Wednesday, March 2, 2011

The works of Keith Taylor.

I first got interested in his work because of his co-authoring several of the Cormac Mac Art pastiches with Andrew J. Offutt. So over the past few years I've been purchasing the various volumes of Keith Taylor's two fantasy series, Bard and the Dannans.. well I've got them all.. that is to say all but one.. and it's left me wondering just why it's so expensive.

The book in question is Bard V, Felimid's homecoming. It typically sells for about 75$.. needless to say, even if this were Tolkien I'd not shell out 3/4ths of a Benjamin Franklin for a paperback.. So the question is why is it so expensive in the first place? I'm wondering if the fact most of the auctions and Amazon sales originate in Australia and the United Kingdom indicate that it wasn't ever released in the US? That would explain why none of the auctions originate here.. but it would not really alleviate why it's such an expensive volume. His work "Lances of Negesdul" though less expensive than Bard 5, is still routinely sold for 50$.. I find it odd that, and no offense to Mr. Taylor, a relatively unknown author's works would command such high prices.

It also begs the obvious question that if the book wasn't released in the US, why not? The Bard books seem to have sold fairly well since I come across them quite regularly in my used book store trolling. I've found the first 4 frequently, and generally come across at least 1 or 2 of the Dannans books on a semi-regular basis.

But this brought me to another thought, What happened to Mr. Taylor, I know he wrote several, very good, articles for the Cimmerian, but It seemed like he had a very promising run ahead of him. Is it just a case of an author who was used to writing relatively short works, failing to make the jump to the "Fat Fantasy" that got started in the early 90s? Either way it's a shame, as I would have liked to have seen more from him.

It's perhaps not a terribly important quandary.. certainly not one the media will be investigating any time soon.. but it has been bothering me. I suppose though I'll just have to try and hunt it down the next time I manage to get to the UK.. since the ludicrous prices it sells for online, hoping that it hasn't seeped all the way down to the humble used paperback stores... For now though my curiosity towards both Lances and Bard 5 will have to remain unfulfilled, and I can hope that maybe, one day, their will be a reprint of these.. Certainly between the 5 Bard books there would be more than enough material to produce a rather attractive Omnibus volume.. But like my hope for a Thongor omnibus.. or more Brak stories.. I suppose it won't happen.

Some of Karl Edward Wagner's Kane paperbacks are much the same, but they were published in the US, multiple times even, and they still tend to cost upwards of 15$ or more per book.. But nothing like Bard V. But beyond these two authors.. and maybe a few Robert E. Howard collections. Which for the most part if you don't want to pay for, the stories can be had in another less expensive collection.. though there are a few posthumous collaborations in the BAEN run from the 90's which you can't get anywhere else.. Beyond those however I've never really had any problem getting any 60's, 70's or 80's paperbacks at prices I was content to pay.

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