Monthly Archives: July 2016

Zelazny’s Amber to be adapted for TV

From the people who brought you The Walking Dead comes a TV adaptation of Roger Zelazny’s wonderful Chronicles of Amber. More info here:

Think I’ll hang on to my copies of Nine Princes in Amber for now. Here is the US true 1st edition published in 1970 by Doubleday:


Nine Princes in Amber US First Edition

Allegedly the publishers ordered their warehouse to pulp all copies of Zelazny’s existing books the same day this came in from the printer, so only review copies, pre-orders, and library copies escaped into the wild, thus making non-Ex-Lib copies such as this one a rarity. At the time of writing there are around a dozen such copies to be found for sale via the website.

This copy was acquired from a bookstore in The Hague during the time I was working at the European Patent Office in nearby Rijswijk.


Books at Auction on 21st July

We have several interesting lots for auction in the Modern Firsts section of the 21st July 2016 sale being held by Dominic Winter Auctioneers at South Cerney near Cirencester in Gloucestershire. The lots are as follows:

709 – Douglas Adams. Various titles (7 in total) including the UK firsts of The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy and The Restaurant at the End of the Universe.

710 – Douglas Adams. A signed copy of the UK first of The Illustrated Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.

716 – Pierre Boullé. The UK first and first English edition of Monkey Planet (the basis for the film The Planet of the Apes).

725 – Philip K. Dick. The UK first editions of The Collected Stories of Philip K. Dick. 5 volumes.

754 – Stephen King. The UK first of Salem’s Lot.

759 – David Lindsay. The Savoy Books 2002 limited edition of A Voyage to Arcturus.

782 – William T. Vollmann. Rising Up and Rising Down. 7 volumes of the US 1st edition in a slipcase, each signed by the author.

More details and a catalogue for download are available here: —> Dominic Winter Modern Firsts 21st July 2016

21st July 2016 Update:

A good sale. Six lots sold, the Vollmann set being the non-seller. Results can be downloaded in PDF format via the link given above.

A Game of Jackets

It was almost 20 years ago on 5th August 1996 that Harper Collins UK published A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin under their Voyager science fiction and fantasy imprint. Whether this was the world first edition is a matter of contention. Copies of the US Bantam first edition which had been printed well in advance of the official publication date (also in August 1996) were given away at the annual American Booksellers Association convention held in Chicago in June 1996 and on this basis GRRM claims the US edition to be the world first. However, given that this was not the official publication date, I for one would argue that the UK edition is the true first. If give-away copies are to be classed as true firsts then proofs or advanced reading copies which are also given away should be classed as true firsts and that would be a major change across the whole world of book collecting (which I wouldn’t mind, given my tendency to purchase them).

Incidently, the July 1996 issue of Asimov’s Science Fiction magazine included a novella entitled Blood of the Dragon which was based upon the Daenerys chapters from AGoT and went on to win the 1997 Hugo Award for Best Novella. But back to the UK first edition…

Prior to publication, Harper Collins produced a Collectors’ Preview Edition (ISBN 0006482759) – a small 124 page perfect bound booklet which contained the first nine chapters of AGoT. It cost 99 pence to buy and offered the purchaser a special price on the full hardcover edition once it became available at the originating bookstore.


A Game of Thrones UK Preview Edition

Needless to say, an example of this small piece of ephemera in fine condition now costs considerably more than 99p! But what interested me about it was the rather imposing bright yellow section to the bottom right of the front panel. Clearly something must be covered up by this frankly inappropriate modification to the excellent jacket artwork  created by the Jim Burns, but what and why?

As can be seen below, the jacket for the UK first edition shows a vignette of a male character dressed for cold weather and therefore from the North of Westeros and presumably one of the Stark family, probably Ned, but could equally be Rob or even Jon Snow.


A Game of Thrones UK First Edition Jacket

Clearly it is necessary to see an image of the original artwork in order for this mystery to be solved, but where is it now? For a time, the original was in the posession of Jim Burns’ agent Alison Eldred, but it was sold to a collector (in Canada, I believe) along with the three other pieces that Jim created for the Voyager editions, i.e. one for A Clash of Kings and two for A Storm of Swords, the mass market paperback of the latter having been split into two volumes due to it’s size.

As it happens, there are two options available for us to view. The first can be found at the website of Jim’s agent (AGoT Fine Art Print @ Alison Eldred) where one can find details of how to purchase a signed, limited edition fine art print of this and the other three artworks from the series. As you can see, it is the wraparound artwork in the raw state, free from all text:

Jim Burns AGoT artwork

Jim Burns’ original artwork for the jacket of the UK first edition of A Game of Thrones

It is immediately evident that the character at the bottom right is quite different from the final version – definitely more oriental in appearance, almost Ghengis Khan-like and presumably intended to represent Khal Drogo. Like myself, Jim usually attends the annual one day convention held in Bristol (the cunningly named BristolCon) and I asked him last year why the change had been made, but he said he could not remember the reason. My guess is that someone at the publisher (presumably the editor) considered it a bit too oriental and suggested it be changed.

What I love about this and the other pieces in the group is that the wood you see is not digitised, it is marquetry – real wood veneer inlaid with the painted artwork.

I said earlier that there was a second option available and this jacket from the Dutch first edition is it:


A Game of Thrones Dutch First Edition Jacket


Somehow this got out into the wild without the edit and is, as far as I am aware, unique amongst all editions published worldwide. The only other edition to feature Jim’s artwork is the Hebrew language edition and that has the edited version, albeit with a reversed image. Just for comparison, here is the wrapper from the Dutch edition (and I know which one I prefer):


A Game of Thrones Dutch First Edition Wrapper

During my time hunting around the bookshops in the Netherlands I only ever found one copy of the jacketed Dutch first edition and this makes me wonder whether it was a proof version of the jacket which was never used. Any other owners of such a copy out there?

25th October 2016 update: Recently received this link from Jonty Clark regarding a Canadian guy named Pat Robinson who has a huge collection of GoT artwork, including the Jim Burns originals:

Last year at BristolCon, Jim mentioned that Pat wanted to commission him to do artwork in the same style for A Feast for Crows and A Dance with Dragons. As Jim will be attending this year’s BristolCon on Saturday 29th October, I shall ask if has accepted the commission.