Archive for July, 2014

Library Addditions: Three Michael Moorcock Books

Monday, July 28th, 2014

Three more books from L. W. Currey’s $10 sale:

  • Moorcock, Michael. The End of All Songs. Harper & Row, 1976. First edition hardback (with the author’s name misspelled “Moorock” on the spine, as per Currey), a Fine copy in a Fine dust jacket. Third book in the Dancers at the End of Time trilogy. Currey (1979), page 370.
  • Moorcock, Michael. The Golden Barge. New English Library, 1983. First hardback edition (preceded by a trade paperback original), a Fine copy in a Fine dust jacket.
  • Moorcock, Michael, and Philip James. The Distant Suns. Unicorn SF, 1975. First edition trade paperback original (perfect-bound comic book format), a Fine- copy with slightly yellowed pages. Currey (1979), page 369.

    Distant Suns

  • Shoegazer Sunday: SummerMay’s “Shine”

    Sunday, July 27th, 2014

    Here’s “Shine,” another one from Zurich’s SummeryMay. The best description I can come up with for them is “Imagine a Christian shoegaze Night Ranger that doesn’t suck.” People I told this too were having some trouble wrapping their heads around the concept…

    Library Additions: Three Art Books

    Wednesday, July 23rd, 2014

    Three more items from L. W. Currey’s $10 sale, all art books (for certain values of the word “book”):

  • Fabian, Stephen. Women & Wonders. Charles F. Miller, 1995. First edition hardback, a Fine copy in a Fine dust jacket, still in shrink wrap.
  • Finlay, Virgil. An Astrology Sketch Book. Donald M. Grant, 1975. First edition hardback, a Fine copy in a Fine dust jacket. Oddly enough, $10 is the actual cover price…

    Finlay Astrology

  • Finlay, Virgil. Finlay’s Illustrations for Weird Tales. Showcase Art Productions, 1976. First edition art portfolio of 9 illustrations (one in color) in a cardstock cover, a Fine copy.

    Finlay Weird Tales 1

  • Library Additions: Two Stephen King Related Books

    Tuesday, July 22nd, 2014

    Two more books from L. W. Currey’s $10 sale:

  • King, Stephen. The Dark Half. Hodder & Stoughton, 1989. First edition hardback, a Fine copy in a Fine dust jacket. Precedes the American edition.
  • (King, Stephen) Collings, Michael. Stephen King as Richard Bachman. Starmont House, 1985. First edition hardback, a Fine copy in decorated boards (the covers from the trade paperback attached to the front cover). Reference work.

    King as Bachman

  • Library Additions: Four Signed Books

    Monday, July 21st, 2014

    Just another random roundup of signed books, three from L.W. Currey’s $10 sale (more about which Real Soon), and one from eBay.

  • Bova, Ben. Viewpoint. NESFA Press, 1977. First edition hardback, #126 of 800 signed, numbered hardbacks, a Fine copy in a Fine dust jacket. Bought from Currey for $10.
  • Cowper, Richard. The Unhappy Princess with The Missing Heart. Cheap Street, 1982. First edition chapbook originals, #54 of 75 slipcased copies, Fine copies in a Fine slipcase. Chalker & Owings, 1991, page 106. Note: I store my slipcased chapbooks with the hardbacks. Bought from Currey for $10.

    Cowper Unhappy Missing

  • (De Camp, L. Sprague) Laughlin, Charlotte and Daniel J. H. Levack. De Camp: An L. Sprague De Camp Bibliography. Underwood/Miller, 1983. First edition hardback, one of 200 copies signed by De Camp and others, a Fine copy in decorated boards, sans dust jacket, as issued. Supplements a copy of the trade edition. Bought from Currey for $10.
  • Leiber, Fritz. The Leiber Chronicles. Dark Harvest, 1990. First edition hardback, #7 of 500 signed, numbered hardbacks, a Fine copy in a Fine dust jacket and Fine slipcase. Bought for $38 off eBay, which is roughly half the original publication price of $65.
  • Why both De Camp and Leiber seem thoroughly out of fashion these days is an essay for another day…

    Shoegazer Sunday: Sugar Plant’s “Rise”

    Sunday, July 20th, 2014

    Sugar Plant are on the softer end of Japanese Shoegaze. Here they are with “Rise.”

    Their Happy EP (which includes “Rise”) is available from iTunes.

    Weird Al Brings The Grammar

    Wednesday, July 16th, 2014

    I bet every high school English teacher in America will be showing this to their class come September…

    Shoegazer Sunday: Galaxie 500 Covers Joy Division’s “Ceremony”

    Sunday, July 13th, 2014

    For your Sunday dose of Shoegaze, here’s Galaxie 500 covering seminal punk band Joy Division’s “Ceremony”:

    Where Would I Park It?

    Saturday, July 12th, 2014

    If I were made of money, this would be very tempting indeed:

    Centurion Mk 5 Main Battle Tank (MBT)

    Crew: 4
    Up to 6′ (152-mm)
    1x QF 20-pdr (83.4mm) cannon
    1x 7.62-mm L8A1 machine gun co-axial with main armament
    1x 7.62-mm L37A1 machine gun in AA mount
    65x 20-pdr
    4,250x 7.62-mm
    Engine: Rolls-Royce Meteor gasoline, 650-hp
    Power/weight: 11.8-hp/ton
    Fuel Capacity: 120-USG (455-l)
    Range: 65-miles (105-km)
    Speed: 21-mph (35-km/h)

    The tank being offered, Centurion Mk 5, VRN 12BA97 K, #370/450, was built in April 1953. It is an older restoration that needs an exterior cosmetic restoration. The wheels and tracks are serviceable. The canvas mantlet cover is in good condition. All bazooka skirting is present. Spare track shoes and a tow cable are fitted to the tank’s exterior. This tank is equipped with a 20-pdr “A” barrel. Cutting the breech has demilled the gun. All gunner’s controls are present. This Centurion is powered by a Rolls-Royce Meteor engine – the non-supercharged version of the famous Merlin engine used in Mustang and Spitfire fighters of the day.

    The Centurion was designed during World War II to provide a tank that could do the work of both the Infantry and Cruiser tank classes. It was designed to have firepower and protection that would allow it to survive with the latest German types of tanks and self-propelled guns seen during the war. The first Centurions entered service too late to see action in World War II. Initially, they were equipped the 17-pdr (76.2-mm) cannon which was one of the best tank guns used by the Western Allies during the war. By the time Centurions saw combat in 1950 during the Korean War, they had been upgunned to the more powerful 20-pdr (83.4-mm) cannon. This remained the standard gun on Centurions until the early 1960s when they were upgunned with the 105-mm L7 cannon.

    The four-man crew of the Centurion was well-protected with armor up to 6-inches (152-mm) thick. Stowage bins mounted on the turret sides provided standoff protection from HEAT rounds while skirts along the suspension helped protect against anti-tank rockets. Various upgrades throughout the years allowed the Centurion to stay in service with many countries well into the 1980s. The Centurion has been exported to numerous countries including the Canada, Denmark, Israel and South Africa. They saw action in numerous wars including the Indo-Pakistani Wars, Arab-Israeli Wars, the 1956 Suez War, and various conflicts in southern Africa between South Africa and Cuban forces.

    Transport Cost to Storage: $5,808

    Alas, a few tiny problems present themselves:

  • It is a wee bit out of my price range.
  • The auction is in California, so transportation would be a pain (and expensive).
  • Where would I park it?
  • Likewise, parking spaces are crowded enough at my current job, and I’m pretty sure this would take up at least two spaces.
  • What’s the point of having a tank with a demilled gun? Except, of course, that no one will ever cut you off in traffic ever again.
  • Even if it weren’t demilled, finding 83.4mm ammunition would likely prove challenging, and I don’t think anyone makes a reloading press for HEAT rounds…
  • And what sort of BATFE permit do you need for a tank anyway?
  • Really, I’d need a ranch to buy something like this. Or, as the news reports would inevitably refer to it, a “heavily fortified compound.”

    There are many other interesting items in this auction, which is happening today. Including a Jagdpanzer Kanone, which, alas, looks pretty crapped out, and, I kid you not, an actual SCUD launcher. (I’m not sure any BATFE permit would cover a working SCUD launcher…)

    Science Fiction Necrology: 2013–2014

    Thursday, July 10th, 2014

    Joe Pumelia asked me to put together a quick necrology of notable science fiction figures who have died over the last 18 months for his forthcoming fanzine, a roll-call which is depressingly extensive and filled with world-class talent. Here’s a quick and dirty list that just hits the highlights of writers (and one artist) who have died in that time, along with select top works for those unfamiliar with their output to pursue.

  • Aaron Allston (December 8, 1960 – February 27, 2014): Texas writer best known for his gaming and media tie-in work. See: Doc Sidhe (a Doc Savage homage).
  • Iain Banks (16 February 1954 – 9 June 2013): Notable Scottish writer who penned both celebrated mainstream novels and (as Iain M. Banks) swell science fiction. Died entirely too young from cancer. See: The Wasp Factory, The Bridge, Player of Games.
  • Neal Barrett, Jr (November 3, 1929 – January 12, 2014): The dean of weird Texas science fiction writers. See: The Hereafter Gang and the stories in Perpetuity Blues.
  • Tom Clancy (April 12, 1947 – October 1, 2013): Bestselling technothriller writer, some of whose work qualified as near-future SF. See: The Hunt for Red October and Red Storm Rising.
  • Basil Copper (February 5, 1924 – April 3, 2013): English horror writer who had four books published by Arkham House.
  • H.R. Giger (February 5, 1940 – May 12, 2014): Brilliant and darkly disturbing Swiss artist. Responsible for the Xenomorph creature design in the movie Alien.
  • Rick Hautala (February 3, 1949 – March 21, 2013): Prolific horror writer who had many books published by Zebra, and was a recipient of the Horror Writers of America Lifetime Achievement Award.
  • James Herbert (8 April 1943 – 20 March 2013): British horror writer. His novel The Fog was made into the John Carpenter movie.
  • Daniel Keyes (August 9, 1927 – June 15, 2014): Writer famous for only one work, but it was a doozy: “Flowers for Algernon”.
  • Jay Lake (June 6, 1964 – June 1, 2014): A young writer who exploded in a supernova of productivity, only to be struck down in his prime by the recurring cancer whose fight he documented in his blog. See: Mainspring and the stories in The Sky That Wraps.
  • Doris Lessing (October 22, 1919 – November 17, 2013): Nobel Prize-winning writer, some of whose books used genre settings or tropes.
  • Richard Matheson (February 20, 1926 – June 23, 2013): A writer with a long and illustrious career in science fiction and horror, most famous for works adapted for TV or movies, including numerous scripts for the original Twilight Zone. See: I Am Legend (filmed three times, and they still haven’t gotten it right), The Shrinking Man, The Night Stalker, “Nightmare at 20,000 Feet,” “Little Girl Lost,” “Duel,” and “He Who Kills” (the Zuni fetish doll segment of Trilogy of Terror).
  • Andrew J. Offutt (or andrew j. offutt, as he preferred to spell it) (August 16, 1934 – April 30, 2013): Prolific SF/F writer, including work in the Thieves World shared-universe.
  • Frederik Pohl (November 26, 1919 – September 2, 2013): A giant from the golden age who had a career revival in the 1970s. Wrote collaborations with C.M. Kornbluth and Jack Williamson, and was a noted editor. See: Gateway, Man Plus, The Space Merchants (with Kornbluth), and “Tunnel Under the World.”
  • Nick Pollotta (August 26, 1954 – April 13, 2013): Writer who did humorous SF and fantasy under his own name, and series men’s adventure novels under house pseudonyms.
  • Frank M. Robinson (August 9, 1926 – June 30, 2014): Writer who compiled an illustrated history of science fiction, as well as collaborating on the novel that was made into the movie The Towering Inferno.
  • Alan Rodgers (August 11, 1959 – March 8, 2014): Horror writer and former editor of Night Cry magazine. See: “The Boy Who Came Back From the Dead.”
  • Michael Shea (July 3, 1946 – February 16, 2014): The finest dark fantasy prose stylist of his generation. See: Nifft the Lean, the stories in Polyphemus.
  • Lucius Shepard (August 21, 1943 – March 18, 2014): One of most important science fiction writers of the 1980s, winning Hugo and Nebula Awards for his short fiction. See: The stories in The Jaguar Hunter.
  • Steven Utley (November 10, 1948—January 12, 2013): Texas science fiction writer, known for his time travel tales and his stories in collaboration with Howard Waldrop. Died of an aggressive cancer less than a month after first diagnosis. See: “Custer’s Last Jump” and “Black as the Pit, From Pole to Pole” (both with Waldrop).
  • Jack Vance (August 28, 1916 – May 26, 2013): One of the all-time great science fiction writers, and arguably the finest prose stylist the field has ever produced. See “The Dragon Masters,” the stories in The Dying Earth, and the four Planet of Adventure books.
  • Colin Wilson (June 26, 1931 – December 5, 2013): British writer who wrote science fiction and horror. His novel The Space Vampires was turned into the movie Lifeforce.