NOTE: This is a guest post from debut author Caitlin Starling. The Luminous Dead goes on-sale 4/2/2019 and is currently available for pre-order. Enjoy!
How do you turn something as intangible as the perilous love-hate relationship between two women into a cover? You don’t; instead, you focus on the hundreds of feet of rock that separate them.
In The Luminous Dead, Gyre Price lies her way onto a solo caving expedition, following the promise of a hefty paycheck and a skilled topside crew to keep her company and help her survive the dangers she’ll face belowground. Instead, she gets Em.
Deceitful, single-minded, and dangerous, Em won’t hesitate to put Gyre in danger to further her own ends. Gyre refuses to die for Em, but finding a way to stop her means staying in the depths of the cave a little longer. And yet the deeper she goes, the less certain Gyre is that she’s alone in the cave. The way out is long and treacherous, and Em and Gyre might just need each other to survive…
At its core, The Luminous Dead is a horrific bottle episode: one setting, two characters, no safety. I wanted a cover that communicated the isolation, the danger, and the vastness of what Gyre had gotten herself into– and Voyager’s creative team more than delivered!
I love the deft, swift storytelling of this cover. The glove and its screen are undeniably futuristic: we’re looking at a sci-fi story. But there are no astral vistas, no ships. Instead, all we have is that gloved hand, coming over the edge of the cliff, with the weight of the title bearing down on its grasping fingers. It could be Gyre coming up over the ledge. But is it? That uncertainty is the story’s foundation, dogging our protagonist’s every step, and Owen Corrigan’s arresting design and artist Alejandro Colucci’s incredible illustration distills it down into a single moment.
They’ve also wonderfully captured possibly my favorite element of the whole novel. As the story unfolds, it becomes clear that the cave is as much of a character as Gyre and Em. It may be inanimate and nonhuman, but at times it appears to have an agenda, its own desires. Because of that, we had to get the cave to look just right, down to the eerie blue lighting that is the sole source of light Gyre encounters in the book. And with the rich rock textures, the cavernous but impenetrable space behind the hand and title, and the tagline, the cave is just as much a looming presence on the cover as it is in the text.
Are you prepared to climb down?
The Luminous Dead is currently available for pre-order.