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Vintage Treasures: Charles de Lint’s Wolf Moon, and a Tale of Roving Booksellers

Sunday, April 27th, 2014 | Posted by John ONeill

Wolf Moon Charles de Lint-smallIt pays to know excellent booksellers.

On Tuesday, Rich Warren, co-owner of Starfarer’s Despatch, posted a pic of Charles de Lint’s 1988 Signet paperback Wolf Moon on Facebook and later this brief review:

What a blast. Just finished this one this morning. A tale sympathetic to the Werewolf, and told from his point of view. I know there are De Lint fans who enjoy his urban fantasy (Newford) more but the great writing is still present in these older fantasies.

My comment was concise, but completely heartfelt: “I need this book! Rich, sell me one!”

I meant it, too. Wolf Moon was reprinted in 2004, with a generic urban fantasy cover, but the 1988 paperback original, which boasts a fabulous cover by Dean Morrissey, showing a werewolf relaxing in The Inn of the Yellow Tinker, is much harder to come by.

Three days later, I returned from my business trip to Las Vegas. I drove straight from the airport to the Westin hotel in Lombard, Illinois, and arrived shortly before the Dealer’s Room closed at Windy City Pulp and Paper, one of my favorite local cons (the write-up I did on last year’s is here). I wasn’t in the room five minutes before I heard a friendly voice calling my name: Arin Komins, Rich’s wife and the other half of the splendid enterprise that is Starfarer’s Despatch.

“We have a book for you,” Arin said. We found Rich and, sure enough, he pulled a beautiful, unread copy of Wolf Moon out of his backpack.

I was stunned. “What, you’ve just been carrying around a copy all week, on the off-chance you’d run into me?” They just laughed and told me they figured the odds of seeing me at Windy City were good. “But I don’t want to buy your only copy, especially if you really liked it,” I objected.

But Rich waved that off. “I have a few in stock.”

The price for this hard-to-find, pristine, 26-year old paperback, hand-delivered to me by roving booksellers? $3 — less than the original cover price.

I’m sure I don’t need to belabor the point here, but this is why it pays to support small, independent booksellers. Perhaps your local bookshop doesn’t provide the extraordinary service Starfarer’s Despatch does, but I’m sure they’re wonderful in their own way. Believe me, it’s worth your while to help keep them in business. And if you’d like to experience the magic of Starfarer’s Despatch for yourself, they do a brisk business online. I can’t promise you’ll get all your books hand-delivered (especially if you don’t live near Chicago), but I can promise you’ll thank me later.

Wolf Moon was published by Signet in August, 1988. It is 252 pages in paperback, originally priced at $3.50. The cover is by Dean Morrissey. I bought my copy for $3 and it is gorgeous — click on the image to see it up close.

3 Comments »

  1. I remember reading this back in middle school and the sole reason I picked it up was because of the werewolf casually sitting in the tavern. It didn’t turn out to be what I expected, but I enjoyed it a lot.

    Comment by Laurie Tom - April 27, 2014 2:59 pm

  2. You’re correct about knowing a good bookseller. I was at a convention a number of years ago now (Apollocon? Armadillocon?), and was looking for a particular anthology. I didn’t see it on the table of a particular dealer I’d bought from for years and asked him about it.

    His reply was “I have a copy of that for you somewhere.” He then proceeded to pull one out from under the table.

    I hadn’t contacted him in advance about the book, but he knew my tastes well enough to know I would be interested in the book. That’s good customer service.

    Comment by westkeith - April 27, 2014 10:20 pm

  3. That’s a lovely inventory they have there. Nice selection of Leigh Brackett. Something to look forward to for when I pick up a couple more paying students. Thanks for pointing us all their way!

    Comment by Sarah Avery - April 30, 2014 10:12 pm


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