Man, those suckers used to be staples in weekender cottages and suburban bathrooms. I recall years when my parents returned from the annual Children's Hospital Book Sale with cartons full of these volumes. Reliable door-stoppers like Herman Wouk were rendered to more palatable page-counts. Quite the service, really.
Just a little tidbit of information I discovered this morning, since the question of their existence came to mind whenever I picked up something by Neil Gaiman.
|It's not him -- it's me.|
I'm not entirely sure what's going on, here.
A big part of it is readerly preference: as with Stephen King, I suspect a reader either loves Gaiman's work, or is indifferent to it. I've read (heard, rather) Gaiman's Anansi Boys, and pored through the first two volumes of The Sandman. He's clever with concepts, steers pointedly clear of prosaic pyrotechnics, yet still manages to evoke the surreal -- all very good reasons to become a Gaiman devotee.
And yet, no matter what the medium, I get impatient reading him. I don't, finally, invest myself in his characters. Once I've finished American Gods, I will almost certainly be finished with Gaiman.
Which is kind of painful to admit, because I pretty much adore the man's concepts. A war between the ancient pagan deities our ancestors imported from the homeland and the modern pagan deities we've created since is a kick-ass concept. But 500 pages is roughly 250 more than I'd care to read on the matter.
Blasphemy, I know. Gaiman's faithful don't just embrace the original content, but everything extra besides. They hardly need my aging eyes and addled brain among their august ranks. But if, say, Reader's Digest were to focus their quarterly efforts on Gaiman's catalogue, I might just join both companies.
Post-Script: Maybe Neal Stephenson is another "condensed books" candidate? And, hey: check out what this woman does with RDCBs. Pretty cool!