“Reading takes you to another world,” Christoph Niemann says, about his cover for this week’s Fiction Issue. Niemann, who has long been interested in innovative visual communication, transformed his drawing into a 360° scene that you can view in your browser, on a device, or by donning virtual-reality goggles. “I like to use technology to solve analog problems, like showing what’s all around a drawing. As much as I use my phone all the time, I always thought that one of its most fantastic features was . . . the flashlight,” Niemann says.
To entice readers to explore the full world of the cover, Niemann hid five visual riddles in the trees, one for each piece in the On the Job series, which appears in this issue. Read the pieces below and then search the shadows for the hidden references, deducing their meaning from the texts. Be warned: the clues aren’t literal, so read and look carefully as you hunt for these literary gems.