This past Sunday afternoon I had a rare opportunity to mosey around a bookstore with absolutely nowhere else I was "supposed" to be. Why I picked the worst bookstore in town for that outing, I don't know.
As I usually do, in recent years, anyway, I went to the sci-fi section first. I swear, every time I look around the sci-fi section of a bookstore or library I realize why I resisted my natural sci-fi leanings for so long:
It's the covers. Man, the covers of sci-fi novels suck. There are two kinds. Either a woman in a ren-fair costume with long, flowing hair and a heaving bosom, or a big bunch of spaceship and metal. Both equally embarassing.
On this trip, I was really excited to find a book by Robert Heinlein, since he's one of my favorite classic sci-fi guys, and a lot of his books are out of print. This was a single volume of two new-to-me novellas, one featuring a favorite character from some of his other novels. It seemed like a no-brainer.
But the cover? It featured an idyllic, Utopian landscape, with a man and woman dressed up like Trekkies lounging on the grass (the man in a Thinker-like pose), seemingly in earnest conversation with a short, furry and vaguely humanoid creature. In the background -- a huge spaceship.
Aside from the fact that I kept having to hide the damn cover everywhere I took the book, it totally ruined the reading experience for me. Because wouldn't you know it, I had to read about four fifths of that book before I got to the damn creature, and the whole time, all I could think was, "WHERE IS THE CREATURE?"
Sheesh. I might as well chuck it and read romance novels.