Wednesday, April 25, 2018

My new book (and two others) from Nodens Books

I've just posted about three new releases from my Nodens Books imprint (for full descriptions see here). 

The first is an expanded collection of my own Late Reviews, from Wormwood and other sources, plus newly written ones.

Late Reviews, by Douglas A. Anderson
Hardcover edition ($35.00), sold only directly via Lulu, at this link.
Trade paperback edition ($25.00) sold via Amazon (and European affiliates) ISBN 9781987512564. at this link. at this link.
Trade paperback edition ($25.00) sold via Lulu, at this link.
Kindle edition, sold via Amazon and affiliates.

Here are a few blurbs which nicely describe the book's contents.
“Doug Anderson’s regular ‘Late Reviews’ column in Wormwood is a treasury of information and commentary on some of the rarest, most obscure and strangest books in our field.  It is infused by Doug’s shrewd and unflinching assessments; bad books are named as such, overlooked achievements are justly celebrated.”  —Mark Valentine, editor of Wormwood 
“In his wonderful ‘Late Reviews’ Doug Anderson boldly goes where few readers have gone before.  Rather than write about the familiar classics of fantasy and supernatural literature, he explores the genre’s back alleys and waste lands, rediscovering dozens of strange and strangely appealing titles, most of them half forgotten, if remembered at all. Who else has read Guy Ridley’s The Word of Teregor and John William Harding’s A Conjuror of Phantoms and Erica Fay’s The Road to Fairyland or, it would seem, the complete works of Anthony Dyllington, author of The Unseen Thing? When Doug praised the wit of  Alexander de Comeau’s Monk’s Magic—and likened it to Mervyn Wall’s The Unfortunate Fursey—I immediately went searching for a copy.  Far more than just a collection of  essays, Douglas A. Anderson’s Late Reviews is a valuable reference, a guide for the curious reader and, not least, a source of rare literary entertainment.” —Michael Dirda, Pulitzer Prize-winning critic and author of Classics for Pleasure and On Conan Doyle
Tolkien figures in a few of the reviews, e.g. of Guy Ridley's The Word of Teregor, a short novel about sentient trees, with names like Enteth, who gather together in moots! (A new edition will be published shortly.)  Other authors covered range from Arthur Ransome to Tod Robbins and Phyllis Paul.  Some unpublished works are reviewed tooby Robert Aickman, L. Frank Baum, Roger Lancelyn Green (The Wood That Time Forgot), Bob Leman, David Lindsay (The Witch), E.H. Visiak, and Colin Wilson.  

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Canadian Printings and the Ballantine Adult Fantasy Series

Initially I thought this particular topic of study was going to be more difficult than it turned out to be. There are some anomalies (like the Canadian printing of Dunsany’s King of Elfland’s Daughter that was distributed in England and in Canada, see here, scroll down to the second scan), but such anomalies turned out to be the exceptions rather than the rule. 

Basically, what seems to have happened is that as most of the titles were printed (or in some cases, reprinted) in the U.S., there were copies printed in Canada nearly simultaneously for the Canadian market. There may have been some legal necessity for this to do with place of printing. The U.S. and Canadian printings are virtually identical, save for the fact that the line on the U.S. copyright page that reads “Printed in the United States” has been removed and replaced with a line reading “Printed in Canada” (this line is often in a different font, and sometimes in italics).

I show one example here, for The Water of the Wondrous Isles by William Morris. First is the U.S. cover spread, and underneath that the Canadian one.  Below the covers is the U.S. copyright page, and finally the Canadian copyright page.

U.S. cover spread
Canadian cover spread
U.S. printing, copyright page
Canadian printing, copyright page
Thanks to Trevor Livelton and the long-time bookseller Grant Thiessen (of BookIT Inc., formerly Pandora’s Books) I can say that the bulk of the Ballantine Adult Fantasy series had their own Canadian printings.  The following is a chronological list of the thirteen titles for which I currently have no confirmation of Canadian printings, plus one title with a Canadian printing associated with its U.S. Second printing. If any reader of this blog has any of the below titles in Canadian printing and can supply scans of the covers, title and copyright pages, I’ll be grateful. Contact me at nodens100 at gmail dot com.

Pratt, Fletcher. The Blue Star (US May 1969)
Morris, William. The Wood Beyond the World (US July 1969) [Note: There was a 
second US printing in January 1974, and there is a confirmed Canadian 
printing of the US second printing, with appropriate price and ISBN.]
Cabell, James Branch. The Silver Stallion (US August 1969)
Carter, Lin, ed. Dragons, Elves, and Heroes (US October 1969)
Carter, Lin, ed. The Young Magicians (US October 1969)
Bok, Hannes. The Sorcerer's Ship (US December 1969)
MacDonald, George. Phantastes (US April 1970)
Carter, Lin, ed. Golden Cities, Far (October 1970)
Chesterton, G. K. The Man Who Was Thursday (US July 1971)
Carter, Lin, ed. The Spawn of Cthulhu (US October 1971)
Bramah, Ernest. Kai Lung's Golden Hours (US April 1972)
Machen, Arthur. The Three Impostors (US June 1972)
Bramah, Ernest. Kai Lung Unrolls His Mat (US February 1974)
Dunsany, Lord. Over the Hills and Far Away (US April 1974) 

The possible reasons that there were no Canadian printings of these titles seem to be come down to two different situations.  The first being for reasons of copyright. Through at least the first half of the twentieth century it was common for Canadian publishing rights to be partnered with United Kingdom (or Commonwealth) rights.  By the 1960s this was changing.  The second situation might have something to do with the changes of ownership at Ballantine Books itself, and its relationship with publishing partners.

The copyright situation is perhaps the more easily discussed.  Grant Thiessen, as a bookseller in Canada in the 1970s, reports that the prevailing wisdom was that the Chesterton and the Machen titles were never distributed in Canada.  And neither were they distributed in the U.K, where copyright then existed for the life of the author plus 50 years.  Chesterton (who died in 1936) and Machen (who died in 1947) were still in copyright in the U.K., while the copyright situation in the U.S. was very different (based not on the author’s lifespan but the work’s year of publication, and subsequent renewals), leaving both The Man Who Was Thursday (originally published in 1908) and The Three Impostors (originally published in 1895) in the public domain in the U.S. The same situation is the case with the two books by Ernest Bramah (who died in 1942), Kai Lung’s Golden Hours (originally published in 1922) and Kai Lung Unrolls His Mat (originally published in 1928). It is worth noting that neither of the Bramah books had U.K. editions in the series. That covers four of the titles given above.

The remaining titles, or at least some of them, may have lacked Canadian editions due to changes in ownership and methods of management at Ballantine Books.  The firm was founded in 1952 by Ian and Betty Ballantine, but they sold it in October 1968 to Intext, the International Textbook Company of Scranton, Pennsylvania, in a deal by which Ian and Betty Ballantine remained in control. A number of the preliminary books published by Ballantine after Tolkien in 1965 and before the Adult Fantasy series proper began in May 1969, did have Canadian printings, but there were no further Canadian printings by Ballantine after the sale in October 1968, until they resumed printing operations in Canada sometime around the Spring of 1970 (April 1970 is the date of the first known Canadian printing of Cabell’s Figures of Earth). This might explain why some five or six books from 1969 have not been seen in contemporary Canadian printings. [For more on this, see the Appendix below.]

The 1974 Dunsany title Over the Hills and Far Away was the final title of the series (published two months, rather than the usual one month, after the previous book).  The series was probably cancelled by that time, and possibly a Canadian printing of the final title was nixed as well. The last known Canadian printing of the series is of the “Second Printing: January, 1974” of The Wood Beyond the World  by William Morris. 

MacDonald’s Phantastes and Carter’s The Spawn of Cthulhu don’t fit with either of the proposed scenarios.  Perhaps they had Canadian printings as yet unconfirmed, or perhaps they had different reasons for not being printed in Canada (e.g., Carter’s contract for The Spawn of Cthulhu may not have allowed for foreign sales; the book in fact did not have a U.K. edition). 


Another way to look at this is to consider all of the Ballantine Adult Fantasy series titles published between April 1969 and June 1970, and consider what we know about Canadian printings: 
May 1969. The Blue Star, by Fletcher Pratt
June 1969. The King of Elfland's Daughter, by Lord Dunsany  [Canadian printing, 
            for the U.K. as well as Canada, dates from May 1971]
July 1969. The Wood Beyond the World, by William Morris [Known Canadian
            printing associated with the U.S. Second Printing of January 1974, which
            has a different price and ISBN from the July 1969 printing.]
August 1969. The Silver Stallion, by James Branch Cabell
September 1969. Lilith, by George MacDonald [Known Canadian printing 
             associated with the U.S. Second Printing of September 1973, which 
             has a different price and ISBN from the September 1969 printing.]
October 1969. Dragons, Elves, and Heroes, ed. by Lin Carter
October 1969. The Young Magicians, ed. by Lin Carter
November 1969. Figures of Earth, by James Branch Cabell [A later U.S. printing 
gives the date of April, 1970, for the first Canadian printing, which is five 
months after the first U.S. printing.  Thus April 1970 is the first attested 
date for any Canadian printing.]
December 1969. The Sorcerer's Ship, by Hannes Bok
January 1970. Land of Unreason, by Fletcher Pratt and L. Sprague de Camp 
            [Canadian printing attested but undated.]
February 1970. The High Place, by James Branch Cabell  [Canadian printing 
            attested but undated.]
March 1970. Lud-in-the-Mist, by Hope Mirrlees [Canadian printing attested 
            but undated.]
March 1970. At the Edge of the World, by Lord Dunsany [Canadian printing 
            attested but undated.]
April 1970. Phantastes, by George MacDonald
May 1970. The Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath, by H. P. Lovecraft  
           [Canadian printing attested but undated.]
June 1970. Zothique, by Clark Ashton Smith  [Canadian printing attested but