The iconic list (or at least the starting point) for a definitive bibliography of all of the titles in the Ballantine Adult Fantasy series is the one by Lin Carter which appears as “Bibliography II” in his book Imaginary Worlds, published in June 1973, itself a volume of the series. Carter lists 57 numbered volumes of the series, as published from May 1969 through May 1973. The series would officially last one further year, bringing the official total to 65 volumes.
But Carter’s list, even when extended with the further official titles, doesn’t cover outliers that, for one reason or another, seem like they should be considered as part of the series. There are three main types of potential outliers—fantasies published by Ballantine 1) before the series; 2) during the series, and 3) after the end of the series. Carter began his Bibliography in Imaginary Worlds by listing sixteen such precursors, noting “they are all books I would certainly have urged Ballantine to publish.”
I will consider these sixteen titles first, and list them here with Carter’s numbering.
1. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Hobbit [published August 1965]
2. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring
3. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Two Towers
4. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Return of the King
5. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Tolkien Reader
6. E.R. Eddison, The Worm Ouroboros
7. E.R. Eddison, Mistress of Mistresses
8. E.R. Eddison, A Fish Dinner in Memison
9. J.R.R. Tolkien and Donald Swann, The Road Goes Ever On
10. Mervyn Peake, Titus Groan
11. Mervyn Peake, Gormenghast
12. Mervyn Peake, Titus Alone
13. David Lindsay, A Voyage to Arcturus
14. Peter S. Beagle, The Last Unicorn
15. J.R.R. Tolkien. Smith of Wootton Major & Farmer Giles of Ham
16. E.R. Eddison, The Mezentian Gate [published April 1969]
The J.R.R. Tolkien books (nos. 1-5, 9 and 15) were never published under the imprint of the unicorn’s head logo, but some of the others were.
|Seventh Printing: September 1973|
Of the E.R. Eddison books (nos. 6-8, and 16), the U.S. “Seventh Printing (September 1973) of The Worm Ouroboros is the only printing of any of the titles with the unicorn’s head logo. The first U.S. printing of The Mezentian Gate, however, is marked “A Ballantine Adult Fantasy” in small print running up the spine on the upper cover (it appeared in April 1969, the month before the series proper started). All four Eddison titles were advertised and sold in their Pan/Ballantine editions as part of the Pan/Ballantine Adult Fantasy series, though they did not have the unicorn’s head logo.
|Fourth Printing: September 1973|
Mervyn Peake’s books (nos. 10-12) have the unicorn’s head logo only on two U.S. printings of each of the three books: the “Fourth Printing: September, 1973” and the “Fifth Printing: January, 1974”. The Peake titles were not published in the Pan/Ballantine Adult Fantasy series, because the U.K. rights were held by another publisher, Penguin Books, who published editions of all three books in 1968, 1969 and 1970, respectively. The Penguin editions were reprinted a number of times over the next several years.
|Second Printing: April 1973|
Two U.S. printings of David Lindsay’s A Voyage to Arcturus have the unicorn’s head logo on the cover, the “Second Printing: April, 1973 (SBN 345-03208-X) and the “Third U.S. Printing: September, 1973” (SBN 345-23208-9). The Pan/Ballantine edition of March 1972 (SBN 345-09708-4) has the unicorn’s head logo on the front cover; the second U.K. printing from 1974 (330-24057-9) has not been seen.
|Fourth Printing: October 1972|
As for Peter S. Beagle’s The Last Unicorn, the unicorn’s head logo appeared on the “Fourth Printing: October, 1972”, probably on the “Fifth Printing: February 1973” [not seen], and definitely on the “Sixth Printing: September, 1973” and “Seventh Printing: February, 1974.” Also, the phrase “A Ballantine Adult Fantasy” appears in small print running up the spine on the upper cover, on the first printing (February 1969) through the third printing (November 1970).
|First Printing: February 1969|
The Ballantine edition of Peter S. Beagle’s novel A Fine and Private Place also preceded the series proper. It came out in February 1969, but that the author was Beagle and that the cover art is by Gervasio Gallardo make it of interest to fans of the series. Also, as with The Last Unicorn and Eddison’s Mezentian Gate, the words “A Ballantine Adult Fantasy” appear in small print running up the spine on the upper cover.
|First Printing: March 1969|
Carter’s list excluded his own Tolkien: A Look Behind “The Lord of the Rings,” “First Printing: March, 1969,” which came out just before the series started. It is not usually considered to be part of the series, but it is probably of interest to most fans of the series.
|First Printing: February 1971|
H.P. Lovecraft. Fungi from Yuggoth and Other Poems. “First Printing: February, 1971”
This is a retitling of Lovecraft’s Collected Poems (1963), as edited by August Derleth and published by Arkham House. The Ballantine Adult Fantasy series published other Lovecraft title, with cover art (as here) by Gervasio Gallardo.
|Second Printing: February 1971|
H.P. Lovecraft and August Derleth. The Survivor and Others. “Second Printing: February 1971” This title was first published by Arkham House in 1957, and Ballantine published a first printing in mass market paperback in August 1962. For this Second Printing, a new cover was commissioned from Gervasio Gallardo. That these stories are bylined as “by H.P. Lovecraft and August Derleth” is a fraud. They were entirely written by Derleth, who claimed them to be “posthumous collaborations” based on notes by Lovecraft, but these notes were (when discernable) minor idea fragments that barely resemble the stories Derleth wrote.
|Fourth Printing: November 1971|
Sometime, Never (“Fourth Printing: November, 1971”) was originally published by Ballantine in June 1957. It consists of three tales of “science Fantasy” by William Golding, John Wyndham, and Mervyn Peake. It was reprinted in September 1957, November 1962, and in November 1971 when it was given a new cover by Gervasio Gallardo. The classic Peake story, “Boy in Darkness,” and the Gervasio Gallardo cover make it of special interest to fans of the series.
|First Printing: November 1971|
Isidore Haiblum. The Tsaddik of the Seven Wonders. “First Printing: December, 1971”. This title is occasionally erroneously included in lists of the Ballantine Adult Fantasy series, but it had only one printing, and it never had the unicorn’s head logo on it. It is called by the publisher on the cover a Science Fantasy Novel. The cover art is by David McCall Johnston, who did other covers in the Ballantine Adult Fantasy series proper.
|First Printing: February 1972|
Lin Carter. Lovecraft: A Look Behind the “Cthulhu Mythos.” “First Printing: February, 1972” Of Carter’s three works of nonfiction published by Ballantine, his Tolkien book preceded the Adult Fantasy series proper, and his Imaginary Worlds book was included as part of the series. Why his book on Lovecraft was not included in the series is unknown, but beside Carter’s authorship, and the subject, the cover art is by Gervasio Gallardo, and these three points make it of interest to fans of the series.
Finally, the last of the outliers come from June to November 1974, and comprise two books published after retirement of the unicorn's head logo. These were originally intended for the series before it was cancelled. The first has a Carter introduction and the second completes a set of four begun during the series proper.
|First Printing: June 1974|
H. Warner Munn. Merlin's Ring. “First Printing: June, 1974” Munn’s book was clearly intended for the series, as it has the usual Lin Carter introduction proclaiming it to be in the series, and the wraparound cover art is by Gervasio Gallardo. It is among Gallardo’s very best. There remains a small white circle on the front cover, here filled with the words “First Time in Print” but which was likely intended to house the usual unicorn’s head logo. A volume of associational interest, Merlin’s Godson by H. Warner Munn, came out as a “Ballantine Fantasy” with a gryphon logo on the cover in September 1976. It contains two prequel novellas, “King of the World’s Edge” and “The Ship from Atlantis,” originally published in 1939 and 1967 respectively.
|First Printing: November 1974|
Evangeline Walton. Prince of Annwn. “First Printing: November, 1974” This is the final volume of Walton’s reworkings of the four branches of the Mabinogion. The first three were published as part of the Ballantine Adult Fantasy series proper, and doubtless the fourth volume would have been too, if the series hadn’t ended some six months earlier. And instead of an introduction by Lin Carter, Prince of Annwn has a puff piece from an article by Patrick Merla published in a November 1972 issue of The Saturday Review, that was also used to replace Carter’s introductions in the other three volumes as they had been reprinted. The cover art is by David McCall Johnston, who also did the cover art for the second and third volumes of Walton’s series.
|First Printing: July 1975|
Also of interest to readers and collectors of the series is the one-volume edition of William Morris’s The Well at the World’s End which was published in July 1975 (345244826 $2.95), and reprinted in May 1977 (now labelled a “Ballantine Fantasy Classic,” 0345272390 $2.95), which uses two panels of Gervasio Gallardo’s art from covers of the two volume edition.
Any one care to suggest other possibilities? Please do so in the comments below.