What Was American Paperback Fantasy Before 1977, and How Much of It Was Good?

Extollager

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My impression is that by the late 1970s, American publishers had, for several years, come to distinguish fantasy from science fiction. On the other hand, before sometime in the second half of the 1960s, fantasy was liable to be published more or less along with science fiction as if they were more or less the same thing. Thus the Ace releases of The Lord of the Rings were published with covers by Jack Gaughan, who likewise illustrated innumerable sf paperbacks for Ace and other publishers.

I chose 1977 as the date for Fantasy being established as a publishers' niche, and that is a late date, but that's the date when Donaldson's Chronicles of Thomas Covenant began to appear and when Brooks's Sword of Shannara was published.

I'd like first of all to get an overview of the paperback fantasy available in the States through 1969. That was the year when Ballantine began to publish its fantasy series with the Lin Carter introductions.

What is missing from the following list of fantasy paperbacks through 1969?

Anderson's Three Hearts and Three Lions
de Camp and Pratt's Incomplete Enchanter and Castle of Iron (the Harold Shea stories, with pseudo-scientific explanations)
Ace's Tolkien reprints
Garner's The Weirdstone of Brisingamen
Meyers's Silverlock
Vance's Dying Earth and Eyes of the Overworld
White's The Once and Future King

Were any fantasies by Andre Norton out in pb then?

Ballantine notable releases (taken from Wikipedia):

Precursors, August 1965 to April 1969[edit]​

Ballantine published these fantasies and fantasy criticism before hiring Carter as consultant.[5] Some were labeled "A Ballantine Adult Fantasy" on the first Ballantine cover. Later reprints of some bore the Unicorn's Head colophon.

  1. The Hobbit, J. R. R. Tolkien (August 1965)
  2. The Fellowship of the Ring, J. R. R. Tolkien (October 1965)
  3. The Two Towers, J. R. R. Tolkien (October 1965)
  4. The Return of the King, J. R. R. Tolkien (December 1965)
  5. The Tolkien Reader, J. R. R. Tolkien (September 1966)
  6. The Worm Ouroboros, E. R. Eddison (April 1967, later reprinted (5th) with colophon)
  7. Mistress of Mistresses, E. R. Eddison (August 1967)
  8. A Fish Dinner in Memison, E. R. Eddison (February 1968)
  9. The Road Goes Ever On, J. R. R. Tolkien and Donald Swann (October 1968)
  10. Titus Groan, Mervyn Peake (October 1968; later reprinted (5th) with colophon)
  11. Gormenghast, Mervyn Peake (October 1968; later reprinted (5th) with colophon)
  12. Titus Alone, Mervyn Peake (October 1968; later reprinted (4th & 5th) with colophon)
  13. A Voyage to Arcturus, David Lindsay (November 1968; later reprinted (2nd & 3rd) with colophon)
  14. The Last Unicorn, Peter S. Beagle (February 1969, with "A Ballantine Adult Fantasy" on the cover; later reprinted with colophon)
  15. A Fine and Private Place, Peter S. Beagle (February 1969, with "A Ballantine Adult Fantasy" on the cover of the first two printings)
  16. Smith of Wootton Major and Farmer Giles of Ham, J. R. R. Tolkien (March 1969)
  17. Tolkien: A Look Behind "The Lord of the Rings", Lin Carter (March 1969)
  18. The Mezentian Gate, E. R. Eddison (April 1969, with "A Ballantine Adult Fantasy" on the cover)

The series proper, May 1969 to April 1974[edit]​

Volumes published as part of the series, based on a listing by Lin Carter in Imaginary Worlds: the Art of Fantasy with the addition of books new to Ballantine published under the Unicorn's Head colophon thereafter. In Carter's list, the books were numbered in the order of their publication;[5][6] subsequent numbers supplied on the same basis. These numbers do not appear on the books themselves.

  1. The Blue Star, Fletcher Pratt (May 1969) (#01602)
  2. The King of Elfland's Daughter, Lord Dunsany (June 1969) (#01628)
  3. The Wood Beyond the World, William Morris (July 1969) (#01652)
  4. The Silver Stallion, James Branch Cabell (August 1969) (#01678)
  5. Lilith, George MacDonald (September 1969) (#01711)
  6. Dragons, Elves, and Heroes, Lin Carter, ed. (October 1969) (#01731)
  7. The Young Magicians, Lin Carter, ed. (October 1969) (#01730)
  8. Figures of Earth, James Branch Cabell (November 1969) (#01763)
  9. The Sorcerer's Ship, Hannes Bok (December 1969) (#01795)
319+Jack+Vance+The+Dying+Earth+Lancer+1969+1.JPG

041254b813bc6503633e700f6ae487d2.jpg


Lots of sword-and-sorcery books about Conan, Kull, Kothar, Thongor, Brak, Fafhrd and Mouser, etc., much of which seems to have been perishable goods.

OIP.Pjut8ZIAc_PkAhVfSYVyfwAAAA
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hitmouse

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Was Hope Mirlees published in the US in or before the 1960s?
 

BAYLOR

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Kane The Mystic Swordsman series by Karl Edward Wagner which comprises 5 books, 30 which are novelist reader Novellas and short stories
1. Bloodstone
2. Darkness Weaves
3, Dark Crusade
4. Death Angels Shadow
5. Night Winds

Bran Mak Morn The Legion From the Shadow
published in 1976 by Zebra Publishing This novel is pastiche of one Robert E. Howards characters Bran Mak Morn . It is a sort of sequel to Hoards story Worms of the Earth. it an excellent fantasy novel.

Wagner also wrote Conan The Road of Kings which , is also excellent.
 

BAYLOR

There Are Always new Things to Learn.
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My impression is that by the late 1970s, American publishers had, for several years, come to distinguish fantasy from science fiction. On the other hand, before sometime in the second half of the 1960s, fantasy was liable to be published more or less along with science fiction as if they were more or less the same thing. Thus the Ace releases of The Lord of the Rings were published with covers by Jack Gaughan, who likewise illustrated innumerable sf paperbacks for Ace and other publishers.

I chose 1977 as the date for Fantasy being established as a publishers' niche, and that is a late date, but that's the date when Donaldson's Chronicles of Thomas Covenant began to appear and when Brooks's Sword of Shannara was published.

I'd like first of all to get an overview of the paperback fantasy available in the States through 1969. That was the year when Ballantine began to publish its fantasy series with the Lin Carter introductions.

What is missing from the following list of fantasy paperbacks through 1969?

Anderson's Three Hearts and Three Lions
de Camp and Pratt's Incomplete Enchanter and Castle of Iron (the Harold Shea stories, with pseudo-scientific explanations)
Ace's Tolkien reprints
Garner's The Weirdstone of Brisingamen
Meyers's Silverlock
Vance's Dying Earth and Eyes of the Overworld
White's The Once and Future King

Were any fantasies by Andre Norton out in pb then?

Ballantine notable releases (taken from Wikipedia):

Precursors, August 1965 to April 1969[edit]​

Ballantine published these fantasies and fantasy criticism before hiring Carter as consultant.[5] Some were labeled "A Ballantine Adult Fantasy" on the first Ballantine cover. Later reprints of some bore the Unicorn's Head colophon.

  1. The Hobbit, J. R. R. Tolkien (August 1965)
  2. The Fellowship of the Ring, J. R. R. Tolkien (October 1965)
  3. The Two Towers, J. R. R. Tolkien (October 1965)
  4. The Return of the King, J. R. R. Tolkien (December 1965)
  5. The Tolkien Reader, J. R. R. Tolkien (September 1966)
  6. The Worm Ouroboros, E. R. Eddison (April 1967, later reprinted (5th) with colophon)
  7. Mistress of Mistresses, E. R. Eddison (August 1967)
  8. A Fish Dinner in Memison, E. R. Eddison (February 1968)
  9. The Road Goes Ever On, J. R. R. Tolkien and Donald Swann (October 1968)
  10. Titus Groan, Mervyn Peake (October 1968; later reprinted (5th) with colophon)
  11. Gormenghast, Mervyn Peake (October 1968; later reprinted (5th) with colophon)
  12. Titus Alone, Mervyn Peake (October 1968; later reprinted (4th & 5th) with colophon)
  13. A Voyage to Arcturus, David Lindsay (November 1968; later reprinted (2nd & 3rd) with colophon)
  14. The Last Unicorn, Peter S. Beagle (February 1969, with "A Ballantine Adult Fantasy" on the cover; later reprinted with colophon)
  15. A Fine and Private Place, Peter S. Beagle (February 1969, with "A Ballantine Adult Fantasy" on the cover of the first two printings)
  16. Smith of Wootton Major and Farmer Giles of Ham, J. R. R. Tolkien (March 1969)
  17. Tolkien: A Look Behind "The Lord of the Rings", Lin Carter (March 1969)
  18. The Mezentian Gate, E. R. Eddison (April 1969, with "A Ballantine Adult Fantasy" on the cover)

The series proper, May 1969 to April 1974[edit]​

Volumes published as part of the series, based on a listing by Lin Carter in Imaginary Worlds: the Art of Fantasy with the addition of books new to Ballantine published under the Unicorn's Head colophon thereafter. In Carter's list, the books were numbered in the order of their publication;[5][6] subsequent numbers supplied on the same basis. These numbers do not appear on the books themselves.

  1. The Blue Star, Fletcher Pratt (May 1969) (#01602)
  2. The King of Elfland's Daughter, Lord Dunsany (June 1969) (#01628)
  3. The Wood Beyond the World, William Morris (July 1969) (#01652)
  4. The Silver Stallion, James Branch Cabell (August 1969) (#01678)
  5. Lilith, George MacDonald (September 1969) (#01711)
  6. Dragons, Elves, and Heroes, Lin Carter, ed. (October 1969) (#01731)
  7. The Young Magicians, Lin Carter, ed. (October 1969) (#01730)
  8. Figures of Earth, James Branch Cabell (November 1969) (#01763)
  9. The Sorcerer's Ship, Hannes Bok (December 1969) (#01795)
319+Jack+Vance+The+Dying+Earth+Lancer+1969+1.JPG

041254b813bc6503633e700f6ae487d2.jpg


Lots of sword-and-sorcery books about Conan, Kull, Kothar, Thongor, Brak, Fafhrd and Mouser, etc., much of which seems to have been perishable goods.

OIP.Pjut8ZIAc_PkAhVfSYVyfwAAAA
s-l300.jpg
s-l300.jpg
s-l640.jpg
1159783.jpg

I just got the entire Kothar series for Christmas
1 Kothar Barbarian Swordsman
2. Kothar of the Magic Sword
3. Kother and The Demon Queen
4. Kothar and the Conjurer's Curse
5 .Kothar The Wizard Slayer


Ive just started the first book . my impression of Garden Francis Fox ? So far I like what ive read. Its basically in the ball park of Conan and other pulp sword and sorcery stories . :cool:






 

Extollager

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If it's OK with y'all, I'd like first of all to get an overview of the paperback fantasy available in the States through 1969. That was the year when Ballantine began to publish its fantasy series with the Lin Carter introductions.

Lud-in-the-Mist (to answer Hitmouse's question) was an early selection in the Ballantine Adult Fantasy series that fell just outside this period (March 1970).


The sense I'm getting is that in the second half of the 1960s there was a glut of sword and sorcery that accounted for much of the fantasy available other than Ballantine's reprints of Tolkien, Eddison, Peake, Beagle, &c.

Baylor, could you check copyrights on your Kothars and let us know which ones were first published before 1970? My guess is that at least one or two were!

I asked about Andre Norton. This book, Huon of the Horn, looks like it might be a fantasy. and at 40c it must've been published in the 1960s.

R.2f495b877db3dc35bc070178482a9462
 

Extollager

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Haggard's She is fantasy classic available in American paperback before 1970. Myers's Silverlock -- which I've never read -- was paperbacked by Ace with, naturally, a Gaughan cover -- surely!
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Extollager

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I'm purposely not trying to show covers of all the sword(s)-and-sorcery paperbacks that abounded before 1970. This 1965 anthology was probably one of the first, and would have been many people's first sight of the term. Its cheesy cover is interesting as showing a sword-and-sorcery hero who does not have long hair and a body builder physique. Think of it: this is the kind of thing you might have imagined when you thought of "swords and sorcery" back then.
The-Spell-of-Seven.jpg
 

Extollager

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If, then, you read the Tolkien books in 1965 and wanted more fantasy, but were not interested in pulp, it looks like you didn't have much to choose from in paperbacks. The Conan paperbacks evidently did not open the door for paperback sword-and-sorcery; it was already up and running. But the popularity of the Tolkien books did open the door to the massive republication of fantasy, which, of course, is not a novel claim. By the end of 1969, you could have a pretty nice little library of classic fantasy in mass market paperbacks, with more on the way.

OK -- if people want to go ahead and discuss fantasy paperbacks before 1977, go ahead! I've provided above a link to the useful Wikipedia list of the Ballantine series edited by Lin Carter (some of the titles in which, I think, were kind of odd selections....).
 

BAYLOR

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If, then, you read the Tolkien books in 1965 and wanted more fantasy, but were not interested in pulp, it looks like you didn't have much to choose from in paperbacks. The Conan paperbacks evidently did not open the door for paperback sword-and-sorcery; it was already up and running. But the popularity of the Tolkien books did open the door to the massive republication of fantasy, which, of course, is not a novel claim. By the end of 1969, you could have a pretty nice little library of classic fantasy in mass market paperbacks, with more on the way.

OK -- if people want to go ahead and discuss fantasy paperbacks before 1977, go ahead! I've provided above a link to the useful Wikipedia list of the Ballantine series edited by Lin Carter (some of the titles in which, I think, were kind of odd selections....).

Alot of great old fantasy books and stories pre Howard and Pre Tolkien which were forgotten, came back into print.
 

BAYLOR

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If it's OK with y'all, I'd like first of all to get an overview of the paperback fantasy available in the States through 1969. That was the year when Ballantine began to publish its fantasy series with the Lin Carter introductions.

Lud-in-the-Mist (to answer Hitmouse's question) was an early selection in the Ballantine Adult Fantasy series that fell just outside this period (March 1970).


The sense I'm getting is that in the second half of the 1960s there was a glut of sword and sorcery that accounted for much of the fantasy available other than Ballantine's reprints of Tolkien, Eddison, Peake, Beagle, &c.

Baylor, could you check copyrights on your Kothars and let us know which ones were first published before 1970? My guess is that at least one or two were!

I asked about Andre Norton. This book, Huon of the Horn, looks like it might be a fantasy. and at 40c it must've been published in the 1960s.

R.2f495b877db3dc35bc070178482a9462

1.Kothar Barbarain Swordsman
2.Kothar of the Magic Sword
3. Mother and the Demon Queen

These first three books were published in 1969

4.Kothar and the Conjurer's Curse
5.Kothar and the Wizard Slayer.

These last two were published in 1970
 

Extollager

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Was this Kuttner book, The Dark World, basically sword-and-sorcery, or something else? This looks like something from no earlier than 1965.
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Extollager

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White's Once and Future King was drawn upon for the Broadway musical Camelot. T. H. White liked Julie Andrews, who was in it, quite a bit as a person, I believe. I think there are some things about Camelot in America at Last, an edition of White's journal, but I read that decades ago... That's bearded White behind Julie Andrews:

CAMELOT_cast_phD.jpg
 

BAYLOR

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Was this Kuttner book, The Dark World, basically sword-and-sorcery, or something else? This looks like something from no earlier than 1965.
View attachment 85190

It was originally published in 1946 . It's more in the sci fantasy adventure realm of Edgar Rice Burroughs , Abraham Merritt , John Bloodstone That said, its a pretty good book with an most unusual protagonist.
 
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Extollager

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Eddison's The Worm Ouroboros was paperbacked in the Crown "Xanadu Library" -- as far back as 1952, I gather. But this would have been a trade paperback, surely, not a mass market paperback, and so it might have appeared in some book stores, but not on your paperback spinner racks.

I have read a brief comment by an old-time fantasy fan who told that he found a copy of The Worm in a St. Vincent de Paul thrift store way back before its 1960s Ballantine reprint. He handed over 25c for it with trembling hands.
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Extollager

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Oh, still on the topic of 1960s fantasy in paperback -- I forgot the Avon reprints of A. Merritt and Collier's reprint of The Moon Pool. That $1.25 looks like a printing after the 1960s to me, but the design was 1960s, I'm sure.
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BAYLOR

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Oh, still on the topic of 1960s fantasy in paperback -- I forgot the Avon reprints of A. Merritt and Collier's reprint of The Moon Pool. That $1.25 looks like a printing after the 1960s to me, but the design was 1960s, I'm sure.
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Ive read both of those. Merritt is both underrated and under appreciated by modern readers . He came up with story concepts and ideas that were light years ahead of his contemporaries.
 

Extollager

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And, again, still on the 1960s availability of fantasy, here's the Ace paperback of Alan Garner's The Weirdstone of Brisingamen, with an early attempt to cash in on Tolkien -- his name, but even the lettering of the title, which was the same font as Ace used for its Tolkien reprints. Same artist -- the ubiquitous Jack Gaughan.
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Extollager

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A source says this Ace paperback of Davidson's The Phoenix and the Mirror is 1969.
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