There's an interesting discussion going on over at Media Bistro's Galleycat blog about when science fiction books should have dignified covers that look less pulpy and "skiffy." Case in point: Clifford Simak's The Way Station, which has had a host of lurid covers over the years (see left) and now has gotten reissued with a nice pastoral grasslands scene, which looks more like a Willa Cather novel. Click through to see the new, classier cover, plus a selection of the old pulpy covers.

Compare this "classy" version of The Way Station with these older covers:

Iain M. Banks' publisher, Orbit, says it's giving his Culture books covers that "don't scream scifi," in order to stand out from the rest of the pack. But sadly, the bottom line, says one reader, is that a cover should tell distributors and bookstore clerks where to shelve a book. [Media Bistro]