In honour of Russell Hoban, who has just passed away, a great author of both adult and children's books, and the man responsible for one of the greatest novels of all time, the post-nuclear-holocaust Riddley Walker, I thought I'd take a look at another avant-garde take on the apocalypse, Adam Novy's The Avian Gospels.
I first came across this via a rave review in Publishers Weekly. It sounded fascinating, and that was before I actually saw the book. Published by Short Flight/Long Drive Books, it's a thing of beauty, taking its cue from the book's title and theme with a very biblical look--most specifically, the little Gideon's you find in hotel rooms.
Designed by Elizabeth Ellen and Aaron Burch, the woman behind SF/LD and the man behind the parent Hobart Pulp, this design splits the book into 2 volumes--a fat 'old testament' and a thin 'new', with gilded page edges, ribbon bookmarks and page reference numbers.
After buying these, I found that everyone who orders them from the publisher gets a free ebook edition too, which is probably a good idea. But if ever you needed a reason to avoid ebooks, it's when the physical alternative is this beautifully considered and produced.
SF/LD seem to specialise in these genre/format-warping exercises: Karl Taro Greenfeld's story collection is disguised as a series of travel guides, while Michelle Orange's travel book is in the format of a passport. This sort of madness is only to be encouraged.