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Because I have some fans who are not also Facebook Friends (and why aren’t you? Just friend me, “Carrie Lowery” and make my day!), I thought I’d share one of my favorite photos from the SciFi/Fantasy convention I attended last month down in Atlanta, GA.
I happened upon a dozen or so convention-goers, all of whom thought they’d be the only “Indy” in attendance. Fortunately, since geeks are normally pretty even-tempered, there was no big rumble . . . the gang set aside their differences and compared hats, whips and deadpan “Harrison Ford faces” with great good humor.
Note: When I asked what the collective noun for “Indiana Jones” should be when I posted this on Facebook, the terminally clever Pannonica replied within seconds…”a FEDORA, of course!”
Although I elaborated on some of the true facts in the contest in a recent post, there are quite a few pieces of interesting information that have yet to be revealed.
Today I’m going to tell you all about Fact #10, one of my most prized posessions, a copy of Codex Seraphinianus, created in 1981 by Italian architect Luigi Serafini. I’ll get to the story of how I obtained my copy in a bit, but I would like to share with you first that no one was more surprised than I was when I checked last week online and found this copy for sale on eBay. Wow! Knowing that this book is worth that much makes me nervous to even touch it, but I did get over that long enough to take some pictures to share with you. It’s a large book and weighs quite a few pounds. Here’s the cover….interesting, no? (Note: You can click on any of the pictures below to see a full-sized image.)
I first saw a copy of this incredible book on Christmas Day, 1983. The first American edition had just been published, and I had a chance to admire it when visiting a friend who collected strange books. He’d just received it from his wife as a Christmas present and couldn’t wait to show it to everyone. I sat MESMERIZED for HOURS by the amazing, surreal and sometimes unsettling images in the book and needed to have it literally taken out of my hands when it was time to leave. I desperately wanted to own a copy, but alas, it was quite beyond my means as a high school sophomore. I vowed to own Codex Seraphinianus one day, and now that I finally do, I’m happy I can share it with all of you!
This is one of my favorite illustrations…
But wait….it gets stranger at the bottom of the page when the “secret” is revealed!
I’d love to tell you all about what the book has to say regarding the uncanny “Eyeballfish” (as I like to call them), but to my knowledge no one has as yet deciphered the bizarre and beautiful script in which the entire 250 page text of the book is written. Many people have called the Codex Seraphinianus “an encyclopedia from another planet” and I can’t think of a more appropriate way to describe it.
The book is divided into 11 sections that seem to cover every subject from machinery and engineering…
…to proper dress codes for the eerie world the book describes:
So here’s what happened: one day the subject of strange books came up in a discussion with my boyfriend in 1999 or so. I did everything I could to try to do this amazing book justice, but he just didn’t get it and I gave up in frustration at my inability to describe it. Although I’d thought about it from time to time over the years, this particular conversation about the Codex drove me to the point of obsession and it seemed that I couldn’t get it out of my mind for weeks. And then months. Finally he said, “You know, you should just buy a copy if it means that much to you.” Strangely, this hadn’t really occurred to me, because I knew a copy of the book (which had been published almost twenty years earlier in a limited edition) was probably going to cost big bucks.
Still, that obsession persisted until I said to myself, “Screw it. I want it..hell, I need it, and I’m going to find one.” After an extensive online search, I knew it was meant to be. As luck would have it, the least expensive copy I could find for sale was at The Strand Bookstore in New York City — only an hour’s drive away! No waiting by the mailbox! I would hold it in my hands within hours!
And $300 dollars later, that is exactly what I did. Was it an extravagant purchase? Well, of course it was! However, I haven’t ever regretted buying it, and I love having it available to show to people who have never seen it.
I don’t look through it very often, though. It isn’t because (as I recently discovered) that it’s worth nearly three times as much as the price I purchased it for: it’s because I like to rediscover it every time I look at it and be amazed all over again.
My dopey digital camera and the “mood-lighting” in my living room in NO WAY do any of the illustrations in the book justice. If you would like to learn more about Codex Seraphinianus and see a gallery of amazing images from the book, please visit Archimedes Laboratory here, which is the most comprehensive page I have been able to find on the subject.
And if you’re like me and become obsessed with the world that Luigi Serafini has created, you’re welcome to stop by Washington, NJ anytime and look at my copy! But be warned — no matter how much it may be worth in dollars, it is NOT FOR SALE!