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My name is Lee and I live in Atlanta but I'm working in Chicago right now. My books are at home so I don't know how many of the series I have but I have most of them, I think. All but twenty maybe.
Lud in the Mist is probably the book I liked the most that I would never have read otherwise.
I also liked The Worm Ouroboros (sp?) but would have probably found that anyway since Fritz Leiber mentioned Brandoch Daha in the intro to one of his books and I was keeping an eye out for the book he (Daha, not Leiber) came from.
The Well at the World's End has one of the best beginnings ever but I've never finished the book. Puts it in the very small category of books I really liked but didn't finish (Moby Dick being the only other one I can think of).
How about the rest of you?
In your format: my name's Andrew, and I live and work in Portland, Maine. I have a wide smattering of the series, basically concentrated around the authors I'm really interested in. I also own some novels (like Lud in the Mist) in non-BB editions having heard of them from the series.
I think the novel I would never have read without the series is The Blue Star. Which turned out to be pretty good.
But I am most indebted to BB for introducing me to Clark Ashton Smith and James Branch Cabell. The Ballantine Adult Fantasy collection of his Zothique stories is what got me started on Smith. For Cabell, it was The High Place and The Cream of the Jest.
Without my books in front of me, I had forgotten Cabell, who really deserves to be better known.
I've not actually read Blue Star yet, although I have two copies, the Unicorn Head version and a reading copy. I'll put it on the read soon list when I get back home.
I'm Bob, in Albany NY. Andrew, I have a friend who has a place out in the Portland islands - I very nearly made it to the LT barbeque last month.
Anyway, the ballantine Adult Fantasies. I once made a list of the series titles; I might still have this file around somewhere on some older computer; I seem to recall that I have something like 50 out of 70?
I'll have to look around for a definite list. I stopped collecting them actively when I began to see discouragingly insane prices for the Chesterton.
When I get caught up on my LT inputting, I'll take a minute and tag the titles I hold, and come up with a current count.
- Tolkien, J.R.R: The Hobbit (aug)
- Tolkien, J.R.R: The Fellowship of the Ring (oct)
- Tolkien, J.R.R: The Two Towers (oct)
- Tolkien, J.R.R: The Return of the King (dec)
- Tolkien, J.R.R: The Tolkien Reader (sep)
- Eddison, E. R.: The Worm Ouroboros (apr) - cover by Barbara Remington
- Eddison, E. R.: Mistress of Mistresses (aug) - cover by Barbara Remington
- Eddison, E. R.: A Fish Dinner in Memison (feb) - probably, Barbara Remington
- Peake, Mervyn: Titus Groan (oct) - no cover credits
- Peake, Mervyn: Gormenghast (oct) - no cover credits
- Peake, Mervyn: Titus Alone (oct) - no cover credits
- Tolkien, J.R.R & Donald Swann: The Road Goes Ever On (oct)
- Lindsay, David: A Voyage to Arcturus (nov) - later printing aquired "Unicorn's Head" logo
- Beagle, Peter S.: The Last Unicorn (feb)
"A Ballantine Adult Fantasy" on the front cover (see right-side image) but no Carter's introduction.
- Tolkien, J.R.R: Smith of Wootton Major & Farmer Giles of Ham (mar)
- Eddison, E. R.: The Mezentian Gate (apr)
"A Ballantine Adult Fantasy" on the front cover. no cover credits (Barbara Remington)
- Beagle, Peter S.: A Fine and Private Place (feb) "A Ballantine Adult Fantasy" on the front cover.
This title is not in the Carter's list of "Imaginary Worlds", but it also bears the similar cover style.
Ballantine Adult Fantasy Series essential list
Unless otherwise noted, all books are 1st printings in Ballantine paperback edition and have introduction by Lin Carter and Unicorn's Head colophon.
Pratt, Fletcher: The Blue Star (may) no cover credits
Dunsany, Lord: The King of Elfland's Daughter (jun) no cover credits
Morris, William: The Wood Beyond the World (jul) no cover credits
Cabell, James Branch: The Silver Stallion (aug) no cover credits
MacDonald, George: Lilith (sep) no cover credits
Carter, Lin (Ed.): Dragons, Elves and Heroes (oct) cover by Sheryl Slavitt
Carter, Lin (Ed.): The Young Magicians (oct) cover by Sheryl Slavitt
Cabell, James Branch: Figures of Earth (nov) cover by Robert Pepper
Bok, Hannes: The Sorcerer's Ship (dec) New "Unicorn's Head logo" design. cover by Ray Cruz
Pratt, Fletcher & L.Sprague De Camp: Land of Unreason (jan) cover by Donna Violetti
Cabell, James Branch: The High Place (feb) cover by Frank C. Pape
Mirrlees, Hope: Lud-in-the-Mist (mar) cover by Gervasio Gallardo
Dunsany, Lord: At the Edge of the World (mar) cover by Ray Cruz
MacDonald, George: Phantastes (apr) cover by Gervasio Gallardo
Lovecraft, H.P.: The Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath (may) cover by Gervasio Gallardo
Smith, Clark Ashton: Zothique (jun) cover by George Barr
Meredith, George: The Shavings of Shagpat (jul) cover by Ray Cruz
Walton, Evangeline: The Island of the Mighty (jul) cover by Bob Pepper
Kurtz, Katherine: Deryni Rising (aug) cover by Bob Pepper
Morris, William: The Well at the World's End volume I (aug) cover by Gervasio Gallardo
Morris, William: The Well at the World's End volume II (sep) cover by Gervasio Gallardo
Carter, Lin (Ed.): Golden Cities, Far (oct) cover by Ralph Iwamoto & Kathleen Zimmerman
Bok, Hannes: Beyond the Golden Stair (nov) cover by Gervasio Gallardo
Anderson, Poul: The Broken Sword (jan) cover by George Barr
Hodgson, William Hope: The Boats of the "Glen Carrig" (feb) cover by Robert LoGrippo
Lovecraft, H.P.: The Doom That Came To Sarnath (feb) cover by Gervasio Gallardo
Cabell, James Branch: Something About Eve (mar) cover by Bob Pepper
Chant, Joy: Red Moon and Black Mountain (mar) cover by Bob Pepper 2nd printing's cover is by Ian Millar
Smith, Clark Ashton: Hyperborea (apr) cover by Bill Martin
Dunsany, Lord: Don Rodriguez: Chronicles of Shadow Valley (may) cover by Bob Pepper
Beckford, William: Vathek (jun) cover by Ray Cruz
Chesterton, G.K.: The Man Who Was Thursday (jul) cover by Gervasio Gallardo
Walton, Evangeline: The Children of Llyr (aug) cover by David Johnston
Cabell, James Branch: The Cream of the Jest (aug) cover by Brian Froud
Carter, Lin (Ed.): New Worlds for Old (sep) cover by David Johnston
Carter, Lin (ed.): The Spawn of Cthulhu & Others (oct) cover by Gervasio Gallardo
Cooper, Edmund / Green, Roger Lancelyn: Double Phoenix (nov)
Include "The Firebird" by Cooper & "From the World's End" by Green cover by Gervasio Gallardo
Morris, William: The Water of the Wondrous Isles (nov) cover by Gervasio Gallardo
Crawford, F.Marion: Khaled (dec) cover by Gervasio Gallardo
Haggard, H.Rider & Andrew Lang: The World's Desire (jan) cover by Vincent di Fate
Smith, Clark Ashton: Xiccarph (feb) cover by Gervasio Gallardo
Hyne, C.J.Cutliffe: The Lost Continent (feb) cover by Dean Ellis
Carter, Lin (Ed.): Discoveries in Fantasy (mar) cover by Peter Le Vasseur
Cabell, James Branch: Domnei (mar) cover by Brian Froude
Bramah, Ernest: Kai Lung's Golden Hours (apr) cover by Ian Millar
Kurtz, Katherine: Deryni Checkmate (may) cover by Bob Pepper
Dunsany, Lord: Beyond the Fields We Know (may) cover by Gervasio Gallardo
Machen, Arthur: The Three Impostors (jun) cover by Bob LoGrippo
Hodgson, William Hope: The Night Land vol.1 (jul) cover by Robert LoGrippo
Hodgson, William Hope: The Night Land vol.2 (jul) cover by Robert LoGrippo
Walton, Evangeline: The Song of Rhiannon (aug) cover by David Johnston
Carter, Lin (Ed.): Great Short Novels of Adult Fantasy I (sep) cover by Gervasio Gallardo
MacDonald, George: Evenor (nov) cover by Gervasio Gallardo
Ariosto, Ludovico: Orlando Furioso (jan) cover by David Johnston
Dunsany, Lord: The Charwoman's Shadow (feb) cover by Gervasio Gallardo
Carter, Lin (Ed.): Great Short Novels of Adult Fantasy Volume II (mar) cover by Gervasio Gallardo
Morris, William: The Sundering Flood (may) cover by Gervasio Gallardo
Carter, Lin (Ed.): Imaginary Worlds (jun) cover by Gervasio Gallardo
Smith, Clark Ashton: Poseidonis (jul) cover by Gervasio Gallardo
Laubenthal, Sanders Anne:Excalibur (aug) cover by Gervasio Gallardo
Kurtz, Katherine: High Deryni (sep) cover by Alan Mardon
Anderson, Poul: Hrolf Kraki's Saga (oct) cover by Allan Mardon
Haggard, Henry Rider: The People of the Mist (dec) cover by Dean Ellis
- Lindsay, David: A Voyage to Arcturus (sep, 3rd printing) This 3rd printing has the "Unicorn's Head" logo. No Carter's introduction. cover by Bob Pepper
- The Worm Ouroboros by E. R. Eddison, had been reprinted (7th printing?) with "Unicorn's Head" but no Lin Carter's introduction.
Bramah, Ernest: Kai Lung Unrolls His Mat (feb) cover by Ian Millar
Dunsany, Lord: Over the Hills and Far Away (apr) cover by Gervasio Gallardo
- Munn, H.Warner: Merlin's Ring (jun) no Unicorn's Head logo. Only the word "BALLANTINE FANTASY" is on the front cover.
Introduction by Lin Carter. cover by Gervasio Gallardo
- Walton, Evangeline: Prince of Annwn (nov) this book is aquired for the series but published without the logo or Carter's intro.
- Titus Groan, Gormenghast and Titus Alone by Mervyn Peake are said to be reprinted (5th printing) with Unicorn's Head logo. No Carter's introduction.
most can still be found (with patience) for reasonable price
Thanks for posting that, you beat me to it.
My list looked exactly like that, you saved me from rummaging around to dig it up. (I even listed the pre-BAF 'Companion titles"; my list called them "precursors")
a few of which were tagged "BAF" without the series unicorn logo, or acquired the logo in later printings.
That's the headache-inducing aspect of taxonomies - it seems like there are always edge cases....
I have all the BAFs from 1969 to 1974 plus most of the 'precursors' including the Zimiamvian trilogy in the 2 different cover designs.
Working my way through them in order of publication although I read a number of them back in the 70s; currently up to The Children Of Llyr.
My faves so far:
The Blue Star, all the James Branch Cabell titles, Lud-in-the-Mist, Deryni Rising and Imaginary Worlds.
I'm also a big fan of Clark Ashton Smith and the somewhat maligned Lin Carter.
As I said above, I was actively collecting these until I started encountering some discouraging prices the the Chesterton. Now, I just pick them up when I run across them (which is with decreasing frequency).
Anyway, a question: did Ballantine ever issue the second volume of Orlando Furioso in the Adult Fantasy series (or otherwise)?
It being hard to prove a negative, I was never sure that simply because I had never seen it, it did not exist.
That's a recurring problem as a collector - it's hard to be sure when any given series has actually ended.
(There's a 1950s SF magazine called Satellite that died while it was on press - and some copies of the last issue were actually bound, but were never really distributed. (Now THAT is a collecting challenge.)
But anyway, I'll sleep easier knowing that I can stop looking for Orlando Furioso II.
A few years later I had read Lewis and Tolkien, so I then studied Lin Carter's book on the Tolkien opus. His mention in that book (and later in Imaginary Worlds, which I picked up in a bookstore in the Yukon) of William Morris, Lord Dunsany, and James Branch Cabell (among many others) intrigued me. I scoured the racks, but the days of the series had passed. It was only in used bookstores that I would find the bulk of the library I had set on collecting.
I own all the books now, save one: Evenor, which I have given away for some reason.
Because of Carter, I special-ordered a scholarly edition of the book in the series I love most, The Cream of the Jest. I later picked it up in several other editions, including the Ballantine Adult Fantasy edition.
Without the series, I might not have found, say, the Kai Lung books, which are wonderful. Evangeline Walton's retellings from the Mabinogian are among my favorite in the series.
Like C.S. Lewis, I loved the first half of William Morris's The Well at the World's End, and enjoyed, but as something of a let-down, the second half. I agree with Lee, the opening is magnificent. I wish, though, that when I read it I had realized that the proper pronunciation for the hero, "Ralph," is RAFE. It would have toned up the opening. Pronouncing the name with a flat, short "a" conjured up a rather unromantic tone.
I thought Morris's The Sundering Flood the best "sleeper" of a book, the one with the most value most hidden. I have not read Pratt's The Blue Star and I have not finished (alas; just one of those things) Lud-in-the-Mist.
The best short fiction fantasy that appeared in the series has to be Lord Dunsany's "The Sword of Welleran" and James Branch Cabell's "The Music from Behind the Moon."