Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Missing Tomes of Doom

Most Robert E. Howard fans in my generation cut their teeth on the Ace editions of the 12-volume Conan collection, the ones that included the superb Frazetta covers. Purists these days sometimes turn their nose up at these Conan paperbacks. The original pulps are much more valuable to collectors and the newer editions have excised the de Camp/Carter alterations to REH's work. But I treasure my Ace editions. I was cleaning up my game room a bit and reorganizing my trashy paperback section when I discovered that I own only nine of the 12 Conan volumes. I know I read all 12 as a lad, but apparently I borrowed my friend David's copies of volumes 6 through 8. So yesterday over lunch I ran over to the two downtown bookstores. No luck in nabbing more Conan, but I didn't come back to the office empty-handed. Main Street Books had some stuff and unlike most of my encounters with them, it wasn't all horribly overpriced. I got Perry Rhodan #1: Enterprise Stardust and Fritz Lieber's Ill Met in Lankhmar each for a buck! And my search for Howard stories was not completely in vain, as they had Black Vulmea's Vengeance, an age-of-sail pirate yarn by REH, for a meager sum. I haven't read Vulmea yet, but I have no doubt that Howard plus pirates equals awesomeness. I almost bought John Boorman's novelization of Zardoz, but that would have put my total in the range when I no longer consider it an impulse buy. Maybe next time.