Seamyst — It’s inside. What we’re seeing here is what happens when you don’t properly secure your baby-saucer before starting a trans-galactic road trip. You hit something, and your alien baby made of some kind of reflective metallic obsidian material goes flying through the windshield and into the vacuum of space, killing everyone aboard by catastrophic decompression.
Space-Baby has no legs and a hi-tech surfboard ra-ra skirt. (Or maybe s/he is behind a Jean Michel Jarre-style curved keyboard) Is this Wordy from ‘Look and Read’ after the yellow nodules were shaved off his head?
I’m amazed no one has commented on that very strange looking parrot.
The artist seems capable of painting each individual thing quite well, so I am assuming there is something deliberately weird about the parrot in the story. Perhaps it is the ship’s AI, and the obsidian baby is an interloper.
The whitewashing of the MC is pretty disgraceful, though.
Perhaps there should be a “whitewash” or a “racefail” tag?
I believe every edition of Ursula K. LeGuin’s Earthsea books on this site could use that tag, if added.
Alessandra (and Ian) – In weak defense of the artist, this is an early ’90s Science Fiction Book Club cover, and at that time it was odds-on whether the artist had even skimmed the book let alone read it; I think many of them were just handed a short list of elements to work in, if not just the cover blurb.
(There was a very obvious case of this with their brief printing of the RED DWARF novelizations, the jacket art for which had a white Dave Lister and a Cat with an actual cat head. The other horrible example was the art for Mercedes Lackey’s LAST HERALD-MAGE trilogy, which looked like the art direction was “Gay guy, white ren-faire outfit, white horse, GO!”)
Ian Sales, I’m not talking about Tabitha Jute (I haven’t read the book anyway), I’m talking about the baby. Well, you know, we are going to have a black person on the cover, and they kind of overreacted :p
At least that’s the impression it gives me.
@Don Hillard: In light of that, I wonder if they gave the artist the cover of Doug’s edition and said “this, from a different angle.”
I had been assuming that the author’s descriptions were so precise that both artists made most elements of the cover essentially the same. But it could also turn out like this if someone saw Doug’s cover without reading the story and tried to recreate it.
I note on Doug’s cover the MC is only very subtly a PoC, for example, which could easily have been overlooked.
The green monitor shows the Death Star has cleared the planet right at that moment 2001 Space Odyssey space race baby pops through the floating Stargate portal causing Erin Gray from Buck Rodgers to throttle her Star Trek warp drive controls to dual six red bars (warp 6?) almost snapping her neck and twisting upper Stephen Hawking’s chair as she loses left forearm from remote control pointed at blue screen time code CRT monitor which was showing the Galaxy Quest historic archives in Betamax all while Aladdin’s parrot Iago looks on deviously. Obviously this all has something to do with the Genie.
@Don: SFBC covers are indeed horrible. Mine for the omnibus of the First Chronicles of Thomas Covenant has a guy in a blue robe holding a staff against some evil tooth-monster things. You might argue that that’s semi-relevant to the story, but the guy has all his fingers on both hands, which ruins it for me. (For what it’s worth, frequently the insides are typo-riddled as well.)
@Sneaky: To be absolutely fair, SFBC has sometimes come up with great cover art for their one-offs and omnibus editions.
As an example, the Victoria Poyser painting that graced McCaffrey’s Harper Hall of Pern omnibus was far lovelier than anything I ever saw on the paperback editions.
And here’s a comparison of the SFBC,/a> and paperback covers of Stephen Leigh’s The Crystal Memory. This was one where the SFBC artist (AC Farley) obviously read the book (and the Avon artist just as obviously didn’t!
Dear gods. After you said that, I went looking for the legendary awful SFBC Red Dwarf cover, and I found it.
It’s a pity GSS doesn’t do media tie-ins, because this is the most WTF version of Red Dwarf imaginable. Rimmer and Lister both as middle-aged caucasian guys. Cat as a lynx-headed thing in a suit. Holly as … what, Yul Brynner?
So instead of two black guys and two white guys, it’s three white guys and a cat?
Why did they even bother using the real Red Dwarf logo?
@Don Hilliard – Colin Greenland hasn’t been well-served by cover art on his books in the US. When he saw the original massmarket paperback of Take Back Plenty, he was less than happy with how Tabitha Jute had been depicted – see here. And then there’s what the US publisher did with Harm’s Way – see here.