As if to make up for last week's absence of new books, Anne and I did some thorough looting of London's used (and new) bookshops over the weekend. Here are our latest treasures...
Tales of the Undead, edited and illustrated by Elinore Blaisdell. Such a pretty book - classic vampire stories, with a beautiful black and white (etched?) illustration for each one. First edition, from 1947. It is absolutely gorgeous, and I'd love to bring it back to print, exactly as is. (Adds to schemelist) I'm calling this one the find of the week.
Georgette Heyer's These Old Shades. One of the Heyer's I've read (this one was kind of awful), but Anne found one with the foxy 60s Pan cover, so we've replaced our 90s reprint with this copy. That's how we roll. (Skoob)
Der Struwwelpeter. I made the joke in May that every house needs a copy. Well, now we have two. This one is a seriously battered vintage (not quite antique) copy. In German. Completely falling apart, but the artwork is still in great shape, and on thick bulky stock. (Cecil Court)
Ross Thomas' Cast a Yellow Shadow. The first UK edition of Thomas' second book, from 1968. Love Thomas, never read the book, gorgeous cover and, to cap it off, an old Hodder & Stoughton book. We, for various reasons, seem to be collecting a lot of vintage Hodder stuff lately. (Charing Cross)
Cartoon Heroes. A special issue of Heroes, obviously. Some 1986 half-magazine / half-annual style thinger from the US. But it has animation art from GI Joe and He-Man in it, as well as some awesomely cheesy character art. I know she spent half her time as a bird, but the Sorceress didn't wear a lot of clothing, did she? (Skoob)
Locus. My very first issue of Locus! This one is from April 1987. The cover story is about how the 4,200 attendees of Boskone 24 seem to have ruined Sheraton Hotels for everyone, and the 1989 WorldCon is now looking for a new home. THE TENSION. Also, people kvetching about the Nebula ballot and a lot of photos of people with beards hanging out at cons. The times - they have changed!
Anyway, why is this my first issue of the magazine? Waaaay buried in the back, there's a letter to the editor from KW Jeter, in which he proposes that "Victorian fantasies are going to be the next big thing, as long as we can come up with a fitting collective term for Powers, Blaylock and myself. Something based on the appropriate technology of that era...". RAILRAP. No, wait... PADDLEFOLK! Hmm. (Want to know how it ends? Here it is.) Anyway, with Jeter coming to the UK for World Fantasy, I figured it might be fun to see if I could sneak this to a signing... (Abebooks)
Ben Aaronovitch's Broken Homes. The fourth Peter Grant. That makes me feel kind of old. I swear the first just came out. Anyway, this is the Waterstones fancy-pants edition with the special story, also signed by the man himself (Aaronovitch, not Grant). The Covent Garden Waterstones has put up special blue plaques, which is pretty cute. (Waterstones)
Patrick Ness' Monsters of Men. Signed first edition, with that beautiful transparent 'dust jacket' intact. Such a beautiful book. Find of the day? Kind of. We now have 5 signed books from the Chaos Walking series... and none of them are The Ask and the Answer. (3 Knife, 2 Monsters, don't... ask. Sigh.) Anyway, this just raises the stakes a bit - need to find two copies of Ask: a reading copy and a signed first, because, well, because. THAT'S HOW THESE THINGS WORK. (Goldsboro)
Jim Allan's An Introduction to Elvish. ZOMG GUYS. THIS BOOK. A small press production from 1978, this is a dense, proper-textbook-style thing about, well, Elvish. It is such a labor of love, and it collects all sorts of fascinating pieces on "Proto-Eldarin Vowels" and "Elvish Loanwords in Indo-European". On one hand, devotion to this extent is always amazing. On the other, the way the articles are set up... I kind of want to find the authors and have hushed conversations with them about The Lord of the Rings not being, you know, real. For example, from the aforementioned "Elvish Loanwords":
"We cannot doubt that speakers of Quenya, Sindarin, or both, had contact with the speakers of Proto-Indo-European, for, as I will show, the descendants of some Elvish loanwords are found well-distributed in the Indo-European languages..." (143)
I doubt! I doubt quite a bit! So, er, yes. It is all a bit funny, but also. I dunno - a joke too far? At what point did people stop analysing the development of Elvish as something Tolkien made up - as if that wasn't impressive enough? Are there fans right now drawing connections between Dothraki and Middle English, trying to figure out exactly when our horselord forefathers last sailed the great salt sea? (There are, aren't there?) Anyway, and not to knock fan culture (because, you know, the ninja turtles ARE real, dammit) this book is awesome, but also the tiniest bit disturbing. (Charing Cross)
Stephen Bury's The Cobweb. Hey, Stephen Bury is Neal Stephenson (plus a friend)! A first edition. Pretty sure this isn't worth anything (checks Abebooks - nope). But still, a nice little oddity and I felt clever for spotting it. (Skoob)
Wade Miller's Deadly Weapon. Kudos to Hard Case Crime for putting Wade Miller on my rader! This is Miller's (actually it is a pseudonym for two authors working in tandem) first book. Apparently it isn't very good. But, whatever, this copy isn't in very good condition either. That balances out, right? Someone's carefully stored a part of the dust jacket inside the book since 1947, which I appreciate.
Edgar Rice Burroughs' The Monster Men. A cool little book from Canaveral Press, 1962. The press has an informative Wikipedia page - it looks like a small press, started at a bookshop, edited by Richard Lupoff with a penchant for Burroughs. I've never encountered them before, but it looks like their titles are rare, but not too expensive - and there are a lot of them, but not an overwhelming amount. Basically exactly the sort of thing that a collector would find really, really compelling. Uh-oh. Honestly, the book is... fine. To be totally nerdy, there's some cool 1960s typography with the page numbers and chapter headings, but the illustration is a bit... eh... and I'm not so big into Burroughs. Still, if I stumble on another few, I can see it becoming a thing. (Charing Cross)
And... a few more proofs: Helene Wecker's The Golem and the Djinni, George Pelecanos' The Cut, Stanley Ellin's Star Light, Star Bright and Wu Ming-Yi's The Man with the Compound Eyes. Been interested in all of these, and now I have special, floppy, collectible-but-not-valuable editions. Wooo!
Anne also increased her collection of vintage Hodderabilia (Stoughtatalia?) with a "small" stack of books from the 1920s through to the 1950s. Apparently (this was new to me) Hodder had the "yellow" thing going on as well - in fact, their signature "Yellow Jackets" came out in the 1920s, and were emulated by the ever-cunning Victor Gollancz from the 1930s. Well played, Vic.