I’ve known Alan Baxter for a while now, although the Australian SF scene being what it is, we’ve only been face to face on one occasion: a raucous evening at a Natcon a few years back that started with beer and ended with wandering the streets of Perth looking for a decent curry…. and then ended with more beer. It was that kind of Natcon.

Alan writes supernatural thrillers and urban horror, rides a motorcycle and loves his dog. He also teaches Kung Fu. He lives among dairy paddocks on the beautiful south coast of NSW, Australia, with his wife, son, dog and cat. He’s the multi-award-winning author of several novels and over seventy short stories and novellas. You can read extracts from his novels, a novella and short stories at his website or find him on Twitter @AlanBaxter and Facebook, and feel free to tell him what you think. About anything. He says.

Sounds like a challenge to me….

In the meantime, settle back and enjoy as he lets us view a Precious Thing of real beauty.

Precious Things: Alan Baxter

This my second edition copy of The History of Magic by Eliphas Levi, translated by A E Waite. First published in French in 1860 it was originally translated in 1913 and this is a 1922 second edition of that translation. It’s a beautiful book, with ragged page edges and presence and weight.



It’s a seminal magical text of the era and seems to hold a magic all its own (which all books do, of course.) This book represents the most I’ve ever paid for a single volume. My wife and I were travelling down the south coast of NSW and stopped in a small town called Cobargo. There was a great shop there, full of all kinds of antiques and treasures, and in one corner a kind of mini-library. I saw this book and got incredibly excited.

“Are these books for sale?” I asked.

“Yes,” said the shopkeeper. “Well, all except the Levi.”



I was crestfallen, my hand suspended in space halfway to the book.

“It was the Levi you wanted, wasn’t it?” she said.

“Yes. Can I convince you to sell it?” She frowned.

“Well, my rego is due and I’ve been wondering how to pay it.”

There followed much searching the internet and negotiating and I eventually walked out with this book.

I simply can’t afford it, and couldn’t then either, but I just had to have it. And I’ve treasured it ever since. It’s my own little grimoire.

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