this quote is courtesy of my girlfriend when I had writers block...
John Fitzgerald Kennedy sucked bulls testicles. Thats right, he sucked bullocks.
I am a teapot but not a little one
Russell, you smell
Oh, I hit insert, damnit
i'm bringing sexy back
what kind'a unicorn are you?
now, tell me either the number I just said or what I said in English
You know, if I were Jesus and I came back, people wearing me around their neck would freak me the fuck out
This is what happens when I have writers block; seems like fun, don't it?
The New (and better than Heaphy's) Cover For “The Cold Equations”
Robert M. Barga
The Obvious parts
The planet that the rocket is aimed at is the quintessential plot-mover in this story. The Pilot needs to go save the people (including Marilyn's brother) on that planet. Everything in the ship is aimed for that planet, and the planets gravitational pull is the main factor of math that fluctuates throughout the story.
The satellites around it are the normal for that time and technology levels. The fact that he can communicate with space is indicated by those satellites. There are only two orbiting (geostationary in the Clarkarian orbits) only on the lower half due to the fact that the brother can only communicate with them until the curve of the planet exceeds a certain point.
The small creature on the front of the ship is not an alien, no matter how much it looks like one. It is actually a small monkey (you can tell by the tail) which is a clear stab at my other papers, and my deep seated desire to keep all monkies in science-fiction (include the simps in Rama) alive.
The Space Ship
The space ship has a very unique shape to it. While there is no clear definition of how the ship is structured, save the fact that there is little that could be cast overboard, I was given leniency on how it was shaped. I wanted to shape it in a way that would show the actual purpose of it in this story; while its overall use was to save people, in this story it actually killed people (though I still contend that Marylin killed herself). Thus, I shaped the craft into a bullet. Bullets speed through air in an unchangeable (except for certain formulas) trajectory, and they are meant to destroy what they hit. This symbolizes everything that the craft is, and everything that it was planned to be.
The fire streaming from the back actually symbolizes when this was in the story. This is near the end of the story when The Pilot (is he ever named) is forced to restart his ship (after floating on course for some time) to be able to adapt to all the formulas that exist in space. This shows that Marylin is close to being ejected, and he needs to continue his course. Arguably, it is also near the start, before the halo of functions catch up with them.
The Voice (or lack thereof)
The fact that there is very little dialog in the space ship also says where in the story this image is a screen shot of. Near the end, when they both sit their pondering, they talk very little, each just thinking in their own heads. Furthermore, this shows the futility of any change that they could attempt to do, as when looked at in space, even their thoughts are so insignificant that they can not show up.
The random voice shouting from the planet of course is Marylin's brother. It is symbolization of his cry at the end of their radio discussion, and the cry of millions of humans. This represents when you lose somebody, regardless of whom it is or why. While it is insignificant in space (hence its small size), it matters greatly to a large number of people, which is why it is large in size to the planet.
The functions that are floating around in a halo are the most obvious part of this image. While it is obvious that they would love to change these functions, they can not, and thus they are stuck with them. The fact that they are in space is how I show that they are outside of their control. All of the functions combined to cause the problem with Marylin, but if they did not exist nothing we know would. This is the main part of the story, which is why it is the main part of my image.
Each function listed has a specific part in the reason why Marylin can not stay on the bullet ship. Each function exists everywhere, and is what causes her to kill herself. From top LR then bottom, LR:
Tangential Acceleration - The acceleration used when going along a specific tangent line.
Weight - The addition of Marylin's weight, when combined with the fuel and The Pilot, created too much loss of fuel.
Drag - While the drag in space is minimal, it would be enough to cost up the little fuel that they had. Additionally, the drag once they reached the atmosphere would have been greater due to Marylin being in the ship.
Gravity (base Earth) - Gravity effects masses the same, no matter what they are. Thus, Marylin would not have effected this formula.
Force - X amount of fuel can carry weight Y only Z miles. That is because the force of the fuel can only extend that far.
Velocity - This is the velocity of a given object. While Marylin did not slow down the current velocity, once they needed to change it, she would have been a problem.
Change in Gravitational Potential Energy - This really just changes how much a specific object COULD be effected by gravity. This is where Marylin's extra weight shows up.
Speed - There is a set speed that is needed to enter and exit a planet, Marylin's weight would have caused this speed to be greater, thus using more fuel.
This was the easiest way to explain the cover that I could conceive of. As you never responded to my email, I figured it was okay (and if not, I can re-write it).