I do enjoy doing this. The idea of using different categories is to force me to look at the covers in different ways. It doesn’t make the scores more objective but it does encourage me to look at how covers serve multiple roles and it also makes some of the apples versus oranges comparisons easier to do. A fun side-effect is I don’t keep or look at a running score for each cover until the end. That means that I don’t know which cover was my favourite until this final post!
Of course, I probably already had a favourite and that bias will have impacted on each of the scores I gave. So I am not surprised by the top covers I picked out. Please do wade in with comments on your favourites!
The Top Three
I love each of these. I didn’t have a category that explicitly captures that “Oooh, I want to see what this books about!” feeling but I think each of these has that feeling for me. I’ve only read one of them though! Central Station is in my TBR pile.
- Rank:1 Score:15 – Hammers on Bone Artist÷Designer: Jeffrey Alan Love| by Cassandra Khaw, Tor ISFDB or Amazon Entry
- Rank:2 Score:14 – Central Station Artist÷Designer: Sarah Anne Langton | by Lavie Tidhar, Tachyon Publishing ISFDB or Amazon Entry
- Rank:3 Score:13 – Firebrand Artist÷Designer: Michael Heath| by A.J.Hartley, Tor ISFDB or Amazon Entry
The Honourable Mentions – Rank 4 and 5
All great covers. Given the arbitrary way I’m dishing out points, each of these may have made it into the top 3 if I ran my choices again with a fresh brain.
- Rank:4 Score:12 – The Changeling Artist÷Designer: Yuko Shimizu | by Victor LaValle, Spiegel & Grau ISFDB or Amazon Entry
- Rank:4 Score:12 – Lovecraft Country Artist÷Designer: Jarrod Tayler| by Matt Ruff, Harper ISFDB or Amazon Entry
- Rank:4 Score:12 – The Days of Tao Artist÷Designer: Galen Dara| by Wesley Chu, Subterranean Press ISFDB or Amazon Entry
- Rank:4 Score:12 – The Drowning Eyes Artist÷Designer: Cynthia Sheppard| by Emily Foster, Tor ISFDB or Amazon Entry
- Rank:4 Score:12 – Too Like the Lightning Artist÷Designer: Victor Mosquera | by Ada Palmer, Tor ISFDB or Amazon Entry
- Rank:5 Score:11 – A Fierce and Subtle Poison Artist÷Designer: Allison Colpoys| by Samantha Mabry, Algonquin Young Readers ISFDB or Amazon Entry
- Rank:5 Score:11 – Breath of Earth Artist÷Designer: Gene Mollica| by Beth Cato, Harper Voyager ISFDB or Amazon Entry
- Rank:5 Score:11 – Everfair Artist÷Designer: Victo Ngai| by Nisi Shawl, Tor ISFDB or Amazon Entry
- Rank:5 Score:11 – Final Girls Artist÷Designer: Julie Dillon| by Mira Grant, Subterranean Press ISFDB or Amazon Entry
- Rank:5 Score:11 – Ninefox Gambit Artist÷Designer: Chris Moore| by Yoon Ha Lee, Solaris ISFDB or Amazon Entry
- Rank:5 Score:11 – The Underground Railroad Artist÷Designer: Oliver Munday | by Colson Whitehead, Fleet ISFDB or Amazon Entry
- Rank:5 Score:11 – Witchy Eye Artist÷Designer: Daniel Dos Santos | by D.J.Butler, Baen ISFDB or Amazon Entry
The Covers I’m Surprised Didn’t Get More Points – Rank 6
Remember that aside from one book, all of these covers had already been through a substantial set of filters. So there aren’t bad covers here, just ones that didn’t grab me quite as much as the higher ranked ones.
This also where the category system might show its bugs. I really thought I’d give Walkaway a lot more points!
- Rank:6 Score:10 – Magic Bitter, Magic Sweet Artist÷Designer: Joan Wong| by Charlie N. Holmberg, 47North ISFDB or Amazon Entry
- Rank:6 Score:10 – Walkaway Artist÷Designer: Will Staehle| by Cory Doctorow, Tor ISFDB or Amazon Entry
- Rank:6 Score:10 – Fallout: The Hot War Artist÷Designer: David G. Stevenson| by Harry Turtledove, Del Rey ISFDB or Amazon Entry
Fun but Flawed – Rank 7 to 9
Well done to Sieging Manganela – it did manage to hold its own against some big publishing house covers. Again, some nice covers here. Generally, they lost marks for reasons: not enough information or too much information, being too literal or not literal enough, and so on. All good in other ways though.
- Rank:7 Score:9 – Sieging Manganela Artist÷Designer: Brian Allen| by Charon Dunn, Amazon Digital Services ISFDB or Amazon Entry
- Rank:8 Score:8 – The Sunlight Pilgrims Artist÷Designer: Suzanne Dean, Kai & Sunny| by Jenni Fagan, William Heinemann ISFDB or Amazon Entry
- Rank:8 Score:8 – A God in the Shed Artist÷Designer: an unsung hero| by J.F.Dubeau, Inkshares ISFDB or Amazon Entry
- Rank:8 Score:8 – Of Sand and Malice Made Artist÷Designer: René Aigner| by Bradley P. Beaulieu, DAW books ISFDB or Amazon Entry
- Rank:8 Score:8 – The Hammer of Thor Artist÷Designer: John Rocco | by Rick Riordan, Disney Hyperion ISFDB or Amazon Entry
- Rank:9 Score:7 – After Atlas Artist÷Designer: Anxo Amarelle | by Emma Newman, Roc ISFDB or Amazon Entry
- Rank:9 Score:7 – Borderline Artist÷Designer: an unsung hero| by Mishell Baker, Saga ISFDB or Amazon Entry
- Rank:9 Score:7 – Occupy Me Artist÷Designer: Sidonie Beresford-Browne| by Tricia Sullivan, Gollancz ISFDB or Amazon Entry
The Judge is an Idiot – Rank 10 and 11
I think both of these scored poorly because they are BIG ART on a tiny cover with text on top. On reflection, my low scores seem mean and your own judgement might put these much higher. Still, somebody has to come last and it was a tough field.
- Rank:10 Score:6 – Babylon’s Ashes Artist÷Designer: Daniel Dociu| by James S.A. Corey, Orbit ISFDB or Amazon Entry
- Rank:11 Score:5 – Death’s End Artist÷Designer: Stephan Martiniere | by Cixin Liu translated by Ken Liu, Tor ISFDB or Amazon Entry
This Score is too Good For It – Rank 12
Enough categories and enough lapses of judgement on my part and this monstrosity still managed to pick up some marks here and there.
- Rank:12 Score:4 – MAGA 2020 Artist÷Designer: Dawn Witzke| by ed Marina Fontaine, Superversive Press ISFDB or Amazon Entry