Terry Brooks’ next novel, The High Druid’s Blade, isn’t even out yet, but the cover for the follow-up novel, The Darkling Child, is already loosed on the world. (See what I did there? It’s like a demon from the Forbidding.) And, it’s just as pretty as the previous cover. I really like the rough, impressionistic quality of the painting they’ve used.
The Darkling Child is the second in The Defenders of Shannara, a loose trilogy of standalone Shannara novels that follow the events of Witch Wraith, Brooks’ most recently published novel. The High Druid’s Blade and The Darkling Child will be released in 2014.
Earlier this week, N.K. Jemisin revealed the cover and synopsis for her next novel, The Fifth Season. Since first debuting as a novelist with The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms, Jemisin has been blessed with some of the most inspired art direction in current fantasy. Lauren Panepinto, Art Director at Orbit Books, is responsible for Jemisin’s covers, so I gathered her up and we discussed The Fifth Season and the process of evolving an author’s brand as they mature and move from series-to-series.
“Working on N. K. Jemisin books are the best kind of challenge for me,” said Panepinto. Jemisin’s books are often praised for their strong worldbuilding, approach to magic and uniquely drawn characters, which turns out to be both something of a curse and a blessing for an art director. But Panepinto is never one to back down from challenges. “Really strong, fleshed out characters inhabiting intricately thought-out worlds means there’s always a wealth of material to draw from for the covers,” she explained. Read More »
Sexy, and a huge step up from the weird cover for The Tyrant’s Law.
Welcome to rural Sweden, sometime in the late ’80s. Citizens go about their mundane lives and children explore the countryside. But something isn’t quite right. Robots and hovercrafts are commonplace, and decaying science facilities sprout from the harsh Scandinavian landscape. There’s even a rumor circulating that dinosaurs have returned from the dead after some failed experiment.
As a huge fan of Valve’s Half-Life series, and particularly Viktor Antonov’s relentlessly haunting, but startlingly believable, visual direction and world building for a dystopian future, I was immediately drawn to Stålenhag’s art. Where Antonov’s vision was used to flesh out a videogame that, for the most part, requires the lead character to shoot his way to safety, Stålenhag explores a similar world, Sweden, post-disaster, and takes a snapshot of what civilian life might be like under those conditions.
In a profile of his work by Dante D’Orazio, Stålenhag explained that “the only difference in the world of my art and our world is that … ever since the early 20th century, attitudes and budgets were much more in favor of science and technology. D’Orazio described Stålenhag’s world and a future that looks, in many ways, like our present. “Despite developments in robotics and ‘anti-grav’ technology, the difficulties of the modern human experience haven’t changed,” D’Orazio said.
Stålenhag juxtaposes the looming threat of the decaying glory of a dystopian far future with the mundanity of everyday life, that effectively illustrates the idea that life happens no matter what else is going on around it. Children are featured in many of Stålenhag’s paintings and its through their eyes that we are shown the grandeur and lost history of a world that crumbled under its own weight.
More of Stålenhag’s artwork can be found at his profile on The Verge, or by visiting his portfolio.