‘Missing, presumed lost’ could easily be a reference to yesterday’s contribution to NaBloPoMo, but I’m afraid it isn’t. I had to miss a day, partly because I couldn’t access my blog in Aberdare Library (again!) That’s four days in a row – I’m now absolutely convinced that it’s been ‘got at’ by someone in Rhondda Cynon Taf CBC (see Enemy Action.)
The other reason why I missed a day is because I couldn’t be bothered to go to the pub last night. In the bar, they’d probably have had The X Factor or some similar crap on the TV. In the lounge, Malcolm X was doing his thing (see Adventures in the Book Trade (Part 5.) Either way, there’d have been a definite lack of quiet corners in which I could hide away and concentrate on the blog. Instead, I stayed in and watched a couple of DVDs, then went to bed at about midnight and read a couple of chapters of a book before trying to get to sleep.
I started my current book at bedtime a few days ago, after Wayne B. posted a link on Facebook. He’d picked up a reference to a new SF series on TV, called Almost Human. I’d read a little bit about it online already, and it sounds quite intriguing – in the near future, human police officers team up with androids to fight crime. I pointed out that (as with a great deal of SF) the idea wasn’t a new one. Isaac Asimov wrote two novels in the 1950s – The Caves of Steel and The Naked Sun – which revolved around a similar partnership. As I’d only just finished one book, it occurred to me that I hadn’t read Asimov’s books since I was in school. I was fairly sure that the battered old Panther paperbacks would be on my shelves, so when I got home I had a look.
For some reason, I’ve only got The Naked Sun. I know for a fact I had both books back in the day, but there’s no sign of The Caves of Steel in my collection. I haven’t searched the cupboard in my bedroom thoroughly yet, but it certainly isn’t among the rest of Dr Asimov’s books on the shelves in my front room.
I’ve lent out a great many books over the years, and I’ve had to write a fair proportion of them off altogether. It’ll take a number of visits to Amazon and/or Ebay, and cost me a fair bit of money, to replace the missing items. Shortly after I started a blog, I was surprised by the unexpected appearance of one of them (in a different edition) in the post (see A Mysterious Book.) A few days later, Maria put her hand up to that one. I’ve got a fair idea where some of them were when they were last seen, but even that’s no guarantee that they’re still there. People move house and things get mislaid.
To try and get around this problem, I’ve made some little ‘Cosmic Tigger Lending Library’ stickers on my printer. They get attached to the front cover and spine of any book that leaves my house, so at least the borrower knows where they belong. So far, so good…
I’ve compiled a list (from memory) of the missing items from the Cosmic Tigger Lending Library. It’s in no particular order, it probably isn’t complete, and it’s as much for my benefit as to try and jog the memories of my friends who might feel a pang of guilt on reading this. At worst, I can think of it as a shopping list for my occasional visits to second-hand shops and online dealers. Here goes:
ISAAC ASIMOV – The Caves of Steel
CHRISTOPHER PRIEST – The Space Machine
ARTHUR C. CLARKE – Profiles of the Future
BRIAN ALDISS – Greybeard
DAVID ICKE – …And the Truth Will Set You Free
ROBERT ANTON WILSON – Cosmic Trigger; Cosmic Trigger II; Cosmic Trigger III; TSOG; The Illuminati Papers
TIMOTHY LEARY – The Intelligence Agents
CHARLES HAPGOOD – Maps of the Ancient Sea Kings
MORRIS MARPLES – White Horses and Other Hill Figures
KURT VONNEGUT Jr – Breakfast of Champions; Slaughterhouse-5; God Bless You, Mr Rosewater
BILL BRYSON – Mother Tongue
TED POLHEMUS – The Customized Body
NICHOLAS SINCLAIR – The Chameleon Body
ROBERT AXELROD – The Evolution of Cooperation
DICK HEBDIGE – Subculture
PHILIP JOSÉ FARMER – Flesh
CHARLES PLATT – Who Writes Science Fiction?
JOHN BRUNNER – Stand on Zanzibar
TERRANCE DICKS – Doctor Who and the Auton Invasion