THE BOOK OF THE WAR
The following are the notes I was asked to write for Jim Calafiore, relating to the illustrations he drew for my entries in The Book of the War. You can see how he interpreted them on pages 68, 100 and 193 of The Book. You'll notice that Jim didn't follow these instructions precisely, which is probably just as well given my entirely inartistic obsession with detail. I was absolutely thrilled with the quality of the “Timebeast Assault” illustration, very pleased with the “Amanda Legend Lefcourt” one, and completely baffled by “Lord Foaming Sky”. It's probably inevitable that others will visualise events and characters differently from their author, however.
Lord Foaming Sky is a difficult one, partly because of the multiple gods he takes the form of, and partly because the Celestis are so visually elusive. I'd suggest a montage of his natural form with the two godforms he takes in the text, unless that strays too far from the “portrait” ethos. [In fact, for reasons of space, it was decided to go with just one of the “godforms”.] Mister Hoho the god of gifts-from-humans is an evil Santa Claus, holding a present gift-tagged with the radioactive warning symbol. Mister Hoho's features are human, but as perceived by people used to completely different features: this gives him a distorted, gargoyle-like appearance, and his hands probably have too many fingers.
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Amanda Legend Lefcourt appears to be about thirty-five, and is half caucasian, half pureblood Inca. She's attractive, and is probably smiling enigmatically for the “camera”, but is statesmanlike and a little intimidating. Her clothing should be a stylish amalgamation of historical eras (including perhaps acknowledgement of her French and Inca heritage), with futuristic touches: I see her in a waistcoat, with a watch chain holding a palmtop computer. She may have facial piercings, or even tribal-looking tattoos, but they're tasteful and discreet.
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The Timebeast Assault: I'm imagining possible designs. The one I like most has the Timebeasts with long necks, like swans on steroids, ending in enormous gaping maws. They kind of reach down, bite a huge great chunk out of the ground, along with masonry, trees and everyone who's there at the time, then throw their “heads” up in the air to swallow. They probably do take chunks out of larger buildings, as well.
Alternatively (and there's no reason why the Timebeasts shouldn't be of more than one design, of course), they're like frighteningly fast slugs trundling along, with a mouth at the front like the doors of a ferry, piling up soil and masonry and people, which all eventually fall inside. They leave vast furrows behind them. The Homeworld-augmented citizens are helping herd people in, of course. The least exciting option – but it would work if all three forms are shown – is to have them like large hills, with volcanoesque mouths at the top, sliding along the City boulevards while the Homeworld allies herd crowds up them and into the maw. Mm. I think my favourite would be to show all three, but that might be beyond the scope of a book illustration as opposed to a great big mural.
The City architecture, incidentally, is stylistically varied, not just tower blocks. Despite the obvious Godzilla potential.
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