Paul Di Filippo’s short novel “Cosmocopia” (Payseur & Schmidt: 106 pp., $65) is an art book, in multiple senses of the phrase. There is an artist at its center: Frank Lazorg, whose career describes a trajectory from commercial to fine art, beginning in the 1950s with comics, focusing on “hyper-real yet fantastical book covers for paperback-original novels” during the next two decades (“a gallery of demons and brawny warriors, luscious-bottomed maidens and brawling barbarians, aliens and otherworldly explorers”) and concluding — or so it seems — with vivid depictions of “mental landscapes, surreal collages, visions of dimensions beyond.” A stroke has left him physically weak and creatively impotent. “Cosmocopia” is the story of his artistic redemption, a tried-and-true mode, which Di Filippo transforms into a fable at once ludicrous and heartfelt. “Cosmocopia” is also an art book because it costs 65 clams, comes handsomely bound as a horizontal artifact and shares space in a large box with a 513-piece jigsaw-puzzle of a Jim Woodring illustration inspired by the work (putting the pieces together is tough because everything’s gray). The set also includes a deliciously fiendish full-color scene (also by Woodring) of Lazorg at his demented peak, painting his model blood-red.

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