James Wallis levels with you

The Baron, dedicated to dedication

Being asked to sign a copy of one of my books is always an honour, and I try to rise to the occasion. If the occasion is a charity auction where someone is especially generous, then it is in the nature of Baron Munchausen and those whose paths he crosses – I am fortunate enough to be one such – to be similarly generous with their words and anecdotes.

At the end of last year, I gave one of the very last limited-edition hardcover copies of The Extraordinary Adventures of Baron Munchausen to Patrick Rothfuss’s Worldbuilders charity auction, where it sold for a quite breathtaking $717, to an amazing fellow named Yankton. I knew I had to do something special for him, so I asked him a few questions about himself, planned out a narrative, started to write it into the book… and spilled coffee on the damn thing.

There was then a delay while I hunted down another copy of the hardcover. But while I did an idea was fermenting in the depths of my mind. It would be a shame to use up two copies of a very rare book, and only send Yankton one of them. Wouldn’t it?

Here’s what happened.

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The dedication begins in the Baron’s typical style. I apologise for my handwriting, but I was hurrying to keep up with his dictation. Two pages is fairly restrained when the Baron writes a dedication to one of his friends.

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Three pages, and we have run out of space. The dedication progresses to the blank pages at the back of the book.

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In the middle of a thought, the Baron—a man with no respect for boundaries of any kind—completely runs out of space in the book. What to do? Continue in a second volume, obviously.

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And onwards.

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Nine and a half pages all told, including coffee stains, over two books. Utter thanks to Yankton for giving me the opportunity to do this. I fear the Baron is already considering how to outdo himself in a future dedication, though with no more copies of the hardback left, I have no idea how he’ll manage it. He’ll probably do something insane like printing a whole new edition of the game just to have more copies to sign.



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