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Book Cover Smackdown! ‘Phases of Gravity’ vs. ‘Tales from Super-Science Fiction’ vs. ‘Count to a Trillion’

Attention, armchair art critics! It’s time once again for another Book Cover Smackdown!

Here are today’s 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.

9 Comments on Book Cover Smackdown! ‘Phases of Gravity’ vs. ‘Tales from Super-Science Fiction’ vs. ‘Count to a Trillion’

  1. Well, if we’re talking colourful and attractive, I’d have to plump for the green Scarlet Witch impression on the cover of Tales from Super-Science Fiction, but in terms of good brushwork, Count to a Trillion would win hands down — as for the Phases of Gravity cover? It’s okay, but my instinctive reaction is “Meh!”

  2. Mangozoid has a point about the “Science fiction Scarlet Witch” cover…and like him, removing that from the equation, I’d go for the Wright.

  3. Richard R. // November 26, 2011 at 1:24 pm //

    I wish there were a larger image of PHASES OF GRAVITY, the line work looks like it might be excellent. For pure artistic merit, it would be COUNT TO A TRILLION, though it is a bit murky. It’s just that “Berkley look” is so appealing.

  4. Count to a Trillion looks like a John Harris cover.  It’s also my favorite of the three.  I’m always a sucker for space scenes with a sense of motion.

  5. Richard R. // November 26, 2011 at 6:16 pm //

    Yes, John Harris, but I always thought his work was an extension of Berkley’s.

  6. I’m gonna have to go with the pulp, “Tales from Super-Science Fiction” all the way.

    Also, it’s like she’s looking at the author list, not the aliens.

  7. I thought Count to a Trillion looked like Harris, too. He seems to like that ‘sunfish’ ship design. Although I didn’t like him initially (didn’t like the murky look), I’ve since become very fond of his work and the style. I go with Trillion, my only complaint being the font. There is something off about it, especially the author (still talking about the font).

    Super-Science looks fun and how can you not like a Freas. I’d pick it up in a heartbeat just because it got a grin out of me.

    I wish I could find a larger image of Gravity. Is there something significant in the reflection? If not, while it’s a decent picture, it’s just a picture.



  8. Harris is one of my favorite SF artists, but this is just standard Harris. Nothing about it stands out from his other work, although it is still good nonetheless. The Freas cover would probably be my favorite if it did more with the campyness. As it stand, it’s just campy and doesn’t take advantage of the art it’s playing off of.

    So Harris wins; the Bean submission might have been consisdered if there was a bigger version of it to see what the texturing adds to the illustration.

  9. For overall compostiion, I have to give it to Phases of Gravity. It works as a design and and as a book cover. However, it’s almost a tie, because I did like Count to a Trillion. At first I wasn’t sure if it was space or under water; also the use of typography in emphasizing “trillion” s very clever.  Hwoever, I find the unlikely anatomy and skimpy costume of the woman on the Silverburg anthology to be a total turnoff. Maybe it’s supposed to be fun and campy, but to me it just looks dated.  Congrats on giving all the artists’ names, BTW! 


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