Archive for Covers

Cover Launch: DEEP STATE

Cyberpunk is not really my cup of tea, so I was surprised when I got into This is Not a Game as much as much as I did. It’s all about connectivity, and how fast information and communication flies around the world now. There was of course also a cool thriller plotline along with it. Deep State is the next book by Walter Jon Williams, and picks up with the heroine & story of This is Not a Game. If you like William Gibson and Snow Crash-era Neal Stephenson, then you should check out these books. (more…)

Cover Launch: LIGHTBORN

Tricia Sullivan is the Arthur C. Clarke Award-winning author of an impressive body of work, including Maul, Double Vision and Sound Mind.  Here’s just a sample of the praise that has been heaped upon her work:

‘A challenging, disturbing, often compulsive read’ Time Out

‘Tricia Sullivan returns to science fiction not a second too soon . . . I haven’t enjoyed a book so much in a long time’ Guardian

‘Painfully gripping throughout – read it if you dare’ The Times

Maul confirms an increasingly badly-kept secret – Sullivan is one of the best and most ambitious SF writers around’ Dreamwatch

‘Intelligent, sensitive and engrossing . . . You’ll be thinking about it long after you’ve finished reading’  SFX

‘Tricia Sullivan is why I refuse to give up on science fiction’ Pat Cadigan, Arthur C. Clarke Award-winning author

 
I think it’s clear from the above that Tricia is almost universally regarded as an audacious and original voice in modern science fiction. And what better way to signal that to the reader than with an audacious and original cover. Ladies and gentlemen (and other forms of life – we’re not speciesist at Orbit!), we give you Lightborn:

Lightborn is a revolutionary new technology that has transformed the modern world.

Better known as ‘shine’, it is the ultimate in education, self-improvement and entertainment – beamed directly into the mind of anyone who can meet the asking price.

But what do you do if the shine in question has a mind of its own . . . ?

 

Lightborn will be published in October. Design by Nathan Burton Design. Art direction by Duncan Spilling – LBBG.

Cover Launch: THE HAMMER

K.J. Parker’s critically acclaimed Engineer trilogy featured  three great covers by Keith Hayes. Since then, Parker has been writing  stand-alone novels, and any one of them is a great place to jump in without any series-long commitment. Of course, I’m sure you’ll be back at the bookstore buying the Engineer books as soon as you finish any of these books, but you can start slow if you don’t believe me…

The Company was really an ensemble story, so we wanted to show the characters on the cover, but for The Folding Knife and The Hammer, I really wanted to continue the “artifact” look of The Engineer Trilogy.

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Cover launch: COLD MAGIC by Kate Elliott

We’ve spent a long time working on this wonderful visual for Cold Magic (US I UK I ANZ), first in a fabulous new trilogy by Kate Elliott. Kate has created something special,  a fantasy advenure with a Victorian-era feel and a dash of steampunk — featuring mages, dragons and two girls who’ll decide the fate of their world. I think the illustrator Larry Rostant and designer Peter Cotton have done a great job in capturing these elements, showing a moment in time where ancient magic and new technologies meet, generating powerful individual dramas.

And here’s a bit more on Cold Magic, book 1 of the Spiritwalker trilogy, out from Orbit in September.

As they approach adulthood, Cat Barahal and her cousin Bee think they understand the society they live in and their place within it. At a select academy they study new airship technologies and the dawning Industrial Revolution, but magical forces still rule. Drawn into a labyrinth of politics involving blood and old feuds, Cat is betrayed by her family and forced to marry a powerful Cold Mage. As she is carried away to live a new life, fresh dangers threaten her every move and secrets form a language she cannot read. At least, not yet.’

Cover Launch: THE ENTERPRISE OF DEATH

The Sad Tale of the Brothers Grossbart had one of my all-time favorite Orbit covers, and I was thrilled to work with Keith Hayes from the Little Brown Art dept. and the illustrator Istvan Orosz on the design. So when I saw that a new Jesse Bullington book was on this list I was  really excited at the challenge — and really curious to see where Bullington would go after his violent, revolting, sensibility-offending debut novel (and I mean that all in a good way!)  Well, let’s just say The Enterprise of Death does not disappoint on any count — you’ll either love this book, or you’ll want to burn it at the stake.

Like Brothers Grossbart, the story takes place in a specific historical place and time — this time during the height of the Inquisition and Moorish expulsion from Spain in the late 1400s. Not only are there real-life historical characters in the  story, there’s also real-life art that’s critical to the story. That’s actually a challenge for a cover designer. Sometimes when you use fine art on a cover it can give the design a very quiet, even  static feel. Luckily for me, I don’t think anyone would call Death and the Maiden by Niklaus Manuel Deustch quiet or static.

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Cover Launch: Hull Zero Three by GREG BEAR

Welcome back to your Monday morning installment of Orbit Cover Launch. This week I’m very excited to launch the cover of a brand-new book by science fiction great Greg Bear. Orbit is really excited to start publishing Greg Bear and we’re even more excited about starting with Hull Zero Three. It’s a fast-paced space thriller and a real page-turner. It’s definitely of the ilk of Aliens and Event Horizon, and I could totally picture it as a film as I was reading. It’s also a great place to start if you’ve never read Greg Bear before.

This cover was a little tough because although it does happen in space we didn’t want to give it that space opera kind of feel – it’s smart, but also much more immediate and suspenseful than operatic. It’s a much more in your face page-turning thriller, so I kind of tried to design a hybrid of scifi and big thriller book. The texture is SO much better in person, but for now you’ll have to make due with just a screen image. (more…)

Cover Launch: THE LEGEND OF ELI MONPRESS

What? Three covers at once?! Yes, we’re doing another 3-in-3-months release starting this October, and the series is awesome. The Spirit Thief, The Spirit Rebellion, and The Spirit Eater are the first three books in the Legend of Eli Monpress series by Rachel Aaron, and be prepared, this story is seriously habit-forming. And we’re super excited to be giving you a big dose of Eli Monpress and his misfit crew all at once. (more…)

Winners! Spectrum Annual #17!

I know all of you are scifi/fantasy geeks (or else why are you here, really), but not all of you are art geeks as well, so you may not have heard of Spectrum, the annual competition for contemporary scifi/fantasy/horror art…but to those of us you might classify as “geek artists”, inclusion in the Spectrum annual is a big deal. So I am thrilled to announce that 3 of our books made the annual:

Black Ships by Jo Graham (painting by John Jude Palencar)

Tempest Rising by Nicole Peeler (digital illustration by Sharon Tancredi)

The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms by N. K. Jemisin (digital illustration by Cliff Nielsen)

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Cover Launch: THE FALLEN BLADE

This lovely Monday we have an awesome cover for a book I really enjoyed reading and working on, The Fallen Blade, by Jon Courtenay Grimwood. The fabulous Larry Rostant provided the very atmospheric imagery, and I had obvious fun playing with the type. With both the image and the type, we wanted to clearly evoke renaissance Venice, but portray the strong main character and dark adventure of the story.

The Fallen Blade is the best of both worlds: an alternative historic fiction set in a renaissance Venice at the height of her power, populated by supernatural creatures and backstabbing political intrigue, AND a fast-moving fantasy adventure tale of vampires, werewolves, assassins, and pirates. Jon Courtenay Grimwood does such a fantastic job of describing Venice that you feel a really strong sense of geography and atmosphere. I was just in Venice in January and I was really impressed with how true the historical and geographical details felt, and it makes following the characters and story weaved around this framework all the more immediate. I can’t wait to see where the story is going to go in the next book.

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Cover Launch: LIFE, LIBERTY, AND THE PURSUIT OF SAUSAGES

Sorry folks, I know monday is usually cover launch day, but things are a little hectic in the Art Dept. and  this week wednesday is cover launch day. But never fear, I have a cover all ready for next monday too!)

Tom Holt is a funny guy. Orbit UK has been publishing him for a long time and I was thrilled to get to redesign his look with his US launch of Blonde Bombshell in June. I can’t wait to start applying the new look to the backlist titles waiting to roll out. But first we have another new book, one which wins for my favorite title of all time* Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Sausages.

Tom Holt is all about funny, absurdist scifi/fantasy, and when I read my first Tom Holt book I was pleasantly surprised how like Douglas Adams and Terry Pratchett it felt. and that’s high praise from me. I really like the humorous scifi/fantasy subgenre, and I think we’ve been packaging it well here at Orbit with the A. Lee Martinez books especially, and I’m really happy to add these books to the list.

I love a chance to hand-draw a cover, because most of the time everything happens solely on the computer. I especially enjoy hand-drawing type. I’ll have to try to work it in to more covers, even if it’s not as purposely rough-style like these covers. (more…)