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Not a fanzine

I've received the latest catalog (#38) from Bob Brown and Associates -- a local book dealer. (So local that his shop is three blocks from here.) It's four sheets of paper folded into a chapbook, with the cover beige and the interior white. I always enjoy looking through Bob's catalogs both because he usually features old science fiction novels that I've never heard of and I guess because I just like looking at random lists of books.

Here's one I'd never heard of:

Bigley, Cantell. AURIFODINA OR ADVENTURES IN THE GOLD REGION. Baker & Scribner, NY, 1849. 1st ed. One of the earliest American Lost Race novels. [Description of book's condition deleted.] A scarce and important early American fantasy occasionally credited with helping to start the California Gold Rush.

I mean, who knew? I definitely didn't know that lost race novels started that early, but I suppose it just shows I don't know much about lost race novels.

Or this one sounds like a corker:

Olerich, Henry. A CITYLESS AND COUNTRYLESS WORLD, AN OUTLINE OF PRACTICAL CO-OPERATIVE INDIVIDUALISM. Gilmore & Olerich, Holstein, 1893. 1st ed.

"Gilmore & Olerich", eh? Self-published, then.

But then there's this:

Wentworth-James, G De S. THE TELEVISION GIRL. A NOVEL. Hurst & Blackett, London, 1928. 6th Thousand. [Description of book's condition deleted.] ... a very scarce SF novel about the fictionalized development of television.

Torn from yesterday's headlines, no doubt. The title reminds me of Amy Thomson's VIRTUAL GIRL.

In other news, Bob is offering a signed first edition of Stephanie Meyer's TWILIGHT for $1150.00. Copyright 2005. Most expensive single volume in the catalog. Can its value possibly appreciate over time? The mind boggles.

Comments

( 14 comments — Leave a comment )
(Deleted comment)
randy_byers
Jan. 24th, 2012 04:10 am (UTC)
So what kind of prices did you see on eBay? The internet certainly has made it harder to gouge, I'd think.
(Deleted comment)
fishlifter
Jan. 24th, 2012 10:27 am (UTC)
Bigley, Cantell. AURIFODINA OR ADVENTURES IN THE GOLD REGION.

Also, apparently, the first novel by a native-born American to be set in California.

Olerich, Henry. A CITYLESS AND COUNTRYLESS WORLD, AN OUTLINE OF PRACTICAL CO-OPERATIVE INDIVIDUALISM.

'... fairly vividly presents a highly organized Mars of Feminist interest, women there being financially and sexually independent of men.'

His other books 'fatally eschew narrative'.

All cribbed from SFE3. I'd certainly not heard of them before.

-- Mark

randy_byers
Jan. 24th, 2012 04:01 pm (UTC)
I'm surprised to hear that a novel called A CITYLESS AND COUNTRYLESS WORLD, AN OUTLINE OF PRACTICAL CO-OPERATIVE INDIVIDUALISM hasn't already left narrative at the station. It sounds like a political tract. However, I wouldn't have guessed that it was feminist, that's for sure.
kim_huett
Jan. 25th, 2012 12:30 am (UTC)
But didn't half the novels back then have ridiculously lengthy titles designed to fill up the frontispiece and make the novel sound more portentous? Of course you could argue that all of them left narrative at the station and you may well have a point.
richardthe23rd
Jan. 24th, 2012 05:27 pm (UTC)
I was about to ask, are first editions of TWILIGHT particularly scarce, or is it Stephanie Meyer's ink?

Edited at 2012-01-24 05:28 pm (UTC)
randy_byers
Jan. 24th, 2012 05:34 pm (UTC)
I wondered if the first edition of the first book was a smaller print run, since nobody knew how big it would be yet.
kim_huett
Jan. 25th, 2012 01:39 am (UTC)
You don't specify what format this first edition is but very likely it's a hardcover in which case the print run wouldn't be that large, less than 20K probably.
randy_byers
Jan. 25th, 2012 02:08 am (UTC)
Yes, a hardcover "fine in fine dust jacket".
kim_huett
Jan. 25th, 2012 02:26 am (UTC)
Given that hardcover publishers of fiction have only two markets, libraries and paperback companies wanting the rights, there is no great incentive to produce large editions. I wouldn't be surprised if the edition in question was a good deal smaller than 20K due to the shrinking library budgets.
kim_huett
Jan. 25th, 2012 02:23 am (UTC)
My assumption would be that lost-race novels began to appear quite early on as I imagine them being an offshoot of the travelogue book. Once the novelty of writings by the likes of Marco Polo & Sir John Mandeville palled and readers became more cynical about such efforts the obvious solution was to imply 'could be' rather than 'it is' and add a bit of action to the plot. The Bigley book is a contemporary of the Australian story, Oo-a-deen or The Mysteries of the Interior Unveiled (1847) by Anonymous by the way.
randy_byers
Jan. 25th, 2012 03:13 am (UTC)
Australia seems to have been ripe terrain for lost race stories.

Even things like Homer's Odyssey have aspects of lost race stories, in that Odysseus keeps encountering peoples who are alien to him and to his society. But it does seem as though the lost race subgenre is an outgrowth of the shrinking of the world in the great era of exploration.
kim_huett
Jan. 25th, 2012 03:39 am (UTC)
I'd lump Homer etc in with Polo and Mandeville as travelogue writers, no plot as such, just lots of descriptions of weird foreigners and their weird stuff. In regards to lost-race novels I think they're less about world shrinkage and more about the thrill of exploring. Setting the story somewhere still relativly unknown (Tibet, North Pole, Australia, Western USA) is mostly about not having to fit the adventure in with annoying facts.
( 14 comments — Leave a comment )

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