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Bats of the Republic: An Illuminated Novel
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Published:
Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group 2015
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Description
"Archetypes of the cowboy story, tropes drawn from sci-fi, love letters, diaries, confessions all abound in this relentlessly engaging tale. Dodson has quite brilliantly exposed the gears and cogs whirring in the novelist's imagination. It is a mad and beautiful thing."—Keith Donohue, The Washington PostWinner of Best of Region for the Southwest in PRINT's 2016 Regional Design AwardsBats of the Republic is an illuminated novel of adventure, featuring hand-drawn maps and natural history illustrations, subversive pamphlets and science-fictional diagrams, and even a nineteenth-century novel-within-a-novel—an intrigue wrapped in innovative design. In 1843, fragile naturalist Zadock Thomas must leave his beloved in Chicago to deliver a secret letter to an infamous general on the front lines of the war over Texas. The fate of the volatile republic, along with Zadock's future, depends on his mission. When a cloud of bats leads him off the trail, he happens upon something impossible... Three hundred years later, the world has collapsed and the remnants of humanity cling to a strange society of paranoia. Zeke Thomas has inherited a sealed envelope from his grandfather, an esteemed senator. When that letter goes missing, Zeke engages a fomenting rebellion that could free him—if it doesn't destroy his relationship, his family legacy, and the entire republic first. As their stories overlap and history itself begins to unravel, a war in time erupts between a lost civilization, a forgotten future, and the chaos of the wild. Bats of the Republic is a masterful novel of adventure and science fiction, of elliptical history and dystopian struggle, and, at its riveting core, of love.
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Format:
Adobe EPUB eBook, Kindle Book, OverDrive Read
Street Date:
10/06/2015
Language:
English
ISBN:
9780385539845
ASIN:
B00S3RA6Y2
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Citations
APA Citation (style guide)

Zachary Thomas Dodson. (2015). Bats of the Republic: An Illuminated Novel. Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group.

Chicago / Turabian - Author Date Citation (style guide)

Zachary Thomas Dodson. 2015. Bats of the Republic: An Illuminated Novel. Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group.

Chicago / Turabian - Humanities Citation (style guide)

Zachary Thomas Dodson, Bats of the Republic: An Illuminated Novel. Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group, 2015.

MLA Citation (style guide)

Zachary Thomas Dodson. Bats of the Republic: An Illuminated Novel. Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group, 2015. Web.

Note! Citation formats are based on standards as of July 2010. Citations contain only title, author, edition, publisher, and year published. Citations should be used as a guideline and should be double checked for accuracy.
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Date Added:
Jun 12, 2018 15:59:12
Date Updated:
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Last Grouped Work Modification Time:
Feb 25, 2021 02:27:58

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      • value: Literary
      • value: experimental fiction
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      • value: illustrated novel
      • value: Visuals
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      • value: audobon
      • value: the morning news tournament of books
      • value: birds of america
      • value: moebius strip
      • value: full color text
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      • value: teacher gifts for women
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      • role: Author
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      • bioText: ZACHARY THOMAS DODSON co-founded featherproof books in 2005 in Chicago. He lives with his wife in Helsinki, Finland.

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publishDate
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title
Bats of the Republic
fullDescription
"Archetypes of the cowboy story, tropes drawn from sci-fi, love letters, diaries, confessions all abound in this relentlessly engaging tale. Dodson has quite brilliantly exposed the gears and cogs whirring in the novelist's imagination. It is a mad and beautiful thing."
—Keith Donohue, The Washington Post

Winner of Best of Region for the Southwest in PRINT's 2016 Regional Design Awards

Bats of the Republic is an illuminated novel of adventure, featuring hand-drawn maps and natural history illustrations, subversive pamphlets and science-fictional diagrams, and even a nineteenth-century novel-within-a-novel—an intrigue wrapped in innovative design.
In 1843, fragile naturalist Zadock Thomas must leave his beloved in Chicago to deliver a secret letter to an infamous general on the front lines of the war over Texas. The fate of the volatile republic, along with Zadock's future, depends on his mission. When a cloud of bats leads him off the trail, he happens upon something impossible...
Three hundred years later, the world has collapsed and the remnants of humanity cling to a strange society of paranoia. Zeke Thomas has inherited a sealed envelope from his grandfather, an esteemed senator. When that letter goes missing, Zeke engages a fomenting rebellion that could free him—if it doesn't destroy his relationship, his family legacy, and the entire republic first.
As their stories overlap and history itself begins to unravel, a war in time erupts between a lost civilization, a forgotten future, and the chaos of the wild. Bats of the Republic is a masterful novel of adventure and science fiction, of elliptical history and dystopian struggle, and, at its riveting core, of love.
reviews
      • premium: False
      • source: Audrey Niffenegger, author of The Time Traveler's Wife
      • content: "Bats of the Republic is a waking dream of America gone sideways: it's familiar, enchanting, and just pretty damned weird in the most beguiling possible ways. Zachary Thomas Dodson has made a magnificent book."
      • premium: False
      • source: Patrick deWitt, author of The Sisters Brothers
      • content: "A richly textured, deeply felt, magical trove of a book."
      • premium: False
      • source: Patrick Somerville, author of This Bright River
      • content: "Amazing. Actually amazing. Zachary Thomas Dodson has created a new form to tell his story, and in so doing, he has found a way to fuse adventure to love, weld science fiction to sorrow, and encircle everything in a winsome, mystifying experience of art, illustration, and design. Like the living secrets its hero finds in the deep, forgotten caves of Texas, Bats of the Republic is itself a hidden, undiscovered beauty."
      • premium: False
      • source: Amelia Gray, author of Gutshot and Threats
      • content: "In Bats of the Republic, even the surprises are full of surprises."
      • premium: False
      • source: Publishers Weekly
      • content: "Dodson's debut is a creatively illustrated tale of letters lost and found in the vein of J.J. Abrams and Doug Dorst's S."
      • premium: False
      • source: Kirkus Reviews
      • content: "Science fiction, the Old West, a book within a book, and wide-ranging graphics are among the paraphernalia that festoon this tale of bats, bloodlines, witches, and love played out over two centuries."
      • premium: False
      • source: LitHub
      • content: "A most imaginative book – ambitious in design and presentation ... Fans of David Mitchell and Mark Z. Danielewski will rejoice."
      • premium: False
      • source: The Lit Pub
      • content: "Bats of the Republic is a story that pushes the boundaries of what narrative can do ... it invites us into its world as it enters our own."
      • premium: False
      • source: Vol. 1 Brooklyn
      • content: "Zachary Thomas Dodson's novel Bats of the Republic weaves together a pair of narratives, one historical and one science fictional, along with innovative narrative techniques, impressive illustrations, and nestled narrative elements."
      • premium: True
      • source: Publisher's Weekly
      • content:

        August 17, 2015
        Dodson’s debut is a creatively illustrated tale of letters lost and found in the vein of J.J. Abrams and Doug Dorst’s S. After a vague catastrophe called the Collapse decimates the United States, the survivors take refuge in seven city-states across the country and establish a totalitarian new regime. Citizens are grouped according to their “lifephase,” all conversations are recorded and stored in “the Vault,” and the country is run by a bloodline of seven senators. When one such senator dies, he bequeaths a sealed letter to his grandson, Zeke Thomas, which could cast doubt on the family’s lineage and prevent him from eventually assuming power. The narrative alternates between Zeke’s story, set in 2143 in a dystopian Texas teeming with political schemers and revolutionaries, and that of his ancestor, Zadock Thomas, set in 1840s Texas. Zadock is a young naturalist who, in order to secure a marriage blessing from his beloved’s father, consents to undertake a dangerous mission for him: delivering a sealed letter to a Kurtz-like Texan general. Despite this urgent imperative, the naturalist redirects his energies and seeks to make a name for himself by documenting the undiscovered species of bats he finds in a vast underground cave. The stories elegantly fit together, but the novel is marred by wooden dialogue and the awkwardly expository nature of the prose (despite being in dire, time-sensitive situations, characters are always willing to recap events or spell out motives). The copious maps, illustrations, and found documents do add some flair, making this volume worth picking up for history and adventure fans.

      • premium: True
      • source: Kirkus
      • content:

        August 1, 2015
        Science fiction, the Old West, a book within a book, and wide-ranging graphics are among the paraphernalia that festoon this tale of bats, bloodlines, witches, and love played out over two centuries. In the year 2143, seerlike priestesses control a nourishing liquid and vie with the police for political power in a post-apocalyptic U.S. that comprises seven city-states walled off from the surrounding wasteland. A young man named Zeke Thomas misplaces a letter possibly vital to asserting his bloodline and his future as a senator if he can deal with his envious cousin. His mate is embroiled in the missing letter, her gay father's unorthodox dealings with the government archives he founded, and a friend's pregnancy. A problematic epistle and a pregnancy-among numerous other parallels-are at the center of the 1843 narrative, in which the impecunious head of Chicago's Museum of Flying dispatches his daughter's suitor, novice naturalist Zadock Thomas, to deliver an important letter to a military figure in Texas. The westward odyssey allows the budding Audubon to sketch animals (shown in two-page spreads) before stumbling into a massive bat cave that may be a portal to the future (and perhaps to a sequel). In Zadock's long absence, the daughter, Elswyth, must deal with his nasty cousin and her younger sister's heedless coupling while getting advice from a seerlike aunt. As the author plays with history and fiction, the book within the book (shown literally in pages therefrom) tells some of the 1843 narrative. It is one of two written by Elswyth's mother, another seer, who also wrote one called The City-State "set far in the future." Dodson, a book designer, embellishes his debut novel with all manner of textual variations and graphic displays-and slyly has Elswyth say, "The City-State is tiresome to read, Louisa, it has too many devices and made-up words."Dodson has produced an unwieldy creature that is generally more fun than tiresome and impressive for the creativity and control he displays with his many disparate elements, if not for the wobbly coherence of the whole.

        COPYRIGHT(2015) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

      • premium: True
      • source: Booklist
      • content:

        October 15, 2015
        Spanning 300 years of an American ancestry, Dodson's ambitious literary debut combines elements of a Wild West adventure with aspects of a dystopian sf thriller. By 2143, the U.S. is divided into seven city-states whose citizens fear the very government protecting them from the untamed world that lies beyond guarded walls. After his grandfather, a beloved senator, dies, Zeke Thomas earns a fledgling government title and receives a letter that disappears before he opens it. With suspicious government officials spying on him, Zeke spirals into a paranoiac frenzy after his partner loses her job and he discovers secrets about her father. In one analogous story line, among others, naturalist Zadock Thomas delivers a mysterious letter from Chicago to pre-annexed Texas, hoping to satisfy his sweetheart's father, the curator of the Museum of Flying. A designer by day, Dodson lovingly adorns his novel with diagrams, wildlife illustrations, and other ephemera, relaying the branching narratives through letters, field notes, digital transcripts, and fragments of a novel-within-a-novel. Extravagant and mesmerizing, Dodson's complex, evocative tale gradually reveals a mythos surrounding love, adventure, and the natural world.(Reprinted with permission of Booklist, copyright 2015, American Library Association.)

popularity
118
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"Archetypes of the cowboy story, tropes drawn from sci-fi, love letters, diaries, confessions all abound in this relentlessly engaging tale. Dodson has quite brilliantly exposed the gears and cogs whirring in the novelist's imagination. It is a mad and beautiful thing."
—Keith Donohue, The Washington Post

Winner of Best of Region for the Southwest in PRINT's 2016 Regional Design Awards

Bats of the Republic is an illuminated novel of adventure, featuring hand-drawn maps and natural history illustrations, subversive pamphlets and science-fictional diagrams, and even a nineteenth-century novel-within-a-novel—an intrigue wrapped in innovative design.
In 1843, fragile naturalist Zadock Thomas must leave his beloved in Chicago to deliver a secret letter to an infamous general on the front lines of the war over Texas. The fate of the volatile republic, along with Zadock's future, depends on his...
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