FAF the 13th

I will admit to taking a couple of Fridays off. My bad. We had a new kitchen installed, which was exceedingly disruptive. But now there are many secret laboratory-type kitchen gadgets at my fingertips, so it was worth it.

Food blogging may well commence in the near future.

But enough of my excuses. Here are the fan arts of today’s Fan Art Friday!

First we have a Darwinist/Clanker wristband by McKenna:

I love how the tag line of the Leviathan trailer came to define the series, even though “Do you oil your war machines, or feed them?” doesn’t appear in the books. This wristband above, of course, uses a variation on the “war machines” line, but that kind of reinforces my point: everyone knows what it’s a reference too. (Well, not EVERYONE IN THE WORLD, but you know what I mean.)

Here’s a great triptych of Bovril from Alyssa:

This is a very snow-adapted Bovril, which is cool. A great thing about Leviathan having black and white illustrations is that the fan art winds up with lots of different color schemes, Bovril especially. Of course, once the Manual of Aeronautics comes out in August, we’ll have canon to contend with. But I’m sure the other color interpretations will live on, because of the internets and stuff.

Next is an interesting counterfactual from Libby: a portrait of Alek’s sister. This sister, of course, doesn’t exist in my books, but in real life Franz and Sophie had a daughter who was named after her mother. Libby calls her “Princess Sophie, Alek’s sort of, actually-existed sister.”

Libby has clearly done her research, because this portrait looks a LOT like the real Sophie in 1914, whom you can see here.

(Did you know that this Sophie was fictionalized in The Young Indiana Jones? I just found out that she was Indiana’s first kiss!)

And now, because I must BY INTERNATIONAL LAW have an image of Bovril with a mustache in every FAF, here’s an image from Melissa that makes ingenious use of graph paper.

Digital Bovril is digital.

UPDATE:
A few of you have pointed out in this and other threads that it’s NOT BOVRIL IN A MUSTACHE. It’s Dr. Barlow’s nameless loris, who has different coloring and everything. Sorry to keep making that mistake. But it’s not like I’m some kind of expert on all this stuff. (Ahem.)

And to round out our Leviathan FAF, a couple of pencil works from Lauren and Tabitha:


It’s amazing how these two simple pencil drawings, which are in very different styles, both get Deryn’s expression exactly right.

And now for some Uglies FAF! First we have a drawing of Shay, based on the interpretation from Shay’s Story:

Manga pig-tails for the win!

When I wrote Uglies, I had no idea that there was such a thing as manga pigtails, and I certainly didn’t realize that a manga version would ever come out from Shay’s POV. But I’m so glad that I gave Shay canonical pigtails, so that she would have her own distinctive look in her own story.

And finally, here’s another piece of Spore-generated art from Oskar, who this time gives us Moggle:

There’s not enough Moggle fan art. I think my big mistake with Moggle was never having it wear a mustache.

From now on, all the sidekicks will wear mustaches.

New Uglies UK Covers

A fan recently told me about a weird argument she’d had with her friends. She was telling them that Hunger Games reminded her of the Uglies series, and they responded that I must have copied my ideas from HG, because it’s so popular. She pointed out that Uglies was published in 2005 and HG in 2008, but they would not believe her, because HG was EVERYWHERE and therefore it was first.

This is a common human response to reality: We comprehend the world not by its own logic, but by the logic of how we encountered it. In other words, whatever we heard first must be more true and more real and more first than all the other versions out there.

This happens a lot with urban legends. You know, you tell the story of the Mexican Pet to a bunch of people and someone complains, “No, the rat-pet was from Venezuela, not Mexico!” This person has, of course, heard the same urban legend as you, but a slightly different version of it. And for some reason they think that the one they heard must be the correct one. They have NO reason to think this, because both versions are ridiculous and silly and untrue. But that other variant is theirs and so they become Team Venezuelan Pet in this stupid argument. And you all fight late into the night, your positions not based on logic, but on how you first got introduced to the story.

It’s like baby ducks seeing their mother or something. (I will also point out that most people have the same religion as their parents. Just sayin’.)

This phenomenon is part of a larger phenomenon called egocentrism. Not egotism, which is thinking that you are the best, but egocentrism, the assumption that your personal experiences are central and somehow universal.

But here’s the irony in applying this egocentric logic to the reading of books: The modern novel was invented as a way of being inside someone else’s life.

Think about it. Every word of Hunger Games and Uglies was carefully chosen to create the experience of being in Katinss’ or Tally’s head. This is why neither book has the line, “Gentle reader, unlike the people of your time, no one in this future world knows what an iPad is.” Because that would put you back in your life and ruin the whole point of modern narrative.

I keep saying “modern” because it wasn’t always this way. When the novel was a younger form, lots of them started with some sort of leisurely preamble, like, “This strange tale you are about to read was discovered in an old sea chest blah blah blah.” But in novels these days, the first sentences usually go BOOM THESE ARE SOMEONE ELSE’S THOUGHTS—DEAL WITH IT. Like, “When I wake up, the other side of the bed is cold.”

It’s the opposite of egocentrism, letting yourself become another person for a few hours. Especially when that person lives in a radically different reality, like a post-scarcity utopia or a post-apocalyptic wasteland. This departure from self is essential to reading novels, and it’s one of the ways that reading makes us better people. (It’s key to writing as well, which is why I gave this advice three years ago.)

Of course, there’s also a positive side of making our egos central to the reading process: When we read new books, we use the knowledge gained from all the other books we’ve read. We supplement the story of a novel with the story of our own reading history. This is a major reason why people can react to the same novel differently, like this:

New Reader: “I had no idea that Romantic Lead 1 and Romantic Lead 2 were going to get together. They HATED each other at first!”

Slightly More Experienced Reader: “That book was stupid. I knew from the first chapter that Romantic Lead 1 and Romantic Lead 2 were going to get together!”

Experienced Reader: “It’s cool what the author did with Romantic Lead 1 and Romantic Lead 2 in that scene, because that will make it more ironic when they get together later.”

This is in fact the major way we can tell how sophisticated a reader is, by how they relate the text in question to all the other things they’ve read.

But I’ll leave all the subtler points of readerly ego in your capable hands. I’m curious how your experiences with other writers’ novels changed your view of mine, whichever order you read them in. Let me know in the comments.

Of course, here is where I reveal that this was all a leisurely preamble to my own news: My UK publisher has released new covers for the Uglies series, featuring a crass-tastic tagline that will solve all problems of priority forever and ever!

Yes, gentle reader. They went there.

Shay’s Story Lists!

Have I ever mentioned that you guys are AWESOME?

Thanks so much for buying my books and make sure that a) there will be more books by me, and b) I get to eat and clothe myself.

In other news, if it weren’t for The Walking Dead, I would be #4 instead of #9. And after all I’ve done for the zombies!

Shay’s Story is available at most bookstores and comic shops. But call ahead, because not all stores carry a wide range of manga, even bestselling manga.

You can check out the first chapter by clicking here.

You can order Shay’s Story online at Indie Bound, BarnesandNoble.com, or Amazon.

Nook owners can get it by clicking here.

For iPad owners, the Shay’s Story page on iTunes is right here. It says you can read it on your iPhone, but you’d better have pretty good eyes, because it’s fixed width format. iPad is way better.

Sydneysiders can find signed copies at Kinokuniya Bookstore at the Galleries. Other Australians can get it pretty cheap from Fishpond.

Shay’s Story Trailer

I had a great time at the Somerset Festival, and met lots of cool writers and students. My thanks to everyone for showing me such a great time, and congratulations on another successful festival.

While I was gone, what should appear in my inbox but the REAL TRAILER for Shay’s Story! (Not to be confused with the humble home-made trailer of a couple of weeks ago.)

Check it out:

If you want to see it bigger or embed it on your own site, head on over to YouTube. You can also see it super-big on my video page.

And finally, I’m doing a meet-up over at the WesterForum this Tuesday night, March 20, at 8PM US Eastern. Note that with the time change in the US, that means 11AM here Wednesday morning here in Australia, and midnight Tuesday in Britain.

Anything else? I would think not.

Last Reveal: The Smoke!

Shay’s Story is already out, of course. But I had promised one more reveal. The Smoke!

Here’s Shay’s first view of it as she and her fellow runaways arrive:

Click here for a bigger version.

Of course, the smoke had to be smokey! After all, that’s the first thing Tally notices about it in the books. It’s the first thing any city kid would notice, so chimney smoke had to dominate this shot. (Also, look at David standing there looking back at the runaways. He’s all “tada!”)

One of the key themes of the Uglies series is the balance between the city and the wild. And one of the reasons I wanted to work with Steven Cummings was that he can render both architecture and nature as dramatic elements on the page.

The Smoke is a mix of nature and proto-city, and of futuristic and traditional technologies. So I like this shot of a work detail below, that has hoverboards and powerjacks juxtaposed with giant and imposing trees. The high technology is cool, but it’s literally in the shadow of nature.

Click here for the big version.

Anyway, I won’t show you any more, because as of today you can just go out and buy Uglies: Shay’s Story!

I just found out that there are two electronic versions available. Nook users can buy it at B&N.com. For iPad owners, here’s the Shay’s Story page on iTunes is right here. (It says you can read it on your iPhone, but you’d better have pretty good eyes, because it’s fixed width format. iPad is way better.)

And you can get physical copies at bookstores and comics store, of course, or online at Indie Bound, BarnesandNoble.com, or Amazon. Australians wishing to shop online can get it pretty cheap from Fishpond.

Hope you enjoy it! I’ll put up the official spoiler thread tomorrow.

Uglies Manga Imminent

Several things:

1) Uglies: Shay’s Story comes out TODAY, March 6. (!!)

2) I don’t have the art for the Smoke reveal yet, but I will soon.

3) There is going to be a trailer for the graphic novel, also soon! (Not this one, a real one.)

4) I want to do a meet-up on the Forum soon, maybe a week after Shay’s Story comes out, so we can all talk about it. What time and day is good for you guys?

5) And finally, here’s a list my previous blog entries on Shay’s Story, just to whet your appetites.

Here’s how we worked together to create the manga.

An interview with Girls Read Comics Too.

A WesterForum meet-up in which I answer a LOT of questions.

And here are all the reveals:
Rusty Ruins
Dr. Cable
David
Tally
Zane
and Croy!

And here’s, you know, the cover:

Pre-order Shay’s Story at Indie Bound, BarnesandNoble.com, or Amazon. Or buy it at a bookstore or comics store starting NOW!

Update
Nook owners can buy Shay’s Story by clicking here.

For iPad owners, the Shay’s Story page on iTunes is right here. It says you can read it on your iPhone, but you’d better have pretty good eyes, because it’s fixed width format. iPad is way better.

Australians wishing to shop online can get it pretty cheap from Fishpond.

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, BarnesandNoble.com, or Amazon. Or buy it on March 6 at a proper bookstore or comics shop!

Dr. Cable Reveal

The voting was fierce and furious, and David won in the end. (I think so, anyway. Counting is hard.) And yet there is a prize for second place, Dr. Cable-lovers, and this is it!

So here in all her full-page glory is Dr. Cable from Shay’s Story, the manga adaptation of Uglies!

And don’t forget to click here for the BIG version!

Hope you like her. I think she’s the right mix of pretty, intimidating, and older than all the other characters. (She’s been around a while, after all.) Of course, it would be cool if we could hear her razor voice too . . .

Can you figure out where this scene is?

Fan Art Friday (Actually on Friday Edition)

It’s Friday (in the US, anyway), which means it’s time for excuses about why I don’t have Fan Art Friday up yet. But this week I thought I’d do something different, and put up some fan art!

Let us start with this fantastic video by The10thDecision, which is a sort of greatest hits of Leviathan fan art—plus some I haven’t seen before.

I quite enjoyed that. It’s a lovely reminder of how talented and wonderful you all are!

This is a pretty cool picture from one of my favorite settings in the Leviathan series—the ratlines! It’s by leaffystar19.

It’s cool to see a super-dramatic event like this that’s non-canonical. Because, you know, Alek could have slipped and almost fallen at some point while he was first getting used to the ratlines, and it wasn’t even worth mentioning in the novels.

Here’s a very . . . interesting picture of Volger from aieeetheygotfrank, who explains:

I’m not really used to drawing Volger, and there’s something very off about this… I think it’s because of the hair, but that’s the whole point of this so I don’t really know, lol. So anyway, this is kind of if Volger like lost his hair in the war or I don’t know? Like he had his scalp blown off? And now he has to wear a duck to cover it up? I don’t know? Question mark?

So I give you, Duck-Head Volger!

Can Duck-Head Volger fan fiction be far behind? (Thanks to our own Tobu for suggesting this.)

For you Uglies fans, here’s a cool Tally-wa triptych from totalimmortal220akasean:

These are pretty cool, especially because they remind me of the German covers of the Uglies trilogy, which looked like this:

See what I mean? Kind of like dolls, in the scary-doll sense.

And finally, here’s the obligatory Goliath Bonus Chapter fan art of the week, “Lad in a Dress,” from Caroline:

Alek has a sort of “Does this bustle make my butt look big?” vibe here. (YES, ALEK, IT DOES.)

Okay, that’s it for FAF. See you next Friday!

In the middle of next week, I’ll be revealing Dr. Cable from Uglies: Shay’s Story, aka the Uglies manga. I’m sure you’ll be TERRIFIED of her.

In the meantime, keep the fan art coming.