Sci-Fi Fashion!

In this month’s Wired Magazine is a very prescient feature on the top fashions to adorn Sci-Fi characters. Thankfully, it’s not just women, but alas, Linnea Sinclair’s heroines might still have these folks beat. The best of the top 10?

Queen Amidala’s royal gowns
STAR WARS: EPISODES I, II & III
Stitch together all the scenes in which Amidala wears vaguely Japanese haute couture and you get a new edit: Star Wars: Episode III.I Memoirs of a Padmé.

It is true – the costuming in the whole series was an exercise in how luminous they could make Natalie Portman appear.

Khan’s suede vest
START TREK II: THE WRATH OF KHAN
Mr. Roarke trades his white suit for a dingy suede wraparound number and brings Kirk’s worst nightmares to life. Nothing says wrath like man-cleavage. Well, that and a stellar mullet.

So true – Candy and I can personally attest to that! There is no wrath like man-titty with a mullet.

Feyd-Rautha’s winged Speedo
DUNE
When Sting’s character appears wearing nothing but a blue art deco-style Speedo barely big enough to cover his stinger, the Baron Harkonnen isn’t the only one mesmerized.

You know, the only other Speedo that stopped me hot and cold was the glimpse of Mulder in the infamous red Speedo scene. Man.

Zhora’s peekaboo raincoat
BLADE RUNNER
Every stripper knows that clear gets you noticed, so it’s no surprise Zhora’s see-through raincoat doesn’t help her flee Deckard. She gives a whole new meaning to the term fashion victim.

Barbarella’s white go-go boots
BARBARELLA
Before Jane taught us how to work out, she showed us how to work it in thigh-high boots. If only space were filled with randy go-gonauts, pointless sexual adventures, and erotic torture devices. Feel the burn.

You know, maybe Gillaine and Sinclair’s other cover-hoes are carrying on a fine Sci-Fi babealicious tradition, and we’re too narrow minded to see it? Nah.  I’ll bet you a whole crisp U.S. dollar bill that the next Sinclair cover features white go-go boots, a clear raincoat, or both.

Comments are Closed

  1. 1
    closetcrafter says:

    I have never seen some of these before, I checked the link and all I saw was the drawing of Barbarella. Due to my belonging to that group “of a certain age”, I am sure I am missing out on some very important pop culture references…………….Can someone hook me up with some linkage?

  2. 2
    Jess says:

    Poor Linnea… I think you might be correct on the white go-go boots and transparent raincoat.  Although, her books are often in space…skimpy bikini under transparent space suit?

    I’m surprised they didn’t bring on the costumes in Fifth Element.  Those were some bizarre ensembles. That strappy orange thing they had Mila Jovovich wearing was the most fascinating part of the movie. I spent most of the movie trying to figure out how it stayed on. Glue, maybe a staple gun.

  3. 3
    Suzanne says:

    I wish Wired had included pictures of the costumes they list. In part because I agree with Closetcrafter’s comment, but mainly because I want to see if what they refer to as “Japanese haute couture” is really “Mongolian haute couture”. Many of Amidala’s formal costumes in Episode I are based on traditional Mongolian dress. Check it out: http://srg.cs.uiuc.edu/~myagmar/costume.html

    I guess I should take this up with Wired if I’m really bothered :)

  4. 4

    First, many thanks to all of you who’ve posted kind comments on my books. You have no idea how much that means to me—ALOT.

    Second, on the matter of the cover of AN ACCIDENTAL GODDESS. It concerns me to see a talent such as Dave Seeley’s—he’s the cover artist—painted with a broad (damning) brush (pun intended). Dave is the cover artist for my first three books with Bantam. I considered his covers for FINDERS KEEPERS and GABRIEL’S GHOST ‘spot on’ relative to the book and storyline. Dave is a delight to work with and an excellent artist (who also works for George Lucas/Star Wars). Also—unlike many other cover artists—Dave reads the entire manuscript, not just a section provided by the art department/director.

    Which brings me to my next point: cover artists work under the direction of the publishing house’s art director. The AD and the marketing department are the people who decide what goes on the cover. When my agent and I registered our dissatisfaction with the GODDESS cover, we were told is was a marketing decision. Please read between the lines on that as to the artist’s influence/ opinion of the cover. The artist is told to create THIS—and s/he does or doesn’t get paid.

    No, my next cover contains neither go-go boots nor transparent raincoat. It was produced by artist Stephen Youll—another talented individual. GAMES OF COMMAND’s cover (due out Feb 27th) does contain my cat, though. :-) I was thrilled beyond words that Stephen agreed to feature my cat Daiquiri on the front and back cover. He even went so far as to request photos of Daq so as to render him correctly.

    http://linneasinclair.com/gamescover.htm

    Both Dave Seeley and Stephen Youll are noted cover artists in the SF genre. This may be why some of their covers don’t resonate with romance readers. I’m shelved in SF and am published by Bantam’s SF imprint: Spectra. Marketing philosophies differ from imprint to imprint.

    You might want to visit both Dave’s and Stephen’s sites before you pass judgment on their work as a whole. Both artists are incredibly talented:

    http://daveseeley.com/
    http://stephenyoull.com/

    Both work in the SF genre. If that’s not your cup of intergalactic java then their work might not resonate with you.

    Again, I’m so appreciative of the comments posted by those of you who enjoy my books. I apologize for your dissatisfaction with the GODDESS cover but understand it was out of my (and the artist’s) control.

    Hugs all,
    Namaste, ~Linnea in rainy Florida
    http://www.linneasinclair.com

  5. 5
    Candy says:

    Linnea: Thanks for posting and providing us with the explanations. It’s always interesting to see the other side and who makes which decisions. No doubt Dave Seeley is talented (though we snarked the cover for Gabriel’s Ghost, too, so it looks like his style is not to mine nor Sarah’s taste, ha). But I just wanted to address this one comment of yours:

    Both Dave Seeley and Stephen Youll are noted cover artists in the SF genre. This may be why some of their covers don’t resonate with romance readers.

    I don’t think this can be blamed on the SF/Romance divide. If you’ve looked through our Cover Snark section, you’ll notice that the vast, vast majority of the covers we make fun of are those for romance novels. Romance novels, besides being the worst edited in the industry, also suffer from the most hideous and embarrassing covers.

    I apologize for your dissatisfaction with the GODDESS cover but understand it was out of my (and the artist’s) control.

    No need for apologies on your part! We understand that authors rarely have control of their cover art. I know it can feel like we’re attacking your book when we make fun of cover art, but that’s not at all the intention or the focus. Lookit, if we judged books solely by their covers, very few of us here would be reading romance today.

  6. 6

    Candy wrote: “I don’t think this can be blamed on the SF/Romance divide.”

    I, to some extent, respectfully disagree. Readers of certain genres tend to acquire expectations of certain kinds of covers. Mystery should be dark and, well, mysterious. Romance covers are expected—within parameters—to have a certain ‘feel’ (pardon the pun). I think some of the issues with any SF artist doing a standard SF cover (ie: more action, facial expressions more serious, more hardware, less ‘beautification’) on a book that’s then judged by predominantly romance readers is that “huh?” factor. That is, this isn’t what was expected so it’s judged negatively.

    It’s a huge question to me as to whether romance readers will pick up my books based on cover art. I have a large number of male readers on my fan loop and almost all state that if I’d had more ‘romance-y’ covers, they’d never have read my books (or at least, put a paper bag over it whilst reading it). By ‘romance-y’ think of the Dorchester futuristic covers: nebulous half-clothed him and her, shooting star in the background, lots of clouds…

    Bantam is shelving GAMES in the romance aisles this time—a big experiment. I may well fall flat on my intergalactic arse, even though I love my cover and even though it has my cat on the front and back. But I know it’s not going to meet a lot of romance readers predetermined expectations.

    If you all are interested, I’ll let you know how sales go and how feedback is. I’m the guinea pig with Bantam now on this. FYI.

    Namaste, ~Linnea
    http://www.linneasinclair.com

  7. 7
    Candy says:

    I, to some extent, respectfully disagree. Readers of certain genres tend to acquire expectations of certain kinds of covers. (…) I think some of the issues with any SF artist doing a standard SF cover (ie: more action, facial expressions more serious, more hardware, less ‘beautification’ on a book that’s then judged by predominantly romance readers is that “huh?” factor. That is, this isn’t what was expected so it’s judged negatively. (…) By ‘romance-y’ think of the Dorchester futuristic covers: nebulous half-clothed him and her, shooting star in the background, lots of clouds…

    Linnea: Again, browse through our archives and look at the predominant type of cover we make fun of. I think you’ll find that the majority of the covers we snark—and snark most viciously—are the Dorchester-style clinch covers you’re saying we romance readers expect and feel more comfortable with.

    For what it’s worth, Sarah and I didn’t snark on your cover because it had an SF setting. We snarked on it because the figures looked lifeless and the heroine had an utterly ridiculous outfit on. I, for one, didn’t blink at the SF/F elements—I didn’t think it looked all that SF-ish, personally, probably because I’m used to the more abstract, representational art used on the covers of, say, Neal Stephenson’s books or Sharon Shinn’s Samaria novels, or the Spaceship and Robot Crap look of what appears on Ye Grande Olde Space Operas, like what Lois McMaster Bujold or Dan Simmons get. (Bujold is an SF author who has seriously gotten the short end of the cover art stick, though her fantasy covers are somewhat better.)

    In short: crap cover art is crap cover art, no matter the genre. Genre expectations don’t enter into it—at least, not when Sarah and I snark.

  8. 8
    Candy says:

    Linnea: on re-reading the exchange, I think we’re talking about two different things:

    1. You’re talking about romance reader expectations in general re: cover art, and you think you’re getting negative responses to the cover art from romance readers in general because they want a more romance-y cover.

    2. I’m talking about what Sarah and I (and to an extent, what our readers) find distasteful about cover art, and I’m trying to tell you that we in particular dislike your cover because we think it’s rather silly-looking, and not because we want a more romance-y cover.

    Do I have this right?

    Re: item 1: I don’t purport to know what the average romance reader expects or wants. Romance novels are selling just fine even with the perfectly hideous covers, and lord knows I buy them despite cringing all the way to the cashier’s desk, so who knows whether we buy them because of the covers or despite them.

    Re: item 2: I stand by my point that Sarah and I as well as the readers who bothered to post comments on the cover snark dislike your cover because it looks bad, not because it looks SF.

  9. 9

    Candy writes: “1. You’re talking about romance reader expectations in general re: cover art, and you think you’re getting negative responses to the cover art from romance readers in general because they want a more romance-y cover.”

    Linnea answers: Yes, I am. I broadened (pardon the pun) the discussion because in addition to your and Sarah’s responses, other commenters did post. And even those that don’t post, others read. So I’m trying to offer an additional perspective (old reporter habits die hard). It’s a topic that has had some coverage in blogs (please see my agent’s, Kristin Nelson’s) but obviously not enough since art directors and marketing departments are still producing odd or inappropriate covers.

    So IMHO if the discussion can be broadened beyond “This is stupid” to include why something doesn’t work and why it was produced and what readers’ expectations are (after all, readers vote with their pocketbooks) then perhaps an art director or marketing person might sit up and listen. I’m hopeful for that.

    This blog isn’t the only place such discussions about covers—particularly my GODDESS cover—takes place. But it’s one of the few public ones and as such, has the power to influence people and create change. The reactions I’ve gotten on the GODDESS cover at my booksignings and writer seminars aren’t things I can quantify and hand to my editor or art department.

    But editors and agents and others in the book publishing industry do read blogs. Including this one. It would be terrific if this could be a catalyst of some sort.

    Candy writes: “2. I’m talking about what Sarah and I (and to an extent, what our readers) find distasteful about cover art, and I’m trying to tell you that we in particular dislike your cover because we think it’s rather silly-looking, and not because we want a more romance-y cover.”

    Linnea answers: No argument there.

    Candy writes: “Do I have this right?”

    Linnea answers: Yes, totally.

    Namaste, ~Linnea
    http://www.linneasinclair.com

  10. 10

    What? No Princess Ardala?

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