Escher's Loops


Published by:

ISBN: 978-1-84863-032-1
Edition size: 100 numbered (traycased)
MSRP: £50.00


This review is a bit irregular in that I really had no intentions of featuring this title on the website. Not necessarily because it was undeserving, just that I had other fish to fry. However, a faithful contributor to Awful Books asked me a LONG LONG LONG time ago [shameface] to send him some pics of traycased Postscript Publishing (PsP) books - in particular, this one. The reason being that PsP has frequent sales of their traycased editions and he was interested in grabbing some bargains.

Ho boy, how I can relate. About a year ago, PsP started a pretty massive blowout of unsold stock. Many of these books were traycased and HEAVILY discounted. For example, a typical £50.00 title would be slashed down to £19.00. Other books were reduced even more. Because I'm something of a completionist, I wound-up purchasing over 30 traycased books and netted almost $800 in savings. For the entire list of PsP books now residing in my library, see My Bookcases and Books.

At this point, I'm missing only two traycased titles - The Seven Days of Cain and The Colorado Kid. I have a good lead on the former, but the latter (any variant) is a 'roided-out Stephen King piece and, therefore, extremely expensive on the secondary market. So, it'll remain out of my reach for awhile (unless someone wants to sell one to me for cheap).

Anyway, that's the fluffy backstory as to why Escher's Loops is now getting the Awful Books treatment. My deepest apologies to the contributor who asked me to do this ages ago. I hope I haven't screwed anything up with my inexcusable procrastination.

For everyone else, enjoy!


Escher's Loops (EL) is representative of PsP's traycased offerings. It comes with a handsome, if rather cookie-cutterish, traycase with a front color onlay and a thin gold foil stamp which frames the onlay image. The traycase spine features an affixed color spine strip with the same gold foil framing stamp. The spine strip is particularly useful, as it makes the title immediately identifiable on a shelf. Because of these elements, the need for stamped lettering is eliminated.

The traycase is a non-clamshell design with a typical hinged front-door reveal. The door is slightly larger than the traycase interior, making it easy to swing free. Once opened, the interior padding for the book is uncovered, as both the inner part of the door and inner back of the traycase both contain padding. As a definite plus, an elegant satin lift-out ribbon is included for easy removal of the book. Given the book's fairly low MSRP, this traycase is more than adequate. As my bookcases pics show, PS changed the traycase color for each of their titles, such as pure black, forest green, deep blue, and fire-engine red, just to name a few. This makes them immediately recognizable on any bookshelf.

However, PsP does use a common template design for their traycases and their nestled books also don't veer much from one another. PsP chose close conformity over wild individuality with their traycases, unlike, say, Bloodletting Books whose traycases were completely different from each other and utterly unique in appearance.


Regarding the books, I'm ecstatic to report that PsP provides a dustjacket (DJ) for all of their traycased editions, making Brodart or Gaylord cover application a breeze. One of my bigger pet peeves is with publishers who produce uber-deluxe editions, but omit the DJ under the guise of preserving aesthetics due to fancy bindings. This is removing choice from the consumer, which is a Very Bad Thing. Giving collectors DJs instead of ASSuming they're unwanted is a big feather in PsP's cap. Plus, PsP takes advantage of the DJ flaps instead of just leaving them blank by often featuring pics of the authors and including biographical and bibliographical data along with content synopses. Leaving the flaps blank is, IMO, amateurish and lazy by making them look incomplete and squandering real-estate that could be utilized in various ways.

As with the DJ inclusion, PsP employs a standard image-on-boards technique for all of their books. The effectively double-dips a key design element by using the same imagery twice (once on the DJ and once on the book itself). Binding-wise, there's no distinction between this and lower-tier editions, which is a bit unfortunate.

When flipping through the book, the first thing one probably notices is the lack of printed endpapers, which is detracting, but again excusable given the book's low MSRP. The paper used doesn't appear to be anything special. The signature page is in black & white with Zoran's Hancock appearing above the signature line. The serial is handwritten with the total units produced as a printed element. The cover illustration is reused as a non-resized background image.

The binding appears sewn rather than glued, which is always a welcome sight. PsP purchases ISBNs for their traycased editions instead of reusing the non-traycased number, which is also a definite plus. This information appears on both the back of the DJ and book and on the copyright page.


Here's a summary of the good and bad of Escher's Loops.

PROS

CONS

  • Traycase with front and spine onlay.
  • Interior traycase padding.
  • Lift-out ribbon.
  • DUSTJACKET! WITH FLAP INFORMATION!
  • Dedicated ISBN.
  • Plain Jane endpapers.
  • Pedestrian text block paper.
  • Lack of uniqueness compared to the majority of other PsP traycased editions.
  • Nothing special about the binding.

I can't quite award Escher's Loops a "HIGHLY Recommended" rating due to the above cons. However, it definitely deserves a solid "Recommended" recommendation that's certainly worth the MSRP.

That's about it. Onto the pics!


- S I G N E D   T R A Y C A S E D   H A R D C O V E R -

The front of the traycase.

The traycase spine.

The traycase door open revealing the book and lift-out ribbon.

The DJ spine.

The DJ back.

The DJ flaps.

The front of the book itself, which is almost identical to the DJ front.

The book's spine...

...and its rear.

The limitation page.

The title page.

The copyright page.

A random interior spread (pages 146 & 147).