The "Fan Solidarity" Booklist
fter World War II, most European countries -- including the United Kingdom, and by extension many of the Commonwealth members -- imposed currency restrictions on their citizens. Not only was taking money outside the country prohibited, it was equally illegal to send it out on its own in the form of subscription or other purchase payments. As you might suspect, this put a serious crimp in the stfnal reading habits of fans who continued to live under rationing well after the hostilities had ceased.
When the Cinvention had totaled up its revenues and subtracted its expenses, a tidy surplus remained. (Not exactly unheard of these days, of course, but consider this: the final accounting was completed and announced before the convention ended.) After some discussion, the membership voted to allocate $300 dollars for the purchase of stfnal print goods, to be divided evenly between the fans of England and Australia.
The final choices were left in the hands of Cinvention manager Don Ford. To simplify the process, he simply bought two of everything until the money ran out. What follows is a complete listing of the contents of the literary "Care" packages sent to the fen of two continents in 1950.
Click [a.c] to order from Amazon.com.
Click [b&n] to order from Barnes & Noble.
Click [bamm] to order from Books-A-Million.
Click the title to search for used copies at BookFinder.com.
All books marked [OP] are thought to be Out of Print.
Please report any corrections to the Web Geek: (email@example.com).
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crolling through the preceding list, you can scarcely have missed one overwhelming fact: how pitifully few of its sixty-two items are currently in print.
This is to some extent understandable. Over the course of fifty years, a good-sized chunk of the contents were bound to do a popularity fade. Tastes change -- and not everything that looks like a classic in its year of publication has the legs to outpace those changes.
But Ray Bradbury? Lester del Rey? Fritz Leiber? "Doc" Smith? Or Theodore Sturgeon? These remain names of power, with appreciable and still-appreciated bodies of work. So why have so many of their entries disappeared from the "in-print" column?
Well, inventory taxes discourage the maintenance of a slow-selling backlist, and the notorious long-term instability of federal tax law encourages a focus on quick-sellthrough blockbusters. Mostly, though, it's "out of sight, out of mind." You can't squeeze blood out of a stone -- and you can't squeeze promotional tie-ins out of a headstone.
Publishing is a business, it's true, and needs to be run as such. But one can still hope there will always be room for the marginal player who is willing to accept a slightly narrower immediate profit margin for the sake of a slightly wider long-term historical perspective.
One can, alas, sometimes also dream on...
--The CFG's Web Geek
(whose opinions, however well-founded, are his own and not necessarily those of the club...)
[ t o p o f p a g e ]
All material © Cincinnati Fantasy Group, unless otherwise credited.
Last updated: Monday, August 25, 2008
Created for the CFG by Scott Street (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Maintained by the author.
Comments, questions & broken link reports: (email@example.com).