In Yoon Ha Lee’sMachineries of Empireseries the hexarchate Factions are waging war in the empire. And if you’re like us, you’ve been trying to figure out which faction of the hexarchate you might belong to if you were a part of that world. Well, wonder no more! For fans and newbies alike, we’ve put together this personality quiz to help you figure out, once and for all, where you might stand.
In anticipation of the release of Phoenix Extravagant by Yoon Ha Lee on October 15th, we spoke to designer Dominic Forbes and illustrator Ronan Le Fur (DoFresh) about the process of creating this outstanding cover.
First let’s hear from designer Dominic Forbes:
The starting point for designing the cover of Phoenix Extravagant was the short synopsis provided by Yoon Ha Lee’s editor, David Moore, when he commissioned me. I don’t think the book had been written at that early stage so there wasn’t anything for me to read, but there was plenty to go on. An alternate timeline set in Japanese occupied Korea in the early 20th Century, with mechanicals powered by pigments, a non-binary artist protagonist, a mechanical dragon and a whole lot more besides! The brief was for a cover that straddled the boundary between sci fi and fantasy with an Asian flavour.
My process for Phoenix Extravagant started with visual research around East Asian painting and graphic design with a focus on military propaganda posters and ink paintings. This allowed me to think about ways of representing both Gyen Jebi the artist and the occupation/empire on the cover. At a very early stage I came up with the idea of mixing typefaces to represent both sides. Phoenix in a dynamic ink brush script, representing Gyen and also giving an Asian feel. Extravagant set in a block sans serif to contrast and give a retro flavour that evokes old military propaganda posters. The narrow characters also allow Extravagant to be set at a decent size as it’s quite a long word.
I noticed that a lot of woodblock prints and paintings I was looking at had the artist’s signature in a block/seal, which is called a “chop”. I thought this would be a great idea for Yoon Ha Lee’s author brand as it tied in perfectly with the ideas behind the cover. I had a rubber stamp made especially to get the right texture.
The next stage was to come up with a few rough comps to show David and the team at Rebellion. I identified several different approaches which could work for this book. An epic fantasy look, perhaps with a Korean magical artefact as an icon. A bold graphic style with a phoenix emblem and my favourite, commissioning an illustrator to do an amazing painting of the dragon. I found DoFresh on Artstation (which is a go to when looking for SF and Fantasy artists) and particularly liked the way he’d combined a dinosaur with armour as well as his mech/robots in general so put him forward as a potential illustrator.
David and the team really liked the commissioned illustration route too so the next step was to brief DoFresh. I tend to keep my art direction quite straightforward when working with artists as I want their imagination to shine through. My brief was pretty much, “We’d really like a brightly coloured, painted, robot dragon on the book cover. Think Eastern dragon rather than Western in terms of design.” With some further information about the story and the design direction for the typography I’d established from my research.
When the sketches came through I dropped them into rough cover layouts. We all really liked the sinuous dragon rearing up above the building so picked that one to develop. There were a few rounds of finessing the art until we got to the finished painting. I added a very subtle screenprint texture to the illustration just to add the feel that it could be a poster.
And now from illustrator Ronan Le Fur:
To start I had access to a rather comprehensive summary, in order to get the overall storyline and mood.
As for the process, the editor had some specs for this particular cover: it had to depict a massive red metal dragon. For the rest, I was free to experiment and make proposals. I therefore provided several drafts in order for the clients to pick a composition they would like. The sketches were all digital. They are very basic 3D scenes made in 3Ds Max, followed by a phase of quick paintover made in Adobe Photoshop. This mix of 3D and 2D is a method which enables to create quick iterations and allow to try new approaches. Once one of these rough versions was approved, I then started to refine and polish the image until final approval. It usually takes a few days, with back and forth exchanges. The main inspiration here was propaganda art, with simple shapes and vivid colors.
Dominic Forbes is a book cover designer with many years experience. He worked in-house at HarperCollins until 2018 designing across the adult list with responsibility for overseeing the HarperVoyager fantasy and science fiction imprint. He’s now freelance and clients include Rebellion, Faber, Orion, Transworld, Bonnier and John Blake. FInd out more at www.dominicforbes.co.uk or on Instagram @domforbes.
Ronan Le Fur, a.k.a Dofresh is a freelance artist based in France. He has now more than 15 years of experience in the field of CG imagery and illustration. You can find most of his work on his Artstation portfolio: www.artstation.com/dofresh.
Attending the ALA Annual Conference & Exhibition this year? So are we! We’re gearing up for a week of being around the most wonderful people you could find anywhere…book people! We can’t wait for the panels, speakers, exhibit hall book-chat and nerdtastic joy at meeting some of our favourite authors!
And speaking of favourite authors, we’re thrilled to say Yoon Ha Lee will be attending this year’s ALA! All of you SFF and Machineries of Empire fans, this is your chance to get your copies signed, catch Yoon at a panel and share your love for all things Mikodez in person!
It’s the grand finale and what a finale this is! Yoon Ha Lee’s Revenant Gun, the highly-anticipated conclusion to the mind-bending, genre-defining Machineries of Empire series is out and available to order now!
The award-winning series has brought fans far and wide together to wonder at the incredible worldbuilding, obsess over the heart-stealing characters, and delight at the unapologetic approach of a master storyteller.
Now with Revenant Gun Yoon Ha Lee brings to a close one of the ‘finest science fiction achievements of the decade‘. As fans, eager readers and absolute lovers of Yoon Ha Lee’s topsy-turvy world, we hope you’ll join us in celebrating the release of this incredible book and the end of an hell of a series.
And if you’re a superfan like us…come hang out with us on Thursday 14th June over on twitter as we celebrate everything excellent about Yoon Ha Lee’s Machineries of Empire series! There’ll be giveaways, quizzes, fan art, and all sorts! See you there?
REVENANT GUN by Yoon Ha Lee
THE STUNNING CONCLUSION TO THE MIND-BENDING SERIES!
Shuos Jedao is awake…and nothing is as he remembers. He’s a teenager, a cadet—a nobody—in the body of an old man; a general in command of an elite force. And he’s the most feared, and reviled, man in the galaxy.
Jedao carries orders from Hexarch Nirai Kujen to re-conquer the fractured pieces of the Hexarchate. But he has no memory of ever being a soldier, let alone a general, and the Kel soldiers under his command hate him for a massacre he can’t remember committing.
Kujen’s friendliness can’t hide the fact that he’s a tyrant. And what’s worse, Jedao and Kujen are being hunted—by an enemy who knows more about Jedao than he does himself…
Bringing to a close one of the most unique, startling and ingenious sci-fi series of the decade, Yoon Ha Lee’s Revenant Gun is now available to pre-order!
This award-winning series has gathered fans far and wide and Revenant Gun, the stunning conclusion to this mind-bending series, does not disappoint.
Revenant Gun is out from Solaris Books in July 2018.
Read on for more about the book and click the links below to pre-order your copy now.
REVENANT GUN (Machineries of Empire Book 3) BY YOON HA LEE
Shuos Jedao is awake…
…and nothing is as he remembers. He’s a teenager, a cadet—a nobody—in the body of an old man: a general in command of an elite force. And he’s the most feared, and reviled, man in the galaxy.
Jedao carries orders from Hexarch Nirai Kujen to re-conquer the fractured pieces of the hexarchate. But he has no memory of ever being a soldier, let alone a general, and the Kel soldiers under his command hate him for a massacre he can’t remember committing.
Kujen’s friendliness cant hide the fact that he’s a tyrant. And what’s worse, Jedao and Kujen are being hunted—by an enemy who knows more about Jedao than he does himself…
First things first…there’s only ONE MORE WEEK to go until Christmas!! We hope your preparations are going well and as we know it can be hectic, we’ve got something extra special for you for today’s advent calender!
We’ve put the Hugo, Nebula and Clarke nominated, Locus award-winning Ninefox Gambit by Yoon Ha Lee on offer for a limited time! It’s the book we’ve all been talking about and if you’ve somehow (how?!) not had a chance to get it it yet, we want to make sure you don’t miss out on it at all before the new year…and the final book in the series comes out!
This deal won’t be up for long! Get it exclusively from our Ebook store now and dive right into the hexarchate!
We are delighted to say that Yoon Ha Lee’s incredible sci-fi debut, Ninefox Gambit, has won this year’s Locus Award for Best First Novel!
Against some very stiff competition, Ninefox Gambit has been chosen by a survey of readers as the Best First Novel of 2016-2017 and we couldn’t be more pleased to add this – along with the Hugo, Nebula and Arthur C. Clarke nominations – to Yoon’s list of accolades when we talk about this superb book.
Raven Stratagem, Yoon Ha Lee’s second book in the Machineries of Empire series, has made Amazon’s top 20 SFF books of 2017 and we couldn’t be more pleased!
As many of you know, Lee’s much-lauded Ninefox Gambit set the SFF community on its head last year, garnering a nomination for the Nebula award, and being shortlisted for the Arthur C. Clarke and the Hugo award.
Raven Stratagem in turn has been much anticipated by readers far and wide and we at Solaris are ecstatic to see this fabulous book keeping such good company on Amazon’s top 20 list.
Read on for more about Raven Stratagem and click on the links below to get your copy.
by Yoon Ha Lee:
War. Heresy. Madness.
Shuos Jedao is unleashed. The long-dead general, preserved with exotic technologies as a weapon, has possessed the body of gifted young captain Kel Cheris.
Now, General Kel Khiruev’s fleet, racing to the Severed March to stop a fresh enemy incursion, has fallen under Jedao’s sway. Only Khiruev’s aide, Lieutenant Colonel Kel Brezan, is able to shake off the influence of the brilliant but psychotic Jedao.
The rogue general seems intent on defending the hexarchate, but can Khiruev—or Brezan—trust him? For that matter, can they trust Kel Command, or will their own rulers wipe out the whole swarm to destroy one man?
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