Saturday, April 17, 2010

Outbound, Jack McDevitt

This little gem arrived on my doorstep this afternoon. A collection of fiction and other essays called Outbound by one of my favorites, Mr. Jack McDevitt.

Illinois Science Fiction in Chicago is a neat little organization dedicated to promoting SF literacy in Chicago. They support a number of cons throughout the year, primarily their flagship, WindyCon. It is at this convention - since 2004 at any rate - where the publishing arm of the society, ISFiC Press releases a new book by or featuring work by the Guest of Honor for that years convention.

I had been eying some of their books for some time now, as a couple are by favorite authors of mine. As they are printed in relatively small quantities and bound with higher quality material than you'd see from most of the New York houses, there is also a certain level of collectibility built into the books.

Since the last time I visited ISFiC's web-page however, Outbound - one of two books I had been keeping on my back burner - quietly went out of print. Checking for used copies on Amazon sent a shock through my wallet, I was devastated. And if you know me, you know I am not exaggerating. I like to spend money on SF, even more than the next guy, but I was not about to spend $70 on something that would have cost me $30 or less a few months ago.

So anyway, I start excavating the intra-webs. Turning over Alibris, rooting through Abebooks' dustbins and digging through eBay's backyard. All my usual haunts abandoned me, when much to my surprise, I struck gold. Jack McDevitt himself was selling the last few copies... at cost. And to make a good deal great, he would personally sign the book to anyone who asked.

How could I say no? So out went the payment and in came the book. When I unwrapped it this evening, the title page fell open: "To Tim, Hope you enjoy the ride. Best always, Jack McDevitt. Brunswick GA 4/14/10". What a stellar birthday present. I can't wait to get a chance to read it.

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