When I came home today I found an old stove and a few pieces of electronic equipment I didn’t recognize sitting in front of the side gate to Dan’s back yard. I got out of the car and looked over the fence and saw him working away beside the shed. He seemed to be pulling up power cables. I called to him and asked if he’d made those adjustments he’d been meaning to, and he stopped and looked at me and called, “No, no.”
I asked if maybe the equipment he’d found would help. He said he didn’t think so. I asked why, and he stopped, thought, and then waved me over and started to open the shed. As I walked over, he said he thought this had all gone well beyond simple hardware or software adjustments. I asked what he meant by that. He didn’t answer and we entered. Read the rest of this entry »
- - October 19th, 2009
One of the best parts—and hardest parts— of my job is getting to match up artists with a new book or series. You have a big responsibility to get the image “right” — there’s nothing worse to me as a fan than reading a book and picturing it in your mind and loving it, then having an image on the cover that just doesn’t capture the depth or feel of the book. This can be true of a cover whether it’s designed or illustrated, but there’s something about an illustration that locks the image of the character or world in your mind, and it’s unshakeable. So you want it to be RIGHT.
The Gaslight Dogs by Karin Lowachee was definitely one of those books that begged to be illustrated. And the editor and I both thought Sam Weber had the perfect style for the book—both for his beautiful but haunting figures, and for his stark backgrounds. We thought he could perfectly evoke that arctic wasteland feeling, while giving us a compelling but accurate picture of the main character and her spirit form. That’s the tricky thing about hiring an illustrator also—you don’t just want them to paint a scene straight from the book—you want them to add something to it. Another layer, a feeling, it’s hard to describe, but you know it when you see it. It’s a very elusive quality, and one of those things that makes Creative Directors tear their hair out in their sleep. Read the rest of this entry »
Two weeks ago, I suggested that fantasy / science fiction is silly. Last week I admitted that I like toys. So what else can I do to damage my credibility as a serious artist?
How about monsters? Read the rest of this entry »
- - October 19th, 2009
This week, look forward to Philip Palmer wondering if this is the golden age of science fiction; to the next installment of Robert Jackson Bennett’s neighborly narrative; to the latest book and cover news from Orbit; and, to Nicole Peeler telling you why selkies are not simply cooler than vampires –they’re hotter. They are selkies, after all.
All in a week’s work! And in case you were away, last week on the Orbit blog:
* We debuted the forthcoming cover for Nicole Peeler’s TRACKING THE TEMPEST;
* Likewise, for Gail Carriger’s CHANGELESS;
* We were pleased to announce the publication of Philip Palmer’s newest novel RED CLAW;
* A.Lee Martinez discussed some of his favorite games;
* We took note of some of Jeff Somer’s video escapades;
*And, Robert Jackson Bennett continued to tell the story of that very strange neighbor of his.
Things keep getting stranger here. In fact, they are now positively surreal.
If you’ll remember from my last post, Dan’s packaging device was having some unintended consequences.
Those consequences have broadened out a great deal in the past few days.
Read the rest of this entry »
- - October 13th, 2009
I know you’re all abuzz about the first Alexia Tarabotti novel, Soulless, but I thought I’d fan the flames a bit and introduce the cover for the next book, Changeless by Gail Carriger.
I know I’m not supposed to have favorites here at Orbit, but there are a few series I get very excited about continuing to work on as the new books come in. Nicole Peeler’s Jane True is definitely one, and Gail Carriger’s Alexia Tarabotti is absolutely another. What can I say? I have a soft spot for quirky and well-crafted heroines. And well-imagined settings with a lot of detail. It certainly makes the covers easier to picture in my head.
Also, this kind of illustrates how strangely ahead of present Art has to be. In “real-time” Soulless has just launched and is flying off the shelves and gaining great reviews from industry and fans alike. However, in “Art-time” the cover for Changeless is already done and I am already getting ready to work on Book #3 as soon as the first draft of the manuscript comes in. A little bizarre, I know, but heaven for the fan inside this Creative Director. Read the rest of this entry »
- - October 13th, 2009
*warning: contains Monsters! Aliens! and Robots!
Now October is here, a reading essential is the fabulous Red Claw by the talented Philip Palmer, out this month (UK I US). We’d already had a heap of interest in this title, not least from the Guardian, who said ‘Red Claw is that rare treat, an intelligent action adventure replete with intellectual rigour, human insight and superb storytelling’.
While such praise is always hugely welcome, we can’t say we’re entirely surprised as we expected great things after Debatable Space (UK I US)! Red Claw is another fast-paced package that somehow manages to contain within its straining covers a rollercoaster of a plot with some big explosions, a plethora of strange new aliens grown in the vat of the author’s imagination and some entertaining philosophizing. It’s also dark and gritty with flashes of strangeness to counterbalance Philip’s great sense of fun. All in all, a unique mix of elements woven together to make something pretty special. Read the rest of this entry »
I like toys. We all do, whether we admit it or not. Cars, houses, and clothes are grown up toys. Ninety-five percent of the SUV owners in the universe are merely expressing their inner child’s frustration that they can’t buy a sportscar that transforms into a robot. And if most of us were honest with ourselves, we’d just go ahead and admit that we’d pay through the nose if we could pull a hidden lever and have our house change into a secret command bunker.
Games can be a great way of indulging our inner child while engaging our outer adult. Studies have shown that playing video games not only increases visual acuity, but can have positive psychological effects. Tetris helps reduce post-traumatic stress. Halo teaches us to always keep an eye on our forcefield meter. And if I ever have to fight a giant robot, experience tells me to look for the glowing points because that’s the only way to drain the robot’s health. Read the rest of this entry »
Well, what started out odd has only gotten odder.
Things began pretty well. This week I bought some decent cowboy boots, a nice ostrich pair, and that was fun. Then later I spotted Dan entering his gate, and he seemed very pleased. Practically glowing. He said he’d made some huge steps very recently, but he wasn’t sure so he wasn’t going to get my hopes or anything. He had wads of tissue paper stuck up his nose, though. I forgot to ask him what that was about. Then later the washing machines were gone, and I took that for a good sign.
Then last night things got a bit worse. Read the rest of this entry »