Book Covers

I was having a conversation with Jordanna East the other day about book covers, Here’s the link to her post:

In the post Jordanna ran through a few of the reasons that would stop her buying a book and one of them was various covers. I commented that I find it very off-putting when I see a photograph of a person on a book cover. Photographs in general can put me off a little but a picture of a person in particular can put me off (Although I am tempted to use a photo for mine, but that will be a last resort)

Why do I not like photographs on book covers? I think it’s because a book is a world of words which the reader makes come alive and having a photograph of a real person can take away some of that pleasure for the reader. It does also feel like a cheat (this is the reason why I don’t think I will ever put a photo on a cover). If a book cover looks cheap and nasty then does that mean the book is as well? And what can we tell from a picture? I brought Joe Haldeman’s Peace and War (This is three of Mr.Haldeman’s books in one volume, The Forever War, Forever Free and Forever Peace) on the strength of the cover (okay the cover did not actually reflect much of the content but it was a good hook and at the core of it did match the glum feel in parts of the book) But the cover showed a barren wasteland with futuristic assault rifle with its muzzle buried in the ground with a space helmet on top of it, almost like a grave marker. It intrigued me though, enough that I picked the book off the shelf and loved the look of the blurb.

A book is an escape, a world that is either not real or one that we do not know.  For me seeing a photograph on a book makes it too real. Also there is an art form here. The L.Ron Hubbard Writers And Illustrators Of The Future is a contest aimed at both writers and illustrators. ( This is a place where skilful new writers and illustrators are brought together to work towards bringing their skills to the world.

I know other people feel the same about photos as covers for books, and I’m not hating on photographs here, a friend of mine is a model and the stuff she does is amazing, but I like to see artwork on a cover. Something that is created on paper, or digitally.


Okay I have rambled enough for one night. Dont be shy, feel free to comment and let’s have a discussion 🙂

Being Gripped

When I was talking to Owen on Friday he asked told me to read Starship Troopers by Robert A. Heinlein as he thinks part of it will help with an aspect of Project Apollo. I have read Starship Troopers, but it was a few years ago now so I only really remember the basics of it, and how it had no real similarity to the movie (which I’d seen before I read the book). I do remember it being a good book but nothing that blew me away, but that was a few years ago and I think I’m a more experienced reader now and ill be able to appreciate it more, hopefully anyway.
When I’ve heard writers talking about Starship Troopers on various podcasts they quite often mention The Forever War by Joe Haldeman, and out of the two I much prefer The Forever war and Joe Haldeman as a writer in general. I would like to read a few more of Heinlein’s work but Starship Troopers did not grip me like The Forever War did. After reading it I went and brought Camouflage but Mr.Haldeman which is another book that has had a deep affect on who I am as a person.
When I was younger and I heard a song I liked I’d buy the album, and if I liked the album I’d buy as much of the music by that artist as possibly. I would do this with books if I could, I need to add more of Joe Haldeman’s books to my collection. The man is an amazing writer and I’d recommend his work to anyone.
A writer that has recently gripped me in a similar way is Stephen King, The Gunslinger was a fascinating read and I’m eager to wrap up The Dark Tower series, but I have other books to read and I’m going to pace the other six books over the course of the year.

What author has gripped you?

Finding Insperation And What Influences Our Creativity

For my birthday my girlfriend got me a number of DVDs most of which are best described as gritty British Gangster/Football Hooligan films, so I have spent the week watching theses films and they have got me thinking about how I am writing my own fiction. I guess this comes under ‘How the world around us influences our work’ but this doesnt mean that I am going to write a story set in one of these worlds. I don’t have that deep knowledge of these worlds but it gave me some good little ideas about dialogue, character building and the look and feel of a story. These Films are Green Street, Snatch, Rise Of The Footsoldier and The Football Factory. Throw in Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels then you have some half decent films that look at a world in which series people operate and although some of it is rather humorous at times these are very powerful films.
Movies generally give me plenty of places to find. Avatar gave me more ideas than I could share here and the beginning of the film 127 hours have me an idea involving a wind turbine. So it’s not just the sci-fi films that spark an idea. For me I think it’s a case of seeing something that triggers an image in my head that I can then write a story around, or a scene at least, around what has sparked the idea.

I’ve talked about how some of the music that I listened to in my younger days has had a lasting effect on me and my writing so I’ll spare you from repeating myself, but it’s mainly an effect of liking the things that may be hiding in the shadows, the unknown world which is created by our imagination.    Two songs that truly inspires me to write are Birthright by Celldweller and Written In The Stars by Tinie Temper.  Both these songs make me want to write every time I hear them.

Obviously books are quite a strong source of inspiration for me.  Scott Sigler is a very big influence as is Dan Abnett and Joe Haldeman, but the writer that really hooked me with their novels and got me reading was Tom Clancy,Rainbow SixandWithout Remorseare two of his books that I am especially fond of.  As someone in my late teens and early twenties who had never really read anything I was blown away by what Clancy wrote and I pretty much read just his work for a good three or four years.  I suppose this is why Project Phoenix is quite heavily military because that’s what I was reading at the time of starting the novel.  Going back to Sigler for a moment though I’d just like to say that he properly inspires me to because he had to work very hard to get where he is today and I think he is a great example to anyone that has a dream that they are chasing.

I try to take something from all the movies and books and music and television shows that I watch and also the odd video game that I play.  It’s hard for me to pin down just how all these different mediums influence and inspire my writing but I think that each and every one of these does in different ways.

What inspires you?  How does the world around you influence how you write?

What Is Happening To The Specialist Shop?

I’ve just had a text off of a good friend of mine saying that he’s heard a rumour that both Gamestation and Game over here in the UK are about to close down.  Add to that the continuing rumours that HMV are also on rocky ground ( I think that Waterstones are part of HMV as well) then I find myself thinking ‘Where am I going to buy Games, DVD’s and music from?’  I know some of you will be saying ‘Err online you retard.’  Which is all good and well, if you know what you want.  I love going into HMV or Waterstones and just looking at the selections and trying to find that hidden gem.  I would never have read Joe Haldeman’s The Forever War had it not been for a random look in Waterstones one day.  Yes, the internet is a great thing and there are lots of bargains on there but does it have to be at the cost of these High Street shops?  Maybe their demise will give birth to more independent shops but with the savings that the internet gives are they going to survive?