Picked this up at the Hartville Flea Market a few weeks ago, and bought it pretty much on the cover image alone:
FANTASTIC. Definitely-not-Luke-Skywalker-in-Bespin-outfit and certainly-not-Princess-Leia and possibly-not-C-3PO beneath absolutely-not-a-Colonial-Viper-Cylon-Raider-dogfight.
Screams “shameless unlicensed late 1970s ripoff,” no?
But there’s the kicker: This is from nineteen eighty-four, and its contents mirror a British edition published just a year earlier. So this book is, in fact, five years past the close of the original Battlestar Galactica series, and a year removed from the conclusion of the original Star Wars trilogy.
What’s inside? Let’s ask the back cover blurb:
Seventeen stories from the exciting world of science fiction, including Star Wars and Doctor Who and tales by Jules Verne, Robert Heinlein and Arthur C. Clarke.
Excellent! Without further delay, then, here are the contents:
- Escape From the Death Star – from Star Wars: From the Adventures of Luke Skywalker, by George Lucas
- Trial by Combat, by Jay Williams
- The Lights of the City by Garry Kilworth
- Through the Moons of Mowl – from Dragonfall 5 and the Super Horse, by Brian Earnshaw
- The Star, by H.G. Wells
- Johnson, by Guy Weiner (I did not make this up. – JB)
- The Smallest Dragonboy, by Anne McCaffrey
- The First Half-hour – from Round the Moon, by Jules Verne
- A Walk in the Woods, by David Campton
- Summertime on Icarus, by Arthur C. Clarke
- Baptism of Fire – from Citizen of the Galaxy, by Robert A. Heinlein
- Collecting Team, by Robert Silverberg
- Marooned on Splatterbang – from Escape from Splatterbang, by Nicholas Fisk
- Terrafied, by Arthur Tofte
- Planet-fall on Isis – from The Keeper of the Isis Light, by Monica Hughes
- Half Life, by Rachel Cosgrove Payes
- Return to Peladon – from Doctor Who and the Monster of Peladon, by Terrance Dicks
Interesting mix, and I look forward to reading them.
(Digression: The text of Escape from the Death Star seems to be reprinted faithfully from chapter 10 and part of chapter 11 of the Star Wars novelization, although it does open with an original two-sentence setup: Luke Skywalker, the old Jedi warrior Ben Kenobi, Han Solo and their companions are deep in the heart of the enemy battle station, the Death Star. Danger threatens on all sides as they struggle to free the young and beautiful Princess Leia from the clutches of the evil dark warlord, Darth Vader…)
Here’s what else the back cover promises, though:
This spectacular collection is illustrated throughout with specially commissioned drawings.
And, oh, the treasures here. All the drawings are black-and-white and in the margins either alongside or beneath the text, and feel like they belong in a much earlier science fiction era.
Now, to be fair, I’m really only focused on the illustrations accompanying the Star Wars excerpt, because again, this was a full seven years after the movie’s debut, and we all knew full well what things looked like in that galaxy far, far away. I don’t think it’s unfair to say that at this point, some characters and ships were already considered iconic.
Here’s this edition’s illustration of R2-D2 and C-3PO:
…and here are Han and Chewbacca:
More? OK. Our heroes heading for the Millennium Falcon:
…and blasting their way past the TIE fighters:
And maybe my favorite: Darth Vader vs. Ben Kenobi.
Several of these are highly reminiscent of pre-production Star Wars art, which is also interesting.
As a bonus, here’s an illustration from the Doctor Who excerpt, including the Doctor and Sarah Jane Smith.
The artwork and the typeface and the page layouts all combine to remind me an awful lot of the kid-focused science fiction books I loved when I was in elementary school.
It’s been a long time since I stumbled on anything this unexpected and fun at the flea market – and for less than a handful of change.
Here are the 16 books I read in 2014. Still not near the quantity I was reading five or six years ago, but more than last year (11 total, 5 re-reads), and only one re-read in the bunch.
- Heechee Rendezvous – Frederick Pohl (Wrapping up the original Heechee trilogy.)
- The Human Division – John Scalzi (Still love the Old Man’s War universe.)
- Among Others – Jo Walton
- The Alphabet Not Unlike the World – Katrina Vandenberg (Poetry. Really, really good poetry. Like “Inspires John Green while he’s writing The Fault in Our Stars” good poetry.
- Mystery Comics Digest No. 6 – The Twilight Zone (August 1972 – picked this up on Free Comic Book Day.)
- The Art of John Harris: Beyond the Horizon – John Harris (GeekDad review.)
- Avengers: Assembled – Brian Michael Bendis
- The Paleoart of Julius Csotonyi – Julius Csotonyi and Steve White (GeekDad review.)
- Alpha Centauri – Or Die! – Leigh Brackett (I picked this up a couple years ago at a bookstore in the small Ohio town where Brackett and her husband Edmond Hamilton lived. I wrote about it for StarWars.com.)
- Star Wars: A New Dawn – John Jackson Miller (I stopped reading most Star Wars novels long ago, but this one caught me, and it was quick and fun.)
- The Art of John Alvin – Andrea Alvin (GeekDad review.)
- The Future of the Mind – Michio Kaku (Fascinating stuff.)
- The Importance of Being Ernest – Ernest Cline (Author of Ready Player One. Interior illustrations by fellow Northeast Ohioan and cool guy Len Peralta.)
- Something Wicked This Way Comes – Ray Bradbury (re-read)
- Chicks Dig Gaming: A Celebration of All Things Gaming by the Women Who Love It – Mad Norwegian Press (GeekDad review.)
- Good Omens – Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett (No, I can’t believe I’d never read it either. What an incredibly fun book.)
I also spent a lot of enjoyable time in the pages of the following four role-playing game books last year, and I expect it to continue in 2015:
- Numenera (core rulebook) – Monte Cook
- Dungeons & Dragons Player’s Handbook (5th ed.)
- Dungeons & Dragons Monster Manual (5th ed.)
- Dungeons & Dragons Dungeon Master’s Guide (5th ed.)
John Scalzi’s new novel, Redshirts, comes out next week. You can read my review of the book over at GeekDad, along with an interview in which Scalzi talks about science fiction tropes and humor in the genre. Both posts were a lot of fun to write.
I took a half-day off work Friday, May 11, so I could drive to Columbus for dinner.
I had toyed around with the idea for a day or two, and was still waffling about it Thursday night, and then Jenn pointed out that if I went, and it was awkward and no fun, I’d forget about it soon enough, but if I didn’t go at all, I would undoubtedly wish I had.
Big surprise: My wife was totally right.
I’ve been a fan of Jay Lake‘s writing for a few years now, and while we exchanged a few emails around the time I was reading The Specific Gravity of Grief, I had never met him at a convention or spoken with him. And though I have thought it would be kind of cool to visit Portland for “JayCon, ” his annual open-invite birthday party, that hasn’t been a viable option of late. So when he announced on his blog that he’d be in Columbus for a brief business trip and would be at the Northstar Cafe at Easton for an open dinner, I figured, Why Not?
Hey, look, here’s me, having just eaten dinner with Jay Lake:
I’m really glad Jenn encouraged me to go: Two other guests, Kris and Scott, were also there, and the four of us spent about two hours just hanging out and sharing stories and talking about science fiction and writers and movies and even a little sports. (Jay shared a great perspective on appreciating a sporting event from a storytelling point of view: I know he credited someone else with pointing it out to him, but the gist of it was that unlike stories told through books, television or movies, the ending of a game remains undetermined and unknown until it actually unfolds, and the resulting tension and drama can hold great power.)
Good food too: I had a tasty turkey sandwich and a surprisingly unique rice salad, and then we all shared a gigantic, gooey, eyeball-vibratingly good chocolate-chocolate-chip cookie.
Everyone was easygoing and fun to be around, and I felt really comfortable from the moment I sat down.
The sun was just setting when I headed back north on the interstate, incredibly glad that I’d made the drive.
Please note: As of April 2012, Hukilau has closed its virtual doors, but the expanded digital edition of Collect All 21! is available through Amazon.
So, thanks to the fantastically supportive editors at Hukilau, it seems that Collect All 21! could be eligible for 2012 Hugo Award nomination in the Best Related Work category. Here’s how the Hugo Awards site describes the category:
Best Related Work: Awarded to a work related to the field of science fiction, fantasy, or fandom, appearing for the first time during the previous calendar year or which has been substantially modified during the previous calendar year. The type of works eligible include, but are not limited to, collections of art, works of literary criticism, books about the making of a film or TV series, biographies and so on, provided that they do not qualify for another category.
And while it doesn’t get more specific than that, I would think that expanding the book by almost one-third and widening its scope to include cast and crew features and interviews – thanks in large part to the encouragement of Hukilau editor Matt Kelland – might be seen as a substantial enough modification to count as a “new” 2011 publication. (Hugo voters, nominating Worldcon/Chicon 7 members and other in-the-know types? Please feel free to give me or someone at Hukilau a heads-up if we’re misinterpreting.)
I know the whole 1970s-’80s nostalgia angle is a turn-off in some quarters, and I know that George Lucas has done precious few favors for the legacy of his original 1977 version of Star Wars. Regardless of that still-evolving perception, I think it’s still more than fair to say that Star Wars was at the very least the gateway through which many science fiction fans and writers were introduced to the genre, and that’s something I tried to preserve and recognize in Collect All 21! And hey – it did nab a spot last year on the Topless Robot list of the 10 Greatest Non-Fiction Star Wars Books.)
This year, the Hugos will be awarded at Chicon 7, about which I’ve been excited for some time because it’s an easy drive from Northeast Ohio, and I’ve been hoping to attend no matter what. All sorts of details about nominating memberships and attending memberships can be found here at the Chicon site.
I read 36 books in 2011, which is two fewer than my 2010 total, but a number which still pleasantly surprised me, given that I landed a full-time career-changing job in February.
Mostly fiction, by far. The eight non-fiction reads included two biographies, an essay collection, a book on gaming and society, and four pop culture niche explorations.
Nine books on the list are re-reads, although one of those was the extensively annotated Heir to the Empire 20th Anniversary Edition. If you want to get technical, it’s ten counting Pillars of Pentegarn although it’s been probably 25 years – at least – since I last read it.
Obsessive streak: I closed the year on a 10-day break from work, during which time I read volumes 2-7 of the Harry Potter series. (I had planned to read the entire set, but then realized I had already read Sorceror’s Stone over the summer.)
Shared joy: My daughter and I fell in love with the Scott Pilgrim series after I bought her the first volume and then went to the library within a day or two to check out the other five.
I have Adam to thank for two books on the list which were gifts: John Landis and Manhood for Amateurs. Excellent call on both.
I reviewed twelve of the books for GeekDad.
- Reality is Broken: Why Games Make Us Happy and How They Can Change the World – Jane McGonigal
- John Landis – Giulia D’Agnolo Vallan
- The Star Wars Craft Book – Bonnie Burton
- Fuzzy Nation – John Scalzi
- Geek Fantasy Novel – E. Archer
- Manhood for Amateurs – Michael Chabon
- Serenity: The Shepherd’s Tale – Joss Whedon, Zack Whedon and Chris Samnee
- Nerd Do Well – Simon Pegg
- Transformers Vault – Pablo Hidalgo
- The Snow Queen’s Shadow – Jim C. Hines
- Agent to the Stars – John Scalzi
- Harry Potter and the Sorceror’s Stone – – J.K. Rowling
- Watchmen – Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons
- Scott Pilgrim’s Precious Little Life – Bryan Lee O’Malley
- Scott Pilgrim vs. the World – Bryan Lee O’Malley
- Scott Pilgrim & the Infinite Sadness – Bryan Lee O’Malley
- Scott Pilgrim Gets It Together – Bryan Lee O’Malley
- Scott Pilgrim vs. the Universe – Bryan Lee O’Malley
- Star Wars: Heir to the Empire (20th Anniversary Edition) – Timothy Zahn
- Scott Pilgrim’s Finest Hour – Bryan Lee O’Malley
- Mail-Order Mysteries: Real Stuff from Old Comic Book Ads – Kirk Demarais
- Prophets – S. Andrew Swann
- The Complete Vader – Ryder Windham and Peter Vilmur
- Amazing Everything: The Art of Scott C. – Scott Campbell
- At the Mountains of Madness and Other Tales of Terror – H.P. Lovecraft
- Ready Player One – Ernest Cline
- Kraken – China Mieville
- Cloak – James Gough
- Pillars of Pentegarn – Rose Estes
- Star Wars: Millennium Falcon Owner’s Workshop Manual – Ryder Windham, Chris Reiff, Chris Trevas
- Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets – J.K. Rowling
- Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban – J.K. Rowling
- Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire – J.K. Rowling
- Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix – J.K. Rowling
- Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince – J.K. Rowling
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – J.K. Rowling
And first on the list for 2012:
Ganymede by Cherie Priest
It’s been a fun couple months: In late February, I received an advance copy of John Scalzi’s new novel, Fuzzy Nation, a reboot of the H. Beam Piper classic Little Fuzzy. A couple weeks later, I interviewed him about the project for GeekDad, and this week, I wrote a review of the book itself.
Fuzzy Nation comes out May 10, but if you want more than that out of me, you’re going to have to click on those links and read the pieces over at GeekDad.