Illustration Contest for the Baktu Prolog


$100 winner by Matias “delcar” Del Carmine

I am making slow progress on my novel ‘Baktu’ which is the sequel to ‘Negative Zero’. I believe I am over half way through the last major revision of the manuscript.  I am still hoping for a July publish date, but it may be August.

It has a prologue, an introductory chapter for new readers, or segue chapter for readers of Negative Zero. I put on a contest at for an illustration for the prologue. I was happy with the results. I picked the $100 winner and selected four runner-ups and bought their illustrations also for $50 each.

The subject of the prologue is Tomek in his damaged spaceship being confronted by two elite imperial ships for trespassing in a forbidden area. After some resistance he puts on his space suit and escapes in his escape pod designed to look like debris when his ship explodes. He makes a hard landing on the forbidden planet Baktu.

The problem, as should be expected, is that the illustrations do not agree with each other on how Tomek and his spaceship look, and the art styles are different. Otherwise I would want to use them all and make a heavily illustrated prologue. I still want to, and am trying to think of a way to present them in the book without confusing the readers. Maybe in the preface or the acknowledgements I could explain about the contest and the different interpretations of the prologue scene by the artists.


by Abdulrhman Zaki

The featured image above is the $100 winner by Matias “delcar” Del Carmine (MatiasDC).  I enjoyed the dramatic wow effect. This was also a favorite of my friends and family. It shows Tomek in combat with the two enemy ships. For ship  illustrations I asked for signs of damage. The red warning light above Tomek is intended to be the sign. The planet Baktu is visible, with an apparent sunrise or sunset going on.

Next is a second opinion on the interior by Abdulrhman Zaki (Abdulrhma). This shows a situation similar to the previous illustration. However this illustration show lots of cool gadgets and console busyness which is attractive to most science fiction readers. I like it. It also shows a warning projected onto the window, and a ‘loading’ bar which I assume shows the progress of the laser charging. In the prologue, which the contestants had access to, Tomek’s damaged laser cannon takes a long time to charge up, and is a issue in the sequence of events. The planet Baktu, and its moon is further away, so I expect this moment is earlier than the one in delcar’s illustration.

by Dienel96

by Dienel96

The next two illustrations are both by dienel96.

One is the picture of the exterior of Tomek’s ship. This is different than the description of the ship in ‘Negative Zero’, and shows no sign of damage. But it still looks cool. The clouds in the background seem unexpected to me, and not quite plausible in outer space. But then I decided that the Baktu solar system was near a nebulae. Besides, it looks cool and added a mysterious exotic mood. The aurorae borealis going on down on the planet was interesting too.

by Dienel96

by Dienel96

The other picture by Dienel96 shows Tomek in his spacesuit headed for the escape pod. Here is another interpretation of the interior and the console. The console is cleaner and more organized here. The cockpit looks big, larger than I envisioned; you could dance in it, artificial gravity permitting. It looks like it would be more pleasant as a longer term home. I’m sure he was sad to leave it behind.

by nasstaran

by nasstaran

Lastly, in the chronology of the prologue, Tomek is marooned on the surface of the planet Baktu, and the scene is set for the remainder of the book. This last illustration is by nasstaran. So I get a picture of Tomek on the surface of Baktu. Here he is sitting on top of his escape pod figuring out what to do next. This picture is not as flashy and glamorous as the others, but I like it. I like the plants, the details and the moment specific to a moment in the prologue. I like the lonely and tentative mood.

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