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sci-fi undercover

          When you’re at a bookstore, with no particular purchase in mind, what do you base your decision on?  For science fiction fans, I’m willing to bet that the cover determines roughly 75% of our random purchases.  Sure, the back blurb seals the deal (or ruins it). but it’s the artwork that invites us to pick the book up in the first place.  And as many avid readers probably know, the older the novel, the more likely it is that the art tends toward the absolute insane–specifically with science fiction.

Go ahead and google ‘science fiction covers’–safe search is up to you.

Why is she wearing that in the desert?

I mean, come on. Actually, now I want to read this.

Usually featuring a busty woman, a heroic man, a hideous monster, or some sort of space ship or battle–science fiction covers don’t vary much in subject matter, but it’s the details that set each apart.  How disgusting is the monster–and what color?  How has the artist imagined the spaceships?  What sort of impossible peril is the hero pictured in, or what proportions have been assigned the lead lady?

          And sadly–how much of this work, both by the artist and the author, has never been seen by science fiction fans?  Whether out of print or lost in the shuffle or buried in bookstore stacks, thousands of novels birthed by dedicated people and published by those who believed in the project simply disappear from our lives.

Sci-Fi Undercover is a selfish feature with a benevolent side-effect–I get to read old books with awesome covers, and these books get light shined on them once again.  These stories will live on in the mind of at least one more reader.

Three rules govern Sci-Fi Undercover

1.  I may only view the cover before choosing the book

2.  If it is by an author I have never heard of, I can check the publication date

3.  If it is published before 1990, it can be read

All Sci-Fi Undercover Posts (latest at the top)

•  Esther Friesner / Unknown Artist

•  Christopher Anvil / Kelly Freas

•  Bonus: Q & A with Science Fiction and Fantasy Illustrator David B. Mattingly

•  Desperate Measures

•  Joe Clifford Faust

•  Daystar and Shadow

•  A Beginning (Introduction to Sci-Fi Undercover)


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