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The bookcase is not enough


I was very good in January and purchased only three books, but then I went a little mad once February started. So while the TBR actually shrank during the first month of the year, I’m not sure it will do so this month. I was finding it increasingly difficult to track down copies in good condition of the specific paperback editions of DH Lawrence’s books that I’m collecting – which was not made easier by the big secondhand book sellers on eBay putting up photos of different editions to the ones they were actually selling… But then I discovered that during the fifties, sixties and seventies, Heinemann had published a set of, I think, twenty-six “Phoenix Edition” hardbacks of Lawrence’s books. And there just happened to be someone on eBay selling ten of them as a job lot for a reasonable price… And I bought another one too. Now I’ve got eleven of the books, of course, I’ve got no room for them. So it goes.

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There’s a tale and a half to tell about The Adventures of Blake & Mortimer 19: The Time Trap and Amazon Logistic’s inept attempts to deliver it – suffice it to say, I ended up with three copies of the book (one of which is in Denmark). It’s an early story from the series, and not as good as later ones. I’ve been waiting a couple of years for the third volume of The Secret History, so I’m glad it’s finally available. Might have to reread the first two volumes first, though, to remind me of the story… And finally, well, Jodorowsky – what more needs to be said? Jodorowsky’s Screaming Planet is new to me. It’s apparently ten stories Jodorowsky was commissioned to write for Métal Hurlant. I have the first volume of the Megalex series, but the subsequent instalments never appeared in English. I was planning on getting the lot in French, but then Humanoids went and published an English-language omnibus,  Megalex: The Complete Story. Might still the get the French editions one day, though.

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After buying the Phantasia Press editions of The Pride of Chanur and Chanur’s Venture a few months ago after one too many glass of wine, and then discovering that several years ago I’d bought a signed first edition of Chanur’s Legacy, the final book of the quintet (published by DAW but never in a Phantasia Press edition)… Well, I just had to complete the set, didn’t I? So The Kif Strike Back and Chanur’s Homecoming; both of which will, of course, be reviewed on SF Mistressworks some time this year. I have been somewhat lax over the last year or so in keeping up with the SF Masterwork series, chiefly because many of the more recent books have either been reprints from the original series, or are of books I’ve previously read and am not bothered about owning a copy… But but but Heinlein, I hear you cry. Well, I’ve never actually read Double Star, and the last SF Masterwork I bought was the Tiptree collection, so I think it’s allowed. Edge of Dark is an ARC from Pyr, which I reviewed for Interzone. It was a bit meh – as you will no doubt learn should you subscribe to Interzone. Children of the Thunder and Around the World in 80 Days were both charity shop finds.

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I’m a fan of Terrence Tiller’s poetry and have several of his collections, so I was quite chuffed when Unarm, Eros popped up on eBay. It’s also a review copy, and includes the review slip… from 15th January 1948.

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I read Farrell’s The Siege Of Krishnapur over Christmas 2013 and was much impressed, so when I spotted The Hill Station in a charity shop it was an easy decision to buy. I plan to read more Farrell. America Pacifica was, I seem to recall, one of those literary novels that borrows from science fiction and which was talked about a couple of years ago. It was also a charity shop find. A Girl Is a Half-formed Thing was a charity shop find too, and another book I remember being highly praised. Credit Title is by one of the authors from my informal project to read some postwar British fiction by women writers – GB Stern is Gladys Bronwyn Stern – and I suppose I should have guessed from the cover art, but the book cover flap describes Credit Title as a “junior novel”.

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I mentioned the DH Lawrence Phoenix Editions earlier, and here are the eleven volumes I now own, in all their green-jacketed glory. They are: 1 Women in Love, 3 Aaron’s Rod, 5 The White Peacock, 7 The Trespasser, 9 Sons and Lovers, 14 The Short Novels Volume 1, 15 The Short Novels Volume 2, 16 Twilight in Italy, 22 Lady Chatterley’s Lover, 23 Fantasia of the Unconscious & Psychoanalysis and the Unconscious, and 26 The Boy in the Bush. I will certainly be tracking down more…

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I found some illustrations from Beyond Tomorrow online on some blog, and liked them enough to hunt down a copy of the book. It took a while, as it’s quite hard to find. But I managed it. I might well write about it at some point. Postscripts 32/33 Far Voyager is the latest “issue” of the magazine that became an anthology, and I’m in it. In fact, it’s my story which provided the title for the book. The Master Mariner: Running Proud is a favourite novel. A signed first edition popped up on eBay, so I bought it… only to discover I already had a signed first edition. Ah well. At least this new copy is in much better condition. And I guess I now have a signed first edition of The Master Mariner: Running Proud for sale. The Planet on the Table is also signed, but the only edition I already owned was a paperback, so that’s all right. It could do with a new jacket, however.

4 thoughts on “The bookcase is not enough

  1. I think that Brunner, Child of the Thunder, is considered one of his worst…

  2. You are a bit of a sucker for a matched set, aren’t you Ian. I can’t comment because I have been trying to complete a set of Anthony Powell’s “Dance to the Music of Time” books for ages. I have eight of the twelve but the rest are incredibly expensive. Then a set of the Folio collected edition came in to the Oxfam Bookshop where I volunteer and I couldn’t resist them. I am not always a fan of Folio but these were beautifully produced with amazingly apt photographs and are a constant pleasure to me.

    I wonder if I could pick your brains as an expert on women writers. My daughter, who is an actor was home this weekend and has been asked by her agent to look for a book which is filmable as a movie or tv series. The main criterion is that it has an interesting (not necessarily “strong”) female lead who is not a coming of age teenager, or someone who is defined as a wife or mother. I have been searching my bookshelves and find that most unusual non run-of-the-mill action books have already been optioned. Budget limitations probably rule out space or far future options. Until I started looking I was not completely aware of how badly women were portrayed in sf. She would like to do some with fantastic elements but would happily consider anything 20th century as well, possibly steering clear of the fifties because she has done stuff of that period, but would consider anything interesting. We looked at Liz Jensen’s “The Rapture” and Graham Joyce’s “The Silent Land” but both have been optioned already. That doesn’t mean they will be made but obviously removes them from other buyers.

    I wonder if your reading projects have thrown up any possibilities. There is a genuine possibility of the project being done, and Jess is flattered to have been asked to make suggestions, but is struggling to find something out of the ordinary.

    You can reply privately if you want, or maybe some of your readers have ideas.

    Thanks, Allan

    • Yes, I do like my matched sets. I’ve been picking up copies of Dance to the Music of Time to, but the 1960s paperback editions with the white and orange covers. At one point, I was trying to do the same for Edward Upward’s The Spiral Ascent trilogy, but couldn’t find matching copies of books two or three… And then a signed omnibus popped up on eBay for about a tenner. So I bought it 🙂 Have yet to read it, however. I’ve tended to avoid the Folio editions, because if I buy one I’ll start collecting them… even though they do several books I’d like copies of, such as The Raj Quartet, The Alexandria Quartet, or Dune…

      I’m not sure I’d consider myself an “expert on women writers”, but I’ve thought about some possible candidates. There’s L Timmel Duchamp’s Marq’ssan Cycle, which not only features a good female protagonist, but one of the best female villains in science fiction. There’s also Gillian Polack’s Langue[dot]doc 1305, a time travel novel, whose protagonist is a female historian. Other candidates include: We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves, Karen Joy Fowler; Judgment Night, CL Moore; Home, Marilynne Robinson; Queen of the States, Josephine Saxton; We Who Are About To…, Joanna Russ; Minaret, Leila Aboulela; A Tale for the Time Being, Ruth Ozeki… And they’re just books I’ve read in the past year or so. Some of them might already be optioned (the Fowler, for example). There’s also the Mercury 13, who were real. HBO (I think) is making a TV series of The Astronauts’ Wives, but the Mercury 13 would make for a good rival project.

      • Thanks Ian. That has given me some ideas. I’m not sure the budget would run to a big fantasy epic, but the Polack book sounds possible. Let me know if you have any other thoughts.

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