Second Round: A Canticle for Leibowitz by Walter Miller Jr.

DiskuteraConsensus Press

Bara medlemmar i LibraryThing kan skriva.

Second Round: A Canticle for Leibowitz by Walter Miller Jr.

okt 24, 2022, 1:58 am

A Canticle for Leibowitz by Walter Miller Jr.

A Canticle for Leibowitz is an ode to the preservation of knowledge and humanity in the face of ruin. I'd love to preserve it with a beautiful fine press edition that captures this spirit. The book itself will resemble a tattered and worn leather-bound, gilded, religious text. The three main sections and chapter headings will mimic an illuminated script from the middle ages. Inside you'll find Leibowitz's fateful illuminated blueprint, done in "gold leaf" with beautiful lettering. Bonus, if amenable, to include an introduction by Adrian Tchaikovsky - whose 'Children of Time' series touches on many of the same themes.

This proposal received 58 yes votes in the first round.

The proposer has been notified of this discussion thread, and may receive help or advice in expanding the proposal.

Redigerat: okt 24, 2022, 12:34 pm

>1 consensuspress: I think of the two “Canticle” proposals, each with very similar design concepts, this one narrowly wins for me.

I’m not sure how the “tattered and worn” affect could be appropriately achieved, but I love the idea of the illumination and extravagant medieval-style printing.

okt 24, 2022, 12:33 pm

>2 NathanOv: Thanks NathanOv! Pretty shocked to find my proposal here this morning, but I suppose that speaks to the love of Walter's work. Hopefully we can do it justice and make a fine press version a reality.

The current 100-word description is mostly about capturing the spirit of the idea, and less about nailing the specifics. Would definitely appreciate your and this group's help/expertise to get those elements right. "Tattered and worn" was something I went back and forth on too... the spirit is hand-made, medieval, a treasured relic... not modern, mass produced, or overly manufactured. Yet, no one wants a dirty ragged book on the shelf :) So, very open to exploring how best to explicitly capture that sentiment.

Anyways, if you're excited about this idea, I'm all ears. Over the next week, I promise to do a ton more research on paper, binding, colors, book size, artists (illumination?!), etc. And, of course, really get the creative juices going to bring this to life. Cheers!

Redigerat: okt 24, 2022, 2:12 pm

>3 caszius: Well, if you can't tell by my comments on other proposals, I'm excited by the strong possibility of the first Consensus Press title being a gorgeously printed text with illumination.

A couple options to achieve your desired binding affect might be 1) a dark Cave paper (Example of available papers), or 2) A limp rough-cut leather (nearly hundred-year old examples, though I'm not sure how they'd look "new").

Redigerat: okt 24, 2022, 1:01 pm

>4 NathanOv: Oooh I really like this dark cave paper example; great find! Might prefer this one over the persimmon, but definitely feels on the right track.

okt 24, 2022, 1:11 pm

>5 caszius: Great find - that could be a fantastic choice if feasible!

okt 24, 2022, 1:33 pm

>4 NathanOv: Those Cave papers are lovely! The O'Malley Crackle speaks to me. The Indigo is beautiful too, a challenging color to do well.

Redigerat: okt 24, 2022, 1:48 pm

>7 Shadekeep: Two other great examples! The O'Malley Crackle probably has the most "tattered and worn" look while maintaining an overall elegance and finesse.

This wasn't a title I'd originally voted for, but the concept has me excited and I would not be disappointed if it remains the favorite of the members.

okt 24, 2022, 2:17 pm

>7 Shadekeep: Yeah that Crackle one is great, and actually if you look at "Indigo Night" that provides an interesting worn look too. Might be too bold, but much to mull over! I have a feeling my work days are going to become much less productive this week :)

Also, just reading how the other Canticle proposal is positioned, I think it's fair to say that our proposal here will likely be a bit more pricey. If we can find a way to get fine press Canticle published, I wanna do my best to make it something truly special (include a little medieval art, in particular the illuminated blueprint; try our best to find a contemporary author intro and signature; splurge on some of these beautiful cave papers perhaps). I'd be thrilled about either winning (and their's sounds wonderful!); but sounds like that might end up being a principle by which we can distinguish our approaches.

okt 24, 2022, 2:20 pm

>3 caszius: I would love to hear your thoughts on the size. I see the other proposal is looking for a larger form factor, which certainly has its merits, but I’m partial to a smaller volume myself - like Arion’s Sense and Sensibility, which is a gorgeous volume at a perfect size and a higher word count than Canticle.

Redigerat: okt 24, 2022, 2:34 pm

>9 caszius: I'm interested to see if the other proposal actually comes out less expensive, particularly if they stick with the full Morocco binding concept. I'd personally much rather see funds spent on embellishment inside the book, though I don't have a clue what the illuminated blueprint would cost.

I imagine both Canticle proposals getting the most costly estimates from the Advisory Board out of the final nine, though.

okt 24, 2022, 2:33 pm

>9 caszius: I'm liking both the proposals for this title so far (the other leveraging the look of a medieval psalter hits a sweet spot for me), but at the moment I really like your approach of making this an opulent volume. Remember, whatever proposal triumphs will also become the flagship title of the press, so it's worth considering what that entry will be like.

okt 24, 2022, 3:50 pm

I'm not sure if it clashes with the worn look, but I would like to add a voice in favor of a slipcase for the proposed edition.

okt 24, 2022, 5:57 pm

>10 jordanxn: Personally, I'm thinking in-between you two; roughly 6x9. The deluxe oversized volumes that SubPress puts out look great, but they don't necessarily feel like books to me. Too oversized might start to break the aesthetic of something authentic and handmade. The 6x9 editions do a good job of standing out on the shelf, feeling special, but still being readable in my opinion.

If others have a strong opinion on this though, down to riff on it/explore.

okt 24, 2022, 5:59 pm

>11 NathanOv: Yeah we'll need to both pepper in more details to know for sure (and I'm no expert!). But, agree that the inside of the book needs to materially set it apart.

okt 24, 2022, 6:03 pm

>14 caszius: You're thinking of the size that Thornwillow Press has used for The Parable of the Sower and others? That could work, though I feel that the type size in those books is a bit smaller than ideal.

okt 27, 2022, 1:56 pm

It's been a few days without an update (blasted work and life!), but wanted to reassure people that I will work on this this weekend and give everyone a fuller strawman proposal to tear up before final voting. Even if that requires a good chunk of research on my part. I must concede that while I adore my books, I've never personally had to design and print one.

The vision I set forth in the 100-words is still the end-state, but the detailed decisions required to land on paper, typeface, binding, etc. to achieve that vision will require some time and research on my part.

Redigerat: okt 30, 2022, 6:32 pm

Hello again, here is my crack at a longer proposal + a few open questions for the community. Appreciate any and all feedback, as the goal is to make something that you will love.

In that vein, I’ve read through (as best as one can given all the threads) a few of the posts/polls, and it appears most want an edition that costs closer to $500 (and less than $1000); further, it’s been noted that (likely due to the length) Canticle could get pricey. I tried to take this steer into account- hopefully, we can achieve this target range.

Introduction/bonus content: Propose pursuing two potential pieces of bonus content. First, an essay about Walter Miller Jr. by Joe Haldeman published in Locus magazine’s February 1996 edition, entitled "An Appreciation". Joe Haldeman and Walter Miller Jr. both participated themselves in historic wars and whose acclaim work (The Forever War and Canticle) could be characterized as anti-war. This introduction would ideally be signed by Joe. Second, if amenable, to include an introduction by Adrian Tchaikovsky - whose 'Children of Time' series touches on many of the same themes of transfer of knowledge and humanity across time.

Binding/Cover: Boards covered in Degener-Black Cave Paper to capture the feeling of a black/brown tattered and worn religious text. I believe this material/approach will be more cost-effective than leather, but given this is a critical part of the design please chime in if there’s a material you strongly prefer.

The front will include a gold foil stamped nuclear symbol. The nuclear symbol juxtaposes against the religious elements of the book (and illuminations inside); capturing the literal plot element of nuclear apocalypse that divides the three eras, as well as, the literary theme of religion vs. science.

I imagine the finished binding/material will look something like the following:

Decorations/Illustrations: 4 illustrated pages in total. As mentioned in the short description, the three main sections that divide this novel (articulated below) will each begin with a full page chapter heading that mimic’s an illuminated manuscript from the middle ages. The three sections are:

1. Fiat Homo ("Let There Be Man")
2. Fiat Lux ("Let There Be Light")
3. Fiat Voluntas Tua ("Thy Will Be Done")

Further, inside you'll find Leibowitz's fateful illuminated blueprint, done with gold stamping and beautiful lettering. There’s a lot of directions the illustrator can go with the 3 chapter headings and 1 full page blueprint; ranging from an ornate opening letter, a decorative chapter title, or something as elaborate as an illustration coupled with a few opening lines. I’ve included examples of how these decorations should look, but I’ll leave to the artist (and advisory board) to make a decision that is beautiful yet practical:

Size: 6¼” x 9¼”. This is the size of many of Suntup’s editions, the (non-oversized) books put out by Subterranean Press, and generally just feels like a good compromise between readability, heft, and cost.

Typeface: Centaur. In my search for a connection to the (tragic) inspiration for Walter Miller Jr.’s masterpiece – participation in the bombing of a 6th century Abbey in Italy – I believe Centaur provides a bit of that. Centaur was developed by Bruce Rogers, a typographer who based this font off of the work Nicolas Jenson put together in Venice, Italy. Further, the type was used by Rogers in a 1935 Oxford Lectern Bible, which provides another through-line to the religious theme of the novel. Rogers subsequently passed away at the same time as the first printing of Canticle. It’s also a beautiful, legible font that captures the spirit of this edition.

Paper: {Feedback needed}. I don’t have a strong personal opinion here, and in an effort to keep costs down, I’d love some help from the community on how best to do that for this edition. Beyond the paper itself, I’m teetering between Deckle Edged vs. Gold Gilding. Any and all feedback on this dimension would be great!

End-papers: Hand marbled to match the color palette of the binding and interior: blue-black, a purple-black, and gold. A bit darker and with less flare, but potentially coming out something like Lyra’s Stardust endsheets:

Case: Personally, my sense is we should avoid a case to save costs, but curious to hear any fervent opinions on this dimension before final submission.

I believe that covers it. We have till Friday to finalize, so please share any feedback before then. Appreciate it! And thanks for reading.

okt 30, 2022, 6:41 pm

>18 caszius: An initial quick couple of responses are that I love the idea of that Cave handmade for the cover (It's gorgeous and robust). The use of the ever-beautiful Centaur type is a decent proposal although perhaps a heavier Jenson-based typeface (of which there are a good few contenders) might be better fitted for the medieval feel as Centaur is maybe a bit light. For a text paper I think something with a bit of character. Handmade paper from Velke Losiny would be rather fine and likely not expensive as their prices are very competitive. A friend has commissioned bespoke paper from them on a couple of occasions and has always been really happy and impressed with the service, quality, speed and price.

Redigerat: okt 30, 2022, 6:47 pm

>18 caszius: Great expansion! I honestly find it quite reasonable, with the handful of added "flourishes" being well thought out and not too costly sounding, given the illustrations are not likely to be too expensive since an academic or student might be the best choice to recreate that illumination style.

I'd highly recommend natural deckled edges over gilding, and I'd personally prioritize case over hand-marbled endpapers or true gold stamping.

Also, I'd consider having the front matter / bonus content as the first elements to go if cost becomes an issue.

I'm curious to see the final cost estimate!

EDIT: And if there's a had-made text paper that's in anyway feasible, I second >19 ChestnutPress:!

okt 30, 2022, 7:07 pm

>20 NathanOv: >19 ChestnutPress: Even the cheapest handmade paper will explode the cost of the edition, so I'd strongly recommend against it if one of the goals is to keep the cost down.

The cheapest Velke Losiny paper I've seen is $4.50 (after shipping) for a smallish parent sheet that could accommodate 8 text pages in the suggested size. If we expect Canticle to be ~350 pages, that's $200 per copy just on the paper.

Also consider that, aside from handmade paper being expensive to acquire, it is also oftentimes more expensive to print on. Mechanized letterpress printing, like on a Heidelberg cylinder, requires at least one square edge to keep things registered properly. So, unless I'm mistaken, most Heidelberg printers will recommend cutting the deckles, and, barring that, will need to print folio or quarto rather than quarto or octavo to have a square edge to work with. So either the cost goes way up because of more lock-ups, or the deckles of the handmade paper are cut, somewhat erasing a distinguishing feature of handmade paper. Many great Heidelberg-based presses, like Hand & Eye for example, cut the deckles off.

The Cave degener in the lighter weight is a great choice for a case. That would be less expensive and, in my opinion, better than leather.

If cost, again, is a consideration, I'd drop any front and end matter. These add considerable expense, even with collaborators who aren't interested in making a buck off the project.

Centaur is always great, possibly the typeface of the fine press movement.

okt 30, 2022, 10:35 pm

For illustrations, I wonder if artists who specialize in ketubahs might be a viable choice? (For those unfamiliar, ketubah are Jewish marriage contracts and are traditionally hand-calligraphed and elaborately illuminated.) It would be a nice nod to Leibowitz's Jewish heritage, and there are many modern artists working in this tradition and used to working on commission/with relatively quick turn-arounds.

okt 31, 2022, 12:32 pm

Thanks everyone! I am also leaning deckled edges over gilding; does the paper need to be hand-made to achieve this? >21 grifgon: Is there a quality deckled edge paper that you think would be affordable and not be too challenging to print on? The ins-and-outs of paper got me spinning a bit, and there don't seem to be any good resources online to learn about cost/feasibility.

>20 NathanOv: I imagine a case is still much more costly/complex to produce than endpapers or gold stamping, right? And yeah, agreed, the bonus content will be positioned as a "nice to have"; although if possible, to me they add a lot to cementing the edition as something truly unique... presumably no other printing of Canticle will ever have the blessing and sign-off of one of these incredible authors.

>22 ambyrglow: Really thoughtful idea! Will take a look.

Redigerat: okt 31, 2022, 12:38 pm

>23 caszius: Oh almost definitely, though I won't claim to know the exact costs. However, a clamshell / solander is in my mind a necessity for a production like this, and for the relatively small size, a basic one might be as little as $50 / copy (I have no idea of bulk pricing on these sorts of things, however).

okt 31, 2022, 12:57 pm

>23 caszius: The cost of mouldmade paper varies on availability and the printer contracted to do the work. Something like Zerkall (before the mill closed) was 1/3rd the price in the UK as it was in the US. So it really depends. For a book of this length, I wouldn't specify a paper in your proposal. Rather, suggest that the printer will choose something good but affordable.

>24 NathanOv: Solanders are always expensive, and there isn't much of "bulk pricing," as with handmade work each one takes about the same amount of time no matter how many you do. I'd expect it to be at least $100 per copy for the most basic solander. >23 caszius: Marbled endpapers or gold stamping on the cover are both relatively inexpensive upgrades.

okt 31, 2022, 12:59 pm

>24 NathanOv: Yeah, okay hmm, let's see if anyone else chimes in. My fear is, I don't want the case to look cheap and lessen the overall production... otherwise you're covering up a beautiful production with an underwhelming box, and you'll be able to tell we cut corners.

okt 31, 2022, 1:03 pm

>26 caszius: The cost of the materials covering the solander are negligible compared to the labor that goes into making it. It isn't work making a solander with bad materials.

okt 31, 2022, 1:11 pm

>27 grifgon: Got it. So sounds like we _could_ make a nice, but likely $100+ per copy.

Btw, grifgon, any idea what the process is for decisions that were NOT explicitly outlined in a proposal? Meaning, if we said "includes a case" (and left the details out), how does the design of that case get made... will the case just be a solid black, will it include the title/author...? I wanna make sure to give the experts wiggle room to make decisions, but also don't want to have a book arrive with no title/author printed on the binding because I didn't specify that.

okt 31, 2022, 1:14 pm

>27 grifgon: How much for a simple slipcase ala Arion’s case for Sense and Sensibility?

okt 31, 2022, 1:19 pm

>28 caszius: My guess is that these details will be left up to the three hired craftspeople – the designer/typesetter, the printer, the binder. The Advisory Board will take a look at the contracts with craftspeople to make sure there aren't any clear problems / blunders / oversights.

okt 31, 2022, 1:22 pm

>29 jordanxn: Varies a lot by the bindery – whether they do everything by hand or not. You can, for example, have a die cut for slipcases so that the slipcase essentially "folds up", which makes things cheaper. I saw a quote last year from a machine-assisted bindery for 300 slipcases at $32.5 each. Handmade slipcases are usually $50 or so.

okt 31, 2022, 1:26 pm

>18 caszius: By the way, here's a recent example of a book that used Degener Cave paper for its cover:

okt 31, 2022, 5:26 pm

Some of my thoughts:
- Yes to Cave paper!
- Not a fan of gilded edges. I think more often than not it's mauvais ton.
- I like deckled edges in principal, but I'm not sure they suit this particular project very well. I think to have them you need very thick handmade or mouldmade paper, which would make this book both expensive and way too thick and heavy.
- I know this is a divisive topic, but I dislike Solander sarcophagi. I think they're too bulky and often look like a bunch of files in an accountant's office. Sure, I can tolerate some, like the Solander of Foolscap's Mandeville. I guess I'm more willing to accept boxes for very thin volumes. But otherwise I like to see the spines of my books. Slipcases all the way for me. The fact they're significantly cheaper is bonus, but I'd prefer a slipcase even if the cost were the same as that of a Solander. And I think Fine Press books, even commercial, needs some protection, and more expensive Private Press books even more so, so wouldn't be too happy with a book immodestly slipcaseless. So I definitely prefer a slipcase, whether a completely modest affair à la most LECs - simple paper slipcase with a label at the back, or something more advanced.

okt 31, 2022, 5:42 pm

I too prefer a slipcase and think it would be a mistake to plan on releasing the book unprotected. It can be very, very plain and simple--people who want more ornate slipcases are free to commission them later.

Redigerat: okt 31, 2022, 5:51 pm

A slipcase over handmade paper covers makes me nervous, but I’m sure it could be done safely with the right level of care. A clamshell if at all feasible would alleviate that concern, though.

EDIT: Though as kdweber has suggested, so would a chemise.

okt 31, 2022, 5:48 pm

Another vote for a slipcase or slipcase/chemise over a solander.

okt 31, 2022, 6:02 pm

Could a slipcase be an optional add-on, as many presses currently offer? I might want a case, but then again I might not. I'd like the choice and not have it baked into the final product, if that's possible.

nov 2, 2022, 1:21 pm

Aligned on including a slipcase. And potentially a chemise... although seeing a lot of variation in how this can be accomplished (and again wary of bloating the price). If anyone has a particular treatment/example in mind that would seem cost effective, let me know.

Also, unrelated, but the gold stamped nuclear symbol as the main cover design has kept me up at night :) Any reactions to that idea? I want to keep it simple, but I also have always loved the LEC Ulysses design, so considering how an artist might modify the nuclear symbol to capture this vibe. Curious reactions.

nov 2, 2022, 6:00 pm

If it hasn't already been done for an edition of this work, how about the nuclear symbol overlaid on a Celtic cross? Gives it a psalter feel. Quick example below.

nov 2, 2022, 6:09 pm

>39 Shadekeep: Wow did you whip that up? Impressive!

I'm thinking we should shy away from a cross though. I'm worried that it might end up looking too much like a bible. Want to make sure people can display proudly without it appearing to be a commentary on their religious views. In the end, it's a science fiction novel, and to-date I've yet to see a cover that skews towards these underpinnings... so excited to see how we can emphasize that aspect a bit more.

Open to more ideas or mocks though, really appreciate it.

nov 2, 2022, 6:18 pm

>40 caszius: Thanks, glad you like! I can understand wanting to avoid direct religious iconography. Perhaps the radiation symbol itself could be a sort of religious symbol, inlaid and detailed in the same manner that a cross would be on a psalter. I thought about turning the three slices of the symbol into a tripartite Taoist logo, but that has irrelevant connotations as well.

One idea that might work is to combine the radiation symbol will an existing trilaterally symmetric logo. Perhaps a trefoil knot or a triskelion (either of the spiral or leg motif)? Obviously the Star of David also has the requisite symmetry, but might be a problematic conjunction in this case.

nov 2, 2022, 6:29 pm

Or, to get away from the religious aspect entirely and go for a more scientific/humanist angle, you could have something like the Vitruvian man set inside a radiation symbol. Feet together centered in the bottom wedge of the symbol and outstretched arms centered in the two upper wedges. (Though he might also look a bit crucified on the symbol that way.) The second sets of limbs could be added to complete the Vitruvian motif, only with the hands upraised together and centered in the empty space between the two upper wedges and the legs akimbo, one each centered in the empty spaces bracketing the bottom wedge. Then you would have a take on the classic figure but transfigured into the Nuclear man.

nov 2, 2022, 6:42 pm

The triskelion is interesting; I like that it signifies a few key themes: Three (as in the acts of the book), adorns medieval abbeys, featured on the Sicilian flag, and has somewhat mysterious connection to the search for knowledge across cultures and time. Definitely something to mull over, explore.

nov 2, 2022, 7:01 pm

Hmm the more down the rabbit hole I get, the more I think I might just return to the nuclear symbol. I'm drawn to the idea of something modern and scientific being gold-stamped on something that looks medieval and perhaps worn. There might be a nice way to stylize it so it's not so boiler-plate, but leaning that way (as of this moment at least :).

nov 2, 2022, 7:16 pm

>39 Shadekeep: I love this overlaid design. I think combining the nuclear radiation symbol with some other symbolism would help avoid the primary pitfall of using the nuclear symbol alone, which is looking like a video game manual or something.

I bet there is a clever way to combine with a trisklelion, as suggested above.

nov 3, 2022, 1:09 pm

>45 abysswalker: Thank you! And obviously a graphic artist could do a lot better with the final version. Here's a quick take on the radiation triskelion, using a Greek triskelion design I grabbed off the web. One has the knees set over the wedges, the other the feet. I personally prefer the latter.

nov 3, 2022, 1:52 pm

Okay, how about this! Inspired by your work Shadekeep, I stumbled upon a few similar pieces that I really like. Both use a slightly different nuclear symbol, which might capture the sentiment in a more delicate way -- and hopefully helps steer clear of "video game" vibes (as abysswalker points out). Also, remember, any design we come up with will need to be "stampable"; so the silhouette is prob a good approximation of how it will look (Stamping the above triskelion might be challenging).

1. This Peter Thorpe rendition, namely the candle and nuclear symbol overlaid.

2. This Ukrainian edition that is very reminiscent of what Shadekeep did. I'm still hesitant about the cross, but I really like how this artist approached the overall design, Igor Dunets. In fact, I love his style so much, I almost want to propose reaching out to Igor to actually do this work -- The idea that we can support a talented creator from the Ukraine feels worthwhile to me, and something that an anti-war author like Miller Jr. would approve of.

Here's a link to Igor's page where you can learn more about this Ukranian edition.

Let me know what you guys think, and thanks for riffing on this with me!

Redigerat: nov 3, 2022, 5:46 pm

>47 caszius: I personally would not worry too much about using the cross, and love Shadekeep’s design alongside the second one you’ve shared.

I think the overlayed nuclear symbol makes it clear you’re making a statement above and beyond religion, and few are displaying their books cover out anyway to worry about out-of-context interpretations.

nov 3, 2022, 5:17 pm

>48 NathanOv: Yeah I've come around to the cross/nuclear overlay.

nov 3, 2022, 8:53 pm

If using the radioactive trefoil, it officially should have thicker wedges than those used in the above posts. A simple version can be viewed on the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) website (linked here).

For fun, I mocked up a hybrid of the ionizing radiation trefoil (image from my person stash) with a triskelion I thought looked nice (low resolution image stolen from Wikipedia). Here is the result:

I haven't read "A Canticle for Leibowitz" yet so I don't know if this misses the mark of the theme, but I thought the symmetry at least looked neat to tinker with. I'm open to comments, criticisms, and witticisms.

nov 3, 2022, 9:18 pm

>50 Tuna_Melon: I prefer to interpret the design to fit into the combined aesthetic, rather than slavishly hew to the original dimensions. Symbols mutate and change over generations anyway, which is why I see the radiation trefoil taking on more of the proportions of a halo in the synthesis.

Gå med om du vill kunna skriva ett inlägg