Relevance – this category only gets 2 points because not every cover needs this and I don’t know all the books well enough to make fine distinctions. In some ways this is a simple test and also the hardest. Does the cover suggest what you are going to get? Does it match the style and contents of the book? The easiest to judge are the more Nutty Nuggets covers, the hardest to judge are the ones for more literary novels which are hard to sum up with a cover.
Luckily I don’t need to be fair and your own judgement may differe…
For a change, the covers are in order of the points they get in the relevance category.
- After Atlas Artist/Designer: Anxo Amarelle | by Emma Newman, Roc ISFDB or Amazon Entry
0 points. I’d never have guessed the style of book based on the Goodreads synopsis. A reminder: see the note above – this doesn’t mean this is a bad cover, it just means it doesn’t get points in this category.
- Borderline Artist/Designer: an unsung hero| by Mishell Baker, Saga ISFDB or Amazon Entry
0 points. I like this cover but a sort of urban fantasy detective story is not indicated.
- The Sunlight Pilgrims Artist/Designer: Suzanne Dean , Kai & Sunny| by Jenni Fagan, William Heinemann ISFDB or Amazon Entry
0 points. A story about a climate catastrophe? OK but not obvious – but possibly it shouldn’t be obvious for this kind of book.
- A Fierce and Subtle Poison Artist/Designer: Allison Colpoys| by Samantha Mabry, Algonquin Young Readers ISFDB or Amazon Entry
1 point. Some hints at the nature of the book from the cover.
- A God in the Shed Artist/Designer: an unsung hero| by J.F.Dubeau, Inkshares ISFDB or Amazon Entry
1 point. Creepy, sinister and with a hint of violence.
- Death’s End Artist/Designer: Stephan Martiniere | by Cixin Liu translated by Ken Liu, Tor ISFDB or Amazon Entry
1 point. SPAACEEEE
- Magic Bitter, Magic Sweet Artist/Designer: Joan Wong| by Charlie N. Holmberg, 47North ISFDB or Amazon Entry
1 point. Some sort of hint at a fairy tale/fantasy
- Occupy Me Artist/Designer: Sidonie Beresford-Browne| by Tricia Sullivan, Gollancz ISFDB or Amazon Entry
1 point. Not much hint at the contents but the author tag line helps and the extra text at the top does as well.
- The Changeling Artist/Designer: Yuko Shimizu | by Victor LaValle, Spiegel & Grau ISFDB or Amazon Entry
1 point. Hints at the magical quest implied in the synopsis.
- Walkaway Artist/Designer: Will Staehle| by Cory Doctorow, Tor ISFDB or Amazon Entry
1 point. The cover is literal and a metaphor but implies a more domestic drama than the synopsis suggests.
- Babylon’s Ashes Artist/Designer: Daniel Dociu| by James S.A. Corey, Orbit ISFDB or Amazon Entry
2 points. Nuts and nuggets for a story about people in space ships.
- Breath of Earth Artist/Designer: Gene Mollica| by Beth Cato, Harper Voyager ISFDB or Amazon Entry
2 points. The 2 points covers are hard to comment on as most speak for themselves.
- Central Station Artist/Designer: Sarah Anne Langton | by Lavie Tidhar, Tachyon Publishing ISFDB or Amazon Entry
- Everfair Artist/Designer: Victo Ngai| by Nisi Shawl, Tor ISFDB or Amazon Entry
2 points. Lots of suggestive hints.
- Fallout: The Hot War Artist/Designer: David G. Stevenson| by Harry Turtledove, Del Rey ISFDB or Amazon Entry
- Final Girls Artist/Designer: Julie Dillon| by Mira Grant, Subterranean Press ISFDB or Amazon Entry
2 points. You can say a lot with on image.
- Firebrand Artist/Designer: Michael Heath| by A.J.Hartley, Tor ISFDB or Amazon Entry
2 points. Strong indication of setting and character.
- Hammers on Bone Artist/Designer: Jeffrey Alan Love| by Cassandra Khaw, Tor ISFDB or Amazon Entry
2 points. Lovecraftian weird noir summed up in a single image.
- Lovecraft Country Artist/Designer: Jarrod Tayler| by Matt Ruff, Harper ISFDB or Amazon Entry
2 points. Ditto.
- MAGA 2020 Artist/Designer: Dawn Witzke| by ed Marina Fontaine, Superversive Press ISFDB or Amazon Entry
2 points. It’s a shit cover in most ways but the cover isn’t lying about that.
- Ninefox Gambit Artist/Designer: Chris Moore| by Yoon Ha Lee, Solaris ISFDB or Amazon Entry
2 points. Weird SPAAAACEEEEE
- Of Sand and Malice Made Artist/Designer: René Aigner| by Bradley P. Beaulieu, DAW books ISFDB or Amazon Entry
- Sieging Manganela Artist/Designer: Brian Allen| by Charon Dunn, Amazon Digital Services ISFDB or Amazon Entry
2 points. Unless there aren’t actually mechanoid killer penguins in the book.
- The Days of Tao Artist/Designer: Galen Dara| by Wesley Chu, Subterranean Press ISFDB or Amazon Entry
- The Drowning Eyes Artist/Designer: Cynthia Sheppard| by Emily Foster, Tor ISFDB or Amazon Entry
- The Hammer of Thor Artist/Designer: John Rocco | by Rick Riordan, Disney Hyperion ISFDB or Amazon Entry
2 points. Busy, busy cover but I can’t deny that it is clear as to what it is.
- The Underground Railroad Artist/Designer: Oliver Munday | by Colson Whitehead, Fleet ISFDB or Amazon Entry
2 points. Does what it says on the tin.
- Too Like the Lightning Artist/Designer: Victor Mosquera | by Ada Palmer, Tor ISFDB or Amazon Entry
2 points – I was tempted to give it 1 point because the cover suggets sci-fi action rather than court intrigue or philosophical debate but the main setting is shown and the all important flying cars.
- Witchy Eye Artist/Designer: Daniel Dos Santos | by D.J.Butler, Baen ISFDB or Amazon Entry
2 points. Sometimes it is worth being as literal as possible.