Sunday, June 9, 2013

on white-washing book covers: Throne of the Crescent Moon and Liavek

From Beyond ‘Game of Thrones’: Exploring diversity in speculative fiction:
“My editor and another editor who made an offer on the book explicitly committed to not whitewashing the cover,” said Ahmed of the industry’s practice of slapping white people on the cover of books that don’t feature white protagonists. “That to me is a clear example that the protest on the Internet got through to at least a certain level of editors.”
There are people on the US hardcover:

But not on the British edition:

Or the US paperback:

Here are the mass market paperback covers for the Liavek series, published between 1985 and 1990:

I'm hesitant to draw any conclusions. But I'll note this: You could argue that Saladin's middle-eastern protagonists were "erased" on his other covers. Or you could argue that the first cover looks like a sword-and-sorcery adventure, while the others look more literary. The comic-book fan in me loves his first cover, but the paperback cover looks like it's on the better book.

PS. I know the pain of having covers white-washed. The narrator of Witch Blood is a dark-skinned man travelling among light-skinned peoples. The cover shows a guy who's as dark-skinned as Claude Van Damme: