When I found out I was going to be editing the Houston Writer's Guild's science fiction anthology, it wasn't difficult for me to decide who I would contact to do the cover art. I've known dark fantasy artist and graphic novelist David Sidebotham for years, and his work is some of the most creative and visually dynamic art I've ever seen. Even so, I wasn't prepared for the incredible quality of work I would receive.
I gave David a small number of the stories that would be featured in the anthology and asked him to respond to the themes. Which stories? Read the anthology when it's out and take a guess. I'll never tell.
The piece of art David created for the anthology presents a fascinating mise-en-scène. The hard, warm light is almost angry, but also calm. Is it sunrise or sunset that illuminates the vast number of dark, ruined buildings? Of the two figures in the rubble, one is strong, unintimidated and watching. But the other is thin, almost skeletal, collapsed in the corner of the composition with his empty eye-sockets turned down. The image seems to bare a statement from the artist about to the stories in the anthology, the possibilities which certain authors explored. While one figure looks out, is aware, is strong, the other refuses to look, and seems to die.
The artwork is not just a cover for the anthology or a piece of marketing; it is one of the works that the anthology contains. David Sidebotham's illustration is the first work of speculative fiction I have the honor of displaying, a moment portrayed in a single image, a work of flash fiction if ever I've seen one before.
If there is interest, poster-sized prints of this artwork may go on sale. I would love to have one for the wall of my office.