March 15, 2016
The “strange, fictional artifacts” created for A Man Lies Dreaming
by Lavie Tidhar
I often tend to think quite visually about books as I’m writing them—to think in terms of the art that would be populating that fictional “world.” It just so happens that I have no artistic talent of my own but, some time back, I was lucky enough to meet Sarah Anne Langton, who is in her other life a professional designer, but who shares the same love as me for strange, fictional artifacts.
When I was writing A Man Lies Dreaming, I got quite taken by the alternate history version of the movie Casablanca, which briefly makes an appearance—as Tangier—in one scene. At some point I was hoping to write a sort of companion piece to the novel, set in Hollywood, of which all I have, sadly, is a fragment. Sarah and I were actually working on the poster during the writing of the novel. Tangier, starring Boris Karloff, Humphrey Bogart and, of course, Leni Riefenstahl, took quite a long time to get right—and was so convincing when finished that many people assumed it was a real movie! “Everybody comes to Gatsby’s” is a reference to the original version of Casablanca, an unproduced stage play called “Everybody comes to Rick’s.” And it was fun to cast a young Ronald Reagan in the movie…
Sarah and I hope to one day put together a little exhibition and art book of all the sort of fictional art artifacts we’ve been creating—these include retro-futuristic travel posters for my Central Station novel, alternate history movie posters, fake book covers and so on. We’re also working on a weird little graphic novel at the moment.
With the “Keep Calm And Carry On Dreaming” poster, I wanted to have fun with those ubiquitous posters by doing a sort of alternate history version of it, a “Hitler Won” one! I suggested the swastika under the British flag, and Sarah dug up WWII propaganda posters for inspiration, and the whole thing came together when I realized it needed the “dreaming” bit in the end.
We tend to just exchange a lot of e-mails when working on these pieces, mostly very rambly late night things that are only partly design-led. Then, inevitably, we go through a few drafts on each piece, as we’re both quite exact on what we want to achieve!
We definitely have a shared aesthetic, which is great.
Lavie Tidhar‘s A Man Lies Dreaming is on sale today. You can buy your copy here, at your neighborhood independent bookstore, at Barnes & Noble, or at Amazon.
Lavie Tidhar is the World Fantasy Award winning author of The Violent Century, Osama, and many other works. He won the British Fantasy Award for Best Novella and was nominated for the BSFA, Campbell, Sturgeon, Kitschie Red Tentacle, and Sidewise awards. He grew up on a kibbutz in Israel and in South Africa but currently resides in London.