Posts Categorized: Cover Art

Acts of Caine by Matthew Stover

Orbit Books announced today that Matthew Stover’s Acts of Caine novels, beginning with Heroes Die, will be arriving, as eBooks only, in the UK for the first time. They say,

All four books in the Acts of Caine series – HEROES DIE, BLADE OF TYSHALLE, CAINE BLACK KNIFE and CAINE’S LAW – will be released digitally in the UK & ANZ on 27th May 2013.

This is good news for reading in the UK. I’ve not read the series (SHAME ON ME!), but they come highly recommended and the ebay prices for the earlier novels are, well.. outrageous. I should really sell my copies. Releases like this, eBook only, are a great way for out-of-print books to come back into circulation and find a new audience among those who previously couldn’t find (or afford) to read them. It’s also one of those fun times to think about the fact that publishers continue to try to convince the world that eBook publishing costs are similar to hardcopy publishing and distribution costs. The novels are already available as eBooks in the US and Canada.

But, can we please talk about these covers for a moment. I mean, I’m fairly certain that I’m being very specifically trolled by the art department at Orbit Books UK. Four hooded, bodiless men staring pensively menacingly at the reader, daring them to read what, underneath, must only be the most bro-tastic, grimdark, grimy, gritty, dudebro novels in the world? WTF. But, well, with a lineage like this, can I really expect any less?

Cover Art for The Very Best of Tad Williams Art by Kerem Beyit

If you’re read this blog for any length of time, you’ll know that I’m something of an unabashed Tad Williams fanboy. He’s best known for his long (long, long, long) fiction, like Memory, Sorrow and Thorn or Otherland, multi-volume epics that would make most other authors weep at their length, but it’s often overlooked that some of his most finely crafted and powerful fiction is actually found among his shorter works. If this collection, coming from Tachyon, is, indeed, the ‘very best’ of his work, readers are in for a treat. The art on the cover is by Kerem Beyit, and is just lovely.

FirstbornDefendingElysium

Brandon Sanderson’s a pretty cool guy. He’s generous with his time. Writes at a pace envied even by court transcribers. And writes some pretty cool books. On top of this, he’s a passionate Science Fiction and Fantasy fan, and he’s showing these roots with a new project that he’s put together for his fans. It’s a tête-bêche collection of two novellas, Defending Elysium and Firstborn, doubled up in the style of the old Ace Doubles series: two novels, back-to-back. And, man, it’s sexy.

It’s also interesting for fans of Sanderson, who is best known for his Epic Fantasy, to experience his take on Science Fiction. Firstborn is available to read for free on Tor.com. Sanderson explains why he chose such a unique format for his novellas:

The technical term for this kind of book layout is tête-bêche meaning “head-to-toe,” which indicates that the book has two front covers and no back cover; flip the book upside down to get the other story. When you reach the end of one story, the next page is the last page of the other story, upside-down.

Anyway, I’ve been wanting to get these novelettes out in print form for a while, and due to their length putting them together seemed like the best idea. Plus I’ve always thought Ace Doubles were cool. (These were classic SF novels put out in tête-bêche paperbacks by the publisher Ace.)

The “Firstborn” cover reprises Donato Giancola’s excellent illustration that he painted for the Tor.com version, and the “Defending Elysium” cover features an illustration by Dragos Jieanu (check out his website and his DeviantArt profile). (If you like his stuff, consider donating to the Chance for Life Foundation, a Romanian charity he supports.) The cover design is by Isaac Stewart, and the book design is by Peter Ahlstrom.

It’s terrific to see Sanderson using the freedom afforded to him by his success and popularity to assemble such a great keepsake for his fans. He promises to make them available on his website, for $17.99, but only if there are copies left after his run through the convention circuit. Good odds on them not lasting so long. I’d love to get my hands on a copy, but, well, I doubt it’s in the cards. Really lovely idea.

Cover Art for Happy Hour In Hell by Tad Williams

It’s, um… orange. And fiery. To be honest, even six month after reading the predecessor volume to Happy Hour in Hell, The Dirty Streets of Heaven, I’m still unsure what I think of this direction for Williams. Equally, I’m unsure what I think of this cover. Apologies for the poor quality.