Posts Categorized: Cover Art


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 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 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.

Drakenfeld by Mark Charan Newton

I’ve made something of a career out of ripping into the many covers for Mark Charan Newton’s novels. Sometimes it’s in good fun, sometimes I’m legitimately offended. He’s got so many covers at this point that I’ve lost track of them all. This time around, however, Pan Macmillan has crafted together a cover that, I, well… like. It’s impactful, maybe a little plain, but steps away from the more traditional ‘Epic Fantasy Hooded Figure/Badass/Brooding’ cover trao that a few of Newton’s other covers fell into. I wouldn’t be surprised to see this angled at a Historical Fiction audience.

Newton discusses the cover, and why he feels like it fits so well:

Of all my many covers, this is by far the best and most appropriate. It really sums up the book, because nations (or rather nationalism) are core to the series, and the idea with the covers is that each novel features a coloured banner representing the country in which the novel takes place. The one above is the banner of Detrata, with a double-headed falcon, various glaives and swords and a lovely icon. It also evokes the classical world, which was – as regular followers of the blog might have guessed – a major inspiration for the novel. I like to think that the main continent of Vispasia could sit just off the classical maps, as some forgotten corner of the world yet to be discovered by archeologists.

I’ve read a portion of an early draft of Drakenfeld and enjoyed it quite a bit. I think Newton is spot on in his description of the cover. The multi-coloured flag approach is interesting, and, should the publisher follow through with it, should provide a nice looking set of books when the series is done.

The Abominable by Dan Simmons

A thrilling tale of supernatural adventure, set on the snowy peaks of Mount Everest from the bestselling author of The Terror.

It’s 1926, and the desire to summit the world’s highest mountain has reached a fever-pitch among adventurers. Three young friends, eager to take their shot at the top, accept funding from a grieving mother whose son fell to his death on Mt. Everest two years earlier. But she refuses to believe he’s dead, and wants them to bring him back alive.

As they set off toward Everest, the men encounter other hikers who are seeking the boy’s body for their own mysterious reasons. What valuable item could he have been carrying? What is the truth behind the many disapperances on the mountain? As they journey to the top of the world, the three friends face abominable choices, actions–and possibly creatures. A bone-chilling, pulse-pounding story of supernatural suspense, THE ABOMINABLE is Dan Simmons at his best.

God damn. I’ve never read Simmons, and I take issue with some of his personal politics. But, god damn, that’s a cover. The Abominable is set for an October, 2013 release.