Quality books

Phases of Gravity

Phases of Gravity

There is something special about a book, and there is something very special about a quality printed book. The type is dark and sharp and the acid-free paper has a special feel to it. I have a growing library of books that is gradually taking over the house. When I have a choice and can afford the better book, I will always buy the quality choice. I favor books from these four suppliers: Franklin Library (no longer in business), Easton Press, the Folio Society and Subterranean Press. This post was inspired by the receipt yesterday of  Phases of Gravity by Dan Simmons from Subterranean Press. Originally published in 1989, the book was republished in 2011.

It is possible to buy directly from the publishers, except for Franklin Library. However, I also shop for bargains at Amazon and eBay. Just search for the preferred publisher and prepare to be surprised at the results. I particularly enjoy classics like Anthony Trollope and Joseph Conrad from the Folio Society, and Joe Lansdale, Dan Simmons and Cage Baker from Subterranean Press.

Please see Dan Simmons | Trigger

China Mieville

Cover of "Perdido Street Station"

Cover of Perdido Street Station

China Miéville is another of my favorite authors of science fiction. His science fiction combines elements of fantasy on an alternate earth in a city, New Crobuzon, which seems to be based on an alternate London. Miéville’s premier work is not an easy read. Perdido Street Station is a huge structure, a railroad terminal, a shopping hub and in a tower it is the seat of government. New Crobuzon is ruled by a mayor who is the dictator of that world’s largest city and surrounding territory. There are humans and many other species, some very exotic, living in relative harmony within the city. Punishment for crime often involves surgery, replacing natural body parts with man-made parts. Those persons are referred to as the “remade.” For example, a criminal might lose a natural limb and have it replaced with something grotesque. A heart might be replaced with a steam engine.

Once you have learned the lay of the land and how China’s mind works, his fiction is fascinating. I am looking forward to his next book, Railsea, scheduled for release on May 15, 2012. I have already pre-ordered it from Amazon. Among the books he has already written and I have read them all, my favorite is The Scar. It may be the easiest one to understand although nothing is as it seems. There are wheels within wheels within wheels. The Scar takes place mostly on a floating island composed of derelict ships lashed together and towed from place to place. Some of the derelict ships are recognizable from our world, including the Titanic. If you have not yet discovered China Miéville’s work, prepare to be challenged and delighted.

I have decided to part with my autographed trade paperback copy of The Scar for $40 US postpaid within the US. I am going to upgrade my collection to an autographed copy from Easton Press. If interested, please contact me at walthe@aol.com.

Please see Semantics