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Book Cover Smackdown! Gridlinked vs. Tides From The New Worlds vs. Geosynchron

Your mission, should you choose to accept it: Tell us which cover you like best and why. Go!

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NOTE: Click on the book images or title links to access bigger & better versions of the cover art…

About John DeNardo (13012 Articles)
John DeNardo is the Managing Editor at SF Signal and a columnist at Kirkus Reviews. He also likes bagels. So there.

17 Comments on Book Cover Smackdown! Gridlinked vs. Tides From The New Worlds vs. Geosynchron

  1. // May 4, 2009 at 11:37 am //



    for one thing, its colours don’t fight with one another. and it doesn’t look look like a bunch of different images thrown together – its cohesive. And the type on the cover blends in – it doesn’t jump out, making it the first thing you notice.

  2. A hundred times: Geosynchron.

  3. Geosynchron. And it’s not even close.

    I don’t enjoy seeing people displayed prominently on my covers. Tides is alright but it seems more of a collage then anything else.

  4. Definitely Geosynchron for the overall look. Good visual appeal, unusual but cohesive colors, good imagery.  While Gridlinked looks like something I’d pick up and read the back cover of, it bothers me whenever the author’s name is so HUGE compared to the title of the actual book.

  5. I’m with the others.  Geosyncron is just superb.  I usually think of these covers in terms of posters or prints.  Which would I be willing to hang on my wall?

  6. Starry // May 4, 2009 at 2:20 pm //

    Geosynchron for its integrity (and therefore: power).

  7. You know, I dig the Geosynchron cover too, but I think that style of image is becoming a little overused – namely, the sweeping cityscape with (sometimes) a diminutive figure in the foreground contemplating the scene.  See, for example, the covers to all of Kay Kenyon’s “Entire and the Rose” books, or Daniel Abraham’s “Long Price Quartet” books.  I’ve seen that layout used enough other times for it to feel like it’s becoming a genre cliche.

    Therefore, I vote for Tides.  I like the alien landscape, I like the face, I like the use of color and I like the overall collage effect. 

  8. I agree. With Geosyncron, the art and design play perfectly with each other, resulting in a cover that is clearly SF, but also something you’d be proud to be seen on the bus with. My one complaint is that a lot of the Martiniere covers for Pyr, especially for Edelman and Jay Lake, have the same sort of light-dark balance, the dark foreground layers leading you back into the light background layers. It’s beautiful, but a little repetitive. Makes sense to make a series look alike, but could be dangerous across different authors. That said, I think it works better than the Action-Figure Asher cover or the pretty rainbow world of the Buckell cover.

  9. resulting in a cover that is clearly SF, but also something you’d be proud to be seen on the bus with.

    Thank you. Very much the goal in Pyr covers. Should point out that Jay Lake isn’t one of ours, though he does have some sweet covers.

    I do like the Tides cover. The artist, Brian W Dow, has written a great piece at Clarkesworld Magazine detailing the model work and other bits that went into the cover.  That force field in the little girl’s hands, for instance, is a frozen water balloon.

  10. euphrosyne // May 4, 2009 at 3:08 pm //

    I think GRIDLINKED is the odd man out here; I’ve never cared for “our hero in an action sequence” covers, but I’m sure there’s a demographic who loves them. The other two are comparable in approach: a panorama, a mood, a window on a world with hints of the activities of the entire population. And apparently I’m not alone in voting for GEOSYNCHRON. It wins hands down in the eye-catching contest, but I’m a sucker for architecture.

  11. DFowler // May 4, 2009 at 3:14 pm //

    Geosyncron. I really like all of Martiniere’s covers and this one doesn’t disappoint. Makes me want to explore what I see, a big plus to buying the book.

    The other two are good. Neal Asher’s name is a little large

  12. When I select covers for our space opera magazine, Ray Gun Revival, I look for a number of things. Does the cover:

    • immediately catch the eye and make the casual passerby want to stop and look inside?
    • feature a protagonist to draw our attention to, or is it just a pretty space / planetscape?
    • suggest action (either physical or ideals)
    • suggest a scene sympathetic to the main idea of the work?
    • arouse my curiosity in any way?
    • capture an iconic ‘frozen in time’ moment?
    • make me want to pick up the story / magazine / novel?
    • give me a sense of place / space / person’s character?
    • make me want to track down more works by the artist?

    There are other criteria, but I’d say those are the biggies.

    The Gridlinked cover has a great ‘frozen’ moment, but the action strikes me as a bit generic. Some guy and some other beings are being fired upon. While the art itself is colorful and well rendered, it doesn’t tell me much about the protag.

    The Tides cover, while it suggests wonder, is also a bit too general for my taste. If anything, it strikes me a bit like a 2001 rip-off, only the starchild appears Asian.

    Finally, the Geosynchron cover immediately captures my eye, arouses my curiosity, stimulates my sense of wonder, makes me wonder who the protag is an what he is doing, and is otherwise pleasing to look at. Further digging suggests that I know the artist, Martiniere, from his Elantris cover, which presented a number of iconic images from the novel all in one visual snapshot, one of my recent favorites.

    The Geosynchron cover is the one cover of the three that makes me want to pick up the novel and learn more about it just by looking at the cover, and isn’t that what cover art is supposed to do?

  13. GEOSYNCHRON. ‘Cos I love me some hardware.

  14. Well, I dunno. Geosynchron has a catchy, beautiful cover, but it reminds me a lot of Newton’s Wake. Which isn’t necessarily a point against it.

    Tides from the New Worlds has a sort of collage/CGI cover I don’t care for…but what really redeems it for me is the text. The text is really well put together.

    And the Neal Asher book, Gridlocked, looks like a really fun SF book with the promise of more to come, just from the cover alone. So I could see wanting to pick that up the same way a comic cover might make me pick that up. If that makes sense.

    Final verdict: All of them please.

    (I suck at this, I know.)

  15. Weyland Yutani // May 4, 2009 at 11:18 pm //

    To be fair, the Gridlinked cover is probably the (3rd ?) variant cover for the novel, which has been around since 2001.   It stands to reason that the publisher would want to put out a cover that may attract some different readers to this outstanding series by Neal Asher.  Thus far, the character cover hasn’t been done and, if that was the intent, mission accomplished.   It’s a great illustration.



    With regard to the new covers, Martinierre’s work is always beautiful, and this illustration is a standout by him.  The cover works because the text and fonts are really well balanced.  Very attractive work for Edelman’s series.

    I’ll pass on the Buckell cover.  It isn’t doing anything for me.

  16. I’ll go with Martiniere. Although it has the same concept like other Stephan Martiniere’s covers, it is a very good and attractive one.

  17. TIDES is clearly the best illustration of the bunch, but sadly, the weakest cover. Blame the art director. Have to go with GRIDLINKED. Face-out, the cover would leap off the shelf compared to the other two.


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