Archive for May, 2011


How is this for a great picture?! This is the book cover for my upcoming novel Champion of Mars, out from Solaris sometime in the first half of 2012. I really wanted something that captured the story’s tone; a blend of Planetary Romance,  post-microchip Hard SF and pure adventure, and the artist delivered.  His name is Dominick Saponaro, a very talented dude, I’m sure you’ll agree.

The faceless man to the front is the titular champion, Yoechakanon Val Mora, hero of the dying days of mankind. A lot of the story takes place  in the very far future, a long time after Mars has been terraformed, with a parallel storyline in the near future, and a series of short episodes set in times between. It’s an unusual structure for a book, but one that I hope will work well.

Yoechakanon is partly inspired by the hero of William Hope Hodgson’s The Night Land, but more influential is a series of dreams I had when I was very young. In these nightmares, really,  a man with no face chased me again and again over a parched desert landscape. One night he caught me, and leaned his face into mine. His face was not composed of solid matter, but a tingling field not dissimilar in feel to static electricity. Terrifying, but after that he troubled my sleep no more. Dominick’s vision is scarily similar. (In the book, Yoechakanon wears a suit of smart alloy armour, he does have a face under there!)

The lady to the rear is Kybele, his lover and companion, a spirit — as these far future Martians call AI, although AI is not quite the right word for what she is.  She doesn’t have a physical form as such, so her inclusion is poetic licence. There were also no pteranodon-like creatures in the book, but I think they look so cool there are now!

Visit the website for Dominick’s Swashbuckle Studio here.

Onto another cover, that of Reality 36. You may recall my posting of an earlier version of this. Apparently it was not popular with the people who buy books to sell, and that is a very big problem. This close-up of a robotic face — one of Richards’ android ‘sheaths’ — has gone down much better. Reality 36 is out this August.