A couple of times while reading books to review on SF Mistressworks, I’ve wondered why a book is no longer in print, especially given that many inferior ones still are. A recent such review – it will appear tomorrow – had me thinking about which out-of-print books I’d like to see available once again, books that only saw one or two editions a decade or more ago. It proved a harder list – even limited to five – than I expected. For one thing, the SF Gateway has been doing an admirable job in bringing a number of books back into “print” as ebooks; some of my favourite sf novels have appeared over the last few years in the SF Masterworks series; and many authors have made their back list available as print-on-demand books or on Kindle, such as Marta Randall or Gwyneth Jones. But there are still some books that I think should be re-introduced to a twenty-first century audience:
The Wall Around Eden, Joan Sloczewski (1989). I reviewed this for SF Mistressworks (see here) and thought the book a masterclass in science fiction writing. The last edition in print was from The Women’s Press in 1991. It really deserves to be made available once more.
The Complete Short Stories of Joanna Russ, Joanna Russ. This is a cheat – there’s no such book. But if assorted male authors have had their collected short fiction published, then why not Russ? Her last collection was in 1988, and by my count she had almost seventy pieces of short fiction published. It’s long past time for a collected works.
Coelestis, Paul Park (1993). Okay, so it’s one of my favourite sf novels and I also happen to think it’s one of the best sf novels ever written… But it saw only a single hardback and paperback release in the UK and US and has been out of print ever since.
The Steerswoman’s Road, Rosemary Kirstein (2003). This was an omnibus of two earlier novels, published in 1989 and 1992 (neither of which were then reprinted), but the omnibus appeared only in a single edition and has never been reprinted since. It should be – the books are excellent. See my reviews on SF Mistressworks here and here.
The Grail of Hearts, Susan Shwartz (1992). This is a superior fantasy which has apparently never been reprinted since its paperback edition in 1993.
Anyone else have any genre books they’d like to see back in print?
ETA: By my count Russ had 56 stories published, plus six Alyx stories and two set in the Cthulhu mythos. All but fourteen have been collected.
March 26, 2014 at 12:18 pm
The fact that John M Ford’s work is nearly entirely out of print is a crime and a shame. THE DRAGON WAITING, although reprinted by SF Masterworks, is out of print again. It should not be.
March 26, 2014 at 12:23 pm
Good call. I have his collection, Heat of Fusion and Other Stories, as well as The Dragon Waiting – and I think the latter may be the only book he had published in the UK.
August 9, 2014 at 5:33 am
It’s not going to happen quickly or easily. The literary rights belong to Ford’s parents, who loathed SF/fantasy and didn’t much like him, and they will not allow his books to be reprinted. Just about the only things of his that ARE still available are his Star Trek tie-ins, which were work for hire and and thus are owned by Paramount.
March 26, 2014 at 2:01 pm
I’d love to see the Imaro books from Charles Saunders reprinted. Night Shade did it and Imaro 2 a number of years back (with little publicity that I saw), but then they promptly disappeared. Saunders had to self publish the third book to get it back out there.
That may not be quite the same thing, but I’d love to see those books get more attention.
March 26, 2014 at 5:50 pm
Joanna Russ’ We Who Are About To… (1977)
Michael Bishop’s original version (he will never consent to this) of A Funeral for the Eyes of Fire (1975)
Barry N. Malzberg’s Beyond Apollo (1972) and Revelations (1973)
Katherine MacLean’s Missing Man (1975)
March 27, 2014 at 9:27 am
Most of Malzberg’s oeurvre has been made available as ebooks by the SF Gateway. But both Russ and MacLean are OOP.
March 27, 2014 at 10:29 am
Yes, but those eBooks are ONLY available in the UK so I’m not counting them….
March 27, 2014 at 10:34 am
True 🙂 But many genre books were never even published in the UK, which means over here we have to track down secondhand US copies…
March 27, 2014 at 10:40 am
I know, but the idea that someone has cheap access to almost ALL of Malzberg frustrates to no end….
March 27, 2014 at 10:41 am
Well, I preface my comment, “books I wish were in print in the US.” hehe
March 27, 2014 at 12:30 am
I’d like to see Rosel George Brown reprinted. The two novels are both only 150 pp or so, and the few short stories would make a nice omnibus.
Less obscure but still as far as I am aware out of print is Michaela Roessner’s Vanishing Point. She did tell me recently she has tentative ebook plans though.
And truly shocking is the current absence of most of Lisa Goldstein’s work.
March 27, 2014 at 2:39 am
I remember Vanishing Point by Roessner – I have it in paperback, and I’d quite like to read an ebook edition if/when it comes out and compare it to my memories. I note with interest Simon Ings’ 90s sf is all being reissued in both paper and e-format – and I’d also like to see how they read on a revisit once they become available again.
March 27, 2014 at 9:28 am
I still have the original paperbacks by Ings from the early 1990s.
March 27, 2014 at 12:43 pm
Karl Edward Wagner’s Kane novels and short stories. I’m just astonished his books are out of print and have been for such a long time. He’s every bit the master sword and sorcery tale spinner as Moorcock or Howard.