Some Book of Pages trivia

  • Contrary to many people’s expectations, Book of Pages doesn’t contain the word “computer.”
  • Most readers sooner or later realise that all the numbers in the illustrations are references to other pages, so the whole thing operates as a hypertext document, threaded by topic, as well as a narrative. The page set in the antique bookshop, called Page of Books, links to all the other pages — except one.
  • There are more illustrations (that didn’t make it into the final book), together with some commentary about making the project, in the Beholder scrapbook.
    Book of Pages: the year of the fat wolves Book of Pages: magnetic medium Book of Pages: born losers
  • The alley where Jiriki meets Death is based on a similar place behind Newcastle’s Chinatown, near the ancient city wall.
  • The Spittlecat (who makes the briefest of appearances) is based on a family cat who developed a spectacular dribbling problem towards the end of his life.
  • Many people realise that the text in the final copy of the book was processed by machine . . . but in fact the entire text was written out by hand in the style it appears in the book before the decision to use a more modern approach was applied.
  • The illustration on page 48 (“Running a Risk”) was accidentally drawn backwards — a friend pointed out that the henchmen had suddenly become left-handed — so it was digitally reversed. Jiriki’s tunic always tucks into the left, of course, so that had to be corrected. The writing on the walls was drawn backwards to accomodate the flip.
  • There are a couple of errors on the cover . . . if you notice what’s going on, all the pages are shown as thumbnails except, ironically, the Page of Books one; instead, by mistake, the previous page is duplicated. The other thing is more subtle: the author wanted Jiriki looking confused (because, generally, he is) but the publisher wanted him smiling (for the same reason all the models on the covers of magazines are always smiling). His mouth was changed casually as a test, but due to an error in communication this was used as the final artwork. Once you know, you can see his mouth is Photoshop-airbrushed over otherwise sharp artwork. Gah!
  • Those familiar with the idiosyncracies of aikido may have noticed a characteristic wrist warm-up on page 3.
  • To celebrate the book’s publication 20 years ago, illustrations from the book in colour are being added to the twentieth anniversary page.
    Book of Pages first page mountain monastery Jiriki