Seriously, WTF is wrong with the art department at Harper Collins?
Posts Categorized: Cover Art
Irene Gallo, art director at Tor, on Chan and the cover:
I’ve been a fan of Jason Chan’s since he was still in school, although I didn’t know he was still in school at the time. I had been following his work online for a while and, yes, clearly he was a young artists but I was still shocked when he mentioned going to his graduation during our first project together. He is a quiet and thoughtful artist and over the past handful of years has worked to hone his craft, both as a freelance illustrator and video game concept artist. Jason combines a love of manga with a strong background in traditional narrative painting and I was excited to get the chance to work with him on New Spring.
When it came to scenes to depict, it seemed natural to revisit Moiriane and Lan. New Spring is their story before Rand’s begins. Jason chose to express a quiet and contemplative moment. The early spring blossoms suggest changes about to occur, yet it is still cold. It is a heavy moment. The weight of their mission is just starting to take over youthful abandon.
Recently, I’ve gushed about Jason Chan and his lovely artwork. I enjoyed his cover for Ari Marmell’s Thief’s Covenant, and this cover for the eBook edition of New Spring by Robert Jordan is another fine addition to Chan’s portfolio. On first blush, I like the soft, asian-inspired atmosphere of the piece, but it wasn’t until I got a closer look at the details (by clicking on the image), that I really started to appreciate Chan’s subtlety. Just look at the trim on Moiraine’s cloak! Maybe not my favourite cover from the series, but certainly another strong piece of art from the team at Tor Books.
OMG, I love this cover. Along with Daniel Dociu‘s cover for Leviathan Wakes, I’m happy to see this trend of artists winking slyly at old-school Science Fiction covers while updating them with bold and modern typography. They remind me a lot of the old covers to Isaac Asimov’s Foundation trilogy (or series, or whatever).
In Yalda’s universe, light has no universal speed and its creation generates energy.
On Yalda’s world, plants make food by emitting their own light into the dark night sky.
As a child Yalda witnesses one of a series of strange meteors, the Hurtlers, that are entering the planetary system at an immense, unprecedented speed. It becomes apparent that her world is in imminent danger — and that the task of dealing with the Hurtlers will require knowledge and technology far beyond anything her civilisation has yet achieved.
Only one solution seems tenable: if a spacecraft can be sent on a journey at sufficiently high speed, its trip will last many generations for those on board, but it will return after just a few years have passed at home. The travellers will have a chance to discover the science their planet urgently needs, and bring it back in time to avert disaster.
Orthogonal is the story of Yalda and her descendants, trying to survive the perils of their long mission and carve out meaningful lives for themselves, while the threat of annihilation hangs over the world they left behind.
Stefan Raets review for Tor.com also has me interested:
Greg Egan really integrates his science into his story, to the point where the novel wouldn’t make sense without it. When he shows Yalda discovering that universe’s equivalent of the Theory of Relativity, it’s both scientifically impressive and highly relevant to the story. But at the same time, I’m a humble liberal arts major who already knows that he’ll have trouble helping his children with their high school math homework, and for people like me, some of the endless scientific explanations in this book are frankly tough sledding.
Nevertheless, I’m still eager to read the rest of the Orthogonal trilogy, because Greg Egan achieves something very few SF novels manage: he creates some real, old-fashioned sensawunda. Just the concept of the clockwork generation starship would be enough to keep me coming back for more, not to mention the curiosity about what will happen when the descendants of Yalda’s crew—no doubt evolved towards vastly different social norms—return to their home planet. And as alien as the characters are, Greg Egan manages to make you empathize with them and sometimes even forget they’re not human, which is quite an achievement.
The Clockwork Rocket is probably the hardest hard science fiction novel I’ve ever read, but it also has a surprising amount of heart.
Like Raets, I’m math-deficient and generally stay away from Science Fiction-with-a-capital-’SCIENCE’, preferring to spend my time with more accessible Science Fiction-with-a-capital-’FICTION’, like the aforementioned Leviathan Wakes by James S.A. Corey (REVIEW). Still, his mention of heart and Egan’s take on explaining the unexplainable (a universe where the laws of physics are different, for instance) are enough to intrigue me.
And, via Sensawunda, the blurb:
Jean le Flambeur, posthuman thief, is out of prison, but still not free. To pay his debts to Oortian warrior Mieli and her mysterious patron the pellegrini, he has to break into the mind of a living god. Planning the ultimate heist takes Jean and Mieli from the haunted city of Sirr on broken Earth to the many-layered virtual realms of the mighty Sobornost. But when the stakes of the pellegrini’s game are revealed, Jean has to decide how far he is willing to go to get the job done.
First off, the cover art is just wonderful. Kekai Kotaki impresses me at every turn and his work on The Fractal Prince will stand proudly beside the cover for The Quantum Thief. Great work from Kotaki and the Tor art team!
Second, I’ve not read The Quantum Thief yet, but ever glowing review I see sends me closer and closer to doing so. The blurb for The Fractal Prince sounds even more interesting to me than The Quantum Thief. It’s certainly a easy time to be excited about the future of Science Fiction.
Nicked from the bald yeti:
Four decades ago, Richard Forthrast, the black sheep of an Iowa family, fled to a wild and lonely mountainous corner of British Columbia to avoid the draft. Smuggling backpack loads of high-grade marijuana across the border into Northern Idaho, he quickly amassed an enormous and illegal fortune. With plenty of time and money to burn, he became addicted to an online fantasy game in which opposing factions battle for power and treasure in a vast cyber realm. Like many serious gamers, he began routinely purchasing viral gold pieces and other desirables from Chinese gold farmers— young professional players in Asia who accumulated virtual weapons and armor to sell to busy American and European buyers.
For Richard, the game was the perfect opportunity to launder his aging hundred dollar bills and begin his own high-tech start up—a venture that has morphed into a Fortune 500 computer gaming group, Corporation 9592, with its own super successful online role-playing game, T’Rain. But the line between fantasy and reality becomes dangerously blurred when a young gold farmer accidently triggers a virtual war for dominance—and Richard is caught at the center.
In this edgy, 21st century tale, Neal Stephenson, one of the most ambitious and prophetic writers of our time, returns to the terrain of his cyberpunk masterpieces Snow Crash and Crpytonomicon, leading readers through the looking glass and into the dark heart of imagination.
Give me the US cover any day of the week. I like the skyline on the UK cover, but that weirdo texture at the top just is cheap and confusing; plus, a cityscape doesn’t really seem to properly represent the novel outlined in the synopsis. I love the bold, fuck you typography on the US cover. I’m not usually one for Stephenson’s work (“work” being the first word that comes to mind when I think of picking up one of his novels), but Reamde has my attention. I mean, British Columbia (where I live) and MMORPGs-come-to-life? Sign me up.