The old adage warns against judging a book by a cover, but sometimes book covers can be pretty awesome in and of themselves, even when divorced from the actual book. There’s another adage about a picture being worth a thousand words, and there’s definitely an art to creating a single image that evokes the themes, characters, or story contained within those covers. And let’s face it: a lot of time the actual, official art that gets slapped on a book release isn’t nearly as creative or interesting as it could be. So while the images in this post might not actually adorn the covers of any of these science fiction classics, let’s imagine an alternate dimension where they do, because that alternate dimension would be nifty.
These designs were created by various artists from all over the Interwebs, brought together by the delightfully titled Artsy Musings of a Bibliophile blog. (We would like to give that blog a hug, but virtual reality technology hasn’t advanced far enough yet.) First up, the lovely mock Penguin Books cover for George Orwell’s 1984, designed by Luke James. The security camera speaks for itself, but it’s a really nice touch to have its beam illuminating a line from the novel. Sometimes simple is best.
Then we’ve got this minimalistic design for Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World which you can see above. You could say Kevin Tong’s art perfectly encapsulates Huxley’s story. If you were the sort to make bad puns, which I, clearly, will not stoop to. Seriously though, the idea of putting the cityscape inside the clear half of the medicine tablet makes for a brilliantly evocative visual. Just remember not to start reading it on an empty stomach.
Sometimes a literal take on a title can be just as interesting as an image that tries to sum up the book itself. Artist Hannes Beer conjured up a whimsical cover for Philip K. Dick’s Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, which of course was adapted into the movie Blade Runner. Maybe this dreaming ‘bot was one of those things Roy Batty saw that we wouldn’t believe?
Speaking of androids, here’s a new take on Douglas Adams’ Hitchhiker’s Guide featuring Marvin, everybody’s favorite monstrously depressing/depressed synthetic being. I like that artist Wayne Dorrington has taken one of Hollywood’s most overused poster cliches — the hero with his back to the camera — and somehow managed to suggest the very essence of Arthur Dent. I think maybe it’s the slack-shouldered body language as Dent watches a Magrathean sunrise. Here’s what Dorrington himself had to say about it:
“In the scene shown, Arthur is experiencing his first realisation that he is travelling the universe, as he watches the sun set on Magrathea with Marvin. He is explaining to Marvin how awe inspiring it is, and Marvin replies that its rubbish. Marvin’s job in the books is very much reminding us that the universe in Adams world is fraught with errors and breakdowns, no matter how hip and froody it appears.
In the distance we can see the Heart of Gold, the spaceship stolen by Zaphod Beeblebrox that carried the heroes to Magrathea. Tucked in Arthur’s pocket (or bag, its not clarified which) we see his copy of The Guide, lent to him by Ford Prefect.
One of the blog’s coolest picks is one we covered earlier in the year: this amazing custom edition of Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451 by designer Elizabeth Perez…complete with included match and striking pad on the spine. Though it take a thousand years, it shall one day be mine.