03 August 2005

Information Superhighway Robbery

Once upon a time, I saw a made-for-TV movie called Bad Ronald. It was a thriller in which a nerdy, unpopular teen named Ronald accidentally kills a girl in his neighborhood. His overprotective – and more-than-slightly deranged – mother comes up with a plan to hide him in their house until things blow over. They wall up a spare bathroom and Ronald lives in the cell-like room, with his mother sending in food and toiletries. Things go awry when his mother dies. Ronnie stays in the secret room, working on a novel (!?!) and slowly going insane. Meanwhile, a family with at least one teenaged daughter buys the house and moves in. Things move to their inevitable conclusion.

I missed the original airing of this flick but I saw a syndicated showing when I was about 10 and I haven’t seen it since, but I remember the story and its sad, pathetic “hero” very well. Several years later I discovered that Bad Ronald was based on a novel of the same name by SF author Jack Vance (written under his "literary" moniker, John Holbrook Vance). Naturally, the book is long out of print, but I try to keep my eyes open.

Now, used copies are readily available through various book sellers on the web. Problem is, they all want exorbitant prices for the books: $126 for a paperback? $202.95? Where is the logic in that? I want to read it, but not that badly. I mean, the book is out of print for a reason -- it probably didn't sell very well and it's hardly a famous title. I've e-mailed a few of these sellers to see if they'll come down -- WAY down -- on the price. Why sit around waiting for the highly unlikely day when somebody shells out $200 for a long-forgotten cult novel from 1973 when somebody is offering $25 right now?

Barring that, I suppose I could see if the local public library has a copy I can check out.

1 comment:

Shane said...

I have the same dilemma with the "Fast Times at Ridgmont High" book. Though you might want to try inter-library loan if LPL doesn't have it. (And I might want to try my own advice.)