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Molly is inspired by Jim Hines

December 9th, 2012 (05:32 pm)

After hearing about the Jim Hines/John Scalzi pose-off fundraiser for the Aicardi Foundation, Molly was inspired to do her own set of poses.

She dug around for books and when her middle grade/YA illustrations were insufficiently entertaining, grabbed MY books and tried to duplicate THOSE cover poses.

(Cut for people who don't want to load a bunch of graphics.)

Fires of the Faithful:

Molly's version:

(That's taken in her room. Yes, her walls are orange. Also her sheets. Also part of her bean bag chair. She's very fond of the color orange.) She's holding a Rubik's Cube in place of the little glowing ball from the cover, and the stand-in for the violin is a lint brush. I should've gotten out her sister's ukulele.)

Turning the Storm:

Molly's version:

(Yes, she also has an orange trash can, orange backpack, and orange boffer sword, which is standing in for the showier, more lethal looking sword on the cover. The lint brush is once again standing in for the violin.)

She didn't try to do the cover for Freedom's Gate, because the protagonist is on a horse. But she did do a (CLOTHED!) version of the cover for Freedom's Apprentice. Original:

Molly's version:

So, you'll notice that this one, far more than the first two, doesn't look right. She found it hard to balance, and it hurt her feet. It's probably not a coincidence that the most sexualized cover I've ever gotten was also the hardest for a real human being to imitate. (This book has literally no sex in it at all, which made the sexualized cover...kind of funny.) It still beats the hell out of any cover where the woman is supposed to simultaneously show you both her butt and her cleavage, though.

Finally, Freedom's Sisters:

Molly's version:

So, for the most part these are a lot less funny than the poses done by Jim Hines. There are a number of reasons for this, but here's #1 -- none of these poses are ridiculous. Especially the first two -- Eliana is standing in ways that a human being might actually stand, doing things that the character actually does. As much as I have rolled my eyes over the cover to Freedom's Apprentice over the years (people, that scene takes place in January in Central Asia in a historical fantasy where people lack things like forced-air central heating, fiberglass insulation, and double-glazed windows. Not only is she not naked in that scene, she's dressed in bulky layers because that's what you do to keep warm in a cold climate in the winter, even indoors) there's nothing inherently absurd about what she's doing with her body.

My first two books came out in 2002 and 2003; the next three in 2004, 2005, and 2006. I am not operating with a particularly large sample of cover art here but frankly analyzing these images makes me wonder if the truly absurd human bodies DO NOT BEND THAT WAY cover art is a somewhat recent phenomenon, or if Bantam's art department in the early 2000s was unusually good in that respect?


Posted by: Michael M Jones (oneminutemonkey)
Posted at: December 10th, 2012 12:03 am (UTC)

Wow, go Molly. :)

And wow, this reminds me just how long it's been since I've seen anything by you. :(

Posted by: Naomi (naomikritzer)
Posted at: December 10th, 2012 12:06 am (UTC)

Well, I have been writing. I just haven't been able to sell any of the books I've written since Freedom's Sisters.

I have, however, sold a fair number of short stories recently. The current issue of F&SF has one of my stories in it ("High Stakes," which is set on a seastead and is one in a series of short stories that eventually......I'm planning to knit together and try to sell as a novel. WE WILL SEE IF MY LUCK CHANGES. Sigh.)

Posted by: Michael M Jones (oneminutemonkey)
Posted at: December 10th, 2012 12:14 am (UTC)

I'll keep my eyes open, then! And I'll keep my fingers crossed for you.
I'm so woefully behind on reading almost all of the magazines out there.

Posted by: Jo Walton (papersky)
Posted at: December 10th, 2012 12:07 pm (UTC)

It's a terrific story, even better than the first one. I read it in the bath in Toronto when my back was appalling, and I still really enjoyed it. You're writing real SF there.

Posted by: Jim C. Hines (jimhines)
Posted at: December 10th, 2012 12:09 am (UTC)

I love that in Freedom's Apprentice, the character is holding a magic light, and Molly appears to be poking the light switch. Don't know if that was intentional or not, but it's a nice touch :-)

I think to some extent it's subgenre related. Urban fantasy seems to have a disproportionate number of spine-busters, but twenty years ago, you might find the same kind of improbable female poses in the sword & sorcery section.

Posted by: Naomi (naomikritzer)
Posted at: December 10th, 2012 12:13 am (UTC)

You're probably right about the subgenre issue.

Posted by: consider that you may be wrong (ukelele)
Posted at: December 10th, 2012 12:14 am (UTC)

Aaaaand in retrospect that was the thing I found really striking about the Fires of the Faithful cover. It was a normal-looking person doing a normal thing. Well. I mean, except for the sorcery.

Posted by: Baron Dave Romm (barondave)
Posted at: December 10th, 2012 12:18 am (UTC)
New Tilley Hat

She doesn't have the poses quite right (look at the sword in her left hand in Turning of the Storm, for example), and a bit of overacting would have helped convey the emotions that the author (ie you) wanted to imbue in the scene.

Still, a fun project she grabbed by the horns. Nice going!

Posted by: Fighting Crime with a Giant Dandelion Since 2013 (pameladean)
Posted at: December 10th, 2012 01:51 am (UTC)

A valuable control group here!


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