Full back cover

Book Cover for The Search for Kalid.


Book cover for The Face by Jack Vance. Cover art by Gino D'Achille.

Note that the illustration (to right) was made as part of the back cover of a science fiction novel and the image comes with accompanying text.

The text on the cover talks about "mental powers", an assassin, killing and telepathy.

Compare this cover art for The Search for Kalid to the illustration for Jack Vance's book (below, right). The Vance character who is wearing pants is Kirth Gersen. Gersen is on a mission to get revenge for the death of his family.

The cover art for The Search for Kalid is intended to be emblematic of the major theme of telepathy in The Search for Kalid. Several of the characters in The Search for Kalid can see "auras" around people. While the two people shown in the cover art for The Search for Kalid were not meant to be specific characters in the story, the depicted scene was inspired by Set and Portia. The depicted scene could very well be Portia's nightmare about what she expected Set to do to her after she was abducted by Set. In The Search for Kalid, Set is out for revenge following the death of his "soul mate", Katherine.

When I tried to create an illustration about telepathy I searched the internet for copyleft images of two people that would allow me to illustrate the transfer of a telepathic signal between the two people. I did not want a boring image of two people together, I wanted to create a dynamic scene that fits with the Space Opera aspect of The Search for Kalid. The two human figures I found happened to be dancers, but the image has nothing to with dancers, dancing, ballet, modern dance or anything to do with dance. The woman (a member of the Haldus Order) is chained to the ceiling and is being attacked by the "rogue assassin", Set. The strange colors and flashes of light are meant to illustrate the telepathic aura around the two characters, much as they might appear to a person who can see auras.

The blue star on the cover is Haldus. The disk-shaped object is the transport grid that is in orbit around Haldus. The Haldus transport grid is an alien artifact that produces T-particles and which plays an important role in The Search for Kalid. See the related illustration for Almaaz

I think that with a bit of artistry the transport grid and the star could be made to look more like astronomical objects...maybe a sprinkling of stars could be added to the background. Set's pants could be made to look more like Gersen's pants so that Set does not light up the gaydar of people who see the image.

The cover art by Gino D'Achille also depicts a scene that is not in The Face, but it is clearly inspired by a scene in which Gersen fights Bel Ruk. The "face" is itself a moon of another planet, different from the world where Gersen and Bel Ruk have their knife fight. Of course, there is no telepathy in Vance's story and so the artist was free to use a classic sword fight motif. I'm sure that my cover art for The Search for Kalid was influenced by Gino D'Achille's cover for The Face, but when I went and found my copy of the book after creating my image, I was surprised by the blood. In the actual fight sceene as written by Vance, Gersen's knife is thrown and goes entirely trough Bel Ruk's neck, but there is no mention of blood. All the blood in the cover image for The Face made me think that maybe the cover art for The Search for Kalid should show a look of horror on Portia's face so as to prevent readers from thinking she is dancing with Set.

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