I used to be a die hard used book store “picker.” I would go to five or six book stores a few of times a week, and usually come home with something interesting–and sometimes even valuable–to add to my collection. Sadly, those days are gone, since the barcode scanners moved in. Nowadays, all the unique books are scooped up by anyone with a smart phone and an Amazon account, but every now and then, I can still find a diamond in the rough. Here’s the rough…
I went to a flea market yesterday and nearly tripped over a large box half-hidden under a table. I looked in the box and saw it was full of old Fantasy & Science Fiction paperbacks. These aren’t really anything to get excited about, but I do love vintage paperbacks, and something in the back of my head was trying to tell me something. The box was marked $10, so I couldn’t really resist that, could I? I knew there was something about these books that made me buy them, but I couldn’t remember what it was until I got home and started looking through them (I don’t own a smart phone, or else I could have found out right then and there). And then I found the diamond…
The October 1978 issue of Fantasy & Science Fiction has the first installment of Stephen King’s The Gunslinger. I think there were four more issues in later years with more of the story, but this is the one that collectors want. If you’ve ever met a Stephen King collector, you know how rabid they can be for anything the writer has produced, and the Gunslinger is that mythical book that everyone seems to love (though I could do without some of the later books in the series).
Copies of this book have recently sold on eBay for $18 and $80, which seems pretty high to me. The rest of the books are fairly worthless unless you like a good read. It’s a shame too, because some of the covers are pretty cool.
I’ll probably sell off these as full-year sets on eBay, but I think I’ll hold on to the Gunslinger issue until the movie gets made, or until I die, which might come first at the rate the movie is going. If you want any of these books, let me know.
Nice! My best buddies wife would love this as she is a huge fan of Mister King.
Dex (@Dex1138) says
Nice find! I love the fact that they’ve been reprinting some of the 30s/40s pulp mags recently.
I love old pulp magazines. They are nearly impossible to find in decent shape, so reprints are the next best thing.
Sorry for being so graphic about this but…I think I just came.
Nice find, sir. I’m so jelous right now.
Umm..uh…okay. It sounds like you really like Stephen King. 😉
By the way, if you do decide to sell those beauties someday, I’ll be happy to make an offer.
Drop me an email: firstname.lastname@example.org
We can probably make a deal.
Love the covers!
The Gunslinger issue is a fabulous find … keep that one for sure.
Reis O'Brien says
Jeeze, the covers alone are worth the purchase price for these gems. They just don’t make art like that anymore. Nice score!
Reis O'Brien says
Also, I have to say that that cute little pooch in the first pic looks mighty nervous about that stack of books. 😉
Ha! That dog wants to be in every picture I take. I have more photos with him in them than I do of my kids. 😉
Will West says
Why didn’t you tell me you were there?! I saw a guy with a similar box at his table. Pickings weren’t as good as last year, but I figure folks were traveling for the holiday. Maybe I’ll see ya there next month!
This wasn’t in Arlington–I still haven’t made it to that one. The one I went to was in Culpeper. I was out that way for the day. I’d love to meet up with you at the Civitan Flea Market if I ever get there!
Paxton Holley says
I am one of the minority that hated The Gunslinger. I literally stopped reading about 20 pages from the end. I just couldn’t go any further and have no desire to read the rest of the series. To me, literally, EVERYTHING ELSE King has written is better than The Dark Tower series.
Speaking of King, I just picked up his JFK assassination hardback at my local library’s used book sale for like $2.50. I was also able to grab the 1986 Last Starfighter Storybook for a paltry .50. it was a good day.
I enjoyed the Gunslinger quite a bit, but the books got worse, and by the time the Wolves in the Calla came along, I was bored and turned off from the whole premise. I still think that the groundwork for a great movie is in there, but they should keep it about Roland’s gunslinging self and forget the rest.
How much would you want for that October 1978 with the gunslinger?