I firmly believe that never, in the history of books, has a book flap illustrator ever even so much as given a cursory skimming of the actual novel before inking the cover.  It annoys the shit out of me.

Case in point, the current book I’m reading.  Echoes of Honor by David Weber.  You don’t have to read the book.  You don’t even have to make it to page 1.  Right after the table of contents there is a technical diagram of what a spaceship, in Weber’s world, looks like.

But do the spaceships on the cover resemble that at all!  Hell no.

Ok, I know that these things are usually done before the book is finished.  Fine.  Dandy.  But that doesn’t mean they can’t ask a few fucking questions.  Here’s an easy one… “What, roughly, do spaceships in your universe look like?”  “Kinda like double ended hammerhead sharks.”

Stolen from zappa.brainiac.com

Stolen from zappa.brainiac.com

“Ok, then I’ll make them look like the traditional bullet with wings.”

Stolen from epiphyte.net

Stolen from epiphyte.net

“Yes, exactly, go with that.”  Fucking balls.

The artist has managed to obscure Honor’s left eye and left arm.  So I’m thinking they did ask “Does your main character have any identifying marks?  Y’know, tattoos, piercings…”  “Well, she did lose her left arm in the last book and has a bionic left eye.”  “Ok, yes, that would qualify, but since I don’t know how to draw that I’ll just cover it up.”  “Sure, do that, Hack.”  But never bothered to ask what spaceships look like in a book about interstellar naval combat.  GAAAHHH!!!  Not to mention the fact that this is like book 6 or 7, so “the book isn’t finished yet” argument goes right out the fucking window!

I’m done now.

4 thoughts on “Hacks

  1. uileat

    I think the artist is just given a small paragraph or two with a general description, and then they just draw it. It probably is handled by someone at the publishing office.

    They don’t read the book first.

  2. bairloch

    i already covered that. he had to have asked enough questions to know about the eye and arm, but never asked about the ships? should be fired.


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