NOTE: This is a guest post from debut author Michael Mammay. Planetside goes on-sale 7/31 and is currently available for pre-order. Enjoy!
As a debut writer, I never thought about what goes into making a cover. When David Pomerico, my editor, contacted me and said it was time, he pitched it as a lot of fun. Not going to lie, I kind of panicked. I have no artistic skills, and no thoughts about covers more complex than ‘I like this one’ and ‘This one doesn’t do it for me.’ I think in the end my input consisted of a few pictures of covers I liked and the general thought that ‘I want something classic, with space.’ Yeah. I’m a lot of help. Thankfully there were more talented people involved.
In PLANETSIDE, an aging army officer gets sent to a remote base orbiting a war torn planet on a simple mission to investigate the disappearance of a politician’s son. Of course it’s not really simple, or it wouldn’t be much of a book. When Carl Butler goes to the base to begin the investigation, he’s forward deployed on the far side of the galaxy, but he’s in a relatively safe area. On Cappa Base, they’re part of the war, but the real fighting is down on the planet and still at a distance. Being isolated, they can forget for a time that it’s there. They can forget that they’re part of it. The soldiers down on the planet don’t have that luxury. The book embraces both of those environments.
There are a lot of parallels to Iraq and Afghanistan. The nature of our recent wars saw a lot of our soldiers deployed to large bases which were islands of relative safety in some very dangerous countries. They were engaged in the war and played critical roles, but there was a certain amount of insulation. At the same time we had other soldiers out in the field engaging with the enemy on a daily basis and in a place where they could never forget what was happening. As a veteran of those conflicts, and as someone who served in both capacities at different times, that was an element of my experience that I wanted to bring to the book.
Every soldier fights the same war, but at the same time they fight a different one. A personal one. All of them have their challenges. The environments on the base and planetside couldn’t be more different, and Butler has to negotiate each of them to complete his mission. Being able to do both is a big part of what makes him who he is.
When I got the cover, it hit me pretty hard. The Sebastien Hue art is gorgeous, and it has a classic science fiction feel to it—that alone would have made me love it. But it’s more than that. The subject of the picture, for me, is perfect. Seeing both the base and the planet provides a visual image of one of the things that inspired me to write this novel: The idea that there are two different versions of the war.
There’s the base, and there’s the planet. They’re both at the ass end of the galaxy, away from civilization, and to people back home watching the news or reading about it, there’s probably no difference. But in the war zone, those two environments are a long way apart, and the people there know it. To me, the cover captures that in beautiful fashion.
Planetside is currently available for pre-order.