Photography by Michael Frost; Photo Illustration by Gene Mollica
Orbit’s had a few swings at the plate now with Abercrombie’s series (this is the third cover they’ve done for Best Served Cold, each vastly different from the other eg. 1 // 2). How’d they do this time? Well, I appreciate that they took a standard image of a badass dude™/badass chick™ and tilting expectations a bit by cropping in tight on the characters; but it works much better on The Heroes with the abstract arm, and less well on Best Served Cold, with the pretty leather-clad girl. One of my major issues with featuring characters on a cover, especially photo-realistic characters and models, is that rarely do they match the image in my head or, really, the characteristics of the person they’re supposed to convey. Abercrombie’s novels are known for their nihilism and no-holds-bar approach to the scum of humanity and the terrible things we can do when we feel justified; the girl on the cover of Best Served Cold just can’t capture the ruthlessness of Monza (the protagonist of Best Served Cold) or the proper tone of Abercrombie’s novels. The tight, blood-spattered sword, however, hits it out of the park. Strange that they didn’t go similarly abstract for both covers.
Still not in the realm of the UK covers, but the best stuff Orbit’s done for the series by quite a mile. Lauren Panepinto, creative director at Orbit Books, and Abercrombie have both posted some interesting reactions/thoughts to the covers on their respective blogs.
From Sullivan’s blog:
I like the layout/typography of the US editions much more. They both use the same art, but the UK edition’s emphasis on the characters (rather than the bold colour and overall design aesthetic of the US covers) takes away some of the adventure and mystery. They look, frankly, like every other menacing Fantasy book on the market. Somewhat reminiscent of the paperback covers for Abercrombie’s The First Law, which is a market I’m sure Orbit would love Sullivan to tackle. Not the most egregious covers I’ve seen, and admirably bold, but I prefer Panepinto’s take.
Global warming has transformed the Earth, and it’s about to get even hotter. The Arctic ice cap has all but melted, and the international community is racing desperately to claim the
massive amounts of oil beneath the newly accessible ocean.
Enter the Gaia Corporation. Its two founders have come up with a plan to roll back global warming. They plan to terraform Earth to save it from itself—but in doing so, they have created a superweapon the likes of which the world has never seen.
Anika Duncan is an airship pilot for the underfunded United Nations Polar Guard. She’s intent on capturing a smuggled nuclear weapon that has made it into the Polar Circle and bringing the smugglers to justice.
Anika finds herself caught up in a plot by a cabal of military agencies and corporations who want Gaia Corporation stopped. But when Gaia loses control of their superweapon, it will be Anika who has to decide the future of the world.
It looks like exactly what it’s meant to: a near-future eco/political-thriller. Bold; forboding. Nice, clean typeface. Though I’m sad to see Buckell temporarily leave his Xenowealth setting behind, he’s a smart guy who (if his blog‘s any indication) has the uncanny ability to take dense science and pare it down in a way that’s interesting and and easy to wade through to his readers without losing any of the meat of the issues (in this case, global warming and the general downward spiral of our home planet) discussed. Not my typical sort of novel, but with Buckell’s name attached to it, it’s a must-read.
Via Pat’s Fantasy Hotlist:
One of my all-time favourite books now has one of my all-time favourite covers. Certainly a step (or two) up from this. Could I ask for more?
Seriously, WTF is wrong with the art department at Harper Collins?