Lawrence Person’s Library: Reference Books (Part 2: Oversized Books)

And here’s the second part of my series on my reference library. The last installment dealt with the books I reach for most often. The reference works listed in this post share only size, being too big for most of my other shelves, which is why they’re filed here. Some of these (the Nevins, the first two Bleilers) get a lot of use, while others almost never get taken down (things that have been superseded by both the Internet and the two Clute encyclopedias).

(Click to embiggen.)

I’m not going to do a full run-down of publication dates, etc. for everything, but here’s a general overview of what’s here:

  • Harris-Fain, Darren, editor. British Fantasy and Science-Fiction Writers before World War I (Gale Dictionary of Literary Biography Volume 178). Eclectic selection, but a very solid work for the writers (about half the volume) who aren’t well-covered in other references.
  • Bleiler, Everett F. Science Fiction: The Early Years and Science Fiction: The Gernsback Years. Kent State University Press, 1990/1998. Absolutely essential for anyone with an interest in the early years of the field.
  • Bleiler, Everett F. Science Fiction Writers. First and second editions. Superseded by the two Clute Encyclopedias.
  • Smith, Curtis S., et. al. (editor) Twentieth Century Science Fiction Writers. Ditto.
  • Vinson, James and D.L. Kirkpatrick, editors. Twentieth Century Western Writers. It was cheap. Like, $2 at a library sale cheap…
  • Tuck, Doanld H. The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction and Fantasy. Two volumes. Another book set superseded by the two Clute Encyclopedias.
  • Nevins, Jess. The Encyclopedia of Fantastic Victoriana. MonkeyBrain Books, 2005. Extremely useful work, but not quite worth the $2,000 some people are asking for online…
  • Bell, Joseph. Les Bibliotheques Howard Phillips Lovecraft (Volumes 1-8). Soft Books, 1984-1987. Weird, eight volume, stapled paper-wrappers collection of various H. P. Lovecraft-related bibliographic tidbits. Huge overlap with the Joshi bibliography and the catalog of the Grill-Berkin collection (both of which I have), but some odd and interesting information for the Lovecraft fanatic (of which there are many). I will probably do a separate post on my collection of Lovecraft reference works sometime in the indeterminate future…
  • Sidney-Fryer, Donald. Emperor of Dreams: A Clark Ashton Smith Bibliography. Donald M. Grant, 1979. If this isn’t the most irritatingly organized single-author bibliography of all time, it’s not for want of trying…
  • Grant, Donald M. Talbot Mundy: Messenger of Destiny. Donald M. Grant, 1983. Just picked this up, so it’s still in the shrinkwrap…
  • Day, Bradford M. Materials Toward a Bibliography of the Works of Talbot Mundy. Science-Fiction & Fantasy Publications, 1955. My copy was beat to hell when I got it, and it was regarded as not entirely accurate even when it was produced. A historical curiosity only.
  • Pringle, David. St. James Guide to Horror, Ghost and Gothic Writers. St. James Press, 1998. A lot less superseded than the SF & Fantasy works, but unless it’s something quite modern, I’ll generally reach for Bleiler’s The Guide to Supernatural Fiction instead.
  • Hall, Hal. Science Fiction Book Review Index, 1974-1979. Gale, 1981. If you need it (and you know who you are), you need it.
  • Spignesi,Stephen J. Shape Under the Sheet: The Complete Stephen King Encyclopedia. Popular Culture Ink., 1991. A mixture of the really useful and the completely worthless.
  • Wiater, Stanley, Christopher Golden and Hank Wagner. The Stephen King Universe: A Guide to the Worlds of Stephen King. Cemetery Dance, 2001. Signed, slipcased edition. I don’t have too many King reference works, but I’ve got these two. (Plus Hank use to do a lot of reviews for me back in the Nova Express days.)
  • Hawk, Pat. Hawk’s Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Series & Sequels. Hawk’s Enterprises, 2001. Not perfect, but nothing else really covers so much information for this particular area.
  • Stableford, Brian. The Dictionary of Science Fiction Places. Simon & Schuster, 1999. A solid work, but I almost never find myself consulting it.
  • Turner, George R. (Bruce Gillespie, editor) SF Commentary 76: The Unrelenting Gaze: George Turner Non-Fiction: A Selection. A hefty selection of commentary, reviews, etc. from the dean of Australian SF writers. The full text is available online.
  • Wright, H. Stephen. Philip K. Dick: A Secondary Bibliography, 1960-1983. Just what it says. Bound pages. Not a particularly common work. Like Lovecraft, I plan on doing a future post on my Philip K. Dick reference works.
  • Shoaf, Eric C. Collecting William S. Burroughs in Print: A Checklist. Ratishna Books, 2000. Bought this off eBay back around 2001, and was initially disappointed that it was just bound pages, but this actually a really solid bibliography. For example, there’s an in-depth history of the Grove Press publication of Naked Lunch.
  • Bradbury, Ray. Futuria Fantasia. Graham, 2007. Hardback reproduction of four issues of an early fanzine Bradbury published. I’m guessing the green ink is designed to matched the original look of the fanzine, but man, it’s really hard on the eyes…
  • Collins, Paul, editor. The MUP Encyclopaedia of Australian Science Fiction & Fantasy. Melbourne University Publishing, 1998. Felt compelled to pick this up after I published a very scathing John Clute review of it in Nova Express.
  • Science Fiction Bibliography, Volume 1, Number 1 (and only). Science Fiction Syndicate, 1935. A curiosity, being the first published science fiction bibliography on record (and published here in Austin, no less). Mainly reviews fanzine and magazines you’ve never heard of, condemning some as complete worthless. No author listed, but it was apparently a D. R. Welch, the first used SF book dealer in Austin. Picked up for $35 back when Currey was asking $100 for it. Mainly useful as something to pull out for guests and go “Look! The first published SF bibliography!” and watch them nod indulgently.
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