Wednesday, 13 April 2016

Publisher Spotlight #1: Restless Books

Being the first in a series looking at recent line-wide work by publishers who are doing most excellent work


Restless Books launched a few years ago as an ebook company specialising in translations, but fortunately for lovers of both good books and good design they have started releasing paper versions of their books--and they publish some amazing books.

I'll focus here on the four paperbacks in their Cuban Science Fiction series (that they should have such a specific series at all shows how different they are to most publishers), with two books each from Agustín de Rojas and the monosyllabically named Yoss.

All four have covers designed by Cuban-American designer Edel Rodriguez, and I love the way they neither neglect their SF-ness nor fall into cliche in any way. Rodriguez was also responsible for these lovely Chinua Achebe covers a few years ago.

These books are as interesting as they are inviting, proper SF of ideas with fine writing, and you suspect their authors have utilised speculative fiction much as the wonderful Strugatsky brothers did: as an effective way of exploring humanity and ideas under a repressive government.

Restless doesn't only do Cuban sci-fi, though. Here is a selection of some of their other best covers...

Thursday, 17 March 2016

Old Favourites Return

A couple of much-used cover images are getting another run around the block later this year. First of all comes A Fine Imitation by Amber Brock, which uses a photo by George Hoyningen-Huene...

which we have seen a few times before:

Then there's this photo by William Egglestone, being used on Deborah Shapiro's upcoming The Sun in Your Eyes...

..and which has been around the block a few times already, each time also with the white space used for the text block:

The girl on the left is still not looking any happier, despite her increasing literary fame.

Tuesday, 19 January 2016

An Alternative History of Literature, as Interpreted by HMDS Printing

At the risk of turning this sporadically updated blog into nothing but a repository for the worst bowel movements of the public domain-scraping automated ebook industry, let's imagine the alternative history of literature suggested by the covers of the classics published by "HMDS Printing...

Alcott's classic tale of cloned urban feminist Leninists

To be fair, you can almost see Fanny.
The beloved novella of American Civil War Primal Scream training

A portrait entitled 'Man in a Hat that Makes Him look Retarded'

Prince Lyov Nikolaevich Myshkin vomited on his shirt and then sucked a lemon to take away the aftertaste. 'Who's an idiot now?" he asked, smugly.

No, Vietnam is on the other side of paradise.

This is actually the cover for the book The Brothers Shaw

No trainer wheels? That IS adventurous!

Australia, Japan, it's all the same, who gives a fuck?

Everyone always wondered how he would end this novel. Nobody thought of the answer 'pretentious woman goes topless with a rug on her head'.

Cormac McCarthy's first draft of The Road was much less effective when every reference to "the father" was written as "Dombey".

The big red A stands for Absolut

How evolution led to cavemen inventing the toilet roll

Bimbo and Bicycle

When Heathcliff dug up his Cathy's body, he was in for a surprise

The Black Arrow. The One-Cup Bra. The Bow Made of Lobsters.

Long John Silver always found it annoying that people refused to believe the story of how he lost his leg.

I just, I mean, what the fuck, I don't know

Anna was winner of series 3 of Real Housewives of St Petersburg

Nothing wrong here, this is a perfect reasonable cover

[Shoots self in head]

[Collapses bleeding on floor]

[Bleeds out]

[All is silence, and blessed peace at last]

Thursday, 10 December 2015

Monkeys Throwing Faeces

A regular feature on this site used to be the mocking of the latest covers from Tutis, clueless pumpers-out of public domain books with wildly inappropriate covers (start here, get the whole horror show in these posts). But, sadly, their utter incompetence seems to have contributed to them going out of business, and for a long time the world of book design was a colder, darker, less colourful place.

But this morning my attention was drawn towards a new land of delights: the catalogue of Read Monkey, via this delightful cover, which suggests Dostoyevsky's grim classic is the tale of a couple of knockabout, clean-cut Irish lads getting up to a few harmless japes.

Aww, bless.

You might think this is as off-key as a cover could get. You would be wrong. Behold, Read Monkey's finest...

I would put mocking captions to these, but it's just redundant. I like that, though some covers (like The Lost World) bear some relationship to their contents (though with completely the wrong tone), and with some (like Life on the Mississippi) you can sort of reconstruct the "thought" processes that lead to them, others (like The Return of the Native) defy any sort of explanation. And the Captain America version of Thoreu, along with the rest of these, just made me think of this classic comic frame...