Let’s Talk About This Book Cover
I have seen a terrible book cover, and it is Snow Crash.
What is up with this thing?
I know it was 1992, but was graphics software really that bad? This is a book about advanced technology and the internet, and this is the best we can do with a cover?
A cover that looks like something I might have made in my 10th grade graphic arts class?
Let’s examine. There’s a real guy, not a graphic from what I can tell, running down a hall of some sort toward a light, an open doorway. He’s surrounded by some sort of programming code. How fancy.
Now, maybe I’m missing something here. Since Snow Crash is a kind-of over-the-top parody of the cyberpunk science fiction genre, maybe this cover is a little bit of a parody in itself. Maybe it’s purposefully bad?
But why would a publisher do that? Most readers won’t have any idea of what the book’s about, so this cover would be their first impression. Would they get it? Am I not getting it?
Am I like the Chinese paper that thought this article from The Onion about Kim Jon-Un being named the world’s sexiest man was actually true? I love The Onion. Please tell me I’m not misunderstanding The Onion?
And why am I asking so many questions?
Was this cover inspired by the Six Million Dollar Man?
Maybe I’m exaggerating here. But when I look at Snow Crash’s cover, I’m reminded of other book covers. Like this:
Or maybe this:
But not a novel that is included on a 100 greatest list.
Why are there so many bad covers on science fiction novels? Why do a lot of these things look like the author just learned Photoshop yesterday and tried to keep the budget low by creating his own cover? Or that he outsourced the cover design to his sixth-grade nephew?
Do publishing companies really put this little effort into the appearance of their novels? Don’t they understand that “judging a book by its cover” isn’t just a joke–it’s a reality?