They say we shouldn’t judge a book by its cover. While you certainly should refrain from judging the contents of a book by its cover, the cover is often our first introduction to a book. If it’s intriguing, attractive, or even confusing it, it might inspire us to pick up the book, to flip through it and read a few passages.
Book covers function as marketing tools, but they also encapsulate an element of the book itself. If the cover intrigues you, then perhaps the book will, too.
This is not a definitive list. You could probably point me to dozens, if not hundreds, of mind blowing or beautiful covers. The covers I’ve included here have, at one time of another, struck my as aesthetically pleasing in one way or another, so my criteria is admittedly subjective.
Dreaming At the Top of My Lungs: A Horror Collection by Israel Finn
Amazon Digital Services, 2016
About the book:
Twelve Tales of Horror From The Mind Of Israel Finn:
-A man who is faced with the prospect of losing the most important thing in his life—his son—but instead loses his mind. And then finds himself trapped in a waking nightmare with no way out.
-A frustrated man who curses life for having the audacity to pass him by, but discovers how it feels to be truly forsaken when the universe chooses to teach him a horrifying lesson.
-An outcast who must decide between vengeance and forgiveness in a world turned upside down by war and famine.
-A woman on trial in a world where telling the truth is a crime.
-A man who is living with a very odd houseguest, a visitor who has no concept of war.
-A boy who lives in constant terror of someone who is supposed to love and protect him, but who has betrayed that trust. A horror story that examines the real-life beasts who walk among us every day.
Galaxies by Barry N. Malzberg
Anti-Oedipus Press, 2014
About the book:
There is a spectre haunting the science fiction genre-the spectre of Barry N. Malzberg . . . In a genre that, with one hand, claimed to be the ultimate storehouse of innovation, and with the other, leveled strict rules for writing and codes of narrative conduct onto its authors, Malzberg stuck out like a forked tongue, composing works of bona fide literature that dwarfed the efforts of his contemporaries and established him as one of science fiction’s most dynamic enfantterribles. Originally published in 1975, GALAXIES is a masterwork of the Malzberg canon, which includes over fifty novels and collections. Metafictional, absurdist and sardonic, the book mounts a concerted attack against the market forces that prescribed SF of the 1970s and continue to prescribe it today. At the same time, the book tells a story of technology and cyborgs, of bureaucracy and tachyons, of love and hate and sadness . . . Despite his deviant literary antics, Malzberg could not be ignored by the SF community. In 1973, he won the first annual John W. Campbell Memorial Award, which is presented to the best SF novel of the year by a distinguished committee of SF experts, authors and critics. Thereafter he received nominations for the Hugo, Nebula and Philip K. Dick Awards, among others. Nonetheless his writing has not received the attention it so profoundly deserves. GALAXIES is among the works listed in acclaimed SF editor David Pringle’s SCIENCE FICTION: THE 100 BEST NOVELS, published in 1985. With an introduction by Jack Dann, this special paperback edition ushers Malzberg’s genius into the twenty-first century.
Last Burn in Hell: Director’s Cut by John Edward Lawson
Raw Dog Screaming Press, 2006
About the book:
The bizarro prison sex horror road trip exploding with alien invasion action!
Kenrick Brimley, the state prison’s official gigolo, hangs over a lava pit on trial for his life in a strange land. He will reveal the course of his life one misguided step at a time for his captors. From his romance with serial arsonist Leena Manasseh to his lurid angst-affair with a lesbian music diva, from his ascendance as unlikely pop icon to otherworldly encounters, the one constant truth is that he’s got no clue what he’s doing. As unrelenting as it is original, Last Burn in Hell is John Edward Lawson at his most scorching intensity, serving up sexy satire and postmodern pulp with his trademark day-glow prose.
The Director’s Cut edition includes:
- Deleted scenes
- Alternate ending
- Photo stills
- Remastering for more enjoyable viewing
- And more!
Rumbullion by Molly Tanzer
Lazy Fascist Press, 2016
Out of Print
About the book:
In the wake of a fateful and fatal party, young, sickly aristocrat Julian Bretwynde decides to interrogate all who were in attendance, including the infamous alchemist, immortal, and liar, the Count of Saint Germain. What Julian will uncover about that night, no one could ever have expected, least of all himself. And even worse, he’ll be forced to decide what’s true among the radically disparate accounts of men and women who stood side by side, watching the same events unfold. As he gets deeper and deeper into his investigation, the killer’s identity grows ever more obscure… as does that of the victim.