Scott Westerfeld’s next book Leviathan is due out in October. I knew a bit about it: that it’s set during an alternative steampunk WWI and I’ve read the first chapter. I like steampunk, but it’s not my fav genre and although I’m going to read Leviathan, I wasn’t all that excited about it. Until now.
I hadn’t visited Westerblog in a while but today I did and discovered two things:
- there’s been a redesign à la steampunk — very cool
- but more importantly, Leviathan is illustrated by Keith Thompson
Westerfeld wanted the finished book to have the period feel of the era in which the story is set, Simon & Schuster is using 70-pound paper, full-color endpapers depicting an allegorical map of Europe, and 50 interior illustrations — lavish bookmaking financed in large part by Westerfeld himself. — Publishers Weekly 
I am officially in love, not with Scott Westerfeld, those goggles just don’t do it for me, but endpapers do. And this is love without ever having seen the lavish bookmaking in question, that description is all I need. But I do have the evidence of Keith Thompson’s divine artwork. There’s three pictures at Westerblog and my favourite is Ascending. I want a poster of this for my wall, but I also want one of those balloon-swing-seat-thingys so I can do my own ascending — way better than the bus, although my hair might get a bit mussed. Westerfeld explained the collaboration,
The coolest thing about this series for me has been working with illustrator Keith Thompson. We decided to make the books look like they were published back in 1914, when almost all books (even adult) were illustrated. So Keith created a sort of “Victorian manga” style, part steampunk and part old-fashioned biotech. We’re putting about 50 pieces of art in each book, most of them full page!
I particularly like how Thompson’s art escapes the frame, it’s just too alive to stay hemmed in.
Due to my financial circumstances (stupid thesis!) I had to stop buying books, but Leviathan is going to change that. And by October I’m hopeful of submission and a return to employment which actually pays.