Rachel Neumeier

Fantasy and Young Adult Fantasy Author

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Cover art is important —

Death to the chain mail bikini! is the very proper and catchy rallying cry raised by a post here. This is James Sutton at Booklife, by the way.

Here’s what Sutton starts with:

“If you work in science fiction and fantasy publishing, you’ve undoubtedly heard the phrase “Just put some breasts on the cover.”

Well, I wouldn’t know, but if so, ick.

And I’m not alone in saying Ick, either. Sutton adds,

“While most folks acknowledge that sex sells, a wide chunk of the audience finds the preponderance of scantily clad women on SF covers offensive.”

No, really?

And even though Sutton feels compelled to add “regardless of how you feel about gender issues–even if you’re one of those unfortunate Rush Limbaugh fans who call any woman who speaks her mind a “feminazi” which I must say is a stupid gratuitous swipe at, for example, my mother, who is a Limbaugh fan, so thanks, James! —

But! Regardless of your totally irrelevant political opinions, if you want to put scantily clad people on covers, then if what you’re selling is a torrid erotic romance, FINE. But if what you’re selling is supposedly fantasy, then even if there’s romance — even if there’s torrid romance — if it would not be shelved in the “erotica” section — can we please have clothed people on the cover?

Even if we’re not talking about a literal chainmail bikini — and sometimes we are —

Looks like she'd get awfully chilly

— we’re often talking about women who apparently wander through the world without clothes on important parts of their bodies, and I don’t necessarily mean their tummies:

This is ridiculous

Just sayin’, if you wear nothing on your legs in the woods in the summer, you are going to get chewed to death by bugs. Never mind having your tanned, muscular thighs hacked up by guys who have not only swords but also, you know, armor.

When it comes to books, there’s only one series where chainmail bikinis belong on the covers:

These are hilarious

And I actually quite like these stories, btw. They’re funny! My favorite is actually MATHEMAGICS, by Margaret Ball , which has the most awesome chapter numbers EVER.

I have the book, but not with me, so I can’t remember all the chapter headings, but let me just say that anything to the zero power equals “1”. Just for example. And I think the chapter numbers get more challenging as you go through the book. I think there’s one with limits, for example.

Now I want to go get the book of the shelf and read it again! Which is pretty good for a book with a chainmail bikini on the cover.

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