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Re: Has anyone seen my rabbit?

        I'm neither a binder or a conservator, so I'll leave questions 1, 2 and 4
to the experts on the list. However, I *am* a little bizarre myself, and
I've got a background in special effects and magic, so I'll take a shot at
#3 [grin]:

   You might try using the one-time cold-packs that are sold in drugstores
for use with sports injuries. They work by mixing two chemicals, one of
which is crystalline, the other of which is provided inside a thin glass
vial inside the pack. When needed, the user twists or slaps the pack,
breaking the vial, and then shakes to mix up the chemicals. Voila, the pack
rapidly cools down. For use in the binding, it might be possible to build in
a hidden pocket into the covers, which will contain a replaceable gimmick.
This, in turn, would consist of the chemicals from the cold-pack, but
re-oriented in a new, sealed package in the way of those old brass fire
extinguishers. That is, the activation liquid is kept in a three-sided
pocket with an open top, above the base crystals. When the user picks the
books off the shelf and brings it horizontal to open, the liquid spills over
the side of the pocket into the thin layer of crystals, and immediately
(although not as fast as if it were deliberately shaken) begins to cool down
the outside of the book.

   The self-opening part is no problem, just use a thin piece of formed
spring-steel under the boards before binding. However, while this would
cause the book to jump open when taken off the shelf, the effect won't be
particularly impressive. The real trick here is to get the pages to slowly
turn, and that would seem to require some type of mechanical/clockwork
mechanism in the spine with a delay mechanism. What I'm envisioning would
have to be a pretty large book with a thick spine, gimmicked pages, and not
really given to audience examination, but... imagine fitting into the spine
the guts of one of those old [tiny] wind-up toys. They work with a long
spiral spring and gear mechanism, the result of which is 15-30 seconds of
rotational motion after activation. Attached to the bottom (or top) of each
of several pages (themselves made by gluing together two pages with a
stiffener between them) is a small protrusion. As the motor turns, a single
rotating tooth is positioned to catch one protrusion on each cycle, flipping
it to the other side as it turns. It would probably take a fair amount of
work to pull this off, but the effect would be of a flat open book on the
table which for up to a minute flips its own pages from one side to the

   This one could be easy. Just bind the cover of the book with
phosphorescent sheeting material (the kind used for glow-in-the-dark
novelties, or for the 'shadow walls' in children's science centers. The
cover will look like a relatively normal (albeit light-colored) binding, but
because the place where the user holds it will receive less ambient light
than the rest, when they move their hands, there will be a residual shadow
in the original position. Depending on the material you use, this could be a
subtle effect or a dramatic one, and last for a few seconds up to perhaps a
minute or so.
   Another approach (and perhaps spookier and somewhat neater) would be to
create the inverse of the fluid-based system that is used in a popular
children's arts and crafts toy. The cover would be made of a sheet of
transparent/translucent watertight plastic, attached to a similarly
watertight black-colored backing. In between, you fill the space with a
highly viscous, light-colored, opaque liquid, and then you complete seal the
edges. When standing on a shelf or sitting on a table, the liquid is spread
out and completely covers the black backing, giving the impression of a
light-colored cover. But when picked up, the pressure of the user's hands
makes the transparent cover come into contact with the backing, displacing
the liquid. The result (with a viscous enough liquid) will be a black shadow
of the user's hand that slowly disappears. A variant of this would be to use
one of the heat-and-pressure-sensitive crystalline liquids used in mood
rings and space-age novelties, which changes color when pressed.

        Any of these approaches sound interesting?


-----Original Message-----
From: Book_Arts-L: READ THE FAQ at http://www.philobiblon.com
[mailto:BOOK_ARTS-L@LISTSERV.SYR.EDU]On Behalf Of Mark Jensen
Sent: Saturday, May 12, 2001 1:31 AM
Subject: Has anyone seen my rabbit?

Any thoughts about special effect books?  I'm not talking about a book
that bursts into flames when you open it...that's been done. I'm
thinking of something a bit more subtle. Here are a few things I've
kicked around in the back of my brain:

* How about a book that eminates a "cold, chilling" aura?  Without
keeping it in the freezer.

* How about a book that opens on it's own, without having a thread, etc
attached externally to it. Could pages flip by themselves?

*  Just really odd covers. Example: I have a manuscript that was
created by some friends of mine.  We are collectively known as the
Shadow Network (we all have an interest in gothic/bizzarre/story telling
magic). I would like to bind this with a cover that is, well shadowy.

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