Shipping Status; Apologies; Wry Engruntlement

Well. Good news, and bad news.

The good news is, the books have left my printer, and are enroute to Virginia. The importer has contacted me, all of the legalities have been met for import. Now I sit back and wait for books to appear at my (employer’s) loading dock.

So what’s the bad news? The books were mistakenly printed in Italian? The shipping cost is $48/book and I’m going to ask you for an additional $300? I am going on an extended vacation and will be back in September, and I’ll ship you books then? No, none of these easy things…

Here’s the bad news, with the apology embedded. The books are not being shipped air. That was economically impossible, given the weight. The books are coming by ship (it leaves port today) and it will take about 3 weeks to reach the port of NY. It’s not easy to tell you this, since I claimed that they would be shipped air, but that’s the story. I offer my apologies. In connection with the long delay between a December shipping date and today, I don’t know what to say, except: the next two volumes are in the printer’s hands, and she expects them to be finished by August. The last two volumes will be at the printer’s within 2 weeks.

Once the books reach the port, it can take 4 days to clear customs. It’s sometimes faster, since the printer is known to the US Customs people (in a good way) and from Customs, they go on a truck to Virginia. That will be about 2 more days. I then begin shipping. From the time I put the books in the mail until they reach a domestic US address is about 1 week.

There it is… Once again, I make the offer to return anyone’s money if they feel that they would prefer to wait until I have full sets in stock, or for any reason whatsoever.

The “wry engruntlement” part? I have noticed (how could I not, I get immediate copies) that some of you are having fun at my expense on my own blog. Now, I don’t mind because (a) there isn’t all that much fun in the world, to my mind, and (b) the chiding about delivery is deserved. But be warned: when I taught college, I was not referred to as “the hatchet man” by other engineering faculty for no reason. If you cause me to frown whilst reading your posts instead of roll my eyes and form a small smile, then I have a means of revenge. I may decide to have Jack autograph the last volume of the series for everyone, but for the wise guys, they get the signature of one of the hacks who writes the Star Bleck series or one of the other endless serials found at the end of the Science Fiction section of Barnes and Noble… you’ve been warned… 😉

Again, I’m sorry for the seemingly endless delay. You have sent money, a few have sent the entire amount, and about six months later, all you have seen are blog entries. However, that is soon to change.




  1. töff said,

    May 19, 2010 at 3:59 pm

    The carrot of a Vance sig notwithstanding, I am content to watch things unfold as they will, as long as all cogs are turning. Do not mistake eagerness and answering-machine jokes for a pitchfork and a torch! Just consider me standing on the beach, too, peering at the horizon. And drooling … drooling …

  2. Olaf 'Rhialto' Seibert said,

    May 19, 2010 at 5:17 pm

    Are at least the books with a European destination shipped separately to their own destinations? There seemed to be a somewhat uncertain possibility of that so I hope at least that worked out…
    In any case, I’ve waited so long, a bit more won’t hurt (physically anyway)..

    • Rhialto said,

      May 26, 2010 at 7:07 pm

      In answer to my own comment: I have just returned from a week of being away, and I find a note from the postman that they tried to deliver a package that needs signing for. It has been there since the 20th. No sender is given, but since I’m not expecting anything else…
      Why oh why are post offices not open 24 hours per day?

      • Rhialto said,

        May 27, 2010 at 3:26 pm

        It was something else, something unexpected but no less important; a birthday gift from my late girlfriend’s parents… she died in March so it is all still very fresh and emotional. They sent me a bracelet of her, with her name.

  3. Kurt said,

    May 19, 2010 at 5:28 pm

    As to my comment, I couldn’t resist sharing that vaguely relevant, vaguely irreverent Vance quote with people I know would appreciate it. I figure it’s taken the universe a few billion years to produce the CVIE and on that scale the book is practically at my fingertips. Bob, in this age of Kindle it’s been fascinating to read the Revelations of a Peripatetic Publishing Agent spiced with töff’s comments on the birth of an actual book. Having them come across by sea is appropriate even if it does delay their arrival.

    Still, I wish I had gone with my first choice of comment… a sample of why the wait until a summer delivery is worth it:

    “The drowsy days of summer passed: fresh dawns, with dew on the lawns and bird calls floating through the air from far distances; then the bright mornings and golden afternoons, followed by orange, yellow and red sunsets; then the blue-gray dusk and at last the starry nights, with Vega at the zenith, Antares to the south, Altair in the east and Spica declining in the west.”


    • töff said,

      May 19, 2010 at 5:35 pm

      Jack himself traveled a lot by sea (read his autobio; recall also The Dark Ocean and The Deadly Isles). It’s only fitting that his fiction come to us across the waves.

  4. Aaron Singleton said,

    May 20, 2010 at 1:36 am

    That’s OK. I am still anxiously awaiting my copies, and will, come hell OR high water. Thanks for the update.

  5. spam said,

    May 20, 2010 at 2:10 am

    *weeps quietly as he notices that the australian us dollar exchange rate slips to 6 month low..*

    • rclacovara said,

      May 20, 2010 at 12:07 pm

      I sympathize entirely. I pay my printer in Euros. That means that my first payment was at a rate of about $1.50. The latest, $1.27. How do I plan for these changes? By estimating the rate I’ll get when I send money. Talk about Russian roulette. After all, I can hardly tell you guys, after you have 4 volumes, that there will be an exchange rate adjustment payment due to me of $250.

      Well, I could do that, but I suspect that it would be dangerous. 😉

      Don’t know what to tell you. During the first printing, some fellow in Venezuela subscribed, put down $300. Then the economy there went nuts, and with the exchange rate, he’d be paying $6000 for a set of books. Could he have his money back? Well, yes. But what he really wanted were the books…

      Try to wait until the rate looks decent, and send the money?
      Hope the world’s economies settle down?
      I have the same problem you do…

      Not-yet-a-citizen-of-the-world Bob

      • spam said,

        May 20, 2010 at 2:38 pm

        no, you’re ok, to be honest when the exchange rate went higher i just thought i’d be ripping you off a little 😉 now it’s just gone back its the same as what i budgeted for..

  6. JJ said,

    May 20, 2010 at 4:01 am

    I am enjoying the anticipation. With the idea sparked by Bob, when I travel west in August, I just may try and get an autograph.

  7. JackBlackAust said,

    May 20, 2010 at 1:45 pm

    I too am content to wait, and anticipate. And hope the Au/US $ rate rebounds. In which event, I will make a pre-emptive further payment.

  8. wrycur said,

    May 21, 2010 at 7:41 am

    My good friends, this is the Oomp Pilferanus Madoffius Lightfingers again, speaking to you from Mt Shattorak. That boat was Bureau B, and the woskers put me here for a mere attempted theft! The unfairness of it all!

    I was only working for Hatchet Man Bob to try to steal his weapons. Your books are back on your ship headed west toward the Pillars of Hercules. The Peefers refuse to help me, my good friends! Even though I truly repent, can you imagine?

    • Kurt said,

      May 21, 2010 at 6:33 pm

      Addled recollections can result when a person, especially an Oomp with much the same standing and responsibilities of his counterparts in Bureau B, is so ignominiously accused of theft. Surely you explained that for a nominal fee you would extract any books which had been inexplicably mixed the cargo lawfully detained by the Oomphaw and that with the greatest pleasure you would expedite their return after assessing the proper recovery charges and taxes. Bureau B will certainly realize their error soon and return you to your duties and your friends.

      But hold! Might not their present fervor in this case cause them to sequester you own possessions here at Yipton? Think not a moment on my inconvenience! Send instructions on where to find these goods and you will be able to rest safe and happy in the knowledge that I will care for them as I would my own.

      • töff said,

        May 21, 2010 at 6:38 pm

        > Send instructions on where to find these
        > goods … I will care for them as I would my own.

        … because it is greatly to be desired, that one’s possessions should be in the hands of a Yip who thinks of them as his own.

  9. wrycur said,

    May 22, 2010 at 7:04 am

    Ah, my good friends! Mr Kurt is much smarter than I, yet I assure you I already tried that selfsame stratagem! They then threatened to sequester me on the floor of the Cagliostro, can you believe it? To gamble away my secret names and my soul in 40th parts, to raise money to pay back the rich woskers whose property I tried to give such a good home to.

    Alas, Bureau B are much better bureaucrats than your poor servant, the forlorn Oomp. It is such a disharmony to be caught in this wise.

  10. Evil Overlord said,

    May 22, 2010 at 10:04 pm


    Without even a hint of intention of criticism :-),… It has been long enough that I forget how they’re being shipped from Virginia to the final destination (my eager hands). Is a signature required? Sad to say, I live in close proximity to Yipton, and if the books are just left on my doorstep, they are certain to be stolen within seconds (because hoodlums like to read too). If no signature, will you be able to pinpoint a specific day (or even 1-3 days) of delivery?

    PS See how this query implicitly acknowledges your fine work in preparing the books, and shows great confidence in eventual delivery?

    PPS I’d look up an appropriate Vance quote about sucking up, but I just can’t seem to lay my hands on my complete edition…

    • rclacovara said,

      May 24, 2010 at 1:37 pm

      Um, I will ship these books anyway you like… at your expense ;-). Actually, here’s the deal. For domestic purchasers, I am happy to pay shipping: USPS Media Rate. Takes about a week or so. Not 3 weeks, sometimes 2 weeks, but: it is reliable and I can required delivery confirmation. Now, I’ll ship to your office if you like, or anyplace you feel is more secure. Just let me know. I can look at proof of delivery or other signature services, or any other method you please.

      To get an idea of shipping costs, figure two books weigh 17 pounds. Then look at UPS or FedEx from 22920 to you. Anything I charge you for premium shipping I deduct the cost of media mail, but as I said, that’s not all that expensive.

      If you have any questions or comments, let me know.

  11. wrycur said,

    May 23, 2010 at 8:46 am

    Ah, what a relief not to be a channel for a Yip Oomphaw anymore. I feel kind of like Mario coming out of the Chateau d’If the first time, if you know what I mean.

    In other words, the following is in a serious vein. I was in two minds whther to post this or not, but Bob finally talked me into it: due to two personal issues which are not germane here, I decided to pay a substantial extra charge to get Vol 1 & 2 by air courier, and they came Thursday. I know how this might make some of you feel, which is why I was in two minds, but I thought al least I could tell you what the books are like holding one in your lap.

    They are about 10 1/4 buy 8 1/4 by 2 1/.4 and weigh 4-5 lbs. A little heavy to read in bed lying on your back, at least for a somewhat arthritic 66-year-old, but some of you young studs might manage it. Endboards are nice and thick, about 1/8 inch (7 or 8 mm). The gilding is nice and flat with no trace appearing inside the pages.

    The paper is good and thick, maybe 40-50 lb. The layout and composition are PERFECT. All the stories start on an odd-numbered page, i.e., a right-hand page, until you get to the short stories at the back (about 35 pages in Vol 1 and 143 in Vol 2). The lacit and title for each work appears by itself on a right-hand page, then the next page is blank, then the actual story starts. For short stories, the next story starts on the page following the end of the previous one. I find this a very felicitous arrangement.

    “Lacit” is a French word meaning a cursive logo or drawing; there are different ones for the novels or series and one for the mysteries and another for the short stories. Paul Rhoads designed them and made them, along with the exquisite etchings, both inherited from the earlier VIE.

    The font is an absolute joy to read, the best I have ever seen for its purpose (also invented and created by Paul). The type is small, maybe 9 or 10, but one reads it effortlessly. The font is not quite sans serif, but close. It’s just very elegant, and absolutely appropriate.

    There are maps also for Tschai and Emphyrio. About 1/4 of the total page count is mysteries, which delights me, as most of those I haven’t read. I’ll quote you a few lines (no spoilers) from a very charming one, Bird Isle, written in 1947 when the ichors of youth were still coursing through Jack’s veins. It’s playful, very creative, and humorous, yet with its deeper moments.

    “The moon rose from out of the dark mainland, flung silver largesse to the waves,invested Bird Island with an aura of milky lambence.
    Ahead was the dock, its planks and rails like cigar ash in the moonlight. The wind became less brisk and the water calmed in the lee of the island, and the boat drifted into the dock, a beautiful sleepwalker with its moon-stained sails.”

    Reading a Vance story for the first time opens the gate to absolutely unalloyed wonder. Yes, the CVIE exists (at least two volumes of it), and it’s all it was claimed to be.

    I will be pleased to answer any questions about these two books now that I have them, short of spoilers of course. Hang in there, guys and gals. Best wishes.

  12. töff said,

    May 23, 2010 at 2:47 pm

    > The font is an absolute joy to read, the best I have ever seen for its purpose (also invented and created by Paul).

    Ah, I thought they’d chosen Minion. Is it Amiante of the VIE, then?

    • Aaron Singleton said,

      May 24, 2010 at 5:50 am

      From the sample Bob posted, the font didn’t look like Amiante to me. To my eyes, the Amiante font had strange looking t’s and f’s– the sample PDF did not show any of Amiante’s strange characteristics, or if it did, my tastes have changed considerably.

      • wrycur said,

        May 24, 2010 at 7:42 am

        Well, I’m certainly no expert on fonts, but I was under the impression it was Amiante. It sure looks like what’s represented as Amiante in the VIE Graphics Volume, which I received April 12.

        Yes, I just compared them again, and they look the same. beyond that, you’ll have to ask Paul or Bob. Whatever it is, it’s just right. The t’s do look unusual, by themselves. The f’s, not so much.

        There are about 800 words to a page, and it reads effortlessly. I wear glasses to read also. 2 pages of the CVIE is about the content of 5 in a DAW paperback, and .46 of a page in the CVIE is about a page in a Tor hardback.

  13. wrycur said,

    May 24, 2010 at 7:46 am

    One more thing– there is a lot about Amiante in some of the earlier issues of Cosmo, available to read on the archive site, arguments pro and con. Reading it, I’m definitely on the “pro” side.

  14. wrycur said,

    May 25, 2010 at 6:54 am

    OK, you guys are right. Looking closer, especially the b’s and p’s are different. And Bob has confirmed it’s Minion in his 5/24 post. I should have known töff would be right about font; he’s a graphic artist.

    It sure is nice, space-saving without being in any way hard to read. There’s no wasted ink at all; it’s great.

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