Book Pillage ’13


In what is quickly becoming an annual tradition, my Bride and I spent a day away from the kids. There’s some fantastic used book shops in the Madison, WI area, and so we headed there to see what we could see. We visited the old stand-by Half Price Books, but we also hit Frugal Muse, which we’d been to before. We also stopped by two new-for-us shops, A Room of One’s Own and Browzers. Oh, I wish I’d had a lot more time in the latter two, but we had a parking meter running (silly downtown parking meters!). At the end of the day, we had thirty-six books that were new to us spread out on the bed. And so many of them demand my attention. They look delicious to my imagination!

What books most caught my attention? Follow along after the break for some highlights…

Oh, the 1967 goodness!
Apparently by 1969, covers had evolved quite a bit!

These two probably excite me the most: Agent of T.E.R.R.A. #3: “The Emerald Elephant Gambit” and #4: “The Time Trap Gambit”, both by Larry Maddock. These look fantastic and fun: Hannibal Fortune goes back in time to prevent EMPIRE from mucking about in time and making everything worse for everyone except themselves. I found them in a $1 bin. They don’t appear on an Amazon search at all (which surprises me not a little).

I looked through the table of contents and couldn’t help laughing at some of the chapter titles: “Digression is the Better Part of Valor,” “Fortunately, There Seems to be a Hole in your Theory,” and “We Have Little Choice but to Give In to Temptation” are probably my favorites, but every chapter heading seems to be in that style, telling me I’ll likely love the tone of these books.

The plots themselves are also more refined than I would have expected. In book 3, Fortune must make sure an ancient good civilization falls to barbarians, because that’s how it happens in history. However, is ever a good thing to make sure the good guys lose, just to preserve your history? Book 4 has Fortune himself erased form history, which should provide for some fun time travel hijinks.

And then at the back of the book, the author provides a bibliography of where to go for more info on that time period! Nifty!

“I move away from the city to avoid the traffic jams, and now I have to deal with dragon poop on the highway… you just can’t win!”

I started to read Roadmarks by Roger Zelazny in… fifth grade? I never finished, and I don’t know why. And then it was gone. I’ve thought about it in the years since and have wanted to get to the end. I’ve looked for it in used bookshops for years… and today my Bride proudly brought it to me, having found it on the science fiction shelves, right where it should be.

Time is a road, and you can go anywhen on this highway, as long as you know how to get to it. Red’s driven the road for a long time… but now someone’s taken out a contract. They have ten legal chances to try to take Red’s life. And when assassins can come from anywhen and be anywhen… well, it makes for an interesting adventure.

I’m looking forward to revisiting and finally finishing this book!

Never mind me. I’ll just stand here and look cool until the dragon-thing eats me.
Just pose like this. No, I WANT to look like every D&D party ever created!

The back covers make this series sound like J. K. Rowling and C. S. Forester had a baby. Horatio Hornblower transported into a fantasy realm and rising in the ranks on a fantasy sea of dragonships? It’s like James Ward, the author, looked at my reading habits and said, “Well, if I mash it all up and make it cool, this is what it would look like.” So, another series I’m looking forward to diving into. Heck, the title alone to the first volume grabbed my attention: Midshipwizard Halcyon Blithe.

A 1971 cover…
…And by 1976, things look better!
And for volume 6, a giant floating head!

These aren’t novels. They’re collections of the Flash Gordon newspaper strip, which ran for… a really long time. Since 1934. There’s newer collections in swanky hardcovers, but I don’t have that kind of money. This will do for $1 each! The art is fantastic, and it’s old pulpy sci fi where the good guy wins and even gets the girl!

Not the most riveting of covers…

Hardinge wrote the amazing Fly By Night. On that alone I picked up this novel — hey, it was $2. I can take a risk for $2.

“Well, Larry, the title says something about a sword. Make sure you put a sword on the cover. What else? Eh, whatever.”

Lord Dunsany is one of the fathers of modern fantasy; without him, we wouldn’t have Tolkien. We have several collections of his works, but now we have one more. You want to read something that really is otherworldly? Check his stuff out.

Brood! Brood like you’ve never brooded before!

This just looks like fun. It’s your classic superhero world with superheroes of various powersets fighting supervillains of various powersets… when the zombie apocalypse hits. Sure, Marvel Comics did a pretty well-regarded take on this, but this story sets up that the heroes fight to protect one city. The sequel apparently shows them winning… and then things get really bad. The idea was enough to grab me.

Oh, look at that cute shepherd… wait, that’s not a shepherd’s crook. What you gonna do with that there funny hook there, mister? Why are you swinging it? Why are you swinging it at me?!

And this (autographed!) book presents an interesting idea. It’s the life story of the angel of death, from the fall in the Garden of Eden all the way until death itself dies. It’s clearly Christian in concept, and in the foreword the author presents himself as a relatively solid Christian. I’m not sure of the theology, but I have to admit: the idea has a lot of merit. The angel of death didn’t have that job until Adam and Eve fell, after all. What did that angel think of his new job? How does he handle it? Just a nifty premise, I think.

Now, that’s not the only books we got. That’s not thirty-six books, after all, though it is quite a few! I didn’t mention the graphic novels I picked up (though I’m looking forward to the authorized Something Wicked This Way Comes). I know Brandon would love for me to get poetic about the Jack Vance novels we found (Planet of Adventure books 2, 3, and 4). And we got a few advance proofs pretty cheap that look to be great, too.

The hardest part? Where do I start?

And do I have the courage and tenacity to finish the book I’m already in the middle of before digging into the new stuff?

4 thoughts on “Book Pillage ’13

  1. Finish the book I sent back to you first. 😛

    Oh, and that angel one? I’ll take that off your hands for a bit. 🙂

    1. I’ll re-hit the novel I’m writing starting maybe Sunday night. Not before then!

      And you’ll have to fight my Bride for yon angel one!

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