Muhammed Ali, RIP

June 3rd, 2016

Former Heavyweight Boxing Champion Muhammad Ali has died at age 74.

As the young Cassius Clay, Ali combined the power of a heavyweight with the speed of a middleweight. He was so good for so long that he earned his self-anointed title as The Greatest of All Time.

Growing up I actually saw Ali box on TV, back when they still showed boxing on broadcast TV. Alas, Ali was far past his prime when I saw him lose to Leon Spinks.

The late fights took a serious toll on Ali, eventually robbing him of his previously celebrated eloquence, and he became a sad example of a great fighter who stayed in the ring too long.

Rest in Peace.

Library Addition: Signed Edition of Philip Jose Farmer’s The Other in the Mirror

May 31st, 2016

I didn’t pick this up in the signed edition when it first came out, but I found it online cheap enough to be worth picking up.

Farmer, Philip Jose. The Other in the Mirror. Subterranean Press, 2009. First edition hardback, with a signed (but unnumbered) limitation page, a Fine copy in a Fine dust jacket and Fine slipcase. Omnibus edition of three novels (Fire in the Night, Jesus on Mars, and Night of Light), the first two of which were only published as paperback originals. Original price for the signed/numbered edition was $125. This supplements my trade edition, and all editions are now out of print from the publisher. Bought off eBay for $24.95 plus shipping.

Shoegazer Sunday: Star Horse’s “Stranger”

May 29th, 2016

For your Sunday dose of Shoegaze, here’s “Stranger” from Stockholm-based Star Horse. Evidently today’s post is brought to you by the letter “S”…

Two Highlights of the Forthcoming Bonhams Book Auction

May 26th, 2016

Bonhams has a book auction coming up on June 8. There are a lot of interesting things outside of fiction (like Mohammed Ali’s passport), but very few items of interest to science fiction collectors.

However, there are two quite notable exceptions:

  • A first edition of Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged inscribed to Barbara Branden. For those unfamiliar with Rand, Barbara Branden was one of Rand’s closest friends before the break between Rand and her protege/lover Nathaniel Branden, Barbara’s husband. Rand and Barbara Branden would later reconcile toward the end of Rand’s life, after which Barbara Branden would write The Passion of Ayn Rand, so even though this is quite a worn copy, it’s among the best possible association copies of Rand’s most influential book.
  • An autographed letter from Thomas Pynchon. I don’t need to tell you how rare a Pynchon signature is, do I?
  • Pynchon Simpsons

    Shoegazer Sunday: Catch The Breeze’s “The Shallow Bed”

    May 22nd, 2016

    A shoegaze band named after the first Slowdive song I ever heard? How can I resist?

    Brian Jonestown Massacre’s “She’s Gone”

    May 15th, 2016

    I consider Brain Jonestown Massacre more of a psych than Shoegaze band, but this is the final song they played at their set with Slowdive in Austin, and that’s good enough for me.

    Important Safety Tip

    May 11th, 2016

    Try not to kill anyone over cutting in line for a taco trick.

    Just after bar-close at 2:38 a.m. on Sunday, May 8th, the Austin Police Department responded to a report of gunfire at what appears to be the Tortillas Hecha a Manos taco truck in Lanier Village, just south of Peyton Gin and North Lamar. When police arrived, they found 39-year-old Rigoberto Jose Castillo dead and three others injured, one critically.

    You may be asking, what could have caused all this mayhem? As the story goes, it all began when someone allegedly cut in line for tacos.

    According to witnesses, a fight started over who was in line for tacos first. Nobody appreciates the wait for a taco, but police say that Mr. Castillo took special exception to the alleged line-cutting when two men, Osiel Benitez Benitez, 44, and Juventino Benitez Carbajal, 38, allegedly attempted to order out of line.

    Things escalated to fisticuffs between Rigoberto and Osiel Benitez, the police report says, leaving Benitez unconscious on the ground, before all hell broke loose. Police go on to claim that a moment later Carbajal went to his truck, pulled out a gun, and began firing into the group of patrons. In addition to Castillo’s death, three women were also injured.

    It’s also a bad idea to try and cut in line for a taco trailer. Upside: You get your taco faster. Downside: Getting shot to death over tacos. Plus it’s just not polite…

    (Hat tip: Bill Crider.)

    Library Addition: Signed First Edition of Ray Bradbury’s Let’s All Kill Constance

    May 9th, 2016

    Yet another signed Ray Bradbury first edition:

    Bradbury, Ray. Let’s All Kill Constance. William Morrow, 2003. First edition hardback, a Fine copy in a Fine dust jacket. Signed and dated by Bradbury. Bought off eBay for $19.95, which is $4 off cover price.

    Bradbury Kill Constance

    IMG_0644

    Shoegazer Sunday: Scarlet Leaves Covers Slowdive’s “Catch the Breeze”

    May 8th, 2016

    Since I played Slowdive doing “Catch the Breeze” live last week, here’s Brazil’s Scarlet Leaves covering it this week.

    Library Addition: Michael Swanwick’s 5 Seasons

    May 2nd, 2016

    Dragonstairs Press has been unusually busy this year. Hot on the heels of their last project, here’s another Michael Swanwick chapbook:

    Swanwick, Michael. 5 Seasons. Dragonstairs Press, 2016. First edition chapbook original, #69 of 100 signed, numbered copies, a Fine copy. Five one page stories about the seasons.

    5 Seasons

    Unlike last month’s Dragonstairs book, I’ll actually have copies of this available in the next Lame Excuse Books catalog, currently in preparation…