Of course I'd have started at vol 1 if The Beguiling had had it, but they didn't. 'S'ok, I read the first part in Japanese,' I told the guy cheerfully, and went off to read. I think I got about two-thirds through the Japanese before giving up, so I figured even vol 3 of the English must be before that-- 165 smallish pages a volume when English always expands the Japanese. And there, yes, are passages I remember-- the pet laws, the game of gigolo-- but in the middle of this is stuff I have no memory of at all. Robby? Thor? Jeeks? My Japanese was that bad? My katakana was that bad? We're farther along than I thought? No, because vol 3 ends with Guy's kidnapping and I got much farther than that; but I know I never met any red-haired Thors with funny eyes. And here's an afterword from the author written in... 2004? What?
Then I read the small print on the back of the cover: 'revised and expanded since its original publication.' Oh. Dear. Because red-haired Thors apart, what's been added is umpty-many reiterations of the same sex scene, and a total screw around with the continuity, according to the infamous 'note each event on a stack of cards, throw them up in the air, write the book in the sequence they fall down' technique. Novelists need to be told they're not mangaka: there are no black borders to tip the readers off that we're into flashback.
There's no editor or rewriter listed for this one, and it shows. The combination of street English and stilt, sometimes in the same sentence, is dizzying. "The desire stuck like a hot shiv in his gut." "Getting in their faces and taking them down a few notches didn't do the job, so he preferred to mix things up with the security guards and vent that way. He'd seriously thrown down with them once, no holds barred, and caught sheer hell for it."
(Just glanced at the Japanese version. The passage of nine years has rendered it a lot easier to read than I'd thought. Maybe I'll have another stab at it after all.)
On another front, when incandescens mentioned the Abhorsen trilogy disappearing from her mother's shelves, a prickle of worry made me go check that my copies of Sabriel and Liriel were where they ought to be, which is next to the hardcover copy of Abhorsen in the bedroom. They aren't. Oh right, they were down in the front room book cubes. They weren't. Then I must have put them in the kitchen with the Brusts and Hobbs. I didn't. Not in the study, not in the side bedroom, not in the mudroom. They are, as far as I can tell, quite gone. Maybe all the Abhorsen trilogies have suddenly vanished from the world simultaneously? ('The Rapture,' nekonexus murmured when I mentioned this at lunch.)
Only they haven't, because I was at Eliot's Books last night in the snow, remembering to check for Elizabeth Bear and forgetting to check for Holdstock or Crowley or indeed Pu Songli in Penguin. What I did find was a complete set of the English Discworld, annoyingly there now and not last spring, which allowed me to round out my collection with the otherwise unobtainable Sourcery. (Should have got Making Money in that edition too, to replace my American one, but didn't. No one sells their Pratchetts cheap and Eliot's is no exception. Des economies, des economies, faut toujours faire des economies.) (Mind, Eliot's sometimes gives discounts for cash payments, which BMV does not.)
And when I brought Sourcery and Johnny and the Dead to the cash, there was a woman receiving a credit slip for a small mountain range of fantasy books, the foothills of which were- ta da- the Abhorsen Trilogy. Which I was on the point of laying claim to when she said, 'And then subtract these,' and the owner said 'I already did.'
So maybe I lent them to some one? Or maybe they did a midnight flit. Must remember now to check under Nix when I'm trawling for books in future.