Mecha-Zoë is Coming to End You

The cover for the upcoming Spanish edition of Zoe’s Tale:

Not entirely sure it’s accurate to the content of the book, but then Minotauro (my Spanish publisher) has always made the covers more about style than anything else. And it certainly is cool looking. You don’t want to mess with this version of Zoë; she’ll kick your ass six different ways and then whack you with those shoulder pads of hers. Let that be a lesson to you. Let that be a lesson to all of you.

30 Comments on “Mecha-Zoë is Coming to End You”

  1. It’s Ultra-Zoë, travelled back through time, a wormhole, and a universal war to destroy any who made her suffer in junior high … and whoever convinced her that skunk stripe was a good fashion move. ;)

  2. Are you sure it’s supposed to be Zoë? It would be substantially less ridiculous if it was Jane. Still not very accurate, but the leap would be at least comprehensible.

    (Of course I’m sure it’s just some generic artwork picked because there was no budget, but I can dream, can’t I?)

  3. That’s interesting. I wonder what process goes on in selecting/commissioning the work. I can’t imagine that the artist got much of a description of the book.

  4. Hmm. Don’t quite recall the powered armor. Maybe I dozed off during that scene. Oh well. I’d say it’s better than the Tor cover, but it’s really just crap in a different direction. Are you doomed to always having wretched (except for Android’s Dream and the new edition of Hate Mail) covers?

  5. The God Engines cover looks good. Alas, mine is on order so I’ll have to see for myself later.

  6. The new God Engines cover looks good. The original looked halfway between meh and a 9th-grader’s photoshop project.

  7. See, I keep thinking that they need to model Zoe’s appearance on Gina Torres. Not that your Zoe looks anything like Gina Torres, but the Old Man’s Universe/Firefly mash-up potential would just be awesome.

  8. Well, in all fairness, zoe is a teenager… There is virtually no excess or variant of style that cannot simply be chalked up to that. The gun, however.. Ehh.. I got nothing.

  9. I look forward to the day when all science fiction books are total non sequiturs.

    Suggested covers for:
    Ender’s Game – a gorilla in a space suit reading a copy of “Enders Game”
    The Wheel of Time – A 80’s styled suburbanite driving a rocket skateboard in a nebula
    The Algebraist – a mad scientist landing a Taco Bell with rocket thrusters on the moon, with a giant anthropomorphic chalupa side kick.

  10. Urk! That would be a striking cover for some sf book, but it’s nowhere near my picture of Zoe. The whole thrust I got from this (first?) book about her is that she’s smart enough to have moved beyond the reflexive application of the kind of physical force this cover implies. She (unlike our society) has outgrown such a primitive and ineffectual (in the long run) approach to problems.

  11. I wish you’d credit the artists on these things. I’d like to see some of that artists other stuff, but alas there no link to the cover artist’s web site!

    Or does the publisher not provide you with that information?

  12. I credit the artist when I know who the artist is. In this particular case, I do not. Also, the publisher did not provide me with the information; I found it on the Web.

  13. Now you may have a reason to do a version of Zoe to match this one on the spanish cover. I can’t imagine any alien wishing to mess with her.

  14. I’ve read the English-language edition of Zoe’s Tale, but I am unable to read (or speak) Spanish. It would be interesting to find out if this cover art actually /does/ reflect the Spanish-language translation of the story….. I mean, there is always some room for interpretation in translation, right?

  15. So, why doesn’t Zoe invest in little bits of Velcro that stick to her armor so she can secure those tabs hanging off the joints, so that some one doesn’t partially disrobe her? Or is it just not done (much the way kids dress now so that their clothes hang off them like poor black kids wearing hand me downs)? Um, is it possible that the shoulder pads are, some kind of assisted breathing apparatus? So she sounds more like Darth Vader (because thats how we all expect to sound, in the future)?

  16. Not unless the Spanish publishers actively re-wrote the book, which they’re not really allowed to do.

    With soup! Or gazpacho, I suppose.

  17. I’d never really pictured Zoe as a post-boob job Borg Queen, and never want to again. Then again, it might be the kind of imagery that pushes all the right demographic buttons (and sets the cash registers alight) in Spain — in which case, mission achieved.

  18. Considering what the girl went through I wouldn’t be surprised if she developed a shock of gray hair like that.

  19. I wouldn’t really call that “post boob job”. They don’t look very big in that picture. B-cups at most. Really, the girl in the picture is, though a bit on the tall side, fairly realistically proportioned. For a female athlete or marine or something anyway.

    Maybe they’re anticipating that John will start writing Warhammer 40k novels for the Black Library Imprint? Sigh. One can dream, anyway.

    (they need more good authors, Dan Abnett cannot carry the entire line on his back forever…)

  20. I like the Minotauro covers of Scalzi books, as they are pretty and flashy and look modern. But yes, not very much in relation to the book. In this case this is just because previous covers of the series were also not very much in relation to the books but showed soldiers in very high-teck robotic uniforms, so I guess they just said “same thing but with a woman face”

    Still, better, IMHO, than the US SF style covers of “lets pretend its the sixties”.

  21. It seems to me that there are better ways for books to be illustrated. I think having an artist actually work with the subject matter might be nice. Style and design still needs to be based on an idea, so what’s wrong with working with the right idea? I would have gone with werewolves and teeage girls fighting to the death.

  22. I just finished Zoe’s Tale. Man! I love that book and this series. It sounded like you closed the door on this series and I want so much more. Any chance I can talk you into writing more about Zoe, the Obin and the Consu?

  23. Must be a cultural thing. Germans go for spaceships with speed streaks. Spanish go for chicks in battle armor. Must be a reaction against the old Don Quixote complex. What would DQ do with a Dulcinea like this?

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