Friday, March 30, 2012

Conjure This

I picked up a copy of Fritz Leiber's Conjure Wife on Amazon. Yes, I went for the dead tree edition for six bucks rather than a $7.69 e-copy. I'm still that guy. If the price was $3.99 or less on Kindle, maybe... but that's beside the point.

I'm a good twenty pages in, and it's a fine book, but the cover troubles me:

This woman is not Tansy. Not in my imagination. Not from a book published in 1943, no matter how dark the fantasy. The hair, her dress, the gothed-out eyes... Not to mention the words at the bottom of the cover: "The Classic of Urban Fantasy". What? Urban Fantasy wasn't even a phrase one used in 1943. Was it?

This is marketing, sure, disguising a classic horror novel in trappings of the now to sucker new readers. Not unlike slapping a Twilighty cover on Romeo and Juliet, Wuthering Heights, and Pride and Prejudice:

Oh yes they did.

Does the cover effect my reading of the book?  The jury is still out, but if I'm thinking about the cover instead of the content, I'd have to say all signs are pointing to YES. What about you?


James Everington said...

See, if you'd got the ebook you wouldn't have been thinking about the cover...

(although I still sometimes buy paper books too like you)

Mark K said...

For me the cover of a book plays an important factor - it's like setting the overall tone of the reading to come; then I go to the title.

I've seen many a great image ruined by shite fonts, and vice versa. Get the combination right and the thing just comes to life.

Anthony Rapino said...

Don't worry, Aaron. I'm still "that guy" too. I always will be.

About the cover, yeah, it'd bug me. But that's because I'm overtly sensitiveness to marketing, consumerism, and conformity of all types.

brady said...

I guess we should just be thankful they didn't put her in a mid-riff and slap a small-of-the-back tribal tattoo on her.

A quick google image search indicates that none of the various covers this book has had over the years have been particularly kind to Tansy.

I'll always prefer the movie poster:

Robert Dunbar said...

Too bad about the cover, Aaron. It's such a wonderful book, but cover art is always about marketing rather than enhancing the literary experience. Still ... whoever slapped "urban fantasy" on this ought to be slapped back, good and hard.

BTW -- we're discussing CONJURE WIFE this month at the Literary Horror group on Goodreads. Drop by.