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• • • Being a journal by artist and designer John Coulthart, cataloguing interests, obsessions and passing enthusiasms.


 

Futurismo!

pirateutopia.jpg

It’s good to finally have some new work posted on the front page of this website. I’ve been busy since before Christmas but everything I’ve been working on for the past few months is waiting to be revealed until the scheduling wheels have turned their revolutions.

And speaking of revolutions… Pirate Utopia is a novel by Bruce Sterling that will be published by Tachyon later this year. The cover was made public this week so I can post it here. I’m also designing and illustrating the interior but it’ll be a while before I can show off any of the rest of the design, especially since I’m still working on it. Bruce Sterling is a well-known writer and futurist (with a small “f”) who was one of the leading cyberpunk authors in the 1980s; with William Gibson he collaborated on The Difference Engine (1990), an early steampunk novel. Pirate Utopia is shorter and less ambitious than The Difference Engine although both books are alternate histories, the new title being a dieselpunk affair set in the Free State of Fiume, (now Rijeka, Croatia) in 1920. The story concerns the exploits of a torpedo engineer and his gang of rude mechanics, and features appearances from some real-life characters whose identities I won’t spoil. It’s a fun book to read, and it’s great fun to work on. The brief from Tachyon was for a cover design riffing on classic Soviet propaganda posters, hence the vaguely Constructivist style. There will be more of the same inside although I’ve been poring over the works of the Italian Futurists recently, and borrowing motifs and typographic cues from designers like Fortunato Depero. Stock up on the Campari for this one.

 


 

Posted in {art}, {books}, {design}, {science fiction}, {work}.

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4 comments or trackbacks

  1. #1 posted by Charles

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    I did not realize that was your work on the cover! I was already looking forward to this book, but knowing that you have artwork inside only makes it more exciting.

    I’d like to hear more from Bruce Sterling about why he chose to write about D’Annunzio and Fiume, and why he gave the book the title he did. He’s clearly been rereading some Hakim Bey.

  2. #2 posted by John

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    Hi Charles. I’ve not heard any of Sterling’s intentions for this book but he’s been living in Turin for a few years, and prior to that was in Belgrade so I imagine the history of the region interests him. By coincidence I’m reading Umberto Eco’s The Prague Cemetery at the moment part of which is set in Piedmont and concerns Garibaldi’s battles for the unification of Italy.

    The title made me think of Burroughs and Captain Mission at first, same kind of thing as Hakim Bey but from a different angle. On that level there’s a connection to Burroughs’ and Bey’s interests in Free States as a model for anarchist enclaves elsewhere.

  3. #3 posted by The joey Zone

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    Floored.

    Easily one of my favorite things by you
    EVER.

    To paraphrase a title from Alan Moore–as far as ANY alphabet is concerned

    *C IS FOR COULTHART*

  4. #4 posted by John

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    Thanks! I’ll be doing my best to make sure the interior lives up to the cover.

 




 

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