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Another round of book cover smackdownery today…this time with a selection of science fiction headed your way next month.

Which book cover appeals to you the most? Which of these books do you most want to read?

Space Marines: The Omnibus edited by Christian Dunn (The Black Library – August 29, 2013)

The Space Marines are the foremost heroes of mankind, tireless defenders of the Emperor’s realm, the Imperium. Genetically crafted to be the perfect warriors, and armed and armoured with the finest equipment in the galaxy, the Space Marines bring death to the alien, the traitor and the mutant. This collection highlights the heroes and the victories of these legendary warriors, collecting together the stories from three previous anthologies: Legends of the Space Marines, Heroes of the Space Marines and Victories of the Space Marines.

Heaven’s Fall by David S. Goyer & Michael Cassutt (Ace – August 6, 2013)

Mankind’s first contact with extraterrestrial life led to an incredible revelation. Their last may lead them to extinction.

Twenty years have passed since the mysterious Near-Earth Object nicknamed Keanu appeared in the night sky and transported an assortment of humans from all over Earth into its interior. There they discovered that Keanu was an immense long-range spaceship—and they were not its only inhabitants. They joined forces with the aliens called the Architects, who had come from a distant galaxy to seek help in fighting the vicious Reivers. And they defeated them—or so they thought.

Now Keanu has reestablished contact with Earth—and discovered that the Reivers have, in fact, taken over the planet, placing most of the population under their dominion. A few scattered pockets of humanity, constantly in danger of being assimilated, have mounted a resistance.

As the Reivers prepare a devastating strike against the Architects, Rachel Stewart, who grew up in Keanu, leads a small band of human survivors in an attempt to infiltrate the massive Reiver fortress in the American West. But their only hope for victory may yet be somewhere inside the NEO.

If the men and women still in Keanu cannot find it, humanity will be finished. And the galaxy will be next.

Transcendental by James Gunn (Tor Books – August 27, 2013)

Riley, a veteran of interstellar war, is one of many beings from many different worlds aboard a ship on a pilgrimage that spans the galaxy. However, he is not journeying to achieve transcendence, a vague mystical concept that has drawn everyone else on the ship to this journey into the unknown at the far edge of the galaxy. His mission is to find and kill the prophet who is reputed to help others transcend. While their ship speeds through space, the voyage is marred by violence and betrayal, making it clear that some of the ship’s passengers are not the spiritual seekers they claim to be.

Like the pilgrims in Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales, a number of those on the starship share their unique stories. But as tensions rise, Riley realizes that the ship is less like the Canterbury Tales and more like a harrowing, deadly ship of fools. When he becomes friendly with a mysterious passenger named Asha, he thinks she’s someone he can trust. However, like so many others on the ship, Asha is more than she appears. Uncovering her secrets could be the key to Riley’s personal quest, or make him question everything he thought he knew about Transcendentalism and his mission to stop it.

James Gunn’s Transcendental is a space adventure filled with excitement and intrigue that explores the nature of what unifies all beings.

About John DeNardo (13013 Articles)
John DeNardo is the Managing Editor at SF Signal and a columnist at Kirkus Reviews. He also likes bagels. So there.


  1. Black Library books always have awesome illustrations. But the others don’t do bad either. All this covers have one problem though, including Space Marines Omnibus, and that’s week composition and poor tipographic work.

    Trascendental has that huge black space that doesn’t do anything, you could move the title there and it would loook better. Heaven’s Fall has great colours but the title seems like it was stuck in the last moment, without a lot of thinking. So, all in all, I’m staying with Space Marines Omnibus.

  2. Steve Oerkfitz // July 13, 2013 at 10:44 am //

    Like the Transcendental cover best. I’ll be reading Heavens Fall since I read the first 2 in the series. And may read the Gunn-I read a lot of his stuff in the 60’s. Wouldn’t read Space Marines unless someone paid me to.

  3. Space Marines: If you’re the sort who likes this genre, you gotta love that cover. Nothing says “macho” like shoulders that are bigger than your head. And are those spent shell casings that are filling the air? BRASS spent shell casings? Who would dare call that goofy and anachronistic? It’s just too darn cool! Just saying the phrase sounds so deliciously pornographic: “Spent shell casings,” “spent shell casings,” “spent shell casings.” “The ground was littered with spent shell casings.” Makes me want a post-coital cigarette.

    Heaven’s Fall: (The sequel to Heaven’s Summer?”) Looks kind of dreary and post-apocalyptic. Having polluted-looking air as the major element in a composition doesn’t make for a terribly exciting cover illustration, IMO.

    I kind of like the Transcendental cover; A feeling of focus and consistent theme, and the star up in the black sky speaks of destination. I just hope that guy in the foreground is on a slidewalk; otherwise he’s got a heck of a long walk ahead of him to get to the whateveritis.

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