Sunday!

The Pop-Up Book is one of the most wonderful art forms. You start with a closed book that looks like any other then open it up and there is an entire diorama. In some mad way, the pop-up book performs the act at the object level what non-pop-up books perform at the meta level. Open it up and it creates a scene to dance before you. How they did Augmented Reality before they had computers.

I did some quick research to find out about the earliest pop-up books thinking that the earliest ones probably started somewhere around the Victorians but, of course, they started WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAY earlier than that. Ramon Llull, in the 13th century, came up with the Llullian Circle: a bunch of stacked concentric circles that could be spun to make different combinations of the slices of circular sectors.

Sunday!

A century later, medical texts used the “lift the flap” technique to show various anatomy features. Lotta stuff in the body in a lot of layers, after all.

The next pop-up precursor involved paper dolls. At the start of the book, you’d get a little doll of the protagonist in his skivvies and the character’s starting outfit, then every couple of chapters you’d get an additional outfit to put over him to match the happenings in the book.

What we think of as pop-ups proper, though, started in, yeah, the Victorian Era. Dean & Son books seems to be mentioned by most of the sources I’m googling as “one of the first firms to introduce pop-up books for children” so we’ll just assume that they stole the idea from some little guy who couldn’t make it scale and they figured out how to mass produce them.

Which brings me to What’s Above? and What’s Below? (well, we’re skipping about 175 years). These two little charming books are pop up books that begin at ground level and then start moving up or down.

What’s Above? Takes us from ground level to butterfly level to bird level to skyscraper level to mountain level to satellite level.

What’s Below? Takes us from ground level to burrow level to dinosaur fossil level to the bottom of large bodies of water and then back up to subway level (so if you were hoping for some crust, mantle, and core action, you’ll be disappointed, as I was). But if you are looking for some cute little pop up books that do a pretty good job of covering the concepts of Up and Down between them, you’ll want to check these out.

So… what are you reading and/or watching?


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Jaybird is Birdmojo on Xbox Live and Jaybirdmojo on Playstation's network. He's been playing consoles since the Atari 2600 and it was Zork that taught him how to touch-type. If you've got a song for Wednesday, a commercial for Saturday, a recommendation for Tuesday, an essay for Monday, or, heck, just a handful a questions, fire off an email to AskJaybird-at-gmail.com

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9 thoughts on “Sunday!

  1. kiel gajnu amikojn kaj influiu homoj en auxdo. mi sentas plej solan nun, ne proksime amikoj, kaj la situacio kun mia edzino. gxi doloras, esti honesta.

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  2. I read Scalzi’s Collapsing Empire in a few hours the other day – if infodumpy space opera is your thing, I can highly recommend it.

    Likewise, if you like the idea of a Louisiana riverboat lowlife turn-of-the-century gorefest with tame and feral hippos, Gailey’s River of Teeth delivers on that premise delightfully.

    Yang’s Black Tides of Heaven, on the other hand, is subtle, complicated, and challenging. Loved it just as much as the others – more – but truly a whole different kettle of fish.

    (It may be obvious I’ve been catching up on my Hugo reading. Want to vote! Need to read more things!)

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  3. Scalzi’s one of those authors I know I’ll love but still haven’t gotten around to reading yet (even though I have Old Man’s War and Redshirts sitting on my bookshelf); what’s Collapsing Empire about?

    I got a good solid bunch of reading done over the last few weeks: I finally read the last third of that Neal Stephenson’s Seveneves, which I’d left off on a couple years ago, and then tore through Dan Simmons’ Hyperion (which is a stone classic, really great stuff) and then the Rise and Fall of D.O.D.O, a Stephenson collab with Nicole Galland that was a fun combo of fantasy, sci-fi and historical fiction.

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    • An Empire. That’s collapsing :D. (Well, it *is*…)

      No, seriously, it’s a very classical space opera in that there is a very old civilization built on certain principles and people going about from system to system and tons of political machinations and all of those things…. leavened with Scalzi’s sense of humor…. and there are multiple point of view characters, one of whom is the new Emperox, never intended to be an emperox, suddenly stuck being one, aaaaaand… I’m not sure how much more to say.

      There’s space ship stuff and political stuff and arguing and sex and stuff blowing up and sometimes it’s really funny and sometimes it’s quite depressing.

      And I am really looking forward to the next one.

      Without spoilers, were you happy with the ending of Seveneves? I’ve actually been warned off it quite stringently by someone who is insightful about such things and doesn’t think I actually want to read it, based precisely on the last third, so ever since then – even though I probably WON’T ever read it (this person has never warned me off anything else) – I’ve been mightily curious what everyone thinks about the book.

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      • Re: Seveneves, let me preface this by saying that I’m as big a fan of Neal Stephenson as they come, I’ve read every book of his except Zodiac at this point, but the man just doesn’t know how to end a book to save his life (it’s a quality I’ve noticed he has in common with Frank Herbert). That being said, I actually thought the end of Seveneves was one of his better ones. The main reason I’d left off previously is that the book is basically structured like a trilogy (and each part is about an average novel in length), and between parts two and three there’s a very large time jump, and I found the jump so disorienting it sort of threw me out of the book. In a weird way, though, coming back it a couple years later probably made it better because the characters and events of the first two parts are basically like the Bible of the world of the third part, and so having a memory of those things at something of a remove rather than them having just happened, so to speak, made the vibe of the last part work a lot better for me than it might have otherwise.

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  4. I saw the first episode of Wellington Paranormal on Wednesday, it’s a spin-off of What we do in the Shadows, focusing on the two cops that briefly appeared in that movie. It’s done in the style of those police reality TV shows and is hilarious. I highly recommend it, assuming you are ever able to watch it.

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  5. Reading The Dawn Watch, Joseph Conrad in a Global World. Just started it, but so far so good. Further convinces me that Conrad was the greatest writer of the 20th century.

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