From the “How Cool is This” Department

A few months ago my French publisher L’Atalante asked me if they could use my short story “After the Coup” for a giveaway chapbook to promote their line (and my books). I said “sure” and then promptly forgot about it until this afternoon, when in my mail were a couple dozen copies of the chapbook, with the cover you see above, done by Didier Florentz, who does my other L’Atalante covers as well. The title has changed; now it’s “Diplomacy in Three Rounds,” which is of course exactly what goes on in the story, and the cover captures a nice moment in the story too. Overall, a nice surprise for the day.

35 Comments on “From the “How Cool is This” Department”

  1. Hmm, I guess my French is a little rusty. From looking at the cover, I had that translated as “Teen Hulk vs. the Gorn.”

  2. It hadn’t really hit me until I saw this picture, but between the green skin and the engineered-perfect physiques, the Colonials must look like an Army of Hulk.

    Which is pretty cool.

  3. Speaking of the Hulk, the cover makes me wonder what would have happened if the Korban had made Harry angry.

    It looks to me as if the design of the Korban was based on the Japanese series “Ultra-man”.

  4. no spoilers, but the first time I read this story, I died laughing. Died. I had to be revived and everything. True story*.

    Anyway, I love that the cover has an old school, pulpy vibe without looking outdated. Good times.


  5. So it’s the Incredible Hulk versus the Guyver?

    In all seriousness, this cover is proof the Old Man’s War universe needs a big budget movie.

  6. All kidding aside, at least the artist has read the story and made the attempt at relevence. It beats the German way which involves large space dreadnaughts and laser blasts for every Science fiction title out there. Any Frenchmen would tell you they have more class than the Germans. Well, he’d tell you they have more class than anyone, but that’ another thing entirely..

    I like this very much.

  7. Mensley:

    Fly to Belgium and go into a bookstore. Otherwise, probably not. I might give away one or two, but don’t get your hopes up, I’m pathetically disorganized.

  8. Wait. Did I just misspell Sleestak? Gads. My younger nerd self would be appalled. [hidesheadinshame]

  9. Dave H – I can see Canada from my house – Aging dad, electronics nerd, embedded software developer. (I'm the guy who makes your microwave blink 12:00.)
    Dave H

    Annalee@9: “…the cover has an old school, pulpy vibe…”

    Wow, you’re right! Change the green skin and dark hair to shades of bronze and you’d have a Doc Savage cover.

  10. Love the cover. Clearly you and your dog had nothing to do with the design. :)

    By the way, where does this story fall in the OMW series time line?

  11. Dave H @ 17:

    Change the green skin and dark hair to shades of bronze and you’d have a Doc Savage cover.

    You’d also need to give the guy a torn shirt.

  12. This would be a most awesome addition to my collection although I would have to learn some French. It might be quite funny through Google translate too though.

    I shall keep my eyes peeled for any signs of a giveaway.

  13. I downloaded this story from your site, when I first discovered it. And this it TOTALLY how I pictured the two of them going at it.

    Who knew the French were so literal?

  14. ruzkin – I was born in Hong Kong in '85 and knew by the age of six that I wanted to be a writer. People spent the next fifteen years telling me it was impossible. Fifteen years too late, I've told them to shove it. I live in Melbourne, study Industrial Design, work in a bookshop and write every day. One day I'll crack the market. You're welcome to wait and watch for as many years as that takes.

    The best thing about any book cover is, as always, the space tits.

  15. mansley@12:

    You could also probably get a copy in Quebec, Canada, which is a bit closer than Belgium. The bookstores here tend to import French books on a fairly regular basis.

  16. Y’know, every time a character in OMW and TGB mentioned the green skin, I went “Oh, right…” And looking at that cover, it took me a second to realize that wasn’t the Hulk. I just can’t seem to keep that idea in my head.

    Which leads me to a question for John: if, in the process of developing an OMW movie, a producer or director wanted to cut the green skin, (too distracting; too Avatar-esque) how strenuously would you object?

  17. You received 24 of them? Do you know 24 people who read French? (I’m French Canadian, by the way, nudge nudge wink wink).

  18. I was taught that ‘cool’ in French is ‘chouette!’. Mind you, I learned French in the eighties so by now that is probably a totally square thing to say. (or cool again, in a kind of retro way, you never know with these kids)

    On topic: the cover really fits my mental picture of the story very well.

  19. So few french here ? And don’t go to Belgium, go to France ! I like L’Atalante job andeven if it’s not my favorite cover, it has style.

  20. mensley@12, John Scalzi@13

    what matt@25 said.

    Also, if you’re planning on flying all the way to Europe to buy a book in French from a French publisher, you might want to try France first.

    That being said, if Canada fails you, you can always order it online from (when it’s available), and for a measely €17 they’ll fedex your order over.

  21. Don’t really love the cover. But it’s nice from Atlante to make a cover related to the story.

    A rare thing nowadays.

    @Scalzi : As an author who rocks (it has to be said). Would like very much seeing a movie based on ‘old man war’.

    @Philbert : you were taught wrong ;)

    The word ‘cool’ in french is ‘cool’. Chouette is a synonym but as you guessed it’s a little outdated.

  22. Daniel Ross – Hi, I'm Daniel Ross, and I'm a nerd. My big joys in life are learning about new things, figuring out how things work, and making things work better. One of the things I spend a lot of time on in the "making better" column is life in general. I've got political opinions ohboy. I probably won't talk about 'em that much here, though. On my own time, I spend a lot of time exploring and having new experiences. That might be as planned as taking a vacation out into the woods to hike a new trail I read about. It might be as simple as hopping a Muni bus and riding until I don't know where I am, or eating somewhere different every time I go out. I also have a shifting collection of other hobbies. I'm an avid reader, and Someday I Will Write a Novel(™); I make chainmail jewelry; and when all else fails, there's always taking your day job home with you by hobby coding.

    Selling work to people who will, in turn, give it away. Now that’s an authorial win/win.

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