I don’t know. It puts a smile on my face. It’s ever so Baroque, bright lights and silly star fonts. And I can’t help imagining the soloist bouncing up and down on his stage like it’s a huge springboard, and then flying PHWOOM! off into low orbit.
I’m not sure, but I think the cover you found is a mock-up. It has a more sketchy look, less polished, a little more collaged, the way computer-generated preliminary sketches can be. Also it’s cover art, not a physical cover — perfect, perfectly rectangle, no sense of paper or fingerprints, and there’s no sign of blurb or price or any of the other little extras that say final cover. Another clue is that its composition is nearly identical to this one, but there are some important differences. The scars on the back are rather more jarring, and, well, I can understand why they turned the figure’s faces towards us in the “final” art. The one here that Rusty submitted may have a bit of a “Dagwood about to eat a big sandwich” vibe, but in the other version from risingshadow, all three faces are turned away from the viewer, lacking in emotional connection, blank, even.
There’s a very “good” reason why his shirt is shredded and he’s in an improbable pose: this author has branched out into romance! (Yes, it’s true.) These books are apparently considered romantic fantasy/futuristic romance — hence the breakaway shirt. Ms. Asaro was one of the writers on a panel of romance authors that came to town recently. She spent a lot of time talking about how she was considered this GREAT sci-fi writer, but then the readers/publishers were just SO blown away by the romance in her stories that they felt that she should push into that genre as well. Personally, I think they were just trying to pawn her off onto someone else. Gee, thanks, sci-fi people. Like we don’t already have ENOUGH bad romance novel covers! On the other hand, this book cover isn’t NEARLY as horrible as “Ascendant Sun” which has one of the most deformed torsos I’ve seen this side of Fabio.