The Consuming Fire by John Scalzi is the dazzling follow-up to The Collapsing Empire—a space opera set in a universe on the brink of destruction. I just adored the first book, as it contained exactly the things that I love in SF: a story that completely immerses you in an exciting new adventure; characters you can really relate to (despite the apparent gulf between, for example, working in publishing in London and being emperor of a far-future empire…); and a feeling of freshness and life that keeps you turning those pages. Needless to say, I wanted to do the second book proud when it came to the cover brief.
I wanted to see something that linked visually to book one of course. But I also wanted to aim for a sense of spacecraft either fleeing towards or advancing upon one small planet at the far edges of the empire’s reach, as the pathways between the stars collapsed and died. That planet is appropriately named End—though it’s about to find itself very much at the centre of galactic events…
The idea of space pathways is pretty abstract and I did have to give it a few goes when explaining at the cover briefing meeting! But I think Lisa Brewster from Black Sheep Design has done a simply fabulous job. It would be great to hear what you think. And you might find it interesting to compare the US and UK cover approaches, as different markets are primed to like and respond to different aesthetics. You’ll often find (as a sweeping generalization) that a UK cover places more focus on the type than an American cover, and that the look can be more graphic than illustrative. But see below for our fabulous cover unveiling and some more on that great plot!
The Consuming Fire publishes in the US on October 16th and in the UK on October 18th. From the catalog copy:
The Interdependency, humanity’s interstellar empire, is on the verge of collapse. The Flow, the extra-dimensional pathway between the stars, is disappearing, leaving planets stranded. Billions of lives will be lost—unless desperate measures can be taken.
Emperox Grayland II, the leader of the Interdependency, is ready to take those measures. But it’s not quite that easy. There are those who believe the collapse of the Flow is a myth—or an opportunity for them to ascend to power. And while Grayland prepares for disaster, others prepare for civil war. It’s a war that will take place in the halls of power, centres of industry and altars of worship as much as between spaceships. Nothing about this power struggle will be obvious or straightforward… and all of human civilization is at stake.
In the US, you can preorder The Consuming Fire at the links below!