Amaranth Borsuk writes that “books are always a negotiation, a performance, an event: even a Dickens novel remains inert until a reader opens it up, engaging its language and imaginative world” on page one-hundred and forty-seven of The Book. For the past couple of years, I have been creating my own imaginative world. This world originally was created to pass time, but I had also considered possibly using it for an actual game. This game would likely be played using Dungeons and Dragons or some other tabletop role-playing game’s rulebook. My book, like Borsuk’s texts, would bring the reader into its fantasy world. Specifically, the book would show the continents of the planet, Ketune.
Above is a slideshow showing a couple of the details on my accordion book, entitled The Map of Ketune.
My other inspiration for my personal art book came from a quick description of the history of books found in Borsuk’s The Book. Specifically, I got inspired by the slow historical switch from scrolls into a codex shape. The quote “while bamboo slip scrolls were durable and portable, in lengths over two feet the rolls would have been cumbersome to transport and read” stuck with me (Borsuk 27-28). Scrolls and fantasy worlds already have a strong connection, but I chose specifically to connect them as an ancient world map.
I imagined an adventurer or mercenary in the world had found the old map. They decided it was hard to transport and open when needed, so they folded the scroll into an accordion style. This item would have to survive travel and adventures without more damage, so two sturdy covers would be added with an easy to open string and button latch. The world would have and have had the abilities to make paper and use technology like looms and forges. Now, as shown by the weathering on the cover, the artistic map book could and was easily used during their travels. And perhaps now, outside of the fantasy world of Ketune, the next person who unwraps the string from around the button, can flatten out the map and imagine themselves as the next adventurer or mercenary. The viewer can imagine what may be there on the unfinished pieces of hand-drawn map.
For some other things to mention about the book. This ancient weathered accordion book barely has any text but for its compass rose. This part is written in English, which for ease if I would use it in a fantasy setting could be considered like a common language. The map, even during its drawing, was made to be easily read and understood by all.
Soon enough, I would like to continue working on this book. The map itself can be weathered more. I would also like to see the empty spaces of land eventually filled in when I can think of what should go there. But much like the ancient map’s existence in story, in real life it will take time to discover the entire world.
Borsuk, Amaranth. The Book. The MIT Press, 2018.
2 thoughts on “Creative & Criticism: The Map of Ketune”
I can definitely see how you used the idea of a changing world to fit your book, going from scrolls to books with hard-covers. Your explanation and story really help to add more to the map, and it makes it all the more special to see it stretched out in full! Having an audience filled with fantasy enjoyers is a really neat idea, and the entire project is such a cool concept to bring to life; it’s like bringing a piece of that world into this one for all of us to see!
I love how you made your decisions on the book’s form based on what a fantasy character would have had to consider in the fantasy world your map depicts. This unknown person needed the map to be sturdy and portable, so he added protective covers and folded it in a convenient accordion fold so he could still look at as a whole. In a sense, your book is not just an illustration of your fantasy world, but is a vital piece of the world in itself.