essentialsaltes: (shoot)
Stuff on ebay

Kinda interesting that the four books (from an estate sale a while back) are from four different specialty science fiction presses: Gnome Press, Fantasy Press, Prime Press, and Shasta Publishing.
essentialsaltes: (sad)
I gave up on this anthology of linked short stories about a third of the way into "Surface Tension", which "was among the stories selected in 1970 by the Science Fiction Writers of America as one of the best science fiction short stories published before the creation of the Nebula Awards." But I just couldn't cotton to the gimmick of little microbe-sized 'humans'. So sue me. I'll feel no regrets selling it on ebay.

At least there was an interesting idea that links the stories together. We normally think of terraforming: changing a planet so humans can live on it. The book is predicated on the idea of pantropy [Blish's neologism]: changing the humans so they can live on a planet.
essentialsaltes: (wingedlionbook)
Another find from the estate sale trove, this book from Gnome Press is a lot more successful than Address: Centauri. The main idea is sort of an inverse of the Prime Directive from Star Trek. When new civilizations gain spaceflight, there are two alternatives... either they make peace with the galactic sodality, or they have to be wiped out. Our Hero of the Star Fleet makes some sociological experiments to try to alter the ethical systems of pre-spaceflight systems, so that they will be friendly when the time comes. The novel is ginned together from a handful of short stories. The first section is strongest, as the idea is laid out and tested. The rest futzes around as the author gets paid by the word.

You can buy it, and or a couple other books I picked up, on ebay. But not The Moon Pool, because someone Bought It Now just a few hours after I listed it.
essentialsaltes: (pKD)
The Revenant of Rebecca Pascal, by David Barker and Wilum Pugmire is a sequel and/or analogue of "The Thing on the Doorstep". Set in the modern day, the story revolves around the occult descendants of Asenath's coterie of diabolists. There are some enjoyable elements, but the novella is a bit uneven, I (perhaps unfairly) hypothesize because of a mismatch between the co-authors and the story. There are some delicious passages of fin de siècle decadence, but they are out of place when juxtaposed with cell phones and almond lattes. And if Lovecraft's protagonists are way too apt to fall into a faint, the narrator here is curiously blasé about the contraventions of the natural laws of the universe that go on around him. But still much to like, including Erin Wells' evocative interior art.

In contrast, there is little to like at all about Address: Centauri, by F L Wallace. I only hope I can ebay this Gnome Press edition to turn a literary failure into a financial success (for me). Perhaps I was too influenced by Boucher's review quoted on the Wiki page: "pretty lifeless fiction, in which both prose and characterization emerge directly from the machine, untouched by human hands." But I read 20 pages, skimmed 20 more, and then gave up. Definitely a strange idea -- in a future where medicine has eradicated all disease, and mankind is all beautiful and smart and able-bodied, there is an asteroid, nicknamed Handicap Haven, where the most severe 'accidentals' are kept, more or less humanely. Bodies so transformed by accidents (since disease is nonexistent) that even super-medicine can't completely fix them. So by hook or crook, a motley band of 'disabled' people break out. On paper, I can almost make it exciting and socially relevant. But it just isn't, as far as I can tell with as far as I got.

In some way, it does bring to mind a certain historical mindset. The book is from 1955, before the space program, but I think there was already this idea that we were going to send our best and brightest into the test jets and rocketships. And then there is a definite echo of that as well in PKD, say in Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, where the best and brightest go to the offworld colonies to be saved, and the detritus left on a radioactive earth all look like Edward James Olmos.
essentialsaltes: (dorian Gray)
A couple scores from that estate sale the other week.

Who Goes There? is a collection of John Campbell stories (alas I don't have the dust jacket) from Shasta Press, one of the many boutique SF presses that sprouted up in the shadow of Arkham House, but didn't stay the course as well.

The titular story is notable, as it provides the bridge that connects Lovecraft's "At the Mountains of Madness" to John Carpenter's The Thing. Carpenter's film hews close enough to it that it's hard for me not to see the film in my eyes. Spoiler Alert! As in the film, Blair figures things out and decides to protect the world by destroying the magnetos in the airplanes. The film maybe has a stronger angle in that Blair is alone in his self-sacrifice. But the book's take is also interesting. One of the pilots goes out and comes back and says something along the lines of, "I didn't trust a biologist to do it right, so I destroyed the spares." Fatalistic Depression Era fucks!

All fairly good stories, though creaky with age, and a certain amount of "I, a man, must solve this problem with my man brain and my man science." Although the revelation and denouement is a little unbelievable, I did like the feel and mood of the first three quarters of "Dead Knowledge". As a spoileriffic (and less positive) link has it: "Three human star travelers have arrived at a new world 27 light years from earth, only to find that it once harbored intelligent, highly developed, humanoid civilization that is now dead. And, curiously, it's long dead residents have their bodies well preserved & they all apparently committed suicide!!"

The eerie sense of a dead world comes across nicely in Campbell's prose.

The Dolphins' Bell, by Anne McCaffrey

Set on Pern in the early days of human colonization, this short story tells of the evacuation of the Southern Continent, as dolphineers communicate with their dolphins to transport some of the material across the sea. And there's a love story. Um, between humans. It's sort of a by-the-numbers competent infilling of a lacuna in Pern history.

But the book itself is a lovely affair, published by Wildside Press with full art borders, and a couple full page illos by Pat Morrissey. Signed by McCaffrey. #386/400.

So.... it may be off to ebay with this one. Fortunately, I still have the signed Dragonsinger that I got at WorldCon, passing through a gauntlet of chaff from Prime and others.

In other news, I also won a nice auction of three Dunsany books from the 1920s. A first of Chronicles of Rodriguez, and reprints of The King of Elfland's Daughter, and Time and the Gods, all by Putnam in signed numbered editions (signed by both the Baron and Sidney Sime). It looks like all ten plates (and frontispiece) in Time and the Gods are signed by Sime.

essentialsaltes: (wingedlionbook)
Swann's auction catalog of Art, Press, & Illustrated books has some pretty unique things.

A curious edition of Flatland, published by the Arion Press, with an introduction by Ray Bradbury. It's printed on 56 accordion folded pages (so you can lay out the whole text... flat) and housed in an aluminum case.

If that's not wacky enough... The Robin Book:

If that's not pretty enough, then how about the Kelmscott Press (William Morris) Works of Chaucer:

If that's not racy enough, imagine having to compose a properly dry auction catalog entry for this:

"An unusual, unexpected, and very erotically graphic publication that touches on all manner of taboos and the employment of otherwise innocent items like pickles."
essentialsaltes: (unleash the furry)
A bidder with 0 feedback won two of my videogame auctions. During the auction, he cancelled a $90 bid on one of them, which is not a problem, other that it shows that he doesn't know what he's doing. After winning the two auctions -- he made several bids on that item, and only retracted one of them -- here are a selection of his messages over the next 6 days, each line a separate message.

I told uto cancel them
Im sorry but i dont want them i all hmhave them i for got to tell u i been so busy working sorry
U can sell them ti tge next person
I ma pay u for this next friday ok thanks
Cancel it mistakes rong system

At this point I cancel both auctions. Unfortunately, the bidder has to confirm the cancellation (to confirm that he hasn't paid money).

I told u next friday u blinde
Next friday
Friday. Ok
Cancel the shit

I started the cancellation process. You have to confirm it.

I did i check with paypal its ok

You have to confirm it on ebay. Check your messages From Ebay.

U have to do it i check

So I spent ten minutes on the phone with a nice gentleman at an Indian call-center, who seems to have sorted things out for me. Although he said that he was going to send a message to the bidder to explain the process, and that the bidder would have to confirm, I suspect he (mercifully) made the cancellation happen by fiat, because they were cancelled by the time I got off the phone and refreshed my account.
essentialsaltes: (dead)
Swann Galleries sent me the catalog for their upcoming autograph auction. One of the items really caught my eye.

Two Autograph Letters Signed, to President Garfield's private secretary J. Stanley Brown.

July 15: "Experiments made last night with Induction Balance very promising. Please send two bullets same size as that in President's body. Keep newspaper correspondents away from my laboratory if possible."

After the assassination attempt on President Garfield on July 2, Bell offered to help extract the bullet that was lodged in the President's back by means of an electro-magnetic device. By the time the device was ready for use, the President's physicians refused to allow it to be employed because of their patient's weakness.
essentialsaltes: (islam)
Some weeks back, I think [ profile] therrin started a thread about SF/noir detective fiction, and I recalled George Alec Effinger's When Gravity Fails and its sequels. The Wiki page mentioned a detail of which I was unaware: "Effinger started work on a fourth Audran novel, Word of Night, but died before that work was completed. The existing chapters of Word of Night are now available in the posthumously published Budayeen Nights, along with some other Budayeen and non-Budayeen short stories."

And so, a little ebaying, and here I am with an ex-library copy of the Golden Gryphon edition of Budayeen Nights. The foreword and story introductions are provided by Barbara Hambly, and they are (in addition to being useful and insightful) occasionally uncomfortably frank about his problems with alcohol and drugs, which he used to combat the physical and mental pain in his life. In volume 2 of things I didn't know, Hambly and Effinger were briefly married near the end of his life.

Despite that depressing lead-in, it's still delightful to hang out with Marîd again in his usual haunts, in and around the events of the existing novels, and also in one story set long after those events. Other stories don't feature Marîd, but are clearly in the same world, including the Nebula and Hugo winning "Schrödinger's Kitten" (which struck me as being merely great, rather than award-sweeping) and "King of the Cyber Rifles," which has more to offer than just the cleverness of the title.

"The City on the Sand" from 1973 is less interesting as a story than as a look into the proto-Budayeen, inhabited by proto-Budayeen characters and Effinger's stand-in, Sandor Courane. It helps to draw the line from what Effinger was up to in the 70s to When Gravity Fails. And the other bookend is a peek into the unfinished fourth novel, with what counts as a short story to set things in motion.

I had the great fortune to meet Effinger briefly, and express my admiration for his work, when I was a lowly gofer, helping out at the 1996 Nebula Awards, which were held at the Queen Mary. And while we're name dropping, Barbara Hambly was kind enough to come to the very first EnigmaCon back in 1987.
essentialsaltes: (wingedlionbook)
I got the latest Heritage book auction catalog yesterday, and was a bit sad to see that Krown & Spellman will be liquidating their collections over the next few book auctions. There's a nice encomium of the store and its owners, but apparently health reasons are driving the decision. Founded by UCLA grads, the store was originally in Westwood in the 70s. I remember their location at the 3rd Street Promenade, although just about everything they had was out of my range (and still mostly is!). Lovely old moldy books in Latin and Greek, but maybe even something in English, like Shakespeare's Julius Caesar, or Reginald Scot's skeptical look at the witchcraft craze: The Discoverie of Witchcraft. Oh sure, that's only a Third Edition from 1665, but still.

The catalog also noted, tantalizingly for me anyway, that Franklin Spellman has amassed a huge Lord Dunsany collection, which will appear in a later sale.
essentialsaltes: (Wogga Zazula!)
Buy my shit!

The item with the most sentimental attachment is by far the 3-DVD Criterion Collection edition of Brazil. But now I have it on Blu-Ray, so now's your chance. Some CDs, a few books, including the Radium Terrors, which you should not buy from me, because it is a bad book. Bad.
essentialsaltes: (Titan)
Carved meteoric glass:

Yog Sothoth in hematite:

Knife made from meteoric iron:

Oh, just a piece of the Moon:

California crystallized gold:

Game over man.

Guess how big that opalescent ammonite is. Go on. Guess.
essentialsaltes: (Agent)
Remember when I put together a little syndicate to try to win HPL's long-thought-lost essay on astrology commissioned by Houdini that might have once formed part of the never completed Cancer of Superstition? Naturally, I've always wondered what happened, and though there were vague rumors, now we know...

The MS is being sold off page by page on ebay.

essentialsaltes: (Nowtheysmell)
OK, having done what I can to replace my tapes or send them into oblivion, I offer the following tapes up for grabs to a loving home (preferably a nearby home whose occupant can obtain said tape in an orderly fashion at some point in the not too distant future, or arrange for some other means of hand-offage). I will entertain more distant offers, especially if postage bribes are offered.

Comment to claim your dibs. For timestamp purposes, LJ comments have priority over other modes of contact, even though this is simulcast in a couple places. I'll do my best to order the times fairly if there are conflicts.

-Little Women (version with Susan Sarandon, Winona Ryder, and Christian Bale) - this one actually has a modest amount of sentimental attachment, as Dr. Pookie won this VHS from the Daily Bruin in a contest. IIRC, she created sortofa pop-up book Winona Ryder who tore her bodice off when you pulled a tab in kindofa Little Women/Bram Stoker's Dracula cross-over.
-The Hunger, with quite a bit more of Susan Sarandon, as well as David Bowie and Catherine Deneuve.
-The Tale of a Vampire w/ Julian Sands
-Interview with the Vampire w/ Tom Cruise
-Mission Impossible w/ Tom Cruise
-Evil Dead
-Nat Lamp's Christmas Vacation
-Who Am I? w/Jackie Chan
-The Doors w/Val Kilmer
-Pulp Fiction
-Treasure of Sierra Madre
-Lone Star
-Demolition Man

-Betty Boop (60 minuts - 9 cartoons)
-Betty Boop: The Definitive Collection Vol. 2 - Pre-Code (108 minutes - 14 cartoons, and the closest you'll ever get to seeing Betty's tits. If it wasn't for that damned lei! Mustabeen toupee glue.)

-The Testament of Dr. Mabuse
-The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari
-The Phantom of the Opera (1925 with Chaney Sr.)
-Nosferatu (1922)

-Victor Borge Great Comedy Performances
-New Yoga w/ Kathy Smith
-Molly Fox's Yoga

-Real Genius w/Val Kilmer - alex victory
essentialsaltes: (Wogga Zazula!)
Mom is a big Lucille Ball fan. So I've occasionally poked around ebay looking for an autograph to get her for her birthday or Xmaholisolstizaah. Usually there are some crummy repro 8x10s and some expensive cancelled checks that look as snazzy as a cancelled check.

And then I found this. A bit pricey, but pretty awesome.

For the link-o-phobes, it's a program menu for FDR's Birthday Ball in 1944 for the benefit of the National Foundations for Infantile Paralysis, which FDR founded in 1938. It's now known as the March of Dimes.

Anyway, Lucy has signed it, as have

actors Walter Pidgeon & Brian Donlevy

John Russell Young – Chairman of the Birthday Ball Committee, member of the Board of Commissioners of Washington, DC.

Fleet Admiral William Leahy – At the time, he was the highest ranking member of the US military.

Brigadier General Albert Lyman Cox – The kind of guy who can't escape getting into the same biz as his father, a Confederate general. Cox went through Harvard Law, was elected to the House, and then appointed to the Supreme Court of North Carolina. Then in 1916, he resigned in order to serve in World War I. In 1938, he became commanding general of the National Guard in the District of Columbia.

The ebay listing then mentions 'and others'.

I managed to identify the two others:

Jose Iturbi - Spanish conductor, harpsichordist and pianist, also starring (as himself) in a few films, including Anchors Aweigh.

And the big find:
Read more... )
essentialsaltes: (poseidon)
Those of you who can get to me in meatspace have a shot at 3 things that didn't sell on ebay.

Terminator 2 DVD (Ultimate Edition)

The Thin Man DVD

Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon DVD

Reply here for dibs.

And in the not-so-free realm, if you're into classical texts, you can take a stab at the leftovers on ebay - 8 Greek and Latin texts, from Aeneid to Xenophon.
essentialsaltes: (Larpies)
My stuff.

It's delightful that a broken PS3 is worth $45. Still no bids on the Bradbury, though there is a silent watcher. Essentialsaltes' Law demands that Uncharted 3 will go up "a lot" [if you need a better prediction, it will go for more than Arkham City]. And some of the Loebs and other classical texts have watchers, so I'm hoping some bids will show up.
essentialsaltes: (essentialsaltes)
Buy my shit!

The dead PS3, some PS3 games, DVDs, books (including a signature from the late great Ray Bradbury) and some of Dr. Pookie's Loeb Classical Library texts.
essentialsaltes: (arkham)
Haven't seen this before... Someone on ebay is offering the yearbooks from HPL's sophomore and senior years (though Lovecraft ultimately saw something nasty in the woodshed, mercifully fainted and withdrew without graduating).

essentialsaltes: (PKD)
Jerry Weist's science fiction and fantasy art and book collection. Frazetta, Emsh, Virgil Finlay... I haven't even gotten to the books yet.


essentialsaltes: (Default)

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