Monday, August 1, 2011

A Trail to What?

The Pumpkin King & I were discussing book trailers this evening before dinner and I was wondering what I would do if most of the bookstores around us (at least the ones offering new books) closed. There are other, more important issues that surround this; however, we ended up talking about how we pick our books. In my case, this is a genre issue.

Specifically, we were discussing how fantasy book covers and book trailers either attracted or repelled us. I'm a big believer in the "uncanny valley" and I tend to reject out of hand any animation or cover that looks like it was pulled artlessly from a figure drawing program. If the art design is absent, I'll assume editing and revision are also absent.

When it comes to book trailers, I'm ambivalent. First of all, I hate the notion that a book is just a wordy proposal for a movie. Book trailers seem to play into this, thereby reducing the imaginative content of the book itself to a few familiar scenes (fraught glances, mood-lit woods, etc.) rather than with the voice of the book itself. On the other hand, I've seen interesting ones--although they do prime me for the idea that the book itself is incomplete without the attendent video production.

To me, the attraction of good cover design (and, presumably, book trailers) is that it underscores the ideas that are present in the book. The opportunity to develop and play with the fantastic is missed when tropes and advertising merge to become cheap stand-ins for a developed story or image of the book.

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