Cover Art

Charlie Stross is showing off the cover to his upcoming novel Accelerando on his site, and it is indeed a most excellent cover. Being part of the super-secret writers cabal that I am (I could tell you more but then I’d have to remainder you), I’ve had a peek at the novel itself, which I think will be the science fiction book to beat in 2005 (and damn you Charlie, he said, because his own book is in that year, too). Of course, I haven’t read Cory Doctorow’s Someone Comes to Town, Someone Leaves Town yet, so we’ll just have to see.

Someone, incidentally, also has excellent cover art, by Dave McKean, and I have to say I’m pleased for both of them that both of them have books whose covers project a higher level of sophistication than you might normally see in the genre. I don’t think it’s any secret that I’m often very critical of science fiction art, and indeed I can think of at least one science fiction publishing house that I would not have sold Old Man’s War to, specifically because their book covers are flat-out embarrassing to be seen with if you’re over the age of 14. Happily for me, Tor was not one of those houses.

In fact, I do have to say that as Old Man’s War hits the stores, I am finally beginning to truly appreciate just how smart Tor was with the cover, and what an excellent choice Tor art director Irene Gallo made in choosing Donato Giancola as the artist. I always liked the cover art, which I thought was appropriate for the book — they story has a classic space opera form, so it made sense to have a more or less classic space opera type cover. I liked it enough that I actually bought it, and in doing so made it so that between what Tor paid him and what I paid him, Donato has made more off Old Man’s War than I have. Well done, sir.

But now that it’s out and people have seen it on the shelves, one of the things I’m hearing from them is how the cover gives the book a different feel from a lot of the other books of the shelves. I think a lot of that has to do with Donato’s saturated blue-green color scheme, which is a color palette you don’t see very often. And I think having the central figure on the cover be an older male is also an eye-stopper; you really don’t see older people on science fiction/fantasy book covers with any frequency, unless they look like Gandalf’s second cousin.

In all, a fine cover both in itself and how it seems to be grabbing people’s eyes. So once again let me take a moment to acknowledge both Donato and Irene, both of whom made my book look good. If the two of them work on The Ghost Brigades, so much the better for me; we’ll know at least one thing about the book won’t suck. If people judge my books by their covers, in these cases, I’ll be just fine with that.

Update: Tobias Buckell, whose novel Crystal Rain comes out this summer from Tor, shows off his cover art here. I dig the parrots.

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