Science Fiction Book Covers
Welcome to the scifi cover shop.
Science fiction book covers are for stories set in space or on other planets. The backgrounds are what the sub-genres all have in common, with planets, stars, ships and aliens showing the sci-fi nature of the stories. The difference between them comes with the main elements on the cover, from space ships, to aliens to humans in advanced or science fiction clothing with space guns.
Authors of science fiction need a book cover designer that understands what differentiates the covers of one sub-genre from another, as well as what readers of these stories are looking for.
What are potential readers thinking and feeling that leads them to pick up a scifi story? They could be looking for that sense of adventure and an urge to explore new places no one has ever been before. If so, they could be searching for a Space Opera story to fulfill that desire.
If they're trying to make sense of themes going on in society, having an outlet where those same conflict is happening in an imaginary context like space, can help readers sort through things. This is one of the pulls of a military sci-fi book, another providing a paradigm shift and the chance to see the bigger picture of a conflict, as well as hope of a better future.
For those who are looking for exciting and forbidden romance, science fiction romance provides that in spades. Especially in these times where we're less able to meet people, there's an attraction to having a mysterious alien lover, swoop in.
All of these sub-genres have identifiable differences on their covers...
When it comes to science fiction, there are several sub-genres that look different when it comes to their book covers...
- Space Opera - stories focusing more on the adventure and space travel
- Military Scifi - stories focusing on the military aspects with lots of battles
- Scifi Romance (SFR) - stories focusing on romance between humans and aliens
This type of story takes its name from a play on the term soap opera. It's all about the adventure. They tend to be stories featuring huge galactic empires, where the characters have super advanced science and even fantastic abilities like psychic or mental powers - "may the force be with you". Lots of difference alien civilizations appear and interact and ultimately the main character(s) end up changing their fabric of their society and culture.
How does this show up on the covers for this sub-genre? It means you can have a space ship on the cover, but you can also have the main character on the cover. The background however will always show the book is scifi, so planets, stars, space ships and so on feature prominently.
This type of story is about conflict and all-out war. The characters are usually part of a military organization and while they don't act alone, they can be have pivotal roles in the outcomes. They tend to be stories that have a lot of battles and action in them.
So how does this show up in the cover? There will always be a space ship, often more than one, and they're firing on something, or being fired on, chased or otherwise in obvious battle. Again the background will clearly show the book is science fiction with planets and the like.
Covers for these types of stories almost exclusively feature the chest / abs of an alien male. Purples, teals, golds, blues and greens are common, both for skin colors and background colors. Often the alien has tattoos and you rarely see his face, allowing the reader to imagine him however they choose. The only other type of cover for this sub-genre is an alien male (shirtless again) with a human woman in his arms.
Backgrounds are mostly space-like, with planets, stars or general glow.