Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Stations of the Tide


For some reason, I've been having extraordinarily good luck with covers lately.  Just take a gander at what Tor commissioned for the upcoming reissue of Stations of the Tide.  Moody, evocative, romantic, and -- not that this matters half so much to readers as it does to authors -- accurately based on a scene in the novel.

So I am grateful to Tor's director Irene Gallo for commissioning it, and to cover designer Jamie Stafford-Hill for putting it all together.  But most especially to the artist, Thom Tenery, for the kind of creation that makes you pick up a book and read the first page, hoping against hope that it will be as good as the cover promises.

You can check out Tenery's website here.  Terrific stuff.  You'll forgive me, I hope, for thinking I got the best of the lot.



David Stone said...

Wow that is a sweet cover. I never imagined the bureaucrat looking like Panama Jack, but it makes more sense than the image I had of him in my mind.

skyknyt said...

That's a gorgeous cover! The level of attention paid to the details of the book must be quite gratifying!

Unknown said...

It isn't often that a book cover is what grabs me, but this one is an exception! This cover makes me want to know more about the story.

Michael Swanwick said...

I wrote the book thinking of the bureaucrat as looking like the Gene Wolfe of thirty years ago, before he grew that astonishing mustache. Outwardly, he looks like Gene Wolfe, but inside, he's actually as smart and shrewd and cunning as ... Gene Wolfe!

But I like this interpretation too. If I were coming to this book as a new reader, I'd carry the image in with me and it would work perfectly.

Ken Houghton said...

Copyedit quibble: Irene Gallo, no?

skyknyt said...

The only thing about this cover I dislike is the briefcase looking all futuristic. it should be a rough looking steamer trunk-esque briefcase imo ;)

Bruce said...

Brilliant cover, indeed!

I have wondered about Mr. Wolfe's reaction to being the 'avatar' of the bureaucrat. I'd like to think Rosemary, who I assume read that excellent novel, would swat him for holding out on her!

HANNAH'S DAD said...

tyop: Gall -> Gallo

Lovely cover. Despite being by a different artist, it seems psychically attuned to the Stephan Martiniere cover for _Dragons of Babel_.

And yes, the bureaucrat now looks like Gene Wolfe in my head as well. Perhaps the book should be issued along with little Gene Wolfe stickers for those who feel the issue is important.

Aspoiu said...

Wow! Fabulous cover. And having "Stations of the Tide" back in print is just GREAT news. I'd been working to get a copy of this book for a while and I ended up with a ex-library book - first edition, hardcover edition in mint condition (except for the usual markings though). Well, I guess I must get the new one too, the cover is awesome.
Can't wait to meet you at SFCOntario in November (and hopefully, to collect your autograph).

Michael Swanwick said...

Correction made, and thanks for pointing it out. Typos are like cockroaches -- eager to get in and hard to keep out.

Someday I ought to write a short story set thirty years after, when the bureaucrat has a cane and a tremendous mustache. I can see him sitting in a bar and looking about him with a dark, shrewd, and suspicious sidelong glance.

Erin English said...

This is just... wow. It's fantastic. I'm no author, but an artist, and inaccurate cover art for books I love makes me so mad. Iron Dragon's Daughter is one of my all time favourite books, and whenever I try to lend it to someone I have to tell them to ignore the cover completely. It's nothing like what's inside.

Michael Swanwick said...

Ah, but you should see the cover of the British edition. Gorgeous and imaginative. My editor gave Geoff Taylor a copy of the typescript and said, "Give me a dragon for the Nineties."

Choose carefully and then treat with respect. That's the way to handle a cover artist!

HANNAH'S DAD said...

> Ah, but you should see the cover of the British edition. Gorgeous and imaginative.

Which is which? Covers are at: http://www.librarything.com/work/49258/covers/

I have the yellowish cover with the dragon flying leftwards and a waterfall far below. I don't know if that's a US or UK edition - we get both in Australia.

None of the covers there seem perfect - though the one which has the dragon's eye in one panel and the factory chimneys in another is pretty good. I'm at a loss to say what the perfect cover would be in this case, as to concentrate on any one incident is to miss the real scope of the book. Which leaves what?

Michael Swanwick said...

That's the UK cover. It's a wraparound, so when you look at both sides at once, that bold slash at the bottom left of the picture stands revealed as the edge of the world. If I'd seen that picture before writing the book, I'd've made it a flat world and put a party on one of the penthouses overlooking the Edge. It would have been nicely decadent, with elves throwing wine glasses and dwarves over into the darkness.

Unknown said...

It is wonderful news that there will be a new edition of Stations of the Tide. I remember hunting down your earlier works on the internet, and both that book and Vacuum Flowers I could only get in second-hand, pulp editions with - how to say? - not so good covers and terrible typography.

Although I was compelled by the stories, I later always had the feeling that I did not enjoy them nearly as much as I would have if I had found a tasteful and considerate hardcover-version like the one I have of Jack Faust.

So: any chance of getting Vacuum Flowers rereleased too? ;-)

P.S.: Sorry for any mistakes. I am not a native speaker.

Chad Hull said...

Wow. That's beautiful.

Michael Swanwick said...

The absolute worst packaging I ever received was still worlds better than much of what was routine in the 1970s when cover art was often astonishingly ugly and transparently on-the-cheap. And when midway through each paperback was a cigarette add printed on stiff cardboard which couldn't be ripped out without tearing the book in two.

No question about it, though, the American hardcover of JACK FAUST was brilliant.

There are no immediate plans for a reissue of VACUUM FLOWERS, alas. But stay tuned. My agent continues to work quietly behind the scenes.