Oct 28, 2011

Covering Covers: Red Shirts - John Scalzi (with blurb)

Cover Designer: Peter Lutjen

Earlier this morning, Tor debuted the cover to John Scalzi's next project, REDSHIRTS. I received a call from a Tor employee shortly thereafter.

Tor: So what do you think about the cover?

Me: My opinion? I can't wait to read this book.

Tor: The cover makes you want to read the book?!?.

Me: Oh you wanted my opinion on the cover?It's alright I guess. It's kind of boring. But it doesn't really matter, I just want to read this book.

Tor: Yes, we understand that it's Scalzi. Everyone loves Scalzi. That's why we bought it. But we're asking you about the cover art. We don't just conduct probably fictional interviews with amateur bloggers to predict that a NYT Bestseller's book will do well. We employ an expensive sales team to do that.

Me: An expensive sales team? To predict if the next John Scalzi novel will be a bestseller? That seems a little overkill.

Tor: Well it's not that expensive. Besides we are publishing the next John Scalzi novel, that's going to sell like a gazillion copies. We can afford it.

Me: I'm not sure that's the best way to think about it. Wait, did you say "a gazillion copies"?

Tor: Yeah. I've got the sales report right here. [Sound of papers being moved around]

Me: I'll take your word for it. Listen, can I just talk to Irene Gallo?

Tor: Who's Irene Gallo?

Me: [silence]

Tor: Still there?

Me: Yes. But I'm starting to doubt this is a real call.

Tor: No, I'm really part of the Art Department. I can prove it!

Me: How?

Tor: I'll send you the alternate versions of the REDSHIRTS cover.

Me: You mean these?

Tor: Oh have you already seen those?

Me: Yeah, I love the 1st alternates. The 3rd isn't bad either. I think they're actually better than the final cover which, frankly, doesn't do a lot for me.

Tor: But I thought you said you liked the cover.

Me: No, I said I wanted to read the book. There's a difference.

Tor: Does that mean you're not going to buy it? I'll go get the sales team to rerun the numbers. We should have them by Thursday next week. We'll have to get Sanderson to write another book to pay for it, but I think he can have that to us by Wednesday if I catch him before he leaves.
Me: [facepalm] Let's move on. Is there anyway I could see the blurb?

Tor: [Clears throat]

Ensign Andrew Dahl has just been assigned to the Universal Union Capital Ship Intrepid, flagship of the Universal Union since the year 2456. It’s a prestige posting, and Andrew is thrilled all the more to be assigned to the ship’s Xenobiology laboratory. Life couldn’t be better...until Andrew begins to pick up on the fact that (1) every Away Mission involves some kind of lethal confrontation with alien forces, (2) the ship’s captain, its chief science officer, and the handsome Lieutenant Kerensky always survive these confrontations, and (3) at least one low-ranked crew member is, sadly, always killed. Not surprisingly, a great deal of energy below decks is expended on avoiding, at all costs, being assigned to an Away Mission. Then Andrew stumbles on information that completely transforms his and his colleagues’ understanding of what the starship Intrepid really is...and offers them a crazy, high-risk chance to save their own lives.
Did you get all that?
Me: Is there anyway you could just send it to me?

Tor: How? Like in the mail? I'm not allowed to buy stamps anymore.

Me: Wait what? Could you just e-mail it to me.

Tor: E-what?


Tor: Hello? Hello? ........... Hey Irene, I told you I could get a fanboy to willingly give up on an interview with me. I prefer 2-liters and thick cut, maple glazed, thanks.

Oct 25, 2011

Books Received

Here are the last ten books I've received over the past few weeks. Very excited to read them, especially Unpossible and The Killing Moon. Errr... I don't think I was supposed to talk about that one.


Oct 18, 2011

Covering Covers: The Coldest War - Ian Tregillis (with blurb)

Cover Artist: Chris McGrath

So I've got a new policy around here. Keep everything in draft status until someone scoops me, and then get frustrated and post nothing. It's working like a charm so far.

Either way, in the off chance that you haven't seen it yet, here's the new cover art and catalog copy for the sequel to 2010's excellent Bitter Seeds which was so good that I don't really want to be friends with you if you haven't read it.

Now, I wasn't in love with the original cover art (below left) of Bitter Seeds but I admired the distinctive style. And who doesn't like swastikas? Update: Apparently everyone. Now we've got Chris McGrath stepping in once again to "fix" something that really wasn't broken. But don't get me wrong, the new cover (below right) isn't terrible, I just didn't think a change was warranted. I think had they stuck to the original style, they could have done something really subtle yet cool.

My meaningless opinions aside, here's the aforementioned copy:
Someone is killing Britain's warlocks.
Twenty-two years after the Second World War, a precarious balance of power maintains the peace between Great Britain and the USSR. For decades, Britain's warlocks have been all that stands between the British Empire and the Soviet Union—a vast domain stretchin from the Pacific Ocean to the shores of the English Channel. But each death is another blot blow [oops... corrected 16 Oct 11] to Britain's national security.
Meanwhile, a brother and sister escape from a top-secret research facility deep behind the Iron Curtain. Once subjects of a twisted Nazi experiment to imbue ordinary people with superhuman abilities, then prisoners of war in the immense Soviet research effort to reverse-engineer the Nazi technology, they head for England.
Because that's where retired spy Raybould Marsh lives. And Gretel, the mad seer, has plans for him.
As Marsh is once again drawn into the world of Milkweed, he discovers that Britain's darkest acts didn't end with the war. And while he strives to protect queen and country, he is forced to confront his own willingness to accept victory at any cost.
Seriously, if you haven't read Ian Tregillis's first book in the Milkweed Triptych, you're really missing out on the start of something incredible. You might think the WWII "British Demons vs. Nazi Supermen" genre doesn't have any stories left to tell, but if so, you're dumb. Fortunately, thanks to a-series-of-unfortunate-but-not-at-all-comical-but-equally-delay-inducing-events you'll have plenty of time to catch up while the rest of us eagerly await the next collision of sorcerers, spies, and seers amidst one form of global chaos or another.

The Coldest War will be published by Tor in July of 2012.


Oct 4, 2011

Call for Comments: What 2012 DEBUTS are you anticipating?

We are rapidly approaching the end of the year. Which means two things: looking back and looking forward. I like to maintain more of a future-focused blog, so I'd like to hear what NEW authors you are looking forward to reading in 2012 so I can better direct my research and pieces in the coming months.

Well, minions, what say you? What new authors are you most anticipating next year?

Oct 3, 2011

Twitter Followers: A Graph

To those of you who fall into the "green" category - Thank You. You're the people I wanted to talk to when I started this bastion of mediocrity I call a blog and you're the main reason I'm still trying to keep with it.

To everyone else...well, you won't be reading this anyway...
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