Friday, April 26, 2013

Forgotten Realms: The Harpers

     The Harpers was one of my favorite book series of all time. Its no secret: Im a AD&D junkie from way back. An ultra nerd if you will. I played every campagin you can think of, and no setting was off limits. The Forgotten Realms paved the way for my imagination and addiction to High Fantasy. It was not until just this year I got all 16 of The Harpers in one place, including the very well known Finders Trilogy. (or Finders Quartet!)
    So basically every well known Forgotten Realms author got a crack at writing a Harpers novel, the opoular ones were reprinted, and the later ones were reprinted as stand alone novels. (12-16) The copies I have from 12-16 are the reprinted ones. The list of the books are located here. Hard to find all these books in one place, for sale or otherwise. Now to the good bits.
     Some of the better books in the Forgotten Realms universe are some of the firsts. The Azure Bonds trilogy written by Kate Novak and Jeff Grub, employees of TSR and co-creators of the universe itself, was arguably the better of most fantasy books written at the time. Several popular video games were made about this series in the 80's and early 90's. The fourth book in the series, The Masquerades was written many years later when the original authors had 'a crack' at writing a Harpers novel. It's what the fans wanted, and was the perfect ending to a perfect series within-a-series.
Screen shot of the computer game, with Alias' tattoo. I did not take this picture obviously.
The Tattoo as depicted in the book. 
 I love maps, so took a few pictures of the maps on the first page.

Xanth Oddities, Part 1 of.. a lot.

     There are enough Xanth oddities to do several parts, so if there are some fans out there I'll do another one down the line. What you see above is Jody Lynn Nye's choose your own adventure-like books about Xanth. Yes, they are licensed and considered cannon in the series. I'll take this time to apologize for the "warm" look to the pictures, I installed new lighting in the house and it takes a while to get real bright.

     So you play these books a bit different than a normal book of it's type. In this case, you basically get a pre-filled out character sheet that you can change some of the stats, and those are explained in the first few pages. There are places where you can write and so on to keep track of your hit points. I tried to read one of these as research for this little article, but kept hitting the Kill Pages...

 Harpy Tits! and the Question Hand?

 Happy Stump and the first edition of the Xanth Map.
     Like I was saying, when you hit a kill page, typically they had some photo copied looking art, ironically by the same person who illustrated the Visual Guide... and written by the same lady as well. Surprise!

     This is my second copy I actually ordered from 1-800-hipiers, the phone number listed in all the early authors notes. Piers' author's notes tend to be almost a chapter long by themselves.

     A little bonus; I was taking pictures for this post and realized that the two Crossroads books were signed by Jody Lynn Nye. Pretty neat! My mom bought these off eBay for me years ago, so I'll take the time right now to thank her for these yet again. Thanks mom.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Favorite Asimov Cover Art, and Update

   These are scans from my image database. I may have scanned them in five years ago, and they still hold up pretty well. That aside, these printings of the foundation trilogy are some of my favorite covers ever. The geometric shapes, the symbolism, it's amazing.

     Quickly, I'll be updating with a new book case collection overview/retrospective in the morning. It's just too late to think straight, and I've had a couple beers which makes increases the difficulty of this post by a factor of.. five.
 Till tomorrow.

Monday, April 8, 2013

I bought a couch... and found some books.

     But first.. I have to run out and buy some furniture. I know, don't tell me, its boring. I have said several times before, I hate buying anything new. By that I mean I dont like to spend money on anything at all. I'm cheap, I save everything, and always try to get the best deal. My cat Artax, named after the horse in Neverending Story, tore up our old couch and the time finally came where I could not listen to the wife complain about it anymore. She deserves a couch after all, and so does this guy:

     He loved it. My son likes a good piece of furniture and pretty much sold it for me. Some haggling and price reductions, toss in the matching chair for a little bit extra and I caved, and my wife signed. Secretly my thoughts drifted to beer and books, two of my favorite things and I hurried home and took some pictures.

     The story goes like this: I bought these books at the Flea Market after working overtime on a Saturday merchandising grocery stores on easter weekend. I never took any pictures because I really didnt see anything that was new or stood out. We drank a beer, got some books and tore ass out of there. Upon further inspection I didnt do too bad!
     The winner of the day was the first edition George R.R. Martin book, A Song for Lya. Games of Thrones being as big as it as, this book goes for about $50 on ebay all day long. Nice score! The rest of the books are nickles and dimes ($5-10) with the Mine to Mind book selling for about $20. I think I bought these at the six-for-five book place, so thats a pretty awesome score for the money spent! I swear I could do this for a living. As with most TV ads, wait, there's more!

      Ladyhawke! A great movie with a great retro music score. I have a copy of this book already, but love the movie so much I could not resist. I opened up the book to find a cut out of an 80's TV guide advertisment with TV listings for the Boston/Metro area. Cheesy pictures? Of course. Worth anything? Of course not, but it's priceless to me.


Thursday, April 4, 2013

Piers Anthony & Xanth Edition Variation

     At one time in my life I really enjoyed Xanth books. It was around middle school to early High School when I mostly stopped reading them altogether. The damage was done. The puns and sexual innuendo of the fantasy realm enchanted my young mind. Being that the majority of the Xanth novels started in the 70's and 80's, cover variations were pretty unique, and sometimes not-so. Exhibit A: Ogre, Ogre.

     The color of the books is not a product of fading, it's just what happens between printings. Typically the covers get lighter as the printings run on. Only one of the above is a first edition (I'll let you decide). Typically there will be a blurb of some sort over the cover art saying, "A Xanth Novel", or "A New Xanth Novel!", or the like. I hate the blurb like I hate herpes. It just ruins the great art on some of these older books.

     I just realized how boring this post is so i will quickly end it with this: Collecting variations of book printings is nearly impossible and has no real value. What is written inside is still the same, you wont be missing anything, and really its just tough to do. My advice is to just get the first edition if you want it and always keep your favorite books that you read the first time. If you can't find the first edition, use that money to buy beer.. or herpes medication.

Jared's Collection Update

          My brother likes him some Mack Bolan. What a collection! I wonder how many people have half this many. I'll do a google search later and check it out. He then sent me this a few days later on Facebook: