View Single Post
Old Feb 9 2007, 03:58 PM   #1
Master Archivist
Hans's Avatar
Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: The Netherlands
Gender: M
Fan of: Pern!
Post Collecting Highlight (43) - The Atlas of Pern c.s.

One of the best companion atlases ever made is the Atlas of Pern by Karen Wynn Fonstad. There's several version, including both US and UK editions, first in hardcover as well as in paperback, and I'll conclude this Collecting Highlight with some special promotion material.

Let me first tell you of the author. Unfortunately the remarkable Karen Fonstad, who made such wonderful atlases for Tolkien's Middle Earth, the Dragonlance world and of course Pern, is no longer with us. She died on March 11, 2005 of complications from breast cancer. She was 59. Karen Lea Wynn was born April 18, 1945 in Oklahoma City to James and Estis Wynn. She graduated from Norman High School in Norman, Oklahoma, and then earned a B.S. degree in Physical Therapy and an M.A. in Geography, specializing in cartography, from the University of Oklahoma. While attending Oklahoma University she met her husband to be, Todd A. Fonstad. They married on March 21, 1970 and had two children.
As far as I know The Atlas of Pern (1984) was her second endeavour in the field of cartography of imaginary worlds. It was successful and followed in 1985 by The Atlas of The Land (covering the world of my next favourite fantasy author Stephen Donaldson; which is surely a coincidence). These were followed by The Atlas of the Dragonlance World (in 1987) and The Forgotten Realms Atlas (in 1990). Her career both began and ended (a revised edition was published in 2001) with was probably her most successful atlas: The Atlas of Middle-Earth.

The Atlas of Pern outdates those other great companion books, The Dragonlovers Guide to Pern and The People of Pern, by four and five years respectively! It not only provides wonderful general and detailed maps of Pern and many of its geographical as well as political, social and many other aspects, it also provides many references and a reasonably good timeline for all the books up to and including Moreta, Dragonlady of Pern.

From email correspondence between Karen and Anne I was privileged to use for my research I know that there were plans to publish a second, revised edition for the world of Pern, too. Alas, it was not to be… Special maps were going to be included for the books published after Moreta; Dragonsdawn, Chronicles of Pern : First Fall and Dragonseye, in a whole new section chapter. For the insatiable curious fans among us I can reveal that among the maps for this chapter new/revised maps were planned for the whole of Pern and the Southern Continent (of course), Landing, Drake’s Lake Mining Camp, Calusa and Honshu, to name a few. Nerilka’s Story would be incorporated in the chapter on Moreta (with no change in maps) and Masterharper of Pern would be added to the chapter on the Harper Hall novels with revision planned for Telgar Hold, Harper Hall, Robinton’s apartment and Southern Hold. Another new chapter would have dealt with The Renegades of Pern, The Dolphins of Pern and All the Weyrs of Pern with a total new introduction and maps of Thella’s Hold, Igen Cave Complex, Benden Hold, Benden Caves (Aramina’s Cave), Paradise River Hold, Dolphin Hall, the proposed Hold boundaries of the Southern Continent, Landing (Ancients Plateau Hold), Admin building, the Catherine Caves, the Yokohama and the surface of the Red Star! The fact this project never materialised may also have been influenced by the original Alliance Atlantis plans for Pern on the big screen and TV as well as Karen being diagnosed with breast cancer (for which I don’t know the year).

The US edition of the Atlas of Pern was simultaneously published by Del Rey/Ballantines books in hardcover as well as paperback in 1984. The hardcover is bound in brown cloth with gold foil lettering stamped on the spine. The large size paperback (I still can’t call letter sized paperbacks trade paperbacks) had red foil lettering on the front cover (see picture). The ISBN for the hardcover is 0-345-31432-8 and for the paperback 0-345-31434-4. A year later (1985) The Science Fiction Book Club published their edition as a hardcover. Hargreaves notes that this edition seems to have been bound from the second printing sheets for the Ballantine trade paperback (because of the “printing line” on the title page reading: “10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2”. He also gives a number (with SFBC edition often found somewhere on the dustjacket or the cover) 039115 for it. Among my copies I have one that only has “03911” on the back of the cover and an actual ISBN on the copyright page: 1-56865-263-1, despite the fact it only gives © 1984. According Hargreaves it was bound in brown paper boards with orange lettering on the spine. The bookclub edition has been reprinted several times (at least five) and my bookclub copy has black paper boards with orange lettering.

Dustjacket of the hardcover (in this case: bookclub) edition

Front of the cover of the first edition paperback US edition

All copies, including the UK edition described below, have a facsimile of Anne’s autograph in the lower right hand corner on the introduction page; an autograph that looks pretty real in the non-bookclub editions because it is printed in another colour than the text!

Detail photograph of the introduction page (pictured is the paperback one) with Anne's printed signature in a brownish colour also used for the maps

In the same year the American bookclub edition was issued, Corgi published a paperback version of the Atlas with a new and most wonderful cover by Steve Weston, the man who had also done much of the cover art for Anne’s UK Pern novels. ISBN for the UK paperback is 0-552-99148-1.

The cover of the UK paperback edition with wonderful artwork by Steve Weston

Last but not least… for the Corgi paperback posters were made for book sellers to promote the book. These posters measure 29,6 x 39,4 cm (11,65 x 15,51 inch) and feature the art of the actual book cover with a white border all around which has the line “out now in Corgi paperback” and the Corgi logo at the bottom. I think these posters are pretty rare, I’ve never seen any for sale but that doesn’t mean much. If they were actually distributed there must surely be quite a lot around.

Picture of the promotional poster for the UK Corgi paperback edition of the atlas;
this is a unique copy in the sense that it is signed to me (To Elrhan, Anne McCaffrey) by Anne "between the clouds over Nerat Bay"

The Atlas is to be found for sale regularly on eBay (all three versions), where the UK paperback version surprisingly is often the cheapest one to obtain. The bookclub edition is, of course, the most common (although I have no idea of how many were actually printed) but at times still fetches a relatively high price. In general one may say that prices vary incredibly for this book, from under ten dollars to over fifty dollars for a bookclub edition (!) to an idiotic high of $ 259 for a soft cover with slightly loose binding… On the other hand, a good watcher-collector might score a first edition for about 20-25 dollars on occasion!

I haven’t seen any ARC of proof reading copies but am assuming there might be a few out there.
Hans, also known as Elrhan, Master Archivist

Visit The Pern Museum & Archives for all your Pern and Anne McCaffrey News and Resources!
The Pern Museum & Archives is the home of the Pern Encyclopedia and the Pern Bloodlines.
Hans is offline   Reply With Quote