Tuesday, July 18, 2006

son of trashy paperback round-up

I hit the downtown Champaign used book stores today, my list of Sword & Planet books firmly in grasp. I found many more such novels than I could possibly buy or read, so I limited myself to the cheapest available. I spent two whole dollars on another Burroughs' Mars story and found one of his Venus series as well. At Main Street Books I would have liked to have purchased one of the works of Burroughs' hated rival, Otis Adelbert Kline, but they were priced for collectors. I ain't paying ten bucks for less than two hundred pages of some guy swording martians. However I did buy two more Lin Carter books despite yesterday's comment about not wanting to buy a second of his books until I had read one. For less than a dollar each, I just couldn't pass up the opportunity.

Two of the books I ended up getting almost didn't make the cut based on cover art alone. Balzan of the Cat People #2: The Caves of Madness by Wallace Moore and Dannus #3: The Caves of Reglathium by Mike Sirota have just godawful cover art and logos. My rather philistine tastes in fiction are pretty embarrassing as it is, but I'd actually think twice before reading these books in public! I've never felt that way about any Conan books, despite the fleshtastic Frazetta art. The only thing that saved these puppies was the word "caves" in both titles. As a big Dungeons & Dragons geek I have to give some consideration to the possibility that some part of these novels will be set in an underground edifice full of monsters, deathtraps, and treasure. I'd put up cover art for you to gawk at, but Blogger stopped cooperating with image uploads at some point after I loaded the picture below.

Jane Addams also had a large quantity of the Dray Prescott series, the single longest Sword & Planet series I know. But at 4 bucks a copy those would have to wait for another day.

Erin Gray, space babe, and some guy.In addition to Sword & Planet goodness, my eye caught a copy of Philip Francis Nowlan's Armageddon 2419 AD, the original Buck Rogers novel. Although I managed to get this book for only a buck seventy-five, I'm a little dubious of the fact that this particular edition has been "specially revised and updated for the modern reader by noted science fiction critic and Hugo Award winning author, Spider Robinson". Isn't he the guy responsible for Callahan's Crosstime Saloon? Has adventure fiction degenerated to the point that a guy who writes about space pubs is the go-to man for this job?

The final book in today's grab-bag is War-Gamers' World by Hugh Walker. Turns out this is a gimmick book of sorts, as the World in question really was designed by a group of German fantasy wargamers called FOLLOW. According to the preface this group has been developing the Magira setting since 1967. Does anyone know anything more about these fellows? Where they minis players or did Germans invent D&D before Arneson & Gygax and I never heard about it? So far googling this stuff has lead to dead links and pages that only sprechen the deustch.