About this project
FUNDED! Woohoo! Thank you!
FUNDED! Immediate Stretch Goal: $55,000, all editions get printed in two-colors!
FUNDED! WOW! We blew through that first goal — everyone now gets 2-color editions. Here we go with a new stretch goal: $60,000, all editions get a ribbon (I love a book with a ribbon so I really hope this happens).
June 1: added some bundles: Small Beer, Kelly Link, YA and Year's Best anthologies.
We are looking forward to publishing one of the most beautiful and unexpected books we've ever come across: The Chemical Wedding by Christian Rosencreutz: A Romance in Eight Days by Johann Valentin Andreae in a New Version by John Crowley, illustrated by Theo Fadel, and designed by Jacob McMurray.
In the last 15 years, we've had the chance to work with Ursula K. Le Guin, Karen Joy Fowler, and many of our favorite writers. But we've never had the chance to make something quite this unique: the extraordinary match of the writer John Crowley, the artist Theo Fadel, collaborating on an astonishing contemporary take on one of the very first novels of the fantastic.
We are planning on celebrating the 400th anniversary(!) of one of the most outlandish stories in Western literature in a series of extravagant limited hardcover editions and we hope you will join in and back the project.
While The Chemical Wedding is understood to be an alchemical allegory, John Crowley makes the case in his introduction that it should be considered “the first science fiction novel”. He says: “it’s fiction; it’s about the possibilities of a science; and it’s a novel.” Put even more simply, The Chemical Wedding is the story of a man invited to a wedding. From there, things begin to get very strange.
Q. Why are you, Small Beer Press, Kickstarting this when publishing books is what you do?
A. We like to publish books in editions available to all readers, so in the past 15 years we have published almost a hundred titles in either hardcover, trade paperback, chapbook, and ebook editions. We've only published limited editions (simultaneous with the trade editions) three times in our history: Magic for Beginners by Kelly Link, Mothers & Other Monsters by Maureen F. McHugh, and An A–Z of the Fantastic City by Hal Duncan.
We already plan to publish The Chemical Wedding in trade paperback and ebook editions in the fall, but this particular book and author seemed like magic to us. Alchemy! We could not resist the chance to make a weird and beautiful artifact out of John Crowley's long-dreamed-of project, with the help of some of our favorite artists and designers.
There are many reward levels available. But what you most need to know is that we are offering four beautiful states of The Chemical Wedding: an ebook, and three hardcover editions — the only hardcover editions of this book that we will ever produce which are listed here below. For ease of finding, the reward levels are titled The First Day, The Second Day, and The Third Day. All the hardcover editions come with the DRM-free ebook edition.
1) Ebook only. Available as a DRM-free pdf, epub, and mobi. $10. Included with all hardcover editions.
2) The First Day: Kickstarter Exclusive Hardcover Edition. $30.
Includes US shipping.
6" x 8.75" casebound hardcover, 212 pages. Smyth sewn in oatmeal linen cloth with black foil stamped cover. The interior will be printed in black and red ink on a beautiful 70# Finch Opaque Vanilla paper with matching endpapers and a black ribbon. This edition has an ISBN but no barcode printed on it and will not be distributed to bookstores.
This edition is offered by itself or with many additions.
3) The Second Day: Kickstarter Exclusive Signed, Numbered, Limited Slipcased Edition with Exclusive Print. $250.
Limited to 200 numbered copies.
Signed on a two-color tipped in page by the author John Crowley, the illustrator Theo Fadel, and the designer Jacob McMurray.
Presented in a black cloth slipcase stamped with gold foil on the front and spine and accompanied by an exclusive woodcut hand printed, signed, and numbered in her studio by Theo Fadel.
Smyth sewn in oatmeal linen cloth with black and red foil stamped cover. The interior will be printed in black and red inks on a beautiful 70# Finch Opaque Vanilla paper with black endpapers and a black ribbon.
This edition has no ISBN and will not be distributed to bookstores after this Kickstarter.
4) The Third Day: Kickstarter Exclusive Signed, Lettered, Limited Slipcased Edition with Exclusive Print. $500.
Limited to 26 lettered copies. Includes a tipped in page on which John Crowley has handwritten the Wedding Invitation from The Chemical Wedding.Signed on a two-color tipped in page by the author John Crowley, the illustrator Theo Fadel, and the designer Jacob McMurray. Presented in a black cloth slipcase blindstamped and with a print on the front with gold foil spine and accompanied by an exclusive woodcut hand printed, signed, and lettered in her studio by Theo Fadel. Smyth sewn in oatmeal linen cloth with black and red foil stamped cover. Interior printed in black and red ink on a beautiful 70# Finch Opaque Vanilla paper with red endpapers and a red ribbon.This edition has no ISBN and will not be distributed to bookstores.
5) The Eighth Day
1 copy available.
A bonus one for fun. Hand sewn and bound in period style by Henry Wessells using marbled paper over boards, printed paper label. With a linen folding box, paper label to match.
Click this link for a PDF download of a few sample pages from The Chemical Wedding.
ExcerptThe First Day
It was just before Easter Sunday, and I was sitting at my table. I’d said my prayers, talking a long time as usual with my Maker and thinking about some of the great mysteries the Father of Lights had revealed to me. Now I was ready to make and to bake – only in my heart, actually – a small, perfect unleavened wafer to eat with my beloved Paschal Lamb. All of a sudden a terrible wind blew up, so strong that I thought the hill my little house was built on would be blown apart – but I’d seen the Devil do things as bad as this before (the Devil had often tried to harm me), so I took heart and went on meditating.
Till I felt somebody touch me on the back.
This frightened me so that I didn’t dare turn. I tried to stay as brave and calm as a human being could under the circumstances. I felt my coat tugged at, and tugged again, and at last I looked around. A woman stood there, so bright and beautiful, in a sky-colored robe – a heavens covered with stars. . . .
We have many unique rewards and I apologize right now for any hard decisions. There are the following John Crowley limited editions — click the titles for photos: Beasts (US, photo 2, photo 3); Beasts (UK); Daemonomania; An Earthly Mother Sits and Sings; Embrace the Mutation (photo 2); Endless Things; In Other Words (photo 2); Little, Big (audiobook); Lord Byron's Novel; Novelty (photo 2); and The Deep (photo 2, photo 3). There are also Small Beer books or ebooks, and even one full run each of LCRW and Small Beer chapbooks.
We are offering the last few Small Beer Press T-shirts we found around the office (pictures below):
- the beautiful black & white Octopus shirt designed by Kevin Huizenga
Update: we found another box of these in XL size!
- Theo Black's bottle with eye
- and the most recent one, heathered pink with bears by Kathleen Jennings.
The sizes available are the only ones we have. Once they are gone, they are completely gone.
We are happy to offer you the chance of a half-hour chat with John Crowley or the publishers by Skype (or phone, if preferred). Time to be mutually arranged by you and the Author or publishers.
We are delighted to offer you the chance of dinner (either at Readercon in Quincy, MA, in July or in Western Massachusetts) with the Author and publishers. Time to be mutually arranged.
* If there is a reward you are interested in that sells out, please contact us and we will see if we can add more. (This does not apply to the one-off copies of Beasts, The Deep, and so on.)
or, When Will My Book Arrive?
The book is written. It has been proofred. (sic!) Twice. (That's not to say that typos, the bane of our existence, may not still exist.) The illustrations are complete. Theo Fadel has hand printed the woodcut for the lettered and numbered editions. We have worked with our printer, Maple Press of York, PA, on material selection for all the editions. Once we have the final numbers from here, we will get the book to press as fast as we can.
Kickstarter Ends: June 3
We receive the pledges: June 17
Send final files to printer: June 21
Books finished (5 weeks): August 1
Slipcases finished (5 weeks): September 5
Books, prints, and slipcases assembled and readied to mail: September 19-23
Books ship: week of September 26-30
Stretch Goals? Maybe!
We have two solid goals and one possible one that's a bit more ethereal — and complicated! If it looks like we're going to get to any of them, we'll go for it!
US shipping is included in most reward levels and will be added for Canadian and international orders. Our fabulous printer Maple Press in York, PA, will ship most of the books directly:
- Domestic orders will ship Priority Mail with tracking in cardboard wrappers.
- International orders will ship First Class International.
We will ship orders with additional rewards (T-shirts, personalized copies of John Crowley's books, &c!) from our office in Easthampton. They will also be shipped Priority Mail or First Class International.
“Like a magus, John Crowley shares his secrets generously, allowing us to believe that his book is revealing the true and glorious nature of the world and the reader’s own place within it.”—Village Voice
“[Crowley] transforms the lead of daily life into seriously dazzling artistic gold.” —Newsday
“Crowley is generous, obsessed, fascinating, gripping. Really, I think Crowley is so good that he has left everybody else in the dust.” —Peter Straub
“Ambitious, dazzling, strangely moving, a marvelous magic-realist family chronicle.” — Washington Post
“A master of language, plot and characterization, Crowley triumphs in this occult and Hermetic tale, at once naturalistically persuasive and uncannily visionary.” —Harold Bloom
“So rich and so evocative and so authentic.” —Tom Brokaw
“[An] intricate and stylish romp … both a Gothic extravaganza and a picaresque adventure.” —New York Times Book Review
“An eerily authentic simulation of Romantic literature … beautiful.” — Boston Globe
“Though it’s an impertinent undertaking, it’s also a beautiful success.” —Seattle Times
“A complex, nested novel of literary and biographical reconstruction … A stunning, rewarding work.” —Vancouver Sun
John Crowley was born in Presque Isle, Maine, in 1942. He moved to New York City after college in Indiana to make movies, and did find work in documentary films, an occupation he still pursues. He has published many novels including the Aegypt quartet and Little, Big. He teaches creative writing at Yale University. In 1992 he received the Award in Literature from the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters. He finds it more gratifying that almost all his work is still in print.
Theo Fadel has a BA in Archeology (Bryn Mawr) and a Master of Architecture from Columbia University. Currently her studio is in Easthampton, and she’s been in Massachusetts less than a hundred years. This is the first book she has illustrated.
Jacob McMurray is the Senior Curator at Seattle's EMP Museum, where he has organized over twenty exhibitions, including: Wild Blue Angel: Hendrix Abroad, 1966-1970 PUSH ME, PULL ME: Pearl Jam and the Art of the Screen Printed Poster Indie Game Revolution Hear My Train A Comin': Hendrix Hits London Can't Look Away: The Lure of Horror Film Nirvana: Taking Punk to the Masses. He also dabbles in graphic design, focusing on books and print ephemera. McMurray lives in Seattle with his wife, two daughters, three chickens, one cat, and 50,000 honeybees.
Small Beer Press was founded in 2000 by Kelly Link (twitter) and Gavin J. Grant (twitter) to publish great weird books in all shapes and sizes from a zine, LCRW, to chapbooks, paperbacks, hardcovers, ebooks, and unexpected things, such as this limited edition! Jedediah Berry of Ninepin Press made the movie for this Kickstarter.
Small Beer Press has published Ursula K. Le Guin, Sofia Samatar, Nathan Ballingrud, Joan Aiken, Karen Joy Fowler, Sean Stewart, Carol Emshwiller, Elizabeth Hand, Ayize Jama-Everett, Lydia Millet, Holly Black, as well as many debut authors and international superstars.
Besides The Chemical Wedding our 2016 books are: Sofia Samatar's novel The Winged Histories; The People in the Castle: Selected Strange Stories by Joan Aiken; Jeffrey Ford's collection, A Natural History of Hell (July), and then a huge book to round out the year: Words Are My Matter: Writings About Life and Books, 2000-2016 with a Journal of a Writer’s Week by Ursula K. Le Guin (October).
Our books are distributed by the fine people at Consortium and have received starred reviews, awards, and rights have been sold all around the world. As always, thanks for reading — and if you are pledging to support this book, woohoo, thank you!
Risks and challenges
Whether this funding goal is reached or not, we will publish The Chemical Wedding in trade paperback and ebook formats in November 2016.
Challenges? Yes! This is an incredibly intricate and complicated project with multiple versions of the book all to be carefully made and shipped.
If you have questions, please do ask!Learn about accountability on Kickstarter