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Bibliomania

The annual Seattle Antiquarian Book Fair is going on this weekend, and as usual Lisa and I are minding the Bauman Rare Books booth.

During setup on Friday, I was reminded once again that at the high end of the rare-book market, there is no genre snobbery. This year's Bauman offerings include first editions of Kipling and Flaubert, a Le Morte d'Arthur illustrated by Aubrey Beardsley, and signed letters by Hemingway and Golda Meir (the latter typed in Hebrew), but also signed firsts of Starship Troopers and The Moon is a Harsh Mistress (both sold within a few hours of yesterday's opening) and William Shatner's handwritten treatment for a Star Trek episode that was never produced (still available as of this posting). And then there's my favorite item, an Apollo training manual signed by Buzz Aldrin, Fred Haise, and Tom Stafford:

Apollo training manual

I'd buy this myself, but at $2500 it's just a little out of my price range. I did, however, burn a rather large hole in my wallet to obtain a pristine first American edition of the Codex Seraphinianus. Woot!

Comments

( 6 comments — Leave a comment )
ldrake
Oct. 14th, 2007 04:22 pm (UTC)
You burnt a hole in your wallet for a book you cannot read.....
Whoops - sorry - you can unpost the anonymous post

hehe, ain't that just like you. Or like Neal Stephenson for that matter - he's probably the other author in the world so fascinated with codebreaking that he owns his own copy :) Or wasw it the illustrations that captured you?

I like the idea though. This has to be the result of a creative pressure that someone just felt they had to release as it's commercial possibilities were probably pretty nil. Either that or the pictures were the point and the text truly is gibberish (except for the numbering system). The fact that the numbering system is cracked though, does lead one to believe that he wrote it in a fabricated language. Since it was written in the 70's do you think maybe he used early personal computers to create the translations for him and then transcribed it?
matt_ruff
Oct. 15th, 2007 11:07 am (UTC)
Re: You burnt a hole in your wallet for a book you cannot read.....
I think the main attraction of the Codex, for me, is the concept of an "alien encyclopedia." The thought that the script might actually mean something is also intriguing, but if it is some kind of cipher the plaintext would presumably be in Italian, which I still can't read. So that aspect doesn't draw me as much as it would if Serafini were an English artist. (I will have to show it to Neal, though.)

Of course I'm already thinking that it'd be cool to have a facsimile of the Voynich Manuscript to go with it...
anghara
Oct. 14th, 2007 05:53 pm (UTC)
I'm DROOLING for that Aubrey Beatdsley "Morte d'Arthur", and I daren't even ask how much it is...
matt_ruff
Oct. 15th, 2007 11:16 am (UTC)
I was surprised to see that the Beardsley was only $2800. (It's still available, too, if you should happen to win Powerball this week.) By comparison, the Starship Troopers, which was signed and in great condition, went for almost $8000.
martianmooncrab
Oct. 14th, 2007 06:36 pm (UTC)
and as usual Lisa and I are minding the Bauman Rare Books booth.

*sigh* that sounds like more temptation than a person can resist. Congrats on your aquisition, it looks like a beautiful book.
morbid_o
Oct. 15th, 2007 03:48 pm (UTC)
That manual looks like something Richard Garriott would buy.

Have you seen his house??
I think it's chopped up into 6 parts (2-5 are the meat of it; 1 is preview) at http://www.mtv.com/overdrive/?id=1564231&vid=161267
( 6 comments — Leave a comment )

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