Book of Constants: the covers that weren’t

C.E. Alexander’s forthcoming Book of Constants follows a middle-aged widower and his son to a small development in rural Wyoming. The city is named New Potomac, with tall concrete barrier walls inspired by recent architectural monuments in the Dallas/Fort Worth area. Take the Perot Museum of Nature and Science, for one:


Or the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth (find more representative pictures here or here):


Various characters in the story refer to New Potomac as a troy, using the word as a common noun and without further explanation. We would ultimately settle on the chalkboard theme, but first we explored the idea of fortifications, bunkers, walled-in cities and castles. The shot that really caught our breath was the one below. If it looks familiar, it’s because the top third of the image wound up in our masthead. The image dates back to the U.S. Civil War, and is riddled with those wonderful film blemishes and exposure issues you just can’t recreate with digital. (Yeah, we saw that AltHistory Wiki article, too. If it turns out that this 150-year-old photo is actually a 4-year-old hoax, we’re crawling under a rock. After, of course, we change our masthead back to that grainy picture of the birds.)

Here it is, our first Book of Constants cover that wasn’t. If we’ve just whet your appetite, might we suggest The Music and the Spires as amuse-bouche?


More than just a pretty face: the Book of Constants cover reveal

As it happens, we’ll follow up The Music and the Spires with C.E. Alexander’s Book of Constants, not Bar Juchne, as we previously reported. Both are written. One boasts a slightly more, shall we say? Clearer complexion?

Here’s our working version of the cover. For now we’re calling the release date June 16:

NARA cover

Related posts:
More than just a pretty face: the Bar Juchne book cover reveal
Alternate book covers


Then Elysium

Now The Lotusland?

Recently we announced C.E. Alexander’s next short story (it’s 11,000 words long, by the way, so we might need to drop the part about being short). The first working title was 1992, as it takes place after the fall of the Soviet Union, which factors heavily in the narrative. The proximity to Orwell made him nervous, so he changed the name to Elysium, for the island in classical mythology reserved for blessed or heroic souls in afterlife.

But we realize now that Elysium is also a forthcoming Matt Damon movie. Not making this up. And don’t take forthcoming to mean it’s set for some hypothetical release after we get funding together and make a film. It’s made. The date is set for August 9.

Hopefully The Lotusland isn’t also some federal omnibus bill currently in Senate subcommittee. Although we wouldn’t put it past them.

While we work all of this out, may we suggest you pick up your digital copy of The music and the spires, which is available now, and the name of which will not change?

The covers that weren’t

A few more source photographs to go before we start unveiling some of our (rather amateurish) DIY attempts at creating a full cover. This is a composite image of Hailey’s comet, as tracked by Yerkes Observatory. We loved the Carl Sagan je ne sais quoi and font-agnostic handwriting. (And is that a trick of the eye, or are each of these four panels hand-cut with scissors?)

A book cover based around this would have gone well with the first story, and perhaps two or three of the others. But the unanimous B+ rating among staffers meant it never left subcommittee. Stay tuned as we begin to unveil the finalists!

We have the final version of the book in hand

Whew! What a ride that was. Official details very soon, maybe within a week or two. That will allow us to finish the Covers That Weren’t series and get down to the business of asking people to read.

Official credits will come, too. Because we haven’t done this alone. Not by far.

It all has us thinking. The fact that the author dated the manuscript April 2012 — combined with the fact that it’s late October and we’re just now ready to talk shop — sort of belies this program, no?

National Novel Writing Month is a fun, seat-of-your-pants approach to novel writing. Participants begin writing on November 1. The goal is to write a 50,000-word (approximately 175-page) novel by 11:59:59 PM on November 30.
Valuing enthusiasm and perseverance over painstaking craft, NaNoWriMo is a novel-writing program for everyone who has thought fleetingly about writing a novel but has been scared away by the time and effort involved.

As you spend November writing, you can draw comfort from the fact that, all around the world, other National Novel Writing Month participants are going through the same joys and sorrows of producing the Great Frantic Novel. Wrimos meet throughout the month to offer encouragement, commiseration, and—when the thing is done—the kind of raucous celebrations that tend to frighten animals and small children.

Don’t misunderstand us. Encouraging aspiring writers to write is not in itself a bad thing. But nothing about this process takes a month.

PS: This post is chock-full of double spaces, which our proofreader delicately reminds us are not printer-friendly. Stop the press!