collectioning -- n. -- (1) the act of purposefully building a collection; (2) a made-up word coined by some dude with a blog (mostly) about Stephen King
Not too long ago, I reviewed the 1981 Robert McCammon novel They Thirst, and at the end of that review, I mentioned that I hoped to be attending a signing the author was giving a couple of days hence in nearby Birmingham.
Unfortunately, work got in the way and prevented that from happening. I've been grumpy about it ever since. I tend toward grumpiness anyways, so adding this into the grump rotation has proven to be no impediment.
To ease that grumpiness somewhat, I decided to splurge a bit and do something I'd been wanting to do for a while anyways: get my McCammon collection fully up to speed. And since I've got nothing better to do tonight, why not share the details with you fine folks?
|I love that cover art, almost as much as I hate the font on the author's name. Hopefully that's just a placeholder font.|
We begin with the upcoming Subterranean Press hardback limited edition of They Thirst, which I preordered. It won't come out until October, but a months-long wait is par for the course with these limited editions.
Subterranean previously published limited-edition hardbacks of McCammon's first three novels, Baal, Bethany's Sin, and The Night Boat, all three of which sold out long ago. I had been planning to get their edition of They Thirst ever since it was announced, but had not considered trying to obtain secondhand copies of those other Subterranean editions. However, I decided to check eBay, and was able to scoop each of them up for prices that were within my range. I'm still a bit mystified as to how I was able to get that lucky.
When I received these in the mail, I was surprised to discover that they were all signed by McCammon! I don't personally get all that invested in the idea of autographs, but what that means in practical terms is that I don't seek them out or pay extra for them; if they show up unexpectedly, or gratis, I think they're pretty damn cool, and having signed hardbacks by one of my favorite authors is certainly a boon to my collection.
There is interior art in each of those three books, as well; not a huge amount of it, but what's there is cool:
|Bethany's Sin endpapers, also by Tikulin.|
|The two pieces above are more Tomislav Tikulin art, these from Baal.|
I may as well also mention another recent McCammon hardback:
Released just last month, The River of Souls is the fifth in McCammon's series about colonial-era detective Matthew Corbett. It was this new release that McCammon's signing was in support of. I'd already bought a copy a few weeks back, so technically it doesn't count as part of the hoard hauled in during this round of splurging; but what cares I for a technicality like that? Not a whit.
I should confess that I have read none of the Matthew Corbett books. I'm not even sure he's a detective, to be honest. What I am sure of is that the only reason I've waited to read these books is that I'm waiting to do so as part of my chronological reread of McCammon's entire output. It's itching at me something fierce that there are that many McCammon books I've not read, but what can I say? Only so many hours in the day for reading; I'd make them hours breed if I could, but so far, my experiments at making that happen have failed miserably. You figure it out, do please let me know.
Much of my collectioning this go-round was focused on filling in a very sizable gap in my McCammon collection: namely, a number of short story anthologies from the eighties and nineties that featured McCammon appearances. I'd been unaware of all of these until I was doing some research, and found a bliographical page on McCammon's website. Previously, all I'd been aware of were the stories that appeared in his collection Blue World and in the anthology Under the Fang (which he edited, and which includes a story and introduction he wrote, plus stories by folks like Richard Laymon, Al Sarrantonio, and Thomas F. Monteleone).
Turns out, however, there were nearly a dozen other stories that had never been collected, but which had been published in various places.
Tracking down anthologies like this from the eighties and nineties is typically pretty easy work, and these turned out to be no exception:
|McCammon has three stories here: "The Deep End," "A Life in the Day of," and "Best Friends."|
|McCammon's story here is titled "On a Beautiful Summer's Day, He Was," and his fellow authors in this anthology include Joe R. Lansdale, F. Paul Wilson, Edward Bryant and Dan Simmons, etc.|
|McCammon's story "Haunted World" closes out this anthology.|
In addition to those anthologies, I scored the first four issues of Lights Out!, a McCammon newsletter put out by Hunter Goatley:
These newsletters run between 16 and 24 pages each, and include reviews, interviews with McCammon, and even an unfinished short story titled "The Night I Killed the King." This latter was part of a contest wherein fans submitted their own conclusions, and the winner got a McCammon manuscript. Pretty damn cool. I was thrilled to be able to get these from Overlook Connection!
In addition to an interview with McCammon and an excerpt from Swan Song, this magazine (fanzine?) evidently had a regular feature called "Fragments of Horror," which presented short random bits from whatever author was featured that issue. So here we get brief segments from works in progress like The Lady (which was never completed), They Still Thirst (which he evidently never actually intended to write!), Whirlwind (also never completed), and Beuhlahland (ditto).
Here's one I haven't actually gotten yet, but only because I realized -- while writing this! -- that I'd somehow neglected to actually order it:
Here's a cool couple of acquisitions:
|I bought all three parts, but since the cover art is the same apart from the (1/2/3 of 3) designators, I saw no need to scan and post the other two.|
|Marvel at the shitty quality of my scanner's output!|
I have not listened to any of these, and won't until I get to the point of rereading The Wolf's Hour and reading The Hunter from the Woods for the first time. But if I understand them correctly, they are basically a combination of audiobook and radio drama, featuring a full cast, sound effects, and whatnot. I suspect I will love them. Graphic Audio is apparently a prolific company; they seem to do a lot of Westerns, but also have deals with both Marvel and DC and do big-time superhero releases, as well.
Finally, I decided to see if I could locate the original paperback releases of the McCammon novels I'd already reviewed for this blog. I was afraid that since those are the true first editions of those books, they would be pricey, but I had pretty good luck. This is the one I was most worried about:
According to the copyright page, this is a 1978 edition, but that can't actually be the case, since The Night Boat was not released until 1980. McCammon's website indicates that this is a 3rd printing copy. Do I care that it isn't a first edition? Fuck no, I don't care! I only wanted an edition with that artwork, which creeps on me in some way I can't explicate.
In addition to that, I landed these:
|Pretty cheesy. However, this paperback has red-tinged edges to the pages, which delights me for no apparent reason.|
|That cover is pretty cool. I got this paperback as part of a surprisingly inexpensive lot of eight McCammon paperbacks that also contained:|
|...this edition of They Thirst, which is cool, because I could not locate a decently-priced copy on its own. I love that cover.|
|This one, too, I had no intention of getting until later; but it was in that lot of paperbacks, so I was happy to be able to cross it off my list early.|
The only other items that need covering are these (which also came with the aforementioned lot of paperbacks):
Speaks the Nightbird was the 2002 novel that brought McCammon back from his semi-retirement. IT was the first in his series of Matthew Corbett novels, and it's a pretty big book. I didn't know that there had been a mass-market paperback release, much less that it had split the novel into two volumes. Boy, I don't much care for those subtitles. But hey, thanks to the blurb(s), I get to count those paperbacks as part of my Stephen King collection now, too, which is cool, I guess.
This brings the collectioning update to an end. It'll probably be a while before I can slpurge like that again, and I'd like to take a moment to acknowledge the fact that I realize how lucky I am. Not as lucky as some, no doubt about it; but there are plenty of people in the world who never get to spend any money on things like this. I wish I could do something meaningful for each and every one of them, but I can't. So, in lieu of that, I simply acknowledge that I have a pretty good life, and that I thank luck, fate, God, Thor, Q, L. Ron Hubbard, the Flying Spaghetti Monster, Neil deGrasse Tyson, and whoever/whatever else had a hand in making things that way.