Thursday, June 23, 2016

Book Cover of the Day: Floor 21 by Jason Luthor

Title: Floor 21
Author: Jason Luthor
Publisher: Scout Press
Pages: 355
Genre: Sci-fi/Dystopian

The last of humanity is trapped at the top of an isolated apartment tower with no memory of how they got there or why. All travel beneath Floor 21 is forbidden, and nobody can ever recall seeing the ground floor. Beneath Floor 21, a sickness known as the Creep infests that halls of the Tower. A biological mass that grows stronger in reaction to people’s fear and anger, the Creep prey’s on people by causing them to hallucinate until they’re in a state of panicking, before finally growing strong enough to lash out and consume them. Only a small team known as Scavengers are allowed to go beneath Floor 21 to pillage the lower levels in search of food and supplies.

Jackie is a brilliant young girl that lives far above the infection and who rarely has to worry about facing any harm. However, her intense curiosity drives her to investigate the bottom floors and the Creep. To deal with her own anxiety and insecurities, she documents her experiences on a personal recorder as she explores the secrets of the Tower. During the course of her investigation, Jackie will find herself at odds with Tower Authority, which safeguards what remains of humanity, as she attempts to determine what created the Creep, how humanity became trapped at the top of the Tower, and whether anyone knows if escape is even possible.

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  • Floor 21 is available at Amazon.
  • Discuss this book at PUYB Virtual Book Club at Goodreads.
Jason Luthor Talks Covers

The book cover was actually made by me when I was entering Amazon’s Scout competition. I needed an image that conveyed fear and tension. So, the font is Demon Skier, and it has a simple drop shadow effect going with a blur on the red shadow to make the font stand out. The lower half of the cover is a rust and blood pattern I passed through a filter to darken it. All it took was an eraser tool to get it to bleed nicely into the above sky. The sky overhead was a simple cloudy sky image that underwent a red tinting. Probably the most prominent element of the book is the skyscraper.

The book is about the last of humanity living on the upper floors of a tower, so the tower itself had to be visually interesting. This is actually an image of the Shanghai Jin Mao Tower in China. I picked it because it wasn’t a simple skyscraper. The architecture is interesting and it makes the silhouette stand out against the sky. The image was run through a simple greyscale filter. The upper part of the tower was already dark from the original image, so adjusting the darkness got it to black out nicely and gave it an ominous feeling. There’s a window set that’s got a red hue about a third of the way up. That was to offset the greyscale of the tower with an interesting visual cue, and the use of red again alludes to the terror of those living inside.

Work on the cover wasn’t terribly difficult, but finding the right images and color balance was. A few hours at most was spent pondering how I wanted to construct it. In the end, I believe it conveyed a feeling of fear and tension that mirrors what the survivors of humanity are experiencing inside the tower as well.

Jason Luthor has spent a long life writing for sports outlets, media companies and universities. His earliest writing years came during his coverage of the San Antonio Spurs as an affiliate with the Spurs Report and its media partner, WOAI Radio. He would later enjoy a moderate relationship with Blizzard Entertainment, writing lore and stories for potential use in future games. At the academic level he has spent several years pursuing a PhD in American History at the University of Houston, with a special emphasis on Native American history.

His inspirations include some of the obvious; The Lord of the Rings and Chronciles of Narnia are some of the most cited fantasy series in history. However, his favorite reads include the Earthsea Cycle, the Chronicles of Prydain, as well as science fiction hits such as Starship Troopers and Do Androids dream of Electric Sheep?

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