Also Pirates!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Given that here at Planet Stories we recently wrapped up production on Hugh Cook's Brobdingnagian-sized 464-page sci-fantasy adventure The Walrus & the Warwolf, I figured it's about time to show off the book's awesomely monstrous cover art by Keiran Yanner, and also to share with you what the book's presenter, award-winning novelist and builder of fantastic worlds China Miéville, has to say about Hugh Cook in his introduction. So without further ado, take it away, Mr. Miéville...

Walrus and the Warwolf
Illustration by Kieran Yanner

Of Hugh Cook's extraordinary, underrated, bizarre and hysterical decology, Chronicles of an Age of Darkness, The Walrus and the Warwolf has long been a, if not the, reader favourite. Let's be clear: the whole series urgently needs rediscovery—each book (all standalone) for its own specifics, as well as for the astonishing audacity with which Cook tangles them. Not only do they cross over and back and through each other book to book, but like a kind of pulp Rashomon-monger, he might repeat the exact same scene several books apart, described from two contradictory points of view, so only the most faithful readers will get the joke. The hope is that having been hooked by the following story of Drake Douay, readers will go on to The Wizards & the Warriors, The Women & the Warlords, and the later, more arcanely double-W-ing titles (from which paradigm Cook, with the torturous rigour of any Oulipian prankster—like Georges Perec, who wrote an entire novel without the letter "e"—admirably refused to budge. The Werewolf & the Wormlord? Really?).

But while every one is a must-read, it's easy to see why The Walrus and the Warwolf is perhaps the favourite. This epic picaresque of Drake's adventures is astoundingly full of stuff, precisely the stuff that gets our sweet spots. Pirates! Monsters! Wizards! Battles! Pirates! Sex! Pirates! Misunderstood robots from an ancient high-tech past! Really excellent monsters! Etc! Also pirates!

...On the question of monsters, Cook brilliantly has it both ways. On the one hand, what we want from our fantasy beasts is familiarity. We want to see what an author can do with the traditional figures we know well—the gryphons, the unicorns, the... alright, let's use the D-word... the dragons. On the other hand, especially in these post-Lovecraft days, we want monsters that are completely new, totally alien, without any remembered fabular cognates. These are quite contradictory ways of relating to fantastic bodies, and authors generally simply have to choose one or the other to indulge. Cook, however, refuses to. Instead, he draws a border—a physical border, at the bottom of his map. To the north of it live dragons and their familiar folkloroid compadres; to the south, the Swarm, incomprehensible insecto-alien monstrosities, like the Neversh, of terrifying, carefully described but almost impossible to visualise alien forms. So by a kind of Promethean arithmetic, Cook just adds the new-monstrous to the old...

P.S. Yes, that is indeed Neversh on the cover!

Christopher Paul Carey
Editor, Planet Stories

More Paizo Blog.
Tags: China Mieville Hugh Cook Kieran Yanner Monsters Planet Stories Walrus and the Warwolf

Paizo Charter Superscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber; Planet Stories Subscriber

Hmm... no more Planet Stories logo?

Paizo Employee Franchise Manager

That's the first thing I noticed as well. I mean, other than the giant ship-eating monster.

Contributor

We're playing around with some different cover compositions. The black box logo was cool, but it also takes up a LOT of cover territory and forces us to make things like author names, introducers, and titles smaller than we'd like, as well as obscuring a lot of art. Especially since we have a few books like this one, Template, and Before They Were Giants coming out that were never published in the pulps, it made more sense to drop the box temporarily and try a more modern look. Personally, I'm super pleased with how this one turned out... just look at that Neversh! But I wouldn't be surprised if the pulp format returned for certain titles.

Paizo Employee Franchise Manager

As long as the spines match on my bookshelf, I can live with that.

Paizo Employee Chief Creative Officer, Publisher

The spines are the same.

Like James said, we're tinkering around with different design approaches to see which works best.

This book is really, really, really awesome.

I sincerely hope all of you buy it.

Contributor

yoda8myhead wrote:
As long as the spines match on my bookshelf, I can live with that.

But of course! These are all the same size and spines as the other books in the expanded size (from Robots onward).

Paizo Employee Franchise Manager

OCD squee!

And yes, I'm gonna buy it. I actually just cashed in some Paperback Swap credits to get some of the other books in the series.


I am totally buying this! I hope you do more of Hugh Cook's stuff! i.e. All ten!

Also, I love that Kieran Yanner is doing all the recent Planet Stories covers, they look gorgeous.

Sovereign Court RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32, 2010 Top 8

yoda8myhead wrote:

OCD squee!

And yes, I'm gonna buy it. I actually just cashed in some Paperback Swap credits to get some of the other books in the series.

Just give in and subscribe, yoda...


Matthew Morris wrote:
yoda8myhead wrote:

OCD squee!

And yes, I'm gonna buy it. I actually just cashed in some Paperback Swap credits to get some of the other books in the series.

Just give in and subscribe, yoda...

Yes. Come join the Paizo side. We have cookies!

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

That Neversh would take the Neversh that was on the cover of the original (Corgi?) edition of the book, grapple hook it, kill it, eat it in one bite, sh*t it out, and lay eggs all through it.

In other words, I like the cover illustration.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Also, awesomely fantastic book. Buy it. READ IT.

Paizo Employee Franchise Manager

Matthew Morris wrote:
Just give in and subscribe, yoda...

This is high on my list, it's true. Right after finding gainful employment. Priorities and all that.

Paizo Employee Chief Creative Officer, Publisher

Great Pirate Names from Hugh Cook's THE WALRUS & THE WARWOLF: Whale Mike, Bucks Cat, Sully Yot, Jon Disaster, Ish Ulpin, Jez Glane, Simp Fiche, Tiki Slooze, Salaman Meerkat, Ika Thole, Peg Suzilman, Raggage Pouch, and Harley Burpskin.

And of course, Dreldragon "Drake" Douay.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

You forgot Jon Arabin and Slagger Mulps!

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Oh, and of course Bluewater Draven and Atsimo Andranovry.

Paizo Employee Franchise Manager

Spoiler tags, guys. Spoiler tags.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
yoda8myhead wrote:
Spoiler tags, guys. Spoiler tags.

Uh … names aren’t spoilers dude. Unless they’re True Names … in which case I don’t think a spoiler tag will help. Or unless the fact that there’s a lot of pirates in this book is a spoiler, and China Mieville kind of let that cat out of the bag.

Paizo Employee Chief Creative Officer, Publisher

I think names are fair game.

It's not like I'm saying Papa Smurf shows up in the big surprise ending or something.

Although, in a weird way, I think Slagger Mulps and Papa Smurf might get along...

But I spoil, I spoil...

Paizo Employee Franchise Manager

La la la la la la, I can't hear you!

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Spoiler:

Miphon, Phyphor, Garash, Morgan Gestrel Hearst, Elkor Alish, Blackwood, Heenmoor, Togura Poulaan, Day Suet, Skan Askander, Slerma, Hostaja Sken-Pitilkin, Guest Gulkan, Onosh Gulkan, Yen Olass Ampadara, the Ondrask of Noth, Lord Alagrace, Khmar, Celadric, King Parry Iklemass Tinklebeth Terrorjaw Tor, Shabble, The Hermit Crab, Chegory Guy, Uckermark the Corpse Master, Varazchavardan, Log Jaris, Juliet Idaho, Justina Thrug, Artemis Ingalawa, Shanvil Angurus May, Farfalla the Kingmaker, Sean Sarazin, Alfric Danborg, Nappy, Morgenstern, Cod, She Who Walks By Night, Aldarch the Third the Mutilator of Yestron, Scorpio Fax, Asodo Hatch, Lupos Lon Oliver, Penelope Flute, Paraban Senk.

Paizo Employee Chief Creative Officer, Publisher

Spoiler:
Don't forget Sully Yot, Prince Oronoko, or the high-breasted Zanya Kliedervaust!

Paizo Employee Chief Creative Officer, Publisher

Spoiler:
Or Hor-hor-hurulg-murg.


Actually, I liked the other cover better. Also the other Matthew Hughes cover. They looked more like the old pulps. By calling them 'Planet Stories', you are invoking the old pulps. By throwing a modern cover on the book you lose that feel. I'm also not happy about the missing pages.


Erik Mona wrote:

Great Pirate Names from Hugh Cook's THE WALRUS & THE WARWOLF: Whale Mike, Bucks Cat, Sully Yot, Jon Disaster, Ish Ulpin, Jez Glane, Simp Fiche, Tiki Slooze, Salaman Meerkat, Ika Thole, Peg Suzilman, Raggage Pouch, and Harley Burpskin.

And of course, Dreldragon "Drake" Douay.

No,everybody in New Zealand has a name like that...nothing special ;)


bobby_5150 wrote:
Actually, I liked the other cover better. Also the other Matthew Hughes cover. They looked more like the old pulps. By calling them 'Planet Stories', you are invoking the old pulps. By throwing a modern cover on the book you lose that feel. I'm also not happy about the missing pages.

Missing pages?

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