There's a terrific piece over at SF Signal about recent sci-fi book covers. Apart from the gorgeous covers on display, there's some good insights about the nature of sci-fi cover art. For instance, Lauren Panepinto says: "I think it's more important in our genre than pretty much any other that we be as true as possible to the descriptions and worldbuilding in the books as possible. Our readers love these books because they want to be swallowed up by the world our authors have toiled long and hard to create - your mind always has the picture of the cover in your mind when you start reading, and if you have to work against that as you read the book, it takes away from the experience, I think." I picked this particular quote out, because I do have concerns about increasing reliance on stock images and fashion trends for covers (it's odd, though, that Twilight seems to have had a bigger influence on book fashion than Harry Potter ever did). The beauty of really unique cover art ought to be celebrated.
Note: It's actually odd reading some of the comments following the piece on io9 that are concerned about reading books with non-nondescript covers in public. I think we should celebrate illustrative, colourful covers in public situations. It makes bus and train trips so much more fascinating. Why be embarrassed? There's nothing wrong with reading imaginative work, good or bad or inbetween. And there's nothing wrong with enjoying covers belonging to other, interesting readers when waiting for your next stop.