What do you call a lavish, two-volume book with its own alphabet, bizarre illustrations of people turning into animals during sex, eating food made of colored light, and other images from the Twilight Zone?

Image: abebooks.co

Good question.

Since the Codex Seraphinianus, by Italian artist Luigi Serafini, was first printed in the 1981, countless people all over the world have been trying to figure out what it means.

Dubbed "the most unusual and interesting book ever published," the Codex is a literary philosopher's dream come true.

Serafini said "The Codex presents the creative vision of this time" and was for the “age of information” where coding and de-coding messages is increasingly important in genetics, computer science and literary criticism.

Richard Davies wondered what Serafini would make of today’s information age featuring Facebook, Twitter, blogs and Google?

Davies said "the [Codex] is essentially an encyclopedia about an alien world that clearly reflects our own. Each chapter appears to deal with key facets of this surreal place, including flora, fauna, science, machines, games and architecture. It’s difficult to be exact because no-one has ever understood the contents page. Elements of today’s world are visible but they are nearly always given some surreal twist."

There are literally hundreds, if not thousands of blogs dedicated to deciphering the Codex. A good one is The Believer, by Justin Taylor.

If you'd like to buy a copy of the book, move some money around. A signed first edition will cost you about $5000, although other editions of the book range from about $350 and up.