In Which I Interview Matthew Stover

Orbit Books is releasing Matthew Stover’s “Acts of Caine” series in the UK in brand spanking new digital editions, and as part of the opening festivities, they asked me if I would interview the author for their Web site. Sure, I said, because I dig those books. A lot. The interview is here. Go read, and then go check out the books. They rock.

14 Comments on “In Which I Interview Matthew Stover”

  1. I’ve heard Stover is a really good writer. But my initial impression of these book covers is negative. The cover images are 1) nearly context-free, 2) static, and 3) way too similar to each other. (In the last, they remind me of the covers to J.D. Robb’s “In Death” series, which are so similar that I’ve completely lost track of their order. At least the Stover books have numbers.) My first thought on seeing these all together was “A monk decides to try out a drugstore photo booth.”

    Since these are meant for digitial editions, I think these also show an evolving and different set of design priorities for digital books. Physical books are at least the size of your hand, whereas the digital image displayed can literally be thumbnail size. So you need a very bold (and preferably short) title and a non-complex image that can still be legible even at small size.

    But you’ve reminded me I have a copy of Heroes Die somewhere in the TBR pile. I’ll have to gas up the backhoe and see if I can dig it out.

  2. This is very good news. I read Heroes Die about five years ago, but never saw anything else by Stover; I thought HD was at least the second in a series. Time to hit a bookshop.

  3. Personally, I think _Blade of Tyshalle_ works perfectly as a stand-alone. That was the first Stover book I read, and I raved about it for several years, about what a brilliant idea it was to leave the big heroic quest as backstory and just show us the aftermath and repercussions… and then I found out the book was actually a sequel.

  4. Brucearthurs: Those covers are.. underwhelming. I much more enjoy the original US print covers. If the cover art puts you off, well.. don’t just the books by it. Blade of Tyshalle is one of those books that, if one reads it at just the right time in one’s life, is capable of being literally transformative in how one sees how the world interacts. It’s a great book, and it’s a great series, and I heartily recommend all four books to anyone who likes sci-fi, fantasy, heroic action, or philosophy.

  5. On the upside, the covers would be really easy to do as a charity photo shoot! 8)

  6. Thanks for the post. I read Heroes Die when it first came out, but never saw the sequels. I’ve just bought the four ebooks.

  7. The iBooks covers are completely different, it’s possible they used the original print images instead of those ones. I also don’t think that a lot of authors get to choose their art, and while a cover catching your eye is perfectly valid in print, I think that eBooks have a lot of different factors that attract attention, like blog reviews like Mr. Scalzi’s. I wouldn’t be too harsh on them, I bet the print’s all straight (unlike some books I’ve read).

    Also, speaking of Mr. Scalzi, darn you for continuously talking about fascinating sounding books on your site. It makes me want to buy them and read them. And I have bought two. *threatens with wet noodle*

  8. HAving read the first 3 books, I also LOVE Stover’S work. One more remaining, but Caine is one hell of a memorable (anti) hero. He’s Badass Supreme, yet very human and flawed.

    But yeah, those covers are beige. Very beige.

  9. I have to thank you for the introduction last year. I read all four books in a row – devoured is more like it.

    I LOVED my time in Stover’s world. I think there is a lot of really interesting and thought provoking concepts, a couple of which actually were timely lessons in my own life. Stover for me was fiction at its best. He joins you John, as a short list of authors who I will read anything they write as soon as it comes out.

  10. I’m not sure if this is a true Scalzi endorsement. I thought the rules were clear. If you truly liked it you would have worked “holy squirrels” into the endorsement.

  11. I would have to agree that these covers are underwhelming.

    But….. Go Buy & Read These Books!

    I have re-read all of them all a number of times and every time I finish my brain says MORE!!! Give me MORE NOW!!!

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