Up the Tower
by J. P. Lantern
Disaster brings everybody together. A cloned corporate assassin; a boy genius and his new robot; a tech-modified gangster with nothing to lose; a beautiful, damaged woman and her unbalanced stalker—these folks couldn't be more different, but somehow they must work together to save their own skin. Stranded in the epicenter of a monumental earthquake in the dystopian slum, Junktown, there is only one way to survive. These unlikely teammates must go...UP THE TOWER.
The author has graciously answered our question, "How do you pick out your book covers?" Thank you very much
Book covers are of course one of the most important aspects of how a book sells. You need to make sure they look professional and catch the eye.
I’ve had two different book artists. The first was a friend of a friend who had been doing it for a while; her name is Aubrey Watt. She did work for the first trilogy I released, THE RED COUNTRY TRILOGY, and a series of shorts that I had thrown together that are now collected in a book called AROUND THE MARTIAN FRINGE. With those, basically I threw a bunch of information at her about the books and the themes and tone, and she put together some great looking stuff. I had a few ideas, a few concepts, but she really took the ball and ran with them and did some great looking stuff, I think.
For DUST BOWL and UP THE TOWER, my wife did the covers. It was the same kind of arrangement. I talked with her a lot about what the book was about and what I was thinking for themes and tone, and she just whipped some stuff up that was great. The DUST BOWL cover is pretty terrific—I love the little splash of blood under the tumbleweed there. The UP THE TOWER cover I think also is also really great; for the book, I wanted to instill this sort of pulpy, noir-like vibe to it, and I think it just nails it. I also really dug the way the letters are kind of ripping apart, signaling the earthquake to come in the book.
My wife is basically a champ because she’ll bring me something that is basically what I said I wanted, but it’s wrong because, you know, from the conception to the execution, something gets lost. So I ask for this change or that change, and they all seem small to me, but they’re inevitably something that’s going to take up six hours or so.
So, ultimately, it’s a collaborative effort that requires other people being patient with me (thankfully) as they hone their talents in on what I’m imagining. Of course, I’m always happy to listen to their suggestions and advice, and basically just comply with whatever they say is best.
Samson ignored the jeer, focusing carefully on opening the box. He was twelve years old and he did not want to screw this up; being twelve was important, and people took the things you did seriously so long as you did them well.
“Smellson, hey!” The Crowboy banged his crowbar on the dusty ruins of the factory line where they had set up the six crates from their haul that morning. “Don’t blow us up, okay? I don’t want to die with your stench clogging me up, yeah?”
Again, Samson ignored the other boy, trying to concentrate as he eased his longtool through the gap in the crate before him. He very well could blow himself up; he could blow them all up. Inside the GuaranTech crate he tinkered with was a copbot.
Copbots blew up all the time. If their main processors or power source were damaged, they blew up. If they were being captured, they blew up. If they ran out of ammo and couldn’t refill within about ten minutes, they blew up. When they blew up, they incinerated everything in about a hundred foot radius. The warehouse was not big enough for the Crowboys to keep their distance and still work in the role of protection as they had been hired. So they were in the blast zone as well as Samson.
The copbots, deactivated, were precious and valuable. Strangely, they were valuable precisely because they were so hard to deactivate. A copbot was made almost entirely out of self-healing nanotech, and with enough time, it could repair from almost any wound to its metal shell. So, to keep this sort of power out of the hands of the gangster conglomerate that ran Junktown, the Five Faces, and any other sort of competitor, the copbots had a very liberal self-destruct mechanism.
This is what Samson worked against.
AUTHOR Bio and Links:
J.P. Lantern lives in the Midwestern US, though his heart and probably some essential parts of his liver and pancreas and whatnot live metaphorically in Texas. He writes speculative science fiction short stories, novellas, and novels which he has deemed "rugged," though he would also be fine with "roughhewn" because that is a terrific and wonderfully apt word.
Full of adventure and discovery, these stories examine complex people in situations fraught with conflict as they search for truth in increasingly violent and complicated worlds.