It’s been clear to me for a few years now that The Antithesis Progression has branding issues. For those of us who’ve lived with it as a podcast, it feels familiar and recognizable, and there’s a certain music to the title–and who couldn’t like the mythic covers with naked people and planets as a metaphor for a vulnerable humanity reaching out to the stars?
Well, quite a few people, actually. But I’ll get to that in a minute. I don’t want to bury the lede here. The story about how this all happened is down below, but I’m gonna get to the fun stuff right away.
Here are the new covers, with the new titles:
You have no idea how excited these make me.
But why go to the trouble of re-branding a series in progress?
Well, the problem with the old titles and covers is that they don’t communicate to new readers what they might expect.
Okay, one is given to think, Naked people are fine and all, but what’s with the planets? And what the hell does that have to do with Predestination and Free Will? Is this an erotica book? Is it philosophy? Is it Nietzsche/Kierkegaard slashfic? Give me a bone here!
It isn’t fair to lay that on someone who hasn’t even cracked the book yet.
And, frankly, the further I get into the series, the less accurate it is anyway.
When I started writing this series, I thought it was basically a set of cold war spy thrillers in space. By the end of Book 2, it got clear to me that I was very much mistaken. As I’ve filled up the corners of the universe–with the Suave Rob series, The Resurrection Junket, Hadrian’s Flight, and Down From Ten–I realized more and more that I didn’t quite know what I was writing.
As you can imagine, that made any thought of fixing the branding difficult. And I went through several iterations. Last year I announced my intent to rename the series “The Mannix Initiative” with each of the volumes having one word titles. Snappy, quick, very much with a blockbuster vibe.
But, as much as I liked those titles, I could never quite pull the trigger. Something about it just never quite fit for me, and I couldn’t figure out why.
So I let it alone (for over a year). And it started interfering with my progress on Book 3, because I had no idea of what I was writing, and it just wouldn’t come together.
The time had come to do something, so I called together the brains I trust and started grilling them. Some had read the books, some hadn’t. Some listened to the podcast, some didn’t. Whether responding to podcast, book, or pitch, they all came back with some version of Kitty NicIaian’s priceless quip:
“This is not The Bourne Identity in space. It’s North and South in space.”
And as people started saying that using different title-comparisons (some said I, Claudius, some said Roots, some said Dune, some said Pillars of the Earth, some said The Winds of War/War and Remembrance), the dominoes fell in my head:
The books everyone was naming weren’t spy thrillers. They weren’t even all war novels or political novels. But they were all family sagas.
And so is my story. It’s about a set of families upon whose interaction the fate of humanity turns.
Because of this, I am very proud to present you with a re-branding that will be propagating through the markets in the next few weeks. Each title is about the family at the forefront of the story. Each cover says “politics and science fiction.” There’s finally a look and feel on the front that tells readers what to expect inside:
The Kabrakan Ascendancy
A Mannix Families Saga
Book 1: The Orinthal Deception
Book 2: The Hartman Gambit
Book 3: The Reeves Directive
(Book 3 Due this December)
Oh, by the way, if you like the naked people and planets, don’t worry. There will be special edition hardcovers available–you can get them by supporting the Patreon at the “producer” level, and you’ll also be able to order them when the first ones roll off the lines for the Patrons.
And if you want to sink your teeth into some of the broader “Mannix Families” universe, the Extreme Sci-Fi bundle I’m curating has two, yes two! titles in it that are in continuity with the main series: Hadrian’s Flight and Suave Rob’s Double-X Derring-Do. Get ’em both now, plus eight other fantastic high-adventure hard science fiction books, for one low price–but do it fast, because the bundle disappears on October 6.