If ever there was a thing made for me, this is it. Cosmocopia is a novel by Paul Di Filippo and a 513-piece jigsaw puzzle and color art print by Jim Woodring, beautifully packaged in a cardboard box radiating with eldritch vibrations.
I've just started the short novel by Di Filippo (who was a frequent contributor to the zine version of bOING bOING) and I'm hooked. It's about an aged illustrator who seems to have been partially modeled on Frank Frazetta (His first name is Frank. He had a stroke. He started drawing comics in the 1950s: "funny animals, noir molls, hillbillies, car racing jocks." He painted "hyper-real yet fantastical book covers for paperback original novels in the 1960s and 1970s: a galley of demons and brawny warriors, luscious-bottomed maidens and brawling barbarians, aliens and otherworldly explorers." Really, who else could it be?).
Since I haven't finished the novel, here's the publisher's description of the story:
Frank Lazorg's gone mad. The elderly ego-driven dean of fine art fantasy illustrators has reached the end of a lifetime of dreams fulfilled. His creative powers have failed him, his mistress spurned him, and younger rivals threaten to eclipse him. Is it any wonder he eagerly falls upon a strange new drug that promises to reinvigorate him, as both man and artist?The first edition is limited to 500 sets. Buy one for a friend and buy one for yourself.
But his reliance on the organic high soon turns to addiction. Lazorg finds his grasp on reality slipping. He's suddenly plunged into a world inhabited by monstrous parodies of humanity, living in a culture that bears a skewed resemblance to the world Lazorg knows. The oddly rejuvenated artist soon discovers this new dimension exhibits its own dangers and delights, enemies and lovers, including the remarkable being known as Crutchsump.
What Lazorg experiences is merely the first rung on the Cosmocopian ladder.
Mark Frauenfelder is the founder of Boing Boing and the editor-in-chief of MAKE and Cool Tools. Twitter: @frauenfelder. Come and hear Mark speak at the ALA conference in Chicago on July 1.