Archive for the ‘Books’ Category

Library Additions: Signed Neil Gaiman Tasmanian Cave Spider Book

Wednesday, May 27th, 2015

So a while back I got word of Neil Gaiman being involved in a benefit for a project involving (I kid you not) Tasmanian cave spider sex. He’s evidently quite the Tasmaniophile, having spent his honeymoon with Amanda Palmer in Hobart. It sounded like an odd, interesting project, and the sort of thing to drive Gaiman completists crazy if they didn’t presupport, so I went ahead and ponied up for the deluxe package, which was, IIRC, a bit over $100 for both books.

Now, finally both books from the Sixteen Legs project have come in:

  • Gaiman, Neil, with Niall Doran, Craig Wellington and Jodee Taylah (artist). Sixteen Legs Production Art: A Visit to the Queen of the Dark. Bookend Trust, 2015. First edition hardback, one of an undetermined number (though probably just over 100 copies, given that there are just under 100 names (including my own) listed under Premium Supporters on page 43) of the Limited Deluxe Edition signed by the three authors and the artist, a Fine copy, sans dust jacket in decorated boards, as issued.

    16Legs QueenB 1

  • Doran, Niall, Alastastair Richardson, Joe Shemesh. Kinky Love: Mating of the Tasmanian Cave Spider. Bookend Trust, 2015. First edition hardback, one of an undetermined number of signed copies, a Fine copy, sans dust jacket in decorated boards, as issued.

    16Legs Kinky

  • Library Additions: Two Michael Swanwick Chapbooks

    Wednesday, May 13th, 2015

    I recently obtained two Michael Swanwick chapbooks, at least one of which is bound to drive Swanwick completists bonkers:

  • Swanwick, Michael. Hunting the Phoenix. Dragonstairs Press, 2015. First edition hardback (“archival board wrappers covered with hand-dyed rice paper, with a stab binding ornamented with a single aventurine bead”), #6 of 30 signed, numbered copies, a Fine copy, sans dust jacket, as issued, new and unread. Sort of an in-progress illustrated sketchbook for a Swanwick novel, more impressionistic colored line art than narrative. If it’s not the strangest Swanwick item yet, it’s tied with the hardback state of Puck Aleshire’s Abecedary. Bought for $30 from the publisher.
  • Swanwick, Michael. Season’s Greetings. Dragonstairs Press, 2014. First edition chapbook original, #18 of 100 signed, numbered copies, a Fine copy. I should be able to pick up copies of this to sell through Lame Excuse Books later in the year.

    Swanwick X 2

  • Library Addition: Clifford Simak’s City

    Monday, May 11th, 2015

    I picked up one of the key Gnome Press titles at a Heritage auction:

    Simak, Clifford. City. Gnome Press, 1952. First edition hardback, a Near Fine- copy with slight spine lean and previous owner’s name and date on front free endpaper) in a Near Fine+ dust jacket with a few pinhead sized spots of discoloration on dust jacket flaps and along top flap edges, and extremely slight dust-staining to white rear panel; an exceptionally nice example of the dust jacket. One of Simak’s key works, and one of the more desirable Gnome Press titles. Chalker & Owings (1991), page 199. Currey (1979), page 446. Kemp, The Anthem Series, page 208. Won for $200 from Heritage Auctions.


    Library Addition: The H. P. Lovecraft Companion

    Thursday, May 7th, 2015

    My quest to pick up just about every damn H. P. Lovecraft reference work in the world continues apace:

    (Lovecraft, H. P.) Shreffler, Philip A. The Lovecraft Companion. Greenwood Press, 1977. First edition hardback, a Fine copy in a Fine dust jacket. One of the first broad critical companions to Lovecraft’s work, offering an in-depth summary of Lovecraft’s literary theory, plot summaries of all his stories, an encyclopedia of characters and monsters, and an in-depth look at Cthulhu Mythos monsters. An interesting high-level overview and “first cut” of Lovecraft criticism, from before S. T. Joshi turned it into a cottage industry, and pretty much all the topics covered here have been examined at much greater depth since. Currey (1979), page 332. Joshi, Lovecraft Bibliography, I-C-158. Tymn Schlobin Currey, 294. Bought off the Internet for $42.50.

    Lovecraft Companion

    Scan shows surface wear to the dust jacket protector.

    Library Addition: Larry McMurtry’s Copy of H. G. Wells’ First Literary Work

    Monday, May 4th, 2015

    Heritage Auctions sold Larry McMurtry’s collection of H. G. Wells books in early April. There were lots of fabulously rare things that were far to pricey for me to even lowball (like the Henry Holt edition of The Time Machine, which was the true first, that went for $6,875), but I put in bids on about a dozen items, but I only won one. However, it is Wells’ very first book of fiction, preceding The Time Machine by a day.

    Wells, H. G. Select Conversations With an Uncle (Now Extinct). John Lane, 1895. First edition hardback (sixteen pages of ads inserted at back, as per Currey), a Very Good copy with wear to bottom boards, wear at head and heel, a thin 1″ white line (possibly white out or white paint) across top rear, and slight wear along font boards, otherwise fairly nice, with gilt scratched but otherwise complete at head. Includes Larry McMurtry’s ownership plate, which features the brand from his father’s ranch. Twelve conversations (all fictional) and two short stories. Currey, page 522. H. G. Wells: A Comprehensive Bibliography, 3. Bought at auction for $6, or $20 with buyer’s premium.




    I include this fairly unexciting close up picture of the front boards so you can see the patterning on the boards. Neither picture shows the true color of the boards, which are a grayish brown…

    Library Addtion: Signed First Edition of John Updike’s Witches of Eastwick

    Monday, April 27th, 2015

    Here’s a moderately important literary first that also happens to be on the Pringle Modern Fantasy 100 list.

    Updike, John. The Witches of Eastwick. Franklin Press, 1984. First edition hardback, a limited edition signed by Updike (which precedes the trade edition), a Fine copy in decorated leather boards, sans dust jacket, as issued. Pringle, Modern Fantasy 100 91. Bought off eBay for $19.99.



    The day Updike died, at lunch I spotted the cheapest Fine copy online (which I think was something like $40) and got the dealer to agree to hold it. By the time I got home from work (this being back before I owned an iPhone, and thus no access to my home email), the dealer had already sold it to someone else. So I bided my time until an even cheaper copy presented itself, which it finally did.

    I suspect the fact I got this so cheaply is a sign of the general price decline of hypermodern literary firsts in general and Updike in particular. A few months ago, Heritage Auctions sold off someone’s Updike collection, and I don’t think the prices most things went for were particularly high.

    Library Addition: Philip K. Dick’s Young Author’s Club

    Monday, April 20th, 2015

    Here’s an odd Philip K. Dick item it took me a bit of effort to track down:

    Dick, Philip K. (Frank T. Hollander, editor). Young Author’s Club: The Wartime Adolescent Writings of Philip K. Dick. Frank T. Hollander, 2014. First edition trade paperback original, #58 of 100 copies signed by the editor/publisher, a Fine copy. A 94 page chapbook containing Dick’s published writings from 1942 to 1944 in the Berkeley Daily Gazette newspaper, consisting of fiction and poems, some of which are fantasy. Includes bibliographic information and story notes. Something likely to drive Dick completists crazy. I’ll have one copy available in the next Lame Excuse Books catalog.

    Dick Young Authors

    Shadows are, as usual, a scanner artifact.

    Library Addition: Charles Lewis Hind’s The Enchanted Stone

    Wednesday, April 15th, 2015

    Here’s a book I read about in By the Book World Remembered that sounded intriguing.

    Hind, Charles Lewis. The Enchanted Stone. Adam and Charles Black (London), 1896. First edition hardback, a Very Good copy with repaired hinges, slight spine fading, bookplate on insider front cover and uneven foxing on front and rear free endpaper. By the Book World Remembered, page 106, which describes it as a “Fantastic tale of a vast Chinese city under London.” Tietler, By the World Forgot, page 53, which notes that this UK first edition has an extra chapter not in the American edition. Bleiler, Checklist (1978), page 100. Reginald, page 253. A very odd sounding Wainscot (to use Clute’s term from The Encyclopedia of Fantasy) indeed. Bought off the Internet for $36 plus shipping from Canada.

    Enchanted Stone

    Library Addition: Future War Novel From 1909

    Monday, April 6th, 2015

    I saw this on eBay, put in a lowball bid and picked it up cheap.

    Fitzpatrick, E. H. The Coming Conflict of Nations, or the Japanese American War. H.W. Rokker, 1909. First edition hardback, a Very Good copy in black cloth boards stamped in gold, stamping on spine dulled bit still present, a few spots of wear or discoloration, slight bends at head and heel, newspaper review clipping pasted in on inside front cover, resulting in considerable foxing to front free endpaper. Inscribed by the author on the front free endpaper: “Professor John Syphers/with the best wishes/of the author./Ernest Hugh Fitzpatrick/L.R.C.P., Ed./Pontiac, Illinois/March 5, 1910.” There’s also a long inscription by the recipient of the inscription on the other side of the front free endpaper. Bleiler, Checklist (1978), page 73. Bleiler, Science Fiction: The Early Years, page 247. Reginald, page 188. Possibly the first novel to predict a war between the United States and Japan. Bought off eBay for $10.50. Given that Currey has an unsigned copy that looks a bit worse at $350, I think it was a good buy…

    Conflict of Nations

    Fitzpatrick 1

    Fitzpatrick 2

    Library Addition: The Hardback Edition of James P. Blaylock’s Doughnuts

    Monday, March 16th, 2015

    I picked up the later Subterranean chapbook of this, but I missed picking up the original hardback until now:

    Blaylock, James p. Doughnuts. Airtight Seels Allied Productions (A.S.A.P.), 1994. First edition hardback, number 11 of 224 signed, numbered hardback copies, a Fine copy (save some waviness to the pages, which I take as a byproduct of the binding process), sans dust jacket with color illustration pasted onto the front board, as issued. In addition to the short story, this volume includes an Introduction by Lewis Shiner, an Appreciation by Lucius Shepard, an Afterward by Tim Powers, illustrations by Phil Parks, and tipped-in color photographs by Vicki Blaylock (and is signed by all of them). An elaborate production, much like all of A.S.A.P.’s hardback chapbooks. Chalker & Owings, Science Fantasy Publishers (2002), 1011. (Also Supplement Two, page 57.) Bought for $60 from a dealer off the Internet.