Jo Walton has been such a fundamental part of Tor.com since its inception that it’s impossible not to get a little extra excited any time Tor Books publishes a new story by her. And since her lastest novel, My Real Children is already starting to get some buzz around it, I thought I’d take a moment and release the cover a bit earlier than usual.
My Real Children is a story about one woman and the two lives that she might lead. Designer Jamie Stafford-Hill did a fantastic job of depicting that moment where the two timelines split, which is not an easy thing to do in a still image. The typeface keeps it from looking overly romantic, and its reversed color reinforces the “two worlds” idea. I’m not sure I can articulate just what is my favorite part about this cover, but I love how the hand fills the space between “My” and “Real.” Perhaps it’s simply that it gives this as-yet-unknown character some agency.
My Real Children will be out from Tor Books in May 2014. Here is how the book is described in the catalog:
It’s 2015, and Patricia Cowan is very old. “Confused today,” read the notes clipped to the end of her bed. She forgets things she should know—what year it is, major events in the lives of her children. But she remembers things that don’t seem possible. She remembers marrying Mark and having four children. And she remembers not marrying Mark and raising three children with Bee instead. She remembers the bomb that killed President Kennedy in 1963, and she remembers Kennedy in 1964, declining to run again after the nuclear exchange that took out Miami and Kiev.
Her childhood, her years at Oxford during the Second World War—those were solid things. But after that, did she marry Mark or not? Did her friends all call her Trish, or Pat? Had she been a housewife who escaped a terrible marriage after her children were grown, or a successful travel writer with homes in Britain and Italy? And the moon outside her window: does it host a benign research station, or a command post bristling with nuclear missiles?
Two lives, two worlds, two versions of modern history. Each with their loves and losses, their sorrows and triumphs. My Real Children is the tale of both of Patricia Cowan’s lives…and of how every life means the entire world.
The full cover: