On Wednesday, 27 March 2013 we finalized 6.5, thereby simultaneously finalizing Book Six, thereby simultaneously finalizing the entirety of the text of Little, Big, the novel itself — at long last!
The tasks remaining are not insubstantial; work on several of them (mostly the back matter, and a few general mopping-up operations) has been on-going over the last month. We still have to finalize the following things:
The book’s front matter. This includes more than the average book’s front matter: a family tree, two pieces of art, a title page and two half-title pages, a copyright page, a publisher’s note, two tables of contents, and an epigraph. The good news is almost all of it is already in final form. The title and copyright pages need updating, as do both tables of contents – we have to finally add page numbers to them! The item needing the most work is the novel’s Table of Contents, with its long lists of subchapter titles; I have to proofread it against the titles as they actually appear in the body of the novel (some of those titles having evolved and even multiplied over the course of our work), and so on.
The book’s back matter. This consists of four relatively substantial texts: 1) the new Crowley short story, exclusive to the Lettered and Numbered editions; 2) Harold Bloom’s Afterword, a digressive labyrinth of an essay on Little, Big and Ægypt, which will appear in all editions; 3) two lists of the book’s 300+ art reproductions, the first giving the order in which details and full reproductions appear, along with the source works’ titles and essential bibliographic information, the second listing the art in alphabetical order by title, citing where all details from and/or full reproductions of any given work appear in the book; and 4) the mother of all colophons. Of these four “post-novel textual objects,” we finalized the Crowley story yesterday; the Bloom essay is all but final; the art listings have all been keystroked but await correction to reflect the final art dispositions in the book, the writing of a brief introductory paragraph about Peter Milton’s work and list nomenclature, and formulating the lists’ design and layout; and the colophon, which by definition must wait till the very last, remains to be created. Then, in the book’s endpapers, a final piece of art and, once again, a family’s tree
The book’s outer matter. This requires making final choices as to paper, cloth types and colors, stamps and dyes, slipcases (Lettered and Numbered copies only), design and layout of the dustjackets, jacket copy, and numerous sundries: though many of the biggest choices were made longsince, implementing those choices, and making and implementing the others, has yet to begin.
And yet soon — palpably soon, imaginably soon — we will finish.