Vintage Treasures: The Demu Trilogy Omnibus by F.M. Busby

Wednesday, July 10th, 2019 | Posted by John ONeill

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Cover by Vincent di Fate

F.M. Busby was a well known science fiction fan who graduated to professional writer in the early 70s. He won a Hugo in 1960 for his fanzine Cry of the Nameless, and when he took early retirement in 1971 he became a full time science fiction writer at the age of 50. He was enormously productive for the next quarter century, publishing 19 novels and numerous short stories between 1973 and 1996.

He never broke out of midlist, and gave up writing after that, blaming the infamous Thor Power Tools ruling in an email to fan George Willick.

No, I haven’t been writing fiction for some time. Many if not most of us “midlist” writers have been frozen out like a third party on an Eskimo honeymoon. The IRS started it by getting the Thor Power Tools decision stretched to cover an inventory tax on books in publishers’ warehouses (so they don’t keep ’em in print no more), and the bookchains wrapped it up by setting one book’s GROSS order on that writer’s previous book’s NET sales. 4-5 books under those rules, and you’re road kill; a publisher can’t be expected to buy a book the chains won’t pay out on.

Busby (“Buz”) produced four novels in The Rebel Dynasty (Star Rebel, Rebel’s Quest, The Alien Debt, and Rebels’ Seed), three Rissa Kerguelen novels, and the Slow Freight trilogy. But his most popular series was probably The Demu Trilogy, which Pocket Books kept in print for nearly seven years in an omnibus collection.

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There’s a Lifetime of Reading in DAW Omnibus Volumes

Sunday, May 26th, 2019 | Posted by John ONeill

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DAW Books was founded in 1971 by uber-editor Donald A. Wollheim after he left Ace Books. In the last five decades it’s published almost two thousand science fiction and fantasy novels (W. Michael Gear’s Pariah, released on May 14, is Daw Book #1823), and it has launched the careers of hundreds of writers, including C. J. Cherryh, Julie E. Czerneda, Patrick Rothfuss, Tad Williams, Kristen Britain, Melanie Rawn, Violette Malan, and Tanith Lee.

Right. So there’s lots of reasons to love DAW Books. But here’s another one you may not be aware of: it has a fascinating tradition of re-releasing much of its most popular SF and fantasy in compact and affordable paperback omnibus editions. In fact, of those 1800 DAW titles released since 1971, nearly a hundred are omnibus editions, many of which are still in print.

Hard to believe? I didn’t believe it myself until I found all three of the omnibus collections above in a recent trip to my local B&N and, after I brought them home, began to poke around to see just how many others were still available. I counted well over 50 without even trying. Here they are.

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A Rich Library of Modern Science Fiction: The SF Gateway Omnibus Editions

Wednesday, February 6th, 2019 | Posted by John ONeill

Heinlein The Past Through Tomorrow The SF Gateway Omnibus-small Gordon R Dickson SF Gateway Omnibus-small Connie Willis SF Gateway Omnibus-small
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Yesterday I posted a brief article on Jack Vance, and as one of the header images I included a pic of the Jack Vance SF Gateway Omnibus, a massive volume from Orion Publishing/Gollancz containing three complete works: Big Planet, The Blue World, and the collection The Dragon Masters and Other Stories. I did it because I thought the book was very cool, and I wanted readers to know about it. And it paid off — in the comments section Glenn posted the following:

Just an aside John. Has anyone at Black Gate taken a look at the Gateway Omnibus series? I saw a whole bunch of them turn up at my local Half Price Books. The covers are weird but they seem dedicated to getting some lesser read classics out there in an inexpensive format.

Glenn read my mind. And in fact, he had the exact same experience I did. In April last year, while I was in Lombard, Illinois for the Windy City Pulp & Paper Show, I dropped into the local Half Price Books. I came out with a few interesting vintage paperbacks, but the real find was a handsome assortment of bright yellow oversized trade paperbacks with the Gateway Omnibus logo. All were brand new, and each volume contained a generous sampling of reprints from a well-known science fiction name. I’d never seen them before, but I was struck by both the eclectic mix of titles, and the wide range of authors: folks like Algis Budrys, C.L. Moore, Damon Knight, Clifford D. Simak, Edmond Hamilton, E.C. Tubb, Edgar Pangborn, John Brunner, Jack Williamson, Kate Wilhelm, James Blaylock, Joe Haldeman, Frank Herbert, Henry Kuttner, and many others. Best of all, the books were very reasonably priced — $7.99 each. I ended up taking four home with me that day (the Wilhelm, Kuttner, Williamson and Moore), and doing an online search to find just how many were out there.

What I discovered was an extremely impressive catalog of over 50 titles. All were originally published in the UK, so distribution in the US is spotty at best, but many are still widely available (and still reasonably priced). To give you an idea of the amazing scope of the collection, I’ve gathered 51 thumbnail images for you to browse below.

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The Omnibus Volumes of Sean Russell: Moontide and Magic Rise

Tuesday, January 1st, 2019 | Posted by John ONeill

Sea Without a Shore Sean Russell-small World Without End Sean Russell-small Moontide and Magic Rise-small

Art by Braldt Bralds and Shutterstock

Canadian fantasy writer Sean Russell produced three popular paperback series with his publisher DAW in the 90s, each exactly two books long:

Initiate Brother (The Initiate Brother, 1991, Gatherer of Clouds, 1992)
Moontide and Magic Rise (World Without End, 1995, Sea Without a Shore, 1996)
The River into Darkness (Beneath the Vaulted Hills, 1997, The Compass of the Soul, 1998)

These were all handsome volumes, and I collected them enthusiastically. By the early 2000s Russell had switched publishers, to Avon Eos (where he produced the Swan’s War trilogy), and after that he exited the fantasy genre entirely. He’s currently writing an ongoing series of novels about the HMS Themis, a Royal Navy frigate at the time of the French Revolution, under the name Sean Thomas Russell.

Over the last few years DAW has been collecting Russell’s 90s fantasy in large-size omnibus editions. The first, The Initiate Brother Duology, appeared in 2013, and The River Into Darkness was released just three months ago (and we covered it here as part of our look at the Best Sci-Fi and Fantasy Books of October 2018). And just a few weeks ago I stumbled on Moontide and Magic Rise at Barnes & Noble, a hefty 820-page tome released in May, collecting World Without End and Sea Without a Shore.

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The Omnibus Volumes of Daniel Abraham: The Long Price Quartet

Saturday, December 1st, 2018 | Posted by John ONeill

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Daniel Abraham is the author of The Dagger and the Coin five-volume fantasy series, five books in the Black Sun’s Daughter horror series (as M. L. N. Hanover), and a pair of Star Wars novels. With Ty Franck he is the author of the breakout hit The Expanse, under the name James S. A. Corey. But before all that he created a four-volume fantasy series called The Long Price Quartet that helped cement his rep as a rising young star. The first book, A Shadow in Summer, appeared in 2006 from Tor, and the three sequels arrived almost exactly a year apart.

When I was in Barnes & Noble last week I saw a handsome omnibus volume, and I was very happy to pick it up. It contains all four novels:

A Shadow in Summer (331 pages, $24.95 hardcover, $7.99 paperback, March 7, 2006)
A Betrayal in Winter (317 pages, $24.95 hardcover, $7.99 paperback, August 2007)
An Autumn War (366 pages, $25.95 hardcover, $7.99 paperback, July 2008)
The Price of Spring (348 pages, $27.99 hardcover, $7.99 paperback, July 2009)

The Long Price Quartet was published by Tor Books on November 13, 2018. It is 975 pages, priced at $19.99. There is no digital edition. The cover is by Getty Images.

Believe it or not, we’ve covered dozens of omnibus paperbacks just like this one, from authors like C.J. Cherryh, Jack Vance, H. Beam Piper, P.N. Elrod, Steven Brust, James H. Schmitz, Murray Leinster, Andre Norton, Robert Silverberg, and many others. Check them out here.

Future Treasures: Warhammer 40K: Rogue Trader: The Omnibus by Andy Hoare

Wednesday, December 27th, 2017 | Posted by John ONeill

Rogue Trader the Omnibus-smallFantasy Flight released the epic Rogue Trader role playing game in 2009. One of the early fruits of their Warhammer 40,000 license, Rogue Trader allowed players to play intrepid merchant princes buying and selling outside the legal boundaries of the Imperium. I became a fan immediately, and it quickly became my favorite science fiction RPG.

Fantasy Flight lost the Warhammer 40K license last year, and the game is now out of print. I thought that would be the end of the brand, so I was pleased to see Black Library put Rogue Trader: The Omnibus on their schedule for next month. It’s a compilation of three novels and two short stories by Andy Hoare. Rogue Star (2006) and Star of Damocles (2007) chart the fortunes of rogue trader Lucian Gerrit on the Imperium’s fringes, and Savage Scars (2011) picks up the tale as the White Scars battle the T’au on the planet Dal’yth. Rogue Trader: The Omnibus arrives in trade paperback on January 23.

Explore the stars and the farthest reaches of the galaxy with the complete Rogue Trader omnibus, containing the novels Rogue Star, Star of Damocles and Savage Scars.

Licensed by ancient charter, Rogue Traders explore the uncharted regions of the galaxy, seeking new worlds to exploit on behalf of the Imperium. The fortunes of Rogue Trader Lucian Gerrit and his family are in decline, and his inheritance amounts to little more than a pile of debt and misery. In a final, desperate gamble to restore his family’s former glory, Gerrit strikes a deal on a forgotten Imperial world in the Eastern Fringe, but his timing could not be worse. The alien tau are seeking to expand their empire across the Damocles Gulf, and soon Gerrit is caught in the middle of a clash between two mighty star-spanning empires, neither of which is willing to back down.

Rogue Trader: The Omnibus will be published by Games Workshop/Black Library on January 23, 2018. It is 800 pages, priced at $21 in trade paperback. Read more at the Black Library website.

No Slimy Monsters, No Princesses: The Bantam Spectra Omnibus Robert Silverberg

Sunday, July 23rd, 2017 | Posted by John ONeill

Robert Silverberg The Masks of Time Born With the Dead Dying Inside-small Robert Silverberg Three Novels The World Inside Thorns Downward to the Earth-small

Robert Silverberg practically introduced me to science fiction. His novel Collision Course was one of the first SF novels I ever read, and he’s one of the first authors I collected. Like a lot of Campbell-era SF, Collision Course is about humans thrusting out into space in an aggressive age of empire-building, and our first encounter with an equally aggressive alien race with the same dreams. The copy I read was the 1977 Ace edition with a cover (by an uncredited artist) that casually gave away the ending.

Ace Books, run by Jim Baen and publisher Tom Doherty, was Silverberg’s paperback publisher in the US for many years. By the 80s, however, Silverberg had been lured over to the Bantam Spectra line under Lou Aronica. Bantam pulled out all the stops for Silverberg, reprinting much of his vast backlist with gorgeous new artwork by Welsh artist Jim Burns. My collection includes over a dozen Bantam Silverberg’s, including his Majipoor novels, Gilgamesh the King (1984), To Open the Sky (1984), and many others,

But it was only a few months ago that I discovered that Bantam produced two omnibus Silverberg collections in 1988. It was purely by luck, as I was hunting down a copy of Downward to the Earth, and instead found a seller offering something called Three Novels: The World Inside, Thorns, Downward to the Earth for just $3. I quickly searched around and found there was a least one earlier volume, collecting The Masks of Time, Born With the Dead, and Dying Inside. I expect they had very low circulation, because I’ve never seen them before.

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The Public Life of Sherlock Holmes – A New Solar Pons Omnibus

Monday, January 23rd, 2017 | Posted by Bob Byrne

Copper_OmnibusIf you want to read my thoughts on the season four (and hopefully series) finale of BBC’s Sherlock, click on over and read it at my blog. Because today The Public Life of Sherlock Holmes is going to talk about Solar Pons.

August Derleth, the creator of Solar Pons, passed away in 1971. Derleth’s final collection, The Chronicles of Solar Pons, a mix of previously released stories and ones never published, came out in 1973. Surprisingly, Pons would be back within a decade! In 1979, Basil Copper would release three collections of tales: The Dossier of Solar Pons, The Further Adventures of Solar Pons and The Secret Files of Solar Pons. There would be three more collections, as well as a novella. Copper had written horror books for Derleth’s Arkham House imprint and he seemed like a good choice for continuing the stories.

Unfortunately, Copper’s Pons connection did not have a happy ending. He helped Arkham House editor Don Turner compile an omnibus edition of all of Derleth’s released Pons stories. However, Copper chose to do some ‘corrective editing’ of the originals, which caused a furor among the Pontine faithful. You can read Jon Lellenberg’s essay on this topic in The Solar Pons Gazette (page 45). Peter Ruber also wrote an excellent account, but I don’t have permission to reprint that.

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The Omnibus Volumes of Cassandra Rose Clarke: Magic of Blood and Sea and Magic of Wind and Mist

Monday, January 16th, 2017 | Posted by John ONeill

Magic of Blood and Sea-small Magic of Wind and Mist

Angry Robot is one of the most innovative (and successful) new genre publishing houses in the last decade. Not every aspect of its journey has been equally successful, however. Its Strange Chemistry imprint, launched in 2011 to publish young adult SF and fantasy, shut down in 2014… but not before publishing highly acclaimed new work by Martha Wells, Jonathan L. Howard, and three early novels by Cassandra Rose Clarke: The Assassin’s Curse (2012) and its sequel The Pirate’s Wish (2013), and The Wizard’s Promise (2014). A fourth novel, The Nobleman’s Revenge, the sequel to The Wizard’s Promise, was never published.

Clarke was nominated for the Philip K. Dick Award for her first novel for adults, The Mad Scientist’s Daughter, in 2013, and late last year Saga Press reprinted the book in a new trade paperback edition. Now they’re doing the same with Clarke’s Strange Chemistry novels. The Assassin’s Curse series will be reprinted in a handsome omnibus edition, Magic of Blood and Sea, arriving in hardcover in early February. And The Wizard’s Promise and the previously unpublished The Nobleman’s Revenge will appear in Magic of Wind and Mist in 2018.

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Check Out the Serial Box Omnibus Collections from Saga Press

Friday, January 6th, 2017 | Posted by John ONeill

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Over in their own corner of the internet, Serial Box is conducting a quiet little revolution in modern fantasy. Tapping into the power and availability of digital readers, Serial Box has brought a very old concept — serialized fiction — into the 21st Century.

Although maybe television is a better comparison. Like TV, Serial Box offers multiple stories in a rich variety of genres, and they release new episodes every week. Each of their serials typically runs for a “season” of 10-16 weeks, and each is written by a team of talented writers. The stories are easy to jump into, the individual episodes are standalone (but contribute to a larger story arch), and each episode is available in both digital and audio formats. There are five ongoing series so far:

Tremontaine — The prequel to Ellen Kushner’s famed Riverside series (Swordspoint, The Privilege of the Sword, The Fall of The Kings)
Bookburners — A secret team of agents hunts down dangerous books containing deadly magic
ReMade — 23 teenagers all die the same minute, and wake up in a world of robots, space elevators, and dense jungle
Whitehall — An historical tale of Catherine of Braganza, filled with Intrigue, romance, and scandal
The Witch Who Came In From the Cold — Spies and sorcerers battle for home and country in Cold War Prague

Now Saga Press has created omnibus collections of Bookburners (coming January 31) and Tremontaine (May 2), as well as The Witch Who Came in from the Cold (June 13). Here’s all the deets.

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