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November 17, 2005

Meet the Ni-Nins

ni-nin.jpgCharming looking fellow, is he not? He's a Ni-nin, one of the alien races you'll encounter in Questions for a Soldier, the limited edition signed chapbook written by me and published by Subterranean Press, which expands on the story of John Perry, the main character of Old Man's War.

Subterranean contracted famed SF illustrator Bob Eggleton to do a number of illustrations to accompany the short story the chapbook contains, and I'm here to tell you that if you bought the chapbook just for Eggleton's illustrations, I wouldn't blame in you in the least. Mind you, I like the story I wrote just fine -- lots of action, adventure and alien encounters, all in easy-to-swallow Q-and-A form -- but Eggleton's illustrations are truly cool. I'm particularly taken with the Ni-nin, which is why I'm showing it off to you now. Because, man, even I didn't know they looked this badass.

This is one of the very exciting things about being a published author, incidentally: getting to work with talented artists who make your work better by their participation. Eggleton's work for Questions indisputably makes the value of the chapbook far greater than it would be with just my words, and as for my novels, it's possible that some other author might have had a better trifecta of cover artists for their first three books than I had in Donato Giancola, Mike Krahulik and John Harris, but off the top of my head I can't think of any. I've been very lucky in my artistic company so far, and I'm immensely grateful for that.

Man, I'm still geeking on the Ni-nin. That's tattoo-worthy, that's what that is. I wouldn't be at all surprised one day to see this guy on the shoulder of some bald and beefy Hell's Angel named "Stinky" or "Tiny." Yes, that's a compliment. You gonna tell Stinky that it's not? Didn't think so.

(If you want to see the rest of Eggleton's illustrations -- and incidentally read my text -- you can get Questions from Subterranean, or through the online trinity of Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Powell's. The chapbook is limited to 574 standard chapbooks and 26 signed traycased handbound copies, the latter only available via the Subterranean site. If you buy one of the latter (at $175 a pop) by all means let me know; I'll send you an additional "thank you" of some sort, because that's above and beyond, you know.) 

Posted by john at November 17, 2005 10:47 PM

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Wan Zafran | November 18, 2005 01:29 AM

The hair at the back of my neck is standing straight. Creepy illustration, but beautiful!

doubt | November 18, 2005 02:45 AM

I could take him.

...The Ni-nin is only two inches tall, like on my monitor, right? Oh, he's not? Never mind then.

Dean | November 18, 2005 10:29 AM

The Ni-nin is only two inches tall, like on my monitor, right?

Listen, I wouldn't mess with that critter even if he was only two inches tall.

Brian | November 18, 2005 11:49 AM

What's the etymology on that name, "Ni-nin"? It looks to be Japanese-derived... do they suffer from multiple-personality disorder?

John Scalzi | November 18, 2005 12:45 PM

The etymology of the name is that I basically pulled it out of my ass on a deadline.

doubt | November 18, 2005 02:38 PM

"Ni-nin"? It looks to be Japanese-derived...

Generally refered to as the "Futaris." :)

Huh, actually, that's almost a decent name. But not really.

Brian | November 18, 2005 07:29 PM

"The Futaris" ... sounds like two-man band name to me, actually.

But really... what good is a joke like that that most people won't ever get? :-)

doubt | November 19, 2005 01:35 PM

No, no... Those are the best kind.

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