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Book Cover Smackdown! Dragon Haven vs. The Infernal City vs. The Zeppelin Pulps

Your Mission (should you choose to accept it): Tell us which cover you like best and why.

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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.

11 Comments on Book Cover Smackdown! Dragon Haven vs. The Infernal City vs. The Zeppelin Pulps

  1. Dragon Haven, hands down — excellent typography, clean design, and a dragon with interesting color/texture/asymmetry and a pose alluding to Renaissance depictions of dragons.

    Props to The Zeppelin Pulps for bravely using an ink wash, but are they actively trying to hide the author’s name?  And is Elvis actually in the novel?

    I’m sorry to see Greg Keyes writing brand fiction — a waste of his anthropologically-informed world-building, even if his writing talent makes it a good novel — but it’s especially unfortunate to get such a cliché cover.

  2. Mark Gerrits // September 6, 2009 at 2:41 am //

    I thought The Zeppelin Pulps was just an essay by Nevins in the back of the latest issue of Brubaker and Phillips’ Incognito comic? I haven’t read it yet though.  It definitely has the coolest art for me but if it were an actual book cover the layout would need some further work.

  3. #3, no question. I’m a sucker for covers with people, doing something, caught in that frozen-moment-in-time. And rayguns! And zeppelins! And apes?!

  4. None of the above.  Dragon Haven is only mildly interesting as a cover; the book would have to have a very strongly written blurb to make me consider reading it because the artwork doesn’t do much for me.  The Infernal City‘s floating city looks too similar to other artwork (such as “Cloud City” in The Empire Strikes Back) that it seems to be something of a visual cliche.  And The Zeppelin Pulps‘ cover is a thematic mess, making me think that the author doesn’t really know what his story is about.  (I agree with D’s comments regarding the use of monocromatic cover art (the ink wash) and that the author’s name seems to be hidden.)


  5. D’oh!  You’re right Mark.It’s not a book cover.  But I love it all the same. 🙂

  6. Jess Nevins // September 6, 2009 at 11:25 am //

    The Zeppelin Pulps “cover” is a re-envisioning of this: , which is one of the archetypal covers of the entire pulp era.

  7. I would pick up all three of these if they were on the new books table at the bookstore, but the Infernal City appeals to me the most. If the back happened to mention that it was a videogame tie-in, I would immediately put it back down.

  8. The Infernal City is the one I would pick up – the image might be a cliche, but I still like it.  As someone else siad, if I read it was a tie-in to a video game, I would put it down. 

  9. The layout and fonts for Infernal City provide the most cohesive sell of the three.  I love the illustration on The Zeppelin Pulps, but the rest of the layout and design negates the coolness of the artwork.  So close to being cool, but they only took it half way (which makes me feel like the same might be true of the writing).  The first, looks ready-made for a supermarket rack — boring and mass market cliche.

  10. Difficult questions, they’re not that excellent. I prefer the Zeppelin because it is the book that gives me the clearest idea of what is inside, the story to come, but that could be because it is more of a “genre” book that can’t cound on easily recognizable genre conventions like the other two. This off course, written by someone who has no idea about the writers, the story or the genres of the books. If I came across these laid side by side on an open table and asked to buy one for 6$ it would be the Zeppelin.

  11. Although I like the Zeppelin cover, it’s far too chaotic.  Dragon Haven looks boring and stereotypical…just screams generic/unspecified.  I have to agree that the floating city image is pretty cliche, but the cover and text keeps with the Oblivion theme really well.  And zombies would have just been laughable.  Considering it’s based off a video game, it’s got a respectable look to it.  I’m well pleased. 

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