Friday, June 05, 2009

Speculative Cat Fiction

(Banzai Cat's gonna' like this post, methinks).

Scouring bargain book bins and second hand book shops is akin to Forrest Gump's box of chocolates: You never know what you're gonna' get. In fact, you almost never get the complete books in a series, not even consecutive novels in a trilogy; finding consecutive yearly anthologies is even harder. The exception here would be huge bestsellers like Harry Potter, The Lord Of The Rings, the Hannibal Lecter books, and the like, but anything even slightly obscure is bound to be incomplete. Of course, buying brand new is the solution if you want to find all the titles in a series, but what if: 1. the title is out-of-print?; or 2. after a trip to browse brand new titles, you engage in checking out bargain book bins and second hand book shops for lower-priced treats just because you want to? (Buying online is the answer to 1., but with such a quick solution, this would end up a very short blog entry, wouldn't it?)

So you can imagine my surprise earlier this year when, within a span of four weeks, I found, at separate second-hand bookstores in different parts of the metropolis, Catfantastic and Catfantastic II. The former I found tucked away under a heap of books in a dusty corner of the shop; the latter I found on a lower shelf between a science-fiction mystery and a fantasy adventure novel.

The books are short fiction anthologies edited by Andre Norton and Martin H. Greenberg; all the stories are speculative fiction in nature, and all have cats in them playing the hero. The first anthology was published way back in 1989, and after searching the web a bit, I discovered that the series published up to Catfantastic V. I can't say that I'm a cat lover, but going through fantasy and science fiction stories of the type I encountered back in the late 1980's and early 1990's makes for fun reading.

And this makes the rest of my trips to second hand book stores and bargain book bins for the rest of the year quite interesting. I'm not expecting anything, but if my luck holds out, maybe I'll complete the anthology series before 2010. :D

Oh! Here at the end of this entry, it just struck me: I was lucky to complete Garth Nix's Abhorsen Trilogy, but only one book was bought brand new. I would've bought them all new if the store had all three in stock, but at that time, they didn't. Instead, I found the other two separately in two different second hand shops some weeks later. I doubt if I'll still be able to find any Catfantastic book new, but I'm going to keep my eyes open for the rest that I don't have. :D

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