avoidance

I drank the McHenrys 6th release 3 nights in a row this week and it’s like a lovely toffee verging on rich christmas cake. I know where I can a bottle from their 3rd release, and 4th for that matter, but avoiding it as it’s a little pricey. Though today I picked up a discounted bottle of the Yamazaki Distiller’s Reserve, at $99 it’s a wee bit cheaper than the 18 year old that seems to sell in uncomfortable four figure amounts.

Somehow I have found myself on Amazon…just looking at stuff, minding my own business. I could for example get a whisky flask that looks a game cartridge, or even a dodgy looking steampunk version. On the other hand, the Disruptor Rifle looks rather cool but I’ve got nowhere to display it currently and it might not be quite the thing to put on my filing cabinet at work.

I occasionally, and this may surprise some, look longingly at Richie Rich collections. I had lots of comics as a kid and I’d like to say they were really cool in a pre-hipster sort of way but nyah, I bought the regular stuff not the niche. I had lots of Richie Rich comics, the story of the poor little rich boy. Though I did also have the english whizzer and chips with its stories of Mustapha Millions. Actually I did have a bunch of Captain America too. In later years I think I even have a complete run of the Babylon 5 comics. There’s a new book on gaming that came out a month or so back that looks rather interesting: Blood, Sweat and Pixels: The Triumphant, Turbulent Stories Behind How Video Games Are Made.

Other temptations include omnibus collections of the original Wonder Woman, Guardians of the Galaxy, and even a couple of books on Soviet bus stops. Every other week there seems to be a new omnibus featuring Captain America and The Avengers though the really big temptation at the moment is the Complete Collection of S.H.I.E.L.D. as I’m currently enjoying the 3rd season of Agents of SHIELD via DVD. Also glad to see that an omnibus has been released of the new Ms Marvel of which I’ve read the first couple of releases. I tend not to buy much in paperback these days and prefer to wait for the hardcover omnibus releases…afterall they look rather nice on the shelf and hopefully last a bit longer.

Haven’t bought any books so far but may revisit later in the evening.

playing with editions

I was a little late to the party on “Ready Player One” by Ernest Cline. It was first published in 2011 and I finally got round to reading it last year and the movie is coming out in 2018. It was a fun read full of 1980s pop culture references. I initially came across it because Subterranean Press released a limited edition in 2015 which quickly sold out.

Now I’m sorta wondering whether it’s worth grabbing a nice edition myself. The limited edition initially sold for US$75 from Subterranean Press and the cheapest I can find on abebooks is US$275 and they go higher, much higher. Curiously, I came across the first printing of the first edition on ebay and it was only US$125, however it’s not pristine and looks well read. I am amused the first edition is cheaper than the special edition. With that said, I’m not particularly interested in first editions myself (well unless they’re Biggles of which I have a bunch of first editions) and like to buy pretty editions, well bound with nice typesets.

A row of books on a shelf - Biggles.

It’d be nice to have a decent copy of Ready Player One but I reckon I’ve missed the boat and when the movie comes out next year, the prices will likely skyrocket. If I was in to making money, it might be worthwhile picking up a few copies now, even if they’re a little eccy and then sell them at substantial profit when everyone’s riding high on the movie release. But I’m not that sort of person and not into that whole investing thang. I like to buy nice books because I like to read nice books.

books ahead

2017 is shaping up to being an interesting year for special editions of science fiction and fantasy novels. I mostly like to buy nice editions of books in these fields, partly because I like pretty books and partly so that I can have something with better lastability than some of my increasingly dodgy paperbacks. Mostly I like the pretty. Also, I like reading books that feel nice in the hand and printed with good fonts.

In a comment on my privileged purchasing power (good job, no mortgage) I am starting to lose track of pre-orders for interesting things. I’ve long past the point of waiting for stuff to appear in bookshops. I am on the mailing lists for several speciality publishers in my favoured fields. This means I hear about books they’re planning, and when they’re likely to release. They usually allow you to pre-order titles too, plus some of their stuff never actually make it to bookshops these days, or at least not the special editions. I am a collector and an addict…I’m not sure which is the more prominent attribute.

Books I have pre-ordered:

  • Reaper’s Gale by Steven Erikson – this is book 7 of 10 of the Malazan series. These are some of the best books I have ever read…and I’ve almost read the entire series twice. The Subterranean Press edition is due for release in August 2017 and I have the first 6, all with the same numbered edition.
  • Abaddon’s Gate by James S. A. Corey – this is book 3 of The Expanse series, which has also been made into a TV show. Also published by Subterranean Press.
  • I think I’m waiting for one of Perth writer, Greg Egan’s, books from Subterranean Press, but it may already have arrived. I think I have all of his Subterranean releases now.

Books that aren’t available for ordering, or pre-ordering, yet:

  • The ‘Rynosseros Cycle‘ by Terry Dowling – I love this series much. Terry is a Sydney based writer and the Rynosseros books are based on a sort of futuristic dreamtime spanning across a couple of novels and groupings of short stories. PS Publishing, whom I rely on for special editions by Ian C. Esslemont, who is co-creator of the Malazan universe, have recently announced an Australian arm, and amongst other things, are planning to do a special edition edition of the Rynosseros Cycle
  • Dune by Frank Herbert – It looks Centipede Press are going to release special editions of all of 6 of the Dune novels. I already have a nice edition of Dune (and only Dune) by Easton Press but a Centipede Press edition is to die for.
  • Centipede Press are also doing a Masters of Science Fiction Series, for around US$40 per book. Two released so far:

I think I love Centipede Press the most. They do a lot of horror which I’m not really into. As an aside, there is a significant stream of dark fantasy and horror running through small press publishers in science fiction/fantasy these days. Each Centipede book is approached in a different way and a lot of ideas have gon5789252566_73f2641612_ne into the design and development of their titles. I’ve managed to score some very nice books either full price, or discounted including, in addition to the above:

…and it’s only March :)

Day 1 updates

I did indeed buy Rise of the Tomb Raider at lunch on first day of release and left work early to go home and play it. Got home, loaded it and then sat back while it started to download the 2GB Day 1 patch release. Thankfully I eventually realised that I could start playing without waiting for the patch to finish loading. One thing I like about modern gaming is being to play now and not have to wait for updates. I’m now most of the way through the game and generally loving it. Some nice story development and interesting puzzles.

This week, on day 1 of release, I bought the new Matthew Reilly, The Four Legendary Kingdoms. It’s also the fourth book in the Jack West series. I’m currently two thirds of the way through and looking forward to finishing it over the weekend. Trying to balance the new book, the new game, holiday preparations, and regular life is proving to be a little challenging at the moment :)

workspaces

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I’m one of those people who likes to have lots of personal things in my work space, dotted about. Things I can glance at and know I’m in my space. Mostly that means books and pictures; the pictures tend to be arty postcards and I don’t have photos of my partner and kids. For a while, when I was living across two houses with my partner I missed my books quite a bit. So I set up a shelf at work of some of my favourites.

On the left of the bookcase are a couple of books on the Voynich including a full facsimile, Le Code Voynich. Last year I think, I ordered an even nicer facsimile of the Voynich. Sitting next to them is a couple of museum guides to the Codex Leicester, also known as the Hammer Codex, by Leonardo Da Vinci. The original was bought at auction for 30 million USD by Bill Gates and he has occasionally lent it out to museums. The two guides include images of many of the pages and accompanying essays. Having liked the leather Voynich facsimile, I have recently ordered a facsimile of the Codex Leicester to go with it.

There’s also some stuff on Copernicus and steampunk, amongst other things. Pride of place on the right goes to Infocom including the full box for the Amiga version of Zork I and the paperback edition of The Lost City of Zork. Everyone should have a PEZ dispenser for their favourite superhero :) To the right of my screen, are a mix of postcards and posters, starting with a Smart image and come to think of it ending with a Smart image as well. There is a fold out poster of the Apple IIe keyboard which I picked somewhere or other. The first computer I learnt programming on was an Apple II so I’ve long had a soft spot for them.

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yet another sf list

SF books on a shelf

I posted a few years ago around desires to work my way through some of the top SF novels ever, the canon if you like. The hard bit is working out what the canon should and shouldn’t include and whether there is truly a universal approach. Many of the lists tend to focus on US and UK publications. This post points out that issue in its discussion of yet another list, this time it’s the list from World Without End. It contains lots of related lists and its main SF one contains 256 titles. Of those, I’ve read 79, or approximately 31%. Come to think of it, I’d read around 30% of the list I used in 2012 (32 out of 100). This new list contains a broader variety of titles and does manage to include a graphic novel, Watchmen, yet where is Saga? Is it more that graphic novels tend not to get counted in lists with novels…is the genre too segmented?

amibitions

I noted a week or so back that I had finally got round to beginning Gaiman’s American Gods. I started to regret this decision as filmfest started a day or two later; filmfest is a very bad time to read, many books have failed in this period. Curiously I find it difficult to return to books that I never finished due to other interruptions, books that have been aborted due to the demands of filmfest are never returned to.

Terry Pratchett’s The Lost Continent is a case in point. I had eagerly bought this the day the hardcover was released, on the eve of fest. I struggled valiant and made some progress but it was all for naught. My attention petered out partway through and it has sat on the shelf, unfinished, for nearly 20 years now. I try not to buy books during filmfest either but did notice the ebook of The Three-Body Problem by Cixin Liu had dropped to US$4.50 and that was too good a deal to resist as I’ve been meaning to pick it up for ages.

As for American Gods, I am successfully forcing myself to read a chapter a night. In some respects “forcing” is not quite the right word as it is a pleasure to read, and once started it’s very easy to flow with the story and I’m not about a third of the way through. Perhaps I can try The Three Body Problem after it, and part of me is tempted to re-read the entire Malazan series once more. And one day, perhaps, I’ll give the Last Continent another go.