Sunday, July 9, 2017

Collectioning (2017 Edition), Part 2: The Books Must Flow

This two-part post (part one of which can be found here) began with a spate of reacquisitions of paperbacks I'd once owned; pure nostlagia-bait mid-life-crisis stuff.  But, as is often the case, I couldn't make myself stop there, and some other stuff ended up getting collectioned in the process.
As such, this post must needs now transition into a relatively simple cataloguing of Shit I Just Bought.  Hopefully some of that will still be of interest!  I think there's some cool stuff here, so maybe you will, too.

Before we get to that, I wanted to share a few photos from my apartment.  I mentioned last time that I'd decided to devote an entire bookcase to my mass-market King paperbacks.  I moved stuff around so as to make space for it, and here is the result:

Ahhh, who needs those lightswitches anyways?  I can still kinda reach 'em.

I really ought to have that Michael Whelan Gunslinger print in a frame, shouldn't I?  I keep saying I'm going to do that.


It's one of my favorite pieces of King art, and I bought the print at Dragon*Con over a decade ago.  Or did I opt not to buy it there and end up ordering a copy from Whelan's website?  Might be the latter.  I think probably so.

Anyways, it's been hanging on one spot in my apartment ever since, and I took it down to move it here so as to give this little section a theme.  As I moved it, I noticed something I'd failed to ever notice before, and it gave me a thrill:


And I don't have it in a frame!  Saints preserve us.  Anyways, let's move on to the books.
We'll continue to proceed in chronological order by edition, to the extent that is possible, beginning with:

'salem's Lot (August 1976, Signet)

This is more or less the original paperback of 'salem's Lot, which is pretty easy to find copies of.

The scan doesn't show the cover off particularly well; the hair and facial features of the vampire are raised (you can see the indentations on the inside front cover), and catch the light in an interesting way; so while it looks in photos like a nearly-blank black image, it's actually quite a bit cooler than that, especially with that single drop of blood added in.

This copy is from the 4th printing, and if I recall correctly, the 1st printing is pricey due to relative scarcity: it's the same image, but without either the title of the novel or King's name.  (I can't immediately find any evidence of this via Google, so in case it's some sort of weird fever-dream I had and am now trying to pass off as fact, I apologize.)  I'd love to have one of those, but this copy scratches my itch just fine for now.

'salem's Lot (Signet, 18th printing, circa November 1979)

Man, I love that cover!
I'm a sucker for the promotional art for that miniseries.  I'm a sucker for the miniseries in general; the older I get, the more I realize it's one of my favorite King adaptations.  Maybe not one of the best, in that faux-objective stance I (like many amateur critics) love to trot out; but one of my favorites, for sure.

This tie-in edition comes, as the cover states, with eight pages of photos.  Let's have a look, and find out if our blood does indeed get chilled!  I love this sort of thing, and feel certain you do, too.

This is in the middle of the book, guys.  Spoilers everywhere, and not even accurate-to-the-novel ones!  I love it.  Not sure it chilled my blood, but it would have chilled the blood of 1990 Bryant, for sure.

The Shining (Signet, 16th printing, circa May 1980)

I'd rather those spots weren't there, but shit, it's a thirty-seven-year-old paperback!

Fuck you, Scott.


This one isn't super-duper easy to find, but I located a relatively cheap one inside a group of King paperbacks an eBay seller was unloading.  I bought it for this for about the amount I'd have been willing to pay for The Shining on its own, and got about a dozen others as icing on the cake.  A few were editions I already had, but I looked at them as freebies, and freebies are okay by me. 
Let's have a look at the photos from the middle of the book:

These are great; an exemplary selection!  If you had given this to me at any point before 1990, I'd have probably been too scared by those photos to even pick the book up again.  If I concentrate, I can kind of mentally project myself back into an approximation of those feelings for a second or two.  I snap right back out of it, but with a sort of pleasant fear-colored haze drifting around in my noggin; and this process only makes me love this edition of the novel more.

Cujo (Signet, 6th printing, circa 1983)

This book is in really good shape; I don't think it had ever been read.  If it had -- meaning if I felt like I could justify bending the spine far enough to scan the pages -- I'd show you the middle-of-the-book section of photos, like I did with 'salem's Lot and the Shining. Alas, it isn't to be.
I don't think most modern tie-in editions contain the middle-of-the-book photos that were once de rigeur in the paperback game; and there's no real need for them these days, I guess.  But if you're a reader of my age, maybe it's hard not to feel a twinge of affection for those shitty black-and-white photos.

So welcome to the collection, movie-tie-in edition Cujo!  Along similar lines:

The Dead Zone (Signet, 15th/17th printings, circa 1983)

15th printing

17th printing

I like both of these covers a lot; not only do they scratch my Stephen King itch, they also scratch my itch for movie-tie-in paperbacks.

Of the two, I think I prefer the Christopher Walken.  Such a haunted look; the black and white really sells that, and makes this edition a good companion with the original, stripped-down paperback version.

Carrie (Signet, 46th printing, circa late 1983) 

The actual art on this cover -- Carrie with a Janus-style double face -- comes from the 1975 paperback.  This specific printing is from circa late 1983; its other-books-by-King ad gives you the opportunity to buy Christine in paperback, so it can't be from any earlier.

I bought this simply because I love this style of Signet paperbacks so much.  It's got some nostalgic kick to it, though; it wasn't an edition I owned, but it was an edition that I saw quite frequently, in The Book Rack and other places (including, if I'm not mistaken, my school's library).  There are also editions of 'salem's Lot, The Shining, and The Stand (and probably Night Shift as well, although I'm not sure about that) in this design.  I'd like to have those, but not quite enough to spend actual money on them.


Night Shift (Signet, Children of the Corn tie-in edition, circa March 1984)

Children of the Corn came out in March of 1984, and it had one of the great horror-movie posters of all time.  It had little else going for it, but let's give it its due in that regard.
For the record, yes: I did in fact buy this just because I like the cover.

One like me born every minute...!

Cujo (Signet, 17th printing, circa September 1986)

I bought this one under the assumption it was an alternative movie-tie-in edition from 1983, but that appears to not actually be the case.  Given the cross-promotion for It, I think it's a 1986 edition.

That sure does look like the font from the movie poster on the title, though.

Either way, I like this cover a lot, so I'm glad I have it.

Bare Bones: Conversations on Terror with Stephen King (1988, hardback, McGraw-Hill)

As with The Art of Darkness, I used this frenzy of acquisition to obtain my first hardback copy of Underwood/Miller's Bare Bones.

If you aren't familiar with Bare Bones, let me tell you something: you should be.  If you are the type of Stephen King fan who is reading a blog like this one, Bare Bones will be right up your alley.  It is a terrific collection of interviews King gave to newspapers, magazines, and the like over the first decade or so of his career.  I suppose one could complain about this being an exploitative book for Underwood and Miller to have released, but if so, I wish they'd continued to exploit King in similar fashion once or twice a decade ever since.  King's interviews are often exciting reading, and putting them between a series of book covers is doing the world a good service.

They released a sequel -- Feast of Fear -- a few years later.  Spoiler alert: it appears later in this post.  And there's also a sort of forerunner in Fear Itself: The Horror Fiction of Stephen King, an anthology of essays about King's work by folks like Peter Straub and Fritz Leiber.  Well worth having; but Bare Bones is essential.

Needful Things (July 1992, Signet)

I experienced some buyer's remorse over this one.  For one thing, it's basically the same art -- the lovely, lovely art -- from the hardback, so was there an actual need (pardon the pun) for me to get the paperback?  No.  For another thing, I never had the paperback, so I can't even classify this as a recapturing-nostalgia acquisition.  Double needless, then.

Fact is, I just bought this one because I felt like doing it.  I guess I'm a sucker for that "#1 NATIONAL BESTSELLER" design Signet was still using.

Upon receiving it, though, I found there was a happy reason for me to have gotten it, after all: it allowed me to take good scans of the interior artwork by Bill Russell, most of which I'd been unable to properly capture from the hardback because I didn't want to bend the spine far enough to do so.

This paperback's spine has already been subjected to coma-level amounts of trauma, though, so what's a little more?

The results:

I wish this didn't have the page crease, but I can live with it.

Not perfect, but they'll do.

Feast of Fear: Conversations with Stephen King (1992, hardback, Carroll & Graf)

Another paperback-to-hardback upgrade.

Not much to say here, except that the copyright page lists this as a 1989 release, but this edition as having been released in 1992.  The trade paperback I already had was a 1993 release.  So I wonder: what's up with the 1989 date?  Was there a limited edition or something?

I don't care quite enough to research that (for now), but I remain thrilled to have this excellent book in hardback.

Gerald's Game (July 1993, Signet) 

I kind of dig this version of the Gerald's Game cover art, possibly because it makes it look a wee bit like a romance novel.  Haha!  Suckers!

As with a few others on this list, I obtained this one not so much on purpose as in a lot with a bunch of others.  But, as with Needful Things, it enabled me to get a decent scan of the Bill Russell frontispiece:

What's up with that big blank spot in the middle of the right-hand page?  That's a big chunk of Bill Russell you could have left in, Signet.

Desperation and The Regulators (August and September 1997, Signet)

Why they weren't published on the same day like the hardback(s) is a mystery to me.  But evidently, they weren't.

Anyways, I bought these because of the stepbacks, which are kind of cool:

Both are ruined by the placement of the barcode.  Why would you wreck a great piece of art like that?

Said art is by John Jude Palencar, by the way, not that you'd know it from owning either of these books.

Here's an unmarred copy I found via Google:


The Long Walk (April 1999, Signet) 

I bought this simply because I wanted to own a standalone edition of The Long Walk.  I only had it in The Bachman Books previously.

This edition (the 17th printing) came with an unexpected bonus: "The Importance of Being Bachman," which was the introduction to a 1996 edition of The Bachman Books (the 1985 edition of which had included an entirely different introductory essay, "Why I Was Bachman").  I had a copy of that introduction that I found online someplace, but not in a book.  So hey, two birds with one stone!


Upon examination, I found that the essay as presented in this edition of The Long Walk contains no references whatsoever to Rage.  No surprise there -- by 1999, King had withdrawn that first Bachman book from print -- but I thought I remembered "The Importance of Being Bachman" mentioning Rage quite a bit.  I looked up the Word document I archived it in, and discovered that, sure enough, this paperback version of "The Importance of Being Bachman" is an edited (and slightly revised) version of the 1996 original...

...assuming, of course, that that Word document -- which came from I-know-not-where (I think I found it on a messageboard as a post and then transposed it for myself into a Word document, but cannot remember) -- is accurately transcribed.

This is the kind of shit that'll drive a collector nuts.  There was no way to know other than to obtain a copy of that 1996 edition of the omnibus and compare them, and so I bought this:

It's a book-club hardback from Signet.  Boy, what an awful cover.  These things are subjective, of course, but this one is lousy so far as my opinions are concerned.  That demon-skull image bears no relation to anything in any of the four represented novels, and while it isn't a requirement that it do so, I think it's preferable.  Don't you?

Anyways, the point of buying it was to use it to check the version I had archived and find out if what I had was 100% the real deal.  As it turns out, it wasn't quite 100%; all the words were there, but whoever put it online had neglected -- or had been unable -- to include King's italicizations.  Now, that sort of thing either is or isn't a big deal to you.  It's a big deal to me, and I'll tell you why: because it's a big deal to King, who otherwise wouldn't have used them.  These things are a clue as to authorial intent, and give readers significant information about the voice in which the words should be read.

In other words, it's essential for them to be accurately represented.  So sayeth this blogger, at least.  This blogger is so hardcore on that subject that he actually bought the trade paperback of this edition of The Bachman Books as well, just so that he'd stand a better chance at having landed the introduction.

So ... yeah.  Both copies arrived safe and sound, and I guess I'm kind of happy to have them, even though the trade paperback's cover is no more appealing than the book-club-edition hardback's.

If you're counting, that's three copies of The Bachman Books purchased by yours truly in the course of this farrago.  Hopefully this does not put me on a watchlist of any sort.
Carrie / 'salem's Lot / The Shining / Pet Sematary (2000-2002, Pocket Books trade editions)

In 2000 (Carrie and 'salem's Lot) and 2002 (The Shining and Pet Sematary), Pocket Books issued these four trade paperbacks, which contained new introductions by King.
I found out about them somehow or other -- probably from Lilja's Library, which was then and is now my go-to source for King news -- and bought Carrie when it came out, only to discover that I'd read the introduction someplace else.  This wasn't new at all!
That's how I remembered it, at least.  Recent exploration (prompted by a conversation I had via email with Peter Hansen) has shown me that perhaps this is entirely untrue.  That being the case, I figured I'd better get the others.  I already had The Shining in this edition (I bought it so as to have a copy for note-taking), but did not have the other two.  Well, that has now been rectified.

At some point, I'd like to sit down with all four introductions and do some deep research to figure out why I thought the Carrie into was recycled.  Specifically, I thought it had been excerpted from On Writing.  Where did that idea come from?  There's bound to be an answer.
We won't find it tonight, though; that'll be a topic for some other post.
As for these editions, I kinda dig 'em.  The art by Lisa Litwack pops, for the most part (I'm not wild about either The Shining or Pet Sematary).  Weirdly, Pocket seems to have issued only these four.  Why these and no others?  All four were originally published in hardback by Doubleday, so maybe that had something to do with it; but so were Night Shift and The Stand, so you'd think those would have been issued in this line as well.
It's a mystery!

The Mist  (October 2007, Signet)

While I was fishing around for some of these editions we've discussed, I also found this movie-tie-in edition of The Mist

I've got "The Mist," of course; in both Skeleton Crew and in Dark Forces (the anthology in which it made its original appearance).  But I kind of dig being able to see it on a shelf with its own title on the spine.  Lame?  Sure.  True?  You bet.

The novella runs a mere 113 pages in the Skeleton Crew hardback, and this paperback runs for 230 pages, which means that its font and layout have obviously been manipulated so as to make it seem long enough to justify $6.99. That's a bit of a feat.  But I don't mind, because it gave me the ability to own a copy of the story in book form, AND with that great Drew Struzan art.
Speaking of movie-tie-in editions...
assorted movie-tie-in editions, 1990-2001 
Here's a slew of movie-tie-in editions I picked up, just for the hell of it.  Most of these are kinda lame, which is why I lumped them all together here, rather than give each its own section.  

I kinda dig this one.

What store is that price tag from?  I recognize it, but cannot place it.

Lame, but I'm strangely thrilled to have this, and don't know why.

Anyways, yeah, I've got those now.  Yay me!

H.P. Lovecraft: Against the World, Against Life by Michel Houellebecq (2008, Gollancz)

So here's the deal with this one: I'd previously purchased a different edition, the 2005 American trade paperback from Believer.  But when I got my copy, I found that there was some damage (from water, or perhaps from the glue melting in one spot) to the spine that had caused a quarter-sized chunk of the title to wear away.  I decided I needed a better copy, and so this is that copy.

It's the British trade from Gollancz, for those of you who worry about such things.

The King factor here, obviously, is the introduction, titled "Lovecraft's Pillow."  It's a winner, and one that I hope eventually to cover in its own post.

As for the rest of the book, it's pretty great.  I know nothing about Houellebecq (pronounced WELL-beck, or perhaps well-BECK), but he strikes me as being a writer whose fiction would be worth checking out.

Roadwork (May 2016, Pocket Books)

At no point in this novel does Barton Dawes go to a to a small western town and shoot it up.  I'm just sayin'.

Boy, that cover is awful.

We're already right next door to things-were-better-in-my-day-god-damn-it territory, so why not own it?  Paperback cover art WAS better back in the day; probably hardback cover art, too, but certainly paperbacks.  And movie posters.  And album covers.  And probably a lot of other things, too, such as Republicans.

Anyways, no need to dwell on this shitty edition of Roadwork, which is made even worse by virtue of being the new type of mass-market paperback the industry changed over to not long ago.  You know what I mean, right?  The taller type?  I don't get the reason for that, but whatever.

Bottom line is, I bought this just so I had a solo copy of Roadwork.  Great novel.  As I've mentioned elsewhere, it befuddled me upon my initial reading of it.  This is not surprising, given that I had no experience with dead children, eminent domain, firearm purchases, or picking up road floozies.

Still don't, either.  To be fair, I don't drive around looking for road floozies as often as I should; I bet they're out there, just waiting on somebody to pick 'em up and get 'em to where they need to get.

Gwendy's Button Box (The Nocturnal Reader's Box exclusive edition, June 2017)

I had never heard of The Nocturnal Reader's Box until it was announced that their June 2017 box would be called "All Hail the King" and would include a copy of Gwendy's Button Box with an exclusive cover:

It's one of those Loot Crate style monthly boxes that contains stuff, and while I'd never gotten one of these things prior to this one, they seem like a cool idea.  No way I could pass up a King-themed one, especially if it contained an exclusive cover and was a mere $35.

It also contained:

That's a $20 book (one which I did not already have [my Straub collection is sadly incomplete]), so between it and Gwendy's, I'd already more than gotten my thirty-five-bucks' worth.

Also contained within:
a "silver dollar," inside a plastic case; which makes a lot of sense if you've read the novella.

a Pennywise window decal

a bookmark featuring King and Molly, The Thing Of Evil

a Carrie sticker with disturbing eyes

a Constant Reader pin

a delightful Jordy Verrill patch

an art print by Dan Charnley based on The Long Walk

and a Derry, Maine magnet.

Plus a few other things less easily scanned and not quite of sufficient interest to me to take photos of (those being a Dark Tower-inspired bandana and an exclusive tea called Firestarter from the Jasmine Pearl Tea Co.).

So, yeah, this box was pretty fucking righteous.  For $35, it's a flippin' STEAL.

I'm strongly tempted to become a monthly subscriber; the only thing holding me back is that I know I'd never actually read most of the books.  So I'd basically be supporting them just for the sake of supporting them.  I'm not opposed, but I'm also not at a point in life where I can justify patronage of that sort; I ain't got THAT many $35s to sling around.
But I will definitely be keeping my eye out for boxes from them I feel like I can't live without.  And if you're more of a dedicated reader (and/or more inclined toward patronage), you should give these folks a look.

A Little Silver Book of Sharp Shiny Slivers by Joe Hill (Borderland Press, June 2017)

Joe Hill collecting IS Stephen King collecting, so far as I'm concerned.  I'd actually intended to run down hardbacks of both Heart-Shaped Box and Horns during this spate of acquisitions, but opted not to.

For now.

Anyways, A Little Silver Book of Sharp Shiny Slivers is a lovely little book from Borderlands Press that collected about 130 pages of odds and ends from Joe Hill.  There is fiction and nonfiction alike here, and I can't tell you much more than that about it, because I haven't actually spent much time examining the contents.  I'm saving that for when I sit down to read it.

This is a signed copy, and the print run was limited to 500, so that makes this yet another limited edition that I own.  I continue to feel conflicted about supporting this side of the industry.  Allegedly, I'm doing a good deed by supporting the press(es) that issue the books, and maybe that's so.  I've got to tell you, though: I can't say I'm a fan of Borderlands Press, and unless something truly essential comes down the pike, I'll not buy from them again.

What happened was this: I preordered the book when it was announced.  Payment was not required at the time; I was told I'd be prompted to pay at the time the book was ready to ship.  Okey doke, we can work it that way.  So the stated date of publication comes and goes, and I send an email asking what's up with my order.  I'm told that a software glitch has caused problems that necessitated a delay in the publication date; not to worry, though, we'll let you know when to send the payment.  Cool, can do.  When that eventually happens, I receive my prompt in the form of a PayPal link to somebody called "Scribe."  I send $30 along with a note saying that if I've sent the incorrect amount, please let me know.  (As it turns out, I'd neglected to take shipping into account.  This is why you send an invoice for a specific amount; you really don't want to rely on your customers to remember what something is supposed to cost.)
A few days later, I receive an email saying that my order has shipped.  Cool!  A week later, it still had not arrived, so I checked the tracking, which showed that a shipping label had been generated, but nothing had been taken to the post office.  Uh oh.  Because I'm not a complete rube, I know what that means.  So I sent an email asking when the book would actually be shipped; no reply.  I sent a follow-up email; no reply.  No real conclusion to draw other than the one I've drawn by now: these folks have taken my $30, have claimed to send me a book, have sent me no book, and show no signs of going farther than that.

At this point, I decide to get PayPal involved, since they actually protect buyers from shenanigans like this.  "Scribe" answers and has no idea what is going on.  Literally can't figure out who I sent the money to, despite the fact that the only way for there to be a PayPal dispute is for there to be a transaction to dispute in the first place.  Scribe offers a half-hearted and passive-aggressively accusatory apology ("if only you'd emailed us" was the tone of this, which is a head-scratcher since I'd email numerous times).  Owing to the fact that the book is sold out, Scribe offers to send a "presentation copy" (whatever that is [presumably an unsigned edition]).  I say that will be fine, provided it's shipped quickly; otherwise, a refund will be fine as an end to this aggravating mess.  Book is okay, refund is okay, but it needs to be one or the other, and that right quick.

More emails are exchanged, and the confusion on Scribe's end only deepens.  I submit an essay-length recap of the whole thing, complete with the specific dates of every email from preorder to present dispute.  I receive no reply.  I escalate the claim to PayPal for them to sort out, and before long, the book arrives.  I close the case, and that is that.

It shouldn't be that hard to buy a book in 2017, folks.  I understand software glitches; I understand mistakes and confusion.  I don't understand accepting a $30 payment, creating a shipping label with no corresponding package to put it on, and then calling it a day.  That means you've stolen my $30 and are hoping I'm going to let it go.  Just think, ah, shit, I guess the post office lost another one.  Dum-de-dum, better luck next time.

I can even imagine that something like that might happen accidentally.  If I were a seller and a buyer of mine had an experience of that nature and then brought it to my attention, I'd apologize so profusely that sepukku might be involved at some point in the process.  I'd have offered a free book to go along with the one the buyer had paid for, or would have issued a refund as well as send the book.  As a buyer, I don't actually want either of those things, by the way; I only want the thing I paid for.  But I goddam well insist upon that; and as a seller, I'd insist on going above and beyond to fix the problem I'd created.  Not falling all over myself in expressing the shame I'd brought to my clan would literally never even cross my mind; it's just how things are done if you are customer service oriented.  You make a mistake, you fix it; and you're not only fixing the mistake, you're fixing the aggravation caused by the mistake.

I got the book in a plain brown envelope.  And, technically, free shipping, since I unwittingly failed to pay for that.

So that's my experience with Borderlands Press.  There is unlikely ever to be a sequel.

But I'm definitely glad to have the book, and it's appealingly designed.

The Shining: The Deluxe Special Edition (Cemetery Dance,  "The Doubleday Years Vol. 3" limited edition, June 2017)

art by Don Maitz

Much more satisfactory: my dealings with Cemetery Dance.  I have conflicted feelings about limited editions, and have sometimes had griped about how long CD takes to actually publish the books they sell.  But their customer service is great, and I'm not conflicted about that in any way.
I am about limiteds in general, though, and how.
On the one hand, they are typically lovely books; on the other, they're so expensive you typically don't want to actually read them.  On the one hand, they sometimes contain cool supplemental material, or nifty artwork; on the other hand, by their very nature any such material is limited to a tiny number of people, many of whom either can't afford the books or get to them much too late.  On the one hand, their scarcity makes them valuable collector's items; on the other hand, the market is cursed by scalpers who pounce on these editions specifically so they can resell them for an enormous profit.

All things considered, I tend to be more negative than positive on the subject, possibly because I am a grump.  But don't think I won't buy them when I can afford them and when they appeal to me.

This Cemetery Dance edition of The Shining appealed to me in a major way; for several reasons, but with one standing above the others: it marks the first-ever appearance of an epilogue that was cut from the novel prior to publication.  I'd heard of this epilogue for years under the title "After the Play."  I can't remember where I first heard of it, but the official information on the piece was that it had been lost years ago; not even King had a copy anymore.  It seemed forever destined to be a tantalizing footnote to one of the great novels of King's career.

But Cemetery Dance was contacted by a mega-collector who somehow got his hands on a pre-publication manuscript of the novel (under the title The Shine), and lo and behold, the epilogue -- here called "Chapter Fifty-Eight: Newslog" -- was present and accounted for.

Not only does that appear in this new limited edition -- which is part of the "Doubleday Years" series Cemetery Dance has been working on for the past few years -- but they also included, for the first time anywhere, 27 pages of excised material from that manuscript.  Much of this consists of a sentence or two, but there are also two or three entire scenes running a page or so in length.  One runs nearly three pages.

So while I could live without some limiteds, this particular one simply could not be allowed to get by me.

Oh, and by the way, it also includes "Before the Play," the excised prologue that has only appeared in print a couple of times (one of those in heavily edited/abridged form) and is difficult to find.  Best of all, it even appears at the beginning of the book, making it easy to read it in the originally-intended format if one sees fit to do so.  (Oddly, the material from the Shine manuscript is presented before "After the Play" / "Newslog," making the flow a bit more cumbersome than it might have been otherwise.  But for all I know, there's a good reason for that; I haven't read any of that stuff yet, so it's a possibility.)

I do indeed have heavily conflicted feelings about limited editions, but every once in a while, one comes along that deserves a standing ovation; and in my opinion, this is one of them.

But for the record, I feel bad for any and every fan of King and/or The Shining who would love to read that excised material but cannot do so because the 3000 or so copies of this sold out almost immediately.  It genuinely bums me out to think about that, because I've been on the losing end of such things before.

Here's hoping a mass-market edition will later be published that contains both "Before the Play" and "After the Play," and hopefully the other excised material as well.  There's precedent for it: the ultra-rare "Illustrated Edition" of 'salem's Lot from Centipede Press got a mass-market hardback edition.

Guys, my fingers are crossed hoping for a similar thing to happen here, so those of you who weren't able to hop aboard this train can do so at a later date.  It only seems fair to me, and if I can do anything about it -- unlikely -- then I will do so.

And that brings us to a concluding section, wherein I reveal that I also used this monthlong orgy of acquiring as an excuse to rebuy some non-King-related paperbacks.  Because, see, here's the thing: it wasn't just my King paperbacks I got rid of back in the day.  No, I foolishly got rid of a bunch of my James Bond paperbacks, too, having upgraded to hardbacks on all of them.  And not just James Bond, but also my Dune books by Frank Herbert.

This is to say nothing about the boxes -- BOXES -- of paperbacks I lost the last time I moved (2003, this was).  All my Star Trek novels, gone.  (I've replaced a few of those here and there in the years since.)  All my movie novelizations, gone.  I haven't dived into the deep end yet, so I didn't rebuy any of those this time; but that day may come eventually.

I did go on a Fleming and Herbert tear, though; that day HAD come, since there aren't that many of those books, and all of them were very easy to find.
And hey, while we're here, let's have a look.

Ian Fleming's James Bond series 

This is the wrong place for me to write a paean to the Fleming Bond novels.  You Only Blog Twice is the right place for that to happen, and rest assured, it WILL happen there, eventually.

But given the tenor of the first part of this "collectioning" post, I can't help myself: I have to write a little bit about my history with these books.

It all began with the movies, of course.  I was fascinated by them from an early age, and part of this was almost certainly due to the fact that my father was a fan.  I would sometimes grill him about the movies, asking him questions about what his favorites were, or about certain aspects of the plots, et cetera.  At some point, he blew my mind by telling me that he thought the books were even better than the movies, because Ian Fleming was really good at describing and explaining things.

Better than the movies?  Better than the movies?!?  How could that even be possible?!?

This was likely around the time that The Living Daylights was hitting theatres (1987), and it instilled in me a desire to read them for myself.

You might recall from the first part of this post that I spent a lot of time going to work with my mother during summer breaks.  Mom worked for the University of Alabama, and would occasionally have to go the on-campus textbook store (the Supply Store, or Supe Store, as it was known) to either make a delivery or pick something up for work.  I was fascinated by any place that sold books, and since this one sold exotic textbooks, I was especially fascinated by it.  They had a fairly broad selection of mass-market books, as well, and it was pretty common for Mom to buy me one while we were there, if something caught my fancy.

The above-pictured copy of Goldfinger was one such book, and that became the first Bond novel I ever read.  All the rest followed not too long thereafter; I can't remember for sure whether all of them came from the Supe Store, but I know For Your Eyes Only did.

Anyways, I got rid of some of these paperbacks over the years.  About half of them.  I still had both Goldfinger and For Your Eyes Only, plus Moonraker and From Russia, With Love.  Why I kept those I do not know; why I got rid of the others, I similarly do not know.

It'd been bugging me for years not to have the full set, though, so I have completed it now, and am pretty thrilled to be able to line 'em all up and gawp at 'em.  Those covers just slay me.  It's almost certainly nostalgia at play, and heavily, but if so, I cop to it freely.  The silhouettes are cool (mostly [not sure what's up with that cut-rate Moonraker one]), and that version of Bond looks uncannily like Pierce Brosnan to me.  Also a bit of Timothy Dalton in there, too.

This design also ran through the first few continuation novels by John Gardner, but I opted not to include those in this round of reacquisitions.  A project for another day.

What I will include is the remainder of the Fleming Bond books, the post-Spy Who Loved Me ones that seemingly were not part of the the Berkley/Charter imprint.  I'm sure there is a story there, but I do not know it.

Anyways, here's the remaining four, in the editions that I owned as a young'un (the first two of which are rebuys, the second two of which I still had my original copies of):

Ah, yes, our old friend Signet!  You will note that the odd book out among that quartet is On Her Majesty's Secret Service, which, so far as my limited research on the topic has revealed, did not have a printing with the same design that typifies the other three.  In fact, I couldn't find much evidence of Majesty's having been printed during the eighties at all.

Signet had printed paperback editions of at least a few other Flemings in the sixties (the Majesty's paperback includes mail-order ads for Doctor No, For Your Eyes Only, and From Russia, With Love, as well as You Only Live Twice and Golden Gun).  So what gives?  Did they lose the rights to some, but not all?  Weird.  How would that have happened?  Why was there seemingly no edition of Majesty's during the eighties from ANY American publisher?

All topics for another time; well beyond the purview of this post.  Plus, I have no idea.

But it ties back in to some degree with the themes of these posts.  Remember me talking about the aunt who took me on thrift-store jaunts?  Well, on one highly memorable trip to a thrift store in Birmingham, I turned up that Lazenby-graced paperback of Majesty's, which was the last remaining Fleming novel I'd been unable to find.  And it was the one I most wanted to read, because it was the one Dad used as an example to tell me about Fleming's writing style!  He described to me how Fleming described Bond escaping from Piz Gloria, and I was hooked.  But I couldn't find the damn book anywhere for a solid couple of years.

So I was pretty thrilled to stumble across a copy in that thrift store that day.  We'd never visited this particular one, so not only did it have that exciting air of newness, but it also yielded instantaneous rewards, at least for me.  Because, as if finding Majesty's wasn't cool enough, I also found these:

I knew all about Moonraker, of course, but had no idea there was a novelization.  A novelization of a movie based on a novel!  Holy shit!  What a concept.  (For the record, I wish there were still novelizations of the Bond movies being written.  I'd read the mess out of a novelization of Casino Royale and Quantum of Solace and Skyfall.  Maybe even Spectre, although I'd be grumpy about it.)

But Colonel Sun was a different thing altogether.  I had no idea it existed.  No idea whatsoever.  I knew all about the continuation novels by John Gardner; I had bought copies of all of them, and had read and loved them.  Finding out that there had also been one by some dude named Kingsley Amis was like a lightning bolt crashing down painlessly but powerfully upon my head.

For the record, I still had both of those; never got rid of them.  But since they kind of tie in with the story of my love for musty old books, which itself is very much a part of my King-fandom origin story, I figured hey, why not mention it.

I will bring this post to a close with a brief discussion of:

the Dune series by Frank Herbert 

If you forced me to name my favorite novel, I'd name Dune and would feel pretty good about it.  At times, either The Gunslinger or It might challenge it, and Lonesome Dove probably edges in above either of those more often than not, so it's also a contender.  The Lord of the Rings is up there, too.  So hey, I guess I just named my top five novels.

Anyways, here's the edition of Dune that blew my mind into a gajillion pieces in late '84 or early '85:

No need to rebuy that, because I already did that a few years ago.  But I never did reobtain the paperbacks of the sequels, so I used this recent madness as an opportunity/excuse to do so.  Plus, while I was at it, I bought a copy of the original edition of the first novel's paperback.  I'd never had one of those, only the movie-tie-in edition; and it seemed like a shame to not have a full set.

I won't spend much time on this series here, apart from restating my belief that this novel taught me to think.  I'm taking part in a Dune Book club -- held on Twitch by Comic Book Girl 19 beginning this very day, July 9 -- that I'm probably going to use as an excuse to write some posts about the novel at Where No Blog Has Gone Before.  We'll see if I have the ability to actually follow through on that for twelve consecutive weeks; I'm skeptical, but then again, this IS my favorite novel.  I've already written the first post, and the words flowed out of me like, uh, sand through a sieve.  Not sure they were all that special, as words go; but flow they did, and if I can only find the time, the desire is there.

And with that, let's call this sorry spectacle of materialism to an end.  I've had fun writing this malarkey, and hopefully there has been something of interest here for you, too.


  1. I also resold all of my paperbacks as I upgraded my King collection but unlike you I currently have no desire to buy them all over again. Of course I started reading King in the mid 90s when all of the paperbacks had a themed design similar to the bad Bachman Books cover you bought. They all are generic art on a colored background. Almost all of them lack any personality except for Different Seasons which has a really bizarre picture of a baby on it (from Breathing Method obviously).

    So maybe if I had had a colorful array of books as you did the bug may have bit me. But like you said they don't make paperbacks like they used to (and apparently that began in the mid 90s)!

    1. Those really are just awful. As I think I said someplace, I can imagine somebody loving them for the same nostalgic reasons I love the ones I love; but for my part, they are an eyesore.

      Sounds like I'm not the only person who feels that way!

  2. The funny thing is, I first scored this batch of King books from my brother: It, Gunslinger, Misery, Carrie and Salem's Lot and those all had classic paperback artwork. Then as I actually got into reading King I swapped those for the terrible covers so that my set would look uniform.

    1. Oh, the silly things we collectors do. I can absolutely imagine doing that!

  3. I was wondering why you think King bothered to set Gwendy's Button Box in Castle Rock. It didn't really connect to any other stories that I could tell so it was more of a distraction as I kept waiting for some kind of connection. My theory is that this started as an idea for the upcoming Castle Rock tv show and he just turned it into a stand alone novella.

    1. The cynic in me thinks it wasn't King at all, but Chizmar. Based on what we know about the story's genesis and development, it sounds as if King hit a wall with the story and then turned it over to Chizmar, who sort of jump-started it and got it to a point where it could be finished by the two of them going back and forth with it. So I wouldn't be surprised if Chizmar suggested the setting, and King shrugged and said why not.

      The connection is pointless, for the most part. that said, I don't know that I wanted or needed for it to be, like, a prequel to "The Dead Zone" or "Cujo." Maybe it had BEEN that, I'd feel differently; but maybe not.

      At the end of the day, I think it was an enjoyable short novella, and not much more than that. The Castle Rock connection has given it a weight that I do not think it earned.

      I suspect that the television series was in neither King nor Chizmar's thoughts until after it was finished. But I'm sure Chizmar in particular would be very much in favor of selling the rights to Hulu for potential use in that series. Why wouldn't he be? I sure would!

  4. I revised this a bit tonight, adding three sections I realized I'd neglected to include: one right up at the top, then one about assorted movie-tie-ins from 1990-2001, and another about four Pocket Books trade editions from 2000-2002.

  5. Mr. Burnette:

    I actually laughed at your road floozies comment. I'm going to work that into my conversations somehow this week.

    Geez, you really hit the jackpot with The Nocturnal Reader's Box. Congrats.

    That Cemetery Dance limited edition of The Shining sounds like a real treat as well. I had never heard of the epilogue. I have read Before the Play, but only recently.

    I will make a confession here: I've never read a James Bond or Dune book. Don't think too harshly of me. I guess I'll have to content myself in having my life parallel Bond's. Well, not exactly, my first name is James and I had an English teacher in high school whose last name was Bond. That's likely as close as I'll get to a Bondisan lifestyle.

    1. Hey, it's closer than me. And there are tons of people who've never read anything by Fleming or Herbert; nothing odd in that.

      Good luck with the road floozies!

  6. According to Wikipedia Kingsley Amis was ranked 13th by the Times in their list of the 50 greatest British writers since 1945. He wrote 2 other bond related books. The James Bond dossier, a critical analysis of all the bond novels. And the book of bond under the name lt bill tanner.

    Colonel sun was the first continuation novel after Flemings death. The cover for the first edition is pretty freaky!

    1. It sure is! I've got a copy of that, which makes me happy.

  7. (1) Print #19! Ka indeed.

    (2) "Fuck you, Scott." ha! I can relate t this. Although it was "David" scrawling his name on a copy of an old X-Men that enabled me to get it for a buck rather than a non-adorned copy would've got me. So thanks, David! Also: fuck you. Anyway, hell yeah I love the middle of the paperback b+w photos. I also love the random "Kent Cigarettes" found in some of my Blade paperbacks.

    (3) I've got to pick up Bare Bones. I think I always thought, oh I've got the SK Companion and have read enough interviews with King. But I'm sold. I'm easy.

    (4) Looks like they were planning to print something in that big blank space for the Bill Russell Gerald's Game frontispiece (what a word). At least I hope it was that and not just some dumbass who didn't know any better.

    (5) Man I love thst Regulators art. Such a fun book! Someone really badass needs to make that damn movie.

    (6) I love this Bachman Books reverie. Not a fan of the Lisa Litwack designs, though. I remmeber seeing those at Newbury Comics when they came out and being turned off. Had forgotten about them completely, though - I never see them at used bookstores around here. So maybe everyone else loves them and holds on to 'em.

    (7) Yeah that "Roadwork" cover is... misleading. I'd have to check but that pistol doesn't look right either. Great book, though. On the same level of the 70s Tower where someone (let's say Spielberg) made The Long Walk, Scorsese made Roadwork. Somehow. With a time machine or something. Either way, but for a few tricks of fate, this would be seen as the ultimate 70s nihilism masterpiece that "Taxi Driver" is. (And maybe he'd even had had the same ending, i.e changing it s Dawes could live and have that wrap-up with Cybil Shepherd.)

    (8) Dear God, that $35 went a frakking long way! Glorious. I've heard about Loot Crate. I think there's something similar for kids we were thinking about getting for the girls. Maybe I'll just swap in the King ones and pretend it's a mishap. Whoops!

    (9) Yeah that kind of Borderlands Press crap is unforgivable. So easy to avoid. I run into that a lot at my job - things blow up to significant degrees and there's an e-trail of polite queries going back a year (from my/our end) and then there's an emergency meeting where someone comes out and buys us doughnuts and the problems remain. I like doughnuts - I mean, at least there's that - but for frak's sake, why has this become such alien and difficult terrain?

    (10) I love that Berkley/Charter look of the Bonds so much. Not so much the Signets. That is really odd about no On Her Majesty's - I wonder why? By the way, I always think of your Dad's telling you about the Piz Gloria escape whenever I think of that sequence. I must have had the imprint/record button pressed down in my head the day I read that in your blog years back. Nice to discover at this age that such things are still possible! I thought that button primarily existed only til one was 25 or so.

    (11) Hope the Dune Book club is fun - keep me posted. I love that first book and am delaying gratification on the second and rest of the series.

    (12) I take exception to your characterization of this post as a sorry spectacle of materialism. Collecting the variant editions of any Ernest movie novelizations and other Ernest memorabilia might be that, but this? No way. Also - I'm glad you linked to Where No Blog Has Gone Before as apparently I've missed a few.

    1. "love the random "Kent Cigarettes" - I failed to type "advertisements" after cigarettes - but yeah, those paperbacks all have this conspicuous softcover ad for Kent Cigarettes. I've seen it in some other paperbacks of the era/ the-Blade-type, too. Corporate umbrella cross-promoting at its finest! Or Bladeiest.

    2. (2) Yeah, those old middle-of-the-book ads are kinda great, too. What's the modern equivalent? Middle-of-podcast ads where the ad -- which is always for Blue Apron or Audible or Casper Mattresses -- is just shoved gracelessly into the mix. Just not as cool.

      (3) You will dig it hardcore.

      (4) With mass-market paperbacks, there's no telling.

      (5) That really does seem like a no-brainer.

      (6) I suspect it's more that they didn't sell well because everyone hated them. I like the first couple okay, but beyond that, not so much.

      (7) Your mouth, God's ears.

      (8) I just thank my lucky stars that there isn't a King-centric one every month. Because I'd subscribe to it in a heartbeat.

      (9) Sounds familiar. I get some of that at my job, too. Like, is it REALLY unreasonable to expect your janitorial service to keep the floors clean? And if they don't, am I REALLY be unreasonable if I point it out? I don't think so. Call me crazy.

      (10) Nah, that sort of stuff still happens. I don't think it ever quits, at least not until one becomes 100% cynical and jaded. So in my case, any second now. Regarding OHMSS, I plan to do the research and find out the answer to the question "What up wi' dat?" whenever I get around to reviewing that book for You Only Blog Twice. I'd like to think that'll be this decade, but...

      (11) I plan for there to be weekly blog posts at Where No Blog on that very subject. Less about the Club than my thoughts on the pages assigned for that week. The first session was fun; that lady knows her stuff, and is very enthusiastic on the subject. The "19" in her handle comes from you-know-who, and I hope her next book club will be for The Dark Tower. I'll be all over that one, too.

      (12) Oh, lordy. ARE there novelizations of the Ernest movies?!? Sweet jeebus... As for Where No Blog, I don't think you've missed much; I put up the Dune thing and "Balance of Terror" early this morning. The latter is more of a rant than a review; not necessarily my finest work, but hey, it was what was on my mind.

  8. Cujo:

    I wonder if Stephen Gammel illustrated that Tie-In cover. As for who Gammel is, google him, and get ready not to sleep tonight. Yeah, his art impression, let's say. No, I'm grinning like the Crypt-Keeper, whatever gave anyone that idea?!

    The Dead Zone:

    I ran across a copy of that book that I didn't pick up. I'm wondering now if that was a mistake.


    I never of the alternate artwork spread till now. Looks cool!

    H.P. Lovecraft: Against the World, Against Life.

    Loved King's intro, thought the rest of the book was somehow either too full of itself, or too ideological, if I'm being honest.


    I'm starting think the same about the modern editions, and I don't limit that just to King's work. I didn't know that the paperback market had adopted a standard issue, yet I'm not too surprised. I am sort of worried that this will mean a loss of quality that King's old 80s paperbacks possessed in terms of not just cover art, but also formatting, and print layout.


    1. I didn't know Gammell by name, but a Google search shows me that I definitely know some of his work. Man, that guy is a legend! I really ought to go on a Scary Stories binge one of these days; I read a few of them around the time I became a King fan, so it'd be in-bounds for this blog, I think. Not that it'd stop me if it wasn't.

      I don't THINK he did that "Cujo" art, but I didn't go too deep in my research on that, so don't take that as the gospel.

      The "Desperation" / "Regulators" spread is by John Jude Palencar, who I'm sure you know for his Lovecraft art.

      And speaking of Lovecraft, while I don't entirely share your opinion of the Houellebecq book, I can certainly see how that'd be somebody's opinion. It's very ... French. But I thought it did a good of explaining what makes Lovecraft's work so majestic without also demystifying it. A fine line to walk, and I think he walked it.

      Regarding modern paperbacks, I couldn't tell you the last time I saw one and wanted it for its art. Actually, I can: the trade edition of "The Wind Through the Keyhole." But other than that? Pffft. No idea.

  9. First off, great blog!

    Secondly, how do you go about obtaining specific covers? I've been trying to get a few covers but I don't want to buy 30 copies off Amazon and hope for the best..

    Thirdly, I'll be picking up a copy of Lonesome Doves at lunch today, thanks to you. I hear it's fucking brilliant.

    1. It sure is!

      Regarding cover-hunting, I've had the best luck via eBay. Most sellers there will either upload an actual photo of the book or will specify in the item description that the book is different than the cover pictured. Amazon really is a crapshoot in many ways.

  10. Hey man, I didn't know where to send you this but thought maybe this would be the best post to put it.
    Just saw this book for pre-order and thought you'd dig it it's called Paperbacks from Hell, it's art from 70s and 80s paperbacks
    There's more photos on amazon. Looks like the quality of a CPress book.

    1. Sounds cool! Not sure I'll get it (the backlog of books around here is getting ridiculous), but it's a maybe. Either way, thanks for bringing it to my attention!

  11. Very awesome collection of cover scans. Old book covers have always fascinated the heck out of me. I bought a lot of my older King paperbacks new from Barnes & Noble and they have the simplistic and very drab-looking newer Signet covers. I'd love to snag a copy of that vintage Night Shift paperback with the eyeball hand. Too awesome. I've always liked the Needful Things cover too.

    One of my big book-buying quirks is I always avoid copies with a movie/TV tie-in on the cover. I'm cool with a little "soon to be/now a major motion picture" blurb, though. But a copy of The Stand with Gary Sinise glaring right at me? Nope.

    Ok, now I must vent here: why are Under The Dome and 11/22/63 hard to acquire in mass market paperback? I know they're both epic-sized books but a smaller easier-to-schlep-around-and-hide-from-nosey-people-at-work copies would be awesome.

    Ebay has jack squat and here's whats on Amazon

    11/22/63: a few out of print copies in the $25-38 dollar range (umm, no thanks.)

    Under The Dome: cheap but out of print copies split up into two seperate books! Yeah its long as hell but I mean, It or The Stand uncut wasn't split up. There is a picture of a complete mass-market with a nice cover (a tire swing) but no copies for sale exist. Damn!

    1. "I always avoid copies with a movie/TV tie-in on the cover." -- I like having those, but typically want to have the original edition, as well. Given my preference, I'd go original nearly every time.

      On the subject of "Under the Dome" and "11/22/63," I'd speculate -- and speculation is all this is, as I've never researched the issue -- that the mass-market, uh, market is a lot smaller than it used to be. Meaning, I'd guess that e-books and even audiobooks have eaten away a big portion of the audience for mass-market editions. In other words, the publisher may have felt mass-market editions of those two novels are not financially viable.

      Beyond that, I'm not sure what else could possibly be the explanation.

      I've actually got the two-book "Under the Dome"! I bought them both at (I think) Walmart once upon a time.

  12. Ok, correction: it turns out that much more reasonably priced used mass market PB copies of 11/22/63 do exist. They all have a blurb on the cover promoting the miniseries but I'm ok with that. Why its out of print in this format still baffles me.

    1. That really is weird. Especially as well as the hardback of that one supposedly sold.