Maybe it was the cool cover. Maybe it was the Gene Wolfe cover blurb. I can’t say. But I wanted it. Real bad.
Of course, it wasn’t published yet. So I had to wait. I added it to my Amazon cart, where it sat. For months. The publication date changed a few times, and then Amazon slapped it with one of those “Currently Unavailable” warnings that are code for “We have no clue when it’s going to ship, dude.”
So I reluctantly took it out of my cart. But I still kept an eye out in bookstores. For years. It was a long, lonely vigil, like Penelope waiting for Odysseus. Exactly like that, now that I think about it.
There were false reports from time to time. Private sellers listed it on Amazon, but when I queried them they admitted it was “available for pre-order.” Bastards. Our own Brian Murphy, usually rock-solid reliable, even wrote a detailed review in July of 2010, the poor deluded fool. It’s sad what deadline pressure can do, I know. When I have to, I make up books to review too, I’m not throwing stones.
Then today I saw it listed for sale by the Book of the Month club. Yes, the Book of the Month club. That’s just weird. They don’t sell books that don’t exist, usually.
So I dug a little further. I discovered, to my astonishment, that Amazon.com had it listed. So did Barnes & Noble. Apparently it came out in 2010.
Excuse me? 2010?? How the hell did it get past me? I had, like, a dragnet the size of Rhode Island out for this book. I’m usually pretty plugged in to the publishing industry. Really. I’m connected, man. It hurts that this book managed to get past me. For two years.
I blame the publisher, because they’re small and I can pick on them. Prime Books, you owe me an apology. And maybe a cinnamon danish.
The Return of the Sorcerer: The Best of Clark Ashton Smith is edited by Robert Weinberg. It is 400 pages in trade paperback for $14.95 (or $13.99 in hardcover through the Book of the Month Club). It was published (allegedly) in September 2009 by Prime Books.