The OF Blog: Tor relaunches Malazan series with new artwork, etc.

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Tor relaunches Malazan series with new artwork, etc.

After reading quite a few posts on a few SF/F blogs decrying Orbit US's cover art decisions in regards to Joe Abercrombie's upcoming Best Served Cold, I wonder if there'll be much talk about two Malazan-related items found in Tor's recently-shipped Spring 2009 catalog. Thumbing through it, I see that not only have Tor purchased the North American rights to Ian Cameron Esslemont's Malazan-setting Night of Knives (and if I recall, the other volumes he plans writing in that setting), due out in May, but Tor also decided that they would change the covers for Steven Erikson's series as well.

What cover is that?

Well, it's the newer UK cover, unmodified. I guess after a while, fan nagging does have an impact on publisher decisions on cover art. Interesting timing on the relaunching of the series in new cover art editions. Perhaps I need to ask someone at Tor (Irene Gallo, perhaps?) sometime the rationale behind this, as I am a bit curious.

As for the other books in this catalog, there are several that are promising. Thomas A. Day's A Grey Moon Over China is getting a wide-release reprint here. Speaking of reprints, or rather an expansion of a previously-released work, Kage Baker's The Empress of Mars is being released in novel form. I read it a few years ago in novella size and enjoyed it enough to want to see how it reads in expanded form. Jay Lake's Green is another that I'd probably like to read/review in the coming months. The US edition of George Mann's steampunk novel, The Affinity Bridge, comes out in July and I'll doubtless get that. Also need to get the second and third volumes of his work first, but I would like to read Daniel Abraham's The Price of Spring by its July release. Curious about Brian Lumley's Necroscope© series, , so I may inquire about the latest volume, Harry and the Pirates shortly. Emma Bull's Bone Dance will be read sometime this year, sooner rather than later, I hope. Sarah McDonald's The Stars Blue Yonder might be worth a gander, or so I hope.

Still waiting for someone (Pat?) to read/review David Bilsborough's A Fire in the North...

Oh, and some guy named Brandon Sanderson has a book coming out. Warbreaker, I believe. Must not be too important, since they only put its cover art on the front page.


Aidan Moher said...

It's about damn time. Somehow Tor managed to make even Todd Lockwood art look awful on those Malazan covers.

The UK/Canada covers are great, though.

A Dribble of Ink

Larry Nolen said...

I always find the UK(Canada)/US cover art comments to be amusing, in large part because I've seen quite a bit of wonderful art from the US, even from the oft-criticized companies like Tor. Then again, most of that good art is for non-epic fantasy releases, which perhaps says more about the companies catering to known consumer buying patterns than it does about their presumed collective tastes.

Abalieno said...

The rationale would be to not discourage potential readers.

The current Tor covers give an idea of childish fantasy with the standard hero's journey. Young adult at best.

The UK covers are a bit more stylish and elegant. I don't think they publicize well the books but at least they aren't negatively impacting like I think Tor's covers are doing.

The very best choice would be to discard both and make either Komarck or Swanland (the one who does the Glen Cook's omnibus) redo all of them.

Those are two artists that represent Erikson's style so much better.

Larry Nolen said...

Well, most of the Tor covers I've seen have been for their standalone fantasies and their SF works - those are mostly pretty good, to be honest. But the thing many online readers need to keep in mind that in many cases, those garish, "childish" covers on certain epic fantasy covers usually sell better, precisely because they catch the eye of readers conditioned to associate certain covers with certain types of stories.

Graeme Flory said...

I've been thinking about re-reading 'The Wanderer's Tale' (I came unstuck with it first time round and am wondering if it will be any better second time round) and then going onto 'A Fire in the North'. Having said that though, I had trouble getting through the Amazon synopsis...

Unknown said...

Thank goodness. I started to see the traditional Tor-styled covers for MBOTF in Canada, and I desperately hoped that the UK style covers were not being phased out in favour of going to the US style.
They did, however, still change the covers from a wrap-around graphic to a smaller graphic reused on the front, back and spine, which is annoying because now my collection is inconsistent.a

Unknown said...

Call me superficial, but the problem I have with the Tor covers is that I am not comfortable taking them out in public. It makes me want to talk to every person that looks at me and say "I swear that this this is an adult novel! It's not just feel-good, faerie-loving, magic-sword dross!"

Adam Whitehead said...

It is entirely possible someone will one day read A Fire in the North. That person will obviously not be rationale, or sober, or sane, but it could happen.

Whether they would be able to write a coherent review afterwards is another matter, of course.

As for Tor, I think they realise they need to restrategize their marketing for Erikson, since they obviously want another big, very-long-running epic fantasy series to tap into now the Goodkind pool has dried up and the Jordan one isn't far off. With eight more books (including the sequel/prequel trilogies) still to come, they're obviously banking big on Erikson as Bantam UK did many years ago. On that basis, we should be thankful they haven't drafted Darrel K. Sweet in.

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