Friday, June 14, 2013

A glut of Gaiman

Something cosmic must be in alignment: this week has seen a plethora of Neil Gaiman excitement, most of which is surrounding the publication of his new novel The Ocean at the End of the Lane. My review copy just arrived today:

I'm only about forty pages in, but so far it's a lovely book. Reminds me a lot of the more 'earthly' Ray Bradbury and H.G. Wells stories, those specifically dealing with the frontier of memories and history instead of outer space.

Gaiman has announced that this book tour will be the last he does, and he'll be making a stop at the Brooklyn Academy of Music next Tuesday. I'd be excited to go, but having been to the venue many times I know the place seats over 2000 and tickets are a massive $50. Sure, ticket-holders get a copy of the book, but it just doesn't sound to me like the intimate, magical time I would have hoped for. BAM has been sending a few reminders, and I see that there are hundreds of seats still available. Hope it's an enjoyable time for all involved.

Many months ago, I posted a round-up of forthcoming limited edition titles, including a signed, slipcased "gift edition" of Gaiman's wonderful adventure book Stardust. Upon hearing that it was an open edition, and perhaps identical to the trade version but signed and with a die-cut slipcase, I found the $150 price tag to be borderline outrageous. But, the book is currently a whopping 70% off (with free shipping) at The Book Depository (link here), so I think if you're a fan, the time to buy is definitely now.

In other limited edition news, The Ocean at the End of the Lane has a handful of collectible iterations in the pipeline. Goldsboro Books in the UK is doing an exclusive (sold-out) slipcased edition, and there's some 250GBP version out there that looks pretty gorgeous. Here are some pics from the publisher's facebook page for the book:

That's one of fifteen semi-transparent pages, illustrated pages throughout the book. Very nice! Then, there's this, illustrated by Dave McKean (of Sandman fame). Get your orders in...

And, finally: Subterranean Press has been hinting at the completion of their McKean-designed edition of Gaiman's Smoke and Mirrors, which has been delayed for a few years by the publisher. They've got a great history of quality Gaiman books, so this is definitely one to keep an eye on.

Of course, there is something suspect to all these limited edition books. A lot of Gaiman fans are comic fans (due to his work with Sandman) and it's a little difficult to see this parade of products without feeling like some completist super-fans out there are being taken advantage of. The price tags on a lot of these are very high, but I do give Gaiman a pass based on that quality (and genre) of his work. He writes stories that almost demand these tome-like bindings of banded leather and slipcases and ribbons. They're fit for the dustiest, top-most shelves in the creakiest of libraries, and it's nice to see this trait recognized by the production teams behind these items. I'll stick with it as long as he does.

Currently reading:
James Joyce, Finnegans Wake
Neil Gaiman, The Ocean at the End of the Lane
George R.R. Martin, A Dance With Dragons

Currently listening to:
"Mazes" by Moon Duo