Wednesday, 1 March 2017

Why Are We Compelled by Fantasy and Science fiction Book Cover Design?

Why are we allured by science fiction and fantasy book cover design?

1. What catches the eye?
2. Are Front Covers Important?
3. Have You Been Mislead by a Striking Cover?

Don’t judge a book by its cover is what everyone has been taught from school. Kids who disliked reading were told to go beyond the cover page and at least try to read. Very often great joy was found in reading and many young readers found science fiction books intriguing or enjoyable, sometimes just because of the cover. But why do readers enjoy science fiction books & sci-fi book cover design?

Science fiction more so than fantasy stretches the imagination to the point of believable with technology that could become real one day rather than magic that could never be. There is something seemingly geek about Science Fiction, not only does it set the mind racing but in a number of readers is sparks the fire of invention.  For some unknown reason the cover design, that masterpiece of art that adorns the front and even the back of the book is the trigger.

The cover design is very often how the author sees or imagines his or her story, landscape and surroundings. There is an immediate ‘this could be real” that entices a science fiction reader, in the same way, those who don’t enjoy Science Fiction are turned away. There is something unique about a science fiction cover, Isaac Asimov and Arthur C Clarke are among the masters of Science fiction bordering science fact whose book covers and writing are still believable today.

With Asimov and Clarke, some of what they wrote or had drawn as science fiction has become science fact today and this is what drives and inspires readers of Science Fiction. Turning the ordinary into the extraordinary, making the unbelievable strangely believable is what science fiction readers enjoy. Keeping the facts of science just out of reach and enabling it to be touched through the imagination. Cover design and illustrations add Technicolor or full HD to the pictures in the mind and there is actually nothing geek about it.  Just as those wanting something steamy to see images in 50 Shades of Grey so a science fiction reader will get the same thrill from planets, galaxies and battles in far away, non-existent (maybe) places.

There is a degree of ‘what if” with science fiction, a deeper form of escapism that few genres can deliver. Yes, it comes close to fantasy but fantasy can never really be, but science fiction is never really very far away from science itself. There are no schools like Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry in the real world but there are universities that study and experiment with the stuff of science fiction. For science fiction there a true and very real space station a real Hogwarts if you like. With science fiction, because science exists the reader is able to believe and the “what if” is being challenged in the real world.

The geek in science fiction comes from believing in what others struggle to believe in. It is a different kind of belief to fantasy such as David Eddings and J.K. Rowling and vastly different still to the Bible or Koran. However, there is a belief, one that inches ever closer to reality as each page is turned. The cover design merely plants the seed; if the cover design is striking yet believable, it sets the tone for the book. Once the tone is set the reader can believe, ask “what if this could be?” and know full well that it is closer than they realise.

So, why do readers enjoy science fiction books & sci-fi book cover design?  The answer is clear; it is a glimpse into the future using storylines that are no different to those we have been told since childhood. The good versus evil and happy ever after are simply jazzed up, but unlike the fairy tales of bears, bowls of porridge and little girls sleeping on “just perfect” beds, with science fiction things could be and quite possibly are real.


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