Sometime in late 1990 or early 1991, Paul Soanes asked me if I'd be interested in helping him compile a comprehensive bibliography of Tanith Lee's publications. A British author of fantasy, science fiction and horror, Tanith Lee was (and is) a prolific writer with a large and varied body of work. Paul, a long-time friend of mine, had been reading and collecting Tanith Lee's books for more than a decade at that point. I myself had read very little of her work, but I was well aware of who she was. Paul enlisted my aid in the project because I had a fascination with the minutiae of bibliographies, and (more importantly, I suspect) I had a computer with a laser printer and some desktop publishing software.
Research on the bibliography got off to a running start with the books Paul had been collecting. We also gathered a lot of information from the collection of John Anderson, a mutual friend who introduced Paul to Tanith Lee's work in the first place (and the two of us to each other). At the same time, we made good use of the holdings of The Merril Collection of Science Fiction, Speculation and Fantasy, as well as the Toronto Reference Library. While Paul concentrated on compiling the listing of books, I focused on the short story listings, drawing on my own collection of earlier checklists and indexes.
Eventually, we assembled a preliminary version of what came to be known as Daughter of the Night, and distributed copies to a number of people. The feedback we received enabled us to correct and expand many of the listings. Tanith Lee herself was more than generous with the information she provided, while the tireless Phil Stephensen-Payne deserves special mention for the pages of additions and corrections he contributed. After a series of delays (including a lengthy one caused by the fact that I couldn't find a replacement toner cartridge for my Atari laser printer), we published the bibliography in August 1993. We printed 100 copies of the 44-page booklet, and sold most of them, thanks to the efforts of Bakka Books in Toronto, and also of Mark V. Ziesing, a bookseller and small-press publisher who listed DotN in a couple of issues of his mail-order catalogue/newsletter.
The feedback we received was positive, and so I continued to update the files as new work appeared and old work was reprinted. Since all the files had migrated to my computer by that point, the bibliography essentially became a one-person project. We had vague plans to eventually publish an updated second edition, although we had no idea when that might be, or what form it might take.
Eventually, with no definite goal to focus on, I started to lose interest in the whole thing. By the fall of 1995, when the hard drive on my computer failed, DotN existed only as a badly out-of-date set of files on a single backup diskette. However, over the next several months, the bibliography began to take on a second life. I bought a new computer, recovered the files I had been smart enough (or lucky enough) to back up, and discovered the Internet. Just as the original bibliography had been an interesting exercise in desktop publishing, the new version seemed like the perfect opportunity for me to learn HTML, the language used to define pages on the World Wide Web. This prompted an outburst of activity as I returned to The Merril Collection to get the information I needed to bring the listings up-to-date, while at the same time I learned as much as I could about creating and maintaining a website. As it turns out, a bibliography, with its maze of cross-references, is a perfect application for hypertext. In July 1996, DotN made its debut on the World Wide Web.
The original website was a relatively straightforward translation of the printed version of DotN. In retrospect, it was a fairly dry compilation of titles, publishers and dates. I soon began adding scanned images of the cover of the first edition of each book. Annotations were also added to all entries. For books, I simply quoted the "cover copy," the text that appears on either the front flap of the dustwrapper (for hardcovers), or the back cover (for paperbacks). As far as the short stories were concerned, I eventually read all of them so that I could write a brief synopsis for each one. The Merril Collection was particularly useful in this regard, as a number of Tanith Lee's stories have not been reprinted following their initial publication, which meant that I required access to copies of several hard-to-find magazines and anthologies. Along the way, I continued to make corrections to the listings to make them as complete, correct and consistent as possible. My goal was to create and maintain a site that is accurate, informative and easy to use.
In early 2003, twelve years after Paul made the suggestion that lead to both incarnations of Daughter of the Night, I reluctantly came to the conclusion that I was no longer willing to invest the time and effort required to update the site on a regular basis. Fortunately, Allison Rich volunteered to take over for me, so it appears that DotN will outlive the involement of either of its creators. In a last burst of creative energy, I took the opportunity to make some final additions to the site before turning everything over to Allison. I rescanned the covers of all of the first editions at a higher resolution, and I added scanned images for several later editions and printings as well. I have to thank both John Anderson and Bill Pearson for making this possible - John loaned me a box full of books from his personal collection, and Bill sent me scans of a number of books from his collection. Of course, I owe an ever bigger "thank you" to Allison for ensuring that this website will continue. My only hope is that she has as much fun with it as I did.
Well, here we are a new web host and a new compiler. I am honored that Jim has entrusted his wonderful bibliography to me. I will continue it as faithfully as he did for many years to come, I hope.
My own discovery of the works of Tanith Lee began in college in 1986 where a friend in my dorm from California had a friend of his who liked her work. We eventually started writing to eachother and she was the one who introduced to me my first Tanith Lee book, The Silver Metal Lover. I immediately fell in love with her style, her ability to say so much with so few words at times, her sense of poetry in prose and the spirits of her characters, never quite black and white, but always painted in myriad shades of grey. Rosemary Hawley in her preface to the Arkham House anthology, Tales of Dark and Light, called her "the Scheherezade of our time." I find that very, very apt. I have been faithfully collecting her stories and books ever since. Because of Jim's and Paul's efforts, I have been able to amass all the adult fiction and all of the short stories. This is one of the many reasons I feel the duty to continue Jim and Paul's work, so that Tanith Lee's fans can continue to be able to find out where and when she is publishing.
The domain name "daughterofthenight.com" was registered in May 2003 as I uploaded all the pages on to the Aplus.net server and did a bit of code changes to reflect the new web host.
The site will continue with your help and your contributions and alerting me to new stories, reprinting of stories, and new books. We may be a small bunch of fans who adore the work of Tanith Lee, but we are very dedicated. So thanks in advance for your future help.
I wrote this blurb in the What's New page on 16 July 2006:
16 July 2006
Today is a truly momentous day!! Daughter Of The Night is offically 10 YEARS OLD!!
Jim uploaded the files to his website 10 years ago today. Jim and Paul's printed bibliography, published by The Gaffa Press in 1993, turned into a major undertaking on 16 July 1996. Ten years later, it is the best and most thorough Tanith Lee bibliography on the Internet. When I took over the site in April of 2004, I was pleased and honoured to continue Jim and Paul's stellar work. Jim paid me a terrific compliment when he decided to let me take over the site "as is" and trusted me with his "brainchild". I know that I get the thanks for much of the content of this bibliography, but I must sincerely thank Jim for his wonderful and design of this site; he designed the site so that it never needs any major reorganization - and that is a truly spectacular feat. Moreover, his work on the indexing of titles alphabetically and chronologically, and of the anthologies and periodicals makes my little librarian's heart exceedingly happy. Jim also reaped many of the thanks for the managment of this site, as I do now. But we both want to express our deep gratitude to everyone that has helped us over the last ten years. Neither of us could have ever made this site the success it has become without the help of fans all over the world. There are too many names to list here, but there is a fairly comprehensive list of names in the Introduction section at the bottom. This ten year anniversary belongs collectively to all of us. And here is to the next ten years. CHEERS!!
And, dearest Jim, I want to comment on what you wrote when you turned this site over to me in April of 2003:"Of course, I owe an ever bigger "thank you" to Allison for ensuring that this website will continue. My only hope is that she has as much fun with it as I did."
Well, I am having as much fun with it as you did ... ;-)
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