Designing with AI: sci-fi book covers from parallel universes



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Designing with AI: sci-fi book covers from parallel universes

My neighbors think I’m crazy.

They must, because I’ve been sitting in my room for two weeks till 2am each night screaming “wow!” every 30 seconds as MidJourney continues to blow my freaking mind.

Hello, my name is Titus and I’m a MidJourney addict.

As I near completion of my own science fiction novel, I’ve been using MidJourney as a design tool for both scene inspiration during writing, and to generate book cover designs.

But, it’s easy to get distracted (both from writing, and making my own book cover) when you’ve got the opportunity to witness a universe of possibilities that never existed before.

“What if Asmimov wrote a book about talking coffee cups?”

“What if William Gibson wrote a deep sea adventure?”

You can do more than ask these questions. You can take the cumulative knowledge of sci-fi history and mix it up into just that.

Below I’ve collected some of the best conceptual sci-fi covers, ripped straight from a parallel universe by MidJourney. For each set of images, I’ve included the prompt I used to generate the result.

As a general rule, I’ve found that it works best to create an abstract, but creative title that you could imagine plastered across a real novel. Or, even reuse the author’s own titles to see how much better they could have been. If you use only an author’s name the results usually end up as a stylized version of their face.

While going about your own design tasks, whether they be for creative imagery, or even to conceptualize interface layouts based on a description of the product you’re working on, MidJourney has the power to supercharge your creative juices.

Enjoy, friends.

PROMPT:

Hugo award winning book cover "The Harvest" by Niven --ar 9:16 --v 3

“The Harvest” by Larry Niven

PROMPT:

Hugo award winning book cover "Harvest of Souls" by Niven --ar 9:16 --v 3

“Harvest of Souls” by Larry Niven

PROMPT:

Hugo award winning book cover "Mind Flair" by Niven --ar 9:16 --v 3

“Mind Flair”, by Larry Niven

PROMPT:

highly detailed, Sci-fi book cover for Frank Herbert’s new novel named “Behind the Veil” — ar 9:16 — v 3

“Behind the Veil” by Frank Herbert

PROMPT:

Book cover for nebula winning novel "The Galactic Riddle" by Clark Darlton --ar 9:16  --v 3

“The Galactic Riddle” by Clark Darlton

PROMPT:

highly detailed, Sci-fi book cover for Isaac Asimov's new novel named "gateway to the unknown" --ar 9:16  --v 3

“Gateway to the Unknown” by Isaac Asimov

PROMPT:

highly detailed, Sci-fi book cover for Isaac Asimov's new novel named "Empire's End" --ar 9:16 --v 3

“Empire’s End” by Isaac Asimov

PROMPT:

Movie poster for the new sci-fi film "Event Horizon" --ar 9:16 --v 3

“Event Horizon”

PROMPT:

Hugo award book cover "Deception Past" by Niven --ar 9:16 --v 3

“Deception Past”, by Larry Niven

PROMPT:

highly detailed, book cover for James Renner's new Sci-fi novel named "The Great Forgetting" --ar 9:16 --v 3

“The Great Forgetting” by James Renner

PROMPT:

Book cover of award winning sci-fi novel about genetic altering by Titus Decali — ar 9:16 — v 3

Novel about genetic altering, by Titus Decali

PROMPT:

highly detailed, Sci-fi book cover for Robert Heinlein's new novel named "The Plains of Existence" --ar 9:16  --v 3

“The Plains of Existence”, by Robert Heinlein

PROMPT:

Book cover, 2023 hugo award winning story collection "The Best of" by Henry Kuttner --ar 9:16  --v 3

“Best of short stories”, by Henry Kuttner

PROMPT:

Book cover, 2023 hugo award winning story collection "The Best of" by Henry Kuttner --ar 9:16  --v 3

“Exhalation”, by Ted Chiang

I just happened to have this real novel on my desk, prompting me to test it with MidJourney. I prefer these to the real cover.

PROMPT:

red and black book cover of award winning sci-fi novel “Asteroid Miner” — ar 9:16 — v 3

“Asteroid Miner”

They almost perfectly compliment each other, which is due to the “red and black” part of the prompt.

PROMPT:

Book cover for Ray Bradbury's new novel titled "The Depths" --ar 9:16  --v 3

“The Depths” by Ray Bradbury

Here’s another one where the results could have been used as the front and back covers to great effect.

PROMPT:

Book cover for Arthur C. Clarke's new novel "Mariana Trench" --ar 9:16  --v 3

“Mariana Trench” by Arthur C. Clarke

PROMPT:

Book cover for William Gibson's new novel "Alpha Six" --ar 9:16 --v 3

“Alpha Six” by William Gibson

For this prompt, I actually liked all the preview options it gave.

And you can see how MJ changes things from the preview images to the final upscaled versions below. A bit of extra detail can shift the feeling quite drastically. I sometimes like the simplistic previews more than the final results, and in some cases even save the image before it has finished upscaling to capture a bit less of the details and static speckels it adds to the background.

I hope this little romp through parallel universe sci-fi was as fun for you as it was for me, and I do highly suggest you take a stab at your own imag generation. All in all, I spent around $30 USD for hundreds upon hundreds of images and I still have a significant amount of credit left. The above samples took about two days of trial and error to generate, and I have many many more that I deemed not quite worthy of your time.

Even if used only as a tool to get a better idea of the kind of final image you’re looking for before hiring a professional illustrator, I think MidJourney is an absolutely stunning tool for authors and artists alike.

If you enjoyed my work here, let me know in the comments as I’m considering doing a similar run of conceptual Pixar movie posters and another for futuristic tech fashion and devices.

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