Monday, 11 January 2016

Oh Benedict, where art thou?



1.1 million migrants from North Africa and the Middle East, most of them young men, entered Germany last year. Those who said taking on so many was not a good idea were called heartless or racist. Twelve days ago, hundreds of women in Cologne were harassed, sexually assaulted and robbed by gangs of those same migrants.

Benedict Cumberbatch, renowned actor and amateur activist, had much to say about the former fact, but has so far been silent on the latter fact. As have many of his ideological travellers.

Where art thou, Benedict? Why the long face?

Is it ominous realisation that you see before you?

New Orbit



I think this is the fifth attempt at the cover for this book, and I can safely say this is the one I prefer the most. So much so, that it may be my last attempt. For a good while, at least. I've always struggled to get the cover right for this book - and indeed, the blurb - as it's such a varied and involved story. At over three hundred pages, it's my longest story too, and there's a lot of stuff going on in it, plus a lot of characters. For this reason, I think, I found it difficult to summarise, in either word or picture form, for the reader. Should I include the gang warfare, the space piracy or the Yucatan solar system empire? Should I mention Crisi the idealistic ex-cop, Pulia the rebel dance teacher or Nil├ęs the amoral business junkie? Or Kagame, the hapless ship's doctor? Or, or.... all the other stuff. It was hard sometimes to just nail the book's description down on one definition, and, of course, as a rookie writer, I tried to include everything, thinking that was what I was meant to do.

To do anything less felt like I wasn't doing justice to the book.

And when it came to the cover, I tried to be too clever. Not for me the standard 'spaceship over a planet' sci-fi cover. Oh no, I had to do better than that.

But sometimes it's better to just drop the fancy pretensions and go with something simple.

There's a lesson there, I'm sure. And actually, the cover does include another aspect of the book, which in this case is the arrival of the triple rail freighter, the Costaguana, which acts as a fatal catalyst for most of the plot.

But aside from all that, I just think it looks good. And with that I'll close Photoshop before I'm tempted to tinker with it some more. Enough already, this is the new cover, and it's staying that way.