Next summer Small Beer Press will publish two novels by Ayize Jama-Everett. Jama-Everett self-published his first novel, The Liminal People, in 2010. After mutual friend Nalo Hopkinson recommended he send a copy to me, it was reprinted in January 2012 by Small Beer.
Jama-Everett’s next two novels, The Liminal War and The Entropy of Bones, will be published in May and August 2015 and are set in the same world as The Liminal People. I wanted these covers to show the propulsive energy and world-spanning breadth of the stories. In the meantime, Jama-Everett had begun working on a comic with John Jennings and suggested him for the covers.
On July 9th, Jennings sent along his first “in progress digital mockups.” Jennings works in Photoshop and these would be the initial layers that the covers would be built on.
While I liked the snake surrounding the world and the echo between the covers of the hand holding onto something, I felt that even though Robert Johnson turns up in The Liminal War, the guitar sent the wrong message.
The next image arrived July 24. Jennings wrote that it was “very much based on propaganda posters… I also really liked the idea of “liminality”.…hence the overlapping and creation of intersecting tensions on the cover.” But on shrinking down the image to thumbnail size the sharks did not seem to work.
On August 12 Jennings sent in a reworked version of the fist and a second image, this one for The Entropy of Bones:
After some more back and forth, the final covers arrived on August 14 with the main character, Chabi, a teenage girl, now making an appearance on the cover of The Entropy of Bones after the author popped in and suggested that Jennings re-work the art to include something of the “small girl versus the world” narrative.
You can see the final covers below both with and without text:
Gavin J. Grant is the publisher of Small Beer Press and the co-editor, along with Kelly Link, of the recently released collection Monstrous Affections.