I got my Codex for the relative bargain of two hundred and seventy-five dollars. It’s the 1983 Abbeville Press edition, the only American edition of the book ever printed. “Organized in eminently logical fashion,” the jacket copy tells me, “it describes a system of knowledge that—at least in its structure—mirrors our own: here are botany, zoology, chemistry, physics, engineering, anatomy, anthropology, sociology, linguistics, and urban studies, each describing its object with a peculiarly recognizable exactitude.” It continues, in a tone not unlike that of a carnival barker: “Discover for yourself, reader, such wonders as the purple-caged citrus, the spider-web flower, the parfait protea, and the ladder weed. This is a world inhabited by weird half-sentient flora such as the tadpole tree and the meteor-fruit, by the lacy flying-saucer fish, the wheeled caterpillar-rumped horse, and the metamorphic bicranial rhino. The planet’s sentient species are here as well—races like the Garbage-Dwellers, the Road-Traffic and the Yarn People, and the exotic Rodent-Skin Wearers… Nor can we forget to mention the Homo-Saurians, whose unusual sexual life-cycle is graphically described.” One presumes the “Homo-Saurians” are the couple-cum-gator on the book’s cover (the illustration also appears inside the book). The jacket copy cheerfully concludes that “merely to name these creatures is to confront the limits of our language.” Well, yeah.

more from The Believer here.