Orbit’s “Trends in Fantasy Cover Art”

I love that there is someone who actually searches out things like this.

Remember when most covers of science fiction and  fantasy novels seemed to feature scantily clothed women (or “better” still, women in clothing that had been torn until it was now scanty), and men with inhumanly bulging muscles and long, suggestive swords?

Orbit Books has had one of their interns look over all the fantasy covers from 2009, to compare them to the covers of 2008, and to note the motifs that appear most often. The result is The Chart of Fantasy Art, 2009.

"fantasy trends"

Fantasy Trends 2008/2009

The stalwarts are still there; you’re not going to get rid of swords that easily. Though it’s really interesting that castles and citadels have diminished steeply in just one year. Those have kind of been staples of the genre.

And the damsels are still there, but many of them are not “in distress,” which is a new trend that pleases me to no end. Meanwhile, unicorns are pretty much a non-presence, but I always figured they wouldn’t last.

The only trends from last year that haven’t gone down are the dragons — ah yes, one needs dragons in fantasy; I’ve got a fantasy novel of my own with a dragon in it — and guns. A trend that has increased, and which I don’t like at all.

Still, what I do like is that there are people who look at these things and make charts. Fun things to know.


    1. Stephanie says:

      Dragons or cats or damsels (not in distress) could work for any of my novels. Swords, maybe for two of them. Castles not so much.

    2. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by kashicat, Mari. Mari said: Oooh, interesting! RT @kashicat: Bookishgal: Orbit’s “Trends in Fantasy Cover Art” http://bit.ly/bOiPCl […]

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