probable non-TSR discovery - The Tome of Midkemia
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Post Posted: Fri Jul 17, 2009 2:34 am 
 

Based on the info I've received from Midkemia Press folks so far, it appears likely that this booklet that was included in a lot that I received recently is one of the original Tome of Midkemia booklets, if not perhaps the original one that started the entire Midkemia setting.  

Some more details appear on the MP site @ http://www.midkemia.com/who_we_are.html

Front Cover:

Image

Page 1:

Image

Neither Steve Abrahms, Jon Everson, nor Ray Feist have a copy of this booklet, which seems to be the original (or one of a handful of copies) created by Conan Lamot.  

I've pinged them to see if I can share other information from our email discussions, and will hopefully be able to provide some more info soon!


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Post Posted: Fri Jul 17, 2009 3:58 am 
 

Heh, heh... I say Midkemia, you say Mid-Kimia: you say Tsolyani, I say Ts Solyani. :)
Always good to know the correct name when hunting originals, eh?

Excellent find, gro'. (And to know it's not going to be relisted FS ten seconds later ;)).
Given the printing tech and background "one of a handful of copies" should be the trick, even if it's possible to hold quite a few in one hand, but wouldn't expect a huge survival rate. Hence the length of time taken for one to appear over here...

Keep us posted! Context also, or was that genuinely "random"?
d.

p.s. Still looks more like a Donald Featherstone production, even after several viewings... *g*


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Post Posted: Fri Jul 17, 2009 8:11 am 
 

Nice find Groe.
Very nice.


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Post Posted: Fri Jul 17, 2009 9:05 am 
 

Too cool!  Is it digest size?


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Post Posted: Fri Jul 17, 2009 10:51 am 
 

Holy crap Gro, what a find!

There can't be a handful of these left in the world AT MOST, if ANY!!!!

I expect you to post the relevant info (number of pages, content, etc) when you can.

Is there anyone you can talk to that would give you permission to post extensive screenshots, if not a pdf of the contents?  This is very historically significant, in many ways.

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Post Posted: Fri Jul 17, 2009 11:20 am 
 

Is the word Kimia in the title associated in any way with the Arabic for Alchemy (al-kimia)?
Is there any reference in the booklet as to who the cover artist was?
That is an interesting image.


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Post Posted: Fri Jul 17, 2009 11:44 am 
 

Are you planning on keeping it?


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Post Posted: Fri Jul 17, 2009 12:33 pm 
 

would you bring it to Gencon so we could drool near it? if you want i'll bring some stuff you'd probably like to look at (some Rob Kuntz originals-his brown box, or the demonworld map maybe?).

  


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Post Posted: Fri Jul 17, 2009 12:58 pm 
 

faro wrote:Heh, heh... I say Midkemia, you say Mid-Kimia: you say Tsolyani, I say Ts Solyani. :)
Always good to know the correct name when hunting originals, eh?
[snip]
Keep us posted! Context also, or was that genuinely "random"?


That helps, but I didn't actually recognize the name until the book arrived.  It was described to me as Mid-Rimia, and I never made the connection until reading the font/text once it was in-hand.

faro wrote:Given the printing tech and background "one of a handful of copies" should be the trick, even if it's possible to hold quite a few in one hand, but wouldn't expect a huge survival rate. Hence the length of time taken for one to appear over here...


I'm trying to pin down more info on the possible number of copies, but it speaks volumes to me that none of MP folks have a copy  8O

faro wrote:p.s. Still looks more like a Donald Featherstone production, even after several viewings... *g*


I don't have any Featherstone titles to compare again, David; did he also use Fabian's artwork?

simrion wrote:Too cool!  Is it digest size?


It is indeed:  same size as the OD&D booklets/supplements.

Badmike wrote:I expect you to post the relevant info (number of pages, content, etc) when you can.


Yep, I'll post some more physical details, etc. this weekend.

Badmike wrote:Is there anyone you can talk to that would give you permission to post extensive screenshots, if not a pdf of the contents?  This is very historically significant, in many ways.


I'm investigating that too:  I'm not sure what stake the MP folks have in this content (vs. the title/word "Midkemia"), since what is original was written by Conan Lamot and not by the MP principals.

jasonw1239 wrote:Is the word Kimia in the title associated in any way with the Arabic for Alchemy (al-kimia)?


I can't comment on that one, Jason:  I'm not conversant in Arabic :D

jasonw1239 wrote:Is there any reference in the booklet as to who the cover artist was?
That is an interesting image.


I recognized the back cover artist as Stephen Fabian immediately, and I think the front cover is his work too, but haven't been able to confirm that yet.

The epigram at the bottom of the front cover is from HPL's poem "Nathicana".

Blackmoor wrote:Are you planning on keeping it?


For the moment, yes :D

stratochamp wrote:would you bring it to Gencon so we could drool near it? if you want i'll bring some stuff you'd probably like to look at (some Rob Kuntz originals-his brown box, or the demonworld map maybe?).


I won't be attending GC this year, again, William.  I can certainly bring it to North TX RPG Con next year, if folks are still interested in it by then.   That's a ways off however.  I'd love to check out Rob's stuff that you have sometime, of course, as well---thanks for the offer!


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Last edited by grodog on Fri Jul 17, 2009 3:49 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Post Posted: Fri Jul 17, 2009 3:07 pm 
 

That does look like a real gem.  I would be interested in a PDF or a reprint.

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Post Posted: Fri Jul 17, 2009 3:14 pm 
 

Mars wrote:That does look like a real gem.  I would be interested in a PDF or a reprint.


My guess is a fair number of posters here would be interested :wink:


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Post Posted: Fri Jul 17, 2009 3:52 pm 
 

Having a chance to read the first page now, it does read like an intro book to the game/world.  Probably would have been passed out to the players or DMs playing in the Midkemia campaign.

The history on the Crydee site gives a bit more detail on the size playing Midkemia back then (upto 12 active GMs):

http://www.crydee.com/raymond-feist/origins-of-midkemia

So potentially if each player/GM was given a copy there could have been a 100 copies or so printed.

I would be curious on content as well.  Does it contain mainly backgroud and setting or is it a lot of house rules too?  Page count, etc

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Post Posted: Fri Jul 17, 2009 5:09 pm 
 

grodog wrote:That helps, but I didn't actually recognize the name until the book arrived.  It was described to me as Mid-Rimia, and I never made the connection until reading the font/text once it was in-hand.

It's surprising what a single character difference, awkward font or word split can do to pretty much kill any recognition chance - was the same with Barker's '40s Tekumel manuscripts which not a single person spotted thanks to a single additional "S" on the word split and I only noticed belatedly following later misattribution to Lin Carter.
And we all remember those copies of the "Character Ar(m)chair", no? :)

grodog wrote:I don't have any Featherstone titles to compare again, David; did he also use Fabian's artwork?

Oh, I doubt that but the style/feel/printing tech definitely evokes early-mid(?) '70s Wargamers' Newsletters (not that I have many to compare) at first glance.

grodog wrote:I'm trying to pin down more info on the possible number of copies, but it speaks volumes to me that none of MP folks have a copy 8O

I take it you've piqued their interest?

It doesn't surprise me that they don't since a one-off like that could very easily slip through the general net if they didn't receive and deliberately file aside a copy at the time. (To draw a parallel, Jackson & Livingstone don't have copies of their original GW newsletter and the one they OK'd as an "original" for an auction was actually a photocopied reprint. It's very easy to forgot what something looks like, far less the printing history, in a 30+ year span; even when you have a photo showing you holding the originals... heh).
*
I'll agree with Mark on speculation as to print run: it could easily be 100 and still have vanished from sight and the printing tech would tend to indicate double figures at least.

Well spotted on the HPL hook btw and I wouldn't be surprised if Jason's hunch as to the Arabic (etc.) root in the original name is correct, too; accidental or otherwise.
Thank goodness that didn't end up as Midgebra or worse instead, if that's the case. :o

Cheers & Keep on digging,
David. :)


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Post Posted: Fri Jul 17, 2009 5:17 pm 
 

Mars wrote:The history on the Crydee site gives a bit more detail on the size playing Midkemia back then (upto 12 active GMs):

http://www.crydee.com/raymond-feist/origins-of-midkemia

That's a better hook link, thanks. 1976 sounds better than 1975 for getting things rolling properly as pre-existing at UCSD would surely have been more clearly flagged or otherwise spotted in the early A&Es - which wasn't that "provincial" a publication, even back towards the start of their run.
Or is my memory or past spot checks just failing me? Will have another look, in case...

@gro': no (c) date or otherwise anywhere, I presume, given that you might've mentioned...?


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