Nuclear Jihad: Unsold book cover illustration by artist Duncan Long

Nuclear Jihad: Unsold book cover illustration by artist Duncan Long

Over the last few months, I’ve been creating more “terrorist” covers and recently terrorists with nuclear devices. Arguably this is the ultimate nightmare of our age, only exceeded in the destructive potential of an all-out nuclear exchange or our planet being struck by a large asteroid. I suppose part of the fiction writer’s job is confront the reader with ideas he might otherwise never entertain.

Certainly this is the case with novels about nuclear weapons in the hands of madmen — like the one above who’s just remotely detonated a nuclear bomb with a coded signal from his cell phone.

The four (plus one from an older age) shown in this blog are all potential book cover illustrations. Each is all built around rejected elements from previous book projects I was working on. After finishing the projects, I went back to the sketches and felt some of them might become book illustrations in their own right. So I’ve fleshed a few of them out to create complete pictures.

That said, these are also “on the auction block,” ready to grace the cover of anyone needing to attract — and perhaps terrify — readers.

While we generally think of most terrorists as the men, it seems that women offer the potential — at least in fiction — to be equally cold-blooded. Hence a couple of female terrorists, both calmly insensitive to the damage they’ve done.

Playing With Matches: Book Artwork by Illustrator Duncan Long

"Playing With Matches:" Book Artwork by Illustrator Duncan Long

Nuclear Night book cover illustration by artist Duncan Long

"Nuclear Night" by book cover artist Duncan Long

And, yes, there is a twisted face in the nuclear blast of the picture above.

Of course end of civilization or even end-of-the-world tales are nothing new. Every culture has its myths of the end of everything, from the Mayan reorganization at the end of the “calender year” to Wagner’s Der Ring des Nibelungen from the old Nordic myth of the final cataclysmic end of Götterdämmerung. That preamble out of the way, here’s a left-handed salute to those ancient terrorism whether Druid chant or sorcerer’s spell.

The Last Druid Apocalypse - Book Cover artwork

"The Last Druid Apocalypse" by book cover artist Duncan Long

While a culture’s nightmare may be a nuclear device in the hands of terrorists or an out-of-control witch in older times, the more common weapon “with your name on it” has proved throughout history to be the conventional, whether blade, bullet, or bomb.

Today that tool of the trade for many a real-life terrorist is the suicide vest. So this final painting offers a bit of reality for the viewer, with a nod toward that most dangerous of fanaticisms (regardless of its name) which calls evil “good,” and bad “evil,” while promising good rewards its bad works.

Arfan and the 40 Virgins book cover artwork

"Arfan and the 40 Virgins" by book illustrator Duncan Long

Illustrator Duncan Long creates a variety of book cover artwork, from peaceful scenes to nuclear holocaust. You can see more of his book illustrations in his Book Art Portfolio.