Tor.com has revealed the covers for February 2016 Tor.com Publishing titles, including The Absconded Ambassador (Genrenauts Episode 2), as well as books by Mary Robinette Kowal and Tim Lebbon.
Go forth, and bask in the awesomeness, then come back for some thoughts from me on the series style for Genrenauts.
When Irene Gallo at Tor.com asked for some notes on what I’d like to see for covers for the Genrenauts series, I had one primary goal, and some suggestions of how to achieve it.
More than anything, I wanted a strong series style for the covers. By that I mean that if you put the covers next to one another on a screen, or the covers showed up in ebook retailers together, they’d be unmistakably, instantaneously recognizable as being in the same series. I wanted each cover to give some of the character of the individual story, as well, rather than just using an identical cover and only changing the lettering or something. What Peter Lutjen has done threads the needle brilliantly – each episode has individual touches, but the series style is incredibly strong, which is both visually delightful and should be very useful, especially in online retailers, where the books clearly belong together even when viewed as thumbnails.
In each cover, the central image in the circle at the bottom of the image represents the genre being represented by presenting the ‘hat’ that the Genrenauts wear in that region – a Stetson for The Shootout Solution, a Western, and then a classic astronaut’s hat for The Absconded Ambassador, a Science Fiction in the Babylon 5/Deep Space 9 mold.
One of the ways I suggested that we might achieve strong series styling was to have a consistent design element – the Genrenauts Logo. Irene and Peter took that idea and delivered in a way I didn’t expect but absolutely love – the series shows off a classic Radio Serial-style planet, accentuated by the GENRENAUTS lettering.
I also love the little accents. The bar at the top indicates each book’s episode # (again referencing the TV format which has been present every step of the way for me). And the planet has a different object orbiting in each episode, further signaling the genre – a bullet for Western and a rocket ship for Science Fiction.
The combination of typography and design conveys the sense of playing with familiar structures, of looking back and referencing different media and how they shaped storytelling, which applies perfectly to Genrenauts. Where the Ree Reyes series focused on geekdom in specific, Genrenauts examines storytelling more broadly.
I couldn’t be happier with these covers, and am incredibly excited to get them, and the books they represent, into your hands.