Somewhere a Band Is Playing

Published by:

ISBN: 978-1887368-98-8 (all editions)
Edition size: 500 numbered52 lettered
MSRP: $75.00 (+$35.00 w/optional slipcase)$300.00

Somewhere a Band is Playing is a novella that, according to the front DJ flap, has been an off-again, on-again preoccupation of Bradbury's for the last 50 some odd years. The actual story consumes just 101 pages, while the remaining 86 pages is a neat and insightful gathering of story fragments, an unfinished script (or teleplay), manuscript facsimiles, and other draft-level writings. Gauntlet's inclusion of this material was to present the reader with Bradbury's evolution of the main story. Even with these additional pages, though, the book clocks in at a brief 187 total pages.

This is another troublesome entry. Practically anything written by Bradbury is considered publishing gold (and rightfully so), but $300 for a lettered production of this brevity and following critiques is a bit much. In Gauntlet's defense, it looks like quite a bit of typesetting had to be employed for the supplemental material. Don't misunderstand, it IS a nice production - the traycase is very handsome, the endpapers are neat, and we are, after all, talking about the "B" in science fiction's "A B C" hall of fame. I just wish more had been done for the price, such as gilt, an embedded bookmark, genuine leather, some interior plates, and the like. I also have a sneaking suspicion the lettered only adds Nolan's signature page and the traycase, which is one of my big pet peeves with publishers nowadays.

I don't have a numbered with which to compare, but Gauntlet's website states that the lettered edition comes with a bonded leather traycase and is also signed by William F. Nolan. It looks like the book itself is also bound in bonded leather.

UPDATE - I've received word that the numbered is bound in a different type of material; not leather, but a leather-grained type of coated paper which, rather ironically, allowed for much sharper stamping. Also, the endpapers are in b/w, NOT color.

So, it appears that the lettered adds the following elements for $225.00 more:

Is the sum of the above worth $225? Somewhat debatable.

- L E T T E R E D -

The nice and rather unique traycase, with Bradbury's own art used as an onlay. You may not be able to tell from this picture, but the front door is slightly beveled along the edges.

The traycase spine. Unfortunately, the stamping could've been better, with Gauntlet's own logo almost unrecognizable.

And the back of the traycase.

Opening the traycase we find a lined front door and a very thoughtful pull-out ribbon.

The book removed from the traycase. The inset portion is also lined, ensuring the book is safely protected from any hard knocks.

The front of the book. Notice the lack of title stamping, which is a big disappointment.

The spine revealing the only board indication of what this production actually is. The stamping here is moderately better than what appears on the traycase.

The back of the book.

A close-up of the binding.

The dustjacket, showing the unabridged painting. Fortunately, Gauntlet included dustjackets with these letters.

The dustjacket flaps. Pretty professionally done and a big plus for this production.

The front endpaper, revealing a collage assembled by Donn Albright. I don't know if this was a letter-only feature, but either way, it's FAR better than the usual plain-Jane endpapers normally included with limited editions.

The title page.

The first limitation page. Bradbury typically uses sharpie-like pens when signing items.

The second limitation page, signed by Nolan using a FAR better pen. On the facing page, you can see where the ink from Bradbury's signature has bled through.

The copyright and dedication pages.

The table of contents.

The first page of Nolan's introduction.

Pages 84 & 85, showing the margins, font, and spacing used.

And the back endpapers, with a similar, but different, collage by Albright.