The perennial cheesy cover art debate

Looks like the good old cover art debate has reared its head again, with Rick Kleffel ranting passionately about the need to abandon ‘slabs with abs’ and ‘Fabio-alike’ cover art, especially in the fantasy genre, and the always lucid Andrew ‘SFBC’ Wheeler deflating the issue with the perspective of a man who works in publishing – those covers get used because those covers sell books.

You want my opinion on this issue? Well, I don’t really have one. Sure, I can appreciate a good piece of cover art, and I can see when one is cliched and out of kilter with the book’s content. But it’s what’s beneath the cover that really interests me, and if the fiction is good enough I don’t give a damn what’s on the front and back. I’ve never understood this idea that people are embarrassed to be seen reading certain books in public – I’m not saying it doesn’t happen, I’m just saying that I can’t imagine it ever happening to me.

That having been said, I spent my teenage years as an RPG geek who read every spin-off novel he could get his hands on, so maybe I self-medicated against chainmail bras and leather nappies with aversion therapy early on. Then again, those who’ve seen what I look like are probably well aware that the last thing anyone sat opposite me on a train is going to notice about me is the book I’m reading at the time! 🙂

Authors@Google – videos now online

There’s no need to feel jealous of Google employees for getting to see lectures and presentations by the great and the good on work time – because the Big G has decided to share the wealth and let us lowly web-heads watch the events in video form. I knew they had to be buying YouTube for a reason …

Of most interest to genre fiction fans will be videos of Jonathan Lethem, Kelly Link and Karen Joy Fowler, Neil Gaiman, and the incredibly recent visit by John “If rocks stars can tour, so can I” Scalzi.

There’s lots of others interesting people in the selection too; I’ve not watched them yet, but I’m guessing that Lawrence Lessig and Chris “Long Tail” Anderson will be well worth watching, too – whether you’re already interested in copyright issues and internet marketing or not.

Interzone announces special Mundane SF edition for 2008

The title should say it all, and whatever else you need to know should become apparent after you read Geoff Ryman’s announcement on the TTA Press website.

But for those too flabbergasted (or lazy) to click through, Mr. Ryman (with the assistance of Julian Todd and Trent Walters) will be guest editing an issue of Interzone to be published next year, which will adhere strictly to the manifesto of the Mundane SF movement, of which Ryman is a founder. Some simple guidelines:

“What makes a story Mundane? A few simple rules:

• no FTL travel or communications
• no aliens
• no time travel
• no parallel universes
• no immortality or telepathy.”

There you have it. More guidelines, plus details about how to submit a story for consideration, can be found by clicking through to the TTA website. So get writing, already! I might even have a go at this myself. After all, what’s a little failure between friends?