Sep 06

The real question is... doctor... or vet?Click for full image

ScottB Comments: The two-faced three-eyed (on fire?) dog/man is a little intriguing/befuddling, as is the pointy-faced guy at top left. But I also appreciate the use of *asterisk* *emphasis* in Gibson’s blurb, as apparently the use of boldface would have been over budget.
Published 2010

Actually, that cover IS a classical work of art!I would touch it without protective gloves.I've seen worse. Far, far, worse.Interesting, but I would still read it in public.Middlng: Neither awful nor awfully goodWould not like to be seen reading that!Awful... just awful...That belongs in a gold-lame picture frame!Gah... my eyes are burning! Feels so good!Good Show Sir! (Average: 6.44 out of 10)

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17 Responses to “Zoo City”

  1. SI Says:

    Goes to show, just because you won an Arthur C Clarke award, it doesn’t mean your cover is untouchable!

    Must suck to have a half dog face.

  2. THX 1138 Says:

    This has to be part of the Beastmaster series, hasn’t it? I can’t believe they dropped Marc Singer in favour of The Shaggy D.A.!

  3. Herm Says:

    A sloth? The female character’s Statutory Cute Companion Animal is a SLOTH?

    That’s… unbelievably badass, actually.

  4. Scott B Says:

    ACC award nothing, there’s been a cover by Clarke himself on this site (and plenty of other primo authors). No matter how good the author or book, there can always be weird covers (and this does look like a very good book).

  5. Phil Says:

    A sloth? Good. For I minute I thought it was a beaver.

  6. Tim Says:

    Featuring Denzel Washington reprising his Oscar-nominated role as Malcolm X!

  7. Lauren Beukes Says:

    Whatever you think of the aesthetics (and hey, I may be a little biased here), John Picacio and Angry Robot deserve kudos for going with a cover portraying people of colour when there’s been so much blatant racefail in the last 18 months.

    If you’re interested, there’s some back-story on how the cover came about and how John and I worked closely together to make sure the characters looked distinctively South African (rather than say, Somali or Congolese), trading reference pictures on everything from hairstyles to cell phone photos of HIllbrow architecture, all of which he incorporated with humbling attention to detail.

    The article, with a brief history of racefail is here:

  8. A.R.Yngve Says:

    Lauren has a good point — it IS extremely rare to see Black characters on SF/F book covers.

    In fact, we do make fun of “racefail” covers here — a lot of fun.

    That being said… the half-poodle man is worth a cheap pun or two…. 😉

  9. Tom Noir Says:

    I think there’s just too much going on here. My motto is “you can have faces with animal heads and spikes coming out of them, or you can have futuristic confetti cities, but you can’t have both!” This motto greatly confuses my life coach, but here I think it applies.

  10. SI Says:

    Welcome aboard Lauren!

    Very interesting read there about the cover, thanks for the link! Good to see you had input into it, unlike most authors, who just have to put up with what they get. I think you have definitely won there! It’s the little personal touches that I appreciate!

    Covers are just fantastic, good and bad. For an author to spend years on a book only then to have a man-tiger with a laser gun being attacked by a wizard on their book, must sometimes be a pain.

    Saying all that, your cover still has a man with a dog on half his face! Good Show Sir! Good show!

    Anyway, time for coffee number 4! 🙂

  11. Scott B Says:

    Thanks for the information on the cover process, Lauren. Sounds like they did right by your book.

    I submitted the cover here not because of technical flaws in the art (which is excellent, especially Zinzi) but what I assume (not yet having read the book) is a non-literal representation of the human-with-animal-familiar relationship of the other two characters, which my brain can’t help but look at literally and see weird blended faces. (And I still don’t know why the dog’s on fire.)

    Perhaps that’s me being a bit stubborn rather that just accepting it as non-literal, but hey, it’s all in good fun. Looking forward to reading it BTW! 🙂

  12. Anti-Sceptic Says:

    Ok, so the guy’s animal is a dog, the girl’s animal is a sloth. But the guy/girl on top has a star as an animal. What could possibly beat that!
    It just renders all other possible animal friends as useless.

  13. A.R.Yngve Says:

    On a side note, here are two “racefail” covers which have been mercilessly mocked at Good Show Sir:

    The Third Eagle:


  14. Muttley Says:

    If you read the link Lauren included you’ll find the top character (who looks like a girl to me) is, as I thought after a little study, paired with a stork: like the dog/man pair below, the faces share an eye.

    This reminds me of the despair felt by Ursula Le Guin about the cover used by Penguin in the UK for a softcover edition of the Earthsea trilogy in 1979, and subsequently for the way the TV miniseries was casted. She talks about it in an interview linked below.[email protected]/msg40008.html

    Lauren, I don’t know if it helps but the site rules say we must own the book we submit the cover of, and submissions must be a photograph of our own copy, not cover art grabbed off the ‘net. It’s interesting how many of the covers are battered and have clearly seen much use – these books have been read and appreciated and in most cases are loved by the submitters: surely you can cut us a little slack if we give our own reasons for finding the cover art amusing?

    I’ll submit the offending Le Guin cover next.

  15. Michael Toland Says:

    The cover may not be genius, but it was enough to make go to Amazon, read about the book and put it on my wishlist. It sounds really interesting.

  16. Catherine SM Says:

    See, the cover was enough for me to pick up the book and think it looked interesting – which is the ultimate goal of any book cover, no?

    I didn’t even see the man as half man/half poodle – just that he was linked to a dog somehow (and once I read the book, how he was linked became clear). That said, I didn’t see the stork in the other woman’s face at all!

  17. Perry Armstrong Says:

    Easily one of the most genuinely good covers featured on this site, I’m frankly at a loss to bring humour from it (though I enjoyed THX1138’s ‘Shaggy D.A.’ gag!). That said, the Sloth in this artwork provides an excuse to encourage people to read about a spectacularly misguided anti-marijuana campaign (is there any other kind?) featuring said beautiful creatures:

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