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Monday, June 26, 2006

Oh Pure and Radiant Heart

This novel sounds great, and has been well-reviewed. What's it about?

Three physicists—Oppenheimer, Enrico Fermi, and Leo Szilard—are transported from their posts during the Second World War to the year 2003. After overcoming the usual time-travel quandaries—shock at children shouting expletives, unfamiliarity with power steering—the trio, being geniuses, quickly adapt. Szilard starts quoting rap lyrics. In penitence for their contributions to the creation of the atomic bomb, they set off on a mission to promote world peace, only to have their message hijacked by religious fanatics who believe that Oppenheimer is a herald of the Second Coming. (from New Yorker)

While I wasn't blown away by the hardcover design (top), there's something about it that I do like. Perhaps it's too simple and obvious, but somehow it works simply, and simply works. Compare to the paperback (bottom), in which the science-fiction aspect of this book is taken to the extreme. Even if you don't like the hardcover design, don't you like it better than the paperback?


dave said...

I don't like either of them, really. But the second one, while being a bad photoshop job that would probably set off "bargain bin" alarms in my head in person, does at least make me wonder what the book is about. I like the idea of whimsy combined with catastrophe.

E is for Editrix said...

The paperback is by far better just in conveying some sense of story and emotion. The art is so much more interesting. I like the type treatment better also.

essrog said...

Although the hardcover is imperfect, the unusual title does stand out more, with a certain stark, "undesigned" quality that reminds me of the X-Files' "I WANT TO BELIEVE" UFO poster

and those famous Jack Chick religious tracts.

Intentional or not, this "undesigned" hardcover comes across to me as pretty cool! in a way that the "designed" paperback does not.

Yes, a very subjective read on my part. I WANT TO BELIEVE

danup said...

I absolutely love the hardcover design, basically for the same reasons as essrog. It stands out precisely because it is so stark. The paperback is interesting, but it doesn't really do anything for me.

Martin said...

I agree that the hardcover looks better, but it doesn't seem to be in tune with the story (I just read the summary, not the book). And if you have all these guys time-travelling, why not give us some headshots?

Anonymous said...

If you look here you can see the presentation for this project. I think we had some strong designs in there.


Joseph said...

Holy cow, yes you did! Do you always do that many comps?

Anonymous said...

Sometimes, not typically though. Usually 3 to 4. This was for a great client and we were really inspired by the book.