Uglies Manga 2, Cover reveal

Yes, it’s time to reveal the cover of the sequel to Shay’s Story!

But first, I’m doing two appearances in the near future, one in the real world and one online.

The first will be a chat on I’ll be chatting with Justine Larbalestier and Sarah Rees Brennan, co-authors of the upcoming book, Team Human. We’ll be discussing collaborations in general, and what it’s like for experienced novelists to work with other writers.

I don’t have a link yet, but it will happen at 8PM US Eastern Time on Sunday, July 8.

My second set of appearances will be at Comic Con. The panels aren’t set yet, but I will have a signing on Sunday:

San Diego Comic Con
Sunday July 15th
Autograph area AA09 in the Sails Pavilion

Lots of other writers will be at this signing, but I’ll reveal those details later. Also, I will probably have another signing on a different day. Stay tuned.

So, without further ado, here’s the cover to Uglies: Cutters . . .

Hope you like it.

Fan Art Friday

I have had interesting news about my work in progress this week, but it’s all super secret. It’s pretty cool, though, and you will all hear it about one day.

One day soon? MAYBE. Maybe one day somewhat less soon. But one day. I PROMISE.

Let me just say that things they are a-brewin’.

In the meantime, it’s time for FAF! Let’s do this.

We begin with some cool 3-D projects. First is a Clanker lamp from Kirsten. Here it is, both in its raw form and with the shade on:

Like I’ve often said, one of my favorite things to come out of Keith’s illustrations is the sense they give of Clanker and Darwinist physical culture. Not just machines and beasties, but simple things like desks and lamps. So thanks to Kirsten for following that vision.

And here’s Haley’s cool Leviathan-wing ring:

The wing wasn’t entirely Keith’s creation. It was something that the designer of the hardback cover of Levaithan, Sammy Yuen, put together from pieces of Keith’s art.

Speaking of wings, here’s Kaitlyn’s cool shot of Deryn using her body-kite outfit:

Nice. Love the color scheme, and the fact that it makes Deryn look a bit like the shot of Lilit from Behemoth.

And here’s another one from Kaitlyn with that always favorite theme: hangin’ on the ratlines:


Okay. I think you were right:

And finally some Uglies action, a cityscape of New Pretty Town from Trenton:

What I love about this is that it calls to mind the classic Saul Steinberg image of how New Yorkers see the world:

Well, played, Trenton!

Thanks to everyone for a stimulating FAF.

Fan Art Friday (Loris/Moggle Edition)

Hello, and welcome to FAF, or perhaps I should say FAFF, as in Fan Art Friday Fortnightly. Indeed, I haven’t been posting much of anything lately, but that’s only because I’ve been working on a New S3krit Project! It’s a new novel with all new characters and stuff, and I’ve finally found my stride. IT IS GETTING WRITTEN.

“When will this novel be out?” you may ask.

Indeed, you may. But I don’t know yet. Maybe autumn of 2013, maybe a year after that. I know, that’s a long time. But novels are long things, and publishing timelines are even longer things, and I can tell you that this novel is probably going to be FAT. (Like, longer than any of my other books.)

As for all the other possible questions you might have, they must wait for another day. This particular s3krit project is still too fragile to be interrogated and explicated.

Also, it’s time for FAF! Since mentioning the unnamed-loris-with-mustache thread last time, I’ve gotten a lot of loris/Bovril/Moggle art. So really this is all about the sidekicks.

The first one is from Adam, and it’s a shot of the kraken scene in Leviathan.

It’s great to see that encounter from a distance.

I’ve also been getting some Shay’s Story fan art trickling in, which is totally cool. Keep it coming. Here’s a notebook doodle of Shay from Daliz:

I like that the Uglies character have manga versions now, whether with pigtails up or down.

The rest of today’s FAF is all lorises and Moggle in many different media! Thanks to everyone for sticking with a theme.

First, some Bovril/Moggle crossover from Phrancie:

They are clearly going to conquer the world together. Or run into a lamppost, maybe.

Next is the highly anticipated Moggle-with-a-mustache, again from Oskar and his Spore software:

Undercover Moggle is undercover. And jaunty.

And we also have photoshopped Bovril, or quasi-Bovril creature, from Rebecca:

If you’re going to wear a mustache, you should probably get a top hat. It’s funny because it’s true.

And in case you’ve forgotten what the real Bovril looks like, Alex offer this book-style rendering of the Bovril birth scene:

He totally gets Keith’s composition right. It’s cool how Bovril in that scene isn’t cute yet, more kind of new-born and weird. But then gets cuter and cuter as the series progresses.

Okay, that’s it. I’ll be back in two weeks with more FAF. And probably before then I’ll post something interesting, though I don’t know what.

Sydneysiders, don’t forget that net Saturday I’ll be at Free Comics Book Day at Kinokuniya! Here’s the FaceBook page for the event, and here are the details:

Kinokuniya Bookstore
Lvl 2, The Galeries, 500 George Street
Sydney, NSW 2000
Saturday, May 5, 2012
10AM-7PM (I’ll be there from 11AM-4PM-ish.)

Hope to see you there.

Free Comic Book Day

I’ll be celebrating Free Comic Book Day here in Australia, so I hope to see some of you Sydneysiders at Kinokuniya on May 5. (Also known as MY BIRTHDAY.)

This is the first time I’ll be a guest at an FCBD, thanks to my first ever graphic novel, Shay’s Story.

I’ll be at Kinokuniya from 11AM to 4PM, in the Artists’ Alley.

Here’s the FaceBook page for the event, and here are the details:

Kinokuniya Bookstore
Lvl 2, The Galeries, 500 George Street
Sydney, NSW 2000

Saturday, May 5, 2012

ARTISTS’ ALLEY, 11am – 4pm
A great opportunity to meet some of our best local comic artists and writers.

We’re looking for the best Comic/Manga, Undead and Gothic Lolita costumes for both adults and kids. More details will be provided closer to the date.

See you there.

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.

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,, 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& 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,, 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
and Croy!

And here’s, you know, the cover:

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

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.