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Behold the ONLY SUPERHUMAN cover!

January 18, 2012 8 comments

Here it is…

Only Superhuman by Christopher L. Bennett

I couldn’t have asked for a more perfect cover for this book.  It marvelously conveys the novel’s sense of high-flying action and adventure in a high-tech setting, and the flamboyance and power of its heroine, Emerald Blair (aka the Green Blaze).  It makes the novel look exciting and energetic, and that should help sell copies.  (This scene doesn’t appear in the book, but it’s kind of an amalgam of elements of the opening and climactic action sequences.)

And it’s a marvelous portrait of Emerald Blair.  First off, I’m stunned and honored by how closely artist Raymond Swanland followed my character design drawings.  Allowing for a bit of idealization, and my own limited ability to translate my visual ideas to paper, it’s as authentic a portrait of Emry as I could’ve hoped for.   More, it captures her personality and the life she leads very well.  She looks like she just hurled herself off the top of a skyscraper without giving any thought to what happens next.  She’s totally focused on fighting the bad guys and won’t let little things like plans or gravity distract her.  She’s in an incredibly precarious and dangerous situation and she looks completely at home there.  Yes, she is presented in a sexual, glamorous way too, but that’s in character for her, and it’s a very athletic, active, powerful kind of sexiness that (at least to my eye) complements the impression of strength and competence in this image rather than undermining it.

Here’s a look at the cover painting without the text:

Only Superhuman cover art by Raymond Swanland

Art by Raymond Swanland

The composition is fantastic.  The lines of the image converge on her face, drawing the viewer’s eye there, and there’s a powerful line of action running from her eyes along the arm to the sidearm, reinforced by the parallel line of her leg, and by all the shrapnel flying past.  That outthrust, perfectly straight arm just conveys so much power and skill and confidence, and I’ve never been happier with my decision to give her a sleeveless costume.  Even though she seems to be in retreat from something, her body language feels forward-thrusting and aggressive and fearless.  (Not to worry, though — that’s a stungun.)  Also, the background is muted, mostly in grays and browns, with the only bright colors being on Emry, so she really pops as the dominant part of the image.

Emerald Blair peers over my shoulder and has this to say:

“Vack, I look great.  I wish I could get my hair to look that good, especially in action.  Normally I just tie it back, or French-braid it if I have the time.  And I wish my outfit showed off my curves that well, though just as well it’s not quite so flimsy.  Cool Flash Gordony gun, though I’d stab myself in the side if I actually wore the thing.  Still, this is how I should look in action.

“But I’m glad he didn’t exaggerate my body.  Some things, honey, you just can’t improve on.”

So yeah, it’s a slightly idealized portrait of the Green Blaze, but it conveys her essence very well.  It could validly be a portrait someone painted of her in-universe.  In any case, it’s an ideal way to introduce Emerald Blair to the world, and I’m very happy with it.

EDIT: Since this post is getting a lot of new attention, here are some ordering links for the book:

Buy from Macmillan

Buy from Barnes & Noble

Buy from Amazon

Buy from Books-A-Million

 

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