THE UGLIEST DOG AWARD - 2013
First, the pedigree:
This book was the recipient of Heinlein's fourth and final Hugo Award (given while he was alive - there have been several "retro" Hugos given out to him since then) and is considered one of Heinlein's best works along with being one of the most influential science fiction novels ever written. First Edition copies of this book are not common and command premium prices -- when the book is in nice condition and with a nice dust jacket. The book was originally serialized in Worlds of IF Magazine (Dec 1965 through April 1966) and was the 1967 winner of the Hugo Award. It was also nominated for a Nebula Award for 1966. This book is credited with coining the acronym: TANSTAAFL (There Ain't No Such Thing as a Free Lunch) and is considered by many science fiction critics to be one of Heinlein's best works, comparable with Stranger in a Strange Land.
Then the details:
This particular copy is definitely a First Edition with all the correct points according to Currey (p 233) including the $5.95 price on the dust jacket but this book in no way matches the requirement of "nice" condition. At *best* you could generously call it an ex-library copy in reading condition. A starter copy if there ever was one. At worst, you could call it an amalgamation of all the terms you've ever read in John Carter's ABE for Book Collectors: ex-library, spine cocked, hinges taped, pages starting, with ground-in dirt, random fingerprints, foxing of various sorts (including one page that has a huge brown patch of foxing that looks more like a coffee stain - page 191), boards showing at both top and bottom edges where the cloth has been rubbed away, fraying to all edges, gilt lettering dulled, library marks, pocket and stickers in their usual spots.
The dust jacket is complete....technically speaking; as all the parts of the dust jacket are still attached. However, the tears to the spine and the subsequent heavy-duty tape on the reverse along with edge tears, nicking, chipping, library sticker, black marker over the library sticker and generalized crazing to all the joints make it appear less than complete. On the good side, this copy has NOT been price clipped.
For me, the thing that makes this book a true Ugly Dog Award Winner is that even with all its faults (ha!) there's something about the book that makes me want to hold on to it and love it.
As the dogs in the ugliest dog contests are so utterly pathetic that they have their own beauty, this book has a charm all its own. It has been read by many, loved by many, abused by many; and it still manages to hang on to its form by sheer will power (and heavy-duty tape). It is, scorned by all, and yet, it is one of the more lovely books I've been privileged to meet.