Exclusive: See the brilliant front cover for Philip Reeve's final Railhead book Station Zero

Published on: 10 October 2017 Author: Catriona Wightman

Get excited: Philip Reeve is here to unveil the cover and share an exclusive extract of his third and final Railhead book, Station Zero...

Philip Reeve

We are so excited to unveil the cover of Philip Reeve's final book in the Railhead trilogy - and announce that it will be called Station Zero!

We've been completely hooked on Zen and Nova's story through Railhead and Black Light Express but we still have a little while to wait for Station Zero, which will be out in May 2018.

Luckily, to keep us going Philip has kindly now shared the cover, which has been designed by Ian McQue. So without any further ado, we'll let him do the honours...

Philip's thoughts on the cover

'When I was reading science fiction novels as a young teenager one of the things which drew me to them was the covers, which tended to feature colossal multi-coloured spaceships and exotic planetscapes by artists like Chris Foss and Peter Jones. The modern-day equivalent of those illustration giants is Ian McQue, a concept artist for movies and computer games and also the creator of a wonderful body of personal work featuring shifty-looking characters, wild landscapes and rusty airborne boats (check out his Twitter or Instagram accounts).

'I'm honoured that Oxford University Press have asked him to create the covers for my Railhead trilogy. He's made them look both very 2017 but also like just the sort of book I would have wanted to take off the library shelves in 1979. And now, finally, I can reveal Ian's cover for the third book, STATION ZERO...

Station Zero cover

'Like the previous books, Station Zero is full of strange machines and alien landscapes. Set in a future where trains travel from planet to planet through hyperspace wormholes, it traces the interstellar railway network all the way back to the place where it began, and reveals more about the mysterious entity who created it.

'But, as with the first two books, Ian has chosen to focus on the characters rather than the technology: here are Zen and Nova, pictured during a quiet moment between heists and adventures. That's fine by me, because Zen and Nova are my favourite characters, and I hope they're the heart of the book.

'What with them and the chunky title lettering, designed by Holly Fulbrook, there isn't room for a lot else on the front cover, but there are all sorts of details lurking on the back and on the inside flaps: a burning tower, some impressive futuristic cityscapes, a lilac sky full of enormous, complicated structures, and the old red train Damask Rose (who looks taller and squarer than I'd imagined her, but one of the pleasures of having your writing illustrated is seeing someone else's take on it). And who is the scary-looking young lady with the even scarier-looking lizard bodyguard? You'll have to read Station Zero to find out...'

Read the Station Zero prologue now

Can't quite wait until May 2018? Don't worry - we've got the prologue from Station Zero right here so you can get reading! Just click here to download the pages (if it's not going to make the wait even more difficult...)

Station Zero will be published in May 2018 by Oxford University Press. Railhead and Black Light Express are out now.

Read our reviews of the previous Railhead books below:


Author: Philip Reeve

A sci-fi adventure about a petty thief who gets in way over his head when he's asked to infiltrate the Emperor's train.

Read more about RailHead

Black Light Express

Author: Philip Reeve

Philip Reeve is a master world-builder and the nuances of the Network Empire world are executed beautifully in this sequel to the stunning RailHead.

Read more about Black Light Express

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