Completely subjective, of course. My choice for best science
fiction cover is Upgraded, art by
This cover is endlessly fascinating. I especially like how
the arm is drawn in break-apart schematic style, only the arm really is
breaking apart under the influence of the metal rings. (Or maybe it’s coming
together?) The cyborg herself looks very relaxed during this.
Upgraded is an
anthology of cyborg short stories. I haven’t read it myself. The stories seemed
too avant-garde or new wave or something.
For best fantasy cover, my choice is Night Owls, art by Dan Sipley.
This cover captured the contrast between the two female
leads. There’s a great deal of subtlety here, and you can see how claw-like the
crouching woman’s nails are.
Night Owls is an
interesting New Adult novel about occult forces invading a college campus.
Facing off against them is a mismatched group of people who really don’t trust
each other, but who will have to work together. Believe it or not, though I
liked the plot and characters, I didn’t finish it because I didn’t like the
casual swearing in one viewpoint character’s narrative.
Best runner up is Peacemaker,
art by Joey Hi-Fi.
You have to give this artist points for being different.
This definitely attracted my eye to it on the bookshelf.
Set in the future, the character on the cover is a tough ranger
in the world’s largest nature reserve, set on a coast near a megacity in
Australia. I did read Peacemaker and
enjoyed it. Then I was shocked to see it described as fantasy. I thought of it
as science fiction, and the cover reinforces that.
But she does have an animal companion who is invisible to
others. So does the hunky U.S. Ranger who barges into her life, whom she
resents at first. And she’s attacked by things that don’t show up on recordings.
Oh. It’s an urban fantasy, set in the future. So this is the best cross-genre
If you’re having a bad day, watch this: A skilled drone
pilot launched a drone that buzzed the space needle.
I don’t know if this is the same flight where the police
tracked down the hotel room the drone emerged from and had a good talking to
with the owner, as mentioned in my previous blog post. There are the usual
concerns: I remember the scene in the movie 1984
where a helicopter operated by the Thought Police looked in the window of
Winston Smith’s apartment. And this makes it easy for a terrorist, whether
domestic or foreign, to drop poison in a city’s water supply.
But see the beauty of this shot. Also, consider how this can
revolutionize search and rescue. The common use of some drones will also make a
dividing line between stories.
I watched a rerun of Buffy
the Vampire Slayer in which a couple of her friends were kidnapped. When
she saw they were missing from the library, she thought they might be out
looking for someone. I thought, “Why doesn’t she call them?” Then I realized
the Buffy series was before cell
phones were in common use.
This is an enormous divide in movies and TV shows: pre-cell
phone and cell phone. (I know that smart phones also make a divide, but not as
drastic.) The same is true for novels. And in the near future, novels will be
viewed as pre-drone or drone. If some child is lost in a city or a wilderness,
readers will puzzle over why no drone was sent out. To spy on someone who is
sunbathing or unloading supplies from a ship, readers will wonder why a
satellite had to be co-opted rather than just use a joystick and drone.
And for novels set in the future, 3-D printers will
manufacture military drones for the battlefield or exploration drones to send out
from spaceships that have landed on planets. Drones are the wave of the future,
or perhaps I should say waves of drones are the future.