Archive for September, 2012

Lawrence Person’s Library: Reference Books (Part 5: Magill’s Sets)

Sunday, September 30th, 2012

Back when I edited Nova Express, I tried to pick up all the important SF reference works I could afford that I could lay my hands on. Among those were two extensive Magill’s references sets: Survey of Science Fiction Literature and Survey of Modern Fantasy Literature. Each covers hundreds of key works, alphabetized by title, providing title, author, year of publication, type (novel, etc.), time, setting, key characters, a summary of the book that touches in some measure on its major themes, and a short secondary bibliography. Several notable science fiction writers, editors and critics contributed entries, including Brian Aldiss, John Clute, David Pringle, Brian Stableford and Jack Williamson.

In some ways, the material in these books have been superseded by the aggregate knowledge contained in the Internet. But it’s still a useful reference source. If i want to know, say, what Harry E. Martinson’s Aniara is about, I can read the short entry here rather than the entire book-length poem and be reasonably sure that it’s accurate.

I kept my eyes out for those sets, and picked them up off eBay when affordable copies appeared. I also picked up two more Magill’s sets at a library sale dirt cheap (I think $10 for each set) and those are on the same top shelf.

  • Magill, Frank N., Editor (series editor). Survey of Science Fiction Literature. Salem Press, 1979. First edition hardbacks, five volume set, Ex-Library copies, otherwise VG with interior library markings, etc.
  • Magill, Frank N., Editor (with bibliographies compiled by Marshall b. Tymn). Survey of Science Fiction Literature Bibliographic Supplement. Salem Press, 1979. First edition trade paperback original, a Fine- copy with slight edgewear. Additional secondary bibliographic material for 295 of the entries in the five volume work. Purchased separately.
  • Magill, Frank N., Editor (series editor). Survey of Modern Fantasy Literature. Salem Press, 1983. First edition hardbacks, five volume set, Ex-Library copies, otherwise VG with library markings, etc.
  • Magill, Frank N., Editor (with Stephen L. Hanson and Patricia King Hanson, Associate Editors). Magill’s Bibliography of Literary Criticism. Salem Press, 1979. First edition hardbacks, four volume set, Ex-Library copies, otherwise VG with library markings, etc. Covers some 2,500 works, listed alphabetically by author. Very little genre coverage.
  • Magill, Frank N., Editor. Materplots II: Juvenile and Young Adult Fiction Series. Salem Press, 1991. First edition hardbacks, four volume set, Ex-Library copies, otherwise VG with library markings, etc. Listed alphabetically by title. Includes some genre coverage, even of books I wouldn’t associate with YA (such as Babel-17, Dreamsnake, Dune, etc.).
  • On the end of the row in the picture is an Ex-Library copy of the first edition of Neil Barron’s Anatomy of Wonder.

    There are two other Magill SF/F reference sets I don’t own: Magill’s Guide to Science Fiction and Fantasy Literature from 1996, which culls and condenses the two five volume sets down to a single four volume set, and Classics of Science Fiction and Fantasy Literature from 2002, which condenses them down still further into a two volume set with still more additional material, including my own entry on Patrick O’Leary’s Door Number Three. I believe that Classics of Science Fiction and Fantasy Literature is the only thing I’m in for which I lack a contributor’s copy.

    In Anatomy of Wonder 4, Neil Barron calls Survey of Science Fiction Literature “an essential tool, although its price will limit it to larger libraries.” Well, I guess mine qualifies…

    Related Posts

  • Lawrence Person’s Library of Science Fiction First Editions
  • Lawrence Person’s Reference Books Part 1: Key Reference Works
  • Lawrence Person’s Reference Books Part 2: Oversized Books
  • Lawrence Person’s Reference Books Part 3: Contributor Copies
  • Lawrence Person’s Reference Books Part 4: H. P. Lovecraft
  • Shoegazer Sunday: Thrushes’ “Crystal”

    Sunday, September 30th, 2012

    And the Thrushes kick continues with “Crystal”!

    Lord Byron’s Autographed Copy of Frankenstein Up for Sale

    Tuesday, September 25th, 2012

    I have a number of interesting association copies in my library, but a first edition of Frankenstein inscribed to Lord Byron by the author blows away anything I have by a good measure. That’s what bookseller Peter Harrington is offering up for a mere £350,000 or so (which, at this particular moment, comes out to $566,985.26). I’ll check my recliner for spare change, but I think that’s more than I’m willing to spend right now. (Plus it’s only the first volume of the three volume set, and you can’t expect me to lower my standards and buy an incomplete set, can you?)

    I’ve refrained from putting up a post on it until now because I’m incredibly lazy I was waiting for the bookseller to put up a full prospectus, which he has now done. Here’s the relevant description:

    [SHELLEY, Mary.] Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus. London: for Lackington, Hughes, Harding, Mavor, & Jones, 1818. First edition, presentation copy to Lord Byron, with the author’s autograph inscription to the front flyleaf: “To Lord Byron from the Author”. An unsurpassable association copy of the best known fiction of the Romantic era, perhaps the most evocative presentation copy conceivable in all nineteenth-century literature.

    Condition: Vol. 1 only (of 3), duodecimo (184 × 114 mm). Bound for presentation in contemporary calf, boards ruled in gilt with a double fillet enclosing a leaf-and-flower-head roll in blind with floral tools in blind at inside corners, marbled endpapers, green silk book mark. Inscribed by the author on the binder’s blank immediately preceding the half-title; complete with the half-title and final advert leaf. Spine perished (a small fragment with a single blind-tooled oriel preserved in archival paper tipped-in on the rear pastedown), inner hinges expertly repaired by James Brockman, boards rubbed and a little stained, tips just worn, a few faint spots and some light offsetting, a tall, well-margined copy.

    Worth that much? Probably. Though I would really want the second and third volumes…

    Shoegazer Sunday: Thrushes Cover “Fade Into You”

    Sunday, September 23rd, 2012

    You may already know of my affection for Mazzy Star’s “Fade Into You,” and a couple of week’s ago I put up a Thrushes song, so naturally a Thrushes cover of “Fade Into You” peaked my interest.

    The nice thing about this version is that it foregrounds the similarities with Bob Dylan’s “Knocking on Heaven’s Door,” and if anything is more wistfully melancholy than the original. The only flaw is that lead singer Anna Conner, while good, just isn’t Hope Sandoval. But who is?

    The Man Who Turned His House Into a Library

    Thursday, September 20th, 2012

    In Manila.

    The idea is simple. Readers can take as many books as they want, for as long as they want – even permanently. As Guanlao says: “The only rule is that there are no rules.”

    It’s a policy you might assume would end very quickly – with Guanlao having no books at all.

    But in fact, in the 12 years he’s been running his library – or, in his words, his book club – he’s found that his collection has grown rather than diminished, as more and more people donate to the cause.

    Pictures from the 2012 Chicago Worldcon: Monday

    Monday, September 17th, 2012

    And here’s the final set of picture from the Chicago Worldcon, taken on Monday before I left, including some book dealers.

    Willis Siros, bookdealer and next year’s Worldcon Fan Guest of Honor:

    Mike Walsh, owner of Old Earth Books (and if you’re looking for any of his Howard Waldrop books signed by Howard, I can hook you up).

    Greg Ketter of Dreamhaven Books, along with a big of the dealer’s room. For some reason pictures that include large interior spaces always seem to come out orange on my camera.

    Larry Hallock of Ygor’s Books.

    Sheila Williams, holding her Hugo.

    Stephen Haffner, of Haffner Press.

    Mel Korshak, founder of Shasta Publishers and someone who attended the first Worldcon in 1939!

    I’ve put up two crappy pictures of Charlie Stross, so finally here’s a good one, after he came over to join me, Pat Cadigan and Gardner Dozois for drinks.

    And that’s all she wrote for the 2012 Worldcon! See you in San Antonio!

    Pictures from the 2012 Chicago Worldcon: Sunday

    Sunday, September 16th, 2012

    Yes, more Worldcon photos. I’ve broken them up across multiple posts so the page didn’t load so slowly readers would think they were back in the Geocities era.

    Dantzel Cherry and her friends charge up their eye lasers.

    Legendary fan David Kyle, who attended the first Worldcon in New York City in 1939!

    How many legends can you spot in this photo? David Hartwell, Robert Silverberg, and Joe and Gay Haldeman all talk to David Kyle.

    Connie Willis, enjoying the first Worldcon where she wasn’t required to present an award since she was six years old.

    With Mary Robinette Kowal, who survived the ordeal of being a SFWA officer.

    Michael Cassutt, just minutes before he was tragically bored to death at the Robert A. Heinlein Society annual meeting.

    Adam-Troy Castro. “I said sell Greek bonds! SELL!”

    Steve Jackson, who was there with his Chaos Machine setup. “What’s that? I can’t hear you over the sound of all that money my Ogre Kickstarter made.”

    Not-so-secret master of Fandom Ben Yalow.

    John Picacio, in the last known photo of him before he won the freaking Hugo Award.

    James Patrick Kelly and Robert Silverberg.

    Saturday night I dined with Scott Bobo, Kurt Baty, Sarah Felix, Ed Scarborough, and Spike and Tom at Everest, a 7 course meal that took three and a half hours and cost $200. Sunday, before the Hugos? I ate at Chipolte with Dantzel and some of her friends.

    Remember, pictures of attractive women are your best blog-visit drivers!

    David Brin is the Belle of the Ball:

    Molly Nixon, ready for the Hugos.

    As is Mary Robinette Kowal.

    Jim Minz and Mike Resnick at the door of the Baen party.

    Scott Edelman and Robert Reed, in a diagonally framed shot to get both of them in.

    Jay Lake, embossed by rocketship.

    You go, I go, for podcasting Hugos:

    Neil Gaiman, after the Hugos.

    John Scalzi in Murder by Hugo (Neil’s, as it happens).

    Scott Edelman’s fashion approaches David Hartwell levels of taste.

    And now, for the full effect: With the shoes.

    A better picture of Sue Burke, with 85% less “about to be eaten by zombies” grimness.

    Texas Worldcon Chairman Bill Parker looking sharp.

    Jim Mann, proving that some moose ties kan be pretty nasti.

    Another crappy picture of Charlie Stross, this one wearing his “Christopher Priest yells at a cloud” inspired t-shirt.

    It’s not my fault! She kept changing her outfit!

    Shoegazer Sunday: Malory’s “Floating”

    Sunday, September 16th, 2012

    Malory is a second-wave Shoegazer band from Germany. Though they get compared to Slowdive a lot, “Floating” strikes me as about halfway between Echodrone and Midsummer. I could do without the French spoken word bit at the beginning, but the part that kicks in after 1:50 is pretty tasty.

    This breaks up what is likely to be a big Thrushes kick…

    Hephaestus Press Gone From Amazon?

    Monday, September 10th, 2012

    It took a while, but it looks like Hephaestus Press’ offerings have finally been removed from Amazon. If you don’t remember Hephaestus Press, they were the ones who published “books” that were just articles scrapped from Wikipedia, many of which looked like omnibus editions of several novels.

    Given other evidence, it looks like they’re finally kicking all similar crap off their system as well.

    Shoegazer Sunday: Thrushes’ “Heartbeats”

    Sunday, September 9th, 2012

    Thrush is a relatively new band out of Baltimore. They sound a bit like Jesus and Mary Chain by way of Ride and Slowdive, with maybe a bit of Mazzy Star.