Philip K. Dick’s The Cosmic Puppets via Centipede Press Wows, and I mean Wows with a great limited edition of a fantastic book!
Philip K. Dick is an inspiration of mine, and I have only perused a healthy percentage of his prolific body of work…so far.
There is no writing, no fiction, like that of PKD. Nothing comes close.
For this very special article, we kick off the new year with a TFF book review of the 1957 Philip K. Dick classic The Cosmic Puppets and then my first fine press review of the Centipede Press treatment, which they have given to PKD in a gorgeous boxed set trilogy that also contains Dr. Futurity, and Vulcan’s Hammer.
The following TFF Book Review of The Cosmic Puppets by Philip K. Dick is *Spoiler Free
I was surprised upon reading Michael Swanwick’s introduction to this edition that this book is considered Dick’s only fantasy novel.
But I hate labeling genres, and I do not know it, but I suspect he would have as well.
What is immediately intriguing at the outset is the utter realness of the protagonist Ted Barton, as his emotions, confusion and painful revelations shake the reader to their core.
You feel what he feels, and as the precarious situation gets stranger and grander in scope than one would think possible, the suspension of disbelief is there and we hungrily eat up the world that has been built.
It is through this vessel that crafting such a marvelous world is possible.
That world is Ted’s hometown, which he returns to after many years to find its history is not as he has remembered.
And there are unexpected gods, unforeseen characters of diabolical, selfish, and devious minds, and also their foils who are dying lights amidst the darkening battleground for something far vaster than Ted could have ever guessed.
It is here that Philip K. Dick’s voracious appetite for reading Carl Jung, Plato, and any philosopher of note’s text that he could get his hands on shines through masterfully in myriad nuanced subtleties.
Some of the symbolism may seem more obvious, but it is but done in new and unique ways, whether in the grandiose cosmic chess matches, the battles of nature – in all manner of creatures’ strife; nature versus nature – and even in the creation of life through clay it is all remarkable.
The pacing, the stomach gripping suspense, and the quickly unfolding mystery that seizes the weird, and Ted with it, fiercely make this a book that once started cannot be put down.
The Cosmic Puppets by Philip K. Dick As Part Of The Centipede Press Signed Limited Edition Boxed Set Is Spectacular!
The box itself has navy and black cloth and emits quality.
And despite a very modest price-point, not one, but three great PKD novels are encompassed in beauty and a sense of dedication that truly pays respect and homage to the great author’s work.
I am still blown away by the production.
The Centipede Press edition of The Cosmic Puppets is limited to 300 copies signed by all of the contributors, including by Michael Swanwick, Peter Strain, and Chris Moore, with an Estate-approved facsimile signature by Philip K. Dick.
The book itself features an amazing theme bound to the dustjacket art by Peter Strain, which features a boy whose melted head contains a chessboard, honeycombs, and a flurry of bees, while beneath him rests the town upside down, in distress, and it wraps around to the spine and the back as the pieces are held by a hand pulling their strings!
And beneath the jacket is the finest black cloth, with two color foil stamping, and an asteroid-like design bearing Philip K. Dick’s signature on the front, as well as little specks of tiny meteors possibly.
A Centipede staple, there is a history presented in the book’s cover art, from its first novel form in Ace’s two-novel 35 cent paperback to many others, throughout the brilliant introduction.
The fonts, the gorgeous archival artwork by Chris Moore, and the entire design is truly a work of art.
And with that my dear friends, Eager Readers, and comrades, I can give you something to look forward to: there are two other novels in this boxed set that are begging for me to review.
Happy New Year! [I have been told I will have to put money into the jar if I say that after today]
Suntup epitomizes Johnny Got His Gun by Dalton Trumbo with fine press editions and artwork that emanate the true anti-war classic novel from 1939.
The Following Preview Review of Johnny Got His Gun by Dalton Trumbo and the Suntup Editions limiteds is *Spoiler Free
It is the vital works of fiction that continue to make worldwide waves again and again.
Trumbo’s anti-romantic-war novel is one of the great ones.
The protagonist Joe Bonham wakes in a hospital bed to slowly discover that an enemy artillery shell has taken his arms and legs and left a mangled hole where his eyes, nose, teeth, and tongue used to be.
The premise told from a first-person narrative: he cannot hear or speak, or leave his prison.
The famed filmmaker’s book was published in 1939 and was heavily influenced by the fallout of what Trumbo called the last “romantic war” in World War I.
The meaning I take from that sentiment is that it was a war that could very much have been avoided and various war machines and romantic ideals in politics continued to make larger and larger waves until the Great War was unleashed.
And there were many wars he felt similarly about (World War II was not one of them).
And so this harrowing work truly claws at one’s humanity and brings into focus many uncomfortable realities of the world.
Because of this, it has been very impactful since its publication, its winning the National Book Award and Trumbo’s subsequent adaptation into a film in 1971.
Decades afterward, this film would be used by Metallica in their most successful and popular song titled “One” and its music video, and that would act as a relaunching of Johnny Got His Gun that was again thrust into popular culture to harp on the horrors of war.
Suntup Editions took on this monumental title, which will be shipping in the near future and there are still Artist Editions available for purchase.
The numbered and lettered editions are sold out.
But all of the books feature stunning artwork by Ūla Šveikauskaitė that really captures the soul brought forth in Johnny Got His Gun.
The AE edition is the only one of the three featuring a dust jacket and is signed by the artist.
The image of the skulls and the cover image with the raised peace sign are striking!
This is a book and fine press editions that will forever resonate with you!
The details of Suntup Editions ARTIST EDITION:
6” x 9” trim size.
Limited to 750 copies.
Full cloth, smyth-sewn binding.
Two-hits foil stamping.
Introduction by Dalton Trumbo from 1959, with addendum written in 1970.
Foreword by Cindy Sheehan.
Afterword by E.L. Doctorow.
Six full-color illustrations by Ūla Šveikauskaitė.
Dust jacket featuring artwork by Ūla Šveikauskaitė (the only edition featuring the dust jacket).
Signed by the artist.
Printed offset on archival Cougar Natural.
Housed in a metal mesh paper slipcase with an acrylic coating.
The Exorcist By Blatty S/L by Suntup, Lonely Road & Gauntlet fine presses provides one of the world’s most terrifying and thrilling novels an exceptional book reading experience.
The Exorcist By William Peter Blatty is an all-time great work of fiction.
This cannot be understated; the writing, the tale, the characters are all remarkable.
The film adaptation that Blatty was a part of will forever be a classic, as well, but the novel adds so much more to the brilliant characters, the shocking story, and the uniquely personal detective work.
The following book review of The Exorcist: The Fortieth Anniversary Edition will have mild Spoilers** that will end with the story review and the start of a fine press book review of each of the Holy Trinity: The Exorcist signed and limited editions by Gauntlet Press, Lonely Road Books, and released this year, in celebration of the 50th anniversary of this iconic masterpiece of horror and paranormal suspense, Suntup Editions.
I have a favorite! But now back to the The Exorcist: The Fortieth Anniversary Edition book review!
For those who have read The Exorcist, but not the revised edition, I highly encourage you to take up the endeavor.
On September 27, 2011, The Exorcist was re-released as a 40th Anniversary Edition in hardcover, paperback and audiobook featuring new and revised material. Of this edition, Blatty wrote:
“This will have a touch of new material in it as part of an all-around polish of the dialogue and prose. First time around I never had the time (meaning the funds) to do a second draft, and this, finally, is it. With forty years to think about it, a few little changes were inevitable — plus one new character in a totally new, very spooky scene. This is the version I would like to be remembered for.” [Suntup.press]
From the eerie and ominous opening of the book, we touch on foreshadowing and evil and duty for Father Lankester Merrin, as he meets with a dear friend.
An ancient Assyrian idol of the demon Pazuzu has been found at Merrin’s archaeological dig in northern Iraq.
And this creepy and poignant chapter, the sweat that runs from the elderly Jesuit priest in the full light of the sun spilling over the desert, bespeaks an impending battle, and what may be strife in the spiritual battleground and the physical one.
He must leave his dear friend and go back to the US. Some goodbyes are heartbreaking.
Blatty leaves Merrin behind for much of the book and focuses on a little girl named Regan in Washington D.C.
She is possessed; there is no spoiler there, folks.
Blatty was originally inspired by the story of the demonic possession of a child in the 1940s.
Regan, the eleven-year-old daughter of Chris, a movie actress residing in Washington, D.C. for a film, lives in a creepy old house overlooking a terribly long and narrow stairway outside.
The murder of Chris’ producer, who is found at the bottom of the stairs with his head turned all the way around – quite unnaturally – begins an investigation into the family in the house.
Welcome one of the most fun detectives in fiction: Lt. William Kinderman!
He is an older man, who is jovial, polite, and so very sly and intuitive with regards to human behavior and reactions.
Because the film producer was murdered after he was in Chris’ home, Kinderman has no choice but to thoroughly investigate every occupant of the house, as well as the visiting Jesuit priest Father Damien Karras, who he befriends in part for company and in part to get information out of him.
This is a thrilling, and at times humorous, cat and mouse game, as the two speak and meet again and again.
Meanwhile, Chris, an atheist, is upset as her daughter quickly dissolves before her into what she thinks is multiple personality disorder.
Regan speaks in other languages, lashes out at her doctors, is shriveling away physically, and even makes her entire bed tremble, as if there was an earthquake.
Aside from locking up Regan in an institution, which Chris will not do, one of the psychiatrists suggests that Regan may think she is possessed and so an exorcist may provide a psychosomatic cure.
Father Carris tries desperately to build a case to the Church for exorcism, but Regan’s time is running out.
**Spoilers END here
The Exorcist: The Fortieth Anniversary Edition by William Peter Blatty is truly something special – there is no work of fiction like this.
The research involved in writing this book was extensive, the writing could not be better, and the eerie world is so real, it scares the hell out of me to this day.
And that is my guess as to why the 71-week bestseller is considered one of the most controversial books of all time.
To pay homage to this classic work of literature, I will review the three small press publishers that crafted S/L editions containing Blatty’s preferred fortieth anniversary text, and I will review in the order they were published before I compare the three, Gauntlet, Lonely Road, and Suntup, limited editions.
The Exorcist by Blatty gets the grand fine press treatment it deserves
First released was the interesting Gauntlet Press edition that has a signature sheet for the 25th Anniversary and a publication page for the text version, the 40th Anniversary (I do not know why and am so curious about that).
It is a beautiful book that was limited to 600 copies with an introduction by F. Paul Wilson who signed it, as well as Blatty.
Only the lettered, which I do not have got illustrations in the book, but I will say that the cover art of this book is my favorite of any trade or small press dust jacket art that I have seen.
It is black, simple, elegant, and the warped image of Regan in the light symbolizing a cross is, to many, disturbing.
The boards are a fun iridescent sable cloth too and the pages are of a nice quality.
The Exorcist: The Fortieth Anniversary Edition by William Peter Blatty Signed and Numbered Limited Made By Lonely Road Books
Lonely Road Books produced a phenomenal edition of the work in an oversized 7.5” x 10.5” to highlight the stunning original art by Caniglia.
This edition was limited to 374 numbered and signed by Blatty!
The dust jacket is gorgeous, but I prefer the white faux leather boards and red foil stamping sans dj.
The slipcase is crimson with gold foil stamping and the paper is quality, though not as thick in the hand as the Gauntlet or the Suntup.
The artwork in the book is the real highlight, aside from the author’s preferred text and signature, of course.
This art is tied for my favorite (with the Suntup), and it has a ton of illustrations and I think more than any other illustrated edition to date.
It is a sight to behold!
The Exorcist by William Peter Blatty Numbered Edition By Suntup Editions
To celebrate the 2021 50th anniversary of the great book, Paul Suntup and his team went all out to deliver one of the most celebrated numbered editions of The Exorcist and of their own outstanding lineup.
Suntup’s numbered version of The Exorcist is a bar setter.
With William Peter Blatty deceased, his close friend, a man he called his “brother” director of The Exorcist film William Friedkin penned the introduction and signed the book, as well as the marvelous artist Marc Potts.
Getting the award winning director to talk about the book and to sign this edition is nothing short of amazing.
But what is more, the intricate Jesuit priest shirt and collar, done in two-color Japanese cloth, with a white paper tie, is out of this world amazing!
“The EXORCIST by WILLIAM PETER BLATTY Suntup numbered edition unboxing” VIDEO by THE JEFF WORD
From Suntup’s description:
The Numbered edition of 250 copies is a handmade lapped component case binding constructed from purple and black Japanese cloth covers and purple folded single folio endsheets. It features foil stamped titling at the spine, a white Plike paper collar, flush mounted and wrapped at the head of the book, and is housed in a cigar-style enclosure covered in Japanese cloth. The edition is printed letterpress on Mohawk Via Vellum and is signed by William Friedkin and Marc Potts. Each copy of this edition is sewn and bound by hand. [Suntup.press]
This handbound gem has a smooth feel and an effervescent shine to the boards that catches the light in the most beautiful of ways.
The page type is outstanding, and the letterpress printing is truly the finest way to read the book.
You can see the ink on the page so easily and you can feel the impression of each word or device that the letterpress stamped onto the page.
There is no experience like reading this edition of the book.
It is heavy, it is drool-worthy in its visual design, and the fine art illustrated by Marc Potts is by far the darkest of all the editions I have seen.
The artwork in the book is every bit as good as Caniglia’s and tied to be my favorite of all.
And the cigar style case in the vestment purple and black cross insignia is a work of art in and of itself.
The overall transcendent edition of fiction for The Exorcist goes to the rarest of the S/L’s, the Suntup Editions numbered.
All of these books are incredible works of art that pay great homage to the work’s author, Blatty, and I recommend them all.
Replay By Ken Grimwood: Suntup Editions Replay Suntup Replay, and as this time travel tale goes on, the suspenseful, metaphysical, time-mind warp grips the reader’s heart tighter and tighter.
This is a Spoiler-Free** Preview Review of the upcoming Suntup Editions for Ken Grimwood’s award-winning novel Replay.
Conjuring all of the mystery of time travel, the philosophy behind its implications and the personal touch of experiencing love throughout the flux is why Isaac Asimov’s The End of Eternity is my favorite book by Asimov, and Grimwood’s Replay has all of these elements and a magic about it, while being an incredibly fresh and vibrant and innovative tale all of its own.
I know of no book like Replay.
The only hint as to the last book release from Suntup Editions was the publisher, Paul Suntup himself, who said this was one of his favorite books.
Despite having the utmost faith in his judgement as an extremely well-read human, a poet, and a brilliant crafter of fine press books, I was taken aback when I saw Replay announced; I had not heard of it.
I will admit to being flummoxed – as a science fiction writer and fanatic, how did I miss this – and I doubted whether or not I should invest in one of the upcoming editions from Suntup, despite their out-of-this-world design and attention to detail.
I was wrong to doubt. I was so wrong.
I read the book in a few days; I could not put it down.
I think the only reason more folks have not heard of Ken Grimwood is that the author tragically died of a heart attack young, not unlike Replay’s protagonist Jeff Winston who dies abruptly at age 43 – at the same day and time – and awakes with all memories of his past life, but back where he was at the age of 18 in the early 1960’s.
What would you do if you could go back with knowledge of 20+ years and experience in a young person’s body?
What are the potential consequences of the replays that happen over and over each time Jeff reaches that fatal day at age 43, no matter where he is?
This novel pulls and yanks at your heartstrings, again and again.
There is debauchery, tragedy, loss, love, and so much more.
The ending got me choked up, as 1984 and only a handful of other books have ever done.
And Suntup Editions has done the most amazing job of bringing every facet of this complex story to light in each of their four different stand-alone limited editions.
I will review the numbered edition in detail when it arrives, but for now feast your eyes on each of the incredible works of art that are pushing the boundaries of intrinsic story-encompassing publishing with the art and design.
These editions all floor me, and the artist edition is still available to purchase, as well, signed by surrealist painter Alessandro Sicioldr Bianchi.
The art is, well there are no words; take a look at each edition:
The Artist edition is limited to 1000 copies with a dust jacket illustrated by Alessandro Sicioldr Bianchi. It is a full cloth, smyth sewn binding with two-hits foil stamping. It is the only edition of the three with the dust jacket, and is signed by the artist. The edition is printed offset and is housed in an embossed paper covered slipcase with an acrylic coating. [https://suntup.press/replay]
The Numbered edition of 350 copies is a handbound quarter leather binding with printed Hahnemühle Bugra boards and leather capped fore edges. The edition is enclosed in a quarter leather chemise and a Japanese cloth slipcase. The cover features a letterpress printed label and endsheets are Hahnemühle Bugra. The edition is printed offset on Mohawk Via and is signed by Alessandro Sicioldr Bianchi and Tim Powers. [https://suntup.press/replay]
The Lettered edition is limited to 26 copies and is a Dorfner style binding after master German bookbinder Otto Dorfner, who developed this structure in the early 20th century. The binding is sewn on supports with goat leather strips laminated to silk, with the boards attached to the textblock by the sewing supports. The boards are covered in full goatskin with goatskin onlays and blind tooling on the spine, and the flyleaves are covered with a suede material on one side. The edition is sewn and bound entirely by hand by master bookbinder Jacek Tylkowski in Poland.
The clamshell enclosure is full European cloth with a blind debossed cover. The edition is printed offset on Mohawk Via and is signed by Alessandro Sicioldr Bianchi and Tim Powers. [https://suntup.press/replay]
The Roman Numeral edition is limited to 10 copies and is bound in full leather. The leather features an original design using hand dying techniques and photographs of live models, which are transfered to the surface. The block is sewn onto stubs for a perfect opening. The boards are laced on, for the greatest durability. Doublures and headbands are in leather. The edition is sewn and bound entirely by hand by master bookbinder, Zigor Anguiano Calzada in Spain.
The clamshell enclosure is full leather with a rounded spine and suede inner linings with Japanese cloth. The edition is printed offset on Mohawk Superfine and is signed by Alessandro Sicioldr Bianchi and Tim Powers. [https://suntup.press/replay]
H.G. Wells’ The Island of Doctor Moreau’s 125th By Suntup Editions is celebrating the shocking and classic work of early horror and science-fiction in deservedly grandiose fashion 125 years after its initial release.
To say the art, designs, bonus content give this novel the proper anniversary treatment is a big understatement.
The following Preview Review of H.G. Wells’ The Island of Doctor Moreau’s By Suntup Editions will have mild plot/events *Spoilers* in the story review and then get into a perusal of the fine press editions themselves, which will be examined more thoroughly after the books arrive.
The lone survivor of a deadly shipwreck that claimed two ships, Edward Prendick washes ashore on the elusive Noble’s Isle claimed by the infamous Dr. Moreau.
The novel brings in mystery, adventure and exploration themes, as well as good old-fashioned shock-horror and sci-fi.
The science and exploration of the 19th Century, and the preceding years, birthed interesting thoughts on the wings of Darwin and Mary Shelley’s publications: that of man playing god by merging animal and man into living chimera.
H.G. Wells’ The Island of Doctor Moreau is disturbing, suspenseful and has many unexpected twists along the island’s paths.
H.G. Wells took a character in Edward that is grateful for being nursed to health and through his uniquely thankful perspective examines the mysterious noises and shadowy visages that send shivers down his spine and lead him to delve deeper into the mysteries Dr. Moreau seems to have hidden on his island.
For those that enjoy stories of the monster within, the monster that we as humans carry and sometimes unleash, and the monsters out in the world, The Island Of Dr. Moreau is a stark reminder that repulsion can shift its allegiances, despite appearances.
Science fiction writers have used human-animal chimera experiments as the inspiration for creating characters that challenge us to consider what is quintessentially human and what is animal. Since Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein (1818) created a manufactured man from parts of dead animals and humans combined.
To have the ethics of bioengineering examined in such an evocative manner by Wells in 1896 is incredible.
And Suntup Editions have outdone themselves again with their treatment of H.G. Wells’ The Island of Doctor Moreau made into three limited edition states.
Suntup’s Artist Edition is limited to 1000 copies and is the only state with a dust jacket illustrated by Benz and Chang. The book is a full cloth, smyth sewn binding, is printed offset, has two-hits of foil stamping, and is signed by the artist.
The Numbered Edition of 350 copies is a quarter cloth binding with Japanese cloth boards, a cover foil stamped in gold and endsheets are custom designed for this state. It is printed letterpress on Mohawk Via and is signed by Megan Shepherd, Adam Roberts & Benz and Chang.
The Lettered edition is 26 copies with a full goatskin binding and a letterpress-printed spine label. The cover features a letterpress printed, die cut map of Noble’s Isle that looks amazing and the endsheets are hand marbled, while the pages are printed letterpress on Mohawk Via, and it comes in a clamshell enclosure covered in Japanese cloth with marbled paper floors. It is also signed by Megan Shepherd, Adam Roberts & Benz and Chang.
The books all look fantastic with six stand-out full color illustrations by Benz and Chang!
But as is befitting such an entertaining and historic work of fiction, Suntup has also included a bevy of bonus material, including a new exclusive foreword by Megan Shepherd and an afterword by Adam Roberts, who sign both the numbered and lettered states, and three Appendixes:
Included in all editions is the following bonus content:
Appendix A: Wells Explains: Two Essays Relating to Moreau’s Argument. H.G. Wells, The Province of Pain (1894) H.G. Wells, The Limits of Individual Plasticity (1895)
Appendix B: ‘The Terrible Medusa Case’: An Historical Source for Prendick’s Shipwreck. A narrative account of the infamous shipwreck Méduse (1818). Reproduction of Théodore Géricault’s masterpiece painting The Raft of the Medusa (c.1819).
Appendix C: Wells’s First Draft of Moreau. A study and excerpt from H.G. Wells’s original draft of Moreau.
We will thoroughly review the physical books themselves, the numbered and artist editions, after they arrive.
But seeing such trippy and befitting art, along with two letterpress editions, designed with bite for our inner explorer, the wait to see these in person is a difficult one.
Letterpress will make reading and rereading the numbered edition a sensational experience.
I do have one critique: I would have loved the numbered edition to match the previous Wells installments in the book’s outer design – but I understand and am very happy with the incredible design of the editions that have been created here (I love the images on the covers and I love Japanese cloth) and since this brought in Artist Editions and a wild lettered edition (what a MAP!) I feel my OCD inner-Sheldon Cooper can be quieted and content – but I still cannot wait to put this on the shelf!
In between my H.G. Wells trilogy and Robert Heinlein set on my shelf in the “Pillars of Sci-fi Suntup Section” The Island Of Dr. Moreau will go and continue to be an inspiration.