Book Cover Award Thing 2016: Round 1.1

Oh how to manage 34 books and four criteria! I’ll be doing 9 posts. Two for each criterion (one directly after the other – just for manageability) and then a final post with the totals. Feel free to argue with criteria ratings and I’ll change them because I have no backbone.

Just to recap. Four criteria with varying points. (original) Artwork first with 0 to 4 points. Ceiling and floor effects are intentional (i.e. not everything with a 4 is equally as good, and not everything with a zero is equally lacking).

With artwork, I’m looking for original images of an SF/F nature that are notable independent of being on a book cover. Textual and other graphical elements I’ll ignore. For some covers, there is going to be a blurred line between the artwork and design. However, the Graphic Design criteria has extra points available to compensate for covers that are less focused on a pretty picture.

Works are in alphabetical order of title.


Ancillary Mercy – Ann Leckie : Artist/Designer – John Harris(Artist)

John Harris has produced some stunning painted space scenes. The impressionistic effect helps make the image stand out in a world of CGI spaceships. The space-fighter in the foreground adds colour and a sense of movement. 4 points.

Arcadia – Iain Pears : Artist/Designer – Nameless Hero(Artist)

This image will pick up extra points in the graphic design but even as a plain artwork it is stunning. The use of an almost black cover and a simple geometric cut to frame a fragment of a pastoral scene is very striking. 3 points.

Arcadia – Iain Pears : Artist/Designer – Thomas Cole(Artist)

Some conceptual similarities with the other cover and also some interesting graphic design work. I assume the glimpse of painting we can see are parts of some classic landscape. Judge purely on artwork alone though, 0 points.

Barsk: The Elephants’ Graveyard – Lawrence M. Schoen : Artist/Designer – Victo Ngai(Artist)

Very effective and striking image which uses a limited set of colours to create a very memorable image. 4 points.

Children of Time – Adrian Tchaikovsky : Artist/Designer – Nameless Hero(tbc)

Nice treatment of planet+spaceship style image with a bit of fake lens flare that helps connect the two corners of the picture. 2 points.

Ctrl Alt Revolt! – Nick Cole : Artist/Designer – Nameless Hero(tbc)

The art itself is fine but the power of this cover is in the overall design. 1 point.

Envy of Angels – Matt Wallace : Artist/Designer – Peter Lutgen(Artist)

Playful and fun image. Very original. I wouldn’t hang it on my wall though 😉 2 points.

Europe at Midnight – Dave Hutchinson : Artist/Designer – Clint Langley(Artist)

The image is busy and too overworked for my taste. 0 points.

Half a War – Joe Abercrombie : Artist/Designer – Mike Bryan(Artist)

The flame design, incorporating weapons, against a dark landscape image is quite effective. 2 points.

Hell’s Foundations Quiver – David Weber : Artist/Designer – Stephen Youll(Artist)

The cover design gives the artwork a more favourable landscape orientation. Art if exciting and intriguing, with sailing ships, explosions and spacecraft. Foreground characters look a bit ho-hum about the flying saucer blowing up a galleon. 3 points.

League of Dragons – Naomi Novak : Artist/Designer – Nameless Hero(tbc)

DRAGONS! Doing…something…The hint of a building on fire in the centre of the dragon tangle, gets a bit lost amod the dragons…but DRAGONS. 2 points.

Raising Caine – Charles E. Gannon : Artist/Designer – Bob Eggleton(Artist)

A fun retro-SF painting. 4 points.

Seveneves: A Novel – Neal Stephenson : Artist/Designer – Jonathan Knowles(Artist)

I like the overall design but the image by itself is not that remarkable. 1 point.

Somewhither: A Tale of the Unwithering Realm – John C. Wright : Artist/Designer – Jeremiah Humphries(Artist)

Art-deco Assyrian ziggurat of doom being sucked into the vanishing point of its own perspective. Fun. 3 points.

Son of the Black Sword – Larry Correia : Artist/Designer – Larry Elmore(Artist)

The central motif is part of a bigger Larry Elmore picture. However, the motif itself is effective but not particularly remarkable. I think this cover (which is very effective) will pick up more marks elsewhere. 1 point.

Sorcerer to the Crown – Zen Cho : Artist/Designer – Nameless Hero(tbc)

Nice motif but more of a graphic design piece than artwork. 0 points.

Sorcerer to the Crown – Zen Cho : Artist/Designer – Nameless Hero(tbc)

As above nice motif but more of a graphic design piece than artwork. 0 points.

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