BSFA Awards: Cover Art

I’m finding this category the most difficult to nominate for. The rules say:

The Best Artwork award is open to any single science fictional or fantastic image that first appeared in 2007. Again, provided the artwork hasn’t been published before 2007 it doesn’t matter where it appears.

First, establishing whether or not artwork has been previously published is, well, challenging. I do like some of Clarkesworld’s covers, for instance — particularly those for issue 5 and issue 8 — but I’m almost certain I remember seeing that the cover of issue 12 is a reprint, and I have no idea about the others. Second, this doesn’t seem to have been a particularly exciting year for sf artwork on book covers. You’d really be hard-pushed to tell, from the covers, that recent books by Paul McAuley, Ken MacLeod and Richard Morgan are sf, and while the covers of books like Splinter and the “Future Classics” edition of Fairyland are terribly pretty, I’m not sure they’re science fictional or fantastic images. (Although the award has taken a pretty broad view of what that means in past years, it has to be said.)

Here are the other nominations listed on the BSFA website:

Cover of Dark Benediction – Dominic Harman (novel by Walter M Miller; Gollancz SF Masterworks edition)
Cover of Interzone #209 – Jim Burns
Cracked World’ – Andy Bigwood (cover of disLocations, ed. Ian Whates; Newcon Press)
‘Dada Jihad’ – Chris Nurse (Interzone #212)
It Will Never Fly Again’ – Alexander Kruglov (cover of Albedo One #32)
‘Looking In, Looking Out’ – Martin Deep (Murky Depths #1)
Lunar Flare’ – Richard Marchand (cover of Interzone #211)
Transcendance Express’ – Vincent Chong (cover of Hub #2)

I quite like the Dark Benediction cover, and “Lunar Flare” is a very fine spaceship, but beyond that I’m not being particularly inspired. What else can I think of? The cover of Interfictions, which I think probably can be justified under “fantastic image”; the cover of The Fade, although to an extent that is just Edward Miller (I assume) doing what Edward Miller does; and I’m quite fond of the cover of In War Times. But I feel I must be missing something. Any suggestions, anyone? Remember, the deadline for your nominations is midnight tonight…

19 thoughts on “BSFA Awards: Cover Art

  1. > this doesn’t seem to have been a particularly exciting year for sf artwork on book covers.

    There is undoubtedly a trend towards graphics which, while I applaud diversity on principle, doesn’t often make arresting imagery. Real *artwork* seems to be getting more and more scarce, something I hope to go into on a panel at Orbital.

  2. Chen Lin is a Chinese artist, and the art in question was created in mid 2007, and then accepted by us for Clarkesworld Magazine. So far as we’re aware none of the art that we picked has seen publication elsewhere. Though, it’s not particularly challenging to find out, as you either email the publisher or email the artist :-)

  3. Hi. Glad you like the covers we use for Clarkesworld Magazine. I don’t know if anyone used the artwork from issue 12 since, but I’m fairly certain that it wasn’t used for any covers before ours.

  4. Giles: I’m pretty sure a production still from Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow was nominated a few years ago …

    Pete: It’s interesting, isn’t it? I’m sure these things go in cycles, but at the moment (with the exception of Solaris) the UK market seems to be very design-led. Less true in the US, I think.

    Sean, Wyrm: thanks for the clarification. I think I may have seen someone post something along the lines of “I saw this picture, and knew that we had to have it as a cover for Clarkesworld”, and assumed that meant it had been previously used.

  5. Heh, why didn’t someone tell me that the “Looking In, Looking Out” artwork had been nominated! It not only features in Issue #1 but also the PDF Taster Issue available free at the Murky Depths website.

  6. Terry: as you’d expect, the nomination page is right and I am wrong. I really have no idea why I gave this post the title “cover art”, since I know full well that other types of art have been nominated in the past. Mea culpa.

  7. No worries. If you go here,

    you’ll see the double page spread that the artwork appears on.

    But will it get shortlisted?

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