Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Early Birthday Gift from Paizo

What should come in the mail today but the latest installment in my Planet Stories subscription, The Ship of Ishtar by Abraham Merritt! Not only is it a complete and unabridged edition of this classic tale but it includes original illustrations by Virgil Finlay, probably my favorite artist from the period (and why can't I find a contemporary artist who illustrates in Finlay's style?). And an introduction by Tim Powers doesn't hurt either, come to think of it.

It's been a long time since I've read The Ship of Ishtar, so it'll be a pleasure to have the opportunity to do so again in the near future. Perfect timing too, since I just finished my latest Poul Anderson collection a couple of days ago. Thanks for the early birthday gift, Paizo!


  1. I had to google Virgil Finlay, because I had sadly never heard of him.

    Wow! He was awesome! Makes me feel very ineffectual with a pen, but still very cool. Good stuff!

  2. I'm with you on Virgil Finlay, there arn't alot around today who can compare with him. The greats of the golden age of illustration are head and shoulders above the majority of today's illustrators.
    Google also, Harry Clarke, Boris Dolgov, Dugald Stewart Walker, and H.J. Ward, for lesser known, but brilliant illustrators.

  3. Nice to see that subscriber copies are arriving. I am enormously proud of this book, and I really think there's a lot in it for fans of heroic fantasy. Merritt's The Ship of Ishtar was sword and sorcery before the term had been coined, before even Robert E. Howard created Kull and Conan. I really enjoyed reading it, and I think most readers of Grognardia will, too.

    It should be available in bookstores now, and of course you can always order direct from Paizo.com.

  4. I just saw a copy at my FLGS on Saturday. And here I thought subscribers got them first.

    /I'm in the US though, so that could account for differences in shipping times.

  5. Subscriber copies went out last week. It's possible you have your subscription preferences set for something like "Hold for Pathfinder Adventure Path," in which case there may be a delay. If you have reason to believe your copy has been lost in the mail, please contact Paizo customer service and they will get you a replacement ASAP.

  6. I think the lack of Finlay-esque illustrators today stems from an over-reliance on design tools. Finlay's style arose from years of dedicated practice and devotion to pen and ink. There just aren't many artists today who are willing to give up pretty much everything else for the sake of their art. Computer illustration tools are a blessing, but I believe their convenience has had a negative impact on rigorous studio practice.

    For what it's worth, I'd bet Gary Gianni could do a convincing Finlay.

  7. Wow; that was a shock to see the 50s cover banner again. Even if that's way out of place for Merritt from back in the Argosy days, a darned good call that Paizo appears to have brought that back vs. the cover style/logo for the earlier reprints. /Immediately/ triggered visions of the covers for the likes of Leigh Brackett per http://home.earthlink.net/~icshi2/Covers/SAINT51-03Planet.jpg (excellent alt to the usual ERB-dom there ;)

    re. Finlay: scratchboard is a desperately unpopular medium these days, too, which is a crying shame IMHO...

    Enjoy the re-reading, James!

  8. Heh, the comic book fan in me can't help but see Aquaman's wife Mera in that cover gal.

  9. Lots of people think she looks like the Little Mermaid.

    No! I say.

    It's Sharane!



  10. I'm very excited as well. This is only the third title I've received since subscribing to the Planet Stories line, but I think it's probably the most visually appealing of the three titles I have. The illustrations are... to simply awesome!

  11. On of the benefits of my job (working at the Library of Congress) is being abe to check books out of the stacks and take them home. I got a copy of this book and read it on my train commute last week. It was my first time reading Merritt. Good stuff! Very ERB/REH with a touch of HPL. Not saying it was derivative, far from it! AM is well deserving of standing among that august company.