Recursive Book Launch


It is my pleasure to announce that Recursive Occlusion, also known as the Logopolis book, is now available for sale. You can buy a copy here if you're so inclined.

If you pre-ordered the book via the old Hartnell Second Edition Kickstarter then assuming you also provided me with updated address information, your book has been ordered and is either on its way to you or to me so that I can sign it and send it to you. If you're owed a signed copy of Volume V, that will be in the same package. If you haven't sent me updated address information, check your Kickstarter messages for information.

If you have not pre-ordered the book, things are going to work a little differently this time than some of my other books. For one thing, the print edition is the only edition. I'm not ruling out an ebook edition in the future, but for now there are no active plans. The print edition is also available exclusively via the Createspace store, which is to say, via direct order from the print on demand company I'm using. I'm also not ruling out an eventual general sale via Amazon and the like, but for now, again, there are no active plans.

The book is about 120 pages, and the $15 price was picked in part because I didn't want to sell it for cheaper than I did to pre-ordering Kickstarter backers nearly two years ago, and in part to highlight the fact that this is very much book-as-art-object.

Basically, this is the sort of book that, under traditional publishing, would be called a "limited edition" or something, although given that it's print-on-demand that's kind of the exact wrong phrase for it. Nevertheless, the point of the book is very much to be an interesting and compelling physical object. Both Alison and I, in editing and typesetting the book, and James, in doing the cover design, worked hard to mimic the design of vintage Choose Your Own Adventure books, and, if I may be so bold, the book is a real pleasure to just pick up and play with. (James's account of designing the cover is up here.)

Content-wise... this is a strange one. It is loosely based on the essay "Recursive Occlusion," the TARDIS Eruditorum entry on Logopolis that is reprinted in Volume 5 of that series. That essay is structured as an interactive set of branching paths akin to the Choose Your Own Adventure books, and consists of a total of 33 separate nodes. But Recursive Occlusion the book is almost completely rewritten - only two of its 34 notes originate in the old Logopolis entry, and the other 32 are completely new and exclusive to the book. These include two lengthy essays explaining the format of the book and some of the philosophical ideas underlying it, although you'll have to successfully find them within the book's narrative.

Recursive Occlusion is my definitive statement on one of the major themes of TARDIS Eruditorum, namely the intersections between occultism (and particularly alchemy) and Doctor Who. That said, the idea of a "definitive statement" about mysticism is necessarily a slightly strange one, and the book is at times an oblique and willfully odd thing. It is very much in the style of my weirder and more gonzo essays, which is part of why I've opted for limited sale on it initially, to be honest - because I want to let the book out into the world for a bit before I start worrying about explaining it to people who aren't familiar with my work. (That and I get higher royalties via the Createspace store - buying a copy of this nets me nearly three times as much as buying one of my other books does.)

But if you've ever wanted to know more about my arguments regarding Doctor Who, alchemy, and the Western occult tradition, there is at last a book for you, and I very much hope that you enjoy it.

And here's the sales link again, just to save you the trouble of scrolling back up.


Ombund 5 years, 11 months ago

It looks fantastic, can't wait to read it. Well done to James on creating such an amazing cover as always.

Has anyone in the UK bought from Createspace before? The standard postage gives an estimate of 49 days for delivery, which seems...kind of absurd. Any idea how accurate that might be?

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Kit Power 5 years, 11 months ago

That there is one adorable book cover. Bravo, sir, cannot wait to get my hands on this.

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Iain Coleman 5 years, 11 months ago

It does seem a bit daft, but it's only a couple of dollars to bring it down to something like a fortnight, which is liveable with. (I suspect this may be the reason for including the ludicrous standard-shipping-via-Ganymede option in the first place.)

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Jenda 5 years, 11 months ago

Bought! Looking forward to reading it in two months time!

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Eric Rosenfield 5 years, 11 months ago

Bought one. Gimee gimee.

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What Happened To Robbie? 5 years, 11 months ago

I loved the original version in Vol 5 (and thanks for making it possible to navigate through on the ebook version) so having an almost entirely new version *in addition* has made me very happy indeed :) And again amazing work on the cover.

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What Happened To Robbie? 5 years, 11 months ago

Also, although the estimated delivery date isn't until next month it is the day before my birthday which would be pretty good timing.

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encyclops 5 years, 11 months ago

Choose Your Own Adventure books (plus their various imitators and cousins, including Which Way?, Interplanetary Spy, and the sublime Sorcery!) and "Logopolis" were two of my very favorite things as a kid. I love that you've combined them for this and I can't wait to get my copy.

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Nyq Only 5 years, 11 months ago

"The book is about 120 pages"

Wait, I thought it was about the intersections between occultism and Doctor Who?

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Allyn Gibson 5 years, 11 months ago

The right fonts are on the cover! (And hopefully inside the book, too.) That's attention to detail. :)

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Eric Gimlin 5 years, 11 months ago

The book looks beautiful, I can't wait until my copy arrives.

I did have one very minor question on the cover, though: Since Choose Your Own Adventure was originally an US book series and started in 1979, wouldn't it have a UPC code normally and not require a sticker? I know the UPC was showing up in the US on books in the 70's, and I don't think (based on my limited collection) that it was common on UK books until the late 80's- very early 90's. Or did UK editions of CYOA books have the same basic trade dress, minus the UPC?

Yes, I'm thinking WAY too hard about this. Sorry. Need to do something to keep busy until my copy gets here.

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Bob Dillon 5 years, 10 months ago

I can't seem to get the company to accept my address as a valid billing address (it might be the fact that "state" is a required field, despite me living in the UK.

Is anyone else having this problem?

Bob Dillon

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Adam Riggio 5 years, 10 months ago

It should arrive at my place in just under three weeks. Thank you so much again for the Eruditorum, and all the enlightenment and companionship I've found in the community that's grown around it. You should be proud, and I know you are.

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Elizabeth Sandifer 5 years, 10 months ago

I've not heard anyone else complain about this, but that's not necessarily evidence of anything. I've shipped from Createspace to UK addresses with no problem (the state field, for shipping, is only required for US addresses) but I've never used a UK billing address.

I'd try just picking a state and seeing if it actually makes the transaction throw up an error, or if your credit card company just ignores data in fields it doesn't care about in the first place.

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HarlequiNQB 5 years, 10 months ago

Well, if we're going to be pedantic the map isn't really in a period accurate style either, but I went with a more modern look because it's simpler and more readable. :)

I do a bit of research on these things though, and the original books do seem to lack the UPC. Here's an example:

But the real reason there's a 'sticker', and there is likely to be so until at least the McCoy era, is that the barcode area must be pure white; and the aging I do on the covers means that this is the only place where this is the case, so throwing a sticker on there allows that area to appear newer, when the rest is aged.

I think from McCoy onward there will be little to know aging (the books would thematically be no more than 12 years or so old after all), and so the barcode will be more integrated into the design - albeit still in the default location it has been so far.

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Anglocat 5 years, 10 months ago

Ordered. Looking forward to it, Phil; many congratulations!

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Eric Gimlin 5 years, 10 months ago

Time travel is involved, the map doesn't have to be period accurate! And I don't want my speculation to suggest that I think the cover is anything less than beautiful; I was just wondering.

A quick look through some paperbacks in my library suggests that the UPC actually started showing up on paperbacks around 1980, rather later than I would have guessed. (I found several 1979 books without UPC, several 1981 with, and the only book with a 1980 publishing date didn't have one but was dated February.) What threw me was the fact that comic books got the UPC in 1976; I stupidly assumed that paperbacks would have gotten them roughly the same time.

I apologize for incorrectly raising the issue, my bad.

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Daru 5 years, 10 months ago

Really very excited to see this and with such a beautiful cover too! I just have to wait till I'm paid to afford it, but will get it soon I hope.

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HarlequiNQB 5 years, 10 months ago

Nope, perfectly valid query, keep doing that! It's useful, and keeps me from getting lazy. I'd feel bad if I hadn't checked and it turned out you were right (though it wouldn't change the faux aging issue, at least I'd be making the choice intentionally).

And it would also be fine if you didn't like the cover (but you do! :D), it would just mean I'd have to try harder next time.

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Unknown 5 years, 10 months ago

I may be missing something, but there seems to be no path that leads to the node beginning on p. 79. I've marked my trail with breadcrumbs on each pass through the book, and I've chosen every option but never got to p. 79. I assume that's deliberate?

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Elizabeth Sandifer 5 years, 10 months ago


No, that's an error that slipped past four editing passes. The link that should go to it is on page 17, but points to page 7.

I'm uploading a corrected version for the future now. Thankfully, if I'm going to completely exclude a node so that you have to cheat to get to it, that one's not a thematically inappropriate one, and 7 is at least the start of a node, so it's all functional. But still an error, for which I profusely apologize.

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William Silvia 5 years, 10 months ago

We promoted this book during the news portion of the latest episode of An Unearthly Podcast:

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Chris 5 years, 10 months ago

My copy arrived today and it is beautiful. Thank you.

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Eric Gimlin 5 years, 10 months ago

And my copy showed up today. What an amazing item to hold in ones hand.

Have only gotten through 3 paths so far; will try to do at least a couple more before I completely lose track and just cut across reading the sections I missed earlier.

For the record: "(Or was it seventeen?)" left me at a dead stop for nearly a minute in sheer admiration for just how convoluted a reference it was at that point. A thing of geeky beauty.

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