The author has publicly objected to the portrayal of female characters on his new novel’s cover art – which leaves me wanting to object right back

Let’s begin with a preface: I have read a lot of Terry Goodkind’s books. Wizard’s First Rule distracted me from my finals, and I persevered with the Sword of Truth series for way, way too long, ploughing my way past endless and increasingly bonkers Objectivist polemics thinly disguised as plot. (I hadn’t known that Goodkind rates Ayn Rand, but it makes absolute sense.) I even took in that epitome of bad writing, his infamous evil chicken scene. (“This looked like a chicken, like most of the Mud People’s chickens. But this was no chicken. This was evil manifest.”) I can’t explain why I read so many – I read an awful lot, and quickly, and perhaps it was a necessary escape from the Serious Literature of university.

So. I come to 2018’s Terry Goodkind cover controversy well-versed in his writing, which is why I read his latest comments with raised eyebrows: last week, Goodkind decided to publicly shame (he has a history of this) the cover artist of his latest fantasy novel, Shroud of Eternity. He wrote on Facebook that it was “a great book with a very bad cover. Laughably bad.” After a bit of a backlash – the artist called him “totally disrespectful” – Goodkind decided he had to explain himself further and said he was upset because the cover was “sexist”.