WARNING: This starts tame and mutates into a full on rant. Oops.
The U.K. gets all sorts of genre awesomeness before us yanks and I hate them for it. Oddly enough the Gollancz printing of The Necronomicon: the Best Weird Fiction of H.P. Lovecraft managed to receive a trade paper “export” edition, which I discovered at work yesterday. The book, with its black cover and Cthulhu cover set off the my sexy alarm. The store had only two copies left so I picked up, even knowing I’d end up importing a hardcover if it existed. It does, and I am now anxiously awaiting its arrival.
At just over 1000 pages it has all of Lovecraft’s classic which, while I already own in the fantastic Penguin editions annoted by Lovecraftian/Weird Tale scholar S.T. Joshi, are finally bound together here and bookended by a scanned version of Lovecraft’s “History of the Necronomicon” and what looks like a hand-drawn map of Providence. Just shy of a Subterranean level production quality.
To make matters worse I decided to preorder the other U.K. first titles including The Steel Remains (this August in the U.K. and February!!!!!! in the U.S.), Toll the Hounds (September trade paper in the States, July 1st hardcover in the U.K.), and Return of the Crimson Guard (August in the U.K., maybe September in the states).
Four books. After shipping and handling (more expensive because I want the books as they come out rather than all at once) that is roughly 72 pounds. At an exchnage rate just shy of $2 USD to 1 pound that is over $140. For four books. All of which, I should at, are discounted by 30-50%. Mostly I blame the weak US dollar, and my own nigh uncontrollable book lust, but is there someone out there in the publishing world that can explain to me why the fuck, in an age of near instantaneous communication, in countries that share the same fucking language, that fantasy books take so much longer to get here!?
I suspect it has to do with castles. There has to be some strange formula involving the number of castles. It certainly can’t be quality. Terry fucking Goodkind gets his shit here quick as can be (though still in the U.K.) first and gave up on that hack years ago. It can’t be do to author nationality. Richard Morgan is british sure, but Erikson is Canadian and George R. R. Martin was born in fucking New Jersey (Storm of Swords was released in August of 2000 in the UK, and November of 2000 in the States, A Feast for Crows was October 2005 in the UK and November 2005 in the States, close but not close enough). Someone really needs to explain this shit to me.