Doubleday books released Bats of the Republic on October 6, written, designed, and illustrated by SAIC alum Zach Dodson (MFA 2011)—also the founder of Chicago independent press, Featherproof Books. The adventure novel is full of interactive pamphlets, hand-drawn maps, star charts, nature illustrations, a family tree, sci-fi diagrams, and even a novel within a novel of a 19th-century romance that is woven into the story line. Inside and out, the novel is thoroughly designed and each element plays a role in the unfolding story.
The book opens with Zadock Thomas on a journey across the Southwest, with a mission to save the republic of Texas with a letter—strictly confidential. An unexpected detour turns the mission around and the reader is throttled forward 300 years to a disastrous, futuristic society where Zeke Thomas is the heir and keeper of the same mysterious letter. This letter, driving the fate of both protagonists, complicates and illuminates both past and future. The author notes, “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.”