Quicksilver deals a lot with math. Not just “normal” math, but quirky early math, where they made up symbols as they went. These are often written inline in the book, and I’ve always wondered how that worked, whether it was a small image, or they created something in the font, or what.
On a related note, I recently read some material by Stephenson about the tools of his craft, and was surprised a but by what I found, but it makes sense. I found myself wishing for a colophon for his books, but alas, there wasn’t one at the back of Quicksilver.
In my reaserch for this post, I found the colophon for Quicksilver. And here it is:
The manuscript of The Baroque Cycle was written by hand on 100% cotton paper using three different fountain pens: a Waterman Gentleman, a Rotring, and a Jorg Hysek. It was then transcribed, edited, formatted and printed using emacs and TeX. When it was totally finished, the TeX version of of the ms. was converted to Quark XPress format using an emacs LISP program written by the author. Some share of credit thus goes to the people who made the GNU/Linux operating system and to the originators of LISP. Maps were produced by Nick Springer with useful input from Lisa Gold, who also organized the family trees and assisted in the preparation of the Dramatis Personae. The geometrical illustrations (Apollonius of Perga’s conic sections and the woodcuts from Newton’s Principia Mathematica) were prepared by Alvy Ray Smith, working from scans or photographs of old books.
I think that’s really neato.