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The Final Lockdown Pass Continues Apace
30 June 2011

Last night I had a long, incredibly vivid dream about Little, Big. I dreamt I was in the multi-tiered dealers’ room at a science fiction convention, and the first case of copies of the new edition had finally arrived. While everyone around me was busy with their own tasks, I opened the case and took out the very first copy. It was incredibly beautiful, but completely unlike what I expected. There was no title on the front cover. Inside, the first dozen pages were full-color reproductions of art I had never seen before, glorious art. I took out another copy, and another, and discovered that no two copies of the book were the same: different covers (some with little titles and some with big, or no title at all, a sequence of artful abstractions), different interiors, different art – even the text of the novel itself changed with each new copy I opened. Only the coolly smooth uncoated paper remained the same. I became lost in the art unique to each copy. At one point, in the end pages of one copy, About the Edition, I came upon a full-page reproduction of a finely-wrought portrait in crayon of Chris Bates, a friend who died in 1998 and who, ten years before that, had told me he had always thought “Incunabula” would be a great name for a small press, and who heartily approved when I adopted that name in 1993 to publish Samuel R. Delany’s They Fly at Çiron and John Crowley’s Antiquities: Seven Stories. At that point someone heard me exclaim and looked over my shoulder, and I told him about Chris; the pose, fist on hip, the grin that always preceded a delighted laugh, was entirely characteristic. That particular copy specialized in character portraits, the denizens of Edgewood posing for pictures that were never taken but instead transformed directly into art, what splendid creatures they all are, and each time I turned back to a portrait I had already absorbed, the character’s pose and expression and disposition had changed, sometimes even her setting or his age, their very physiognomy. Busy, every figure within those magnificent pages, quietly busy about their ramifying, the inwardnesses and distances they were constantly disappearing into or emerging from. It was delightful, each copy of the book as unique as each reader who soon will receive one, and no one and nothing, reader and read, will ever sit still. A lovely dream to awaken from, and immensely reassuring. I know Chris would be pleased; I know you will be.


Best Wishes,

Ron Drummond

Updated Friday, 27-Jan-2023 06:53:25 MST

30 June 2011