Rusty Ruins Revealed!

When I was checking out artists for Uglies: Shay’s Story, aka the Uglies Manga, there were a few key things I was looking for. Most of them, of course, had to so with drawing humans—expressions, faces, and actions, especially the sort of flying action you get with hoverboard chase scenes.

But I also wanted Shay’s Story to have the right settings. In science fiction, of course, setting is often a character. How many times have you described a science fiction movie or book by starting with something like, “It’s on this planet where . . . ” or “It’s in this future where . . . “?

The word where always plays a big role when talking about SF.

There are two main settings in the Uglies series—cities and nature. Indeed, a lot of the Uglies saga is about the relationship between the city and the wild. All four of the books start in a city, then include a voyage into and across the wild, and then return to a city in the end. The city represents control as well as civilization; the wild is danger as well as freedom. These are the two poles of the Uglies universe.

At the intersection between the city and nature is, of course, the Rusty Ruins. It’s the city that nature has taken back. It’s also the warning of what happens when humanity gets out of control. So the Ruins have to rock.

I am here to assure you that thanks to the skillz of Steven Cummings, they do:

Click here for the BIGNESS! And make sure to zoom in.

As you can see, that’s the tallest tower just ahead, where so many scenes in all the books happen. And in the big version you can see our heroes headed there on their hoverboards, surrounded by a bit of supernatural lighting so that you can see them.

It’s just one of many awesome nature/city settings that Steven has done.

Anyway, Uglies: Shay’s Story comes out March 6, which is two weeks away! That means there will be only one more reveal. What do you guys think it should be?

Feel free to think outside the box. Do you want a random special? The Smoke? A hoverboard scene? A hole-in-the-wall? Something completely different?

Let me know in the comments below.

You can pre-order Shay’s Story at Indie Bound,, or Amazon. Or buy it on March 6 at a proper bookstore or comics shop!

80 thoughts on “Rusty Ruins Revealed!

  1. Maybe I’m being oversensitive, but I’m not too keen on seeing an image like this on the 1-year anniversary of the deadly 22 Feb Christchurch earthquake. Our city centre looks a lot like that at the moment.

    I’m sure it’s just an unfortunate coincidence.

  2. Ya know I wasn’t into this until this picture. Now I want to read it. I just finished the compendium of The Walking Dead, first long graphic novel I’ve read in YEARS. I tell all my friends who like The Hunger Games to read the Uglies series. Now I’m kinda into this one. Looking forward to it.

  3. Not to get too off-topic, but I just discovered and devoured your midnight era series (I read the uglies series right around when specials came out) and discovered that the series just ends with Blue Noon in 2006. Are there any plans to continue this series in the future?

  4. It’s true setting is KEY in SF or else it would be just…F, I guess.
    I can tell the manga is going to be awesome.

    Long long ago (or maybe it was in Bogus to Bubbly) wasn’t it mentioned that Rusty Ruins was post-disaster Seattle?

  5. I want to see the cure! i know it’s just a little pill but it’s kinda important. or the smoke. maybe a group photo of all the smokies? or a sneak peak of someone from uglies 2!

  6. i have two votes for what to see
    1) maddy and az. both of them. because they’re basically inseperable.

    2) i dont know if there are any pictures of them yet, but i am dying (literally!) to see a cutter, preferably shay or fausto. i’ve never had that much pateince with tally-wa

  7. i can obviously tell a lot of work went into this and everything, but i don’t really like it. maybe it’ll grow on me ( like the manga-zane has!) but i pictured it to be less… chaotic. i mean, it’s supposed to be spooky right? there’s nothing scary about like…trashy buildings and moss everywhere. i pictured there to be almost nothing left…only the skeletons of buidlings, cars, and not much growth really, or little animals. guess i was wrong, lol.

  8. Lets see (the outside of) Valentino Mansion! Or maybe Peris or Fausto, because they never did get described that much in the books…

  9. @22
    I totally agree with you! If there’s been enough time for a tree to grow on a leaning skyscraper I don’t think the hanging headlights on a bus would still be attached. Another thing, can trees even grow that high up? Maybe it’s because I didn’t picture the ruins as if they were from a big city. (I live in the suburbs so that’s my “default,” I suppose.) Either way I think the entire manga will be magnificent. I’d like to see a random special, Dr. Cable was a tad underwhelming for me. Someone that looks more… severe.

  10. I like the Rusty Ruins! However, I did picture it a little more urban (less greenery). But I guess after decades, nature does take over. I just never thought moss would be growing on the buildings…. but (wow… I keep going back and forth here) if it rains a lot, moss and other vegetation will grow.

  11. I noticed your alliteration there, Mr. Westerfeld. Sharp as a tack, I am. *thinks for a moment* Actually, I think I’m sharp as a Sharp. *fangirl giggle* Ahem. Good alliteration.

  12. Well, let’s see some real computer-generated ruins made according to scientists who know what happens to cities for realz when people vanish and nature has free reign. Seattle+Life After People (TV show on History Channel) = This picture here, the Seattle Rusty Ruins:
    This picture is so neat! In the book I also remember the authorities actually work to preserve the main part of the city to show the Uglies at school, so I guess that’s why it’s still somewhat preserved.

  13. I’d actually really love to see the white weed! It was always one of my favourite little quirks of the world in the books, and I’m really excited to see if Shay spends much time traversing the white weed as Tally did.

  14. Being that I am the leader, founder, and biggest contributer to the TEAM AZ IS THE BEST MAN IN THE UNIVERSE AND HAS GREAT PANTS APPRECIATION CLUB, I say we got to see the Az Man. He has goregous pants, you know.
    Recent studies have shown that Zane sprouted from his pants. It is quite unethical for our rusty minds, but coming from a 300 years in the future standpoint, it very well may be. 🙂

  15. I am DYING to see a hoverboard as it is charging. I mean it’s just hard to picture one of those things being completely unfolded, so I would like to see it so I can be able to picture it! UNFOLDED CHARGING HOVERBOARD!!!!!


  17. I wanna see the hover-boards up close. The picture didn’t really give much detail. Or Tally on her expedition to the Smoke.

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