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Category: Rare SFF Page 1 of 2

The Stars My Destination

Hiya bookies, the tale of Kona the monster shepherd is coming, but first I thought you’d enjoy a look at another unusual SFF book. Or books, as the case may be. This time, Alfred Bester’s The Stars My Destination. Bester is probably known most famously for The Demolished Man, but if that is true then this is his second best-known work.

In 1979, Byron Preiss and Howard Chaykin teamed up to present a special edition of Bester’s classic work, that was supposed to be the first of two. Sadly, the second was never finished. The hardback in this three-part set was signed by both Preiss and Chaykin, as well as Bester, and was limited to 3000 copies. The one shown here is #1290. There was a softback version as well, but the small portfolio of three extra drawings is not usually seen anymore. They were easily lost, or perhaps framed (or thumb-tacked) on walls for decorations. At any rate the publisher was Baronet and the whole grouping came in a rather cheap cardboard slipcase.

WIZARD’S FIRST RULE by Terry Goodkind

Wizard’s First Rule by Terry Goodkind. Tor Books, 1994. Quarto hardback in full black paper boards. First edition identified by the standard Tor number line ending in ‘1.’

Goodkind’s first book is becoming a movie and its collectible value has skyrocketed in recent years. The book is well constructed even if no cloth was used on the spine. There are two signatures visible on the title page, the one simply simply ‘Terry’ is the one he said is the standard one he uses for signing books, while the full signature of Terry Goodkind is his normal signature that he rarely uses in books. He was impressed that I had a pristine copy of Wizard’s First Rule.

Dean R. Koontz HELL’S GATE

Hell’s Gate by Dean R. Koontz, Lancer Books, 1970. Paperback original. Koontz’s 7th book was typical of Lancer publications of the time, printed on cheap, high-acid paper, the cover held on by cheap glue that easily lets go. It is quite common to find Lancer volumes with the cover loose and the paper very browned. Note the small torn spot at the top of the spine: you find this a lot with Lancer’s of this era. Which is why, with a now-popular author like Koontz, these early editions tend to be pricey and with a premium on condition. They just weren’t built to last.


Monstrous Regiment by Terry Pratchett. Doubleday, 2003. The Australian First Edition is published by Doubleday, full black cloth boards, very well constructed with a sturdy paper stock. The signature is 2006, just before the news of his early-onset Alzheimer’s was leaked. He looked exhausted, but then, the following story should illustrate why.

The story behind this is that he appeared at MidSouthCon, I waited 2 1/2 hours in line, only to be told that he was due at a panel and could not sign again until that night. So we were given stubs and had to drive all the way back to the hotel, for me about a 45 mile round trip. But I did, and got the autograph.

What makes this rare is twofold: it’s a UK edition in the USA, and it’s signed. Given the obvious demand for his ultra-popular stuff, signed Pratchett material will only continue to escalate in value.


The Anvil of Ice, The forge in the Forest & The Hammer of the Sun by Michael Scott Rohan. All three published by Morrow, 1986, 1987, 1988 respectively. All octavo hardbacks. First editions noted by the usual Morrow method of number lines down to ‘1.’ Anvil has cream quarter cloth, brown paper boards. Forge & Hammer by have white quarter cloth with white boards. The paper is slightly better than average and not so prone to toning. First two have jackets by Kinuko Craft, the third is by Anne Yvonne Gilbert. They are all fairly heavy, noting good


STRANGER FROM THE DEPTHS by Gerry Turner. Doubleday, 1967. First edition statement, as typical of Doubleday title from this period. Boards are full light green cloth. The very attractive wrap-around jacket shows influences from the period, a psychedelic influence, and was done by Emanuel Schongut. A bit prone to leaning, pages are fairly resistant to toning except for the edges. No numbers for print run available.

ETERNITY ROAD by Jack McDevitt

The striking front cover portrays a post-Armageddon painting of Memphis, TN., my hometown, done by Joe Danini. The construction is a typical HarperPrism volume of the late 90’s, with a propensity for toning. Binding is quarter black cloth with red paper boards. First edition statement is a standard number line beginning with ‘1.’

The Wizard Children of Finn by Mary Tannen

The Wizard Children of Finn by Mary Tannen. Knopf, 1981. The first edition statement is the standard Knopf. Quarter cloth in purple, green paper boards. Cover price is $8.95. Author’s photo appears on the rear inside fold. All in all a fairly standard offering from Knopf of thie period, probably a little more attention to detail than most of its kind in this pre-Harry Potter ear when YA fantasies were not taken seriously.

Quite scarce in the early 21st century. The paper is of a medium weight stock but is fairly high acid. Toning would be common with this book.


Michael Chabon’s magnum opus is a bit better constructed than most Random House offering of the period. White cloth backstrap and paper boards, the wonderful cover is of a heavy stock that should wear well, but is a bit prone to nicks and wear spots. Still, it’s much better than most offerings. The double-sided copyright page is almost luxurious in this day and age.

First edition is indicated like any other Random offering of the day, with a number line ending in ‘2’ and the First Edition slug present. Page ends are deckled. I have put this under SFF but in reality it’s hard to categorize this one.

Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time Series- Part 2

The later books in Jordan’s series had much higher production values and are generally found in better condition than the early ones. Higher print runs undoubtedly contributed to this as the earlier volumes were passed around from friend to friend.

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