The Works of Tim Powers » The Works of William Ashbless #3
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The Works of William Ashbless #3

On Pirates

In 2001 Subterranean Press released this Ashbless item containing a short story entitled Slouching Towards Gayalou and a long poem, Moon-Eye Agonistes, A Tragedy. Also included were two introductions, one by Powers and one by Blaylock and two afterwords, one by Ashbless and a second by William Hastings (a Blaylock pseudonym). The cover art and internal illustrations were by Gahan Wilson. The ISBN for this released was 1-931081-22-0.

On Pirates was released in the following states :-
  • 1000 paperbound, individually numbered chapbooks, staple bound and issued in illustrated tan card wraps. These were signed by both Powers and Blaylock (but not, interestingly, by Ashbless) and were issued at $15.00.
  • 250 individually numbered hard cover copies. These were priced at $40.00 and were essentially the above chapbook, pasted into black cloth boards, which had red stamping on the cover.
  • 26 individually lettered hard cover copies issued in a tray case. These were priced at $500.00 each and were issued with copies of the On Pirates Poetry Portfolio (see below).
  • A small amount of low resolution uncorrected proof copies were produced.

On Pirates Poetry Portfolio

Each of the 26 individually lettered copies of On Pirates was accompanied by this portfolio of original Ashbless poetry. Housed in a plastic spiral boundd folder, this item comprises of 35 poems of various lengths reproduced in facsimile on 215.9 x 279.4mm sheets. The poems are handwritten by Powers and Blaylock, each writing alternate lines and signing the poets name (with Blaylock signing William and Powers signing Ashbless). Additionally each of the 26 lettered copies contain one of the original holographic manuscript sheets. The limitation sheet is signed by the publisher. William K. Shaffer. Also included is a "squid" label, signed by TP, JPB and WA. A number of PC copies were also produced.

Poems contained in the portfolio included such wonderfully titled works as Ad Astra, What the Dead Know, Crimea River, Exploratorium, Multitudes, Multitudes, and To His Beloved.

Copies of On Pirates are still reasonably simple to locate – this link to ABE should give you some options.


The William Ashbless Memorial Cookbook

In 2002, Subterranean Press published The William Ashbless Memorial Cookbook, a collection of recipes purportedly by Ashbless and, according to Powers and Blaylock, now being published following the poet's death. The book features pieces by both Powers and Blaylock, as well as commentary from them for the various recipes therein. The cover art was by Phil Parks and all copies were signed by Powers, Blaylock and Ashbless. This volume also contains an afterword by Ashbless beginning with the lines "I'm not dead. Let's get that straight…"

The book was released in the following states :-
  • 750, individually numbered, hard cover copies bound in green cloth and issued in a dust wrapper. Copies were issued at a cover price of $40.00 and carried the ISBN 1-931081-46-8.
  • 100 individually numbered, deluxe hard cover copies issued in a slip case. These were bound in green leather and issued in a dust wrapper. The limitation page erroneously states that there were 150 copies of this release. Additionally, this state was released with a copy of The Suppressed Recipes – a 24 page chapbook of material deemed 'unacceptable' for inclusion in the main book.
  • An uncorrected proof copy in glossy printed wraps was also produced prior to publication for distribution to reviewers and the book trade.

The William Ashbless memorial Cookbook can still be found easily on the collectors market. The deluxe state still appears to be available directly from the publisher. For the limited hard cover, follow this link to ABE.


Pilot Light

Due soon from Subterranean Press is a new Ashbless project. Pilot Light will be the first publication of an Ashbless short story written two or possibly even three decades ago. This edition, featuring cover art and internal illustrations by Gahan Wilson will be available in two states – as a trade hard cover (priced at $20.00), and as a signed limited deluxe hard cover (priced at $45.00). You can preorder this title directly via this link to Amazon.com. I'll provide more details here in due course, but in the meantime, here's the blurb from the publisher's web site…

"Those two madmen, Powers and Blaylock are back, with a recently unearthed and touched up short story thought lost to the ages. Pilot Light is vintage William Ashbless, complex to the point of incoherence, with a good eighteen footnotes added by the poet refuting and clarifying the changes made by Powers and Blaylock to his sacred words. Also included in this small form hardcover chapbook are an introduction by Powers and an afterword by Blaylock.

The limited edition is not only signed by all three contributors, it also contains a bonus interview with Ashbless available nowhere else"