The omnibus has always appealed to my bibliohlism because it was a succinct way to buy a series (or part of one). In particular I like the omnibuses that are produced by the Science Fiction Book Club. Those usually have a good chance of getting scooped up by me if I see them on the Half Price Book shelves. (The output of my biblioholism – boxes and boxes of stored books that I could never, ever possibly read in my lifetime – prevents me from actually joining the club.) They are always a good value and come in a cool-looking small-hardback packages.

Over the years I’ve obtained The Golden Age by John C. Wright, the two volumes of E.E “Doc” Smith’s Lensmen series, Dominic Flandry by Poul Anderson, A. Bertram Chandler’s John Grimes/Rimworld saga (5 omnibuses – sweeeet!), Rincewind the Wizard by Terry Pratchett (4 books in 1!), The Dying Earth and Ports of Call and Lurulu by Jack Vance, Valentine of Majipoor by Robert Silverberg, Gene Wolfe’s Book Of The New Sun and Book Of The Short Sun, Dead in Dixie by Charlaine Harris, Confluence by Paul J. McCauley, Garret, P.I. by Glen Cook, Ports of Call and Lurulu by Jack Vance, Tales of the Star Wolf by David Gerrold, The Asteroid Wars by Ben Bova, and yes, still others. (Hmmm, mysteriously I cannot find links for all of these at the SFBC website.) I also have omnibuses of unrelated books like Robert A. Heinlein’s ” Infinite Possibilities and To The Stars, (Just don’t ask me how many of them I’ve read :))

With my affection for the omnibus at the level it is, it’s no surprise that I found Andrew Wheeler’s post about How An Omnibus Is Made to be noteworthy.

I find it interesting that the stories in a set of omnibuses are in series order and not publication order. Sometimes the “earlier-in-the-timeline” book that were published after later books reveal plot details that are better left as surprises, no? Is it not safer (and more enjoyable for the reader) to present then as published? They could always include a series-order list in the omnibus. Then again, series-order vs. publication order is a matter of preference.

Filed under: Books

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