The earliest rise in forensic analysis, even before the AAFS was founded, was contemporaneous with the emergence of eugenics and its conception of purity. Purity, an idea that is perfectly functional when dealing with the possibility of contamination at the crime scene, was popularised as a racist euphemism by Francis Galton, pioneer of both eugenics and forensic technologies. One of the earliest practitioners of fingerprinting, Galton served the police state in ideological as well as practical ways.

 Luminol Theory


When human blood reacts with luminol, it lights up a ghostly blue. This reaction, most commonly used to detect whether violence has taken place at suspected crime scenes, combines the human and the chemical, it invokes violence and disposability but also transformation. THE LUMINOL REELS takes its imagery from pornography, Catholicism, and crime scene investigation to interrogate the violence done to women. It considers the ongoing brutality of the femicides in Ciudad Juarez and the institutional misogyny of the Catholic Church. Violence is intrinsically linked to location, and the shrines, quinceañera parties, holy communions, and seances of this book are all stained luminescent blue.

hybrid writing// LUMINOL THEORY (PUNCTUM, 2017) 

Representations of forensic procedures saturate popular culture from true crime shows such as Forensic Files and Making a Murderer to crime fiction series such as CSI. One of the most striking forensic tools used in these narratives is the chemical luminol, so named because it glows blue when it comes into contact with the tiniest drops of human blood. Luminol is a deeply ambivalent object: it is both a tool of the police, historically abused and misappropriated, and yet it offers hope to families of victims by allowing hidden crimes to surface.  Luminol Theory investigates the possibility of using a tool of the state in subversive, or radical ways. By introducing luminol as an agent of forensic inquiry, Luminol Theory discover what this deeply strange object can tell us about crime, death, and history, to make visible violent crimes, and to offer a tangible encounter with death and finitude. 

Luminol Theory at UEA

prose poetry// THE LUMINOL REELS (CALAMARI, 2014)

Available from Calamari Press

A fierce and deadly little fantasia that bites its way deep into your brain.' — Brian Evenson

'We were plump and pretty, our skin glowed like Chinese lanterns and he wanted our laughter for himself": In THE LUMINOL REELS, Laura Ellen Joyce finds the blue-glowing, b-movie heart of Plath’s and Ballard’s atrocity exhibitions and the parapornography of reliquaries. Joyce may write: "This one is for the sickos," but this is a book for readers who are into David Lynch, Aase Berg, Bluebeard (any version), hagiography; "splatter gurlesque" and media theory. In other words: people who want their reading to feel like drinking "luminol margaritas".'  — Johannes Göransson

'Joyce’s hand is as unflinching in its force as any of the deathly actions rendered to the bodies on any page, almost like an alarm light throwing its glow over room after room, or stations in an exhibit of twisted murder scenes. Each leg is mercifully brief, landing its blow and moving into the next.'  — Blake Butler

'It’s hard to make political work that makes you go damn. I don’t like soapbox writing. It’s pretentious. Joyce’s work dares you. It doesn’t give a fuck about its being because it’s already bleeding out in the sand. The directive serves as a hard bar to rattle rules within the world of The Luminol Reels. Each page has headings like a manual, on how to accept and rewrite your life as the dreams your mother had the day you were fired from being part of her. It tells you how to tell someone who tells you what to do what to do while overdosing.'  — Elizabeth Mikesch


Blake Butler at VICE

Gabino Iglesias at the LA Review of Books

Ronnie Peltier at New Delta Review

Elizabeth Mikesch at Tarpaulin Sky 

James R. Gapinski at Heavy Feather 

Diarmuid Hester at 3am Magazine

Natanya Ann Pulley at The Collagist

Luke Taylor at Full Stop

Ian Baran on the New York Public Library Blog


Interview at The Collagist

Research Notes at Necessary Fiction 

Playlist for The Luminol Reels at Largehearted Boy 

Excerpt at The Collagist

Excerpt at Sleepingfish

Excerpt at Black Sun Lit