A few months ago I discovered a delightfully nerdy and complex book called Unsong, which you can read for free online here. It imagines that Apollo 8 crashed into the celestial spheres and the world reverted to kabbalistic magic, which is as weird and wonderful as it sounds, and I really enjoyed reading it. Here’s the back-cover description:
Kabbalah is true, all patterns are meaningful, and the world runs on a combination of strained analogy and wordplay. Big Silicon Valley corporations copyright the Names of God and make a killing. International diplomats transform the ancient conflict between Heaven and Hell into a US-Soviet proxy war. An autistic archangel and his eight-year old apprentice laboriously debug the laws of physics. A group of billionaires hire a magical ship to go find God and tell Him what He’s doing wrong. Cells of militant Unitarians harbor dangerous placebo terrorists. And amateur kabbalist Aaron Smith-Teller, distant relative of nuclear physicist Edward Teller (“Not ushering in the apocalypse is not really a family strong point”) discovers a legendary Name of God and hatches a plan to usher in the Messianic age from his home computer, which goes exactly as well as you would expect.
(I would recommend it if a) you don’t mind lots of puns and complex references to things within and without the text and b) you can handle some intense emotional and terrifying scenes, including a description of hell, and not-infrequent profanity. It is definitely an adult novel and I was confused by various connections and scenes.)
Anyway, the author, Scott Alexander, allows people to print it for their friends to read (see here for an explanation of his policy on printing/sharing, but you’ll have to skip down if you don’t want to read the epilogue of the whole book before reading the book itself). So some of my friends and I decided to do that, and I designed covers, and I wanted to share them online in case anyone else wants to print it.
These covers feature public-domain art by William Blake (this is not a coincidence) and are designed to fit a mostly-typo-free pdf version which is available for free here. If you would like me to email you a copy of the cover(s) in any format, please email email@example.com with “UNSONG COVERS” in the subject line.
Cover for the whole novel:
If you print it in two volumes:
The covers are the correct size for paperback printing of the pdf linked above, including bleed at the edges and the right spine size for the number of sheets in each.
I may or may not be back to blogging normally in the near future, but for now, I hope you enjoyed this surprising and random deviation from my normal topics! If you enjoy(ed) Unsong, I’d love to talk about it.
Nothing is ever a coincidence,
1 thought on “Unsong book covers!”
I love these covers and I’m so glad to hear about these books. I know what I’m using the university printers for next week