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Sunday, May 03, 2015

James S. A. Corey

I recently picked up the third volume of James S. A. Corey's Expanse series, which none other than George R. R. Martin has described as a "Kickass space opera." Author James S. A. Corey is, in fact, two writers: Daniel James Abraham and Ty Corey Franck, the latter being George R. R. Martin's personal assistant. Whilst the unmentioned relationship may bring Martin's impartiality into question, the books have been well reviewed elsewhere and the first was nominated for a Hugo.

What really sold me on the first book was the cover by Daniel Dociu. He's well worth a Google image search as he's produced hundreds of superb paintings (you might start here, for instance) and designs for video games. I was intrigued to discover that the front and back covers of the Orbit paperback were canibalised from the same painting.

I posted a breakdown of the first cover as a random scan back in August 2014. Since then I have picked up the second and third books in the series, which continues to use elements of Dociu's artwork for both front and back covers.

The second of these covers is particularly interesting as the posted clean artwork is slightly different to the final artwork used on the book, which has zoomed out slightly; the spacecraft is higher on the horizon; and the upper structure (top right of the original) is far less complex and its yellow panels have disappeared on the final cover.

The third cover also makes some minor changes, with the superstructure at the top right enlarged so that it now obscures more of the background and one of the flying craft.

If we take a look at the back covers and spines, it is easy to see how elements of the front cover have made use of the original cover images. The first and second volumes are an almost straight reuse with the artwork rotated. The third also makes use of of the original artwork but uses it flipped.

I'm now looking forward to seeing the recently published fourth book of this series, which has now been extended to a planned nine volumes, according to Wikipedia.

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