Free Stuff: Win an autographed book

Which best floats your boat:  Young Elvis or Mature Elvis?  New Coke or Coke Classic?  Baby Jesus or Bearded Jesus?  Jason Wander Classic or Jason Wander photo-real?

Orphanage was released in 2004 with a deliberately “Buck Rogers retro” hand-painted-portrait style cover depicting Jason Wander in crimson armor, created by English artist Fred Gambino.  To see that cover, click under Blogroll at right, on Robert Buettner’s Official Site, then click on the top tab Art of OrphanageOrphanage made Barnes & Noble’s Paperback Top 50 in its first weeks of release, and Fred’s cover illustration was on prominent display at the World Science Fiction Convention Art Show in Glasgow in 2005.

But, in conjunction with the April 1, 2008, release of Jason Wander book 3, Orphan’s Journey, Orbit reissued Orphanage with a new, “photo real” cover illustration depicting a back-lit Jason in desert-tan camo.  The reissued version, and it’s also-reissued 2005 sequel, Orphan’s Destiny, have each sold so well in their new covers that Orbit has had to reprint them both, three weeks after their release.

So we have competing blockbuster formulae.  But which do you prefer?

Post your vote in the form of a comment to this post, below, or just email me at for either the “classic red” or “nouveau tan” covers between now and midnight, May 1, 2008. 

I’ll announce the results here on May 2, 2008, and also draw a winner at random from among all posted votes.  The winner will receive a free, autographed copy of his or her choice among Classic Orphanage, Classic Orphan’s Destiny or “nouveau green” Orphan’s Journey.  I reserve the right to award additional prizes to posts I think are funny, insightful or suitably sycophantic.


13 Responses to “Free Stuff: Win an autographed book”

  1. Robert K. Scarborough Says:

    Mr. Buettner, Hello and please let me say that I have read all three of the Jason Wander books in the Orphanage series. I really enjoy reading these books and I know that I will read them over and over again. My favorite type of science fiction is military sci-fi, like many I served my country in the US Army. Your books and you sir deserve a place right next to David Drake and other military sci-fi authors And I cannot wait until the next book in the series comes out this fall. I have a copy of Orphanage with Jason in his crimson armor and I really prefer this book cover to the new ones, at present I am trying to find copies of Orphans Destiny and Orphans Journey with the “Buck Rogers Retro” covers to add to my collection. This is so I can loan the new cover editions to my brother and not worry about losing them. Ha-Ha. So please count my vote most heartily to the retro covers. Thank you, Robert k. Scarborough

  2. Robert Buettner Says:

    Robert K – Thanks for the kind words, and for your service.

    At the moment, there is no “Buck Rogers retro” cover for Orphan’s Journey. However, Factoria de Ideas, publisher of the Spanish-language editions of the first two books, chose to use the Fred Gambino covers. Must’ve been a good idea, because Orphanage was a best seller in Spain. If Factoria chooses to translate Orphan’s Journey, they might stick with the “retro” look, and commission Fred to do another cover. I think the new look is great, too, but I’d love to see what Fred would do with the remaining books in the series.

  3. George L. Heath Says:

    Mr. Buettner

    I am an old soldier (for active duty anyway) and I have to agree with the statements of the previous commentor. I would like to add that I am an avid Sci Fi reader and especially enjoy the military genre. I read Starship Trooper when I was 11 and have been fatally hooked ever since. There are four books that I read every year. And now the Orphanage saga has joined those books. I have to say that the photo real covers are pretty cool, but one look at the retro cover gave me that old nostalgic feeling.


    SPC George L. Heath

  4. Robert Buettner Says:

    George L – Thanks for the kind words, for your service, and for your vote.

  5. ResilientMonkey Says:

    Mr. Buettner,

    I must say, EXCELLENT WORK! I received a copy of “Orphan’s Destiny” recently and absolutely enjoyed it thoroughly! I had no choice but to go pick up a copy of “Orphanage” and enjoy your tale from the beginning. You paint a vivid picture with your work, one I most heartily enjoy.

    Your mention of “Have Spacesuit-Will Travel” by Heinlein brought back a flood of memories! I fondly remember spending my free time curled up with many paperbacks, my mind soaring through those fantastic worlds. “Red Planet”, “Farmer in the Sky”, “Starman Jones”, those tales enthralled me as a youngster. Ah, those were the days.

    And now, your style of writing is bringing that back. Now if I could only find other works like this.

    Anway, sorry to ramble on like that. For the preference of your cover art, though I like the retro style, I must say that I prefer the newer photo-quality covers. To me they are more distinctive. The retro style indeed does bring up memories of those older books, but the new style is distinctive on its own. It lends your books their own identity. One I think they deserve. So, final answer, I like the new photo-quality covers better.

    I hope to talk again soon! Keep up the great work!

    E. Todd Quigley

  6. Robert Buettner Says:

    E. Todd – Thanks for your vote and for your perspective.

  7. Dalibor Zeman Says:

    Mr Buettner,

    thank you for great reading time spent with Czech Translation of Orphanage. Its great military sci-fi, genre I realy like. The story, the writing, the atmosphere is great.

    And about the vote – I prefer new “Realistic” cover. I don’t like Retro covers, they do not have the “action atmosphere” of the new ones, and I realy dont like pulp genre this retro covers have.

    Actually the Czech cover looks really good as well. Only thing is that Jason on the cover does not comply with technolgy inside the book. My imagination of army equipment in Orphaange is something between USAF CCT soldier in Afghanistan and Pournelle’s Falkenberg’s Mercenaries SAS teams from The Prince serie.

  8. robertbuettner Says:

    Dalibor – Thanks for your kind words, and for your vote. For the benefit of other readers, they can see an enlargeable thumbnail of Orphanage’s Czech-language edition cover at, on the news and appearances page. Dalibor, Fantom Print will be releasing the Czech translation of Book 2, Orphan’s Destiny, later in 2008, I think. Fantom Print also recently purchased rights to publish Book 3, Orphan’s Journey, in Czech.

  9. Dalibor Zeman Says:

    Orphan Destiny 2 is already released, I thing that I ahve it at home and I am looking forward to read it this night. I am an external editor for Dragonlance saga in FANTOM Print. Thanks for great books once more!

  10. Laurelin G. Says:

    I picked up Orphan and Orphan’s Destiny together based on the flap summaries and read the first one in three days. That’s saying something since I work full time, go to school, have two internships, a one-year-old daughter, and a side-life as a painter. I spent any time I wasn’t reading, trying to get back to it! I confess that when her dad thought I was reading her bedtime stories, I snuck in a couple of chapters of Orphan. What? She doesn’t know what I’m saying. Anyway, I love a book that takes me on vacation (since I don’t get many :)), that absorbs me even as I absorb it, and I’ve hit the jackpot here. My tastes run the gamut, but I haven’t read much Military SF, so thanks for opening and then changing my mind! I Googled you because I’m reading Orphan’s Destiny now and I realize that I could be done in just a couple of days. I’m hooked! I need more! OK, so I’m ordering the third book today. With regard to the covers, maybe it’s just the painter in me, but the retro style covers are very, very cool. Plus, artists always need work, so I’m sure Mr. Gambino would be happy to help out again. I would love to collect a series that looks cohesive on my shelf, but who am I kidding – I’ll get them either way. So…from perhaps your newest fan: keep it up! I mean like now. Seriously, why are you still reading this? Go write!

  11. robertbuettner Says:

    Laurelin G. – Thanks for the kind words, and for your vote.

    Fred Gambino is, in my experience and as you suggest, always up for a new assignment. Lately the film industry has consumed his vast talents. If you’re familiar with the Warner/Tom Hanks-Nicholas Cage-Julia Roberts-Meryl Streep-Paul Giamatti-Lily Tomlin voiced animated feature, The Ant Bully, Fred’s work is prominent there.

  12. Aaron S. Says:

    I just finished reading “Orphan’s Destiny” this morning and I enjoyed it quite a bit. I picked up “Orphanage” when it first came out and blew a weekend quite happily at the pool with the book in one hand and a Miller Lite in the other. If you keep them coming I’ll keep reading them.

    Also, big props on the marathoning! I am an active runner who has only attempted one marathon (Quad Cities ’05). I felt pretty good through ten, started hurting at 11 and started a 10.2 mile death march at mile 16. I haven’t convinced myself that I’m deranged enough to try another and have stuck to half marathons or shorter.

  13. dave tuchman Says:

    Too late to vote, but I don’t care about covers anyway, it’s what’s inside that counts. I end up checking the copyright date as I read so much, sometimes I get fooled by a new cover and end up reading a few pages to realize I read it years ago.
    Just wanted to say I really enjoy your work, and hope to see you continuing till the slugs are gone, and then starting up another saga.

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