Cheap Street Press

Based near New Castle, Virginia, the Cheap Street Press was the creation of husband and wife George and Jan O'Nale. Reclusive, sensitive, and highly devoted to their craft, the O'Nales focused their printing efforts on works of science fiction and fantasy by writers they felt exemplified excellent literary skill, and during the press's time it published fine limited editions of books and stories by authors such as Ursula K. Le Guin, Gene Wolfe, Kim Stanley Robinson, Thomas M. Disch, and Tanith Lee. Before their deaths in 2003 the O'Nales donated their papers and press materials to Tulane University--materials that include not only copies of their finished books and files on the running of the press, but also lengthy correspondances with authors and agents, printing blocks and 'test' books, and a variety of the press's paper samples and handmade paper. The collection thus provides a look both into the workings of a small fine press and into the personalities of some of the most notable names in the SFF genre.

A finding aid for the press's files is in progress. Its current listing of files can be found here.


Solomon Leviathan's 931st Trip Around the World

Ursula K. Le Guin
1983
  • Solomon Leviathan's 931st Trip Around the World, cover
  • Solomon Leviathan's 931st Trip Around the World, title page
  • Solomon Leviathan's 931st Trip Around the World, text
  • Solomon Leviathan's 931st Trip Around the World, illustration

The second story of LeGuin's 'Adventures in Kroy' series and a semi-sequel to The Adventure's of Cobbler's Rune. First written when Le Guin was a teenager, it's a whimsical story of three animals--a giraffe, a boa constrictor, and a whale--who set out on a boat to reach the horizon.

"I bet LeGuin has a trunk full of material," George O'Nale wrote in his logbook entry for this book. "She drew faces and wrote lines of stories to entertain her son while she signed sheets we sent her. The brown paper wrapping came back with the signed sheets inside, and bits of the stories on the outside."


Matter's End

Gregory Benford
1991
    • Matter's End, cover
    • Matter's End, title page
    • Matter's End, illustration
    • Matter's End, text

    Matter's End, in which an American arrives in India to observe discoveries in particle physics, is a notable example of Gregory Benford's ability to match hard science with lyrical prose and themes.

    George O'Nale wrote, "Something went wrong during the production of each book. You could wait in anticipation, the disaster would occur, then you move on both older & experienced & often wiser....Everything went wrong with Matter's End." Following this is a multi-page list of cascading complications, including a shipping strike, discontinued ink and paper colors, broken contracts, and threats to sue.


    Torturing Mr. Amberwell

    Thomas M. Disch
    1985
      • Torturing Mr. Amberwell, title page
      • Torturing Mr. Amberwell, colophon
      • Torturing Mr. Amberwell, signatures

      Over a writing career of almost 50 years, Thomas M. Disch wrote not only genre fiction, but also poetry, theatrical works (both criticism and plays), children's books, and even a computer game.

      Torturing Mr. Amberwell is a dark mix of horror and wish-fulfillment fantasy. The press's logbook notes that it Disch had submitted the story to Playboy, which had rejected it for being "too crazy"; O'Nale himself called it "the best story we published".