Here’s the last great hurrah on my book buying.
Once a year, or thereabouts, Subterranean Press has what they term a grab bag sale. Here’s what the initial mention in the e-newsletter (you have to be signed up to find out about it) had to say:“Grab bags represent the easiest, quickest, and least expensive way to grow your SubPress collection, or just pick up some great reading at an unbelievable price. This time around, we’re offering fourteen books, most bags include one book with a retail value of at least $125 as well as other signed limited books, trade hardcovers, and possibly a trade paperback or two. The bags weigh over 20 pounds apiece. The bags will have a value of around $700. We’re only charging $150 for them, which means you save nearly 80% off the cover price. Everything is assembled and ready to ship, so get your order in early. We have a finite number available, and if the past is any indication, they’re sure to go quickly. Sorry, but we’re not able to accept requests for specific titles in the bags. Please Note: If you order more than one grab bag, you will receive the same, or similar, contents. This offer expires March 16, 2012, or when supplies are exhausted. Most books in the bag are in fine condition. Some are distributor returns, and bear the usual defects.”
So I decided to go for it. I’ve not done it before, but I already have several books by this publisher so though it worth whatever risk was involved. The offer sold out in two days! The box came on Tuesday, March 20th. Ready? Here’s what I got.
listing notes: (1) all are hardcover unless noted (2) s&n indicates signed
and numbered (3) all books are new.
The Angel’s Game by Carlos Ruiz Zafon [2008 book, this s&n Sub press edition 2011] – fiction with fanciful elements. Though it’s not specifically either a prequel or sequel to Zafon’s The Shadow of the Wind, it is set in the same place and setting as that book, and revisits some of the characters. I really liked Shadow and have been meaning to re-read it, maybe I’ll do that before I read this.
The Fly-By-Nights by Brian Lumley  – post apocalyptic vampire horror – this genre or this combination of genres, isn’t my cup of tea. I probably won’t be keeping it.
The Neutronium Alchemist by Peter F. Hamilton [original publication 1997, this s&n Sub press edition 2010] – science fiction – The Night’s Dawn trilogy, book 2 – I have not read the first book, and quite frankly this mammoth 934 page hardcover is intimidating.
The Palace at Midnight (The Collected Stories of Robert Silverberg, Volume Five: 1980-1982) by Robert Silverberg  – SF-F – I’ll bet this is a darned nice set, but having only one volume is a bit nagging, like having a missing tooth, or in this case six of them as there are at least that many other volumes. Only volumes 5 and 6 are still in print. Good contents, though:
- Our Lady of the Sauropods
- Waiting for the Earthquake
- The Regulars
- The Far Side of the Bell-Shaped Curve
- A Thousand Paces Along the Via Dolorosa
- How They Pass the Time in Pelpel
- The Palace at Midnight
- The Man Who Floated in Time
- The Pope of the Chimps
- Thesme and the Ghayrog
- At the Conglomeroid Cocktail Party
- The Trouble with Sempoanga
- Jennifer’s Lover
- Not Our Brother
- Gate of Horn, Gate of Ivory
- Dancers in the Time-Flux
- Needle in a Timestack
- Amanda and the Alien
- Snake and Ocean, Ocean and Snake
- The Changeling
Speculative Horizons edited by Patrick St-Denis  – SF-F short story collection, stories original to this collection – Five stories, two by authors I recognize, in a nice, slim volume.
Subterranean Issue #3 [2006 hardbound magazine, signed by all the authors who have stories in it] – I didn’t even know hardbound copies existed, apparently they are for collectors, thus the signatures. It’s nice, but after I read it I doubt I’ll keep it.
Summer Morning, Summer Night by Ray Bradbury [2008 trade paper edition] – short story collection, fiction with fantasy elements – I’ve read Bradbury’s Dandelion Wine easily half a dozen times. I have his complete short stories and have read that over the years, so I’m pretty sure I’ve read what’s here, but glancing at the beginning of a couple of the stories they don’t seem familiar, so I’ll be glad to get a dose of Bradbury in this nice trade edition.
The Five by Robert McCammon  – mystery / crime – Against a rock ‘n roll background, a novel of music, damaged psyches, crime, human nature. I’m not sure what to make of this, but both of us are interested in reading it.
The Inheritance by Robin Hobb / Megan Lindholm [2011, s&n] – short story collection – Hobb and Lindholm are both pseudonyms of Margaret Lindholm. Here are seven stories by Lindholm, three by Robb.
The Janus Tree and other stories by Glen Hirshberg [2011, s&n] – short story collection, weird-creepy-horror – Again, this isn’t a genre I’m much interested in, so I’ll probably give away this nice limited edition signed, numbered edition.
The Sky That Wraps by Jay Lake [2010, s&n] – short story and novelette collection – Lake’s collected short fiction. I’ve read and liked a couple of his fantasy novels, so this should be interesting.
Zodiac by Neal Stephenson [2008, this Sub Press s&n limited, slipcased edition 2010] – “Eco-thriller” – This may be the nicest book in the box in that it’s slipcased, signed and numbered. Unfortunately, I read this in paperback back in 1988 when it came out, and my rating for it then was pretty so-so. Too bad.
So there it is. In the bunch there are five books I won’t keep, three or four more that I’ll read and then pass along. Still, at retail for the keepers in these editions, I got about double my money, and I got several things that I didn’t know existed but might have been interested in. Would I do it again, next year? Maybe, depending on what it costs and if I’m buying hardcover books then.