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Rules for Anchorites

Letters from Proxima Thule

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The Habitation of the Blessed Cover
prester john
catvalente
It's not Ghost Rider, I swear!

I'm SUPER curious about y'all's reaction to this--do you like it, does it make you want to buy it, is it evocative? Opinion me, O Livejournal!


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I know. Believe me, I fought. That girl was originally blonde. I wanted a blemmy on the cover. Believe it or not they are both far less white than they were. John is Greek in the book so at least he's sort of plausibly Greekish looking...

He doesn't look like the guy who's been through the stuff he's been through by the point the book examines. I don't think anyway.


I would buy this book if it had a comic sans title and a stick figure blemmy, but my first impression is this doesn't look like A Book By Catherynne M. Valente - it's not going to have continuity with the visual style and presentation of The Labyrinth, Orphans Tales and Palimpsest on my shelf, even though all three of those are different - they have harmonious appearance, but this is discordant. TOT both had very.image rich covers, but this does not look enough like those to make me immediately make the connection.

I am just...not loving it. Maybe because I know what is inside is beautiful and wondrous and this does not move me. Mehndi lady is giving me bad vibes: I can guess who she's supposed to be and I am making a Bert face...she's too generic-"exotic" in a way that instantly turns me off, especially when combined with the "man is whole figure, woman is disembodied parts (at least she gets more of a figure than sometimes happens) and if she is the only person I can think she is, she's frankly too white. Dude doesn't make me think of John at all. He looks too callow. They both look...wrong.

Everyone saying your name is too tiny is absolutely right. You are more well recognized now than you were before you won the Norton and got nominated for the Hugo, but I just got up out of my comfy bed to confirm what I thought, which is that your name is more prominent on your last three novels than it is here. And with the business of this cover? Your name was more prominent on your first novel, comparatively, than this appears to be. That seems...counterintuitive. In the extreme. I'm not a marketing expert, but it's not giving me warm fuzzies. I want a name that's starting to become familiar to jump out. This is not that.

I hate not loving the proposed visual appearance of one of your books and rankle at the idea that there may be one where I feel i have to tell my friends "Ignore the cover, this book is awesome."

And hell, I'll throw this out here. I would love this cover if it focused on only one of the fantastical people contained therein, since pulling off the OT style cover seems to have reached and failed here. A dark cover with your name and the title writ large with a single panotti or the like would make me infinitely happier than this...which by its composition suggests precisely the opposite position taken by the book within the first thirty pages.

If you had stripped the title off and showed me this last week? It would not have immediately occurred to me that this picture went with that book. However it comes into the world I will love HABITATION. But if it's not too late, and people with input are reading? Please don't use this cover. It doesn't do the work you're publishing justice.

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