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Book Cover Smackdown! ‘Surface Detail’ vs. ‘Dark Space’ vs. ‘Ivory’ (French Reprint)

It’s time for another Book Cover Smackdown, where you (yes, you!) get to 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.

12 Comments on Book Cover Smackdown! ‘Surface Detail’ vs. ‘Dark Space’ vs. ‘Ivory’ (French Reprint)

  1. euphrosyne // June 30, 2010 at 1:45 am //

    Surface Detail: Yawn. Generic, generic, generic.

    Dark Space: It’s not immediately catching, but on closer inspection I am definitely intrigued by the D&D-rogue-meets-extreme-firepower novelty here.

    Ivory: Yes, yes YES! Looks like space opera, which I really don’t care for, but I want to want to read this, the cover is just so gorgeous. The curves of those tusks are a perfect sensual conterpoint to the ship. We need more covers like this in the US.

  2. I think if I were to choose my half-dozen favorite covers of my own books, two of them would be IVORY — the French one you showed here (which just came out from Gallimard; the original French edition was from DeNoel); and Bob Eggleton’s cover for the Pyr reprint of IVORY (Tor did the original).

  3. For the 1st time in a while I actually like all 3 covers, if I was casually browsing my local bookshop I would pick up all 3 to read the back covers.

    Surface Detail – Yeah it might be a bit generic, but thats because it is the latest in a long line of Culture novels by Mr Banks, but it fits well with the series and looks fairly cool.

    Dark Space – My least favourite of the 3, looks a little trashy/pulpy compared to her Parrish novels. (Also looking at this page I can see what i think is the UK cover which I MUCH prefer to this American cover.

    Ivory – Great cover, interesting and intreguing with the added bonus of somply being a great peice of art work, I don’t just want to pick this up to read the back cover I am already thinking about paying for it and walking out the shop.

  4. Ivory.  Reminds me of older Culture novels, so it’s interesting that it’s compared with a current one.  Gorgeous artwork and a hint of the unknown.

  5. Ivory is my favorite cover because it tells a story. From the angle of perspective, it seems we are being left behind. Are we the poor beast lying on the tundra? Good cover.

  6. Mark Watson // June 30, 2010 at 9:20 am //

    The Resnick is the best cover artwork, but the other two would be more likely to get me interested seeing the book on the shelf (and this comes down to a distinction between the cover artwork and the cover design). Then take into account that, by and large, ALL French paperbacks have pretty much the same design (the SF Folio books at least have non-white backgrounds). 

    Re the Banks – I think that is the UK cover and the US cover is not available yet, correct?

  7. I have to say I like Surface Detail the most, but Ivory is also pretty cool. 

  8. Re Banks, it certainly fits the style of the recent Banks novels (and reprints).

  9. UK releases *DOH*

  10. My cover of Dark Space looks nothing like that cover….

  11. I have to say I actually like the generic feel to Surface Detail and this would be my pick for best cover here.


    The UK cover of Dark Space is far better in my opinion (I own that one) and this cover doesn’t really show my image of the inside and would likely see me avoid it – Sorry Maz. 🙁


    I like Ivory, but it doesn’t immediately give me the sf feel.

  12. I believe the cover for Surface Detail is indeed the UK one, as this earlier posted cover at IO9 (final or not) defnitly fits with the recent US covers for Banks’ Culture novels:

    The US cover is even more generic than the UK one, but I like it more (I think) as it’s less cheesey.

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