Favorite Sci-Fi Cover Art

harveststar

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I was wondering if you noticed that some book covers are better than others. Also, the reprints make the vintage cover look like pure gold. This is one of my favourites.

startrekcover.png
 

harveststar

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I have noticed that some of the book covers aren't as attractive as they used to be. Look at Clarke's Childhood End. Which is your favorite or least favorite?
Childhood's End.png
 

Rodders

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I think at one point i owned the book with the fifth cover. Cover art was definitely better in from the 60's to the 90's.

I suspect that cost saving is a large part of the decline in book covers as publishers move away from commissioned art and random, cheaper digital art took over.
 

Astro Pen

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I think Chris Foss was something of a one man revolution in sf cover art. You'd know his work without refering to the back cover.

I would like to hear from young members here whether, looking through this article, they consider the style 'dated' compared to todays covers or whether they would like to see more of it?


My absolute favourite cover of his is the one for Midsummer Century
(Also note how the layout of the image is well crafted to give the title, spine and back cover blurb the space they need.)

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Elentarri

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I like cover art that shows you something about the contents of the book, that is unique to the book or series. The generic, bland, boring, and similar looking covers that get inflicted on books these days is a travesty (so are the covers with chopped off heads). A cover is supposed to draw a reader's attention out of a whole pile/shelf full of other books, make you want to pick up the book and read the blurb, maybe even buy the book because the cover is "pretty". These days, the covers all look the same and my eyes slide right across the bookshop shelves. This results in fewer impulse buys and more internet shopping where I buy books I'm specifically looking for.
I've actually bought books simply because I recognized the artist illustrating the cover and the picture looked interesting. I recently picked up Miss Benson's Beetle at a used book shop simple because of the lush, green cover with the glorious gold beetles. I didn't look at the blurb. I ended up liking the book even though it's not my usual thing and I probably wouldn't have bothered buying the book based on the blurb alone, or even given it a second look if they had used the rather boring paperback cover (right) on the hardback. Though both these covers are better than what is usually stuck on a book.
Miss Benson's Beetle HC.jpg
Miss Benson's Beetle PB.jpg
 

Toby Frost

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Chris Foss, Roger Dean and Alan Lee are the three artists whose covers have made me want to visit their settings the most (and maybe Moebius). But I had no idea that Foss illustrated The Joy of Sex! Part of me hopes that it's a load of brightly-coloured spaceships docking in unusual positions.

Ages ago I went to an exhibition of an 18th century painter who specialised in huge landscapes depicting Biblical and ancient scenes: the fall of Rome, the gardens of Babylon and so on. The text compared his work to some SF covers, saying the main aim of both was a sense of massiveness. I can't remember the chap's name, unfortunately.
 
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Rodders

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Chris Foss was awesome and a huge influence on my reading choices as a teenager. (All the Edmund Cooper books I read had Chris Foss covers.) Boris Vallejo was another great artist during my formative years. His Star Trek covers were always excellent.

It's a shame that book covers (and similarly Album cover art) is in decline. Bruce Pennington is another classic Science Fiction cover artist.

Toby, the Biblical landscape are sounds pretty cool and I'd love to check it out. Let us know if you remember the artist. I also adore the work of Hieronymus Bosch, although I digress from the main subject of book cover art.

My favourite book is The Player of Games by Iain M. Banks. As you can see, the cover art gets progressively more boring with each rerelease.

Tha Player of Games 1.jpeg Tha Player of Games 2.jpeg the-player-of-games.jpg 61+FQX-4vvL.jpg

Of them all, my favourite is the second one. (it was the cover of my first read of it and I do like spaceships in my SF art.)

I've not seen these two covers in the wild, though. If anyone sees them, can they pick them up for me?

9780061000980-us.jpg IainMBanks_ThePlayerOfGames.jpg
 

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harveststar

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It’s a toss up between the second from the left and the third from the right.

I like the third from the right. It's got a dramatic feel to it as the flying saucer floats over an entire city. The last one is my least favorite. It looks like it was cobbled together on Microsoft Paint. Unfortunately, that's the copy I have.
 

Rodders

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The Dune novels that were re-published around the nineties had a theme running thought them and if you put them together they formed one image. I was very impressed with them and never knew who the artist was.

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Even now, some thirty years on i still find them impressive. This is probably my favourite cover ever.
 

Rodders

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Out of curiosity, is the artist ever named anywhere in books?

Jon Sullivan’s art on the Neal Asher books is superb. There is something vicious and cruel about his artistic style. I also like that they encompass the entire cover and not just the front.

C47E1A96-E60F-47C4-BEDA-4A2CD384B690.jpeg 514CE94D-2B50-4ED5-8AA9-04B5FB5257D2.jpeg

Love that Prador ship for Dark Intelligence.
 
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Rodders

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Michael Whelan (another great artist) did the cover for Arthur C. Clarke's 2010. This is classic book cover art in my opinion.

2010.jpg

I digress, but I've always wanted a copy of Oliver Rennert's beautiful Discovery One cutaway print created for Taschen for their making of 2001 A Space Odyssy book.

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