Worst book covers

JunkMonkey

Lord High Vizier of Nowt
Joined
Dec 19, 2010
Messages
3,781
Location
A wet, but photogenic, bit of Scotland.
sf086_leisure.jpg


Blurred photograph of a cheap plastic model of the Enterprise?

I can tell you, having read Galaxy 666, that the cover is better than the contents deserve.


And the link http://worldofcovers.files.wordpress...eeloftime1.jpg
Had me mind going for a minute. "The Eel of Time". I like it. It has possibilities.
 

Nounboy

Member
Joined
Sep 16, 2013
Messages
22
I wonder if anyone collects bad book covers for the sake of bad book covers, the way some people collect really bad album covers for the sake of the art. Could make a nice library, or sub-collection.
 

Erin99

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 28, 2007
Messages
3,193
Somehow I missed this thread...


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 ... !

What I find hilarious about the cover is that, um, the dragkhar in the sky doesn't even feature in the book, and the swooning Aes Sedai would probably rather burn herself out than swoon at a man who could channel. I suppose she's trying to warn Rand of the dragkhar, but it looks very cheesy.

The cover is one of my favs, too, purely for how horrendous it is. Then again, most of the covers are bad - mullets, wrong hair colours, a Dark One with purple rollers in his hair, Perrin looking like Conan, men standing in awkward poses, trollocs that look like men in masks, Perrin looking like an old man, a Crown of Swords that is on upside-down (I could go on) - which is why I wish I had the ebook versions instead - those are stunning (except for the first book, which looks like it could be a cover of a nautical romance). I do love Sweet's horses and backgrounds, though - amazing.

And thanks for the cover collage - it's great to finally see all the editions together: http://worldofcovers.files.wordpress.com/2011/05/robertjordanbs_wheeloftime1.jpg
 

HoopyFrood

It's me! Hurrah!
Joined
Jul 13, 2006
Messages
5,524
Location
The Cloud
It took me a good few books to realise they were supposed to be Trollocs. I was always like, "who are these shifty guys supposed to be?"

Bill with his curlers is definitely my favourite, though :D
 

thaddeus6th

Well-Known Member
Supporter
Joined
Sep 15, 2007
Messages
7,022
Location
UK, Yorkshire
Here's a meta-question, as it were: is a bad cover really a good cover?

A cover's job is to get attention. In car terms, I've heard about Moscovics[sp] because they're phenomenally bad. I also know about the Bugatti Veyron for rather opposite reasons. But a middle of the range bland, so-so car from 20 years ago is something of which I know nothing whatsoever.
 

Bob Whitely

Blended-genre author
Joined
Sep 10, 2013
Messages
80
Location
Like the Cosmothea Blended-genre Roleplaying Game
Wow, even more bad covers than I remember! Some good - er bad finds here. I have an anthology coming out Dec. 2014 - sure hope mine turns out better than these! i'll do my best.

I've noticed that many bad covers were on old books (yeah recent ones too, but just saying') which makes me wonder. There were great artists back then, just as there are now, so why so many bad ones? Could perceptions have changed?
(obviously printing tech improved) could it be editorial priorities have changed? I'm not even talking about fonts right now. Why was really bad art even allowed? Did budgets increase for covers at some point, based on research?

I know some impact was made by books being sold online (the need for covers to not look too horrible when down way small. Maybe this goes beyond the OP, if so, sorry! Next chance I get, I'll track down some bad covers.
 

JunkMonkey

Lord High Vizier of Nowt
Joined
Dec 19, 2010
Messages
3,781
Location
A wet, but photogenic, bit of Scotland.
I've noticed that many bad covers were on old books (yeah recent ones too, but just saying') which makes me wonder. There were great artists back then, just as there are now, so why so many bad ones? Could perceptions have changed?
(obviously printing tech improved) could it be editorial priorities have changed? I'm not even talking about fonts right now. Why was really bad art even allowed? Did budgets increase for covers at some point, based on research?

Tastes have changed but I suspect that older bad covers appear more often here because they have had longer to get spotted. Over the years there is a tendency for mediocre crud to evaporate from the collective conciousness leaving the interestingly good and interestingly bad stuff to become more obvious.

Time I think to wheel out my visual aid:

5578088738_3141c44cea.jpg

x axis = volume of work. y axis = quality


As I say, time passes and the crud just gets neglected (swamped by the never-ending spew of new crud) and the really interesting s*** just gets more and more interesting the older it gets as it is slowly shorn of its context.

Modern interesting s*** isn't as obvious as old interesting s*** because of all the background chatter of modern, superficially/vaguely similar crud - which is why you see less of it appearing here (and like minded places). It will come.
 

Randy M.

Well-Known Member
Joined
Mar 7, 2012
Messages
2,703
Oh, man, I've enjoyed the laughs this thread has given me.

It's really not hard to prove DAW was the Baen of their day, is it? Except DAW may have been a bit more straight-faced about it. Rather like they didn't get the joke.

Other than SML, Lee got off lightly compared to Cherryh.

[...]
SRPNTSRCH1980.jpg

About this one: I read that edition, and at the time I thought the illustrator had Susan Sullivan in mind. Sullivan is a U.S. TV staple who has appeared in everything from Dark Shadows to Rich Man, Poor Man II to The Incredible Hulk to Barnaby Jones to Falcon Crest to Dharma & Greg. Now she's best known as Martha Rodgers, mother of Richard Castle.

Honestly, I don't think that cover was anywhere near as bad as some of the other covers for Cherryh and Lee, but it's also not as pleasantly bland as the one they used for Downbelow Station.


Randy M.
 

Lady of Winterfell

Foxy Lady
Joined
Oct 16, 2007
Messages
2,164
Location
Favorite Authors: George RR Martin Scott Lynch

nightdreamer

Elf in Space
Joined
Apr 20, 2012
Messages
431
Hey, I remember that Brothers of Earth cover. I must have read it. I always get a kick out of these "worst cover" posts, if for no other reason than that I can console myself that I don't do that badly.
 

paranoid marvin

Run VT Erroll!
Supporter
Joined
Mar 9, 2007
Messages
5,749
I think covers can age pretty badly. Back in the day they were published they were probablynot much different to others. I wonder what people will think of book covers today in 50 years time?

As for me, I was never a fan of the early Discworld book covers.
 

HareBrain

Smeerp of Wonder
Staff member
Supporter
Joined
Oct 13, 2008
Messages
13,526
Location
West Sussex, UK
She looks like she's been interrupted in something furtive. Also, the pretentious-sounding quote by Neil Gaiman reminds me why I don't much like author quotes on book covers.
 

Similar threads


Top