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Book Cover Smackdown (Forthcoming Steampunk Edition)! SKY PIRATES vs. FALLING SKY vs. THE MAMMOTH BOOK OF STEAMPUNK ADVENTURES

It’s time another Book Cover Smackdown! This time around, covers of forthcoming steampunk titles go head-to-head. Your mission, should you choose to accept it: Pass artistic judgment!

Tell us:

  • Which of these covers do you like the most?
  • What works and what doesn’t work with these covers?
  • Do any of them make you want to learn more about and/or read the book?

Falling Sky by Rajan Khanna
(Pyr | October 7, 2014 | Cover illustration artist: Chris McGrath; Designer: Nicole Sommer-Lecht)

Ben Gold lives in dangerous times. Two generations ago, a virulent disease turned the population of most of North America into little more than beasts called Ferals. Some of those who survived took to the air, scratching out a living on airships and dirigibles soaring over the dangerous ground.

Ben has his own airship, a family heirloom, and has signed up to help a group of scientists looking for a cure. But that’s not as easy as it sounds, especially with a power-hungry air city looking to raid any nearby settlements. To make matters worse, his airship, the only home he’s ever known, is stolen. Ben must try to survive on the ground while trying to get his ship back.

This brings him to Gastown, a city in the air recently conquered by belligerent and expansionist pirates. When events turn deadly, Ben must decide what really matters—whether to risk it all on a desperate chance for a better future or to truly remain on his own.

Sky Pirates by Liesel Schwarz
(Del Rey | October 28, 2014 | Cover illustration artist: unknown)

For romance and urban fantasy fans and readers of Gail Carriger’s Changeless and Cherie Priest’s Boneshaker, this thrilling historical fantasy adventure features warlocks, fairies, and the unforgettable heroine—the daring dirigible pilot Elle Chance—who navigates the realms between the Light and Shadow.

With her husband, Hugh Marsh, missing in the netherworld and presumed dead, Elle Chance loses herself in the task at hand: piloting the airship Water Lily on commissions across the globe. But as it turns out, her beloved is very much alive—the once-powerful warlock reduced to a wraith. When Water Lily is threatened by pirates, Elle will have to channel all her power as the Oracle—the keeper of the barrier between the two Realms—to try to save what she loves most. As the dark forces of Shadow converge around her, Elle must find a way to breach the curse that binds Marsh. But once released, will Marsh return to her—or is their love destined to die so that he can live?

(Running Press | October 7, 2014 | Cover illustration artist: unknown)

Looking to the future through the lens of the past, here is a second fantastic collection of over 30 typically anarchic mash-ups that push the boundaries of steampunk from the same editor of the bestselling Mammoth Book of Steampunk. Includes an introduction by Ann VanderMeer, along with stories by Tobias S. Buckell, A.C. Wise, Cherie Priest, Jay Lake, Benjanun Sriduangkaew, Christopher Barzak, Carrie Vaughn, Jonathan Wood, Chris Roberson,C.S.E. Cooney, E. Catherine Tobler, Alex Dally MacFarlane, Gord Sellar, Tony Pi, Aliette de Bodard, Nisi Shawl, Lisa L. Hannett, Genevieve Valentine, Sofia Samatar, Caitlín R. Kiernan, Cat Rambo, K.W. Jeter, Margaret Ronald, Samantha Henderson, and Ken Liu.

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.

10 Comments on Book Cover Smackdown (Forthcoming Steampunk Edition)! SKY PIRATES vs. FALLING SKY vs. THE MAMMOTH BOOK OF STEAMPUNK ADVENTURES

  1. Can we get one (just one!) heroine without red hair? It’s just getting tiresome now.

  2. Melanie Goldmund // July 26, 2014 at 10:30 am //

    The cover for Falling Sky looks like the covers of the Max Gladstone books. Sky Pirates looks exciting, adventurous and intriguing. Well, okay, except for the unnatural shade of red hair that makes me wonder if the female heroine is not actually Natasha Romanov, the Black Widow.

    Steampunk Adventures also looks adventurous, but not quite as exciting or intriguing as Sky Pirates.

    • “The cover for Falling Sky looks like the covers of the Max Gladstone books”

      Agreed. I’m not sure what to call it, but Fallin5g Sky (and the Max Gladstone books, and the Vampire Empire Books and a bunch of others) seem to have this distortion filter that makes everything more monochromatic and fuzzy edged, like you’re looking at it through a later of water or something. Anyone know what that’s called?

    • Same artist 🙂

  3. None of this covers are very appealing to me. They are your typical dystopian/steampunk book covers. Falling Sky is boring and unnatractive. Sky Pirates has something interesting going on, but that blue typography looks awful.
    If I had to pick one, I’d choose The Mammoth Book of Steampunk Adventures, for the great lettering work, but then again, is just another steampunk cover among many and does not say anything special.

  4. SKY PIRATES is the best of the three.

  5. Battle of the generics

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