Unpacking Society Fractured: The Second Cure by Margaret Morgan.
Our fourth box has landed on our subscribers doorsteps, check out what was inside!
After doing two YA novels, a non-fiction book on modern dating and a book of poetry, we decided to turn our attention to adult fiction. The chosen book is a speculative fiction debut from incredible author, Margaret Morgan. This book is topical, interesting and shows an eerily accurate near-future that could come to pass.
Let’s get stuck in to unpacking The Second Cure and concept of our Society Fractured box!
First things first, our featured book:
As fans of speculative fiction we were so excited to read this debut novel! Jords heard about this book around the office and knew she needed to read it. Binge reading in a single Saturday, Jords fell down the rabbit hole that is Thete’s, The Republic of Capricornia and cat-killing parasites. Barely emerging for air, Jords handed the book to Mel in a haze of tears as she dealt with everything this book is.
Jords sat in her colourless post The Second Cure world and waited until she could discuss everything this book is. Despite having many discussions at work, Jords couldn’t wait to talk about it with her partner-in-books Mel. After Mel finished it we spent a good few hours discussing EVERYTHING that had happened - and we had a week long meeting trying to figure out how to capture this book into a single box theme name. Society Fractured may, or may not do this book justice!
This book deals with themes of societal fractures and divides because of politics (classic), LGBT identity, relationships, friendships, and a parasite that alters brain chemistry in humans, while killing off the world’s cat population. The book is character driven, pacey, and leaves you wanting more. All of these elements are rolled into an interesting, complex and can’t-put-down read that we really love!
And thus, The Second Cure was chosen as our book.
Working with Aussie Women (Part 4)
Apothecary beauty Co - Denise
Some words from the creator:
We know that what we put on our skin gets absorbed into our bodies and affects our health, that's why at Apothecary Beauty, we only use non-toxic, mainly natural, effective, and most importantly, cruelty-free ingredients. All our products are formulated and compounded in small batches by me, a pharmacist. Come to our shop for a browse!
Why we chose the Rose Scented Bath Bombs:
The book has a strong focus on the senses, so we knew we wanted to explore this aspect. We chose a bath bomb because we feel that a relaxing bath is just what we needed after immersing ourselves in this intense world.
The scent of roses is also tied to the novel. This reflects a crucial scene which is a catalyst for the second half of the novel. You’ll just have to read it to find out why!
Some words from the creator:
Being tea obsessed bookworms, we wanted to create a concept for our two passions. After a lot of research, wrong turns, right turns and a lot of tea tasting, Literary Tea Co. was born. Based in Sydney we get to do what we love - creating delicious tea blends based on writers we admire. Beautiful aromas fill the air and magical combinations tickle our tastebuds as we come up with and produce each blend.
Why we chose the William Shakespeare Tea:
The flavour is based on the world’s best playwright, William Shakespeare. We chose this flavour because Hamlet is referenced in the novel by one of our favourite characters, Winnie.
Literary Tea Co. also package tea in test tubes, which is how we wanted to show our love and appreciation for one of the main characters, Charlie. She is a scientist who is researching for a cure, and answers, to the parasite that is wiping out the earth’s cat population. And, she is BADASS.
Pastel Punk Princess - Alexis
Why we chose the The LGBTQI+ Pride Pins:
Alexis is the creator of over 15 unique pin designs, ranging from LGBT pride to mental health awareness.
We chose her LGBT pin to feature because of one of our leading ladies, Bridgette. She is forced back into the closet during the height of the totalitarian regime of Capricornia. Bridgette is fierce, determined and loyal to her friends, family and to the cause. We feel her sexuality is a prominent part of her character, and integral to the story, and we wish to support her, and the whole LGBT community by wearing these pins.
Artwork & Design
As usual I (Mel) designed and created the artwork and printed products for this box! I had a lot of fun with this box, and the incredibly evocative characters and scene’s that Margaret Morgan brought to life in The Second Cure.
Bookmark - Patrick’s Throne
This month’s bookmark depicts the scene of Winnie’s death, the cliffs by Richard and Charlie’s house, where Winnie’s father, Patrick carved a throne from stone many years ago. The moment is dark and evocative, describing a severe storm over Australian bush land, and the strike of lightning that ends her life. I tried to capture the mood with dark watercolours, and bright white highlights in the moment of the flash. On the back is the quote from Hamlet, “My words fly up, my thoughts remain below. Words without thoughts never to heaven go.” She is contemplating the line in regards to her absent faith, and how her prayers can’t make it to God if she no longer believes. Just as she begins to reconcile with this change in her life, and decides to live on in a different way, nature takes this new life from her. It’s devastating but very thought provoking and has a profound effect upon all the characters throughout the rest of the book.
Temporary Tattoo - Mark of the Thetes
In The Second Cure a new movement is born out of rising cases of synesthesia, a condition that changes the way humans perceive things. For example sounds might cause you to taste something, and a taste might cause you to see certain colours. Perceptions blurr and intersect in unique ways for each synesthete. This group bands together and take the label of Thetes. The emblem of the movement is a multicoloured eye which many get tattooed on their foreheads, which inspired me to design this colourful watercolour eye temporary tattoo for the box.
A5 Print - Marion Effenberg
This month I really wanted to do a character design, because the image of The Daughters was so eerie and compelling. So I decided to draw the character of Marion, the true leader of the religious zealots that tore Australia apart to create The Republic of Capricornia. I had a lot of fun creating this image and I want to share some of the process with you!
Step 1. Sketching
I sketched the face in my brown paper art journal. There isn’t much description of Marion in the book, and so I got to create her however I wished. She is described as having serious power over her husbands congregation, and so I decided on intense eyes, and a harsh sort of beauty to her face. She also appears later in the book with a face mask so sheer her lips are clearly visible. The face masks are a symbol of purity and modesty for the Daughters, and so it’s very nearly inappropriate, however her position as the leader of the militarised zealots allows her leeway. I was very interested in these lacy masks and had a lot of fun figuring out how to create this effect.
Step 2. Details and line work.
I love working on brown paper because you can really emphasise aspects of the work easily with black and white ink, which I did so in this next step, working in the details. I used black ink for the eyes and outlines of her face and hair, and white ink for the highlights in her hair, and the mask. Next I broke out some coloured pencils. These don’t work very well on brown paper, but the effect I wanted from them was subtle, so it worked for this piece. I filled in a red tinge for her lips, and some light blue for her intense eyes. I also did a light covering of the mask with white pencil, but later decided I would edit this in Photoshop to get the effects that I wanted, and so erased it, in order to make pulling out the details easier later.
Step 3. Digital Editing
After this I scanned the image, and opened her up in Photoshop. Part of the reason I love photoshop, is the layer function, and so to make this process easier, I first broke down the elements into layers. I picked up the white ink in a highlight layer, and the black ink in a shadow layer, and then deleted the original brown paper background- importing a scan of clean brown paper behind. This allows you to freely edit the linework and shading, letting you erase those lines without also erasing the brown paper behind it. I then separated the white layer into the face mask details, and the face and hair, leaving me 3 layers I could edit free of one another. I neatened up the mask, and added a transparent layer of white beneath giving more control over how see through the material looked, than I had had with the white pencil. I then went ahead and added some more layers under the line work; the white of her collar, some more white fill for her hair, and a little more colour to her eyes. Among these layers I also added some more shading and light to her face, to fill it out a little.
However I wanted to keep the sketchy elements, and so I didn’t edit much else past this point. I like the rough look of sketching with pen and tried to keep that texture as much as possible by using rougher Photoshop brushes. I made a few more minor changes and called her complete!
We had so much fun putting this box together, and we hope our subscribers had just as much unboxing it. For those of you who didn’t get your hands on one, watch this space for an exciting upcoming giveaway! Tell us in the comments below your favourite aspect of the box, or quote from the book.