KeskusteluBallantine Adult Fantasy

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syyskuu 9, 2006, 10:55 am

Ok, let's get some posting going on here. How about we all introduce ourselves and say how many of Ballantine Adult Fantasy series we have and what our favorite one is. Our favorite that we wouldn't have read if it hadn't been reprinted or introduced in the series, that is.

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?

syyskuu 9, 2006, 4:25 pm

Thanks for getting things started, Lee!

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.

syyskuu 10, 2006, 7:45 pm

Ah, thus the picture of the Zothique cover on the group page. I like Smith. I like Dunsany, too, who is similar in some ways.

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.

syyskuu 10, 2006, 7:57 pm

Hi. lverner, thanks for getting this started; selfnoise, I love your name.

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.


syyskuu 12, 2006, 1:51 am

The Man Who Was Thursday, one of the ones I don't have (in a BAF edition). Yeah, I have seen some ridiculous prices for that.

syyskuu 12, 2006, 9:30 am

Companion titles or rather, pre-BAF series

- 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

syyskuu 14, 2006, 12:41 am


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")

Muokkaaja: syyskuu 14, 2006, 1:10 am

My count of bookstophere's list is just about 70 (depending upon how necessary one thinks the 'Unicorn head' logo is), plus about 17 '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....

9schteve Ensimmäinen viesti
lokakuu 16, 2006, 1:06 am

Hi, I'm Steve.

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.

lokakuu 17, 2006, 12:46 pm

Hi, Steve. I'm glad there's a 'completist' here. (That's one of the many virutes of Library Thing: meeting people with similar interests.)

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)?

lokakuu 19, 2006, 2:02 pm


lokakuu 19, 2006, 10:57 pm

Well, that's certainly a definite answer. (Thanks!)

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.

Muokkaaja: elokuu 15, 2007, 2:13 pm

I first saw the sign of the unicorn on a book when I was a kid back in the '70s. It was in a paperback rack, and I asked my father to buy it for me. His disdain was palpable. I'm not certain, however, that his disdain was for fantastic literature. To him, I suspect, "adult fantasy" meant something quite different from what we mean by it.

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."

heinäkuu 16, 2023, 3:17 pm

New here. Interested in this series, and this type of book,although hardly an expert.

Pocket bio: Retired humanities teacher, residing in Tlaxcala, Mexico, with two dogs and six indoor cats. Passionate about literature, history, philosophy, classical music and opera, jazz, cinema, and similar subjects. Nostalgic guy. Politically centrist. BA in American Studies from Yale; MAs in English and Education from Boston University. Born in northern New Jersey. Have lived and worked in San Francisco, Chicago, northern Nevada, northeast Wisconsin, South Korea.

Recently finished Charles Williams’ The Place of the Lion. After reading it, I have a much better sense of what the critic Mark Valentine means by “metaphysical thrillers” (a topic that comes up fairly often at his excellent Wormwoodiana blog). Anyone who supposes that because Williams was an Inkling, his fiction will appeal to Tolkien fanatics, had better take another look, because there is almost no common ground in terms of readers’ “page experience” (there is just a smidge more overlap with C.S. Lewis’s adult novels). Although I’m not in synch with Williams’ (or indeed any) version of Christianity, that doesn’t matter so much, this novel was a fascinating read and I look forward to more.

heinäkuu 16, 2023, 3:19 pm

I suspect that the Ballantine Adult Fantasy series was very much more purchased than read. Consumers looking for more “Tolkien-like” books were probably confounded by the dense prose (Eddison, Hodgson, Morris, MacDonald) and refined literary strategies (Peake, Dunsany, Cabell).

Of course, that is precisely what makes the series so delightful and its very existence so cherishable. It was a miscalculation. There WAS an audience, but it was very very much smaller than Ballantine would have hoped, leading to the demise of BAF within five years.

Muokkaaja: heinäkuu 16, 2023, 4:37 pm

>14 PatrickMurtha:

I'm a Williams fan and something of a Lewis anti-fan. Your post made me double-check that there were never any Williams BAF volumes. I could imagine War in Heaven being included, but no. Regarding the putative Christian agenda of Aspects of Power, I mentioned in my review of Many Dimensions, "Although Williams was the author of works of Christian theology, his fiction shows him to have a generous religious imagination, including a warmth toward conscientious skepticism."

>15 PatrickMurtha:
From my review of Beyond the Fields We Know:
In editing these books, Carter earned the praise of Ursula LeGuin for saving "us all from a lifetime of pawing through the shelves of used bookstores somewhere behind several dusty cartons between 'Occult' and 'Children's' in hopes of finding, perhaps, the battered and half-mythical odd volume of Dunsany" (The Language of the Night, 84). These days, much Dunsany is in print again, but Carter's mass-market editions are still enchanting, and now themselves worth pawing through the shelves of used bookstores to obtain.

heinäkuu 16, 2023, 4:36 pm

I've just moved into a new place and experienced the singular pleasure of shelving my little 13-volume collection of BAF books on a paperback rail above the bedroom closet.

heinäkuu 16, 2023, 4:57 pm

^ Thanks for the thoughtful responses!