Posts Tagged ‘space opera’

Cover Story: 2312 by KIM STANLEY ROBINSON

2312 by Kim Stanley Robinson is coming out at the end of May around the globe (US | UK | AUS).  Last week I posted  some wallpapers, and this week I want to explain some of the thinking that went into the design of the book jacket.

The goal was to create a cover that would signal a big book about space, but we also wanted something that reinforced the timelessness of the  storytelling by bringing in mythic symbolism. The cover isn’t a literal snapshot of anything in the book — it’s a collection of symbols that evoke the story.

I don’t want to give away too many of the book’s secrets (some of which are hinted at in the design) but I will explain why there’s a rooster and a sickle silhouetted against the tree.

The two main characters in 2312 are from Mercury and Saturn. You probably remember that in Roman mythology Mercury (like Hermes) wore winged sandals and bore a caduceus. He was also often accompanied by a  rooster (representing the new day.)  Saturn — the god of agriculture, justice and strength —  held a sickle in his left hand and a bundle of wheat in his right. So these two symbols represent two of the key locations in the book. 

There’s also a very simple visual story in the design. As you roll the book over from the front, to the spine, and to the back, you’ll notice the sun going down on each image.

You’ll also notice that the rooster isn’t on the back cover. Why? There are a few possible interpretations for this.  But there’s also a straightforward scientific explanation in keeping with the rigorous logic of the book. Why isn’t the rooster on the back cover?

… It’s nighttime. The rooster has gone to sleep. ;-)

So that’s a bit of background on the design thinking that went into the cover. You can enlarge the cover below to see the sun setting effect.

CLICK TO ENLARGE

This was a really fun project and one (as I always do) I feel lucky to be a part of.

An Interview of James S. A. Corey by Daniel Abraham

DANIEL:  Well. This is odd, isn’t it? I mean, I’ve done interviews before, but seeing that I’m half of the team that writes as “James S. A. Corey” and you are James S. A. Corey, this whole project feels a little meta.

JIMMY: Eh. Meta’s for chumps. Meta and twee have been what’s wrong with science fiction for decades. You got me here to ask questions, ask questions. I’ll answer ’em. I got nothing to hide.

DANIEL: All right. So Leviathan Wakes is the first book in the Expanse series. That’s been out for almost a year now.  How has your view of the book changed since it came out?

JIMMY: More distance, mostly. It’s not like I go back and reread it. Did that enough when it was in production. The editing pass, the copy edits, the galley proofs. I still go back if there’s something I’m looking for, but you have to understand, I’m coming in sight of the end of the third book. The opening page of Leviathan Wakes is a long way from here. Like what I remember, though. Not a bad book. Still love that cover though.

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Which Daniel Abraham book is best for you?

Whether it’s writing urban fantasy as M. L. N. Hanover, epic fantasy under his ‘real’ name, or space opera as one half of James S. A. Corey (the ‘James’ part, apparently), there’s no doubt that Daniel Abraham is a man of many talents – and many guises.

This invariably leads to two questions: why the various names, and where should you begin your Daniel Abraham experience?

We can help you with the second question, but first let’s have Daniel himself answer the first:

I recognize that my take on working with a different name for each different project is a little idiosyncratic, but it’s not exactly unprecedented.  Richard Stark and Donald Westlake, for instance, were openly the same guy writing very different kinds of books.  The name on the cover is one of the best ways to let people know what kind of ride they’re signing on for, and that can avoid a lot of disappointment later.  There’s a price to pay in that folks who like the things I do under one name might have to dig a little to find all the other stuff, but in the age of the Internet, it’s a pretty low investigative bar to clear.  I think the tradeoff’s worth it.

 There are also writers I know, like, and admire who don’t like the idea of putting a name on their work that isn’t the one they go by in the world.  Now, I know all writers are egoists, myself very much included, but that particular kink isn’t one I have.  I don’t care what name we put on the cover as long as I can be proud the work that went into it.

 There is another idea that if you know you like Stephen King (or Jeanette Winterson or Sebastian Junger — the model holds true for everyone), you’re already better primed to like one of their books when you pick them up.  I think that if the name of the author is what makes a book good, it isn’t a good book.

Many thanks to Daniel for the explanation! Now to the second question: which Daniel Abraham book is best for you? Read on and find out. (more…)

Orbit signs up three new Expanse novels by James S.A. Corey!

Published in summer 2011, James S.A. Corey’s LEVIATHAN WAKES (US | UK)  was an instant favorite among space opera fans. Charles Stross deemed it “a slick, fast-paced, old-fashioned yarn,” and George R.R.  Martin called it his favorite science fiction novel of the year. The second volume in the Expanse series, CALIBAN’S WAR (US | UK), is due out this summer, and a third will follow a year after that.

This saga of interplanetary intrigue, adventure, and first contact will only get bigger—so we are thrilled to announce Orbit’s new deal with agent Danny Baror and author James S.A. Corey for three new Expanse novels, plus five new Expanse novellas.

We asked Corey (the formidable writing duo of Daniel Abraham and Ty Franck) for a hint of what’s in store:

“Brave new worlds and broken old ones, love and loss, noble deaths and stupid ones, unexpected threats and the dangers that we all carry in our back pockets all the time.  And an ending that pulls it all together.  The Expanse is a love letter to the science fiction we grew up with, and we’re grateful that we get to tell the story the way we’d hoped to.”

Read an excerpt from Leviathan Wakes Read an excerpt from Caliban's War

BRIN IS BACK. And with an exclusive 3D cover.

Orbit UK is proud to announce the release in June of a spectacular new novel from a grand master of science fiction – with a very special limited edition cover.

Over 20 years ago, David Brin began the Uplift series – a set of novels that would sweep the board for science fiction awards year after year. David would go on to create a vast range of fiction, computer game storylines and graphic novels – as well as having his novel The Postman turned into a major motion picture.

Now, 10 years after his last book, David Brin returns in epic style with Existence (UK | ANZ), an all-encompassing novel of the near future. Both brilliant and terrifying, the book portrays mankind facing a crisis and potentially its imminent demise.

We are also thrilled to unveil the news that the first edition of Existence, released on 21st June 2012, will feature a cover with a unique 3D “lenticular” effect. The cover gives an impression of floating in space miles above Earth, and its distinctive nature means this book is likely to fast become a collectors’ item. There will be just one print run of this edition – and it will only be available until stocks last.

See the video below for a preview of what’s to come:

And see below for some of the exceptional praise the book has already received.

 ‘David Brin takes on one of the fundamental themes in science fiction – and one of the fundamental questions humanity faces in this century. Since Brin is both a great storyteller and one of the most imaginative writers around, Existence is not to be missed’ Vernor Vinge, Hugo award-winning author of Fire Upon the Deep

‘Take a world soaked in near-future strangeness and complexity . . . Hotwire with wisdom and wonder  . . . Brin is back.’ Stephen Baxter, bestselling author of Ark

 

A Fiery New Deal for Michael Cobley with Orbit

SEEDS OF EARTH, the first book in Michael Cobley’s space opera trilogy Humanity’s Fire, was first published in the UK in March 2009. Since then, the series described by Iain M. Banks as “Proper, galaxy-spanning space opera” has kept readers glued to its pages and eager to read more. Given the outstanding quality of Michael Cobley’s science fiction and its major success so far in the UK, Orbit is thrilled to announce a worldwide deal for a new book by this bestselling author. Orbit have acquired World English rights from agent John Parker at the Zeno Agency for a new standalone novel by Michael Cobley, set in the Humanity’s Fire universe.

the three covers for Michael Cobley's Seeds of Earth science fiction trilogy

The new book, WARCAGE, is a high-action space adventure currently scheduled for worldwide hardback release in autumn 2013. Ahead of that publication, all three existing books in the Humanity’s Fire series will be published by Orbit US, who are releasing SEEDS OF EARTH in the US in October, ORPHANED WORLDS in November and THE ASCENDANT STARS in December 2012. Anne Clarke, Editorial Director for Orbit UK, says:

We’re all delighted with the continuing success of Michael Cobley’s superb Humanity’s Fire series, and we’re very excited about WARCAGE and looking forward to sharing it with Mike’s fans next year. Michael Cobley is becoming an increasingly important name in science fiction, so we’re extremely happy that our colleagues in the US will be on this adventure with us too.”

Cover Launch: ARTEMIS by Philip Palmer

Philip Palmer’s Red Claw was one of the first covers I designed when I joined the Orbit team, and it’s still one of my faves. I love working on these covers, they’re so much fun, because his writing has this fabulous pulp scifi feel to it, and you can get that feel with the photo shoots. That’s one of the fun things about establishing a really strong author look, it anchors a book, and let’s you get crazy within that framework. It’s kind of like a mullet—business up front, party in the back! (Yes, I really just compared Book Cover Design to Mullets, call the graphic design police, it’s been a rough week.)

Photographer Laura Hanifin was my partner-in-crime for this cover, which we shot at the same time we shot for Hell Ship and the new e-book cover for Debatable Space. It was an exhausting (and smelly!) shoot, but we got three fantastic cover images out of the day, and you don’t get 3-cover-days very often, trust me!

After the jump, see the whole series of covers together, as well as a teaser!

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