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Behind the cover: The Fictional Man

The Fictional Man

To celebrate the publication of a stunning new edition of The Fictional Man by Al Ewing, we spoke to designer James Jones on the process of creating such an eye catching cover.

And now over to James:

The Fictional Man is an extraordinary novel from one of the most exciting voices in British fiction. I love working with Rebellion and when this brief dropped from the brilliant David Moore I couldn’t wait to get going.

I always start by reading the brief and any material given to me by the Editor. Over and over, until I really get what it is they want, and also how far I can push their initial ideas.

Reading the manuscript was a joy, and I kept coming back to the line: “The Fictional’s thoughts were as visible to the author as words on a page”.

I rolled with this idea, producing sketches and illustrations created entirely from letters and words. Cloning typography, using multiple heads to represent multiple characters. Multiple layers and storylines intertwined. Before working my ideas more fully via my computer. 

I really wanted the whole thing to be made out of typography, with just a colour block for added effect.

With the main character being an author, I also played around with the idea of placing a real book on top of the created illustrations. Adding another level and more depth to the cover options. I also quite liked the idea of tears (again made from typography) running down the cover. Which I was able to use across the back cover.

All of the typography used to create the cover was taken from the book. Overlapping key lines over and over again in different sizes to create the final illustration.

I also wanted the line “What’s it like, not being real? to be quite prominent.

The texture has that book/movie poster feel to it, and the red colour-way definitely suited the book’s atmosphere the best.

Final cover by James Jones.

James Jones is an award-winning freelance Art Director and Designer working with publishers and clients all around the world. In addition to freelance work, James was most recently Art Director for Head of Zeus, overseeing their Non Fiction imprints. Find out more at and follow James on Twitter and Instagram.

The Fictional Man by Al Ewing is out now!

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OUT NOW: The Fictional Man by Al Ewing (reissue)

The Fictional Man

A very happy paperback publication day to The Fictional Man by Al Ewing. This stunning new edition features cover art by the talented designer James Jones.

“What’s it like, not being real?”

In LA, where today’s star is tomorrow’s busboy, discarded “Fictionals”—characters spun into flesh-and-blood by technology—are everywhere. Screenwriter Niles Golan’s therapist is a Fictional. So is his best friend. So (maybe) is the woman in the bar he can’t stop staring at. It’s getting so you can’t tell who’s real and who’s not.

Niles isn’t completely sure how real he is…

“A fascinating tour-de-force, it’s hard to see how Ewing could possibly better this exhilarating page-turner!” — SFX Magazine

“An effortless and rapid read…the novel works perfectly. Highly recommended.” — Starburst Magazine

“This book is smart, brave, funny, and affecting.” — Comic Book Resources

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The Rebellion Advent Calendar Day Twenty Three: The Fictional Man on sale now!

Two days! Two tiny, blink-and-you’ll-miss-’em days to Christmas! It’s so close we can almost smell the mince pies. 

And so, in the spirit of the thing, here’s another cracking Advent Calendar offer. Al Ewing’s brilliant, mind-bending, subversive slice of genius The Fictional Man is now only 99p in the Kindle store. 

Get it bought – you won’t regret it!

The Fictional Man is only 99p now!
Buy: US|UK

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The Rebellion Advent Calendar: Day Seven

Advent. Day seven. Claus the Mighty is feeling the strain. His mood is as black as the coal he gives naughty children, and heavy is the head that wears the merry red hat. 

Christmas is on the cusp of being cancelled due to industrial action. The reindeers, under the leadership of Rudolf, have unionised. The elves man their own tiny picket line and hurl abuse at the few of their kind that work on through the tumult. The mince pie mines are silent. There are no scissors snipping ribbons in the Wrapping Enclosure. 

Claus upends a bottle and smashes it on the floor. He burps, wipes a sleeve across his sherry-stained beard and clears a pile of tattered tunics from an ancient trunk. He takes out the whip, the one he hasn’t used since the Great Agreement of 1902, and growls a single word:



Yes, it’s all getting rather grim in the North Pole, but worry not! We’re still celebrating Advent, primarily to try and keep old Santa’s spirits up. Today, we’ve knocked Al Ewing’s work of actual, proper genius The Fictional Man down to 99p/99c in eBook. So get yourself over to Amazon for a proper pre-Christmas treat. Go on, you deserve it!

The Fictional Man is now only 99p/99c!
Buy now: UK|US