Making a steampunk book…

This is one of my favourite books from the point of view of the physical design of the book. Originally, it was two separate paperback volumes, The Untime and The Untime Revisited (both of which are still available as ebooks – check them out here), but I decided to combine them into one print volume, since one is a very clear sequel to the other.

I had some designs which I’d used for the cover of the original, but I preferred to take a completely different tack on this, and to try to recreate the feeling of a 19th-century book using 21st century technology. Steampunk publishing, if you will.

31398175_2015103505185126_4062058343353580054_n.jpgMy inspiration for the design came from a 19th-century notebook with marbled paper covers. Somehow this appeared to be a suitable fit for the contents of the book, which described events taking place in Paris of the 1890s.

Marbled paper is a wonderful thing, in any case, and there are several stock textures which mimic this material, so that’s what I ended up using.

I liked the leather spine and the corners, so emulated those, and faked some ribs on the spine.

How would such a book be labelled? I thought that the owner of such a notebook might well use gummed labels, so I “stuck” a label on the front and the back of the book and distressed those labels using some of the Illustrator tools that seem made for just that purpose.

And in this case, I wanted a pocket-sized book, fat, but compact. So this little beauty came in at a 4″x6″ size (100 x 150mm) and 510 pages. I chose a typeface that matched the 19th-century French setting (Didot), and a heading font (CAT Childs) for the Art Nouveau look, added some decoration, and I had a rather nice antique look.

So the final price came out to be a bit higher than I had wanted, but then, this is two novels in one, so it’s not bad value, and I can guarantee that if you buy a copy and leave it lying around, any visitor will be intrigued by it.

Oh, and the contents? A sort of mélange of H.G.Wells, Jules Verne, and a little of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Professor Challenger. Some interesting ideas and concepts to do with time and space, and a narrator who grew on me more an more as he revealed his personality.

Buy the book from Amazon or from any reputable bookseller.


  • Paperback: 512 pages
  • Publisher: j-views Publishing; First Collected edition (29 April 2018)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-13: 978-1912605422



One thought on “Making a steampunk book…”

  1. Actually, I think it represents an excellent value. Just snagged it on Amazon!

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