Dr KARL SHUKER

Zoologist, media consultant, and science writer, Dr Karl Shuker is also one of the best known cryptozoologists in the world. Author of such seminal works as Mystery Cats of the World (1989), The Lost Ark: New and Rediscovered Animals of the 20th Century (1993; greatly expanded in 2012 as The Encyclopaedia of New and Rediscovered Animals), In Search of Prehistoric Survivors (1995), and more recently Extraordinary Animals Revisited (2007), Dr Shuker's Casebook (2008), Karl Shuker's Alien Zoo: From the Pages of Fortean Times (2010), Cats of Magic, Mythology, and Mystery (2012), and Mirabilis: A Carnival of Cryptozoology and Unnatural History (2013), his many fans have been badgering him to join the blogosphere for years. The CFZ Blog Network is proud to have finally persuaded him to do so.

ShukerNature - http://www.karlshuker.blogspot.com

Dr Karl Shuker's Official Website - http://www.karlshuker.com

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Sunday, 29 July 2012

'THE GREAT MYSTERY ATLAS' - THE BOOK THAT GOT AWAY



I have been very fortunate during more than 20 years as a full-time author in that virtually every book that I have personally submitted for publication or have been involved with in some capacity has duly appeared in print. During the mid-1990s, however, there was one notable exception to this successful trend.

It was provisionally entitled The Great Mystery Atlas: A Pictorial Guide to Mysterious Creatures and Places. I had been contracted by a leading British publisher (whose identity for reasons of professional confidentiality and courtesy I shall not disclose here) to write the text for it, and an artist, Stephen Player, had been contracted to prepare its illustrations. With a very significant cryptozoological and zoomythological content, this large-format, full-colour book, aimed at older children and early teenagers, promised to be a noteworthy addition to the literature as well as a good seller.

Left-hand page of the 'Land of the Yeti' spread

Hence I lost no time in writing its complete text, which was greeted with great enthusiasm when received and read by the editors, and for which, happily, I was paid in full very shortly afterwards.

Right-hand page of the 'Land of the Yeti' spread

Unfortunately, however, certain aspects of the book's production that were completely unrelated to my contribution experienced some apparently intractable problems, as a result of which the entire project was shelved, and then subsequently cancelled. Having already seen and approved the first two double-page spreads for it as well as a draft version of its front cover by then, I was very disappointed by its cancellation, because their sumptuous appearance suggested that the complete book would have been truly spectacular.

Left-hand page of the 'Bigfoot Territory' spread

Sadly, though, it was not to be, and today all that I have to show for what might have been are those spreads and the cover. So now, as a ShukerNature exclusive, here they are – from the book that got away.

Right-hand page of the 'Bigfoot Territory' spread

NB: because the spreads' pages and the cover were bigger than A4-size, whereas I only have an A4-size plate on my scanner, I have been unable to scan them in their entirety – some text and images around their edges have been cut off during the scanning procedure.

All illustrations included here (of the spreads and cover) are jointly copyrighted to the publisher, Stephen Player, and myself.

14 comments:

  1. What a beautiful looking book this would have been. Pity!:(

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  2. Why not try to get it re-published elswere?

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  3. Damn, I would've loved to read that one!

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  4. Thanks guys. I could probably re-use the text, which is entirely my own work, but the ownership/re-use of the combined text, illustrations, and layout would be very complex to resolve. I may look into it later, as I admit my interest in the project has been revived after looking at the spreads and cover again. Until now, they'd been stored for years in a big stiff envelope, unopened and virtually forgotten by me until I came upon them recently while looking for something else.

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    1. It seems a lot of your greatest discoveries have occurred while looking for something else. It's cool when that happens, when you're looking around the house for something and then you discover an old relic like this and start walking down memory lane. What exactly were you looking for, out of curiosity?

      All the best, The Thinker

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  5. Scan them in two halves and merge them!

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  6. Long time reader, first time commenter.

    Dr. Shuker, you really should try to get this book published again! I for one would jump at the chance to own a copy.

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  7. What is the name of that Inuit dog with scales?

    If you were ever to consider publishing this I'd definitely buy!

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  8. @Chris Clark - I've tried that in the past, but never with much success, and as the background layouts of these pages are so detailed, it would look a mess if they didn't merge perfectly.

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  9. A pity it didn't work out, but if at first you don't succeed, try, try again. If that doesn't work, third times a charm. I don't know if there are any sayings about four, though...

    Please try to republish, though. Your books and blog are awesome. I follow the Eclectarium and ShukerNature all the time. Keep up the good work!

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  10. Mr Shuker! Please let me buy a copy of this book, this is marvelous. There is a world-wide syndicated radio show called "Coast To Coast AM" that features exactly this kind of content and those millions of listeners (like me) would absolutely buy this book. I'm certain George Noory, the host, would help you publish it. I really want this book, it is so valuable and fascinating on so many levels!

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  11. My apologies, I should've said "Dr. Shuker." Bless you & keep up the good work!

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  12. The Inuit dog with scales is the aziwugum, and I've just written a short ShukerNature blog post concerning it, which you can access here: http://karlshuker.blogspot.co.uk/2013/02/the-aziwugum-inuit-dog-with-scales-from.html

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  13. Karl. Karl!! Are you there, over?
    Good, I think there is still hope for your book-that-woul-had-been try contacting the guys who made this site http://irregularbooks.co/

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