From the Library of Terry Carr: Here’s Your Chance to Own a Piece of Science Fiction History
A few of the (mostly new) Terry Carr anthologies you can buy on eBay for $3 each
Terry Carr is widely respected today, nearly four decades after his death, for his legendary work as a science fiction editor. He assembled some 70 anthologies in a career spanning over twenty years, including the highly respected Universe series (17 volumes), Fantasy Annual (five volumes), and the career-defining Best Science Fiction of the Year (16 volumes), which may well be the finest Year’s Best anthology series ever printed.
But he also edited an impressive number of standalone anthologies, both original and reprint, most of which are long out of print and long-forgotten. I’ve gradually taken an interest in them, starting with Creatures From Beyond, which I read in junior high, and I recently started collecting them more seriously
Last month I stumbled on a bookseller offering a fabulous collection — and I do mean fabulous — at ridiculously low prices on eBay. After I purchased a few dozen, we struck up a conversation. Just where on Earth, I humbled asked, did he find such a vast collection of virtually brand new 50-year-old anthologies by Carr, Robert Silverberg, Damon Knight, Michael Bishop, Groff Conklin, and others? Simple enough, he said. They had all originally belonged to Terry Carr.
[Click the images to gawk at life-size versions.]
Some of the books I purchased from grant45 last week
The seller was Grant Canfield, who sells on eBay under the name grant45, with an eBay store called Grant’s Bookmobile.
Here’s how he answered my question.
Terry & Carol [Carr] (& later Robert) were all good friends of mine. I attended New Year’s parties at their house from 1/1/1977 through 1/1/1987, which was the last one before Terry died in 1987. I continued my friendship with Carol until her death (9/1/2021), & with her husband Robert, himself a well-known SF fan & fanzine collector, until he passed away, too, on July 6, 2022.
On behalf of Robert’s sons, the main inheritors of the Carr/Lichtman estate, my friends Patrick Mason & Rebecca Kurland became executors of the estate, which, as you can tell, contained a LOT of books. (Also fanzines, but all 10 file cabinets of those wound up being bought by one collector.)
Patrick & Rebecca were somewhat daunted by the size of the collection, but as a lifelong SF reader, fan, collector, & now bookseller myself, I helped them locate a local book dealer who bought the bulk of the collection, including a lot of pulp magazines, Philip K. Dick & Robert A. Heinlein first editions (including a lot of signed ones), early HP Lovecraft, Edgar Rice Burroughs, Robert E. Howard, Clark Ashton Smith, lots of Armed Services Edition paperbacks, & other juicy items.
After he had cleared out most of the really sweet stuff, I offered to buy most of what was left over… & that’s what I’ve been selling on eBay for the last few weeks, & will continue to be selling for another 2 or 3 weeks, at least. I’ll probably break about even on the transaction, overall, but I did it because I’m an old fanboy, & I loved the provenance of the collection. It’s worth it to me to maintain a friendship trail stretching back nearly 50 years.
Treat these books well, John. They’re special.
They are special indeed.
Over the next week or so I continued to buy from Grant, who seemed to have a nearly endless supply of what I know now were likely author copies of several dozen Terry Carr anthologies. I was delighted to have the chance to buy virtually brand new books at bargain prices, but knowing these books originally belonged to Carr was a delightful bonus.
As we continued our conversation Grant revealed a bit more about his own background.
Another minor factoid that your readers might appreciate, especially since I identified myself as a fanboy: I was a well-known fan artist/cartoonist back in the 1970s. In fact, I was nominated 7 times for the Hugo Award as Best Fan Artist, though I never won. I was also the 2nd recipient of the Rotsler Award for significant contributions of artwork to SF fanzines (Steve Stiles was the first). Anyway, my fan activity was the main factor leading to my connection with Terry & Carol. As noted before, I date my friendship with them back to 1/1/1977..
I hunted around for some of Grant’s cartoons, and it wasn’t long I found them. Here are some of my favorites.
Grant still has a wonderful assortment of anthologies in stock, though over the past few weeks a few more buyers have discovered him, and prices on his auctions are starting to inch up (although they are still fabulous bargains — how can you complain about paying less than cover price for a 45-year old unread hardcover?)
Grant currently has over 1,000 books and items listed on eBay, the majority of which are science fiction or related books. Many are Buy-it-Now (sold at a set price), though most of the Terry Car anthologies are auctions with a $2.79 starting bid. Check out his current Carr offerings here, and his complete listings here.
All told I bought 50 books from Grant, most for under $3 each. I look forward to discussing them in more detail here in the coming months and years.
Here’s the complete list of the Terry Carr anthologies pictured above (links will take you to our earlier coverage).
Into the Unknown (Thomas Nelson, 1973)
An Exaltation of Stars (Simon & Schuster, 1973) — Locus nomination, Best Original Anthology
Fellowship of the Stars (Simon & Schuster, 1974)
Worlds Near and Far (Thomas Nelson, 1974)
Creatures from Beyond (Thomas Nelson, 1975)
Planets of Wonder (Thomas Nelson, 1976)
The Ides of Tomorrow (Little, Brown, 1976)
The Infinite Arena (Thomas Nelson, 1977)
To Follow a Star: Nine Science Fiction Stories About Christmas (Thomas Nelson, 1977)
Classic Science Fiction: The First Golden Age (Harper & Row, 1978)
Beyond Reality (Elsevier / Nelson Books, 1979)
Dream’s Edge (Sierra Club Books, 1980)
Our previous coverage of Terry Carr includes:
World’s Best Science Fiction 1965 – 1970, edited by Donald A. Wollheim and Terry Carr (1965-1970)
The Best Science Fiction of the Year #3, edited by Terry Carr (1974)
The Best Science Fiction of the Year #4, edited by Terry Carr (1975)
The Best Science Fiction of the Year #5-7, edited by Terry Carr (1976-78)
The Best Science Fiction of the Year #8, edited by Terry Carr (1979)
The Best Science Fiction of the Year #9, edited by Terry Carr (1980)
The Best Science Fiction of the Year #11, edited by Terry Carr (1982)
The Best Science Fiction of the Year #12, edited by Terry Carr (1983)
The Best Science Fiction Novellas of the Year 1, edited by Terry Carr (1979)
Year’s Finest Fantasy, edited by Terry Carr (1978)
Classic Science Fiction: The First Golden Age, edited by Terry Carr (1978)
Creatures From Beyond, edited by Terry Carr (1975)
Universe 3: The Golden Age of Science Fiction is Twelve (1973)
Universe 13, edited By Terry Carr (1983)
The Golden Age of Science Fiction: Universe 9, edited by Terry Carr, by Steven H Silver (1979)
The Golden Age of Science Fiction: The 1973 Hugo Award for Best Fan Writer: Terry Carr, by Rich Horton
Thomas M. Disch on the Best Science Fiction of 1979
A Return to Terry Carr’s Best Science Fiction of the Year
The Best Science Fiction 1974, edited by Lester del Rey, Terry Carr, and Donald Wollheim
See all our recent Vintage Treasures here.
Luck… and a compulsion that has me spending hours hunting for book bargains online every week. But let’s call it luck. 🙂
Is it just me, or does the main figure on Beyond Reality have a certain air of Tom Baker about him?
I hadn’t noticed it, but now that you point it out, he does!
Tom Baker was the Fourth Doctor, from 1974 to 1981. Beyond Reality was published in 1979, so it’s certainly very possible.
Very special books, indeed! I always loved Terry Carr’s anthologies, too! Thanks for this post…
Thanks! I can’t look at the covers of Creatures From Beyond and Planets of Wonder, both of which came out when I was in Junior High, without powerful nostalgia. I love many of these books in my youth.
Awesome discovery, Mr. O’Neill! And a wonderful example of the right person finding the right books. Closest I have come was finding a rich vein of used/near-new paperbacks in the local used book store, and piecing together the clues to realize the books were from the library/estate of Lin Carter, who had lived in town and had died not long before. And then the guilts set in, so I wound up giving the signed copy of Lyrec back to Gregory Frost when we were at the same convention. Still fun to find the items and be that much closer to sf/f “royalty”.
Wow! That’s quite a story. And it was enormously generous of you to gift your signed copy of Lyrec to Greg Frost. I don’t know too many others who would have done that. When you find a signed book in the wild, that’s usually a sign that the Book Collecting gods are smiling on you, and you don’t question it! 🙂
“On our way to the Future” is another good anthology – has a neat Telzey story
It is indeed! On Our Way to the Future was Carr’s third anthology, and it definitely showed he had a knack for it, with stories by Frank Herbert, Edgar Pangborn, Roger Zelazny, Robert Silverberg, Algis Budrys, Brian W. Aldiss, Fritz Leiber — and James H. Schmitz, with the Telzey Amberdon story “Goblin Night.”
A fine pick!