Meatspace, by Nikesh Shukla, is the story of social networking obsessive Kitab Balasubramanyam, and an analysis of ‘what happens when our lives become an aggregation of shared content’.
In the book, the characters’ exciting cyberspace personalities end up consuming their boring ‘meatspace’ lives.
To represent this ‘meatspace’ Hearne created a pair of aviator sunglasses and a bow-tie (representing a character’s online persona) rendering them in meat.
‘Creating a meat mosaic threw up a number of problems,’ says Hearne. ‘‘Getting a broad gamut of meat colours to provide contrast in the image was a challenge; a lot of meat colours tend to be in a narrow band of pinks and reds.’
To create the cover, Hearne worked with a variety of cooked and raw meats, including steak, chicken breast and black pudding, as well as pancetta and pork pie.
‘The hardest medium to work in is lamb’s liver,’ says Hearne. ‘It is slipperly to handle, and big differences in texture and density make it difficult to cut with accuracy.
‘It also smelt pretty bad after a few hours of handling under hot studio lights.’
Author Shukla says, ‘I’m a lapsed vegetarian and I find the cover both beautiful and disgusting in equal measure.
‘The cover really brings home what the book’s about – the idea of flesh, human contact, frailty pixelated and obscured through our digital lives… I don’t know how he coped surrounded by all that meat.’
Meatspace, by Nikesh Shukla, is published on 3 July by The Friday Project priced at £12.99.