Posts Tagged ‘Science Fiction’

John Clute’s Library Going to Telluride Institute

Wednesday, August 26th, 2015

I had no idea when I posted that tardy donation news for Allen Lewis’ library yesterday that this would be Great SF Collections Ending Up In Libraries Week.

Critic John Clute’s considerable SF library is ending up at the Telluride Institute, where Clute is a trustee.

Allen Lewis Donates His Entire Collection to The University of Iowa

Monday, August 24th, 2015

Well, how did I miss this news? Science fiction collector Allen Lewis donated his entire collection of science fiction first editions to the University of Iowa. Here’s another story on the donation, with a few more quotes and pictures of Al in front of his library. (Sadly, the pictures are not large enough to read the titles.)

I’ve sold many a book of Al over the years (and bought one or two from him). Al was famous for hauling a minivan’s worth of books to get signed at SF conventions. He would frequently get a dealer’s table, less to sell a few extras, but to have a base to store his own books from which to hit the autographing lines.

It would be nice to browse through the list of what he donated, if they ever get it online…

Photos from Worldcon Part 2 (The 2014 London Worldcon, That Is)

Wednesday, August 19th, 2015

And here’s Part 2 of those London Worldcon pics.

Note that some pictures are labeled “…and company.” This is code for “I’m slightly less embarrassed about not remembering your name a year later than I would be about getting it wrong.”


The lovely and talented Gail Garriger contemplates her next cup of tea.


It’s only a matter of time until leopard-skin gloves are all the rage…


Tobias Buckell, straight from his performance in Hipsters of the Caribbean.


I’m 99% sure this is Martin Hoare with David Langford. After all, it’s Worldcon. How many bearded, gray-haired men with glasses could there be?


Apropos of nothing in particular, here’s Mike Walsh.


John Kessel.


John Kessel in jacket.


John Kessel in jacket and the shoes he stole from Lew Shiner.


Michael Bulmlein.


Jo Walton contemplates the five kilometer hike to her next panel.


Your Humble Narrator and Ian McDonald.


Stephen Baxter, taking a short break from 100,000 words of galaxy smashing.


The ageless Ben Yalow. He stays the same while the original painting for Confessions of a Crap Artist gets older.


Signs of the horrific mental degeneration that comes from being a science fiction bookseller…


Just ask George Locke!


Charlie Stross, caught in the middle of a very geeky plan for world domination.


Ben Bova.


Ben Bova and Your Humble Narrator.


Lawrence Watt-Evans.


Lawrence Watt-Evans and company.


Lawrence and Lawrence, coming this fall to Fox!


Matthew Hughes


Ann VanderMeer


Jeff and Ann VanderMeer.


Stephen Jones.


Joe Haldeman, Gay Haldeman and Jim Burns.


John Douglas.


Michael Swanwick, yet again.


“Come, Mrs. Peel, we’re needed!”


Henry Wessels, rocking the seersucker.


John Clute and company.


Teddy Harvia fooling around with a married woman known only as “Mrs. Thayer.”


Robert Jackson Bennett, who I somehow had to travel 5,000 miles to see.


Andrew Porter.


Scott Edelman.


Jeff Orth, one of the three chairs of the 2016 Kansas City Worldcon. Expect him to look approximately 30 years older 380 days from now.


James Patrick Kelly, of the Gets-photographed-a-lot-at-Worldcons Patrick Kellys.


Has anyone seen Jack Dann and Russell Blackford in the same room at the same time?


Janeen Webb.


Betsy Mitchell.

Photos from Worldcon Part 1 (The 2014 London Worldcon, That Is)

Tuesday, August 18th, 2015

So this year’s Worldcon is this week, and you’re posting photos from last year’s Worldcon?


And didn’t you already post some of these photos?


So why do it again?

Last year at Worldcon, I uploaded these photos in a big bunch to Facebook, then linked to the Facebook photos from this blog. However, Facebook, evidently hating the idea that people outside their walled garden of changing preferences and sunglasses spam might see said photos, keeps changing their URLs, thus breaking links to them. So the photos themselves disappeared from the old post. These I’m uploading directly to my blog.

Also, I didn’t blog all the images I meant to, so there will be some new ones in Part 2.

So without further adieu…


Leigh Kennedy, who I had lunch and dinner with the Monday before the con. We have loads of common friends, but knew them at different times, so there was a lot of trading stories…


In profile.


Cory Doctorow, exhibiting his unique sense of style…


…and with an actual top to his head.


John J. Miller of Wild Cards fame, with Gail Gerstner-Miller.


Kim Newman, in his usual natty, multilayered attire. Wear this in Texas in August and you’re asking for heatstroke.


Jonathan Strahan and David Hartwell.


Pat Murphy, all scarfed-up.


Lavie Tidhar, who used to do reviews for me back in the Nova Express days.


Ian Watson and Lavie Tidhar, signing books at the PS Publishing table in the dealer’s room. I asked Watson what the genesis of the Watson-Aldiss feud was. “I’ve gotten to the age when I’m not sure I remember it properly anymore…”


Connie Willis.


Liz Hand.


And looking slightly less crazed.


Ellen Datlow and Liz Hand fan themselves and look down upon the peasantry.


Elle Datlow solo.


Guest of honor John Clute.


Adam Roberts.


Geoff Ryman peers at me suspiciously.


Gary K. Wolfe.


Andy Duncan.


Didn’t get all the names, but this is something like 75% of the Israeli SF publishing industry.


Kim Stanley Robinson.


John Gibbons.


Michael Swanwick, Geoff Ryman, and Ellen Datlow.


Michael Swanwick and Gordon Van Gelder, looking way too befuddled for the first day of the con.


Lisa Tuttle, who I had lunch with, joined by…


…George R. R. Martin.


George R. R. Martin and the Spanish George R. R. Martin.


Michael Swanwick and George R. R. Martin, enjoying fine dining in an atmosphere of unpretentious ambiance.


Parris McBride Martin.


Alastair Reynolds.


Pat Cadigan.


Pat Cadigan in green.


Pat Cadigan with fan-drawn cyberpunk.


Finally, Pat Cadigan with her spiffy Doc Martin boots.


The elusive Richard Calder.


Michael Swanwick showing off his outfit. “This shirt is bespoke! Bespoke, I tell you!”


Finally, Michael Swanwick showing off the t-shirt for MidAmericon II, the 2016 Kansas City Worldcon he’s Guest of Honor at. (Pat Cadigan is Toastmistress.)

Library Addition: Bob Shaw’s The Palace of Eternity

Tuesday, August 11th, 2015

Cold Tonnage was having it’s annual 40% off sale (Andy Richards says he uses the sale to pay his taxes every year), so I picked up several books I’ll be listing over the next week or so.

Shaw, Bob. The Palace of Eternity. Gollancz, 1970. First hardback edition, a Near Fine copy with one small spot to page block edge and bumping to bottom points, in a Near Fine+ dust jacket with with small dust blemish to spine near Gollancz “SF” logo, a few tiny dust spots elsewhere, and a slight bumping at bottom tips. Inscribed by the author: “To Brian,/with best wishes/Bob Shaw.” Currey (1979), page 431. Pringle SF 100, 61. Barron, Anatomy of Wonder 4, 4-391. Bought for £120, marked down from £200.

Palace of Eternity

“You look like Freddy Kruger face-f*cked a topographical map of Utah”

Thursday, August 6th, 2015

And now I pretty much have to see Deadpool

Deadpool: The movie that touches you in totally inappropriate ways…”

Library Addition: Signed Harlan Ellison Cassette Tape Pack

Wednesday, August 5th, 2015

Sometimes you stumble across something not really on your collecting radar, but if it’s cheap enough, you go “What the hell?”

Ellison, Harlan. A Boy & His Dog & “Repent, Harlequin” said the Ticktockman. Warner Audio Publishing, no date (but 1985). Presumed first edition, a pair of cassette tapes of Ellison reading his two stories, a Fine- copy with small cracks to the clear cassette tape case plastic, in blister pack. Signed by Ellison on the back of the front cover insert. Bought for $2 off eBay.

Ellison Cassette Front



(Not having a cassette tape player it wouldn’t be a pain to hook up, I’m just assuming it still has Ellison’s stories on it, and it hasn’t been taped over with a copy of, say, Frampton Comes Alive…)

Of Top 25 Films on IMDB, Most Involve Crime

Tuesday, August 4th, 2015

Glancing through the top 25 films in the the IMDB Top 250 list, it occurred to me that most involved crime as the central subject, and a few more peripherally:

  1. The Shawshank Redemption (1994) (Yes: Central characters are mostly convicted felons in prison.)

  2. The Godfather (1972) (Yes, obviously.)
  3. The Godfather: Part II (1974) (Yes, ditto.)
  4. The Dark Knight (2008) (Yes. What is it Batman dedicated his life to fighting?)
  5. Pulp Fiction (1994) (Yes. Criminals and their associates drive all the action.)
  6. Schindler’s List (1993) (No. Genocide is sort of a separate topic from crime…)
  7. 12 Angry Men (1957) (Yes. Inside jury deliberations in a murder case.)
  8. The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (1966) (Yes. Three criminals drive the plot. Then again, crime tends to be a central feature in almost all Westerns…)
  9. The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003) (No. Lots of killing, but not crime-related per se.)
  10. Fight Club (1999) (Marginal. Protagonist runs a ring of illegal fight clubs, then an international revolutionary organization.))
  11. The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (No. See above.)
  12. Star Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back (1980) (No. Despite the presence of a smuggler as a central character.)
  13. Forrest Gump (1994) (No.)
  14. Inception (2010) (Yes. Central plot involves a criminal gang carrying off a sort of reverse heist.)
  15. One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest (1975) (Marginal. Protagonist is a criminal who gets himself transferred to the loony bin because he thinks it will be easier than doing time in the joint.)
  16. The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers (2002) (No. See above.)
  17. Goodfellas (1990) (Yes. Obviously.)
  18. The Matrix (1999) (No. Though the protagonist starts out as a hacker in trouble with the authorities.)
  19. Star Wars (1977) (No. Though again, an illegal smuggler is a central figure.)
  20. Seven Samurai (1954) (Marginal. The entire plot is driven by a village’s desire to protect themselves from criminal marauders.)
  21. City of God (2002) (Yes. Features the rise of a ruthless crime lord as one of the central plots.)
  22. Se7en (1995) (Yes. Tracking a serial killer.)
  23. The Silence of the Lambs (1991) (Yes. Tracking a serial killer with the assistance of another.)
  24. The Usual Suspects (1995) (Yes. All about a gang of criminals and the machinations of a crime lord.)
  25. It’s a Wonderful Life (1946) (Marginal, given Potter’s opportunistic theft.)

That’s 15 of the top 25 films which involve crime as either a primary or secondary feature.

Surely crime dramas offer plenty of conflict, but so do war movies, but none of them (save the SF/F entries, and Schindler’s List) make the list, nor do any sports films. (Perpetual favorite Casablanca, which would qualify as a war film, comes in at 30, while Saving Private Ryan comes in at 31.)

Anyone care to speculate on why crime dominates the top of the list?

Amazing Book Find: Ballantine Hardback of Chad Oliver’s Shadows in the Sun

Monday, August 3rd, 2015

I’d been having a dry spell searching the local Half Price Books locations. I wasn’t find much terribly interesting in their stacks (a few signed paperbacks here and there), and I either had everything I wanted in their collectable shelves, or they were asking too much money for marginal works.

Saturday’s find made up for many, many years of dry spells, and is hands-down the best find I’ve ever made at Half Price Books:

Oliver, Chad. Shadows in the Sun. Ballantine Books, 1954. First edition hardback (Currey state A, tan cloth lettered in black, no priority), a Near Fine+ copy with slight bumping at head and heel and usual age-darkening to pages), in a Near Fine- dust jacket with a 1 1/2″ closed tear to rear dust jacket flap, slight spotting to top of white rear cover, and a few small rubs. Hall, Hal W., The Work of Chad Oliver: An Annotated Bibliography & Guide, A2. Currey (1979), page 397. Locke, Spectrum of Fantasy, page 169 (an ex-library copy; his description of the dust jacket matches (down to the H-91 code on the front flap), but his description of the book itself as “gray cloth in dark blue lettering” doesn’t match either this copy or the Currey B state (blue cloth lettered in black); Locke’s copy was possibly a library rebind or another binding variant). Barron, Anatomy of Wonder 4, 3-138. Bought for $3 from the Half Price Books in Cedar Park.

Since Google image search brings up no copies of the hardback dust jacket (only the paperback edition, which has a different cover, as they frequently did), I’ve done several scans of it.

Shadows in the Sun BBHB

Shadows Sun Back

Shadows Sun whole dj

Shadows Sun dj flaps

Shadows Sun Book

Chad Oliver was the Grand Old Man of Austin science fiction writers. In addition to writing important works of anthropological SF in the 1950s, he was Dean of the University of Texas’ anthropology school for a while, and was an all-around swell guy. I knew him, but he was really more of a mentor to my mentors (Howard Waldrop, Bruce Sterling, Lewis Shiner, etc.), and had stopped going to the Turkey City Writer’s workshop by the time I started attending. He died in 1993.

Ballantine Books was one of the first mainstream publishers to move into science fiction in the 1950s. They published a prestigious SF line that came out in two formats: A paperback edition for readers, and a hardback edition, scarcely larger than the paperbacks, primarily for the library market. The paperbacks had print runs in the hundreds of thousands, while I’ve heard 600 as a typical print run for the hardbacks. Among the most desirable titles are Fahrenheit 451 (including the asbestos-bound state, which is insanely expensive), Childhood’s End (which I have an Ex-Library of), Hal Clement’s Cycle of Fire, and Green Odyssey, Philip Jose Farmer’s first published book. I’ve seen multiple copies of all those (even the asbestos Fahrenheit 451) offered up for sale or auction, but never Shadows in the Sun (Heritage offered up a jacketless copy a few years back). I don’t think seen a jacketed copy for sale or auction anywhere in the last 20 years.

Hell, as far as I can tell, Texas A&M’s Cushing library, to which Chad donated his books and papers, doesn’t even have a copy of the hardback listed among the donated material.

A conservative estimate of value is probably $2,000…

Library Addition: Signed First Edition of Jack Vance’s The Dragon Masters

Wednesday, July 15th, 2015

Picked up the hardback first edition of one of my favorite Jack Vance works.

Vance, Jack. The Dragon Masters. Dennis Dobson, 1965. First hardback edition, a Fine- copy with usual page darkening, in a Fine, bright, unclipped dust jacket. Signed by Vance. Bought for $120 from L. W. Currey.

Dragon Masters