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The fascinating story behind Margaret Atwood’s Unburnable Book


Books burn, however not this one.

Since August 2021, over 1,500 books have been banned from U.S. college districts, most of them targeted on individuals of colour and LGBTQ people. To elevate consciousness of the rising variety of e book burnings and bans on this nation, Penguin Random House has partnered with legendary creator Margaret Atwood to create a single, fireproof version of her dystopian novel (and infrequently banned) The Handmaid’s Tale. “The Unburnable Book” was sewn and certain by hand and made out of a wide range of fireproof supplies that have been put to the take a look at with a torch, even left in a burning BBQ for half an hour. As stunts go, it’s a reasonably incendiary one.

[Photo: courtesy Gas Company]

The burn-proof version was designed by artistic advert company Rethink and made by the Gas Company, a Toronto-based agency that has made books with pages that change colour underneath UV gentle and covers made out of skinny concrete slabs. “We make a lot of unusual projects,” says Gas Company proprietor Doug Laxdal. “We’ve never done anything fireproof before.”

The e book’s star materials is one thing known as Cinefoil. When Laxdal picks up a sheet of it to indicate me over FaceTime, I can hear it crumple like kitchen foil. That’s as a result of it consists of an ultra-thin aluminum sheet sandwiched between a excessive temperature-rated coating.

[Photo: courtesy Gas Company]

As the identify suggests, Cinefoil is often used within the film trade to masks lights and remove undesirable reflections. Here, a matte, black model makes up the mud jacket. Meanwhile, the pages of the e book have been printed on white Cinefoil: half as thick as common paper, however thick sufficient to undergo the agency’s current printer. Laxdal says it did jam the machine a few instances, however as a bonus, the aluminum made the perimeters of the e book seem like they’re gilded in silver. (Considering the crumpling sound it made when Laxdal picked it up, it appears probably that every web page would crinkle each time you turned it, although I believe this isn’t the form of e book that’s meant to be learn at a espresso store.)

Unsurprisingly, each different materials within the e book has steel in it, too: The onerous cowl is made from Phenolic, a inflexible form of resin you’d see should you dismantled a stereo, says Laxdal. The head and tail bands—a element typically used on the prime and backside of a backbone in high quality hardcover books—are made from actually tremendous, woven stainless-steel thread. And the entire thing is certain along with nickel wire, like the sort you would possibly use to make jewellery. Because of all of the steel, Laxdal says the e book is “considerably heavier” than an everyday e book and is available in at about three kilos.

The e book was accomplished about two weeks in the past and is now being auctioned on-line by Sotheby’s New York. At the time of this writing, the bid is at $70,000, however you could have till June 7 to place in a bid; all proceeds will go to PEN America. Laxdal didn’t reveal how a lot it price his firm to make, although he did point out “it was not inexpensive.”

And no marvel: “It’s a completely handmade Handmaid’s Tale,” he says.





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