I read a lot of books – probably averaging 2 a month for the last few years. As a design exercise, I occasional recreate or re-imagine book covers with different themes or purposes for each.

Dreams of Flight

Unlike the last few design exercises, this isn't based on a book. It is just a way of visualizing the 20 most heavily travelled airports in the world, according to passenger volume. This data is, of course, now out of date.

Dreams of Flight

Dreams of Flight

Dreams of Flight

A Canticle For Leibowitz

According to TVTropes.org, sometimes a moral leaves no room for subtlety.

A Canticle for Leibowitz is one of those novels. The story revolves around a group of Roman Catholic monks who, after an apocalyptic nuclear war, act as the sole preservers of knowledge and technology in a world where humanity has regressed to the most basic form recognizable as "culture." The hardest design decision is how much apocalyptic and religious imagery to incorporate. A trinity of bombs, and the simple shape of a papal hat (also referencing a flame and a target) are the main elements in a minimalist design.

A Canticle For Leibowitz

A Canticle For Leibowitz

Dune

Fear is the mind killer.

The heat of an unforgiving sun in the open desert. Sandstorms. Spiceblows. And the worms.

Forget David Lynch's... unfortunate... failure. Forget anything Brian Herbert and Kevin J. Anderson touched. Frank Herbert's grand epic (and thinly veiled metaphor for oil) still stands as one of the great literary achievements of science fiction, as well as one of its wierdest.

A Fremen stillsuit may lose only a thimbleful of water each day. A 190 lb. male body contains approximately 114 lb. of water, or 13.65 gallons. Assuming a thimble holds 1 tablespoon, or .004 gallons, this person would lose approximately .028% of their body's water each day in the open desert.

Dune

Dune

Of course, engineers are pretty sure the suit (as described in Herbert's novels) would end up cooking its wearer. That said, the series couldn't exist without stillsuits and the Fremen who wear them.

Cryptonomicon

A cover for Neal Stephenson's Cryptonomicon. The stark black & white treatment results from the nature of the in-book Cryptonomicon, a collection of military code-breaking material.

The design details are related to the search results for the terms shown (converted into binary, and given a graphical treatment), which revolved around the issue of warrantless wiretapping perpetrated by AT&T and the other major telecoms at the behest of the U.S. government. The numbers may be out of date, but were accurate when I created the piece.

Cryptonomicon

Cryptonomicon

Idoru

Idoru deals primarly with the impending marriage of Rez (one half of the superstar rock act Lo/Rez) to the virtual idol Rei Toei. While the book examines the story from several characters' viewpoints and deals with the social and technical aspects of virtual marriage, the technology necessary to create an illusion deserves specific attention. The human eye has incredible resolving power, with the ability to process more than 500 megapixels (using the closest approximation between digital technology and our analog biology) when the best televisions today can display perhaps 2 megapixels. Given this, the idea of creating a free-floating, 3-d display that appears as crisp and sharp as the real flesh-and-blood person beside you is shocking and seemingly impossible, yet intriguing.

Idoru

Idoru

Small Gods

In Humanist novels, religion tends to be a punching bag. It happens in nearly any sort of fiction. I can personally think of several established, highly regarded Humanist Science Fiction and Fantasy books or series that take a dim view of religion, to put it nicely. Small Gods is a bit of a departure from this. In true Terry Pratchet form, very little in the novel is meant angrily or as an insult. Rather, it's a humorous observation of the nature of religion (many believers go through the motions, few are hardcore believers). Religion, even the worship of a god with questionable morals and stability isn't evil just the people with questional morals and stability who act in it's name.

As in most fiction, however, the few dedicated (whether it's government officials, military officers, or in this case, a devout monk) cane change the course of history by willpower (or density, as the case may be). Even the very nature of the gods are defined by their believers. The Great God Om, nearly forgotten, is little more than an unlucky turtle for 99% of the book - and rather than resuming his vengeful, capricious nature when he is awash in new believers, he becomes a bit of Brutha himself.

Small Gods

Small Gods

The Black Company

Glen Cook's The Black Company series follows a small, elite group of mercenaries through their battles in a world filled with powerful people, most of whom are evil. They won't go around burning down orphanages, but they do bad work for bad people for most of their existence.

It's a fantasy series that has little to do with traditional high fantasy. The only true wizards are so unbelievably powerful, that they are never directly encountered. Kings and Queens wouldn't dare stoop to the level of congregating with mere mercenaries. Maybe because of these things, the world, and our specific group of 'heroes' seem all the more realistic. In fact, military veterans often remark that the book's portrayal of soldiers is among the most realistic of any fiction novel (fantasy setting excluded).

To this point, what if The Black Company was about groups of soldiers in modern-day Afghanistan? Burqas and bullets come together with Soulcatcher's skull mask in this re-imagining.

The Black Company

The Black Company