Get ready for some cheese. I unironically and unapologetically love cheesy SFF covers. So if you’re looking for a beauty contest, this may not be the place for you. This is all about those covers that immediately catch the eye and make you burn to know what’s in this book. So let’s take a look.
The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch by Philip K. Dick. Okay, that’s terrifying. But as it should be! The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch is a book that takes a horrifying turn with a real downer ending. Eldritch is the character who enters the story and takes us on this downward spiral, and his three stigmata are his mechanical eyes, teeth, and hands. This cover takes that right to its beautiful extreme. There’s some religious imagery that I’m sure made PKD sweat bullets, with the cross behind his head and the demon wings. There’s so much going on here that represents the story so well but also freaks you out on a visceral level. So it’s not just that it’s over-the-top and kind of fun, but also that it does its job. This is the book in a nutshell. Showcasing that is what any good cover should do. Plus, just look at the way he’s sneering. Yeesh.
A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin. I’m aware that the newer, more minimalist covers appeal to a wider audience. That when the show came out, they wanted and needed that mass appeal. People are more likely to take a fantasy series seriously when they see a plain background with a crown and not a lot of D&D looking figures frolicking in a forest. I get it. But when they stopped doing these covers, a little part of me died. My copy of the first book is the one you see here. With Jon Snow and Ghost. I love that. Jon Snow is one of my least favorite characters in this series, but I still cherish seeing a beautiful image of him and his dire wolf on this cover. I feel like the books are missing something there. These character portraits add something for me. I really wish minimalism wasn’t the constant go-to.
The Dark Tower: Wizard and Glass by Stephen King. This one is more of a nostalgic thing. This was the copy I had years ago, before I upgraded my collection to the illustrated editions. Let me tell you I was obsessed with this cover. Something about that pink glass with the bird skull inside (both of which play a role in the book. I can’t stress enough how much it means to me when a cover is accurate in even an abstract way.) held my attention. The picture isn’t quite doing it justice either. That pink circle is weirdly iridescent, as mesmerizing as the crystal ball it represents. It’s simple, appealing to the minimalists, but with the perfect touch of magic. Plus, my favorite color is pink. You can probably tell by the layout of my blog. Pink books in the genres that I read are so rare I always cherish them when they pop up.
The Gospel of Loki by Joanne M. Harris. Okay, maybe I lied about there being no beauty queens here. Because look at this nonsense. This is gorgeous. But it’s nothing compared to what it’s like up close and in person. All the little gold and bronze parts? Foil. All the blue parts on the stones? This rubbery texture that compels you to touch. It’s tactile and eye-catching. If you’re one of those people who is like the human equivalent of a crow (ooo, shiny!), you won’t be able to resist this. I specifically ordered this cover, because I knew it would become a point of pride in my collection. The sort of thing I’d enjoy showing off whenever someone takes a look at my library. This cover also encapsulates the fact that, while the story is kind of tongue-in-cheek, it’s based in myth and folklore. It has the perfect feel to it.
The Southern Reach Trilogy by Jeff VanderMeer. I saved the best for last. Look how pretty. And weird. And pretty weird. Again, each cover represents something in each story, including an escalation of the story itself. Plants are eaten by rabbits which are prey to owls… That’s not a mistake, trust me. They look beautiful lined up on a shelf with their sherbet-colored spines. My favorite cover of the trio is the second. I love the complimentary colors of orange and blue. They really pop.
Those are my faves. Though I do want to impress upon you that, as with most things, and especially books, it’s what’s on the inside that counts. And as always, happy geeking!
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