April 2012

The books have been entered and the database tidied up. It is ninety nine percent done and there are 882 books. It has brought up a few questions too as there are some books I know I have but they aren’t in the database because I haven’t come across them to put them in.

The program connects to an online database and it – I’m thinking – is just a collection of the details entered by the users of the program: which would explain the wrong book covers on some books. I don’t think there is an official database of all the books published, but I could be wrong.

I have 5 Sol Yurick books, a great writer. The Warriors is obviously his best in my opinion but he wrote some cracking short stories too.

There are also 5 John Wyndham paperbacks, all Penguin editions from the early to mid eighties. I was put off Wyndham by school but found The Web in particular to be a very good read. His short stories I found a little so-so but they were interesting.

There are a lot of Star Trek novels and a few Star Trek related books; including the making of the TV series where it is noted that the Romulans are the fierce warriors and the Klingons the sly ones: a total reverse of what came after. I bought a lot of the spin off novels during the nineties, mainly at second hand shops for pennies (and don’t some of them show it; a couple are hanging together by threads) and read and enjoyed most of them. They were fun little romps but I stuck to the various TV series and didn’t particularly enjoy the original book series that were not connected to the TV shows (I like DS9 above the other Star Trek series but will always have a soft spot for Kirk).

Also TV related are two Babylon 5 books, two Highlander books, three Buffy novelisations, three Angel novelisations and three X-files books.

There were a lot more A E Van Vogt books than I thought, and it’s split roughly fifty-fifty between novels and short story collections. Again a lot of them look second hand.

My copy of Lord of The Rings dates back to paperbacks printed in 1981 and bought three or four years later. They were bought new and are well read, although I think it was the extra material after the books that I read more than once.

A nice paperback copy of Great Crime of Grapplewick by Eric Sykes, who I loved when I was growing up. Nice and well written but not laugh out loud funny.

There’s quite a lot of nonfiction; most of it computer related.

Three books by John Sladek, New Apocrypha, Maps and Roderick at Random. I definitely bought Roderick but can’t seem to find it. I do know that I read Roderick at Random, and enjoyed it so much I then went out and bought Roderick.

Half a dozen Clifford D Simak books but no City, which was his most memorable work for me.

Only 9 James Herbert books. I think I gave away or sold off the ones I bought in the eighties: most of them were bought new too.

Two books by Benford and Ecklund; If The Stars Are Gods and Find The Changeling. Paperbacks from 1979 and 1980. Both enjoyable reads with If The Stars Are Gods having some of the best aliens I’ve ever read about.

Four Harlan Ellison books, all short story collections. I enjoyed Web Of The City but didn’t really get into his longer works. I think the short story is where Harlan rules supreme.

Only 3 Stainless Steel Rat books, two paperbacks and a hardback. Again they must have been given away or sold.

Only two Stephen King books. Something seriously wrong there as I was flipping through a paperback copy of The Stand a few months ago and also have short story collections from the eighties and nineties.

Three Peter Macey novels, Alien Culture (his best), Distant Relations and Stationary Orbit. A much under rated writer and a couple of book dealers – when I was searching for other books by him -  went Who? I doubt if there’s anything on the net about him but he wrote three great SF books in my eyes.

Final top ten:

1  Bob Shaw, 52

2  Robert E Howard, 51

3  Philip K Dick, 36

4  Philip Jose Farmer, 28

5  Theodore Sturgeon, 25

6  Kenneth Robeson, 24

7  Robert A Heinlein, 14

    Robert Silverberg, 14

    Neal Asher, 14

10 A E Van Vogt, 13


Almost there with inputting my book collection into the program Book Collector Pro. There are 709 books in the program now. There’s a pile of hardbacks to be entered and around about 50 books that will have to be entered by hand as they have no ISBN numbers – including to my surprise a double by Robert Silverberg; Those Who Watch/Thorns. It turns out I don’t have many Robert Silverberg books, which is really weird as I love Robert Silverberg and bought lots of his books during the eighties, but there are only 12 (plus the one to be entered, making a grand total of 13).

2012-04-21 13.46.28

I took a picture of a couple of books. Silverberg’s Stochastic Man, one of his very best in my opinion. The Mote in God’s Eye by Niven and Pournelle, my introduction to them which made sure I bought their other books. The Martian Chronicles by Ray Bradbury an edition from the early eighties and Taller Than Trees by John Gordon Davies, a mainstream novel which I thought was brilliant. I can still remember quite a bit of the book today.

Coincidentally only ten writers managed to reach double figures. I don’t think this will change much with about 100 or so books to be put into the database.

Bob Shaw still tops the chart but only just.

Bob Shaw; 52

Robert E Howard; 50

Philip K Dick; 35 (Less than I thought I had)

Philip Jose Farmer;  28

Kenneth Robeson; 24 (Would have been a lot more if I didn’t get rid of a lot of Doc Savages years ago)

Theodore Sturgeon; 22

Neal Asher; 14 (Pretty impressive considering I only discovered him about a year and a half ago.)

A.E. Van Vogt; 13

Robert Silverberg; 12 (I have no idea what happened to most of his books I had.)

Robert A Heinlein; 10

I also brought out a few books to stick atop my to be read pile, and hope to get around to re reading them in the near future.

I’m cracking on with the input on my book collection into the program Book Collector 8 Pro. At the moment it’s sitting at 400 books exactly, and 258 authors (although the program makes a separate entry for each author, even if they are only contributors to a collection). 

Robert Howard (50) is creeping up on Bob Shaw (52) and Philip Jose Farmer (13) is creeping up on Neal Asher (14). I’m also building up quite a pile of books that aren’t in the online database, mostly older books with SBN numbers instead of ISBN numbers or no numbers at all.

As I have the Pro version I can change Field Names and have changed a couple so that I now have ‘limited edition number’ and ‘signed’ on the main page. There are still a lot of wrong covers getting downloaded but the main idea is to get all my books catalogued, and that is coming together via this program very quickly.

I haven’t been blogging much lately due to family circumstances.

I haven’t been reading too much either but have in fact have bought quite a few books. There was a special offer from PS Publishing where I got 8 hardbacks for £35 plus postage. A fine selection of books arrived, all but one signed and from limited editions and none of them massive door stops, so they should be quick easy reads from new (to me) authors.

I’ve also bought a fair few Robert E Howard books; mainly to read Howard as he intended his stories to be read. I first read him years ago in the Sphere paperbacks but these were (apparently) highly edited – or hacked and slashed. Late last year I bought a copy of ‘Red Nails’ edited by Karl Edward Wagner which presented Howard’s Conan in the original and I enjoyed reintroducing myself to Howard’s Conan quite a bit. This burst of buying was in part brought on by reading the updated version of Blood and Thunder by Mark Finn, which was a highly readable journey into Howard’s life. Reading that made me want to start reading more Howard again. I’ve also just bought the newly announced book by The Robert E Howard Press. Four books from them so far – including Mark Finn’s – and every one a beautifully produced edition with great contents.

I also invested in Book Collector 8.0 Pro from collectorz.com. I’ve been toying with cataloguing my book collection for a while and have been making spreadsheets and databases but this program was a godsend. Just type in the ISBN number and the program gets all the details from the internet and the book is catalogued. The program does lack in certain areas: I can’t put in details about limited editions, number X out of 100 and so on, and some of the information that can be put in seems pointless to me, but the speed at which the books can be recorded makes the program worth the money. It doesn’t always get the details right – such as the correct cover – but I managed to catalogue over two hundred books in a couple of hours. Typing in all that information would have taken ages; even if it was basic information such as title, author, publisher, year published and format.

It’ll also be nice to find out how many books I actually have as they are scattered around the house in various rooms and cupboards. The program has some other features which are interesting. There are some charts and statistics. With a few over 200 books entered it tells me I have 52 Bob Shaw books, 49 Robert E Howard books, 24 Kenneth Robeson (Doc Savage) books, 22 Theodore Sturgeon books, 14 Neal Asher books; the rest are single figures. But I’m guessing that’s only about a quarter of the books I have and there are a ton of P K Dick books to be entered, quite a lot of Robert Silverberg, Philip Jose Farmer and others.