The last time I talked about Gollancz rebadging a bunch of books, I wasn't that kind. When I first saw their next attempt at the same, I felt similarly. Over the last few days, though, the covers have grown on me (with some reservations).
They are the 10 titles in Gollancz's 'Totally Space Opera' series, a horrible title for a range bringing together some of the big-ideas/huge-distances/great-swathes-of-time classics of science-fiction. All of the books utilise simple, mostly abstract black-and-white imagery which I assume must be computer-generated. Nicely, they're all variations on objects, structures or patterns made of paper--very old technology representing big, futuristic ideas.
(UPDATE: The designer is Sanda Zahirovic, a painfully young and talented designer who also has a blog here.)
First is Larry Niven's Ringworld, set on a "planet" that's a vast ring. It's been a while since I read it, so maybe this structure does appear in the book, but it does seem a bit of a misfire.
Stapledon's Last and First Men is not a conventional novel, but a survey of the next two billion years of human evolution. This cover is rather nice, though it does also suggest it might be a gay romance.
Harrison's Centauri Device is about a quest for a vastly powerful futuristic weapon. Nice cover idea, well executed.
Anderson's Tau Zero is an adventures set on a spaceship which is stuck going faster and faster and faster towards light speed. Again, a nice and simple cover idea.
I haven't read Century Rain, a time-travel/global-warming tale, nor have I read Eternal Light, so I'm not sure about either of these. The McAuley cover does appeal, though.
Ilium takes its inspiration from Homer, and covers vast eras of time. Another appealing, simple cover.
Bear's Eon is a great, dark book, about the end of the world and a bizarre space artifact containing what may be a tunnel of infinite length. You can see what they were going for here, but it's a bit dull and a little bit like somebody's first attempt at using a Photoshop filter.
I've read Stone, one of Adam Roberts' good books before he pissed away his talent on inferior ideas and endless unfunny parody books (Star Warped, The Va Dinci Cod, The Soddit, The McAtrix, et-fucking-cetera), but I can't remember what this cover might be a reference to. Looks good, though. (As an aside, another Roberts novel, Snow, would have benefited from a cover like these, as the concepts of 'whiteness' and 'blankness' and empty paper are at its core. It was still a dud book, though.)
Finally, the Clarke classic of "big dumb object" science-fiction. Again, you can see what they were going for, and it works when you see all of the books in the range together and you get the paper theme, but on its own it's pretty dull.
So that's a qualified thumbs-up for the covers, and a big one for the idea. It's always nice to see science-fiction covers getting an unusual treatment.