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Book Cover Smackdown! Best Served Cold vs. Total Oblivion vs. The Terminal State

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

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NOTE: Bigger, better cover art images are available by clicking the images or title links…

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.

22 Comments on Book Cover Smackdown! Best Served Cold vs. Total Oblivion vs. The Terminal State

  1. Gotta go with The Terminal State (although I had seen the other two before)

    The lettering and artwork on Best Served Cold leaves me longing for the tremendously superior UK HC version. That was a great cover.

    Total Oblivion More or Less is decent but the burnt orange color really annoys me for some reason. The squashed Alan Deniro isn’t helping either.

    The Terminal State is my favorite but by no means perfect. It resorts to the cliched circuitry/city overlay which is been done and overdone in today’s book covers. It works but it’s getting tired.

  2. My random inconsequential incoherency…

    Best served cold – Simple. Yet evocative.  (trite I know)

    Total Oblivion – Rorschach test, no no the voices in my head tell me to avoid those things.

    Terminal State- Somebody is trying to be artsy, in that 70s detective show way.   I can hear the theme to Charlie’s Angels, or maybe it is The Rockford Files…

    I guess simple wins by default.  Plus it has a cover blurb were GRRM says it is bloody…



    I love the colors and that the main image is off to the left. unexpected!

  4. For me it is a toss up between Total Oblivion and Terminal State.  All three covers seem to suffer to some degree by the more recent trend to just put big words on the cover and keep the art budget down.  Total Oblivion has a more interesting design but looks a little to Halloweenish with the cover colors.  Terminal State has me hearing James Bond music for some reason, so I’ll give it the nod.

  5. I will second everything Carl V. said. His opinions are always sound and I would be wise to adopt them as my own more often.

  6. David Ellis // November 24, 2009 at 2:26 pm //

    All of them are pretty snooze-inducing.  None would get a second glance from me based on the cover.

  7. I’m BlueMan, and Somers’ cover has a blue man, so he wins.

    OK that’s just BS, but I do have to go with the dual-pistol-wielding-guy.  The cover suggests action and long odds and certainly a stronger SciFi suggestion than the other 2.

  8. “Total Oblivion” wins by default.  “Best Served Cold”‘s cover brings to mind ren faires and character names with apostrophes, while terminal state would work as a Donald Westlake or Andrew Vachss cover, but not for a SF novel.

    At least “Total Oblivion”, while not great, has a little bit of a Terry Pratchett or Tom Holt feel to it.

  9. I’m going to remember that Jeff said that and remind him of it often!


    Dominic, I hadn’t noticed it until you mentioned it, but Total Oblivion does has a Pratchett-ness about it, doesn’t it?


  11. The Terminal State

  12. i say terminal state if youve read the other books youd pick it to just because a cover doesnt show sf doesnt mean its not so TERMINAL STATE ALL THE WAY!!!!!

  13. I realize it matches the recent mass market covers for the Cates books, but I’m disappointed to see that the Somers book didn’t get another Jae Lee cover.   does this mean it won’t get a trade realese to match the others?

  14. The Terminal State! The city as circuit board? Classic in my opinion…

  15. …and by realese, I obviously meant some sort of Freudian typo regarding  the book’s validity.

  16. ..and by validity, I obviously meant the book doesn’t yet exist for us to buy until next Summer, but I’ll definitely be buying.  The Cates books are a blast.


    …but they still should get a Jae Lee cover.  šŸ™‚

  17. My dad’s name is Jeff and he lives in the state of Terminal. I think this book is going to be about my life and I can’t wait to see how it ends. Maybe I can stop working and do my dream job, Whiskey tester.

    I don’t know how he got all the information about my life but I’m excited and perhaps a little apprehensive. I mean how would you feel if he wrote about you?

    The Terminal State gets my vote, after all it’s got to be about my life…right?

  18. The Terminal State, the cover is simple but beautiful.

  19. I’d have to go with the Terminal State . . .  hands down.

  20. Terminal State. City as microcircuits is a winner. Shadows and silohouettes are also eternally cool.

  21. Gotta go with the Terminal State. I don’t know what it is about that artwork, but it’s my favorite.

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