Sometimes, we can’t help but judge a book by its cover. And when a particularly gorgeous or innovative cover compels us to pick up a book about which we know nothing else, that’s considered a positive. We asked, and you answered: Here are thirteen sci-fi/fantasy book covers—featuring stunning landscapes, dragons both fearsome and anatomical, vintage space illustrations, and astonishing art imbued with movement—that instantly draw readers into the world beyond the title page…
“In my school library when I was 11, I discovered a book with an intriguing drawing of a mountain and dragon.,” said author Ilana C. Myer. “It was The Hobbit.” For the first edition, Tolkien drew the mountain and dragon, which have been recreated on subsequent covers.
Literary agent Bridget Smith (@bredalot) had the same experience, but with Robin McKinley’s The Hero and the Crown: “One of my favorites, by one of my favorite authors! And I only picked it up because of a girl fighting a dragon.” That legendary showdown is depicted on at least two of the book’s covers, illustrated by David M. Johnston and Kinuko Y. Craft.
@UnsungTweets posted this cover for Stewart Cowley’s Spacecraft, 2000 to 2100 A.D.: Terran Trade Authority Handbook. The book featured illustrations from Jim Burns, Alan Daniels, Peter Goodfellow, Colin Hay, Bob Layzell, Angus McKie, and Tony Roberts.
“I picked up Wheel of Time series because I liked the look of book 8 cover art on endcap,” tweeted @diabolicalplots. Darrell K. Sweet provided the cover for The Path of Daggers and almost all of the Wheel of Time books. “Grabbed book 1 and read the prologue.”
We’re sure you have your own picks, so add your favorite covers in the comments!