The Dragon and the Stars anthology Cover

The Dragon and the Stars, edited by Derwin Mak and Eric Choi, and featuring stories by ethnic Chinese writers from around the world – including Hong Kong, the Philippines, Singapore, Canada and the United States – is now available for pre-order on Amazon, published by DAW Books in May this year. Here is the recently-unveiled cover!

More details, including the full table of contents and one line summaries, at Eric Choi’s website.

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26 thoughts on “The Dragon and the Stars anthology Cover

  1. I greatly applaud the conceit of the book, and it looks like a great table of contents, but…

    Um, DAW? For an anthology featuring ethnically Chinese writers, why the hell is the dragon on the cover art NOT a Chinese dragon?

    I also question the decision by the editors to include their own stories in the book, although this may have been the publisher’s call.

      1. I only mentioned it because Andy Duncan told me that when he and Brett Cox were editing CROSSROADS, Tor asked them to both include a story as well, even though neither of them felt it was really right to do so.

        Unfortunate that this isn’t the case here.

  2. That’s an amazing ToC and I will probably buy this book because of that. But ditto others’ comments on the cover. Although it’s beautifully-drawn, if I were picking this up in the bookstore and didn’t know anything else about it, I would put it down again, because it screams “anthology of generic (i.e., Western, which is generic to Westerners by this point) dragon stories”. Granted, these are mostly authors who aren’t living in China, so maybe that was a deliberate choice to indicate the diaspora, but it still looks like every other dragon anthology in English-language bookstores.

    1. Yeah, I thought about the diaspora aspect too. I’ve been joking with Joyce that it’s a “mixed-race” dragon, but even so, most mixed-raced children will take strongly after the Asian parent! XD

      1. Wha — ? ::reads description again:: OK, then this cover makes no sense at all. As a fantasy lover, if there’s a dragon on the cover (this should be a variant of Chekhov’s Gun), I expect some dragons on the inside! Although I would look at this and think, “Oh, somebody’s trying to cash in on the Naomi Novik phenomenon,” and read no further.

  3. The cover isn’t especially good, but, um “an Oriental dragon”? Are you kidding me? do you also think it would be better if the typeface was more like that on a Chinese take-out menu? Or maybe there should be a wizened old man stroking his long white beard and wearing a bamboo hat? Your response to the cover boggles the mind. It’s a dragon because dragon is shorthand for fantasy fiction; the description on the cover–and the editors’ names–tell readers already interested in fantasy fiction that this book has something to do with China.

    As for the editors being in the book: this should only be controversial if the editors are terrible writers. Is it controversial that Robert Aickman appeared in the Fontana ghost story anthologies he edited? Is is controversial when a Kelly Link story was reprinted in the Year’s Best Fantasy & Horror that she co-edited? Of course not.

    And does Sean Wallace actually know what the arrangement was, or is he simply stirring the pot with an assumption (reasonable or otherwise)?

    1. No one’s talking about banking on all sorts of stereotypes just to code the anthology as Chinese. Some of us would like to see a dragon that’s coded as Chinese on the cover, seeing as it is an anthology of Chinese writers.

      This may not be a big deal for some, nor even a controversy, but it would be nice to see some representation of the contents besides a generic dragon.

      The cover of Ying Compestine’s “Banquet of Hungry Ghosts”, for example, is clearly coded Chinese, and quite beautifully, non-stereotypically done.

    2. David,

      I definitely don’t want to see some stereotypical image replace this. But trying to interest fantasy readers by sticking a generic dragon on the cover is also stereotypical, though not racially. It’s like trying to appeal to science fiction readers by sticking a generic spaceship on the cover — it’s so ho-hum and overdone that it doesn’t work unless the book’s also got something else to draw the eye (like some “big names” listed prominently, or something else). Tess Gerritsen, bless her heart, ain’t gonna do it for most fantasy readers.

      I think that when you’ve got a unique anthology, you need unique cover art to draw attention to it. At the very least, a Chinese dragon would be different-looking enough to get past the typical fantasy reader’s jaded “Oh yawn another Pern book/cashing in on Novik/which Warhammer tie-in is that?” reaction.

  4. The cover does represent its contents: it’s an anthology of fantasy stories. There’s also text on the cover, and the names of the editors, which further informs potential buyers of the book’s contents.

    I’m speaking to the specific comments above, which propose that if a fantasy collection of ethnic Chinese writers living outside of China is going to feature a dragon, it ought to be a “Chinese dragon.” And I’m saying that that’s potentially more offensive and makes only as much sense as using a dragon that is supposedly “western.”

    I’ll go one step further: those who have called this “whitewashing” in reference to the cover of Magic Under Glass are deeply confused: a book with a black protagonist that features a white woman on the cover is deliberately misleading, and assumes a racist audience that won’t buy a book with a black woman on the cover; a book with a purple cartoon dragon that anthologizes writers from around the world–including the western world–makes no such assumption. I’d sooner call it racist to assume an ethnically Chinese American would want to be represented by a “Chinese dragon”–tasteful or otherwise.

    1. And I’d sooner call it Eurocentric to assume that a generic dragon, more often associated with Western literature, would be the best way to represent an anthology which, in its own description, centers itself with the rich cultural heritage of China. (Which is why some of us are wondering what about the dragon indicates the culture within its pages.)

      I don’t see this as a matter of the book cover being deliberately misleading, as it is more thoughtless as to its contents.

    2. I was one who called it “whitewashing”, though I was being tongue in cheek–and most of my LJ readers seemed to have gotten my meaning. And rather than viewing the cover as something maliciously done, like Jha, it gave the impression of being done without much thought. As someone who designs/illustrates covers from time to time, it struck me as a tragically wasted opportunity where the book could have had a cover that better represented its contents (I frankly don’t believe anyone here expects the cover art to represent the contributing authors) and given some clue of the “rich cultural heritage of China”, without going overboard. (No one’s asking for brushstroke fonts, nor that old man with the beard either–because the title doesn’t call for him.) If it’s only from the small text on the cover that a casual shopper is supposed to get the idea that this book has Chinese-inspired contents, well, the art fails at the job.

  5. I think we can agree on this: it’s a terrible and silly cover, which is a shame! Let’s all hope for a second edition.

  6. Whoa this is interesting. But I’m glad they’re doing this and at least it’s not a person. I agree, an the anthology at least and getting in some more diverse fantasy. Oriental dragon would be different and attract attention but I think perhaps the book is about dragons since the title is the dragon? So there may be a few stories of this. I’ll keep my eye out for this book!

  7. Using a dragon doesn’t exactly scream science fiction to me – more like it’s another Lord of the Rings mediaeval storybook. And as far as I can tell, none of the stories are set in a distant mythical past.

    But aside from that, good effort!

  8. Hmmm. I would definitely look at that cover and that title and expect it to be a fantasy book. Which it is.

    It is possible that the two dragon stories in the book have something to do with western style dragons, but I sincerely doubt it.

    I suspect it was a marketing decision, pure and simple, to cater to the majority of fantasy readers (aka white males), which curls my lip.

    It is possible that having this cover will “trick” some readers into picking it up for the cover and accidentally reading some great stories by Chinese writers, so I could see it doing some good.

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  10. Glancing at the cover alone, I would not even give it a chance by reading the description or editors’ names… It looks like a fantasy novel…

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