Posts Tagged ‘Alfred Bester’

Library Additions: Random Interesting SF First Editions

Monday, November 6th, 2017

The only theme here is that all these books were at the same Half Price Books I previously found notable Chad Oliver and Frederik Pohl first editions at, and that I bought all the books below for less than $10:

  • Bester, Alfred. The Deceivers. Severn House, 1984. First hardback edition, a Fine copy in a Fine, plastic-protected dust jacket. $5.
  • Carr, Charles. Colonists of Space. Ward Lock, 1954. Presumed first edition hardback (states “First published..1954,” but the ISFDB lists two states of that HB, with differing prices, but this dust jacket, while intact, has no price whatsoever; if I had to guess, I would say this is a first edition with a variant dust jacket for the library trade), a Near Fine- copy with slight bumping at head and heel in a Near Fine- dust jacket with very shallow chipping at head, slight dust soiling to white rear, and wear at points, in plastic dust jacket protector. Bought for $5.

    Colonists of Space

  • Del Rey, Lester, editor. Best Science Fiction Stories of the Year: Third Annual Collection. Dutton, 1974. First edition hardback, a Fine- copy with slight crimping at head and heel in a Near Fine dust jacket with significant sun-fading to red portion of the spine. Currey, page 145. Gardner Dozois would later take over this series as editor for volumes six through ten, before beginning his own Year’s Best Science Fiction series in 1984. Bought for $6.

    Del Rey Best 3

  • Elliot, H. Chandler. Reprieve from Paradise. Gnome Press, 1955. First edition hardback, a Near Fine copy with a bit of crimping at the head and heel and a touch of spotting along inner join margin on front free endpaper, in a Near Fine dust jacket with usual age darkening and slight spotting on lower half of front spine join, in the first binding state (green boards lettered in maroon). Chalker/Owings (1991), page 202. Kemp, page 242. Bought for $9.99.
  • Harrison, Harry. Backdrop of Stars. Dennis Dobson, 1968. First edition hardback, a Fine- copy with age darkening to pages in a Very Good+ dust jacket with rubbing (heaviest along spine join) and moderate dust soiling. Bought for $5.99.
  • Norton, Andre. Ordeal in Otherwhere. World Publishing, 1964. First edition hardback, a Near Fine copy with patterning on spine in a Near Fine+ dust jacket with edgewear at head and heel and some blind-side transfer from spine (but no sun fading to spine), in plastic dust jacket protector. Currey, page 391. Bought for $5.

    Ordeal Otherwhere

  • Wallace, F. L. Address: Centauri. Gnome Press, 1955. First edition hardback, a Fine- copy with the usual age-darkening to the paper, in a Very Good dust jacket with shallow chipping at head and heel, rubbing along spine and fading to spine, and other touches of wear, in the first state binding (gray boards lettered in black). Chalker/Owings, page 202. Kemp, page 236. Bought for $8.
  • Wilhelm, Kate. The Infinity Box. Harper Science Fiction, 1975. First edition hardback, a Fine copy in a Fine- dust jacket, with just a trace of surface wear (exaggerated in the scan); this reflective metallic dust jacket is usually found much, much more badly scratched up. Currey, page 538. Bought for $5.99.

    Infinity Box

  • Library Additions: Eight Hardback Starmont Reader’s Guides

    Monday, June 9th, 2014

    I recently picked up eight hardbacks in the Starmont Reader’s Guide line. For many authors, these were the only critical companions to their work ever published, and I get the impression that the hardback book runs for the critical titles were pretty miniscule (Chalker/Owings The Science Fantasy Publishers estimates 75-80 hardbacks) and mostly sold to libraries. Starmont was distributed by Borgo Press, and sometime you’ll see these titles listed under the Borgo imprint or with Borgo price stickers affixed.

    Some of these First Edition and some don’t, but I’m assuming these are first printings unless they state otherwise (the Silverberg states Second Printing). All are essentially Fine- copies with slight rubbing, sans dust jackets, as issued.

  • (Bester, Alfred) Wendell, Carolyn. Alfred Bester: Starmont Reader Guide 6. Starmont House, 1982. Signed by Wendell.
  • (Clement, Hal) Hassler, Donald M. Hal Clement: Starmont Reader Guide 11. Starmont House, 1982. Signed by Hassler.
  • (Delany, Samuel R.) Weedman, Jane Branham. Samuel R. Delany: Starmont Reader Guide 10. Starmont House, 1982. Signed by Delany: “Samuel R. Delany/Madison/2006”.
  • (Farmer, Philip Jose) Brizzi, Mary T. Philip Jose Farmer: Starmont Reader Guide 3. Starmont House, 1980.
  • (Haldeman, Joe) Gordon, Joan. Joe Haldeman: Starmont Reader Guide 4. Starmont House, 1980. Signed by Haldeman (and also an unreadable signature that I take to be either Gordon’s or the cover artist).
  • (Silverberg, Robert) Clareson, Thomas D. Robert Silverberg: Starmont Reader Guide 18. Starmont House, 1983. Signed by Silverberg. Second Printing.
  • (Pohl, Frederik) Clareson, Thomas D. Frederik Pohl: Starmont Reader Guide 39. Starmont House, 1987. Signed by Pohl. By this time the press had moved to what Chalker/Owings called the “Ditky-Newcomer” printing process (basically high quality Xerography) with the characteristic flocked edges that would appear on Pulphouse: The Hardback Magazine a year later.
  • (Tiptree, Jr., James) Siegel, Mark. James Tiptree, Jr.: Starmont Reader Guide 22. Starmont House, 1986.
  • As the seller said: “They never bound any two books the same way.” As you can see from the picture, some have the trade paperback cover affixed to the front, while others are simply cloth with the title, author and series number printed on the spine.

    P1000156

    Paid a total of $246.40, which went to SF writer Julian May, who is: A.) Still alive, and B.) The widow of Starmont House founder Ted Ditky.

    Library Additions: August 8—December 31, 2011

    Sunday, January 8th, 2012

    Despite this big-ass list, I think my book buying is actually slowing down a little. It’s getting harder to find things that I want (and don’t already have) at Half Price Books or eBay. Despite that, I always seem to have a surprisingly large number of books every time I do one of these roundups, mainly due to new small press offerings. (And speaking of small presses, many of the books listed below from Subterranean, Golden Gryphon, Haffner, etc. will be on sale through Lame Excuse Books, so drop me a line if you want to be on the mailing list.)

  • Allston, Aaron. Doc Sidhe. Baen, 1995. First edition paperback original.
  • Anderson, Poul. Fire Time. Doubleday, 1974. Fine in a Near Fine dust jacket, inscribed to Locus editor Charles N. Brown.
  • Anonymous. Man Abroad. Gregg Press, 1978. First hardback edition, a reprint of the 1887 paperback, one of only 257 copies printed, a Fine copy, sans dust jacket, as issued. From the Jerry Weist collection.
  • Bailey, Dale and Jack Slay. Sleeping Policemen. Golden Gryphon, 2006.
  • Beagle, Peter S. Strange Roads. Dreamhaven, 2008. First edition chapbook original, signed by Beagle and artist Lisa Snellings.
  • Bennett, Robert Jackson. The Company Man. Orbit, 2011. Trade paperback original.
  • Bester, Alfred. Virtual Unrealities. Vintage, 1997. Trade paperback original, NF- with 1/4 sticker pull at bottom of front cover.
  • Bester, Alfred, and Roger Zelazny. Psychoshop. Vintage, 1998. Trade paperback original (TPO) first edition, a Fine- copy with slight edgewear.
  • Bloch, Robert. Yours Truly, Jack the Ripper. Subterranean Press, 2011. Expanded from the Belmont paperback edition.
  • Bowes, Richard. From the Files of the Time Rangers. Golden Gryphon, 2005.
  • Brackett, Leigh. Shannach: The Last Farewell to Mars. Haffner Press, 2011.
  • Brown, Eric. Threshold Shift. Golden Gryphon, 2006.
  • Campbell, Ramsey. The Inhabitant of the Lake and Less Welcome Tenants. Arkham House, 1964. First edition hardback, a Fine copy in a Near Fine dust jacket with slight darkening to spine, and slight edgewear at heel and fold points.
  • Carroll, Jonathan. The Ghost in Love. Farrar Straus Giroux, 2008.
  • Chayefsky, Paddy. Altered States. Harper & Row, 1978. A Fine copy in a Fine- dust jacket with a few touches of wear.
  • Datlow, Ellen, and Terri Windling. The Year’s Best Fantasy and Horror: Sixteenth Annual Collection. St. Martins Griffin, 2002. Inscribed to me by Datlow.
  • Diaz, Junot. The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao. Riverhead Books, 2007.
  • Dick, Philip K. The Early Work of Philip K. Dick Volume One: The Variable Man and Other Stories. Prime Books, 2009.
  • Dick, Philip K. (edited by Pamela Jackson and Jonathan Lethem) The Exegesis of Philip K. Dick. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2011. Non-fiction.
  • Dozois, Gardner. When the Great Days Come. Prime Books, 2011.
  • Donaldson, Stephen R. The Best of Stephen R. Donaldson. Subterranean Press, 2011. One of 250 numbered, leatherbound copies signed by the author.
  • Donaldson, Stephen R. The Best of Stephen R. Donaldson. Subterranean Press, 2011. Trade edition.
  • Farmer, Philip Jose. The Keeper of the Secrets. Severn House, 1985. First edition hardback, a Fine copy in a Fine- dust jacket with a tiny bit of haze rubbing to the rear cover. First hardback edition of The Mad Goblin.
  • Farmer, Philip Jose. Love Song. Brandon House, 1970. Paperback original. Full details here.

  • Gaiman, Neil. Melinda. Hill House, 2004. Full details here.


  • Graham, H. E. The Battle of Dora William Clowes & Sons, Ltd. 1931. First edition hardback, a Very Good copy in a Good+ dust jacket with three 1/4″ chips at edges. Future war book set in an imaginary European country concerned with primarily with the evolving tactics of mechanized warfare. With fold-out maps!

  • Haldeman, Joe. A Tool of the Trade. Morrow, 1987.
  • Haldeman, Joe. World’s Apart. Viking, 1983. With review slips laid in.
  • Heinlein, Robert A. Podkayne of Mars. Putnam, 1963. Full details here.

  • Howard, Robert E. The Coming of Conan. Gnome Press, 1953. First edition hardback, a Near Fine+ copy with slight bends at head and heel and slight foxing to strip along front and back gutters, in a Near Fine dust jacket with slight dust staining to white rear cover and a few touches of rubbing to spine panel (but no spine fading). This completes my Robert E. Howard Gnome Press Conan collection. (At some point I suppose I’ll pick up the De Camp volumes but, eh. what’s the rush?)

  • Howard, Robert E. Marchers of Valhalla. Donald M. Grant, 1971. Bought from a notable SF book dealer for $8.
  • Hubbard, L. Ron. Final Blackout. Hadley Publishing, 1948. Full details here.

  • Leyner, Mark. My Cousin, My Gastroenterologist. Harmony Books, 1990. First edition trade paperback original, Near Fine+ with a crease to bottom front corner.
  • (Lovecraft, H. P.) Lockhart, Ross E. The Book of Cthulhu. Night Shade Boooks, 2011. First edition trade paperback original.
  • Lynch, Scott. The Lies of Locke Lamora. Gollancz, 2006. A Fine copy in a Near Fine dust jacket, signed by the author.
  • Martin, George R. R. GRRM: A RRetrospective. Subterranean Press, 2003. First edition hardback, Letter B of 52 signed, lettered, leatherbound copies, housed in a handcrafted traycase, a Fine copy in a Fine dust jacket; however, the traycase housing the book has a cracked bottom outer hinge, as well as a tiny bit of bend at the top front traycase tip.

  • Martin, George R. R., editor. Wild Cards: Marked Cards. Baen, 1994. First edition paperback original. Second book in the Baen Wild Cards series, and the Fourteenth overall.
  • Matheson, Richard. Born of Man and Woman. Chamberlain Press, 1954. Details here.

  • Matheson, Richard. The Shrinking Man. David Bruce & Watson, 1973. First hardback edition. Details here.

  • McCammon, Robert. The Hunter from The Woods. Subterranean Press, 2011. One of 1,000 signed, numbered copies.
  • Miller, Warren. Looking for the General. McGraw-Hill, 1964. Bought for $8 from a notable SF book dealer. Howard Waldrop recommended this.
  • Miyabe, Miyuki. Brave Story. Viz, 2007. First English-language edition.
  • Moon, Elizabeth. Lunar Activity. First edition paperback original (PBO), a near Fine+ copy with invisible spine creasing and slight edgewear. Signed by Moon.
  • Moorcock, Michael. Dr. Who: The Coming of the Terraphiles. BBC Books, 2010. Signed by Moorcock.
  • Moorcock, Michael. The Runestaff. White Lion, 1974. First edition hardback, a Fine- copy with just a tiny bit of wear in a Fine dust jacket. First hardback edition.
  • Moorcock, Michael. The Sleeping Sorceress. New English Library, 1971. First edition hardback, a Fine copy in a Near Fine+ dust jacket with color loss along inner flaps edges (possibly a printing flaw). First hardback edition of The Vanishing Tower.
  • Niffenegger, Audrey. The Time Traveler’s Wife. McAdam Cage, 2003. First edition hardback, a near Fine copy with slight lean in a Near Fine- first state (no logo) dust jacket with several long creases.
  • Niven, Larry. Strange Light. Dreamhaven, 2010. First edition chapbook original.
  • Niven, Larry. A World Out of Time. Holt Reinhart Winston, 1976. Bought from a notable Sf book dealer for 48. Review slip laid in.
  • Niven, Larry, and Steve Barnes. Dream Park. Phantasia Press, 1981. One of 600 signed, numbered copies in slipcase. From the Jerry Weist collection.
  • Novik, Naomi. Victory of Eagles. Del Rey, 2008. Fifth Temeraire book.
  • Oliver, Chad. Another Kind. Ballantine Books, no date (1955). First edition hardback (an unrecorded variant binding of green boards with red lettering), a Near Fine copy with slight age-darkening to page (most noticeable in one signature) and slight bending at head and heel in a Near Fine dust jacket with slight age darkening and touches of wear at extremities. Actually quite nice. All of the Ballantine SF hardbacks if this era are hard to find.

  • Paltock, Robert. The Life & Adventures of Peter Wilkins. Hyperion Press, 1974. Reprint of the 1928 edition, which in turn reprints a novel first published in 1750 or 1751 (sources differ; Bleiler’s Checklist (1978 edition) says 1753, which I believe is the publication year for the second volume). Fine- copy, with trace of wear along bottom board, sans dust jacket, as issued.
  • Pohl, Frederik, and C. M. Kornbluth. The Space Merchants. Thomas Dunne Books/St. Martins, 2011. “Revised 21st Century Edition,” trade paperback original thus.
  • Powers, Tim. The Bible Repairman and Other Stories. Subterranean Press, 2011. One of 500 signed, numbered copies.
  • Resnick, Mike. Blasphemy. Golden Gryphon, 2010.
  • Rickert, M. Holiday. Golden Gryphon, 2010.
  • Rochelle, Warren. The Called. Golden Gryphon, 2010.
  • Rochelle, Warren. A Harvest of Changelings. Golden Gryphon, 2007.
  • Rusch, Kristine Kathryn. Recovering Apollo 8. Golden Gryphon, 2010.
  • Sargent, Pamela. Thumbprints. Golden Gryphon, 2004. Signed by Sargent.
  • Scalzi, John. Fuzzy Nation. Tor, 2011.
  • Serviss, Garrett P. Edison’s Conquest of Mars. Carcosa House, 1947. Full details here.

  • Shute, Nevil. On the Beach. Heinemann, 1957. First edition hardback, a near Fine plus copy with dust staining to top page blocks and touches of wear to boards at heel, in a Near Fine dust jacket, with slight edgewear at head and heel and a few very short, closed tears.
  • Silverberg, Robert. The Collected Stories of Robert Silverberg Volume Six: Multiples 1983-87. Fine, sans dj, as issued.
  • Skillingstead, jack. Are You There. Golden Gryphon, 2009.
  • Skipp, John and Cody Goodfellow. Spore. Morning Star Press, 2011. Signed PC copy; the regular edition was 150 signed, numbered copies.
  • Smith, Clark Ashton. The Collected Fantasies Volume 5: The Last Hieroglyph. Night Shade Press, 2010.
  • Stross, Charles. Palimpsest. Subterranean Press, 2011.
  • Twain, Mark (edited by Harriet Elinor Smith). The Autobiography of Mark Twain: Volume 1. University of California Press, 2010. Non-fiction, and large enough to stun an ox.
  • (Vance, Jack) Andre-Driussi, Michael. Vance Space. Sirius Fiction, 1997. First edition chapbook, a Fine copy in self-wraps. Signed by Vance. Non-fiction.

  • Willis, Connie. All Clear. Ballantine Books, 2010. Signed.
  • Williamson, Jack. At the Human Limit: The Collected Stories of Jack Williamson, Volume Eight. Haffner Press, 2011.
  • Wilson, Robert. Julian Comstock. Tor, 2009.
  • Wolfe, Gene. The Sorcerer’s House. Tor, 2010. Read this in ARC, and sort-of reviewed it here.
  • Zelazny, Roger. Unicorn Variations Timescape, 1983. Supplements an inscribed book club edition.
  • Related Topics

    Other science fiction book collecting topics you might find of interest:

  • A description of my own library of science fiction first editions (a couple of years out of date; I need to update this)
  • My Books Wanted List
  • Lame Excuse Books, my own side SF/F/H book business, where a discerning collector may find several first editions of potential interest.
  • Other book related posts
  • After Action Report on Heritage Auction’s Sale of the Jerry Weist Collection

    Monday, September 19th, 2011

    Every year or two, Heritage Auctions in Dallas conducts a big auction of a major science fiction book collection. In 2007, it was the Ventura Collection.

    The Ventura Collection auction was very successful, and since it occurred right before the advent of The Great Recession, many of the prices achieved in that auction have not since been equaled. (It may also be the first auction catalog Heritage mass-mailed to prospective SF collectors; I had not received any before then.)

    In 2008, it was The Robert and Diane Yaspan collection, which included a vast array of SF firsts as well as several SF manuscripts and a few select non-SF firsts, such as many firsts by mystery writer Earle Stanley Gardener.

    Later in 2008 was the auction of The Frank Collection, which was mainly SF art, but included a number of notable SF first editions as well.

    The just completed auction of the Jerry Weist collection was of the same caliber. There was some original art and pulp magazines in the collection, but the bulk of it was collectible SF/F/H first editions. The auction realized more than $1 million (though a significant fraction of that was for the artworks).

    I’m going to talk about some of the more interesting items sold, and how the prices realized compared to comparable copies of the same firsts in previous years. I’ll also mention when I have a copy of the first edition discussed in my own library.

    A few general observations:

  • Unlike previous Heritage SF Auctions, there were very few multi-volume lots of less desirable titles. I think Heritage will be selling those books individually on their weekly Internet book auctions.
  • Weist, like myself, settled for less than perfect copies of many difficult titles, including some worn, corner-clipped, or ex-library copies. (By contrast, the vast majority of the Ventura collection were pristine copies.)
  • The Weist collection was very strong in Golden Age and pre-Golden Age authors, but very weak in Hypermodern SF.
  • It was strong in Ray Cummings and Edgar Rice Burroughs (neither of which I collect), Isaac Asimov, John W. Campbell, Arthur C. Clarke, Philip K. Dick, Robert A. Heinlein, William Hope Hodgson (many if not all of the firsts published in his lifetime), Robert E. Howard, Curt Siodmak (more about which anon), Clark Ashton Smith, and Olaf Stapledon.

  • Conversely, assuming the volumes presented in the auction do constitute the cream of the crop and nothing has been held back, it was weak in Jack Vance, Stephen King, Avram Davidson, R. A. Lafferty, Gene Wolfe and (save the two Fahrenheit 451s) Ray Bradbury.
  • I’ve tried to do some trending for various titles here, but there’s a lot of volatility at the high of the market. A book that normally goes for $100-200 might hit $2,000 for a signed copy at auction If two deep-pocketed collectors each need it to complete their collection.
  • Holy Grails

    To me, far and away the most interesting and desirable item was one of only five copies of Stanley G. Weinbaum’s Dawn of Flame to have the unsigned introduction by Amazing editor Ray Palmer. Weinbaum’s widow evidently objected to the introduction, which is why only five copies were so produced. Even the 245 copy Currey B state (with Lawrence Keating’s introduction replacing Palmer’s) is rare enough, and the book is widely considered the first true SF small press book. I don’t believe I’d seen a copy of the Palmer state for sale before, but I think one was sold when the Sam Moskowitz collection was auctioned off (they didn’t send me a catalog). Moreover, this particular copy once belonged to legendary collector and fan Forrest J. Ackerman, and was inscribed by him to Weist. Counting the buyer’s premium (a little shy of 20%, and which I’m going to include for all the other prices listed here), it went for $9,560.00; it wouldn’t have surprised me to see it go for twice that much.

    There were some other SF collecting “holy grails” sold there:

  • One of 50 copies of the signed, presentation hardback state of Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451, which went for $8,365.00. This represents an increase over the $5,377 a copy fetched in the Yaspan auction.
  • One of 200 asbestos bound copies of Fahrenheit 451 graded Very Good, went for $5,975.00. This represents something of a decline; a Fine copy went $15,535 in the Ventura Collection auction, a Very Good copy in the Yaspan collection went for $8,962, and a Near Fine copy in the Frank auction went for $9,560.
  • To me one of the most surprising outcomes was seeing a signed copy of Philip K. Dick’s Confessions of a Crap Artist go for $5,078.75, since there’s at least one signed copy from the 90 copies originally signed by Dick available online for $1,500. (And I think there were two copies for well under $5,000 when the auction commenced…) I have one of the unsigned firsts, which goes for considerably less.
  • Speaking of Dick, a copy of Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? went for $6,572.50, despite tape stains on the jacket folds. I thought the $9,560 fetched by a Near Fine copy in the Ventura auction was outrageous at the time, but the value seems to have held up. (I have an ex-library copy myself, and even Ex-Lib copies list online for two to four grand.)
  • One of only 75 sets of E. E. “Doc” Smith’s History of Civilization, the six volume signed, leatherbound Fantasy Press set (in box, but without lid) went for $5,377.50. A set with the lid went for $5,676.25 in the Yaspan auction.
  • Other Notable Books

    From Holy Grails we move on to books that are merely Really Freaking Expensive. There are usually a few copies of these bumping around on Bookfinder.com, albeit with a comma in the price.

  • A signed copy of Isaac Asimov’s Foundation and Empire ($1,912) went for more than a signed (via bookplate) I, Robot ($1,553.50), probably due to some mild water damage to the latter. A Fine but price-clipped copy of I, Robot went for $2,270 in the Ventura auction, while another imperfect copy went for $1,434 in the Yaspan auction. I, Robot has become by far the hardest to find among the Gnome Press Asimovs.
  • A signed, Near Fine copy of Alfred Bester’s The Demolished Man went for $872.35. I have a Fine copy, but not signed.
  • A merely Very Good copy of Bester’s Tiger! Tiger! (the hardback first of The Stars My Destination) went for $1,015.75, which is probably about market. A Fine copy in the Ventura auction went for $1,792.
  • The late Jack Chalker’s inscribed copy of Hal Clement’s Cycle of Fire went for $1,015.75. The title is harder to find than most of Ballantine Books SF hardbacks of the fifties.
  • Bob Weinberg’s inscribed ex-library copy of Philip Jose Farmer’s Green Odyssey went for a relatively modest $334.60. Like Cycle of Fire, this is one of the most difficult Ballantine Books hardbacks to find, especially for non-ex-library copies. Despite that, a Very Good signed copy failed to sell in the Yaspan auction, while a restored ExLib copy went for $448.13 in the Ventura auction.
  • A Fine, signed copy of the Gollancz (first hardback) edition of William Gibson’s Neuromancer, probably the essential novel of Hypermodern Science Fiction, went for $1,553.50. This is one of the few items for which you can see a clear, unambiguous decline across auctions, as a similarly Fine, signed copy went for $2,695 in the Ventura auction, while a similarly Fine, signed copy went for $2,151 in the Yaspan auction. I have a signed Fine- copy.
  • A copy of Robert A. Heinlein’s Podkayne of Mars went for $985.88. I don’t think it’s quite as good as the copy I just picked up last month for $235.
  • A Very Good+ copy of Heinlein’s Starship Troopers went for $2,270.50. A Fine copy fetched $4,780 in the Ventura auction. I have a very nice Ex-Library copy.
  • A Near Fine copy of Frank Herbert’s Dune went for $4,780. A Fine- copy (a rating I thought was a bit generous, given the rubbing along the dj spine) in the Ventura auction went for $10,755. I have a very worn Ex-Library copy.
  • An inscribed, Near Fine copy of Daniel Keyes’ Flowers for Algernon went for $2,390. A similar copy (though with a tipped-in signature rather than an inscription) went for $1,434. My copy is a bit less fine, and unsigned.
  • A copy of H.P. Lovecraft’s The Outsider and Others (the first Arkham House book and a cornerstone for both SF and horror collections) went for a healthy $3,883.75.
  • Another rare Lovecraft item, an exceptionally nice copy of the Visionary Publishing edition of The Shadow Over Innsmouth, went for a hefty $7,170.00. That’s toward the high end for an unsigned copy (since it was published in Lovecraft’s lifetime, signed copies do exist, and can be had for less than the price of a new Lexus), but there’s a dizzying number of variant states, and I’m not sure which are considered the more desirable among high-end Lovecraft collectors.
  • A Very Good+ copy of Walter M. Miller’s A Canticle for Leibowitz went for $2,031.50, mainly because it has the rare orange promotional band. I have an Ex-Library copy.
  • An inscribed, conservatively graded Very Good copy of the Gollancz (first hardback) edition of Larry Niven’s Ringworld went for $2,390.00. In the Ventura auction, a Fine signed copy went for $5,206.25, while in the Yaspan auction, the better of two copies (not signed) went for $1,792. I have an unusually clean Ex-Lib Gollancz Ringworld, which might pass for Fine save an excised front free endpaper. (Did you know there was an unused dust jacket state for the Gollancz Ringworld? Lord knows how this guy (who I believe also owns this amazing Jack Vance collection) got a copy of it…)
  • A price-clipped copy of Connie Willis’ Doomsday Book went for $507.88. One of the more interesting outliers at the Ventura collection was a Fine signed copy going for an eye-popping $1,912. I have a Fine copy Connie inscribed to me after she attended Turkey City I picked up when it came out at cover price.
  • One of the most puzzling results of the auction was a signed first of Curt Siomdak’s Skyport was initially reported going for a stunning $8,611.17. That’s only about $8,500 more than it’s worth. But now when you go to the auction page for the item itself, it shows a far saner $101.58. I’m assuming there was some sort of glitch.

    Slightly less puzzling was a signed, Near Fine copy of L. Sprague de Camp’s The Wheels of If (which has one of Hannes Bok’s most famous dust jacket illustrations) went for $717, which is a good bit more than it usually goes for; Lloyd Currey has a comparable-to-better signed copy online right now for $150. Before this I had the impression de Camp was out of fashion among collectors (and thus I have been able to pick up a number of signed copies of his work pretty cheap). I suspect this is an outlier.

    Although I bid on several items, I only won one: an Ex-Library first of the UK David Bruce & Watson (first hardback) edition of Richard Matheson’s The Shrinking Man for $95.60. Fine copies go for over a grand.

    Related Topics

    Other science fiction book collecting topics (and glimpses into my own bibliomania) you might find of interest:

  • A description of my own library of science fiction first editions
  • My Books Wanted List
  • Lame Excuse Books, my own side SF/F/H book business, where a discerning collector may find several books of potential interest.
  • Other book related posts (including new acquisitions to my library)
  • Books I Picked Up at the Reno Worldcon

    Friday, September 2nd, 2011

    Various issues have kept me remarkably busy the last few days, so it may take a little while to get my blogging back up to speed. In particular, I wanted to do a brief roundup of some of the books I bought at the Reno Worldcon.

    This year’s Worldcon had a better dealer’s room than Denver in 2008 (the last Worldcon I went to), and there were many rare and tempting items there (including not one, but two copies of the first edition of William Timlin’s The Ship That Sailed to Mars, as well as a fine signed first edition of Alfred Bester’s Tiger Tiger listed for $2,500, and which sold for a bit less) which, alas, they wanted more for than I was willing to spend.

    But here are a few items I was able to add to my collection:

  • Serviss, Garrett P. Edison’s Conquest of Mars. Carcosa House, 1947. First edition hardback, one of 1,500 copies, a Fine copy in one of only 500 (or fewer) dust jackets distributed with the book, a Near Fine example of dj with just a few traces of edgewear and slight age-darkening to the spine. The dust jacket is rarely found, and even more seldom found in such excellent condition.

    The dust jacket art itself is perhaps the finest ever drawn by an eight-year old…

  • Hubbard, L. Ron. Final Blackout. Hadley Publishing, 1948. First edition hardback, a Fine copy in a Near Fine+ dust jacket with slight age darkening to white portions of cover. I’m not a big fan of Hubbard (or his church), but this and Fear are reportedly among his best works, and I am less familiar with his output than almost any other Golden Age author. Plus it puts me closer to having a complete collection of Hadley Publishing, an important early SF specialty press.

  • Gaiman, Neil. Melinda. Hill House, 2004. First edition graphic novel, one of 1,500 signed copies, Fine, sans dust jacket, as issued. Wanted this when it came out, but not enough to pay the $250 or so Hill House was asking for it, especially considering how slender it is. But the $50 I picked it up for was just right…


  • Anderson, Poul. Fire Time. Doubleday, 1974. First edition hardback, a Fine copy in a Near Fine dust jacket with edgewear. Not a difficult or valuable title, except this copy was inscribed by Anderson to Charles N. Brown, which I thought made it worth a good bit more than the $15 the Locus folks were asking for it.
  • Diaz, Junot. The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao. Riverhead Books, 2007. First edition hardback, a Fine copy in a Fine dust jacket. Been looking for a copy at various Half Price Books and not finding one, so I was happy to pick this up from Scott and Willie.
  • Moorcock, Michael. The Sleeping Sorceress. New English Library, 1971. First edition hardback, a Fine copy in a Near Fine+ dust jacket with color loss along inner flaps edges (possibly a printing flaw). First hardback edition of The Vanishing Tower.
  • Moorcock, Michael. The Runestaff. White Lion, 1974. First edition hardback, a Fine- copy with just a tiny bit of wear in a Fine dust jacket. First hardback edition.
  • Shute, Nevil. On the Beach. Heinemann, 1957. First edition hardback, a near Fine plus copy with dust staining to top page blocks and touches of wear to boards at heel, in a Near Fine dust jacket, with slight edgewear at head and heel and a few very short, closed tears.
  • Farmer, Philip Jose. The Keeper of the Secrets. Severn House, 1985. First edition hardback, a Fine copy in a Fine- dust jacket with a tiny bit of haze rubbing to the rear cover. First hardback edition of The Mad Goblin.
  • Farmer, Philip Jose. Love Song. Brandon House, 1970. First edition paperback original, a Near Fine- copy, with slight cover wear and ownership stamps and stickers for Diana Ann Barbour. My best find at the convention wasn’t even a purchase; Barbour had specified that her library was to be given away, and when I spotted this green spine among the stacks of Philip Jose Farmer paperbacks being set out, I snagged it. (I left behind two of the Essex House paperbacks they were putting out, because it doesn’t pay to be piggish.) The only copy of the PBO online lists for $850. That’s too high, but $200-400 is probably realistic.
  • The Top Ten Books on my “Books Wanted” List

    Wednesday, November 25th, 2009

    I may have mentioned that I have a large library. I started out collecting “hypermodern” (which in my case meant “post-Neuromancer“) science fiction (with some fantasy and horror works and authors thrown in for good measure), and once I had collected everything I wanted there, I started going after every important post-World War II SF work. That collection is by no means complete, but I’ve made considerable progress toward it.

    With that in mind, I recently compiled a list of the top ten hardback first editions on my (considerably larger) want list that I was most interested in picking up. Here it is:

    1. James Blish’s A Case of Conscience (Faber & Faber)

    2. Robert E. Howard’s The Sword of Conan (Gnome Press)
    3. Robert E. Howard’s The Coming of Conan (Gnome Press)
    4. Alfred Bester’s Tiger! Tiger! (Sidgwick & Jackson)
    5. Philip K. Dick’s Dr. Bloodmoney (Gregg Press) >R. A. Lafferty’s With Horns on Their Head (Pendragon Press HB)

    6. R. A. Lafferty’s Funnyfingers & Cabrito (Pendragon Press HB)
    7. Jack Vance’s Book of Dreams (Underwood/Miller)
    8. Manly Wade Wellman’s Giants from Eternity (Avalon)
    9. Richard Matheson’s Born of Man and Woman (Chamberline Press)

    These are all books that I not only want, but think I have a reasonable shot at picking up at a price I can afford. There are lots of first editions priced like Unobtanium (Stanley G. Weinbaum’s Dawn of Flame, H. P. Lovecraft’s The Outsider and Others, the Unwin-Hyman true firsts of all three books in J. R. R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings, etc.) that i would pick up if I saw cheap, but don’t expect to come across.

    Anyway, if you have nice copies any of the above, and if you’re willing to sell it to me considerably cheaper than can be found on Bookfinder.com, drop me an email at lawrenceperson@gmail.com and I’ll consider it.