REAPER'S GALE cover art


Hi guys!

Just received this from Erikson's publicist at Transworld. There has been a lot of talk recently about the change of covers in the middle of the series, and here's what she had to say on the suject:

I also had a chat with him [Steven Erikson's editor]about the new cover look and apparently there is a feeling that we should be moving away from the too-generic look to try and attract a wider audience for Steve, and also because they felt the jackets were starting to look a little dated.

Here is a jpeg of the jacket for Reaper’s Gale though it’s still in a draft form.

44 commentaires:

Chris Hyland said...

Hmmm, nice artwork. But it does irk me for some reason, when I have a series of books and then they go and change the artwork half way through. I'm sure I'll cope!
...Mind you, Orbit had better not even consider changing the artwork for the WoT series before "Memory Of Light", is published! I would cry! I love that artwork!
~Chris..

maschine said...

Hm..that's sad, really sad..

I think the old covers were really good, they actually represented what the series stands for: epic fantasy. Espescially the Deadhouse Gate cover was great.
The new cover, I don't know..it reminds me of bad Conan imitates.
With really dark and fearsome colors to show 14-year-old kids, that this book is really brutal and they have to buy it

*sigh*

Alan said...

I still don't understand why they are exchanging 'generic' for 'slightly less generic but bland' in these new designs. Ah well, at least they're keeping the same artist.

Neth said...

Well, looks like a pretty generic fantasy cover - it's better than the crap that usually is passed off as cover art for SFF, but it's a long way from good.

chris hyland said...

Now that I look at it, it reminds me of the artwork for some of Robert Newcomb's later works. He is not an author of which I am fond.
I often find that (and no offence intended) fantasy book artwork in the US is a bit too garish and almost childish in its delivery.
Sorry! (That said I love SOME US cover art, lol.)
~Chris..

Anonymous said...

Personally, I think that's a pretty crappy cover. Like something on a Jon Norman Gor novel. I second that the Deadhouse Gates cover was awesome. This one I'd be kind of embarrassed to be seen carrying around.

Winterfella

Ran said...

I can see that the trade dress does speak somewhat more to the mainstream market. The gold-type helmet design and predominant black in particular reminds me of some recent historical fiction.

Erikson has, by this point, a pretty strong penetration into the fantasy market -- word of mouth and critical reception will get him whatever other genre readers he's likely to get. Trying to tap more directly into the wider market makes sense at a time like this.

I admit to quite liking the Gardens of the Moon cover.

Matt said...

While for the most part I liked the old covers, I can certainly understand making a change to bring in more readers. This change is beyond me, though.

I have no idea how anyone could say with a straight face that this cover isn't generic fantasy stock. Indeed, I'd say it's far more generic than the old covers. My disinterest could not be greater; I feel tired even looking at it. If I didn't know it was an Erikson book, it's certainly not something I'd bother even lifting off the shelf in a bookstore, whether I was in the fantasy or historical fiction section.

I imagine the new covers will appeal to neither adult fantasy fans nor more mainstream readers.

Erikson deserves better than this.

TeichDragon said...

Pat, do you only have that "small art"? Clicking on the pic gives me a 404, but I am not sure, if you have larger pic behind it, or that's just a fault in linking...

Anyway: that artwork is way to dark for me. I don't read the english edition, but I simply don't like that dark, "conan-like" look.

Jonathan Hill said...

"Steven Erikson writes Conan!"

It's horrific. More generic you could not get than this. Thats a damn shame, but my faith in Transworld just evaporated. I can't stand it when they change styles half way through a series either - makes my bookshelf look ugly :(

Anonymous said...

Oh pleae be kidding?!

This cover blows... a lot!
This is straight from the abyss-uber-generic Conanesque Fantasycover (guy in underpants with sword an muscles, anyone?!). I think the marketing guys over at Bantam think we're stupid?!

I hope they will change back to the old style and art (which, if those marketing-guys would have done a proper research-job, drew a lot of fans into the series in the first place). A book with this cover, I would walk right by in a bookstore!

BRosenberg said...

I would just like to see Fantasy covers that don't look like Conan the Barbarian done by Jackie Collins. I loved the R. Scott Bakker covers because they were different. I read Erikson because the fruit inside is sweet even though the skin is bitter.

I even like the covers to the last reprints of the George R.R. Martin books... those were simple yet effective.

This cover is TOOOOOOO D&D. I'll buy the book, because it's Erikson and it's part seven .. if it were part one then I doubt I'd look twice at it.

Patrick said...

Sorry, but I only have this small image for the moment.

I'll let you know when the "official" cover is released. I will likely have something larger to work with...

Brahm Kleinman said...

I agree with most of the others. This is just as generic and more cheesy than the other covers. I'm not opposed to changing the cover style, but if its going to be done, it should be changed to something simple and elegant (ie: like the new A Song of Ice and Fire covers, or the Prince of Nothing covers).

Anonymous said...

This is a pretty poor cover in my mind. It would be hard to come up with something more boring than that picture. This is not the cover art from Gardens of the Moon and Deadhouse gates that inspired me to pick it up. I miss the art work from those earlier covers.

All this cover says to me is "i wrote a crappy book real fast and so spent no time picking out a cover", which is not the case since Steven Erikson is an incredible author.

Please dont let this be the cover of the new book...

Adam Whitehead said...

I don't think this works the way it's intended. If Transworld wanted something simple and elegant they should have gone for something along the lines of the new WoT covers from Orbit or the new ASoIaF covers from Voyager and Bantam. There's enough countries and factions in the MBF for them to find simple, striking flags or sigils to use, or they could have gone the Lions of Al-Rassan route and used highly stylised, old-fashioned style art. The type of image they have gone for is pointlessly ambiguous (if all the characters on the covers are going to have blacked-out faces, as that's ridiculous) and will do little to win the favour of old fans or bring new readers to the series. This attitude of, "Hey, it's Book 7, what are they going to do, stop buying the books?" is very poor form.

Anonymous said...

I love it when publishers change cover styles in the middle of a series. Nothing says "these books are all part of the same larger story" more emphatically than completely changing the external appearance from what has come before.

You know what annoys me - uniformity. Take those Encyclopedia Britannica guys; just because each volume forms part of a larger whole they insist on maintaining the same cover style from book to book. Sheesh, talk about lack of imagination!

Imperial Historian said...

Hmmm....

The best I can say about that cover is it isn't as bad as the early US editions. It still seems like a mistake though, the distinctive artwork of the Malazan books has drawn many readers to the books, and changing the style completely to something which seems very ... generic and clichéd seem's like the wrong direction to take, completely the opposite to Erikson. It definitely wouldn't make me want to pick up the book. If the artwork needs to be changed, a simple design like the new WOT or GRRM designs would seem to be the way to go, or change the artwork to something different and interesting, not this generic stuff, if it's generic it's a lot less likely to be picked up, this new design seems a step backwards as opposed to the beautiful covers of some of the previous works (though I'll admit none have quite come up to the same standard as DHG did).

If the cover design is going to be changed though, please, please, please keep the traditional spine layout with that same font so it looks nice on my bookshelf!

itkovian said...

No! This can't be happening! I love the UK covers, and I really want to keep this series at the front of my shelf. What marketeer could think of such a change, in the middle of the friggin' series?!

Anonymous said...

I agree with those above. Erikson deserves better.

Dolorous Menhir said...

What reason is there to change the cover design midway through a series? What does it say to the fans who've already purchased six books when you redesign in the middle? I liked the old text - it didn't have the unnecessary helmet graphic at the top.

The image itself is weak. Walk past any shelf in the fantasy section and you'll see a dozen covers like this. A guy with a sword, and that's it. It doesn't grab your attention, it's not something new. I understand that Erikson doesn't have any control over the covers - and it shows, since his purpose is to innovate and turn genre conventions on their heads and these covers are working against that.

Hopefully this is just a first draft. I would like to see an actual scene from the novel, with something interesting happening. Not just a character (it is Rhulad, right?) sitting doing nothing but live up to a stereotype.

max said...

I sort of like the skull thing above the title. In spite of myself.

Other than that, the whole cover seems entirely overproduced, if that's the right word. I keep looking CGI spaceships to blow the crap out of each other.

At any rate, it certainly doesn't say anything other than 'traditional fantasy' to me. If it's trying to convey something else...*shrug*

maschine said...

I don't think that's a skull, it looks more like a greek helmet...which at least makes a little sense (anyway more than a skull)

Perhaps the publishers try to attract peole looking for tie-ins to "300"..

This! Is! Malaz!

Ed S. said...

What Erikson's current fans think about the cover is rather irrelevant - realistically they'll buy the book no matter what the cover. Since the purpose of the new cover is to attract new fans then if it accomplishes this task shouldn't the publisher be applauded for this marketing effort? Why is it so wrong to try and increase the author's popularity? Such whiny fans - would it be so awful to find someone else on the plane also reading Erikson? Other authors must cry themselves to sleep every night because their sales languish and their publisher ignores them. Erikson is indeed fortunate.

Harry Giovanopoulos said...

I never judge a book from its cover, but an interesting cover will probably make me take a closer look to it. This is definitely a cover that won't catch my eye, and frankly it doesn't have much to do with the Malazan Empire, rather a Conan wanna be. Is that the intention of the publishers?

Needless to say, the fans will buy it even if it has Donald Duck on the cover, but as to attracting new readers I don't know. Besides, who in his right mind will give a shot to a series of books judging from the 7th or later book's cover?

Anonymous said...

Well, the picture screams conan from miles away, but is nevertheless not that bad. What buggs me is that they've seemingly decided to change the whole layout of the cover. That dumb helmet thingy, the font and all. I want the books to look like a series when in my bookshelf, not change halfway through into something different and - to be honest - kinda childish.

Anonymous said...

Why don't they ask the artist who did the Deadhouse Gates cover to do something as good for all the other books ? It looks to me this cover has the qualities they're looking for, while the new cover really really doesn't!

Misanthrope said...

I think I'll have to go with what adam whitehead said. If they want to draw in more readers outside the genre, this isn't going to work.

Maybe they want to draw more readers from within the genre? But then I don't think a simple cover change will make much of a difference.

The whole barbarian with sword image is very iconic of sword and sorcery type fantasy that really went out of fashion many years ago. Furthermore many people outside the fantasy genre get turned off by the whole Conan image of fantasy so I don't think this cover is really taking things in the right direction. I always found covers with an emphasis on a landscape rather than one figure such as in GOTM and DG more compelling. Think of the Geoff Taylor covers for grafton in the 80s (Fiest, Kerr etc.)

I also agree that the helmet logo thing at the top is unnecessary. It also screams 'generic fantasy'.

Adam Whitehead said...

"Besides, who in his right mind will give a shot to a series of books judging from the 7th or later book's cover?"

No, Bantam are changing ALL the covers to the previous books as well to this type of thing. If you really want to complain, take a look at what they've done to The Bonehunters cover:

http://ec2.images-amazon.com/images/P/0553813153.01._SS500_SCLZZZZZZZ_V45181860_.jpg

Adam Whitehead said...

Damn, that link didn't work. Go to www.malazanempire.com, into the forums, into The Bonehunters, then into Cover for the Paperback.

maschine said...

Hm, perhaps I should hurry and buy the Gardens of the Moon Bantam-paperback while it is still available (I only have the ugly one from Tor)

S.o.t.h. said...

Conan anyone?
I think it's crap.
Though not as crappy as the US covers...
Can't we go back to GotM and DG cover styles?

Anonymous said...

It is a poor cover and they could have done so much better.

I don't like this trend I'm seeing of changing covers midway through series. Didn't like it with Martin ( step down from typical but cool Fantasy art to ultra bland covers), don't like it now.

And it's not as if this cover is going to "appeal to a wider audience" because it is still very much an in your face Fantasy cover. Seriously, who comes up with this stuff and gets paid good wages for it? I have a 40 hour job for which I actually have to perform. Who in Bantam's art department says "we need to radically change the cover style as of book seven of this ongoing series, to appeal to a wider and more mainstream audience" and then has the artist draw Conan-in-the-dark?

Steve said...

It is poor. Firstly I get annoyed when a series' "style" is changed half way through. Secondly, I find if difficult to understand why the publisher is seeking to adopt what seems bland and generic artwork. The dramatic and unusual covers of the first 4 books were instrumental in attracting my attention. I only hope they listen to our feedback.
Steve

Misanthrope said...

Now that I've seen the Bonehunters cover, I've got a sense for what they are trying to do with the new covers... and well, they're not that bad. My personal preference is still for landscapes over portraits but that's a personal preference. Other than that, the whole dark background with a strip of coloured smoke highlighting a figure is an interesting concept... I guess I still wish it didn't look so much like conan.

Personally I don't mind a change in cover artwork if its an improvement. I felt the new Wheel of Time and Song of Ice and Fire covers in the UK were significant improvements over the ones before. But I still think they should do something better than the helmet-and-iron-bar logo thing at the top.

Harry Giovanopoulos said...

What can I say? After seeing the cover of the Bonehunters paperback edition, I'm afraid that the sales will attract the "wrong" kind of readers, who will no doubt find it rather odd for a "Sword & Sorcery" book...

Thelomen Toblerone said...

It could be worse, I dont thinkits too bad really. It is a bit cliched though, I will say that.

Still, who gives a damn about the cover when the juicy goodness of SE's latest masterpiece is inside....

Rob said...

I'd say that apart from breaking up the continuity of the series, by changing the base cover design, which is pretty poor (read disgraceful) play frankly, this cover also lacks the 'depth' of the others, e.g. House of chains landscape with Hound statues, even the Bonehunters cityscapish cover. These realy appeal to me and strike me as very NON generic aswell as portraying almost directly a specific part of the book.

Whereas this covers design, with a single warrior on it seems to mirror so many of my other book covers its unbelievable, and also it lacks the theme of a single primary colour approch for the other books, e.g. House of chains = dark blue, midnight tides = purple, deadhouse gates = orange etc. etc.

I'd give it a very harsh 3/10

Anonymous said...

reminds me of Valerio Massimo Manfredi's old covers for spartan and he last legion......and thats not a good thing

Daniel (Atlanta GA) said...

I can't really make a final call on what I think of the cover since it is so small, but it does seem a little like Conan...but I do like the colors. I had envisioned something with ships and a stormy sea...but hey that is me

drinksinbars said...

dont like it, doesnt capture the spirit of the books, or set the cover apart from anything else. The only think it screams is "GENERIC FANTASY NOVEL, ONLY GEEKS READ" and thats not where erikson should be going at all.

Patrick said...

Well, I knew that by putting this cover art out there, such a post would generate a panoply of responses.

Considering what's been going on here and on the various message boards, I never thought that it would reach this level, though!;-)

Let's wait and see what the final cover looks like...

Anonymous said...

Hmmmm..

After checking the BH paperback one out as well, I can see where they're trying to go, but I don't think it will pay off. I do like the actual figures depicted - because I know who they are. A noob would just think it's all a bit Conan (to echo previous comments). Plus there is no background detail.

Actually, TBH cover reminded me a bit of the newer Gemmell covers. I think both of them need some sort of distinctive background. Maybe the RG one could have a court of very nervous looking people, or perhaps some of the challengers? TBH one needs a bit of a cityscpae behind, or maybe as seen from a rooftop, perhaps with suggestions of carnage and bodies behind, like legs here, discarded weapons there etc?

To sum up: established fans don't care for it, and I don't think it will succeed in attracting new fans that much as it is actually "fantasy generic". Why should a noob pick this novel over many others with similar cover art. At this point we start to get down to cool blurbs, quotes and maps.
Cheers,

La Sombra, was just saying

Anonymous said...

I don't understand what everyone is up in arms about. The cover doesn't look like Conan O'Brien to me at all.

Hmmm, maybe I should watch his show more often.

LOL, burn!