Originally posted by theoctobercountry:
Anyone else have any thoughts on Subterranean's Martian Chronicles
? My copy arrived in today's post, and quite frankly I'm almost afraid to handle it, for fear of damaging the book. I don't think I've ever paid so much for a single volume before; my previous upper limit for a book wasn't more than $150.00 or so.
Well ,my book arrived this morning and i do have to agree with some of the comments posted by theoctobercountry,about the colour of the marbled papers and the cloth slipcase will atract dust so it will have to be protected somehow.But i am very pleased with the book and will have great pleasure in reading it ,i was surprised to note that it was limited to 1000 numbered copies as opposed to the 500 stated in the publicity but this is by the by.Overall a very nice publication thanks Subteranean once again.
But, I did open it up and have a look. I've a bit of a mixed reaction to it, however. Oh, overall I'm pleased of course. It's fantastic
to finally have all of Ray's Mars stories in one volume, including quite a few that had not been previously published. I'm really looking forward to reading these!
Other positives include the really splendid colour plates; nicely done. There are several essays/tributes by other writers included in the text also, as well as two complete screenplays (from 1963 and 1997).
It's a very attractive volume inside a slipcase. The boards are covered in marbled paper. Now, I've always liked the look of marbled paper (a lot of Victorian-era books were bound this way). However... the colour of the marbling is in green, purple, black, and grey, and I'm not crazy about these shades in combination. Just a matter of personal taste, of course, but I think it would have made a lot more sense to use shades of red in the marbling---this is about Mars, after all! Along with some shades of blue (for the water in the canals)---I think those colours, in combination with black, would have been a lot more attractive.
The plain black endpapers represent a wasted opportunity, I think---would have been very cool to have illustrated endpapers in this case.
And (at the risk of sounding too negative) I really do think the volume is too unwieldy; too fat and heavy to read with ease. In my own experience, the fatter the novel, the more likely it is to crack right down the middle over time. I really would have preferred to see this published as a matched pair of two slimmer volumes. The screenplays take up nearly half of the book, so I would have printed them separately, and had the actual novel and all the additional stories in their own volume.
So, as I said, a bit of a mixed review from me. But am I sorry I purchased this? Absolutely not! I'm really looking forward to going through all this material at my leisure, despite what I would consider a few drawbacks with this printing of the novel. I'm pleased Subterranean has included so much material here.
(As a sort of PS, I'll add that if anyone is looking for a really nice version of The Martian Chronicles
but missed out on this volume, which is now officially out of print, I would recommend looking for a copy of the book that was published in 1974 by Heritage Press. That's a great edition, slightly oversized in a slipcase, with colour plates by Joseph Mugnaini, and with a great cover which can be seen below. Of course it's long out of print, but used copies can still be obtained in the $15.00-$35.00 range.)