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    Exclusive! See the cover for Naomi Alderman’s The Future.

    Literary Hub

    March 15, 2023, 10:00am

    Literary Hub is very pleased to reveal the cover for Naomi Alderman’s new novel The Future, which will be published by Simon and Schuster this November. Here’s more about the book from the publisher:

    A compulsive technological thriller, The Future is a tour de force of intelligence and storytelling, marrying white-knuckle narrative propulsion with an intellectually dazzling critique of the world we have made, in which a few billionaires profit on the lives of many and lead us willingly to our doom.

    And here is the cover:

    Jackie Seow, VP, Director of Art, Simon and Schuster told Lit Hub: The Future is an epic piece of feminist fiction in a male dominated sci-fi genre with strong human connections. Naomi’s previous book, The Power, has a huge fan base so the cover for The Future needed to resonate with them. The rabbit and the fox represent opposing ideologies: fear and survival, respectively. We tried many different styles of illustration, and even photography and kept revisiting that theme. David Litman, one of the 3 designers working on this cover, redrew the fox and rabbit in a linear overlapping graphic with the suggestion that each was in a silver and gold foil. We loved it! It was strong and unique. We were eager for something with the visual pop of The Power, so we played around with just the solo fox and it was still strong but lacked the layer and duality of the previous. The editor suggested we keep the rabbit but as a blind spot gloss so that it is subtly apparent (which is thematically in line with the book). And bingo, everyone loved it.

    And Naomi Alderman writes:

    I am that incredibly annoying author who cannot say what would make a perfect cover but I know it when I see it! And The Future is a book that’s about a lot of things: survival (which is necessary) and obsession with survival (which has its own risks), technology billionaires and how we’re living in a world they’ve created without asking the important questions about whether that’s what we want, it’s a kind of heist story, definitely a noir investigative story, and most of all a very genuine romance between two people who are going to try to learn how to trust each other on the precipice of the apocalypse. So which of these themes to try to pull out for the cover of the novel? How to communicate that it is technologically exciting, that it has important questions to ask about human nature, and also that fundamentally it’s about two people who’ve been hurt by life learning to trust again? We went through a lot of covers on this journey.

    There was a great cover of a tropical island with a warping twist to the image—fantastic as to the strange near-future imagined by the novel, but not getting at the character piece and the ideas. There was an eerie glade of trees in the middle of a lake with an ‘off switch’ in one corner. Super-atmospheric but also looked like it might be a ghost story. There was a beautiful serious-looking and intense cover with an origami fox and rabbit on it. The fox and the rabbit are a repeated theme in the book and have a lot of different meanings: they are a shorthand for hunter-gatherers (foxes) and city-dwelling agriculturalists (rabbits). They’re also about the different tendencies we all have inside us: be cunning and quick, curious, novelty-seeking and exploratory (foxes) or seek predictability, order, safety, soft comfortable burrows (rabbits). Neither of those tendencies are wrong—we all have both of them—we have to somehow learn to live with both these needs, which is what all the characters in the book are struggling with, especially my two heroes Martha and Zhen.

    I loved the origami fox and rabbit, it was gorgeous and cerebral but didn’t have an emotional connection to the reader. So we homed in on the face of a rabbit-fox looking straight at you. Here we all are, rabbits with foxes hiding inside us or foxes with rabbits looking out through our eyes. The art team tried out so many different ways to make that blended image. I adore the clean lines of this one. It nods toward the technological futurism of the novel while still being clearly a fox looking directly at you. We thought of having a fox on the front and a rabbit on the back but it was my fantastic editor Tim O’Connell who suggested this dual image—a fox with a rabbit in spot gloss that you can see at certain angles. It’s brilliant. Like Martha and Zhen, the fox and the rabbit are figuring out how to live together. It speaks so clearly to what the book is about while also being direct, beautiful, fascinating and intriguing. Come on into this book, meet your inner rabbit. Or possibly your fox.

    The Future will be published by Simon and Schuster November 7, 2023.

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