John over at the Grasping for the Wind continues his series of posts, “Ask the Bloggers”. Unfortunately, for a period I didn’t have the time to answer his interesting questions, but I will try to post about the last two of them here.
Should SF&F books have maps included for the readers? Are there any special conditions when they should or should not? Was there ever a book you wished had map that didn't? Or vice versa? (Other answers at Grasping for the Wind)
I really enjoy the maps featured at the beginning of the fantasy novels. Since childhood I was attracted by geography and history, these two being my favorite courses at school, after literature obviously. And I always liked to study the maps of geography and history atlases.
At first my imagination worked from the map to a daydream. I always pictured places I saw on the map, imagining how a city might look, the beauty of a region or how a specific place looked on a past period of time. Well, now is much easier with the access to information through Internet. When I discovered the fantasy novels the process reversed, I imagine the world created by the author with the help of his novel, but I like to see a map of that world because it helps to build a stronger image of that specific world.
Sometimes the maps featured by the novels seem drawn without much implication and seem made in a hurry and in that case I would not look at them and I consider them non-existent. But most of the time the maps of the fantasy world or cities bring me a great joy and add to the pleasure of reading. So, I will respond with a strong yes to this question. I think that SF&F books should have maps, mainly because it gives a chance to a stronger interaction between the reader and the novel.
What kind of book cover attracts your attention? What attributes of the cover make you more or less likely to take it off the shelf? Does the spine of the book have any effect on your choices? (Other answers at Grasping for the Wind)
I think the first contact between a reader and a novel is the cover. Although the most important part of a novel is between its covers the outside package plays a part in the process too. When I walk in a library and look on the shelves I tend to look first at the cover of a novel that has an unknown author to me. Every time I end up picking the ones which have covers that might make a story by themselves. After this initial contact I check the back cover, so I believe that the covers play the most important part in this process.
I’m a lover of fantasy art and I really enjoy the works in this field. But because of this sometimes I end up judging only the cover and that it is a bad thing, because it might damage my perception of a book without being the story within the covers fault. I try to restrain myself in those cases and judge every part on its own as much as possible. What I don’t like on covers are those featuring well muscled, half-naked men and poorly dressed, voluptuous women. These covers give me a sensation of superficial content.
As for the spine of the book, this one doesn’t have any effect on me. I can’t remember one time when it influenced my choice.