And so we have artwork. Actually, this has been out there for a few days now, but I’ve been busy with the final pass on the manuscript and other bits of business (including a pitch for a new Trek story).
But what about the cover? I like it. And I appreciate the effort the Pocket Books art & editorial teams committed to getting it right. As I’ve mentioned before, in general I’ve been happy with the covers on my books, and doubly-so since I had almost nothing to do with creating them (I may have suggested the Vitruvian Man motif for Immortal Coil, but I’m not sure). This time around, the editors asked for suggestions. I pitched three concepts: an Ocean’s Eleven-esque highly graphic black-and-white illustration (which would have conveyed some of the “caper” aspect of the book), a “floating heads” arrangement which (the editors advised me) given away too many plot points and surprises; and something like what we got, which references back to the Immortal Coil cover. I imagine the two of them will look quite snappy side-by-side on a store bookshelf (should I be fortunate enough to see such a thing).
Margaret Clark pitched what I thought was an excellent concept – a variation on a da Vinci drawing — specifically, this drawing:
The idea was that we would manipulate the art to resemble Lal. Unfortunately, the concept was more interesting than the final result, but c’est la vie. Or, more accurately, C’est l’art, assuming I have my articles figured out correctly (probably not).
In any case, I think the cover works very well, even though Lal doesn’t really look like that anymore. Or, at least, not all the time. In keeping with my concept of her being, all at once, a young woman, a child, and an adolescent, she changes her hair and clothing a lot throughout the course of the novel. And really, why not? Given that she started her existence as a pretty generic-looking mannequin, why wouldn’t she all forms of adornment as eminently changeable?
We had a hell of a time finding a piece of reference for Data where he wasn’t wearing a Starfleet uniform and, in the photos we did find, the clothing was horrible. I think the costumer on TNG must have had a grudge against Brett Spiner because whenever they dressed him in civilian clothing, he looked, um, awkward. Maybe that was the point… In any case, we figured it out. Up until the last-but-one revision, Data had his gold eyes and skin and I didn’t think anything of it because — I assumed — that’s how most people recognize him. And then Ed sent the final version, saying (more or less), “Data looks human now. The fans would have killed us if we’d put out that other version.” So, there you go… Editors know their business.
Last time around, I promised I’d say a little something about Kirby and how he came to be, both as a kitten and a book about a kitten. Apologies for the postponement, but I think we can all agree that cover art takes precedence. I’ll jump back into the blog pool very soon and say a few lines (unless I end up wanting to talk about the new Captain America movie, which I plan to see tomorrow). Until then, ta. Say a few words about the cover in the comments if you feel the need.