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Book Cover Smackdown! ‘Voyage of the Sable Keech’ vs. ‘Cowboy Angels’ vs. ‘Pirate Sun’

Here’s another batch of covers going head-to-head-to-head in another Book Cover Smackdown, where you play art critic and pick your favorite cover. Here are the contenders…

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

Books shown here:

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.

13 Comments on Book Cover Smackdown! ‘Voyage of the Sable Keech’ vs. ‘Cowboy Angels’ vs. ‘Pirate Sun’

  1. Dino Mascolo // May 15, 2010 at 1:49 am //

    Cowboy Angels.

  2. I like all 3 covers, but Cowboy Angels is the one that instantly grabs my attention. I just love the artwork, and the sense of high technology and interesting worlds to explore. Having read the back cover (well clicked on the image and read the accompanying blurb) I am a little less enthused but still keen to get my hands on a real copy of the novel and read it.

    Voyage of the Sable Keech is a bit of an odd one, I am not a huge fan of Mr Asher, although i have read a few of his novels and think I know where this one fits in to his Spaterjay series. The cover fits what I think the story will be but it doesn’t show off the scifi in the book.

    Pirate Sun is my least favourite of the 3, and thats down to 2 things…. For one some idiot has gone and placed the text in dirty great horribly coloured boxes over the artwork spoiling a picture I want to see. And secondly there just seems to be too much green on the cover – again those boxes, particularly the sickly yellow coloured one just unbalance the artwork so might be distorting my sense of colour. That said the artwork itself is interesting and does make me want to read the back cover.

  3. D Fowler // May 15, 2010 at 8:35 am //

    I like all of them. I’m always drawn to nautical themes and Voyage of the Sable Keech has everything going for it.Very intriguing. I am a big Carl Schroeder fan,and Stephan Martiniere did a great job as usual. But Cowboy Angels stands out and takes the win.

  4. I have to go with a tie between Voyage and Cowboy. Those are awesome. The third cover isn’t distinct enough and the color wash it out a little (making it harder to tell what’s going on). Having said that, they’re all great.

  5. Somebody RUINED Pirates – it is hideous now! That vomit green box needs to go NOW!


    Sparth’s is the clear-cut winner! Sich an elegant clean cover.

  6. I’d rank them in just the order you have them, left to right.

  7. Mark Stephenson // May 15, 2010 at 6:45 pm //

    “Cowboy Angels” because I am hopelessly superficial and cannot pass up a cover that screams “SCIENCE FICTION” to me, even if the book is crap, which I am sure this one is not…


  8. “Cowboy Angels” is definitely my favorite.  “Sable Keech” is a close second, but “Cowboy Angels” has a better sense of overall design.

    The green tones in “Pirate Sun” are really off-putting, unless the novel is about Dee-Dee Harridan getting rich off the first interstellar barf bag.

  9. I’d be completly going against the masses, but to me the composition of the artwork on the Cowboy cover is very static and the typography is a letdown as well.


    The Asher is a winner for me.

  10. Voyage — because no one has to guess or hunt around for the author’s name. And if you are the author, that’s a very nice thing indeed.

  11. @Midori – errr….. the other 2 novels both have the authors name written on the front cover quite clearly in reasonable sized print (I can read them quite easily in pictures that about 1/4 the size they will be when published).

  12. Hm. Pirate Sun for me. 

  13. I have to say that, for once, none of the covers on offer really capture me.  They all seem pretty close to other variations of covers I’ve seen.  Nothing wrong with the art on any of them really.  John Sullivan’s probably fires me up the most, just because that is a serious clustf**k of dragons.  Stephan Martiniere always does good stuff, but maybe I’ve seen too much of it at this point…


    The type treatment kind of lets down McAuley’s.  The author name and book title just don’t seem to work together.  Schroeder’s is competent and fits, but seems a little boring.  Again the Asher looks like the win, because the way they’ve treated his last name is almost the most exciting thing on the page (though seriously, that is a LOT of dragons) and suggests some pulpy awesome inside.

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