May 30

It was then that Kate stumbled on it... the greatest book ever read... Killer Crabs vs Cat People vs Electricity Dragons... Click for full image

Sara S Comments: This cover has everything. The cat-being is looking out at the reader as if to say, ‘How do you humans like it when we dangle something in front of YOU and then snatch it away, huh?’ The cherry on top of it all is the title artist who thought, ‘Wouldn’t it be great if the preposition ‘at’ didn’t line up with any of the other words on the cover?!
Published 2005

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: 7.71 out of 10)

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37 Responses to “At All Costs”

  1. @Loerwyn Says:

    That is not a “cat person” or even a “cat-being”. It is a treecat. Treecats have six legs (well, four legs and two ‘arms’ I suppose)

    And Honor Harrington’s proportions are totally off (her arms are massive), and I don’t think that’s how you hold a baby.

  2. Phil Says:

    Yes, the stripes on my cuff prove me to be Lord Chief Admiral of the Space Fleet, but I still have time to read to my baby. As long as the Cat Man hypnotises him with shiny things.

    And yes, I know he’s BEHIND ME and I know as the shiny thing twists in the solar wind it will, sooner or later, go TING!

  3. Rachel J Says:

    Bighanditis claims another victim…

  4. THX 1138 Says:

    “According to Dr Spock here, when you grow up you’ll have hands like shovels as well.”

  5. PulpCovers Says:

    I’ve read this book [email protected]: New Book Cover: At All Costs

  6. Bibliomancer Says:

    Rather subdued for a Baen Books cover. Trying not to scare away the lucrative young mom science fiction buying demographic.

    Those fonts are so huge there is no room for the Baen logo on the front cover.

  7. Tom Hering Says:

    I believe All Costs is a chain of stores offering infant and maternity wear at every price level. What David Weber is doing there is beyond me. But it can’t be anything socially acceptable.

  8. Dead Stuff With Big Teeth Says:

    ‘Nice people baby. Nice little people baby. Does oo likey sharp shiny object? Aaah? Does oo likey? Does oo wanna be on Alan Dean Foster cover someday? Yaas, yaas, we wanna be on cover!’

    ‘Dude, what’s with your arm? It’s all shriveled and out of proportion and stuff.’

  9. FearofMusiç Says:

    Remarkable. Not only is this cover instantly recognizeable as Baen, it manages to feel busy and loud even though there is nothing going on. Personally I sorta cringed as soon as I saw it, but someone who really likes Baen books would be able to spot it in an instant. From across the store.

  10. Tom Noir Says:

    Is that a Borg Cube in the upper-right-hand corner of this cover, or is it just happy to see me?

  11. B. Chiclitz Says:

    Most claustrophobic cover I’ve seen lately. Not only is there an unseemly clash of styles—photorealism to cartoon-garish—multiple lines of sight w/ warped forearm, offensive preposition placing, bighanditis suffering exploited, a poor misshapen child with atrophied legs, and more, on top of that is the thick, broken border hinting at, what?

    Brings a new, and unwelcome level of meaning to the word “breathtaking.”

  12. FeařofMusiç Says:

    I sit corrected. Just had the ‘action’ pointed out to me. A tiny tiny little space battle is taking place just off the shoulder of The Great Hypnocat.


  13. The Tag Wizard Says:

    Confession time: I actually really enjoy having David Mattingly’s covers on the site. They’re of a certain style, it’s true, but maybe that’s what holds the appeal. You know what you’re going to get: something with substance, something solid. I dunno. Maybe it’s the noodles I had for lunch. Maybe it’s the rarely broken promise of an orange and blue colorscheme. Maybe it’s ★Diamond Star★

    Anyway, there’s a decent interview with him at Wild Violet which talks At All Costs (pages 2 & 5), the unusual sort of publisher / author / artist interaction there is for David W books, how he got his break painting for Del Ray, and a bit of 3D Studio Max / Photoshop / Maya chat as well for anyone that’s into that. Oh, and a Star Wars reference. Nice.

  14. Rachel J Says:

    @FeařofMusiç. Look at the other side, too– there’s actually fiery explosion-y stuff all over the background. Doubtless you’re so used to seeing this on Baen covers that your mind simply edited it out.

  15. Rachel J Says:

    @The Tag Wizard. I agree, it’s over-the-top rather than *bad*. (Though he does seem to have a persistent difficulty drawing left arms. Odd.)

  16. Rags Says:

    When not cradling huge babies, admiral Kate uses her “left hand of might” to crush walnuts or lobster shells.

    FroCat needs his own book, I love FroCat yo!!

  17. Rags Says:

    In 1997 Cosmopolitan made this prophetic prediction, which was laughed at.

    “Against all odds, ribbed turtlenecks and shoulder pads will make a huge comeback in the year 3044.”

    Who is laughing now fashionistas?

  18. Rags Says:

    I think we should give props to this mom. Behind her a massive war is going on but she has taken time out of leading the space force to feed FroCat and tell her giant baby a story;

    “Once upon a time, in the hundred acre woods….”

    (whispers to FroCat) – “launch the nukes”

    “There lived a lovable bear named Winnie the Pooh….”

    (whispers to FroCat) – “leave no survivors.”

  19. Tom Noir Says:

    When I look at the image up close I notice that they’ve chosen to ‘break the frame’ in some REALLY random places.

  20. Tom Hering Says:

    Does the expression on her face seem completely unrelated to everything else going on in the cover art? Including the fact she’s holding an active baby? And why is she looking at us – while she tans her face with a folding reflector designed to look like a beach read?

  21. fred Says:

    “Never appear on a book cover with animals or children while reading a book during a space battle.”, attributed to W C Fields.

  22. JuanPaul Says:

    C-At All Costs? Pretty slick, graphic man.

  23. Stevie T Says:

    “Sandra Bullock plays the best multitasker in existence as she commands an interstellar fleet, takes on a cat-person wizard, and single-handedly wins a pitched space battle, all while taking care of her newborn son!

    See Baen’s latest overblown cover, AT ALL COSTS!!”

  24. Jaouad Says:

    @Tag Wizard: that’s enlightening. In a way. So now we know, that is actually Orson Scott Cat on that cover! %@$$#!

    Also, the good artist asks us to look closely to spot the title of the book Space Admiral Lady is holding. ‘Look closely’? Nope, I value my sanity.

  25. Tom Noir Says:

    I don’t know if the Cat Person is supposed to be Orson but I suspect that’s definitely the original cat’s tail. It looks too specifically cat-like to belong to a cat person.

  26. Jaouad Says:

    I have seen the future, and it has an ‘Orson’ tag.

  27. A.R.Yngve Says:

    “The pages can barely hold the knuckle-whitening bedtime-story reading action!!”
    – Publishers Weakly

    “At last, sci-fi that speaks to us!”
    – Giant-Hand Syndrome Society Monthly

    “The cover blurb is really and original read to fun.”
    – Dyslexia Magazine

  28. Jerk of all Trades Says:

    “It’s OK, giant baby. Go to sleep, eat your veggies, and let creepy cat-beings use their magic on you, and someday you’ll be as lopsided and distinctly unsettling to contemplate as Mommy!”

  29. B. Chiclitz Says:

    GSS shout outs to @JuanPaul 22 and @A.R. Yngve 27! Too good, sirs!

  30. A.R.Yngve Says:

    Nobody here thinks the above cover was crafted with the objective to excel AT ALL COSTS…

  31. Herm Says:

    To be fair, if anyone in the Honorverse has the temperament to break the fourth wall and give the viewer a smug look, it’s TOTALLY Nimitz (the furred person depicted). And his forepaws are deft enough to play “dangle the shiny” with a baby, though I picture them more like paws and less like long-nailed hands spray-painted grey.

    There’s no justification whatsoever for the glowy eyes. Has his depressurisation-safe cat-carrier suddenly become radioactive? I’ve no idea.

    Meh, I can’t remember which Harrington book this is, and the cover, while busy, manages not to remind me of anything that went on there (other than space battles – there are always space battles).

  32. A.R.Yngve Says:

    God forbid that any human character in a Baen book should develop a fur allergy… they’d be dead in a week.

  33. Tom Noir Says:

    They’ve used fonts to make the title so dynamic. Especially the ‘at’. “AT!” it screams. It’s tilted! It’s flying in from space! It’s breaking the fourth wall! This is an ‘at’ that moves. This is an ‘at’ that’s happening. This is an ‘at’ you want to get to know!

    As for the rest of the cover, meh.

  34. A.R.Yngve Says:

    “Once upon a time, there was a magic kingdom that was plagued by an evil horde of unemployed socialist hippie alien cannibal scum. A valiant knight rode into the kingdom on a tank, rounded up the alien hippie scum in a football stadium and had them all shot… and then the knight gave everyone in the kingdom a big shiny assault rifle to ensure their freedom, and they all lived happily ever!”

  35. Tom Noir Says:

    This cover would later be reused for the holiday anthology “A Very Baen Christmas.”

  36. Hammy Says:

    Hey, I think the title’s missing the word “Get” before the author’s name.

    You know. “Get David Weber At All Costs”….

  37. GSS ex-noob Says:

    “…And keep him from writing any more!”

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