The Cook Islands. Heard of them? Perhaps you’ve even been there. I haven’t. They are located in the South Pacific more than 3000 kilometers north-east of Auckland.

What makes them in any way special? Well, I’ll tell you one way. Their government has an interesting cottage industry going. Commemorative coins. Small economies are – it seems – obliged to dream up innovative ways to increase their revenue. It’s an innocent alternative to laundering money. Or establishing a tax haven.

Look up Cook Islands Commemorative Coins on Google. Or on whatever search engine you might be considering as an alternative in a possible future without Google. The subjects of these coins are many and various, weird and wonderful. They include the signs of the zodiac, meteorite incursions, Playboy magazine, and Garfield the cat.

What intrigues me is a series of coins entitled Trapped. The first of these, issued in 2019, is shown above. Creepy isn’t it? Its not clear who is trapped here and who is doing the trapping. It will reassure some of you to know the other side of the coin depicts Queen Elizabeth II.

A second coin in the series, known as Still Trapped, was issued in 2020. If anything, it is still more creepy. Are these coins perhaps intended to draw attention to the plight of the mentally ill? Or of the physically incarcerated? Can we expect to see yet more in this captivating series?

Entrapment is the main theme of the novel, The Spaceman, I have just finished writing. And I’m naturally thinking of potential cover art for it. The above would have to be a serious contender.

Two weeks ago, in my blog, I discussed another contender for my cover. Gros Bonnets. Look up this blog.

Les Gros Bonnets du Village is a delicious 19th century French lithograph on the subject of the pomposity of hats. Hats as status symbols is a secondary theme in my novel. Think of the lawyer’s wig, the engineer’s hard hat, the academic’s mortar board.

The gist of Gros Bonnets is satirical. The gist of Trapped is much more serious. Which should I use for the cover of The Spaceman?

Would it depend, I wonder, on whether I plan to promote my novel in France or in the Cook Islands?