Saturday, April 14, 2012

Everybody's an Art Critic

Let me be clear about one thing: I am big fan of Peter F. Hamilton. I've read all of his novels and most of his short fiction. Peter Hamilton writes astonishing space opera; his imagination is prodigious, and although his writing is not exactly of "literary quality," his ideas, storytelling, pacing, and fearlessness place him among the very best sci-fi writers out there.

I am also a fan of Tor Books—I think I must be among their best customers.

And I try to avoid ridiculing anyone in the book business because 1) it is bad business to do so, and 2) it's just plain mean.

But...I have to say that the cover of the 1999 mass market edition of The Nano Flower (now out of print) is possibly the worst book cover I have ever seen. It is so awful that I can't stop looking at it. So dreadfully silly that I feel compelled to share it with you.  Here ya go:


Daughter Number Three said...

Oh, I don't know... I think I've seen a few worse science fiction covers. Seems like every cover of Lois McMaster Bujold's excellent Vorkosigan series has a hideous cover.

This cover mostly (to me) looks dated. The things I dislike most are the ugly-upon-ugly Vivaldi font used for the word flower, and the exclamation point after Internationally bestselling author!

Oh, wait... is that a giant purple rose in the background?

Pete Hautman said...

Yes, and the "rose" continues onto the back cover. My favorite features of this cover are 1) the pink satin jumpsuit worn by the boytoy (who, in the story, is a grizzled sixty-year-old mercenary). 2) the young woman's ravish-me expression (in the story she is a late-middle-aged spike-haired Asian Lisbeth Salandar type), and 3) the weapons from Toys "R" Us with the pink and yellow components. This scan fails to deliver the *pinkness* of the actual cover. I know there are many, many horrible covers out there, but this one has been growing on me. I'm halfway through the book and enjoying it, but I keep turning to the cover, like picking at a scab, knowing it's a bad idea but unable to resist.

Daughter Number Three said...

Knowing that the characters are a complete mismatch with the way they are portrayed certainly adds to the awfulness. That is a definite problem with science fiction cover art. I shall have to look through my collection for other examples.