain your excitement with these two.

BRTHRSFRTH3B1976.jpg
PRTRTRNY1982.jpg


And it just doesn't get any sexier than this.
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And yet these became huge authors for DAW which goes to show most people must not judge books by their covers.

-- Oh, I almost forgot - DAW apparently realized Serpent's Reach was so bad Something Had to Be Done so they "fixed it".

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What did they have against that protagonist? At least the BEM looks better.
 
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God may have a mote in his eye, but Pocket Book's art director has double cataracts.

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Finally, a gun control issue that everyone can agree on: elephants poaching humans with assault rifles.
 
Holy crap! Those are ugly covers.:eek: LOL :rolleyes::)

Poor Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle! I wonder how much in royalties they lost by being saddled with those covers. Correct me if I've missed something here, but aren't publishers supposed to encourage the consumer to buy their books, not burn them?

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In space no one can hear you die of emphysema.
 
I like the smoking one...

LE Modesitt wrote a whole series with appalling covers: can't link them, but if you google 'LE Modesitt book covers' and then press the images button on the left, you'll see some real corkers.
 

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