Dreamsnake had the good fortune to be nominated for the Hugo Award; as it had won the Nebula earlier in the year, my publishers thought it had a good chance at the award and sent me to the World SF Convention in Brighton, England.
I thought Anne McCaffrey’s The White Dragon would win, and so did everyone else; when Dreamsnake took the prize I was astonished. The first person to congratulate me and give me a big hug when I came off the stage? Anne McCaffrey, one of the most gracious people I’ve had the good fortune to be acquainted with.
That same weekend, I met the editor who had bought the Dutch rights to the book. I blush to admit I can’t remember his name. This has nothing to do with the following story; I’m famously awful at names and faces.
“I’m delighted to have Dreamsnake being published in Dutch,” I said. “I lived in Wassenaar when I was a kid.”
“I have the cover with me,” he said.
“I’ll show it to you…” he said. “If you promise not to kill me.”
He showed it to me.
I tried to kill him.
You can see why after the jump.
It’s badly drawn; however, it is ugly.
“You’ll be glad to know,” he said, “that this cover is so bad that from now on I get control over the covers on the SF books in my line.”
“That does make me feel ever so much better,” I said.
I’ve been informally claiming the cover of Droomslang as the worst SF cover ever published.
Now, inspired by Sarah’s LOLcovers, I’m challenging anyone to come up with a worse cover. It has to be worse on all fronts: Badly drawn, ugly, and inaccurate. Extra points if the cover includes a ray-gun (nonexistent in the book) with a screamingly uncomfortable-looking tie-down.
I’ve only ever seen one cover illustration that I thought could give Droomslang a run for its money (the Dutch cover for Ursula K. Le Guin’s The Left Hand of Darkness), but I searched high and low and couldn’t find a copy of it on the web. Maybe it’s so ugly its pixels evaporated into the universal entropy.
The Dutch have no qualms whatever about full frontal nudity.
My main objection to the full frontal nudity isn’t the full frontal nudity; it’s full frontal nudity that has no relation to anything that happens in the book. Note that the one time Snake has the opportunity to get fully frontally nude and roll around on the sand, she opts out. When she decides to go to bed with somebody, she goes to bed with somebody in a proper bed.
Post the URL for your candidate for Worst Cover Ever.
If I decide another book cover beats Droomslang’s, I’ll think up an appropriate prize for the first person to point it out.
You’ve been warned.
Vonda N. McIntyre is the author of the Nebula-winning novel The Moon and the Sun, which has a really nice cover, and which is being offered at Book View Café in electronic form for the first time. “The Natural History and Extinction of the People of the Sea,” the faux-encyclopedia article that inspired the novel, written by Vonda N. McIntyre and illustrated by Ursula K. Le Guin, appears as a Book View Café Bonus story.
Other fiction by Vonda N. McIntyre, including cell-phone-friendly formats of The Moon and the Sun, can be found in the fiction section of her website, as can mint copies of her published books. To celebrate the debut of Book View Café, book prices are temporarily lowered.
Books make great gifts!