A Note of Appreciation for Madeleine Rosca

Anyone whose seen the covers for the manga of The Shadow War of the Night Dragon has fallen in love with them, and for good reason: They are fantastic, and fantastically funny. Full credit for that goes to artist Madeleine Rosca (of Hollow Fields fame), who did a terrific job incorporating elements of what I had written (werewolves, vampires, demon squids, spoon-bearing badgers) with her own delightfully blissed-out imagination. The best compliment I could give her is saying that when I saw the covers, I was deeply disappointed that the rest of the books do not actually exist. And I’m the (putative) writer!

And yes, just in case you didn’t check the date, these covers were an April Fool’s Day joke from Tor.com, one I was happy to have a hand in for the second year. Clearly this time around it was Madeleine Rosca who did all the heavy lifting, which is why I wanted to make sure I took the time to acknowledge her contribution to the weirdly growing legend that is TSWOTND.

And to everyone who’s said to me, “you know you’re just going to end up writing these, right?” I say:


There is actually more to say about TSWOTND, but I’m going to leave that for another time. For now, I just want to repeat: Madeleine Rosca, you are awesome. Thank you.

43 Comments on “A Note of Appreciation for Madeleine Rosca”

  1. What…where’s the sun? *sees clock* Gahh!
    Cheeky computer: There’s mail you lazy mammal
    *notices opportunity*

    John, you know you’re just going to end up writing these, right?

    *heads to coffee machine that wasn’t set to grind beans for another half hour*

  2. Much gratitude over the appreciation post- it was a pleasure working on a project that was completely bizarre. As opposed to my usual books which are also completely bizarre, but not quite as delightfully random or hilarious as your original excerpt was. I would work on this series in a heartbeat, provided that the flying sparkle pony got some incredible ultraviolent shonen action scenes. Props!

  3. One day Scalzi will write these – and when he does, he will announce it on April 1st, just to make us disbelieve it at first. Or maybe that’s just wishful thinking.

  4. I’m with Nikitta, you and Tor have to announce this publicly next April 1st if you end up doing this.

  5. So, once we’ve got over the “going to end up writing these” thing, how do we get these nominated for next year’s Clarke Awards?

  6. Yes, my husband remarked on how awesome the covers were. I think that you need to write them in manga form because then Ms. Rosca would get to illustrate them. And I’m positive that would mean at least one sale.

  7. John, you would probably have the time of your life writing these. Also, I will buy them and so will many other people and you will make lots of money and the birds will sing and the flowers will bloom and the sun will shine down upon you and all that you love and there will be world peace at last.

    Plus, you know you want to.


  8. Oh, wow! That explains why the art style looked vaguely familiar. I loved the Hollow Fields series (especially for being a nice contained little three-volume story, rather than an endless series), and recommend ’em highly.

  9. My brand new iPad is waiting for these. Please please please. with bacon sprinkles on top.

  10. @ Alan Braggins

    So, once we’ve got over the “going to end up writing these” thing, how do we get these nominated for next year’s Clarke Awards?

    Obviously John and PNH must enlist Christopher Priest and Charlie Stross as beta readers. Anything Priest hates stays in. Anything the Internet Puppy hates has to go. Clarke Award slam dunk!

    Now that I’ve explained the foolproof path to Clarkes and riches, my advance apologies to Mr. Stross and Mr. Priest for the flood of Eye of Argon doubtless soon headed your ways :-D


    C’mon, John. You know you want to write these. It would make your fans happy, it would make Tor happy, and it would make you happy. Where’s the downside?

  12. Professional artist delurking just to reiterate, yes the artwork is in fact incredible. Well done Ms. Rosca. If I were you, I’d be thrilled to show those pieces in my book.

  13. “There is actually more to say about TSWOTND, but I’m going to leave that for another time.”

    04/01/2013 perhaps?

  14. Tempt, tempt, tempt…..

    and Nikitta, Malcolm, and JJS, I had the exact same thought :)

    Ms. Rosca, the covers are absolutely perfect!

  15. Next year, Tor will be pleased to announce the first in a trilogy of movies based on the John Scalzi blockbuster novel “The Shadow War of the Night Dragons: Book 1: The Dead City.” Join Wil Wheaton as Thrushbottom Polkastein, the wielder of the Night Dragon Sword of Eternal Unending Really Dark Blackness and Keanu Reeves as the red-coat wearing wielder of the +7 Umbrella of DOOOOOOOM!, Q^z Whoa Z^q, as they seek to save a city that’s already dead from being killed by the invisible, hideously ugly, and even darker than the Night Dragon Sword of Eternal Unending Really Dark Blackness Night Dragons.

    Also, John, can you please please PLEASE ask Ms. Rosca and Tor to release posters based on these covers?

  16. But..But..PLEEEEEEASE?! There are cute critters with a zombie arm! YOU TEASE! *pouts*

  17. I wouldn’t be too surprised if after one of these annoucements we find that they have been published. I had never heard of Madeleine Rosca or Hollow Fields, but after reading about Hollow Fields, it sounded intriguing enough that I purchased the Kindle edition of book one especially when I saw it was only $3.99

  18. I want to point out that ThinkGeek began the trend of creating fake items for April Fools, only to have such a groundswell of requests for them (think the tauntaun sleeping bag) that they had to produce them.

    I would think this is a win-win-win. Imagine how absolutely rediculous you could be in the content…

  19. The comic, Knights of the Dinner Table, features an RPG called Hackmaster that was fictional until one day it wasn’t. I’ve seen it in stores. It appears to be both a joke and a real game; a pricey one. The game master screen features a random pizza topping selection table and the cover art for the books alludes satirically to the art of the AD&D rules from the late ’70s.

  20. OK, first reaction was ‘those are really amazing’, second reaction was ‘those are really, really amazing’ and the third reaction was ‘I would pay folding money for them’.
    And I haven’t thought that since the original Silver Surfer…

  21. You know, Steve’s poster idea reeks of excellence. You must see that they are made.

  22. So, you now have a hypothetical series of books that people are begging you to write and you’re trying not to.

    You know, as long as this doesn’t lead to “OH JOHN SCALZI NO” I’m okay with however it works out.

  23. Just think of all the awesome artwork that would come out of this. How could you possibly say no to Madeleine willing to work on it provided that “the flying sparkle pony got some incredible ultraviolent shonen action scenes.”

    Don’t do it for me, Do it for the flying sparkle ponies. Of course, If you won’t write them, maybe Scott Lynch already has…

  24. the book version would be boring (to write, if not to read) but the manga version would actually be fun because it could be super condensed satirical trope filled cute and goriness like the covers =D

  25. I was really, really hoping that this would be a meta April Fools Day joke, and that the joke would be that this manga was actually being announced.

    I look forward to the April 1st when you’re finally tempted, and this announcement is real.

  26. “flying sparkle pony got some incredible ultraviolent shonen action scenes”

    I would buy this. But only if the little guy with the bucket of KFC is in many, many scenes. Eating different kinds of fast food, maybe.


    The Drindelthengenflagen on the cover for the third volume clinched it for me.

  28. You do realize that instructing us not to tempt you is an exceedingly ineffective way of getting us not to tempt you to do something we want you to do, don’t you?

  29. I think “Shadow War of the Night Dragon” should be the title of John’s book on writing, written cover to cover with all of the bad cliches an author should never really use. :-)

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