Friday, June 19, 2015

Judging Books by Their Covers


Over at SF Signal, they have a regular feature they call Mind Meld, where a number of their favorite people are asked a single provocative question. Most recently it was, in essence, what are your favorite speculative book covers and why? Interestingly enough, the consensus was that the vest covers were the sort that made you want to read exactly the sort of book they illustrated.

I approve of this kind of thing because it gives me a chance to admire some talented and hard-working artists. And I was particularly pleased that one of Alvaro Zinos-Amaro's picks was the cover for my own collection The Best of Michael Swanwick.

Lee Moyer did a terrific job, as you can see above. In addition to the virtues explicated by Zinos-Amaro, there are two lightly-hidden jokes: One is the pointer that turns the word BEST into BEAST.  And the other is that on the watch-lid opening to reveal the portrait of Sir Blackthorpe Ravenscairn de Plus Precieus, is a rather heavily bearded portrait of myself.

At his point, it's traditional to say that I can take no credit for the cover. But the truth is that I can. Because while we were putting together the book, William Schafer asked if I had any suggestion for the cover artist.

My first impulse was to say I hadn't, because what the heck does a writer know about art and cover design? But then I realized that if I wound up with a bad cover, I'd have no one to blame but myself. So I suggested Lee because he'd done a strikingly beautiful cover for my earlier collection, A Geography of Unknown Lands. It came to pass and I think it's safe to say that everyone involved was more than happy with the result.

So, really, the person who has the most reason to be thankful to me for the suggestion is... me.

Thank you, Michael.

I'm very welcome.

You can find SF Signal's article here.


No comments: