The Compleat Piers Anthony
Pornucopia
Last Updated: Saturday, June 22, 2002 11:12:19 PM


Pornucopia is by far the rarest and most valuable Piers Anthony book you could have in your collection.



The Good Magician Humphrey Pornucopia


Pornucopia is a picaresque black comedy that transgresses all bounds of everyday good taste. It begins in a near-future world where sex-vending machines and genital transplants are taken for granted.

Story Synopsis ...

Prior Gross, the hero and sex object of this wild adventure, thinks his fantasies have all come true when a beautiful young woman seduces him on a public beach. She turns out to be a succubus, beginning his initiation into a realm populated by demons which are not merely horned, but horny. He encounters a perverse cast of characters that includes a satyr, a vampire, and a pair of luscious sisters, one of whom tricks him out of his manhood.

So Prior Gross sets out on a perverse odyssey, taking him to a distant planet where he discovers the key to the return of his property and, ultimately, the origin of the universe itself.



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High Praise for Pornucopia

  • Philip José Farmer writes— "Pornucopia is one of the greatest f---ing novels I have ever read. Extremely imaginative and sexually extrapolative, and very amusing. Might be a classic."

  • Norman Spinrad writes— "Piers Anthony has really let it all hang out, and the results should please aficionados of S. Clay Wilson, Michael Perkins, Robert Williams, and the Marquis de Sade. Does for science fiction what Captain Pissgums did for comics. Does for pornography what John Carpenter did for the gore movie. Does for smegma what E.C. Comics did for slime."

  • Charles Platt writes— "Pornucopia is an undiscovered classic, a hilarious, outrageous departure in erotic fantasy. Bizarre, horrific, deranged—and a lot of fun."

  • Charles Platt also writes— "Piers Anthony has concocted one of the most outrageously bizarre novels ever written. It is a tour-de-force of the imagination."

  • Piers Anthony writes— "Be warned: this is not Xanth. But those who want their minds wickedly stretched, read on."



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From Piers Anthony

Written in 1989, on the inside dust jacket flap.

"Most free-lance fiction writers really have to scratch to make a living. They can't be too choosy about markets if they want to survive. Thus a number of legitimate science fiction writers have, somewhere along the way, tried erotica, bringing to it imagination not ordinarily seen in that genre. In 1969 Essex House was publishing some highly fantastic erotica, and I though I'd try my hand.

"I started Pornucopia [as 3.97 Erect] that year—and quit a month later when the publisher shut down the line. My sexy market had been yanked out from under me just when I was getting hot! Later I recovered and completed the effort in 1970, my fourteenth novel. Now, after almost twenty years and considerable struggle, it is my seventy-fourth published book.

"I try to do the best job I can do of whatever I do do. Here I was trying for something truly fascinating, outrageous, erotic and funny, as a challenge. I oppose censorship, and I feel the erotic urge should be considered healthy and fun, not obscene. I do have limits: you will find no sado-masochism. If there are any other erotic or scatologic taboos I have not gleefully parodied, I regret it; I plead a sheltered life.

"However, in the interim I have developed a considerable juvenile readership, and I don't want my young readers to get in trouble. This novel is therefore being published and marketed for an exclusively adult audience, and may still shock and disgust many. Be warned: this is not Xanth. But those who want their minds wickedly stretched, read on."



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History of Pornucopia

The following is from a letter dated March 21, 1990, from Charles Platt.

In the late 1960's, an editor named Brian Kirby established a series of novels for a Los Angeles publisher named Essex House. The novels freely mixed science fiction and erotica.

Philip José Farmer's The Image of the Beast and A Feast Unknown were originally published by Essex House. So was Samuel R. Delany's The Tides of Lust.

Piers Anthony, at that time a struggling young author, wrote his own contribution to the series and titled it 3.97 Erect. Because of its nature, Piers decided to write the story under a pen name Tony Pedro. In it he violated all the taboos of science fiction, and some of erotic novels besides. The title referred to his protagonist's penis size, which was miniscule. The book included venereal disease and castration as key plot elements. And so on.

Essex House accepted the novel, but they went out of business before they could publish it. From that time on, for more than twenty years, it remained an "unsaleable" commodity. Piers Anthony's agent, Kirby McCauley, tried to place it with various New York publishers; but all of then found it too weird, too kinky, or too disgusting.

After Piers Anthony reviewed this webpage, I received the following from him in an e-mail dated July 4, 2000:

"Charles Platt's information has some small errors. ESSEX HOUSE never saw the novel; it went out of business while I was writing it. Thus there was neither acceptance nor rejection; it was a dead issue, and I did not even complete the novel until returning to it some years later."

--Piers Anthony

In 1986 Charles Platt came across a mention of the novel in a bibliography that Piers sent him (Platt was doing a book of short biographies of the great science-fiction and fantasy writers at the time and was including Piers in it). Platt queried him about it, and he was told that he would have to ask Piers' agent for a copy if he wanted to read it, because Piers himself no longer had one.

Also from Piers' 7/4/2000 e-mail:

"I did have a copy, which I had to copy laboriously at a copy center, page by page, hoping nobody saw me, so that I could send it off. I worked though my agent, so I think did not send it directly to Platt."

--Piers Anthony

McCauley sent Platt the manuscript, and Platt decided he would start his own small press, Black Sheep Books, in order to publish it. Charles Platt came up with a new name for the novel, Pornucopia, and Piers agreed to call it that.

Because Piers was concerned that the novel might be bought by young readers (Xanth fans, in particular), Piers requested that Platt put a pseudonym, Anton Pierz, on this rather outrageous novel, which Platt agreed to do.

Platt had the novel typeset, and from the typesetting he prepared six "bound galleys." These photocopied texts were each 8½" by 11" in size, with red vinyl covers and the imprint of his small press Black Sheep Books on the title page. Charles also commissioned art for the dust jacket.

Also from Piers' 7/4/2000 e-mail:

"I also paid to have it published in better fashion, and lost the money when BLACK SHEEP went out of business."

--Piers Anthony



In response to Piers' mention of funding Black Sheep Books, I received the following e-mail from Charles Platt on August 22, 2000:

"You did a very nice job summarizing the obscure history of this very obscure book. I'd just like to correct one point. You quote Piers as saying that he subsidized my effort to publish his novel, but he lost his money. This is only partially true.

"Piers very generously invested $10,000 in my small press, Black Sheep Books. In those days, when the only commercially available laser printer was an Apple LaserWriter, which cost $5,000 (!) the $10K was barely sufficient to pay for a Mac, desktop publishing software, laser printer, cover art, and the labor of a person I found (through an ad in the Village Voice) who stoically retyped the whole novel into a computer (OCR software being unavailable in those days).

"The reason I didn't follow through and publish the novel was not that I couldn't find any printing company that would deal with it; I gradually came to a realization that I was not cut out to be a publisher. The business side is really quite boring to me.

"So, I sold the equipment I had purchased, and refunded to Piers what was left of his original investment. I don't remember exactly how much money was involved, but I do know I repaid what I could. This is important to me, since I have been accused (not by Piers) of "running off" with that money. I'm sure I wouldn't be on such friendly terms with Piers today if I had done that."

--Charles Platt

In addition, the author's name appeared as "Anton Pierz" in the running heads that appeared throughout the book. One of the bound galleys was sent to Piers Anthony, who retains it. Three more were sent to various authors (Webmaster's Note: The authors were Philip José Farmer, Norman Spinrad, and a third unknown at this time.), in order to solicit quotes from them endorsing the novel.

In another recent e-mail conversation that I had with Charles Platt (now living in New York), he did not remember specifically who the authors were that reviewed it. So other than Philip José Farmer and Norman Spinrad, the two that sent in review quotes ... and the quote from Platt himself, the third reviewer will remain a mystery.

Charles Platt retained the last two of the bound galleys himself (**see note below). He also retained the manuscript and the title page which bears a pencil sketch of the design that he planned to use for the dust jacket.

Tafford Publishing eventually took over the project from Charles Platt when Platt found himself unable to follow through on his plans to produce the book. Tafford convinced Piers Anthony that if they shrink-wrapped the novel, and print an "adults-only warning" on the cover, it couldn't accidentally fall into the hands of minors, and therefore, it would be safe for Piers to use his own name on it. Thus, in Tafford's edition, they changed every instance of "Anton Pierz" in the typesetting and substituted "Piers Anthony."

Also from Charles Platt's 8/22/2000 e-mail:

"In an effort to follow through on my obligation to get the book into print, I placed an ad in Locus, seeking an alternate publisher. Phil Gurlik, of Tafford Publishing, answered the ad. I gave him the typesetting (free) and also the cover art (free). Also I consulted with him about the best way to deal with the book, I obtained endorsements for it, and I established a link between him and Piers. I was delighted when the book was finally published.

"Incidentally, it was Phil Gurlik who persuaded Piers to get rid of the "Anton Pierz" byline and use his real name. Phil suggested that if the book were shrink-wrapped, young Xanth readers wouldn't be able to browse through it in bookstores. In retrospect, this was a very, very obvious and sensible idea, but I didn't think of it. That's why I was never cut out to be a publisher.

"I don't know where Phil Gurlik is today. A search online, for his name and "Tafford," yielded nothing current. Originally he had been in textbook publishing, and saw science fiction as a way to do something more interesting. Among the "lost" books that he brought into print was Alfred Bester's Tender Loving Rage, which I urged him to publish, since I had the only manuscript copy. We owe Phil a debt for doing what I had merely dreamed of doing."

--Charles Platt

[Editor's Note: Phil Gurlik is alive and well ... see his message below]

Tafford produced their own bound galleys, the same size as Platt's and with the same exact typesetting except that the author's name is changed throughout and Tafford's imprint appears on the title and copyright pages. The Tafford galleys have a gray cover and black binding strip up the spine. It is unknown how many Tafford galleys were produced.

Phil Gurlik, Owner of Tafford Publishing, reviewed this webpage and sent me an e-mail dated July 22, 2000:

"I stumbled upon your website and thought I should drop you a line. I am the Phil Gurlik who owned (owns) Tafford Publishing.

"I made about 20 copies of the Tafford galley, so it is quite rare as well. Probably most of them were discarded. I gave Charles Platt a copy and know of only one other (I have none myself).

"There were two different hardcover editions. The first was 2,000 printed by a company in Houston and bound by a company in San Antonio TX where no one spoke English - the only way I could get the job done at the time. The second edition in hardcover was done by Amereon in a 500 copy edition. Amereon also did the soft cover editions totaling several thousands.

"The Houston (first) edition is clearly marked "first edition" on the copyright page. The second printing has no mention of the edition. Also, the first edition dust jackets were trimmed a little too small and show a bit too much cloth top and bottom. The red ink on the first edition is also noticeably brighter on the first. The second ended up looking almost burgundy."

--Phil Gurlik

[ Editor's Note: This makes a rather interesting dilemma for the average book collector. Usually the True First Edition is the most valuable, most collectible, and most sought-after edition of any book. In this case, the True First Edition had a print run of 2,000, making it an extremely rare book. However, the Second Edition had a print run of only 500, making it a much more scarcer, and thus more valuable book that the True First Edition. I got copies of both editions so all my bases are covered :-)]

Tafford published a first and second edition Hardbound Edition in 1989, and re-released it in a Trade Paperback Edition in 1991. Both books were shrink-wrapped at the printers.



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Editions of Pornucopia
Click on Images for a Better View



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First Edition Hardbound


Pornucopia First Edition Hardbound Tafford Publishing Hardbound Edition
Tafford Publishing, Inc., Houston, TX
(True) First Edition, 1989
187 Pages
2,000 copies of this book were printed.
Cover black cloth with silver title imprint.
Issued with wrap-around dust jacket
Book Design by Charles Platt
Original Retail $19.95
ISBN 0-9623712-0-3
Library of Congress Catalog Card Number 88-070065
Printed by a company in Houston, TX, and bound by a different company in San Antonio, TX. (See note from Phil Gurlik above)


The True First Edition is the only book that has "First Edition" on the Copyright Page. Pornucopia First Edition Copyright Page


I have two copies of the True First Edition, both have autographed bookplates laid in.


Pornucopia First Edition Signed Pornucopia First Edition Signed


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Second Edition Hardbound


Tafford Publishing Hardbound Edition
Tafford Publishing, Inc., Houston, TX
Second Edition, 1989
187 Pages
Only 500 copies of this book were printed.
Cover black cloth with silver title imprint.
Issued with wrap-around dust jacket
Book Design by Charles Platt
Original Retail $19.95
ISBN 0-9623712-0-3
Library of Congress Catalog Card Number 88-070065
Printed by Amereon. (See note from Phil Gurlik above)
Pornucopia Second Edition Hardbound


Pornucopia Second Edition Copyright Page The Second Edition is missing "First Edition" on the Copyright Page.


I have one copy of the rarer Second Edition. This book was personally signed and inscribed to me by Piers Anthony when I visited with him on June 19, 2000. Pornucopia Second Edition Signed


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The following is a comparison of the First and Second Edition Tafford Hardbound Editions with the differences illustrated.
Pornucopia First and Second Edition Hardbound Editions


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Trade Paperback Edition


Tafford Publishing Trade Paperback Edition
Tafford Publishing, Inc., Houston, TX
First Printing, 1991
187 Pages
Different printings totaling several thousand copies were printed.
Book Design by Charles Platt
Original Retail $12.95
ISBN 0-9623712-5-4
Printed by Amereon
Notice the picture has been trimmed on the right side to fit.

My copy is still in the shrinkwrap.
Pornucopia Trade Paperback Edition




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The "Infamous" Edition


Pornucopia - Pirate Edition Amereon/Yestermorrow Hardbound Edition
Yestermorrow, Inc. (Amereon)
First Printing, August 1998
188 Pages
Cover orange cloth with gold
title and cover picture imprint.
Issued without dust jacket
Original Retail $29.95
ISBN 1567231209

This edition started out as a mystery. The book was sold shrinkwrapped (as all editions of Pornucopia were) and inside it has the copyright page as the Tafford First Printing, 1989, with ISBN 0-9623712-5-4, which was original Trade Paperback edition's number. The book was issued without a dust jacket and with new artwork imprinted directly on the cover.

On the outside of the shrinkwrap is a label that posts the price $29.95, and ISBN 1567231209. This edition was marketed by Barnes and Noble and Borders Books as coming from Yestermorrow, Inc. and was produced in August 1998. They advertised this book as a library binding.

Until I had all the facts, my theory was that this edition originally started life as one of the Tafford Trade Paperback editions and had the cover stripped and replaced with the new gold-printed hardcover, aka ... library binding. It seems that there are a few companies out there doing this type of work. An example is the miniature Xanth hardbounds published by Turtleback Publishing. They were really paperbacks that were re-bound into hardcovers with color printed covers.

When I visited with Piers on June 19, 2000, I discussed this edition. He had never heard of it before but wanted to check it out. I sent him the information that I had.

He responded in his e-mail dated July 4, 2000:

"I have never seen that 'Yestermorrow' edition, but as you explained, it seems to be a refurbished variant of a 1989 TAFFORD edition."

--Piers Anthony

To make it more interesting, Borders.com advertised a different edition. This one was listed as a hardcover, 188 pages, published 1999 by Amereon, Limited, with ISBN 0848815947. Price was $29.95.

On Friday, February 25, 2000, I received the "Amereon" edition and it is the identical one as the "Yestermorrow" edition. Same book, shrinkwrapped, with a white label on the back. The label looks to be printed identically between the two editions, except the "Amereon" edition shows ISBN 0848815947.

BUT...

The mystery of this Yestermorrow/Amereon editions were solved when I received the following e-mail, dated July 22, 2000, from Phil Gurlik, owner of Tafford Publishing, who had the rights to publish Pornucopia.

"It appears that Amereon is fraudulently selling bootleg copies of Pornucopia. They are one of the printers I was able to get to publish one of the editions. Apparently they saved the plates and have decided to steal the book. I doubt I will do anything about it—I'm in no position to try to sue, etc., but I thought I would let you know the situation with it."

--Phil Gurlik

But knowing that Piers Anthony had the resources, as well as a reputation for taking a very dim view of publishing fraud, I contacted Piers to let him know about this. I put him back in touch with Phil who filled in details about Amereon.

In Piers' August 2000 Newsletter, he mentioned the following:

"Sometimes one can get published unknowingly; my dirty novel Pornucopia was pirated and on sale at some of the big Internet booksellers. Neither the original publisher nor I got any money from those sales. We're going after the pirate, who will settle quickly if he is smart. Meanwhile I do want to return that novel to print, but remain hung up on how to prevent it from being sold to teens, whose angry mothers will then blacklist me."

--Piers Anthony



After Piers and his Agent contacted Amereon, the pirated edition quickly disappeared from sale on the major Internet book companies (marked "out-of-print" in the listings) and it looks like it will not ever appear again. Amereon agreed to cease and desist and paid an amount of money to Piers Anthony as a settlement/royalties. At this point, since Piers was paid, this edition now became legitimate. Piers told me the amount he was paid, but I am declining to publish the details. Suffice to say, Amereon got off cheap.

From a recent correspondence with Phil:

"Hi Dan. Here is a brief update about the bootleg edition. The pirateer claims to have sold only 27 copies, which I have no reason to doubt. He settled out of court with Piers and I for a relatively modest sum and a promise to cease and desist. I think he only printed a total of 50-100 copies, I had him send me 12 and he pulped the rest. So I believe there to be 39 copies in existence. Since he came to a settlement with us this sort of becomes a legitimate edition, thus by far the rarest actual printing. The quality of the job was really not bad."

--Best wishes, Phil Gurlik



So, with 39 known copies, this does make this a rare volume indeed. I originally purchased three copies, but sold one to my friend Marisol (Hostess of the Piers Anthony Thread). I saw one up on sale (for $465.00) on ABE Books (independent booksellers register to sell on there). And Phil Gurlik has 12 copies. So I know where 16 are.

Price-wise? I would easily put this edition currently at about $1,000, and in 10 years, closer to $3,000-4,000.



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The "Infamous" Edition, The Sequel


OK, after doing all the detective work to track down and figure out the pirate orange edition, up pops another mystery!



Amereon Hardbound Edition
First Printing, 1990-1996?
188 Pages
Cover: gray cloth with gold
title and cover picture imprint.
Issued without dust jacket
Original Retail $25-30
ISBN 1567231209
Pornucopia - Second Pirate Edition


On August 06, 2001, I received the following e-mail from Ben Baker of St. Louis, MO:

Dan,

I was looking over your page concerning the history of Pornucopia. During grade school I fell in love with Anthony's writings through his Apprentice Adept series which my mother had laying about. By high school I had read Firefly and some more of his sexually oriented books. I began to seek out Pornucopia in 1994, my junior year of high school. It will come as no surprise to you that I had no luck.

Skip ahead to late 1995 / early 1996. I'm in my freshman year of college at a tiny little hick town in the middle of nowhere Missouri whose population lived mostly in trailer homes. I visited a local book store that sold only new books. While there I humored myself by asking if they could get me a copy of Pornucopia. The hillbilly behind the counter types with two fingers at a keyboard, looks at the screen and says "yes." I thought "yeah, right." This guy orders it up and says he'll call me when it comes in. I have no idea what supplier this store used. I figured I'd never hear from him again or I'd get a call a few days later saying that their supplier was out.

A week later I get a call saying to come pick up my book. The book was NOT sealed. It was the "infamous" edition with the gold title and cover picture imprint. It may have been orange cloth as in the picture on your website, but I believe it was a light gray cloth. I'll never be sure. It did not have a dust jacket. I am unaware of the publisher, edition or printing. I knew I had a rare book, but I didn't know I had a valuable book. It was such a short, funny, perverse read that I wanted all my friends to read it also. I began loaning it out to my friends, with the understanding that they keep it in perfect condition. Within a year it became lost. I don't know if it never came back to me or if I misplaced it at home. I'll never forgive myself.

So, the point of this email ... I got this book in late 1995 / early 1996. I know this for a fact. I was only at that college during my freshman year, then I left to go elsewhere. So what book did I have? You have the "infamous" edition, Amereon Hardbound Edition listed with a first printing of August 1998. Clearly I did not have the trade paperback. I thought maybe I got a first or second edition sent to me with the dust jacket missing, but the first and second editions have black cloth and silver title imprint. I know it was not black and silver. Like I said, it was gray and gold or orange and gold, but I swear it was gray because I can remember thinking how bland the book looked and how the gold imprint barely stood out from the light gray cloth. The gold imprint was exactly the same as the orange "infamous" edition pictured on your site, with the image of a woman within a box. I'm now motivated to start calling up all my old friends and asking them if they happen to have this book 6 years after the fact.

--Ben Baker, St. Louis, MO



Well, this raised some flags with me, but since the book was "lost" among his friends, there was no confirmation so I never followed up on a search for the elusive gray edition, and I never posted any information about it to this page.

Now, fast forward to January 20, 2002. I received an e-mail from Steve Alcorn. author of “Ring of Diamonds” (writing as Sharon Stevens), which is available on Xlibris.com. Steve was mentioned in Piers Anthony's recent newsletter as a very talented new writer.

Hi Dan,

I enjoyed reading your coverage of Piers’ Pornucopia. I have a few more pieces to add to the puzzle.

As another person who has read everything that Piers has ever written, I heard about Pornucopia in late 1989 or early 1990, and set out to obtain a copy. My search led me to Amereon, who I contacted by telephone. After some initial dithering – they seemed uncertain whether they had any in the “warehouse” – they called me back and agreed to sell me a copy for about $25 or $30. I received it a few weeks later. I wish I could be precise as to the date, but it was certainly no later than the end of 1990.

Here’s what’s most interesting: The edition they sold me had no dust jacket, and the gold embossing on the cover is identical to what you call the “Infamous” edition that didn’t show up until 1998. But the color of the cloth binding is a light olive gray, not orange. The copyright page is identical to the second edition shown on your web page. Another curious thing about this edition is that there is a binding error. The book has only 169 numbered pages, and the title page of Part IV is glued to the inside of the back cover. I was always disappointed that I never got to read the end of the book! I just assumed that the entire small press run had been misprinted in this manner.

Perhaps you could pass this email on to Piers to see what he thinks. It may have some bearing on his legal action against the publisher, as it shows that the bootleg version existed almost a decade earlier than previously believed. I’d be interested to hear his comments.

--Best Wishes, Steve Alcorn



OK, here was substantial proof that the elusive gray pirate edition did exist! Steve still had his copy. After he found out it was a pirated edition he offered it to Piers, but Piers declined. Since Steve never was able to finish the book, I made a deal with him for his copy. He received a shining near-mint first edition of Pornucopia complete with an autographed bookplate (by Piers) tipped in. I received his gray edition, which you see scanned above.

Wow! So here is an edition that has two known copies. But wait! Today (June 22, 2002) I received an e-mail from Shelli. Now what she has to say came before I posted this information about the gray edition.



Dan,

I've been reading about the different editions of Pornucopia. I was hoping you could help me figure out if my copy is the second edition. You didn't show a picture of the second edition without the dust jacket. When I received my book, it was shrink-wrapped without the dust jacket. The copyright page is exactly as the second edition (Tafford Pub). The book cover itself is a grayish brown color with the gold artwork that looks like the "infamous" edition on the cover. It's just not orange. I just checked the ISBN and it is different than the Second Edition. The ISBN in my book reads: 0-9623712-5-4. I would appreciate some help!

--Thanks, Shelli



Bingo! Now there are 3 known copies of the gray "Infamous" edition. I do not know how many of these actually made it out, but Phil Gurlik and Piers Anthony are now aware that the pirating went back many more years, but probably on a very limited basis. With the advent of the big booksellers getting on to the net, more bootleg copies were offered.

At this point, with only 3 copies of the gray edition known to exist, the value would be about $2,000-3,000 each. If more proven copies surface in the future, the price would probably be adjusted. If you have one, let me know!



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Recently, I asked Piers about putting Pornucopia back into print. Here was his response:



"I signed a contract with Electric Bookworm to publish Pornucopia, but then the company seems to have gone out of business. We're trying to recover the rights. Until that process is complete, the book is not available. Xlibris doesn't publish pornography, so is out for this. I do want to return it to print. I may have to consider full self-publication, though I'm not sure how complicated that would be."

--Piers Anthony



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And now the pride of my entire collection!

As mentioned above, Charles Platt had only six galleys produced for the original Pornucopia with Anton Pierz name on it. Of these six, Platt sent three out to authors for their reviews and quotes. Charles Platt kept the other three.

In March of 1990, the following Spring after Tafford Publishing had come out with the commercial hardbound edition, Platt decided to make the three copies he had more valuable. He mailed the three copies to Piers Anthony to autograph, which Piers did and returned the three copies to Platt. Platt sent Piers back one of the copies so that he could keep it for himself.

Also from Charles Platt's 8/22/2000 e-mail:

"I asked Piers to sign some of the proofs for me, because I had put a lot of work into the project, and my time had not been paid for in any way. I figured if I could sell a couple of "bound galleys," that would make me feel a bit better about it. But I can guarantee I didn't get $600 apiece! Maybe $200? I don't recall.

--Charles Platt

Here is the text of the letter from Piers back to Platt about the signing.


From: Piers Anthony
To: Charles Platt
Enclosure: 3 books
Marsh 13, 1990

Dear Charles,
   Okay, here are the signed copies. My unfailingly imaginative mind always goes blank the moment I am faced with a page to autograph, so I simply signed and dated them. I hope they turn out to be of value to you, in due course. The novel does seem to be a success; Phil Gurlik says that he may have to go back to press, and there's a $3,000 sale in Spain, with other foreign interest in the works. Wouldn't it be ironic if this was the one they chose to make a movie/TV serial out of, making my fame.

Signed: Piers


—A small editorial comment is due here. Given the storyline of Pornucopia, I kind of doubt it would ever make it as a TV Movie-of-the-Week, or even to the "normal" big screen. It would make a dynamite porn film though! One with an actual, imaginative plot!

Now back to the story ... Charles Platt had the two signed copies and decided to keep one and put the other up for sale. I do not know who he sold it to directly, but eventually it ended up at Barry R. Levin, Booksellers in California. Included with the book was his typed page of the "History of Pornucopia" and a signed Letter of Provenance dated March 21, 1990 describing the galley copy, how there are only six copies in existence, and more of the story behind Pornucopia's eventual publication. He also included the copy of the letter from Piers Anthony when Piers signed the books and returned them to Platt.

Levin Booksellers had the edition available for quite a while. And now that copy belongs to me :-)

So here is a look at one of only six copies of the extremely rare Black Sheep Press edition of Pornucopia by Anton Pierz.

One of 6 copies of Pornucopia Galleys Signed Page
Included with the book was his typed page of the "History of Pornucopia" and a signed Letter of Provenance dated March 21, 1990 describing the galley copy, how there are only six copies in existence, and more of the story behind Pornucopia's eventual publication. He also included the copy of the letter from Piers Anthony when Piers signed the books and returned them to Platt.
Pornucopia Letters of Provenance

And you want to know the coolest part? Piers signed and dated it 3-13-1990—my 40th birthday!! What a wonderful, if slightly belated, present!!

I recently corresponded with Piers about this copy and he said in his letter, dated Jamboree 25, 2000:

"You got a rare edition of Pornucopia indeed. Charles Platt couldn't get a printer to do it, even those who claimed to have no taboos. I'll put that novel back in print via the Internet if I ever find a way to ensure that it doesn't get sold to minors."


Also from Charles Platt's 8/22/2000 e-mail:

"I'm glad that one of the copies of those proofs has ended up in your hands. Just imagine them cranking out of one of the world's first consumer-purchasable laser printers, late at night in a poorly furnished office space in a century-old building on Lower Broadway; and then imagine me taking the output to a photocopy place where I insisted on waiting while the whole job was copied and bound, because I was afraid that it would either be stolen, or handed over to the police, if someone actually started reading it!"

--Charles Platt

So that sheds more light on why Black Sheep Books could not get it published. And it looks like Pornucopia may be available in the future over the Internet if there is a secured way to keep from selling it to minors.

Oh ... you wanted to know the value of this copy? Barry R. Levin Booksellers had it advertised for $600.00 for the past two years (that I am aware of). That is how long I have been drooling over it. How much is it worth now? Priceless ... although I am sure you will be able to purchase it at a bargain rate from my widow :-)

A final parting comment from Piers Anthony in his e-mail dated 7/4/2000 to me:

"That's quite a discussion of Pornucopia you have! To pay hundreds of dollars for a dirty book like that—never mind ... I'm still pondering how to put it back into print, so as to deflate the outrageous scalpers' prices, but want to limit the sales to readers age 21 or older. That's what makes it difficult."

--Piers Anthony

And a few more words about whether Pornucopia actually made money or not.

From Charles Platt's 8/22/2000 e-mail:

"I'm virtually certain that he never made any real money from any of the science-fiction that he published."

--Charles Platt



From Phil Gurlik's e-mail:

"This [Pornucopia] is about the only book which made any money, which explains the inactivity of Tafford Publishing presently."

--Best wishes, Phil Gurlik



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When I talked with Charles Platt, he did mention that he had a Tafford galley, but did not know where it was at. He also had the original manuscript from Piers, but also is not sure where it is at this point.

So there is buried gold somewhere out there, so I will just have to keep digging for it!



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