Apr 6, 2010

F*** You Tor! (a.k.a. Covering Covers: Antiphon)

I woke up this morning to a wonderful spring day. The sun was shining, the weather was warm, and I was facing a 4 day work week (moving day is Friday).

And then I see this post over on The Mad Hatter's Bookshelf and Book Review...

My response: F*** You Tor!

Antiphon, book 3 in Ken Scholes' fantasy quintet, The Psalms of Isaak, is coming out this fall. And guess what? They are abandoning the cover style of the first two books in favor of something that looks like a lovechild between Malazan Books of the Fallen and Mistborn.

Here's the cover.

Cover Artist: Chris McGrath

Now I don't have any problems with this cover by itself. I like the work McGrath has done with The Dresden Files and the implied texture gives a gritty feel to his art. The font is interesting and while it's a little cartoonish, it is distinct. But there was nothing wrong with the original covers by Greg Manchess. In fact, I felt like Manchess's covers were some of the best fantasy covers out there. I remember when Tor was proudly pimping the artistic process behind Canticle on Tor.com. How quickly we forget...

Original Cover Artist: Greg Manchess

Why create a distinctive cover style if your are going to change it after two frakking books? This isn't Stephen King's Dark Tower series where he went 15 years between books. The last book came out in November! Did you forget already? People aren't going to see the new cover and say oh look there is the sequel to Lamentation and Canticle. They are going to buy the book and then be confused when they realize it's actually the third book in the series. Maybe its some "brilliant" scheme by Tor to trick people into buying the third book (or rebuying the 2nd) and then being forced to buy the other volumes.

Shame on you, Tor. You couldn't leave well enough alone. And Steven Erikson wants you to let him know when you are done using his wolf...

Why fix something that was never broken? I might be able to forgive Tor eventually (they are still publishing good books), but my bookshelf sure won't. Can I at least have a custom dust jacket?


  1. Nice post, Patrick - can completely see why you'd be irate about it, especially knowing your penchant for having complete and beautiful sets of books. And I prefer the originals of this series as well.

  2. Patrick, while I mentioned the Mistborn resemblance in my post yesterday too, I knew there was another one. I kept thinking the new Antiphon cover resembled something from the Corean Chronicles..but after checking those covers, that wasn't it. Now I see what I was missing..that Erikson cover. Nice..I just couldn't quite remember that one. Also glad I'm not the only one to see the Mistborn resemblance.

  3. "Why create a distinctive cover style if your are going to change it after two frakking books?" Classic, completely agree. The originals are great and I've yet to warm to the new ones.

  4. I assume the books have not sold nearly as well as Tor hoped or needed them to sell, so they are trying something different. If they were selling fine, they wouldn't have fixed what ain't broken.

    In the end, a cover is marketing.

  5. Harsh words, but I second your opinion... I prefer the Manchess artwork as well and the whole series would've looked really, really nice on the bookshelf.

    However, I think Tor has made great strides in improving their artwork over the past decade. I was more of a fan of the art on the Bantam-Spectra titles back in the 80's and 90's, or even the Del Rey stuff over anything Tor did.

    But when you look at recent releases like "The Affinity Bridge", "Julian Comstock" (hardcover), "Court of the Air", the De Lint books and the "Roumania" sequence from Paul Park, you've got to admit that the Art Dept. at Tor is doing an outstanding job overall.

  6. Patrick, I totally agree with your post. I like McGrath, but the original cover art was a much better fit for the books.

  7. I loved the old artwork. I'm not too happy to see a new style so soon.

    However, if it means more people will read Scholes, then I guess it's a good thing.


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