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Book Cover Smackdown! The Hugo Awards Showcase vs. Gardens of the Sun vs. Retribution Falls

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.

12 Comments on Book Cover Smackdown! The Hugo Awards Showcase vs. Gardens of the Sun vs. Retribution Falls

  1. Wow…I like all 3.  Very good covers.  I would have to give Retribution Falls a slight nod over the others.  However, if I picked it up and it turned out to be steam punk I would be very disappointed.

  2. Oh baby, Gardens in the Sun ALL THE WAY.  Although, is that a humanoid figure at the bottom or just some light and shadow?  If that’s a person, I knock off some points.

  3. If I saw any of these alone, I would totally check them out. All three covers are interesting. However, with all three judged side by side, Gardens of the Sun stands out with its vibrant blue-greens and splash of red. The other two covers come off as washed out in comparison.

  4. All three of these are nice.   There’s nothing really wrong with the Hugo Award one though the art seems a little stifled by all the gray, especially that heavy block on top.  The font is really nice though – open and friendly.  It’s a change from previous years which were a bit lighter, if I recall correctly, and maybe not as inviting as those two.

    Gardens of the Sun… well, it’s by Stephan Martiniere so you know a certain bar was passed, but there’s something a little expected about it.  Oooh… spaceships.  It’s a little dull, if artfully done. The font plays nicely with the art, but the interesting feature is the treatment is on “of the” which is a little small.

    In the end, Retribution Falls is my pick.  Again Stephan Martiniere so again, technically great, nice angle, nice sense of drama, all ditto Gardens of the Sun, but here the sense of wonder is really ramped up for me.  The title gets in the way a bit, but it’s not too offensive.

    So, Retribution Falls ftw.

  5. Jonathan — my bad.  The Gardens of the Sun cover is by Sparth, fixed above.

  6. Also, the title is Gardens of the Sun, not “in the” Sun. But thanks for the love.

  7. Tough, tough.


    The Hugo Award book is out of the running for me – the art, of which only a small portion of the original is shown, loses out to the rest of the stuff on the cover.


    Martiniere and Sparth are both beautiful, and tie for my pick.

  8. I had thought the Martiniere in the middle looked a bit odd for his style πŸ™‚

    Anyhow, the Donato wins.  It’s got a more interesting plallete than th other two, tells a story, and has a strongwoman in it who’s not there just to flash mermaid boobs at us.

  9. Three of my favorite SF illustrators.  Tough choice.  But I think I’ll have to go with the Donato illustration for The Hugo Award Showcase.

  10. Definitely “Gardens of the Sun”.  I like chiaroscuro, and this one has it in spades.  The other ones are nice, but that one really jumps out at me.

  11. Eric Cattani // November 19, 2009 at 9:33 am //

    A destroyed city, an ominous floating space craft and a man standing alone to face it.  Retrobution Falls says a lot with its cover.  It’s the one I’d read.

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