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Australian philosopher, literary critic, and professional writer. Author of FREEDOM OF RELIGION AND THE SECULAR STATE.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Cover for 50 Voices of Disbelief

11 comments:

jennyblackford said...

Very elegant.

luke said...

Not sure I understand the cover, Russell? I think I have a bias to the candle as the light in the darkness of superstition (to do with Sagan perhaps). It looks like you've blown out that candle light. Maybe I'm just tired, but is the candle representative of faith there?

Athena Andreadis said...

I agree with Jenny, it's elegant. At the same time, Luke has a point: a candle flame has a specific positive connotation. Blowing out a candle is visual shorthand for snuffing out hope.

Steve Zara said...

I see my facebook comments have been echoed here. It is a really elegant image, but it gives the impression of crushing hope.

Carl Sagan considered science as a "Candle in the Dark."

Having a picture of an extinguished candle is perhaps not the best symbol in view of this.

Russell Blackford said...

Luke is right - it's meant to be the candle of reason, but it can also be interpreted as the candle of faith, depending on who you assume is blowing it out (I'm sure that will be the first interpretation that comes to the minds of many people, but the total package subverts it). The former (candle of reason) meaning becomes clear when you read the introduction (which is partly entitled "Voices of Reason"). There is then a LIT candle beside each contributor by-line, on the first page of each essay. So the total message is of the book and the contributors defending reason, restoring hope, etc., in a dark time.

We've spent quite a bit of time with all this lately, and we think the result will be a beautiful package and all make intuitive sense to a reader, or anyone who picks up the book and flicks through it. Guess we'll see in October whether it all comes together as well as we think it should, so fingers crossed on that!

Steve Zara said...

If I saw this in a bookstore, it would intrigue me. Given the title, I would buy it (although I already have).

I am not sure the cover image, beautiful though it is, is good marketing. However, I will do my best to spread the word about this book, which I think is an important publication. It is certainly one of the most diverse collections of "voices of disbelief" to have been published in recent years.

toomanytribbles said...

i'll have to reinforce previous comments.

carl sagan's 'candle in the dark' is a wonderful metaphor and has seeped into our collective consciousness. although this cover is visually beautiful, i believe sends a negative message.

Popey said...

cover looks nice. i'll look forward to reading it.

is it available i book stores?

Russell Blackford said...

Not available yet. There's a big lead-time with these things. But you can pre-order on Amazon.

Go Democrats said...

I think the cover looks negative and sad; "disbelief"--a snuffed out grey candle giving out a puff of ashy smoke.

Stefani said...

I actually disagree with the "negative image" comments. As a recovering Catholic, candles were very much a part of our faith; they were used in everything from worship services to prayers. When I first saw the cover, the image that lept to my mind was that of myself blowing out these candles of faith; letting it all go and moving on to my life without superstition. Looking forward to your book, Russell!