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A photographic history of rare bipedal cats and related feline apocrypha from the unplumbed depths of cat science.

Post-Kickstarter.

Half-Cat Field Research Organization --  The Documentary -- The Book (Buy/Pre-order)

Half-cats walk among us.

Erwin Hobbes,* a researcher and cat scientist, compiled HALF CAT: A Partial History over years of meticulous study. Sadly, Erwin’s convictions had more legs to stand on than his research did, and evidence for his theories remains incomplete in the wake of his tragic death. This 120-page, full-color book unifies the fragments of research to which he dedicated his life: a life cut short by a freak cliff-related accident.

From Erwin Hobbes' Manuscript:

"I believe that for as long as there have been cats, there have been half-cats. In the ballet of feline DNA hides the potential for an astonishing mutation, revered by some, toured as spectacle by others. There is no reckoning for the countless specimens drowned at birth for their unexpected, perhaps unsettling, appearance. But what of the few that survived?  This book will attempt a retelling of their story—their origins in the shadows of biology and history. 

The groundwork for this volume was laid by the great, but doubtlessly troubled, mind of James Alexander, and collected over time by his estate. His work was wrought with speculation and bias, and I will try to separate the good science from the bad. For this reason I call it a partial history."

Stretch Goals: Cloth-Bound Hardcover, Gilt Edges and Ribbon.

A stretch goal is a funding target set beyond the original Kickstarter goal. Stretch goals will be free upgrades to all book pledge levels.

Photo of James Alexander, 14 years old, and “Pawsworth,” 1898.
Photo of James Alexander, 14 years old, and “Pawsworth,” 1898.

James Alexander: Troubled Visionary

On June 23, 1908, James Alexander, a loving husband and promising young academic, saw something that excited his scientific imagination and set him on a course to professional ridicule and personal destruction: a cat with no hind legs.

Photo, 1908, captured on a Kodak Brownie by James Alexander.
Photo, 1908, captured on a Kodak Brownie by James Alexander.

Over the years, James uncovered a bounty of evidence as he tried to prove the existence of the half-cat. It was an obsession that consumed him, but gave the world a new belief in things once thought impossible.

Man holding a half-cat. Chicago, 1909. (Confirmed by inspection of original negative)
Man holding a half-cat. Chicago, 1909. (Confirmed by inspection of original negative)
1909: A blue Maltese cat near Sydney, Australia, gave birth to three consecutive litters of half-kittens.
1909: A blue Maltese cat near Sydney, Australia, gave birth to three consecutive litters of half-kittens.
2012, Japan, Makoto Satsukawa, professional half-cat photographer. Courtesy of the Estate of James Alexander.
2012, Japan, Makoto Satsukawa, professional half-cat photographer. Courtesy of the Estate of James Alexander.
HCFRO conference in Osanna, Sweden 2008. Photographed by "Cliff".
HCFRO conference in Osanna, Sweden 2008. Photographed by "Cliff".
                   

And 50+ more half-cat images from throughout history, collected together for the first time in print.

The story of James Alexander's found painting

We have unearthed a painting of a Half-Cat made by James Alexander. The painting was found in a deck of playing cards. Four cards used as a canvas. We have strong reasons to believe it was painted while James was institutionalized in August 1913.

Found on the face of a number of playing cards in the archives of James Alexander.
Found on the face of a number of playing cards in the archives of James Alexander.
Four cards show a cat with four legs. However...
Four cards show a cat with four legs. However...
On another card contains a hastily painted attempt to represent a half-cat. We suspect that any mention of half-cats –during his institutionalization– would have prolonged his stay. Painted in secret to ease the soul.
On another card contains a hastily painted attempt to represent a half-cat. We suspect that any mention of half-cats –during his institutionalization– would have prolonged his stay. Painted in secret to ease the soul.

Printing

Each book will feature 120 full-color pages with a gold foil-pressed cover on a cloth-bound hardcover. The KANYE WEST deluxe edition features a black foil-pressed cover on a black, cloth-bound hardcover. The book will be roughly 1 centimeter thick.

Resolution is our obsession. We are going to great lengths to ensure every image meets or exceeds photo-book standards.

Delivery

Our goal is to have this book in your hands by Christmas, with extras delivered at the same time or in the New Year. We have contingencies and backup plans for printing should problems arise.

The Goal (Achieved)

new -- 11k Stretch Goal: Cloth-bound hardcover with hot-pressed gold and gilt edges is only possible by moving the bookbinding to China. A local printer in Canada has a longstanding relationship with this printer and will be co-ordinating the production of a minimum order of 700 books.

original -- 5k Goal: "HALF-CAT: A Partial History needs to do a minimum run of 250 books to make local printing viable at a reasonable price. The Kickstarter goal is the break-even point.

The largest portion goes into the printer's setup. This includes the magnesium dye for hot foil stamping, cover stock, semi-gloss paper."

Most images have been generously donated to the Half-Cat Field Research Organization (HCFRO) in exchange for copies of the finished book. However, some images require licence fees. We also have a member of the HCFRO on a quest to find the taxidermied body of a half-cat from 1877, allegedly kept in the Princeton Museum.

Shipping costs will also be a significant fraction of the goal.

*Foma.

Meet the creative team

Erwin Hobbes is represented by three collaborators. Between them they have 4.5 degrees. Two Bachelors of Fine Arts, one BA, one Master of Arts and a Master of Architecture (in the works). Their combined, dried biomass is 72 kilograms. 

Dan is an architecture student and moderately successful cinematographer and designer.

Peter is an editor for an international charity and the author of a moderately successful webcomic.

Richard is a moderately successful director, writer and cat owner.

New Pledge Level

$60 - THE T-SHIRT CANNON; Unlimited Ed. HALF-CAT: A Partial History (signed) + POSTERS & PRINTS. 

Includes two 12•18" posters and two 4•6" photo reproductions. E-Book included.

HALF-CAT Border Tee Prototype (Printing method may vary depending on order volume)
HALF-CAT Border Tee Prototype (Printing method may vary depending on order volume)

 First two poster designs. More to follow.

Man holding a half-cat. Chicago, 1909. [RISO: Grey ink on 18•12" black paper]
Man holding a half-cat. Chicago, 1909. [RISO: Grey ink on 18•12" black paper]
Le Roi Cambyse au Siege de Peluse by Paul Marie Lenoir. Steel etching, 1872. [RISO: Black Ink on 18•12" natural tone paper]
Le Roi Cambyse au Siege de Peluse by Paul Marie Lenoir. Steel etching, 1872. [RISO: Black Ink on 18•12" natural tone paper]

Multiple Copies

Risks and challenges Learn about accountability on Kickstarter

(Last updated: Friday Oct 4)
We are moving ahead as though we will meet our stretch goal. A Hardcover upgrade for all backers.

Finishing the book: The manuscript is complete. A rough proof (80% complete) has been sent to our printer. The layout and design only need minor changes. All image sources have been acquired. There are multiple contingency plans for each obstacle.

Printing: Our new supplier has a 1-2 week (yes, very fast) turnaround and a 4-5 week shipping estimate. To be safe: we are fast-tracking all December (Christmas) orders with Airmail (1-2 weeks instead of 4-5 weeks). First round of books are scheduled to arrive early November.

Shipping: Our book is sized and weighted to ship economically with minimal paperwork required. Our priority is to sign and deliver books and related perks in time for Christmas.

FAQ

  • Yes, backers will be invited to the Toronto book launch late-November. Hosted by the U of T School of Architecture. It will not be a standard reading. Best described as a "TED Talk of Half-Cats". Exact date TBD.

    Last updated:
  • Look closer. The border is made of Half-Cats.

    Lesson: Half-cats are everywhere, you just didn't notice.

    Last updated:
  • Yes. Please send us a message. We will calculate the reduced shipping cost based on your country of origin (~$5 /book). We will also extend Early Bird pricing ($20) for every additional copy.

    Last updated:
  • We wish we could set variable rates. We can't. The simple reason is that Kickstarter's interface doesn't allow us to set variable shipping rates. So we must set one price for all international orders.

    Details:

    Pending our final shipping weight being <250 grams, <20mm thick (a major logistical concern)... our shipping costs are as follows:

    $3.05 -- Canada
    $5.53 -- USA (Light Packet, Air)
    $10.00 -- International (Light Packet, Air)

    + Fuel Surcharge (varies between 5-7%)
    + Applicable Tax (too convoluted to describe here)

    We took these estimated costs and picked $10 for a single book.

    For perspective: Amazon charges $7 handling fee (not including shipping) to redistribute self-published books: We think a $10 shipping & handling fee remains a reasonable amount for US backers and a steal for International backers.

    Last updated:
  • CANADA & US BACKERS:
    Should receive their January orders in time for christmas.

    INTERNATIONAL BACKERS:
    December backers: International orders are on track to arrive in backer's hands the first week of December.
    January backers: Last week of December with a moderate chance of arriving in time for christmas.

    Last updated:
  • Substantial increase in manufacturing cost when we met our stretch goal and upgraded all pledge levels from softcover to hardcover. Pre-stretch goal backers get special (lower price) treatment.

    Last updated:
  • http://www.half-cat.com/a-partial-history/

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    EARLY BIRD MEAL. HALF-CAT: A Partial History as a real, physical, full colour book. Own the fullest documentation of half-cats. E-Book included.

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    UNLIMITED EDITION. HALF-CAT: A Partial History with hot-pressed gold on black, signed by all surviving collaborators and numbered (1 of ∞, 2 of ∞, etc). E-Book included.

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    KANYE WEST EDITION. The rarest edition of the only book on history’s rarest animal, signed with black foil pressed onto a black cover. E-Book included.

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    THE T-SHIRT CANNON; HALF-CAT: A Partial History (signed) & PRINTS. The shirt's border is made of half-cats. Black print on black tee. PRINTS: two 12x18" posters and two 4x6" photo reproductions. BOOK: Unlimited Ed. (Signed). E-Book included. _________________________________ Everything in this pledge is included in the ERWIN HOBBES EVERYTHING.

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    THE T-SHIRT CANNON; HALF-CAT: A Partial History (signed) & PRINTS. The shirt's border is made of half-cats. Black print on black tee. PRINTS: two 12x18" posters and two 4x6" photo reproductions. BOOK: Unlimited Ed. (Signed). E-Book included. _________________________________ Everything in this pledge is included in the ERWIN HOBBES EVERYTHING.

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    ERWIN HOBBES EVERYTHING. HALF-CAT: A Partial History (signed); half-cat t-shirt; replica extract of James Alexander’s diary; reprint of Erwin Hobbes’ first book, "Doves Are Just White Pigeons: How Can We Love and Hate the Same Creature?"

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    ERWIN HOBBES EVERYTHING. HALF-CAT: A Partial History (signed); half-cat t-shirt; replica extract of James Alexander’s diary; reprint of Erwin Hobbes’ first book, "Doves Are Just White Pigeons: How Can We Love and Hate the Same Creature?"

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    ORIGINAL PAINTING OF A HALF-CAT by JAMES ALEXANDER*. Painted on the face of four antique playing cards. This pledge level includes the ERWIN HOBBES EVERYTHING pledge level. Note: cards will be shipped after completion of the Half-Cat book tour. _________________________________ *André Ethier as James Alexander.

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Funding period

- (32 days)