Zombies vs. Unicorns in 4-D

The book is Zombies vs. Unicorns, edited by Holly Black and Justine Larbalestier, and published by Simon & Schuster. It is accompanied by a small website.

Allow me to read too much into something with almost no words: the cover design.

Zombies vs. Unicorns. Art direction by Sonia Chaghatzbanian.

What compels? The subject matter is about a primal mythological battle, with all the accompanying psychological freight. That can be discussed elsewhere.

Mystery, denial, hiding. The jacket forces a trade of white space, rudimentary and safe, which allows a page to breathe, for black space: the space of shadows, closed eyes, dead ends. It is like any one of the theatrical scrims that divide “the show” from life, and make it a show: the curtain that withholds the stage before the lights go on; the second or two of darkness at the cinema, before the film begins, and after it ends. Before the dream (or nightmare), you “black out.”

There is also a “false exit” in the cover, a locked trap door: the figures of zombie and unicorn are fake die cuts, blind stamped.

The palette beneath is electric, but first, the darkness. This design reminds me of another book. Something is trying to shine out; black is covering it up:

This is almost design in four dimensions. Length, width, height, but also something like time, or memory.


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