Site Updates

12/28/13 - As 2013 draws to a close, I look back with more than one tear in my eye. It has been a rough year for a variety of reasons, the most poignant being the passing of my father only a few weeks before Christmas. What 2014 will bring is anyone's guess, but I have made the usual list of New Year's Resolutions - losing weight, eating healthier, playing more tennis, and continuing to post book reviews. Who knows? I might even see about converting Awful Books over to something along the lines of Wordpress, as I know the site as it appears now is a real eyesore.

To conclude 2013, C. Thomson has reviewed books 1 thru 3 of The Mongoliad: Collector's Edition from Amazon Publishing's specialty imprint, 47North. While these are NOT limited-editions, they are nevertheless very attractive volumes that we both feel should be highlighted as desirable additions to your own libraries. Check it out!

11/24/13 - This has not been a good few weeks. In fact, it's been pretty damn terrible. Last Saturday, November 16, at 12:15pm, my father succumbed to pneumonia. He was, put simply, worn out. At any age, pneumonia is nothing with which to trifle. At his age (77), it was deadly.

The service was yesterday with a rather surprisingly large number in attendance. It was held at DeGusipe Funeral Home & Crematory in Maitland. As he was an Air Force veteran, full military honors were rendered with the unfurling and subsequent closure of the flag. A friend of my father gave a fantastic eulogy. As I was with my mother, I managed to retain my composure throughout to be strong for her sake, but it was not easy.

I'm somewhat comforted by the fact that his long and pain-ridden fight is over. He was blind in one eye and legally blind in the other, could no longer stand up straight, was rapidly deteriorating mentally, and had other very debilitating issues. In his last years, he had almost no appetite and, at the end, he was skin and bones. As such, he no longer had any reserves to combat even the common cold, much less something as severe as pneumonia.

When the hospital doctors could do no more, we brought him home under hospice care to be in familiar surroundings. My mother was at his side constantly, with occasional help from home hospice staff. I had vowed to be there as much as I could to both assist my mother and to play his favorite videos on the large screen TV we had purchased some years before. We desperately wanted to make the best of a situation far beyond anyone's control.

He was an avid Superman fan. While he would complain endlessly about the writing for Smallville (as did I) and wax nostalgic on the old George Reeves serial, he was still hooked and saw every episode. It is fitting, then, that the last movie we watched as a family was Man of Steel.

My mother and I knew this day would come, and come soon, but we were still blindsided by the suddenness of it all. We thought we had at least a few weeks, when we actually only had a handful of days. I am grateful for those days, though, and am glad his life ended here and not in the sterile environment of a hospital or an alien elderly facility.

I know he loved me, my mother, my sister, and the life he made for us here, in Florida. And for that, I feel truly blessed.

Goodbye, Dad.

11/12/13 - It's been awhile, but C. Thomson comes through again with his review of S. Yep, you read that right, just "S." It's not signed and/or numbered, but is still quite a feat of publishing. Read the review to find out why!

08/05/13 - After backing a number of Kickstarter projects, I've composed a lengthy essay on how project creators can maximize their chance of campaign success from the perspective of me, a typical backer. I think it's worth perusing from anyone considering starting a drive or thinking about supporting one. I've called it The Kickstarter Effect and it can be accessed via the Extra! Extra! section on the left.

08/01/13 - A new review! Gasp! Yes, indeed, of a book for which I've been waiting to see print ever since it was announced by Insight Editions - The Art of Blizzard Entertainment. Check it out!

06/22/13 - After a ridiculously long hiatus, I've posted my review of the traycased edition of Escher's Loops from Postscript Publishing. A bit of an odd choice, but there is method to my madness as described in the review.

I hope to get back into the swing of things. I recently purchased THIS, THIS, and THIS which I hope will make the photographing part of the review process go much more smoothly. That's the theory, anyway. I'm also seriously thinking about purchasing THIS, but it'll require some serious space, which I'm currently sorely lacking. I do have a few ideas, though....

Lots of good stuff has been happening on the Kickstarter front. I've been in contact with quite a few project creators, urging them to include signature sheets with their limiteds, and most have enthusiastically embraced them. Speaking of which, I've made some significant additions to The Limitation / Signature Page (And Its Importance), which can be accessed from the Extra! Extra! menu on the left. I think it's worth a read-through (if I do say so myself).

Until next time, watch this space!

01/04/13 - Happy New Year! To ring in 2013, Awful Books presents its first mega-review (not counting American Gods), Anime Angels. AA represents the fruit of many man-hours of labor by Bruce Hahne, who first pitched the project at Fanimecon 2011. Given that this was a 100% fan effort, the results were quite remarkable. As a bonus, Bruce agreed to a LENGTHY interview focusing on the book's seedling origin to the full-grown publication you can own today. Take a gander and remember that all feedback should be left with

12/08/12 - C. Thomson strikes again with his review of The Fifty Year Sword by Pantheon Books. A beautiful production unfortunately forever marred by one solitary oversight. Take a gander by clicking the link at the left.

11/05/12 - Added a lengthy essay on the importance of limitation/signature pages to the Extra! Extra! section on the left, with numerous examples pulled from the web. Check it out!

08/26/12 - C. Thomson delivers a surprise review of the "Red" edition of Jeffrey Deaver's Bond...James Bond novel, Carte Blanche. One of the most unique productions I've ever seen. Does this edition deliver when it's competing with THREE other limited variants? Find out by reading the review!

08/18/12 - C. Thomson closes out The Baroque Cycle with his review of the third and final book in the limited-edition trilogy, The System of the World. William Morrow and Hill House's collaboration produced an extraordinary set of tomes that, IMO, should be vigorously pursued by any collector of signed & numbered books. Take a look-see!

08/17/12 - C. Thomson's review of the next book in The Baroque Cycle is now live. Check it out!

08/07/12 - Added a master index of all reviews on the site. I had been meaning to do this since the beginning, but never got around to it. Unfortunately, it isn't very 1280 x 1024 friendly due to the amount of information packed therein. Still, it's better than nothing. Enjoy!

08/04/12 - Made the site a bit more resolution-friendly. My native screen resolution is 1920 x 1200, which is a bit on the high side for probably most people. Now, you can comfortably view the site at anything more than 1280 x 1024. Anything less than that and you'll start to see some ugly wrapping. However, I can't guarantee "expected" results in other browsers, like Firefox and Chrome.

08/01/12 - I'll bet you thought Neverwhere would be the last review on here for awhile. Think again! C. Thomson has provided his next critique of The Baroque Cycle Volume I: Quicksilver, a joint Hill House and William Morrow production. Take a peek!

07/21/12 - The latest review is now live! Please enjoy Neverwhere: The Author's Preferred Text, by guest reviewer C. Thomson. Look for even more reviews from him in the coming weeks.

07/19/12 - If all goes according to plan, AB will be seeing a fair amount of activity over the coming weeks. I don't want to go into a lot of detail yet for fear of jinxing things, but expect several extremely exciting reviews to begin appearing around the end of the month and continuing into September. In the meantime, I've added another handful of publishers to the links page.

07/01/12 - Sigh. I've struck yet another publisher off my buying list due to a failure to communicate. I've sent multiple emails, all of which have gone unanswered. This is especially intolerable, as I've probably spent over $500 with this particular company in the past few months. If they don't want to talk to me, then they must not want my money.

If you're the proprietor of a small (or large) press, you need to have someone on staff to answer queries from your customer base. It's really that simple. If you don't converse with people, they're probably not going to support your endeavours, whatever they might be.

On the plus side, I sold my lettered edition of The Martian Chronicles for a hefty profit As a result, I can see much more light at the end of my debt tunnel. I'm going to be making a concerted effort to pay off two of my cards in the next three to four months, so no more books until then. The silver lining is that, when I have resolved these debts, I'll be back in major book purchasing mode. Wish me luck!

05/28/12 - For those unaware, I've done a MAJOR update to my bookcases and books. Except for a couple of books that are on my Brodart "to-do" pile, all of them are now featured and fully documented, which includes my newest NewCon Press haul. This includes refreshing the photos.

It's becoming alarmingly clear to me that I'm going to HAVE to purchase another permanent Sandusky unit in the near future. I only have 2 1/2 more shelves open on my wood unit and 1 1/2 shelves open on the metal tan overflow unit. There is next to no space left within the burgundy and grey units. While that sounds like a lot, keep in mind I'm trying my best to keep my prose-, art-, and comic-based purchases separate from each other. The burgundy and tan bookcases have become my prose-based storage units, while the grey unit holds my art-based material, with the wood bookcase storing my comic-based limiteds. My prose purchases far outpaces anything else, so I'm guesstimating that the tan bookcase will be full within four to six months, at which point there will only be room on the wood unit.

So, you're probably wondering why I don't quit whining and just buy another Sandusky unit. I would, except the one I need/want is $500. I just don't have the money budgeted for such an outlay. The NewCon purchase happened at a VERY fortuitous moment, where I managed to obtain almost their entire catalog at retail. Plus, I owed a good friend for The Martian Chronicles (LETTERED edition), who graciously held onto it for me for almost two years. Those two alone amounted to around $1,500, which punched a humongous hole in my finances.

And there's my song of financial and space lament.

05/16/12 - The review is up! I hope this will kickstart a new round of book critiques, as I certainly have enough to keep me busy for a good, long while. Enjoy!

05/15/12 - Believe it or not, I'll actually be posting a new book review in the next day or two. This isn't an empty promise. All the photos have been taken, cropped, and resized and thumbnails generated. What could it be? Keep watching this space.

Unfortunately, I've had yet another falling-out with a publisher. I had placed two orders for uber-deluxe editions. It turns out one is apparently indefinitely stuck at the printer (I didn't know at the time it wasn't even bound, as their website doesn't tell you these small details...grrrr) and the other was actually sold out, even though the website reported otherwise (GRRRR). That wasn't even the main issue, though. Multiple attempts at trying to communicate with this publisher to determine my order status went unanswered. I finally had to threaten to dispute the credit card charges before I EVENTUALLY received a response. To his credit, this publisher seemed really sorry about the lack of communication and refunded my money. Plus, he even offered a couple free books.

However, the damage has been done and I doubt I'll be purchasing anything further from this publisher (at least, not directly). One of the surest ways to dynamite trust between you and your customer base is to never reply to emails. It displays a total lack of respect for the very people keeping you in business. This is highly regrettable, as I was hoping to forge a lengthy business relationship with this publisher, as I was genuinely impressed with his production values versus what he charged. Once again, ohwell.

04/24/12 - That's it! All the reviews have been recoded to match each other in terms of overall style. Took me freakin' forever, but I'm glad it's done. The other pages I'll redo as time permits, but the reviews were the biggie. If you see anything that's off, like a broken link or a pic that's not appearing, PLEASE drop me a line via the "Contact Me" page at the top.

04/22/12 - I'm almost done redoing the reviews pages. I just have the last four to go. When I'm complete, all the reviews should have the same or similar style, with customizations here and there as appropriate. I'm actually going fairly quickly, but there's a LOT of backend work that you, as a visitor, will never see or notice. That said, I do feel a little like a marathon runner who can see the finish line, but his legs are giving out, so I'll be ecstatic when this is finally done.

I received Places from DSP, but I think there's a problem with it (there's no limitation stamp), so it might have to go back. I don't think I mentioned this, but DSP's limited productions are very, VERY nice. I'll have to take a picture of the lot one day.

I'm amassing an almost-complete collection of NewCon Press titles. NewCon is a UK-based publisher, so you may not've heard of them. They produce relatively inexpensive signed & numbered books covering a wide range of genres, from horror to SF to even comedy. I've mainly targeted them because of their willingness to publish SF-based limiteds, which is incredibly rare within the horror-dominated small press industry. I can already tell, though, that I'll be forever missing one or two books, just like my Elastic Press collection, where I'm missing just one hardcover. Ohwell, c'est la vie.

04/14/12 - And work continues. I'm about halfway through recoding the reviews. After that will be the other pages, which shouldn't take as long.

I've received a "few" new books since the last update, such as signed & numbered edition of The Art of George Perez and several titles from Thunderstorm Books. The biggest addition has been a bunch of books from PS Publishing from their 3-traycase special that happened in March. This amounted to 12 books that almost consumed an entire shelf. For around $386 I received $1,175 worth of books, which was a tremendous deal. The books themselves were very handsome, with printed boards, dustjackets, ribbon markers, dedicated signature pages, plates, and very nice traycases with pull-out ribbons, onlays, and spine strips. These varied from £50.00 (around $80) all the way to £125.00 (about $200). A great haul. I'm actually sorry to see the special end, but hopefully something as enticing will take its place.

That's about it for now. I hope to have the site completely redone in the next week or so. Wish me luck!

04/04/12 - Work continues. I've fixed a LOT of errors and have done a tremendous amount of code clean-up. You should actually see some of these changes at your end, such as the links page. Once I've finished, it will make Awful Books far easier to maintain, which could lead to...GASP...a new book review! Cross your fingers and toes....

03/31/12 - You're likely to see a lot of strangeness in the coming days. This website was built in a hurry, on the cheap, and by a guy (aka me) who really didn't know diddly about webcoding. I've been reading up on the "proper" way to do HTML and CSS syntax and I've made a lot of boo-boos all throughout the website. So, against my better judgment, I'm going to try to correct these numerous mistakes. To that end, expect the unexpected and please be patient.

03/14/12 - I just performed a major update to my bookcases and books listing, accessible from the EXTRA! EXTRA! graphic on the left. If you haven't checked it out recently, now is an excellent time.

03/02/12 - I'm now running the Consumer Preview of Windows 8 x64 as my primary OS. It's...interesting. I'm not sure I like the elimination of the Start button. I've only installed a few programs and already the Metro UI is looking cluttered. It seems pretty quick, though. The main reason I installed it over Windows 7 was because of some terrible issues I was experiencing with Internet Explorer, which I hope 8 has fixed. So far, everything is running smoothly and I've experienced no crashes (yet). I'm keeping my fingers crossed I don't have to revert back to 7.

I should be receiving the limited of Places fairly soon. If anyone has a line on any limiteds for which I might be interested, especially art-oriented books, please drop me a line.

02/28/12 - Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! Oh, what? I'm a few months late with the well-wishing? Valentine's Day has even come and gone? Well, that just seems to be the story of my life. Still, the sentiment is sincere. I hope all of you had wonderful holidays and received at least a few things you truly wanted. For my part, I got several cool items and have zero complaints.

Unfortunately, in order to finance Christmas 2011 and pay down some serious debt I had accumulated over the years, I had to sell a few high-profile Stephen King books. I no longer have any Little Sisters volumes and also sold Black House, Under the Dome (U.S. & U.K.), and Blockade Billy. I was also able to net a copy of the "true" limited of 11/22/63 (with King's genuine signature, not a facsimile), which I also sold for a tidy profit. I'm considering reclaiming Black House (they're not hard to find given the sizable print run), as that's a beautiful book and the hardest to let go. My number for The Little Sisters of Eluria was 657, so it was Keyhole eligible and, as such, fetched a massive sum on eBay; I think it sold within 24 hours for the $900 buy-it-now price I had set.

I also had to play a minor tug-o'-war game with Cemetery Dance over several pre-orders from them and Lonely Road Books that I hadn't yet received and for which I wanted refunds. Many of these were bought using certificates, which made the whole process migraine-inducing, especially when trying to derive the correct final refund figure. CD eventually relented and, at this point, I only have three lettered titles left - The Exorcist & Legion, The Passage, and a Dean Koontz collector's guide. However, I'm getting tired of playing the waiting game and am considering selling my positions for all three. CD really, really, REALLY needs to get their act together regarding their traycase manufacturer. We were told letters would start streeting in late December, but now everything is on hold until sometime in Spring. <groan>

Actually, I've changed my mind and am selling my remaining CD preorders. See this THREAD for details.

In other news, I'm still updating the links section of the website. If you haven't visited it lately, you really should, as I've added a LOT of companies who produce limiteds. And I did a major overhaul of my purchased list of books. For awhile there, I just had books strewn about my bedroom and in random places on my bookshelves. Now, though, everything is in its place. I still have to do a lot of Brodarting, but I can apply those at my leisure.

I've obtained a LOT of books since my March 14, 2011 update. Too many to list, but highlights include Centipede's Exorcist, The: Studies in the Horror Film, seven Dark Region Press ultra-limiteds, three traycased titles from Postscript (PS) Publishing, a batch of Thunderstorm Books titles, and a handful of offerings from Seventh Star Press. On the art and comic side of things, via a >sweet< holiday coupon, I purchased ALL of Design Studio Press' limiteds, the deluxe edition of Naughty and Nice: The Good Girl Art of Bruce Timm, a few additional Titan Books limiteds, and a few amazing signed & numbered editions from Image Comics. These are all listed in my bookcases and books page accessible from the EXTRA! EXTRA! section on the left.

I'm also doing something I should've started a LONG time ago - a detailed accounting of my library in Excel, with a possible move into Access. This is going to take me some weeks to complete, but will be a very valuable resource when finished. I'm already aghast over how much I've spent on my collection over the span of 20+ years. And I wonder why I'm always in a state of perpetual debt!

On a very depressing note, one of my best friends moved back to his home state of Maryland along with his successful writer-girlfriend. Regrettably, we weren't seeing much of each other while he was still in Orlando, but now the prospect of getting together is far more remote. I'll miss our Twisted Metal 2 co-op sessions on his aging PS1 and talks on various geeky subjects. He's also an accomplished kit basher and assembled professional-level reproductions of the Nostromo and Pegasus (new BsG) for me, despite being stricken with painful and debilitating psoriatic arthritis.

Dade and Jackie, I'll miss ya.

So, I'm not quite yet having earthworms for dinner. I don't want to make any empty review promises like I've done in the past, but I will try my best to get SOMETHING out in the next few months. In the meantime, I'm still paying for third-party reviews and have doubled the payout for those submissions which make the grade ($30).

That's about all for now. Now, go Brodart (or Gaylord) a book!

03/14/11 - I know what you're thinking. This must be a dream or a joke. But it's neither. Yes, I'm actually providing a site update, as unbelievable as that sounds. It's not a big update, but an update nonetheless.

For those curious, my health continues to elude me. Some days I'm fine. Other days I can barely get out of bed. Some days I hit the head once. Other days...well, I don't want to get too graphic. This is the reason for the lack of activity on Awful Books. Reviewing a book is a much more protracted affair than you might think. It takes a good 3-4 hours from step one (picture taking) to the end (actually composing and uploading the review). And it takes a fair amount of patience, as I'm always struggling to capture the best shot.

However, all is not lost. I have been tweaking the site. If you haven't visited the Links page in awhile, I encourage you to take a gander. I've expanded it greatly as I've encountered publishers who produce limited-edition books.

But the big edit to this site is a completely revised listing of my collection, which can be found on the Extra! Extra! button on the left. It's now a fully-documented, color-coded list complete with hyperlinks. It's worth taking a look just for the links. The attentive browser will also notice that I've greatly expanded my collection, having added numerous artbooks, the occasional comic collection, and a few prose-based limiteds. And yes, my credit cards are black and blue and probably won't recover for some time to come.

I do plan on returning to book reviewing at some point. However, it may be awhile yet. When I do, though, you'll be the first to know.

Drop me a line if you have any ideas or (constructive) criticisms. And definitely drop me a line if you'd like to review a book.

Until next time, be kind and don't break that book's spine.

08/21/10 - Wow. Could my last update really be more than four months from the last posting? It seems that way. According to the Windows 7 calculator...lesseee...that works out to...145 days! Gah!!

You might be wondering what the hell is going on. Well, it all primarily relates to my yo-yo'ing health. I just cannot seem to get over this past surgery. I've been having some of the worst insomnia I've ever experienced, have frequently been out of work because of that and a nasty series of migraines, I'm convinced I've developed a raging case of RLS (restless leg syndrome) that, so far, no medication has solved, and I generally feel like crap more than I feel "decent".

I've been to physicians and specialists ad nauseam and have tried medications that I can't even pronounce, but so far, no luck. Well, that's not entirely true - I've also been taking a beta blocker for my migraines and while it hasn't done a damn thing for the headaches, it's made my heart rate that of an Olympic athlete. My last reading was a whopping 51 BPM. Considering I'm NOT an Olympic athlete (or any sort of athlete in general), this is a very, very bad thing. I've stumbled just walking and picking things off the floor several times and just yesterday literally fell backwards into my bathtub when I reached down to retrieve some dirty laundry. It was a minor miracle I didn't break a few bones or dislocate my spine, but there is a place between the base of my brain down a little past my shoulders that feels like it's been hit with a jackhammer, so I can barely turn my head.

And, I'm sorry to say, I'm once again hooked on House's favorite drug, Vicodin. Now, before you start thinking of me as a sorry-ass drug-addicted slimeball, you have to realize that Vicodin has made me able to live some semblance of a life when all these other drugs aren't doing squat. It's my go-to wonder pill that takes care of BOTH my migraines and RLS. When I'm on it (and it's working - see below), I can do almost inhuman things, like beat my 15 year-old nephew at tennis (and believe me, he's got EXCELLENT tennis technique and stamina). When I'm not on it, I can barely function.

Unfortunately, it's become less and less effective. Whereas before I'd guesstimate it had a 90% success rate, now it's down to about 70%. This means I'm developing a tolerance. It still works most of the time - just not all the time.

Some of my doctors have expressed concern that the Vicodin is actually causing the migraines and RLS. While I find that hard to swallow, I have promised to detox from it during the labor-day weekend. This will give me three days off from work to make war on my own body. I've detoxed before (long story) and it took a minimum of three solid days (and nights). It was a terrible, dreadful experience. I can't even begin to convey just how awful one feels when undergoing detox from an opiate. You have this overriding need to sleep, but can't get a wink, yet are paradoxically so fatigued that breathing itself becomes labored. Your body feels like a billion nerve endings are firing simultaneously and you're both hot and cold at the same time. Vomiting can become an issue, so you have to have a trash can or something similar always nearby. Eating is completely out, since you can't keep anything down. About the best you can do is sip flavored, vitamin-enriched water (like Propel). A washcloth with cool water should also always be nearby to frequently pat you down.

For those wondering, you can't taper-off of an opiate. It just doesn't work that way, as even just one pill can (and will) send you back to square one at a 100% addiction level. It's an all-or-nothing affair. This is why the labor day weekend will be a COMPLETE, UTTER, and TOTAL wash for me as a nice holiday. Indeed, I will probably have to take a fourth day off just to recuperate.

And the really sad thing is that this might be a totally wasted effort. My migraines may return and my RLS might come back with a vengeance. If that's the case, then I'll have no choice but to return to the Vicodin and probably be on it for the rest of my life. Which will be an colossal feat, as doctors are loathe to prescribe opiate-based pharmaceuticals on a long-term basis to all but the most wretched of cases and always want me to try something else; something new or something blue. This has occurred several times now and I've had to beg and plead to be put back on the Vicodin, at which point I can live a much more normalized life.

So, there you have my (miserable) life in a nutshell. Reviews are on a permanent hold until I can see what happens after labor day. Submitted reviews I can (probably) accept and process, but I just won't be able to do any reviews of my own.

If anyone wants to send me questions, words of encouragement, or anything else, just hit the [Contact Me] button at the top of the page. Other than that, I'll see y'all after labor day (if I survive).

03/29/10 - The surprise review is now online! Kenneth Kleist has whipped-up a very handsome and thorough review of Subterranean Press' lettered edition of A Feast for Crows, which is book 4 in George R.R. Martin's epic series, A Song of Ice and Fire. A LOT of time and care went into this extremely literate review, so it definitely deserves a look-see. My great thanks to Ken for providing this guest review. This is exactly the sort of hard work and dedication which will ultimately seal this site's fate, since I can't do it all on my own. Good job, Ken!

03/24/10 - A VERY surprising guest review is just about finished. This will shock loyal and attentive readers of Awful Books, but will prove I'm not the mean and crusty old fart some people think I am. I promise you'll want to read this one, folks. It should be online in just a few more days, so keep watching this space!

03/11/10 - I've scored, and scored big. Through a mutually agreeable swap, I'll soon have in my hot little hands a Michael Whelan remarqued version of Knowing Darkness. This will probably be the book to end all books, as I just can't see another publisher doing anything of this caliber and epic scale. The sheer size, pagecount, and materials involved are staggering for a small press. This is a shining example of what small presses CAN do, not necessarily what they do do, and at a reasonable price point for the consumer.

Regarding that swap - the G11 is no more, but is now in Jerad's possession. Fear not, though, for I've acquired an Olympus 1030 SW. Not nearly as nice as the G11, but leaps and bounds better than my old SD 700IS. One of these days I'm going to splurge and get a bona-fide DSLR, but point-and-shoots have gotten so advanced that they hold their own fairly well with DSLRs, so I don't see the hurry. I've taken some test shots with the Olympus and they came out beautifully, so you should see an improvement in picture quality with the reviews.

I'm still on track to review the lettered edition of The Wildman, but I'm also going to throw in a small surprise as a final send-off for the tragically now-defunct Full Moon Press.

Finally, regarding my overall health - I'm no longer on death's door, but I'm also a long, long way from being 100%. I'm very tired after getting home from work and use the weekends to play sleep catch-up, which is why I haven't done The Wildman review (yet). I'm getting there, but it's going to take some time, so please bear with me. In the meantime, if you haven't looked at it lately, the Links page has grown quite a bit. Anyone even remotely curious as to who is a player in the limited-edition scene should check out the new links. Some are VERY surprising with absolutely stunning-looking books.

02/01/10 - Jerad Walters of Centipede Press fame emailed me these photos of the traycased edition of Knowing Darkness: Artists Inspired by Stephen King. Some of these pics are a bit small, but should still convey the sheer size and general awesomeness of this behemoth. And before you ask, once I can get my finances back in some semblance of order, I definitely intend to purchase one of these for website review.

Oh, the extremely attractive girl in the photos is taken. Sorry, but all you bachelors will have to look elsewhere.




01/26/10 - Not directly connected to Awful Books, but it bears mentioning that The Full Moon Press is no more. Paul Little, the press' founder, is in seriously declining health and isn't expected to live past July of this year. This all dates back to a tick bite he suffered some 20 odd years ago, which turned into an undiagnosed condition of Lyme disease. Because it went untreated, his body has suffered one medical disaster after another and now almost all his organs are failing. Coupled with his newborn daughter's death late this past year, Paul has had no choice but to close up shop.

Because of this tragic news, the next book review will be FMP's first and only lettered edition - The Wildman. The lettered books for Carmilla/The Evil Guest were actually produced, but the traycase manufacturer suddenly went out of business without informing anyone, leaving the books themselves orphaned. Therefore, The Wildman remains FMP's only "completed" lettered package.

I wish Paul and Callie all the best, even though his recovery outlook sounds incredibly grim.

01/19/10 - The road to recovery has not been easy. Last week, I'm convinced I caught some nasty bug, as I was chilled to the bone during the day and hotter than hell at night. I'm still pretty weak and my entire sleeping schedule is upside-down, as I can't seem to nod off until around five or six in the morning, at which point I doze fitfully until one or two. However, I suppose I should be thankful that I'm finally getting some manner of sleep.

And here I am, sans staples. I have to tell you, getting those staples removed was a rather unpleasant affair.

I'm marshalling my forces to get a book review done, but it probably won't be ready for prime-time until some weeks. Until then, enjoy my lovely abdominal incision pics. ;)

12/31/09 - Well, it's been one helluva wild ride at this end, and I mean that in the worst possible way. Last Monday, the 21st, I had to be hospitalized yet again for a bowel obstruction. Attentive readers will realize this first happened to me about four years ago, when surgeons discovered I had a Meckel's Diverticulum. I then had to have a second procedure done to deal with hernias that had appeared as a post-operative complication due to the first surgery. I was hospitalized a third time back in July of this year for severe abdominal cramping and uncontrollable vomiting.

Those were just cakewalks compared to this latest war with my intestines. The first time, they had to remove two inches of my small intestines. This time, though, a terrifying three feet's worth of twisted, herniated, scarred, and highly diseased tissue had to be excised.

Proof of the procedure - a 5 ½ inch stapled incision site. In all, 26 staples were used to assist wound closure. The "angry scabbed-over red spot" on the right is where a 2-foot long drain had been inserted to minimize post-operative swelling. The other splotches represent areas in which medical tape had been particularly unkind. This exhibits the third time I've been sliced open in this very spot.

I was discharged this past Monday. I feel like I've been shoved through one of those machines where tree trunks go in one end while sawdust appears on the other. And sleep is very, very elusive.

This was serious. Perhaps even more serious than the Meckel's procedure. I was told that, had the surgery been postponed by even a day or two, I probably would've died. Fortunately, my EXTREMELY gifted gut doctor triaged me to the head of the surgical line and the worst was avoided. This is even more miraculous given that this was considered a "dirty op", where I had no opportunity to prep, which typically involves voiding the intestinal tract of all undigested material and fecal matter using a solution called GoLYTELY.

Obviously, this means AB is effectively on hiatus until I can fully recover (God only knows when that'll be). I have added a few new links, but the reviews are in a permanent holding pattern at the moment.

This does provide me with the opportunity to state that, once again, in no uncertain terms, this site will either live or die through YOUR contributions and not solely my own. If you have a book you'd like to review on here, drop me a line. Just follow the quick 'n' dirty submission guidelines.

Please wish me a speedy recovery. I really need one. Oh, and Happy New Year!

12/13/09 - For those curious as to what's on my bookshelf, check out the EXTRA! EXTRA! section on the left. This is a work-in-progress, as I'm compiling information on a daily basis.

12/03/09 - The G11 has arrived! A full three days before the estimated delivery date, to boot! The initial pictures I've taken (just messing around) are leaps and bounds better than my old SD700 IS. For a point-and-shoot, it's a fairly complicated camera, so it may take me a week or two to fully acclimate to its controls.

I've been thinking about the next review and have narrowed it down to three books, all from very different genres. The three being evaluated are:

o The Little Sisters of Eluria 1,250-copy edition from Donald M. Grant.
o r/evolution: The Art of Jon Foster by Underwood Books (lettered edition).
o The Red Star Volume 1 by Archangel Studios (A/P edition).

If you have a preference, drop me a line at "". I have a feeling Eluria will be the top candidate, but r/evolution and The Red Star should be HIGLY considered, as they're both beautiful books. If I hear from no one, then I'll probably choose The Red Star, as I've been wanting to review it for awhile now.

11/29/09 - The G11 is on its way and should be here by this coming Friday. In the meantime, check out the new links, such as Abbeville Press, Arion Press, Ballistic Publishing, Chronicle Books, Design Studio Press, Desperado Publishing, etc.

11/26/09 - In an effort to produce better review pictures, I sold my fairly old Canon PowerShot SD700 IS camera and purchased a PowerShot G11, which is the newest kid on Canon's point-and-shoot block. I have high hopes for this camera, but it won't be here until the end of next week.

11/23/09 - I'm in the process of overhauling the links page. So far, I've added a LOT of publishers that mostly produce art and photography oriented books. Some of these look absolutely breathtaking and are definitely worth checking out.

11/01/09 - Well, I finally finished it. The monster review of Centipede Press' A Lovecraft Retrospective: Artists Inspired by H.P. Lovecraft is now live. This was a pretty tremendous undertaking for this site, so I probably won't start on my next review for at least a month or two. I promise it'll be a good one, though. Think Stephen King.

10/15/09 - I was going over some old emails and found a message from Leigh where he attached pics of Necessary Evil Press' lettered edition of The Wicked. For some reason, I never posted them to the NEP photo gallery. That is, until now. Look for it in the EXTRA! EXTRA! section at the left.

10/11/09 - Believe it or not, the Lovecraft review is underway. Soon, I tell you, soon! In the meantime, I've added an interesting section to the EXTRA! EXTRA! link at the left. I used to collect a lot of limited-edition graphic novel hardcovers and have taken pics of fifteen of the limitation pages of those books and have posted them to the site. I may add more as time permits. The pics are fairly large, so if you're on a slow connection, give them time to download. Enjoy!

09/24/09 - I'm extremely happy (and relieved) to report that all the prior existing reviews have now been restored and are in their respective categories on the left. Remember that a title like "The Martian Chronicles triptych" will be in the K-O section, NOT the P-T, as I drop prefixing articles when doing the sorting. If you see any references to the old Spires/meh/Shame libraries, please let me know.

09/20/09 - As I promised, the site redesign (more like a tweak) has commenced. During this time, pages may be inaccessible, links might not work, and other strangeness will abound. My goal is to consolidate and streamline things while not going completely bonkers. For example, the Lovecraft placeholder at the left is just that - a placeholder - until I can get the site settled and the review posted. Please be aware that I am NOT a good web coder, so what might take someone familiar with all this hours will take me days. I'm also having to fight Dreamweaver, as the newest version contains some bizarre quirks. I've already done quite a bit of behind-the-scenes stuff that's transparent to visitors, but will help me as the site continues to be tweaked.

09/19/09 - Hah! Another update. Just not a book review update...yet.

Just to make the official announcement, I re-upped AB's hosting for another year. Yep, that means this site will remain active for at least the next 12 months. By that time, I should have a review (or two) cranked out. That's the plan, anyway.

Over the course of this weekend, I hope to have the site tweaked to the new format. I do have to build a new computer system, which includes installing the RTM of Windows 7 (I have a Technet sub, so no, I'm not doing anything illegal), so that might get in the way. However, that shouldn't take more than a few hours, presuming the parts don't fight me tooth and nail.

Jared from Centipede sent me a slipcased copy of the Lovecraft tome, which will make it much easier to review, as I won't have to abuse the ultra-deluxe edition more than I already have. This thing is a genuine monster. It's a true coffee-table edition. That it was published by a small press is a major miracle, especially given the MSRP. Heavy-stock paper, full process color, massive trim size. It's the Godzilla of small press publications. An absolutely stunning production.

So, keep your shirts on. The redesign is coming. Lovecraft is coming. A few other notable books are coming (see below). And maybe I'll throw in some unexpected goodies while I'm at it. Stay tuned!

09/15/09 - I know, I know. I said I was going to review Centipede's Lovecraft tome and I am. It's just taking me much more time to get my act together than I would otherwise like. I also still have the site redesign to implement. I think I know what I'm going to do, but as we all know, even the best laid plans can go awry. However, I will say (or warn) this - this site will remain very, very basic in appearance. I'm not a graphic artist and, even if I was, I wouldn't have the necessary coding experience. I personally think this is, in a way, a Good Thing, as beautifully crafted sites certainly look nice, but tend to be a real pain to maintain. Having this site be mostly text and Flash/Silverlight- and Java-free means I can devote my meager time to its "meat" rather than try to keep up with unnecessary ornate appearances.

Also, as a point of interest, I managed to secure a copy of Grant's 1,250 edition of The Little Sisters of Eluria (the revised/expanded edition of The Gunslinger) before they sold out. Grant produces some of the finest books on the planet, so I'm EXTREMELY excited to be receiving Eluria. I also managed to score a copy of the signed limited edition of Under the Dome that Simon & Schuster will be releasing in November. So, I am still buying books, just not at the rate I used to. I'm also greatly looking forward to Full Moon Press' next letter, which will be Carmilla / The Evil Guest.

As a reminder, I'm also still accepting submissions from third parties (that means YOU). This site will, in the end, live or die via third-party contributions, as I can't do all the reviews myself.

08/17/09 - With everything that's been happening in the economy, my general ennui regarding the small press industry, and my overall mode of laziness I'm usually in nowadays, I thought I would be closing this site for good in a month or two.

Well, I've decided to give it one more shot. I'll be making some pretty significant changes in the coming days. Most notably, though, I'll be eliminating the "Library" system for one more moderate and fair. I know throwing something onto the Library of Shame trash pile was fun (and certainly earned), but it was a little mean and is not in my current spirit of book reviewing. I also think this was causing potential outside contributors to flee the other way, despite my offer of cold, hard cash.

So, what will this future reviewing framework look like? At the moment, I'm not at all sure. I have some ideas, though. And you know what? I'm going to put those ideas to the test. Because you know what I just received? Try this:

Artists Inspired by H.P. Lovecraft: A Retrospective by Centipede Press. Not the slipcased version. And not the traycased edition, either. No, I'm talking about their creme de la creme leather presentation, limited to only fifty copies (mine is #30). I have it and I have taken several pictures in preparation for AB's newest entry. It will take me a week or so to finish, but I think both readers and publishers will prefer this new review format. Stay tuned!

07/26/09 - Believe it or not, I actually did something with this website recently. Nothing fancy, just updated some links. I'm leery about making promises regarding book reviews, but it may happen in the not-too-distant future. In the meantime, though, try to support your favorite publisher, as the economic times remain tough and there's still a long way to go before this recession is defeated.

12/27/08 - A belated Merry Christmas to all the legions of AB fans out there. Y'know, the two or three visitors who frequent this site every other century.

Seriously, here's what's been going on since the last update. For starters, I'm selling my Bloodletting lettered collection. No, I haven't had any (more) fights with Larry, I just really need the cash. I've sold four books so far and hope to have the rest sold on eBay by next weekend. Here is the relevant post I made on Shocklines:

And here is the eBay listing:

The six books referenced are still available. I'm willing to let the lot go for $1500 + s/h/i, so if you're interested, drop me a line.

Secondly, I sold my BMB lettered set.

Thirdly...well, there is no thirdly. Actually, that's not entirely true. I've been pondering the future of this site, especially as it costs money to maintain. I genuinely need to pay down some credit cards and, unfortunately, Awful Books isn't doing me any favors in that dept. I had hoped that I could cultivate a relatively stable base of outside review contributors, but that hasn't happened. The small press scene is a fairly incestuous one and no one wants to wizz in the cornflakes of their favorite publisher, no matter how anonymously. Not even the lure of cold, hard cash has provided the necessary motivation. My own enthusiasm for small press books is at an all-time low and I don't see that outlook improving any time soon.

I'm still on track to receive a deluxe edition of Centipede's Lovecraft book, plus a few Lonely Road productions. Beyond that, though, I'm no longer going to be buying any further books. Not unless I see some pretty radical improvements in production values and pagecounts. The economy sucks and I already know I'll be losing a lot of money on this upcoming Bloodletting sale (hell, I already lost a bunch on the BMB titles).

I know this all sounds like doom 'n' gloom. I hope things perk up. I want to believe again in the small press industry. I really do. But the days of paying hundreds of dollars for publications that can barely be considered novellas is long gone.

I've updated the Links page to reflect the closure of Hill House and Humdrumming. At least Humdrumming had the decency to announce they were packing their bags....

10/19/08 - I know, I know. AB hasn't been updated for what seems like ages. I realize sites like this live or die by the delivery of timely and informative content, so mea culpa.

The reasons for this are many, but one stands out above the rest - I've just been generally unenthused about the small press industry. Maybe it's the sign o' the times, but buying outrageously expensive books just doesn't have the same sort of appeal that it once did. Case in point - I was strolling through a local mall today and stumbled across a Waldenbooks. One of the very first books being displayed was a massive tome detailing the history of the Marines. This thing was huge, with glossy pages in full process color and what looked like excellent binding. To top it all off, the board material was this really neat faux camo.

A book like this from a small press publisher would probably have retailed for hundreds of dollars. Maybe even a grand or two. But what was Waldenbooks charging? Right at $40.

Now, I realize this monstrosity had the manufacturing backing of a high-powered publisher coupled with the support of the USMC. And I'm sure it had a print run of somewhere in the hundreds of thousands. However, it did cause me to wonder why would someone pay, say, $80 for a book that barely broke the 50-page mark, with no color elements and so-so binding. For the sigs alone? For the warm and fuzzies of owning something that had a relatively microscopic print run? For something that's been "lovingly" hand-bound?

I've said it before and I'll say it again - rarity alone does not impart value, and nor should it. Instead, value should be measured by what lands in the lap of the customer, not by irrelevant intangibles or over-inflated doo-dads. Small press companies are still book publishers and need to be aware of the bars being set by the "big boys" as well as their fellow small press peers.

Look at it like this - would you pay a much higher premium for a car built by a local mom & pops garage versus a Honda when the latter was better constructed with a longer operating life? Probably not, unless something really unique and special was being offered by the mom & pops outfit.

I'm not going to promise when I'll have another review up. I realize I've made such vows in the past and it bothers me greatly that I haven't kept them. I do own several books that I think deserve to be featured on AB, but I'll try to get to them as time and my motivation permits.

In the meantime, I'm selling my letter "T" run of Bad Moon Books' series of novelettes. The entire lot is going up on eBay. HERE IS THE LINK!

08/20/08 - A pretty significant update to the BLB and NEP galleries, courtesy of Leigh. Look for 'em in the EXTRA! EXTRA! section. My jealousy knows no bounds....

08/16/08 - I've posted a pretty long pictorial guide of my method for Brodarting non-dustjacketed ("naked") books in the EXTRA! EXTRA! section on the left. I'd be curious to hear from others who do the same thing.

08/07/08 - Andy color-corrected the remaining pics of Anansi Boys that I severely futzed-up, so they now all look as they should (i.e., how I should've originally photographed them). Andy also contributed some additional pics of the Necro's letter for The Minotauress (pictures below). Thanks, Andy!

For those of you wondering if/when I'll ever post another book review, I'm happy to report that one is in the works. It's a title you might not expect or appreciate given the prevailing content of AB, but does qualify most decidedly as a "limited edition". An edition I'm damn proud (and lucky) to have.

07/27/08 - An avid reader took these very nice pics of Necro's letter for The Minotauress. Check 'em out!

07/20/08 - I took a few pics and composed a writeup on my "Brodarting station", which I use to apply Brodart covers to books. It can be found in the EXTRA! EXTRA! section on the site.

07/13/08 - Interesting times are ahead. A few months ago, attentive browsers will've read that I had a falling-out with Bloodletting Books. However, there was one letter for which I've been gunning ever since it was announced - Ray Garton's Shackled. Why have I been on pins and needles? Two reasons - Shackled is considered to be one of Garton's best novels and it clocks in at a massive 693 pages. Also, despite what happened between BLB and I, I still think Larry produces some of the best lettered books in the small press field and is someone committed to providing commensurate MSRP value-for-money. Personally, I consider a high pagecount to be an automatic value-enhancing element. All too often, small press books that could barely pass for novellas are assigned incredibly high MSRPs. Don't get me wrong - Shackled is hardly inexpensive, retailing for $350, but I don't mind paying such prices if I feel I'm getting something that looks hearty and impressive on my bookshelf.

If there's one thing about which I'm NOT thrilled is that BLB is moving away from metal traycases, which are (or were) a hallmark of their lettered editions. BLB cemented their reputation as a major player in the limited-edition arena with their metal masterpieces, so I think opting for more traditional leather- or suede-like cases (which almost every other small press is using) is a mistake. On the bright side, though, Larry is devoting much more resources into the books themselves, which I know a lot of collectors have been strongly advocating (and is certainly a Good Thing).

In any event, it should be here by the end of the week.

I also purchased my first Necro Publications' letter, The Long Ones by Joe R. Lansdale, which I understand is one of the more difficult letters of theirs to find. I'm not quite sure what to think of it, as it retailed for a hefty $250, but was recommended by several longtime collectors. It's...nice, but not quite as nice as I imagined.

07/07/08 - A pretty good update today. Leigh sent over a huge batch of pics to update the BLB picture gallery, which covers Ancient Eyes, Desecration, and Tequila's Sunrise. See? It pays to keep checking back. Access it from the Extra! Extra! section on the left.

06/23/08 - A contributor sent these snapshots of the unsigned traycased edition of Centipede's A LOVECRAFT RETROSPECTIVE: Artists Inspired by H.P. Lovecraft. Click on each thumb to see the larger image. It looks like one helluva production. Lord only knows how the $2500 lettered version turns out. The last photo graphically shows just how oversized this book is. The contributor and I hope to expand this into a full library entry. In the meantime, though, enjoy!

06/05/08 - AB's latest and greatest review is here! A contributor who wishes to remain anonymous sent an essay for 1200 am LIVE by Insidious Publications. The reviewer thought it was an extremely nice production, but felt it lacked certain critical elements for the price, so it can be found in meh. I agreed with the assessment and would've done the same given the $100 MSRP. However, both of us think IP is on the right track with their letters and look forward to their next effort.

05/28/08 - That went quick! My duplicate of Resurrection was purchased the day after I placed the ad. My thanks to the buyer for the fast sale.

05/26/08 - I've got a duplicate copy of Biting Dog Press' The Resurrection and the Life on eBay. It's letter "XX". The auction page is here:

Also, believe it or not, I have a book review in the works from an anonymous reviewer. What could it be, what could it be? Return here in a few days to find out! AB is definitely still alive and kicking up dust.

05/08/08 - Well, gang, the very first entry on this site was on 02/25/07 (scroll all the way to the bottom). This entry might be one of the last.

Several things - rather unfortunate things - have collided in the past couple of weeks to reevaluate the continued upkeep, not to mention existence, of this site. Early last month, my '95 Mercury Mystique decided it had had enough and blew its head gasket. Facing a probable $2k repair job, I decided to let it go in favor of a brand new 2008 Hyundai Elantra SE, thereby delivering a crippling blow to my finances. Consequently, I'll be in hock for at least the next two years. On the bright side, the car is REALLY nice and I'm enjoying the hell out of the 3 month "free" XM radio package (especially a channel called Cinemagic).

The second thing was that I had a "disagreement" with a certain editor on Horror Mall. I was trying to defend a fellow long-time collector who said something very reasonable (IMO), but it prompted a response that made zero sense and just punished everyone on the block. I only made the one post, but the response was enough to turn me off from purchasing any further books from this publisher.

The third, and the last, was that yet another publisher severed ties with me after I posted a one-sentence criticism on The Other Dark Place, a forum I had been interested in participating in for quite some time. My comment was made in something of an Ambien haze, so I don't even recall writing it, but if you look on Odark, there it is. This publisher is a co-founder of Horror Mall, so needless to say, I can't see myself purchasing anything at HM again...ever. I realize there're other bookstores out there, but none really have the selection, not even Camelot.

What happens now is anyone's guess. I own some books I've been wanting to review, but it's been under the auspices and assumption of my participation in the collecting community being long-term. Now that I've suspended those activities indefinitely, the motivation just isn't there.

HOWEVER, this site will remain open to third-party reviews, which I still encourage.

Speaking of which, my great thanks to Leigh Haig and Andy Simmons for their invaluable additions to AB. When I raised the call for third-party contributors, they were the only two who answered, and answered in grand style. My URL is off to ya', fellas!

If anyone has any suggestions as to where to go from here, I'm all ears. I think a site like this is still sorely needed within the collecting community. There're too many publishers out there producing too many books with too many quality variations for any one person to keep track. I know AB got a lot of hits, but I also know there's a very real and genuine fear to contribute amongst collectors, as many publishers have adopted a, "Stroke my backside or else." sort of stance with their customers.

So, we'll have to see what happens from here. Maybe something. Maybe nothing. Be aware that the future of AB will NOT belong to me, but rather to you, the occasional visitor. If you've got a book you love, even a Subterranean Press title <wheeze! choke!>, take some pictures, prepare a write-up, and include captions to appear underneath each thumbnail.

The Ambien is making me have some pretty vivid "waking dreams", so I'll cut this short. I wish all you small press aficionados the best!

04/27/08 - Andy strikes again! The Bad Moon Books lettered picture gallery has been updated with photos of The Bitchfight, BMB's latest offering. Take a look-see in the EXTRA! EXTRA! section on the left.

04/13/08 - Here're the facts and just the facts. I haven't bothered to change any names to protect the innocent.

I bought a car yesterday. A new car. A Hyundai Elantra SE with the 10 year/100,000 mile bumper-to-bumper warranty. This was FAR, FAR more than I anticipated paying for a replacement ride, but I fell for the car and my desire to pursue a used auto vanished.

So, my book habit is officially over at this point for at least the next two years. That said, Awful Books will continue to be updated with new writeups. I have a few books prepaid that I intend to review plus others that're already in my library. Those coupled with Andy's writeups should keep this site relatively current.

Updates today include more pics in the lettered checklist section courtesy of Andy and a few additional links.

04/09/08 - This'll be a "Days of Our Lives" sort of update, which I'm not going to make a habit of, but it'll affect the future of this site.

Yesterday, while merrily driving down a local interstate, my car lost all power and began to smoke. By the time I managed to pull onto the shoulder, a real horror show was going on under the hood. My mechanic did a cursory examination of the remains today and said it looks like I blew the head gasket.

Needless to say, this will be a costly, costly repair. I'll have an estimate tomorrow, but it'll likely be no less than a grand. I drive a 1995 Mercury Mystique, which, believe it or not, only has 75k. About two years ago, I had to replace the transmission, which was a $2k job. The choice is both simple and complex - fix the car or get a new (used) one.

Neither option is very palatable. Pouring a thousand-plus dollars into a 13 year-old car is pretty insane, but financing another vehicle for God knows how long gives me a huge migraine. If I do pursue the second option, it'll probably be the end of my book habit for at least two years and possibly longer, depending on how much all this is going to wind-up costing me.

Either way, the site will remain up, but I can't guarantee it'll see a lot of new content in the form of first-hand book essays. This doesn't mean there won't be any new reviews, as Andy will be providing submissions as his time allows, but I simply won't be able to contribute anything on my own.

What's that saying? "Sometimes you get the worm and sometimes the worm gets you." Ain't that the truth.

04/03/08 - I've begun adding example pics to the Lettered Enhancements section and will continue to do so as I stumble across more to post.

This isn't a news site and I'm not going to turn it into one, but I felt compelled to mention that it looks like Hill House is no longer going to publish The Martian Chronicles. The title has instead been turned over to PS Publishing.

This is pretty devastating news for several reasons. For one, it signals the end of Hill House as what accountants call "an ongoing concern". Secondly, while PS Publishing produces some nice books, there is no conceivable way it'll turn out even a tenth as handsome as what HH could've done. And finally, it probably means there will never be a "definitive" edition published during Bradbury's lifetime. I know of the Avon LEC and Easton versions, but the HH edition was going to be the proverbial "it" for this inarguable science fiction classic.

It looks like Anansi Boys will be HH's final book. I could be wrong and fervently hope I am, but you don't give up a title like TMC unless you're in the most dire of straits.

Because of this, I'm including a "probably inactive" note beside HH's entry on the links page. If anyone has any further information as to HH's business condition, I'd love to hear it.

03/27/08 - The Anansi Boys entry is finally finished, complete with captions and some tweaks. I think I'll hit the sack now.

03/26/08 - Anansi Boys is finally up! Well, sort of. I still need to add captions, but the gist of the review is complete, including a whole host of pics. I'll get to the captions over the weekend (I hope). After some hemming and hawing, I put it in the Spires. Read the review to find out why I was a little reluctant with the positioning. Either way, I genuinely hope this isn't Hill House's swan song. Please, God, let them get The Martian Chronicles out the door!

03/23/08 - Attentive visitors may've noticed a new section called "Lettered Enhancements", available on the left. It speaks for itself, but in a nutshell, lists every possible "standard" enhancement I could think of that could be included in a lettered book to justify the higher pricetag and set it apart from numbered editions. I've been meaning to do this for awhile, but finally got around to it over the past few days. It's more of a reference guide than anything else, but I do hope both publishers and purchasers find it to be of some use.

03/08/08 - I've come to the tragic deduction that the pictures I'm taking, except for a select few, are utter crap. It isn't the fault of the camera nor, dare I say, the photographer (me). It has to do with the environment. I'm just not set up to shoot a decent image. Things look too overexposed or underexposed, too yellowly, too shadowy, too name it and I've done it. It's pretty obvious things need to change.

So, I've begun the process of trying to find an affordable lighting solution. I was in a camera specialty store at the mall today and saw some possible set-ups that would dramatically improve the situation, but they were either too small, too big, or too expensive (or some combination thereof). I might roll the dice and get something online.

In the meantime, I'm preparing the next book review - the numbered edition of Anansi Boys from Hill House. Yep, you read correctly - Hill House actually managed to get this thing out the gate and yours truly has one! It's a really handsome book, but marred by certain production issues which I'll discuss in the review. Clocking in at a wallet-pummeling MSRP of $240, I'm struggling with in which library to place it - spires or meh. Decisions, decisions...

02/25/08 - Oh no! It's another review! That's right, ladies and gents, on the plate today is Gauntlet Press' lettered edition of Somewhere a Band is Playing by Ray Bradbury. A nice production, but not quite nice enough, so it's now in the Library of meh. I dunno, though - I might change my mind and move it to Spires. Some real-life stuff has made me a little irritated with the world, so I might be being unjustly harsh and more of a crotchety old fart than usual. If you think I've lost my marbles, which is a distinct possibility, lemme know. Otherwise, enjoy!

02/17/08 - Added lettered edition photos of Tequila's Sunrise to the BLB gallery.

02/16/08 - Expanded the entry for The Familiar Stranger to include pics of the numbered edition for comparison purposes. The pics were provided by Andy Simmons, so go look at 'em!

02/14/08 - Andy does it again! A very special treat for Awful Books visitors is a new photo gallery for Bad Moon Books. It now finds a happy home in the EXTRA! EXTRA! section on the left. This is a VERY extensive pictorial essay for Roy Robbins' burgeoning small press. Check it out!

02/03/08 - Andy Simmons' writeup of Messenger, published by Necro Publications, is now live! Look for it in the Library of Spires. This marks the 10th entry in Spires and is a thoroughly documented review, so go check it out!

01/23/08 - Did a somewhat major overhaul of the links page due to some great feedback I received from the Horror Mall community. Certainly enough for a shout-out here. Take a look and let me know if I've screwed something up.

01/15/08 - The Awful Books review of the CCE of The Rising: Selected Scenes from the End of the World is now up. Look for it in the Library of meh.

What? Meh, you say? But this book has garnered almost universal praise! Well, I liked it, but I also had some pretty serious problems with it. As always, dissenting views from ardent Delirium supporters will always be welcomed (see the entry).

01/14/08 - Courtesy of Leigh, the Necessary Evil Press lettered picture gallery has been updated with photos of Take the Long Way Home. The full-size pics are huge, so let me know if I need to reduce their resolutions.

01/12/08 - This site will soon get back to its root mission - to review books! Shocking! The next one on the chopping block will be Delirium's much-anticipated CCE (Custom Collector's Edition) of Brian Keene's The Rising: Selected Scenes from the End of the World. Also, Andy Simmons will soon be providing an entry for Necro Publication's lettered edition of Edward Lee's Messenger. And Bloodletting Books' impressive production of Lake Mountain will also be somewhere in that mix. Look for 'em soon! Just not all at once...

12/30/07 - The writeup on my trip to England is complete! Look for it in the "EXTRA! EXTRA!" section on the left.

12/25/07 - Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! I just returned from London, England after seeing the live concert version of The War of the Worlds. I took a bunch of pictures and will be posting them here. I know this isn't strictly book related, but hey, it'll surely be of interest to someone reading this.

Added some more links. The CCE of The Rising: Selected Scenes from the End of the World has apparently shipped, so I hope to see it in the next few days. I also now have both Midlisters and Disposal letters from Biting Dog Press, which're pretty nice.

Oh, be aware that I don't always post about "minor" site updates, like tweaking the links page. If you wanna stay current, you gotta visit the site every so often. Not every day, obviously, but once a week would be a good schedule.

11/25/07 - Awful Books is proud to present our very first guest review! Check out Andy Simmons' essay of Necessary Evil Press' lettered edition of The Familiar Stranger in the Library of Spires.

11/18/07 - Still recovering. My gut no longer feels as if it'll fall out at any moment, but I am still on some pretty strong pain pills.

I'm debating which book I'll throw up next. It'll either be Lake Mountain or Midlisters (both lettered). LM will take a lot of pics to properly document, so I'm leaning towards Midlisters, as I'm still kinda laid-up.

In the meantime, the links page has been updated. Enjoy!

11/10/07 - I'm still recovering, but managed to redo the links page somewhat so that the publishers section doesn't take up nearly as much room as it did before. Also added a few links. If you know of any other publishers who produce limited-edition books that are NOT listed, please drop me a line.

11/05/07 - I'm back...sort of. The surgery itself went well, but I did have more than a fair share of post-op complications (partially collapsed lung, unresponsive bladder, a night of uncontrolled vomiting). I'll spare everyone the gory details, but needless to say, I'm still in a lot of pain and am on a strict regimen of Percocet. I am, though, able to sit in my chair and bang this out.

I did a quick update to the Links page, reflecting the all-but-done closure of the BLB forum and the addition of Horror Mall and their forums. The BLB forum has moved over to HM.

God willing, I should have a CCE of The Rising: Selected Scenes from the End of the World in my hands soon, as the regular numbered has been out for some weeks.

10/27/07 - Well, I just can't seem to get a break with my health. About two years ago, I suffered a bout of the worst abdominal cramps imaginable. ER personnel were struggling with my symptoms and a terrible diagnosis of stomach cancer was even broached as a very real possibility.

Well, fortunately, it wasn' t cancer, but a somewhat rare congenital defect called Meckel's Diverticulum.This was discovered as the cause only after open surgery, with a subsequent 12-day hospital stay and about two months of further, painful recovery.

One of the possible complications of any abdominal-based surgery is a hernia. And guess what? I'm the lucky winner of one. I've known for awhile that something was still wrong with my gut, but this is the first time I've received a positive diagnosis. It has to be repaired, else it could get strangulated.

So, I'm scheduled for a second surgical procedure this coming Monday. I'm told this episode won't nearly be as traumatic as the first, but I have many doubts. In any event, because of all this, I won't be able to update the site for at least a few weeks and perhaps a month (or more).

Some of you may've noticed a new section on here called "Publisher's Policies" (accessible via the banner). I'll return to finishing it when I can, but there's a lot of good information in there as it is.

Wish me luck.

10/14/07 - After much procrastination, I finally completed the Black House entry. In doing research on the book, I stumbled across a site that may be of great interest to Stephen King collectors, especially for those looking to purchase this book very cheaply. Look for it in the Spires entry.

I also added some additional links and tri-columned the resellers section. One of these days, the entire page will undergo an overhaul, but until then...enjoy!

Unfortunately, I've had to disable the link to the forum. Not that anyone but spammers were using it, but it was simply being overrun by those spammers, many of whom were posting EXTREMELY graphic images. When it comes back online, you'll have to register before you can post. Sorry, but the pornos had to go.

10/03/07 - Was examining the links page (which still looks like crap, BTW) and noticed a slew of bizarre coding errors, which might've affected some browsers. I think I fixed them all, but considering I never knew they were there to begin with, anything's possible. While I was working on the page, I added a few links and modified some others.

I hope to have the Black House entry done by the weekend, at which point I'll probably begin working on Bloodletting's lettered edition of Lake Mountain.

As a reminder, I'm still looking for third-party essays. Got a book whose production values are top notch, mediocre, or downright shabby relative to price? Send it this way!

10/01/07 - Ohmygod! What's this? An update!? Call the police! Fire! FEMA! Yes, you read right, Awful Books is still alive, well, and kicking up dirt. This time, however, we have an entry for the Library of Spires - Donald M. Grant's deluxe 1,520 numbered edition of Black House. The entry isn't complete, but a sneak preview is online.

Also, we're in the home stretch of the interview with Larry Roberts of Bloodletting Books. The first two of the final six questions is now online, so check it out! The remaining four will be acute and hard-hitting, so stay tuned to this website.

09/09/07 - I think I've come to the inevitable, unerring, and utterly obvious conclusion that the links page sucks. Big time. Just big time suckage. Yeah. I'm talking about the layout, not the content - the latter I'm actually curiously proud of. I'll be brainstorming different layout possibilities in the coming weeks. In the meantime, I updated the current layout with some additional links that're definitely worth checking out.

09/07/07 - The BLB bibliography is now complete, with a lot of formatting tweaks. For some reason, though, it looks a lot better in Firefox (which I use) than IE (which I don't). What's that phrase? "You can't please all the people all the time, but you can please some people some of the time." Or something like that.

09/06/07 - I'm baaaaaack! Seattle was tremendous. A gorgeous area of the country. A definite consideration for permanent residence.

Added a General Grumbling. Still working on that damn bibliography. If anyone has any PHP/MySQL expertise, please drop me a line.

08/27/07 - I'll be flying to Seattle in a couple days for a week, so please don't expect any updates or answers to emails until I return.

As some of you might've seen, I'm trying to construct a bibliography of everything Bloodletting Books had published to-date, but I'm doing something catastrophically wrong with the code. I wanted to do this "right", so the information resides as a server-side MySQL database. I'm trying to create PHP code to access that database and display it, but something just ain't clicking. I have a sneaking suspicion none of this would've been an issue had Doteasy supported ASP on my plan level, but nooooo, I'm having to deal with this MySQL/PHP crap. Arrgggh!

Leigh sent over pics of NEP's Assassin series books, which look terrific. They're now posted to the NEP lettered picture gallery. Enjoy!

08/21/07 - My web skills know no bounds. <har har!> Leigh sent over a huge batch of pics of lettered editions that Necessary Evil Press has manufactured since their publishing inception. Take a look at it in the "EXTRA! EXTRA!" section of the site. There's some really, really good stuff there. Makes me insanely jealous I don't have a NEP subscription.

Also added the lettered edition of Vessels to the BLB picture gallery. Looks like Larry has another winner on his hands.

Through a rather odd series of events, I managed to land my hands, rather cheaply, on Donald M. Grant's edition of Black House by Stephen King and Peter Straub. An incredibly handsome production. I'll have to throw it up on the website.

08/18/07 - Would anyone like to be put on a mailing list to be apprised of updates to awfulbooks? If so, drop me a line. I know it's probably pretty irritating to keep visiting a site with such infrequent meaningful updates.

I'm considering locking down the messageboard. Not that anyone uses it, but I just spent the better part of an hour deleting almost 100 spam messages, one of which was pretty X-rated. The software I'm using, phpbb, is pretty crude when it comes to forum maintenance, so I had to delete them one by one, individually, plus satisfy irritating confirmation prompts all the way. Ugh.

The big news is that I finally got the entry for The Paint in My Blood up in the Library of meh. Why meh? Read the review to find out. This will be controversial, but I feel what was missed in the book (the lettered edition, mind you) warranted the meh placement. If you disagree, let me know!

Oh, Bloodletting Press is no more! Larry changed the name to Bloodletting Books. So, any references to "BLP" should be mentally altered to "BLB". Got it? Good!

07/28/07 - More additions to the links page, additional Q & As from Larry Roberts, and a few more pics in the BLP lettered picture gallery. Also added "The Awful Books Plea", which should be read by everyone visiting this site.

Yes, yes, I know - I need to get another entry up. It'll either be The Paint in My Blood or The Resurrection and the Life, both lettered editions. The book for the former looks to be same as the numbered,, but the traycase is very nice. I'm in a bit of a quandary over TRatL. I want to like it, but seeing as the lettered edition was a hefty $250 (I bought mine for $200 on ebay), the book (it's actually a chapbook) doesn't "speak" to me for that price, especially given what BLP produces for a similar MSRP. I realize comparing publishers like this is a bit unfair, but you have to consider this - if you were offered the chance to buy an average 4-door sedan from Small Car Company or an even nicer sedan from Larger Car Company for roughly the same price, I imagine most of us would choose to purchase from the latter (all other things being equal).

Speaking of BLP, the letter of Lake Mountain is almost here. This will be a rather radical departure from BLP's prior efforts, as the book itself will be greatly enhanced versus BLP's past titles.

07/09/07 - Added some new links and finished the Neverland entry. Check 'em out.

07/04/07 - A MAJOR update to the Bloodletting Press picture gallery, courtesy of Leigh Haig. Take a look. And a happy July 4th!

06/04/07 - I've updated the BLP picture gallery and interview with Larry Roberts. Access them via the "EXTRA! EXTRA!" link on the left. I should also have a preliminary entry for Neverland up by tonight.

06/02/07 - Something astounding arrived via FedEx today. Something COMPLETELY unexpected. Want to know what it was? Head on over to the Library of Spires and take a gander. Hill House is, indeed, alive and well!

05/28/07 - I've procured a few more lettered books - Bloodletting Press' Rage, IFD Publishing's The Paint in My Blood, and Biting Dog Press' The Resurrection and the Life.

05/27/07 - I rearranged the Bloodletting Press picture gallery somewhat and added a few pics for the upcoming lettered edition of Lake Mountain from Steve Gerlach's website.

05/17/07 - Yes, yes, I know, I've been neglecting the site. What can I say? Too much to do in far too little time. The good news is that the first bits of an interview I'm conducting with Larry Roberts of Bloodletting Press is now online and can be accessed via the EXTRA! EXTRA! section (on the left). This section will grow as the interview progresses between Larry and I. Go take a read!

04/24/07 - It appears as if my "relationship" with SubPress is finally at an end. The books have been mailed to the buyer and I just received a refund for the lettered version of Saints by Orson Scott Card. This was a bittersweet refund, as I could've simply let the deal complete normally, but a vow is a vow - no more SubPress books for me...period. I do have several currently in my library from prior transactions and am pondering selling them on ebay. I know two will probably fetch good prices. The rest I'll likely sell at a loss. I may not even bother with ebay and will instead put them up on consignment.

04/20/07 - In what seems like a neverending stream of vindictive and childish behavior from Bill Schafer, I discovered that he is "retiring" my Ice and Fire letter into his own personal collection. What was the point of this? Simple - so that I couldn't sell my two books and impart with them rights to future editions in this series. The intent, of course, being to seriously undermine their worth in the secondary market. He has forever "broken" this set and damaged the collecting community in the process.

Well, Bill, it didn't work. I had already lined-up a buyer who offered an eminently handsome amount for my two books (I could not've done any better on ebay WITH rights transference). The money is currently sitting in my bank account, which I'm going to use to purchase not just one, not just two, but THREE additional Atlantic Metal mobile full-height bookcases.

And what am I going to be putting on these bookcases? Lettered editions from Bloodletting Press, a company overflowing with originality and brilliance. Look for an exclusive interview with Larry Roberts to appear here soon.

As for Bill "John Gotti" Schafer - this *should* be the last chapter in my sordid dealings with this vengeance-obsessed nutjob. Good riddance!

04/15/07 - In other news, I've posted the pics for A Clash of Kings. The entry isn't complete, but the meat is there. Enjoy!

04/13/07 - Well, Bill Schafer finally did it, and did it in grand style. You might recall that, in a fit of frustration, I cloned SubPress' webpage solicitation for A Feast for Crows and doctored it so that it was more in-line with what a $400+ book should contain (at least, IMNSHO). Unfortunately, I didn't disable the links which fed to SubPress' own ordering mechanism. I thought about it, but didn't think it'd be a big deal to leave them in.

Unfortunately, Bill took that as a measure of fraud against his company. To that end, he contacted his lawyer, who sent me a "DMCA Takedown Notice", which is your typical cease and desist. For those of you not up on copyright lingo, DMCA = Digital Millennium Copyright Act.

The net effect of all this is that I've been blacklisted by Bill and can never purchase another one of his books (at least, not directly from his company). Which means that this site will probably never see an entry for Feast. I haven't yet seen a refund, but the lawyer assures me it'll be processed ASAP.

For more info, including a statement by Bill himself, click H E R E.

Am I angry over all this? Yes and no. Yes in that I was accused of fraud when anyone with a tenth of a brain could realize that was clearly not the case. No in that I was ending my patronage of SubPress anyway. The fraud accusation was simply the catalyst which landed me in Bill's ever-growing pile of people he's blacklisted. The real reason, of course, was the critique appearing on here of A Storm of Swords, plus the other related Grumblings I've composed.

Bill, my hat's off to you!

04/10/07 - Larry Roberts of Bloodletting Press has been extremely kind enough to send me high-resolution pictures of current and upcoming books in his growing library. The gallery can be accessed H E R E. Larry answers his emails almost instantaneously, so if you have any questions, don't hesitate to shoot them his way.

04/06/07 - It's been awhile, I know, but I've been incredibly busy of late with school, work, and trying to get back into regular tennis. Three big news items. 1) I purchased the lettered edition of Bloodletting Press' Neverland. I had to sell a kidney on ebay, but it was worth it. The traycase is unlike anything I've ever seen. I'll be including it in the Library of Spires, but it'll take awhile to fully document. 2) I've changed my mind about the next entry, as it'll be the lettered edition of A Clash of Kings from Meisha Merlin. 3) Bill Schafer of Subterranean Press somehow put two-and-two together and managed to discover my real identity. Bill has a habit of revoking purchase rights from those who rub him the wrong way and I've been like coarse sandpaper on a newborn's bottom.  Therefore, it's unlikely I'll ever see my letter of A Feast for Crows. Indeed, I expect to be generally blacklisted from any further direct SubPress purchases. Am I happy about this? No, as I think SubPress has a tremendous amount of resources and potential and I was genuinely eyeing a book of two of theirs. Am I surprised? Not at all. I knew the consequences of my views if Bill ever deduced who I was. But hey, it's his company, so he can sell - or not sell - to whomever he wishes.

03/25/07 - Another rant posted. What can I say? This is sometimes a really irritating hobby.

03/24/07 - The Rutting Season is now complete! Next up will be a book going into the Library of Shame. Boo, hiss!

03/23/07 - Despite getting a flu shot some months ago, I managed to catch the damn bug anyway. So, I've been down and out for the past week. Updates today include some additional links and a spiffed-up Library of Spires page. Big news is that I've added an "open" forum, meaning you don't have to register in order to post. The link is in the left-hand frame (for now).

03/13/07 - Another grumbling posted. Sorry, but I just couldn't help myself.

03/12/07 - The entry for American Gods is done! Took longer than I had anticipated, but all the full-res pics are now available, along with a few extra. Next up - the lettered edition of The Rutting Season from Bloodletting Press.

03/11/07 - Got something to say about a book? Let me know! I'm now accepting entry submissions. Click on the "A Call for Submissions" tab to get details. There could be money in it for you!

03/10/07 - The American Gods entry is pretty-much done. I just have a few more pics to take of the softcover, but the main book is now completely documented. Also, Bloodletting Press' lettered edition of The Rutting Season arrived. I'll try to take photos of it later today. Also added some new links.

03/05/07 - I'm in the process of composing the American Gods entry. It's a work-in-progress, but you can see a "sneak preview" of sorts in the Library of Spires. I'm also receiving a lettered edition of The Rutting Season from Bloodletting Press. I'm sure it will go into the Library of Spires, but that isn't a 100% certainty.

03/03/07 - Added two more General Grumblings rants. I'm also working on a page for Hill House's American Gods . I've taken over 40 pictures of this extremely lavish production. I hope to have it up in the next day or two.

02/25/07 - Created this history detail. Updated the Links page. Moved the default text that was here to the Welcome link. Created a new "General Grumblings" page. Corrected some wording on the Collector's Guide page.