Thursday, April 01, 2004

I found myself in something of a "reluctant widows" entertainment mode last night, having coincidentally started watching Maison Ikkoku and reading Bujold's A Civil Campaign at more-or-less the same time. I suppose if I'm in the mood, I could always go on to Heyer's the Reluctant Widow for the hat-trick.

My copy of A Civil Campaign is definitely starting to show it's age, I'm afraid. I'll admit that I am terribly hard on books - I'm not a gentle reader in the first place, but I walk while reading, often in the open air for long distances. This book has been both rained upon and snowed upon, though it has escaped high winds. Still, even given those caveats, the book is in poor shape. Baen's hardbacks are generally fairly shabby affairs, but at least they're better than Baen's paperbacks, which often are incapable of surviving a second reading. I've encountered worse bindings, but those were from an extremely low-rent romance line which happened to be reprinting some of Heyer's work.

It makes sense that Baen would tend towards cheap and disposable binding work - most of that company's output is either cheap and disposable original work, or reprints of out-of-print warhorses like James H. Schmidt's books. (Keep an eye out, folks - Baen's reprinting the Witches of Karres sometime soon. That book's been dead and gone for decades, and most undeservedly so.) Bujold is something of an anomaly at Baen - she has a certain literary quality which isn't exactly par for the imprint course. Not that I should speak, I suppose. My days of voracious fiction reading are sadly past. What new work I read is either fantasy, or from a familiar author. My occasional attempts to read new writers has come repeatedly acropper. I don't know if my tastes are failing, or if the quality of new authors is on the decline...

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