Posts Categorized: Cover Art

Rogues, edited by George R.R. Martin and Gardner Dozois

“This one was an enormous amount of fun. We’re got something for everyone in Rogues,” said George R.R. Martin of the anthology. “SF, mystery, historical fiction, epic fantasy, sword and sorcery, comedy, tragedy, crime stories, mainstream. And rogues, cads, scalawags, con men, thieves, and scoundrels of all descriptions. If you love Harry Flashman and Cugel the Clever, as I do, this is the book for you.

“If there’s any bloody justice, some of these stories will contend for awards.”

I’ll say one thing, and one thing only: the Table of Contents is a hell of a lot more impressive than that cover.

  • George R.R. Martin “Everybody Loves a Rogue” (Introduction)
  • Joe Abercrombie “Tough Times All Over”
  • Gillian Flynn “What Do You Do?”
  • Matthew Hughes “The Inn of the Seven Blessings”
  • Joe R. Lansdale “Bent Twig”
  • Michael Swanwick “Tawny Petticoats”
  • David Ball “Provenance”
  • Carrie Vaughn “The Roaring Twenties”
  • Scott Lynch “A Year and a Day in Old Theradane”
  • Bradley Denton “Bad Brass”
  • Cherie Priest “Heavy Metal”
  • Daniel Abraham “The Meaning of Love”
  • Paul Cornell “A Better Way to Die”
  • Steven Saylor “Ill Seen in Tyre”
  • Garth Nix “A Cargo of Ivories”
  • Walter Jon Williams “Diamonds From Tequila”
  • Phyllis Eisenstein “The Caravan to Nowhere”
  • Lisa Tuttle “The Curious Affair of the Dead Wives”
  • Neil Gaiman “How the Marquis Got His Coat Back”
  • Connie Willis “Now Showing”
  • Patrick Rothfuss “The Lightning Tree”
  • “The Rogue Prince, or, the King’s Brother” by George R.R. Martin

With the announcement of the release date for the anthology, Martin also teased fans with information about his own contribution, “The Rogue Prince, or, the King’s Brother.” “[It] will tell the story of the years leading up to the calamitious events of ‘The Princess and the Queen’ during the reign of King Viserys I Targaryen, with particular attention to the role played by the king’s brother, Prince Daemon, a rogue if there ever was one.” Stop salivating, Westeros fans.

Rogues, edited by George R.R. Martin and Gardner Dozois, is set for release on June 17th, 2014, as is available for preorder.

Half a King by Joe Abercrombie

Oh, I get it. It’s like a snowflake, and also a sword. I can’t imagine that would be a very efficient or easy-to-wield weapon. Perhaps an accident on the training yard leads to the king losing his other half? In any case, the cover’s fine (non-offensive, if bland) and fits the mould for YA fantasy, though holds nothing on Abercrombie’s previous covers (the dude’s damned with comparisons to The First Law‘s covers for the rest of his career, they were so good.)

io9‘s Charlie Jane Anders calls Half a King “a classic ‘coming of age’ story about Yarvi, the youngest son of a warrior king.” Fans of Abercrombie should feel familiar with the concept, and io9′s full description sounds like it is sure to please. “Because Yarvi is born with one disabled hand,” Anders explains. “He’s regarded as ‘half a man,’ and he can’t ever live up to his father’s expectations of what a real man ought to be. He’s expected to go into the ministry instead of becoming a soldier or an heir to the throne — but after his father and brother are killed, he’s thrust onto the throne (the Black Chair) where he has to find a way to rule. But of course his journey doesn’t turn out to be that easy.”

Along with the cover and synopsis, Abercrombie released the first chapter of Half a King. An excerpt of the full excerpt:

There was a harsh gale blowing on the night Yarvi learned he was a king. Or half a king, at least.

A seeking wind, the Gettlanders called it, for it found out every chink and keyhole, moaning Mother Sea’s dead chill into every dwelling, no matter how high the fires were banked or how close the folk were huddled.

It tore at the shutters in the narrow windows of Mother Gundring’s chambers and rattled even the iron-bound door in its frame. It taunted the flames in the firepit and they spat and crackled in their anger, casting clawing shadows from the dried herbs hanging, throwing flickering light upon the root that Mother Gundring held up in her knobbled fingers.

‘And this?’

It looked like nothing so much as a clod of dirt, but Yarvi had learned better. ‘Black-tongue root.’

‘And why might a minister reach for it, my prince?’

‘A minister hopes they won’t have to. Boiled in water it can’t be seen or tasted, but is a most deadly poison.’

Mother Gundring tossed the root aside. ‘Ministers must sometimes reach for dark things.’

I can just picture mothers and fathers reading this to their children as they lay curled within the warm cocoon of their blankets and jammies, Abercrombian nightmares biding their time until the light is flicked off.

Good stuff.

Every once in a while, an artist nails the artwork from the book they are covering. Marc Simonetti does it on an alarmingly regular basis.

Marc Simonetti's Artwork for MistbornMarc Simonetti's Artwork for MistbornMarc Simonetti's Artwork for MistbornMarc Simonetti's Artwork for Mistborn

This artwork, created by Simonetti for the Brazilian edition of Brandon Sanderson’s Mistborn: The Final Empire, is gorgeous, and the most accurate to imagery that I had in my mind’s eye when reading Sanderson’s trilogy. That Mistcloak! Those Inquisitors! Kelsier’s grin!

Known among fantasy fans for his work on foreign-language versions of many of fantasy’s biggest series, like Rothfuss’ The Kingkiller Chronicles or Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire, it’s about time that Simonetti makes the leap to working with some of the big North American and British publisher on the first run major fantasy releases from those authors. The guy’s good enough that his art should be on bookstore shelves everywhere.

the-magicians-land-by-lev-grossman

Via The AVClub, Lev Grossman revealed the cover and first details about The Magician’s Land. Grossman won over fans with the release of The Magicians, a twisted and grown-up mix of Harry Potter-meets-Narnia, and continued to cement himself as one of the most interesting young contemporary fantasists with the release of the sequel, The Magician King. The Magician’s Land is the third and final volume of the trilogy and, as the title suggests, it focusses heavily on the magical land of Fillory (Grossman’s Narnia analogue).

Didier Massard

Photography by Didier Massard

Spoilers below, for those who haven’t read the first two volumes.

Quentin Coldwater has been cast out of Fillory, the secret magical land of his childhood dreams. With nothing left to lose he returns to where his story be­gan, the Brakebills Preparatory College of Magic. But he can’t hide from his past, and it’s not long before it comes looking for him.

Along with Plum, a brilliant young under­graduate with a dark secret of her own, Quentin sets out on a crooked path through a magical demi­monde of gray magic and desperate characters. But all roads lead back to Fillory, and his new life takes him to old haunts, like Antarctica, and to buried secrets and old friends he thought were lost for­ever. He uncovers the key to a sorcery masterwork, a spell that could create magical utopia, a new Fillory—but casting it will set in motion a chain of events that will bring Earth and Fillory crashing together. To save them he will have to risk sacrific­ing everything.

The Magician’s Land is an intricate thriller, a fantastical epic, and an epic of love and redemp­tion that brings the Magicians trilogy to a magnifi­cent conclusion, confirming it as one of the great achievements in modern fantasy. It’s the story of a boy becoming a man, an apprentice becoming a master, and a broken land finally becoming whole.

Like its predecessors before it, The Magician’s Land features a gorgeous cover with art from photographer Didier Massard. The Magician’s Land will be available on August 4th, 2014.

Echopraxia by Peter Watts

Peter Watts is the Hugo-winning Canadian author of Blindsight, described by The Globe and Mail as, “a hard science fiction writer through and through and one of the very best alive,” which is a reputation he has lived up to among fans of hard science fiction. Through their Spring/Summer catalog, Tor has revealed details about Echopraxia, his first novel since 2006.

Prepare for a different kind of singularity in this follow-up to the Hugo-nominated novel Blindsight.

It’s the eve of the twenty-second century: a world where the dearly departed send postcards back from Heaven and evangelicals make scientific breakthroughs by speaking in tongues; where genetically engineered vampires solve problems intractable to baseline humans and soldiers come with zombie switches that shut off self-awareness during combat. And it’s all under surveillance by an alien presence that refuses to show itself.

Daniel Bruks is a living fossil: a field biologist in a world where biology has turned computational, a cat’s-paw used by terrorists to kill thousands. Taking refuge in the Oregon desert, he’s turned his back on a humanity that shatters into strange new subspecies with every heartbeat. But he awakens one night to find himself at the center of a storm that will turn all of history inside-out.

Now he’s trapped on a ship bound for the center of the solar system. To his left is a grief-stricken soldier, obsessed by whispered messages from a dead son. To his right is a pilot who hasn’t yet found the man she’s sworn to kill on sight. A vampire and its entourage of zombie bodyguards lurk in the shadows behind. And dead ahead, a handful of rapture-stricken monks takes them all to a meeting with something they will only call “The Angels of the Asteroids.”

Their pilgrimage brings Dan Bruks, the fossil man, face-to-face with the biggest evolutionary breakpoint since the origin of thought itself.

Before becoming a writer, Watts acquired a PhD in Zoology and Resource Ecology from the University of British Columbia, which makes me even more curious to see that Echopraxia appears to deal with the merging of biology and technology. Watts is known as one of the best authors at weaving intelligent scientific exploration and debate into the narratives of his story, and everything about the synopsis for Echopraxia tugs at my interests. Peter Watts can be trusted with big ideas, and Echopraxia appears to be full of them.

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Watts’ most famous novel, Blindsight had, erm… less than inspiring cover art, so it’s nice to see Tor giving him the attention that a writer of his calibre deserves. There’s an obvious similarity to covers for James S.A. Corey’s enormously popular Expanse trilogy, but the clean typography separates the two and also brings to mind Tor’s equally impressive work on the John Harris covers for John C. Wright’s Count to the Eschaton Sequence. I’m not sure how anyone could pass this book in a bookstore and not pick it up.