More Cover Art

Yes! Because we totally need a “Best Michael Whelan Cover” category!

Only there are so many, many great Whelan covers, how can you choose? We have at the moment specific votes for Rawn’s dragon cover on SUNRUNNER’S FIRE:

And the one for Friedman’s BLACK SUN RISING is certainly great:

Though it’s a real shame so much of the art is covered up by that big black square. And for me this one is overly stylized. Or maybe I mean overly formal. That straight-on pose, I don’t know, it’s not my favorite way to pose the figure. Not that I think a pose needs to be active. I don’t mind that. But it looks to me just like this guy is in fact posing for a heroic painting by some famous painter, and I’d rather have a pose that suggests the artist caught him in a moment of his actual life.

Of the three Whelan covers mentioned in the comments, my favorite is this one:

I love the exuberant quality, the flung-wide arms that seem to embrace the whole sky. I haven’t read the book. In fact, I haven’t read any of these three books. Are they good enough to match their covers? (Not that I need more books on my TBR pile.)

But of all Whelan covers ever? Cherryh has some GREAT Whelan covers — on her Chanur books and on her Foreigner books. Any I love Whelan’s covers for The Dragonrider of Pern series. For dragon covers, I would vote for those. But overall? From all possible Whelan covers? I vote for the Little Fuzzy covers, including this one:

I just think the Fuzzies look wonderful. It’s so hard to make teddy bear aliens look real, but I think Whelan pulled it off. Cuter than Cavailer puppies and carrying those keen little spears! Cute, and yet they might actually be competent to survive in those woods. BTW, though I really enjoyed H Beam Piper’s original Little Fuzzy books, and Ardath Mayhar’s contribution from the Fuzzy point of view (Fuzzy Dreams, I think was the name), I haven’t read Scalzi’s recent re-telling of the story. Which is unique in my experience; has anybody else ever retold an older SFF writer’s story? How did that even come about? Anyway, I have no urge to read the Scalzi version, unless some of you have and you think it was great?

Also, while on the subject of covers, I found these two non-Whelan covers interesting — one was mentioned in the comments of the previous cover post and the other I own; I was struck by how similar they are.


I love both of these covers. But is there a thing where you MUST put red flowers in the upper right if doing an Oriental-ish cover? Girl with sword and flowers? Of course red is supposed to draw the eye.

Also, in case you see the covers and fall in love and wonder about the book? I haven’t read STORMDANCER (is it good?), but KATANA isn’t bad. It’s got some very nice snappy dialogue, but I found it a little disappointing. This may have been caused by inaccurate expectations. It’s sold as girl-gets-possessed-by-spirit-of-Samurai, and while this is accurate, I had in my head the idea that we would see this fabulous culture clash between a modern American teenage girl and the possessing spirit of a traditional older male Samurai warrior. No. The possessing spirit is that of a young female Samurai warrior. Not only was I disappointed, I slammed into the idea of a young female Samurai warrior with total disbelief and never recovered. But I can see how YA readers might like it better the way Gibson wrote it.

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5 thoughts on “More Cover Art”

  1. I hadn’t even seen that STORMDANCER cover! I was thinking of this one, revealed in a really interesting post on talking about the process of cover art: I still haven’t read the book; I wasn’t terribly impressed by the excerpt I read, although I suspect I will eventually give in and look for it at the library because GRIFFINS. (Not that interested in the steampunk aspect at all.)

    And now I really want to read a book about a modern American teenager possessed by the spirit of a middle-aged male samurai. (I wouldn’t mind a possession by the daughter of a samurai family, either, particularly if she was awesome with the naginata, but the book as you describe sends off alarm bells.)

    I really like the Hobb ASSASSIN books, though it’s been years since I reread them. I remember having a really tough time believing the romance, but I liked the main character a lot.

    I haven’t read either the original LITTLE FUZZIES or Scalzi’s remix. Somehow I really love Scalzi’s blog, but have a hard time with his books. I suspect it’s that my taste in sci-fi is kind of incredibly narrow.

    I’d completely forgotten the PERN covers were Whelan. Love them still!

  2. My copy of BLACK SUN RISING doesn’t have that black square blocking half of Whelan’s art. I get your objections to the static pose, but the whole thing stood out on the bookstore shelf. For whatever reason all three of the books in that set have similar poses on the cover. Maybe because the character was well aware of the uses of posing… or maybe to tie them thematically together and give browsers a clue: SEQUEL HERE.

    Artistically the FUZZY cover is great, as a cover, I’m not convinced. I KNOW my eye passed over it in the stores. I remember the Pern covers Whelan did. Never liked those dragons. The dragon on the Rawn book is much better.

    STORMDANCER sounds interesting, must look for it. Which reminds me, I read MISTWOOD, which you solicited comments on. It was good. The back of my brain was channeling FORTRESS IN THE EYE OF TIME for a while in the beginning, but the book went its own way. Surprises with foundations well laid, a nicely subtle romance (I thought), hard choices, good characterization. And, yes, politics. Although perhaps not enough info about the politics to really let me get my teeth into them. I’d say she understands family politics, though. (deletes more as spoilery.)

    Families and friends are often neglected in books, it’s good to see them handled well.

    For whatever reason, after channeling FitEoT, I also found it reminding me of your LAW OF BROKEN EARTH. Which I am now off to reread.

  3. No no no! The Pern dragons are the BEST. : )

    You make MISTWOOD sound like something I really should get to. So many books, so little time . . .

  4. I am particularly fond of Whelan’s cover for Piers Anthony’s BEARING AN HOURGLASS, which you may have blocked because the book itself isn’t very good.

  5. Yep, I had to go look it up, because I think I got rid of all my Piers Anthony years ago. But it is really good! But I still like the Fuzzy covers the best.

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