Cover art by Brad Foster (copyright reverts to him)
Cartoons by Alexis Gilliland (copyright reverts to him)
The copy of IGOTS 25 sent to Hector Pessina in Argentina wandered back undelivered - "box closed, data lacking" it says if I read the Spanish right. Pessina was my first Argentine correspondent I think, over 30 years ago. His website and e-mail address fail as well.
Another note about #25 - the Tim Kirk cover was not properly attributed. It was not original here, but had appeared as p.71 in the 1986 novel Wizenbeak by Alexis Gilliland. It was given to me as a cover by Tim, not copied from the book - there was just a failure to communicate.
Portal by George R. Mead, E-Cat Worlds, La Grande OR 2003,
283pp, wraps, $19.95.
This trade pb was sent as a review copy - the price is my guess from the barcode numbers, it does not appear explicitly on the book or in the cover letter from Than Grimdel. There is a website: http://www.eCatWorlds.com
where you may inquire. George Mead is said to have a PhD in anthropology. The book is definitely fantasy, and apparently the first of a series of thirteen. It seems to be one of those quest fantasies where the hero has to figure out the rules as he goes along. Could have used more proofreading, but the prose style is not unpleasant.
Devonshire Ancestry of Howard Phillips Lovecraft by Chris
J. Docherty, A. Langley Searles, and Kenneth W. Faig Jr,
Moshassuck Press, 2003, $15
This from a flyer sent me by Ken Faig. The price includes postage to "anywhere in the world"! Address Kenneth W. Faig Jr, 2311 Swainwood Drive, Glenview IL 60025-2741.
Good Bones and Simple Murders by Margaret Atwood, Nan A.
Talese/Doubleday, New York 1994, 164pp, illustrated by the
I found this short-story collection at a local thrift store about the same time that there were multiple posts on the Net about whether Ms Atwood writes "science fiction". Well, if it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck - it's probably a duck:
"To my sisters, the Iridescent Ones, the Egg-Bearers, the Many-Faceted, greetings from the Planet of Moths.
At last we have succeeded in estabishing contact with the creatures here..."
from the story titled Cold-Blooded. A pretty little book of 40 stories, and the artwork is not at all bad.
You Shall Know Our Velocity, David Eggers, McSweeny's
Books, Brooklyn 2002, 371pp, illustrated.
Said to have been printed in Iceland and issued without a d/w. The title appears only on the spine, the text starts on the front board and continues on the front endpapers, and the publication data appears at the bottom of the rear endpaper.
But after all that, is it worth reading? Not as far as I can tell - the POV character claims to have died in the first sentence, and it goes downhill from there.
The Acolyte ed. by Francis T. Laney, #6, Spring 1944,
Tom Cockcroft sent me a facsimile copy of this legendary fanzine. Beautiful artwork by Ava Lee (much like Artzybasheff) and Ronald Clyne (much like Wallace Smith). The original must have been good mimeo, but the Ava Lee cover has a lots of tone and was probably litho. It contains a discarded draft of Lovecraft's "The Shadow over Innsmouth", poems by Clark Ashton Smith and Lilith Lorraine, and fascinating accounts of visits to Clark Ashton Smith's cabin near Auburn.
Steve Miller also sent some ancient fanzines, along with
more modern ones, almost all new to my collection:
Parsection 3 (Dec'60) ed. by George Willick, with a story by Kate Wilhelm; material about Degler; and commentary from Don Wollheim, Avram Davidson, John Foyster, Bob Lichtman, and others; and art by Terry Jeeves and Steve Stiles.
The Little Corpuscle 3 (Win'52-53) ed. by Lynn Hickman, with a story by Fred Chappell, mostly set in the curious font called "Diacritical". There is also a roster of "TLMA" with around 300 names - but no hint of what the initials stand for.
The Fan-Vet v.3#5 (May'53) ed. by Ray Van Houton & James V. Taurasi, with a page of what must be electrostencilled photos. This was apparently a fanzine for fans who were also WWII veterans.
A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius / Mistakes We Knew
We Were Making by Dave Eggers, Vintage/Random House, 2001,
437/47pp, wraps, $14.
Eggers can hardly be called modest.... This is as peculiar as the Eggers book mentioned above. Apparently at least semi-autobiographical, and a great deal more about him than I need to know. There is a small photo, and the caption says he founded Might in 1993 and now edits McSweeney's and has no pets - though in the photo there are two dogs and a bird on his shoulder.
The shorter bit, bound on topsy-turvy Ace-double style, is said to be "notes, corrections, clarifications, apologies, addenda" to the other. Altogether, a good example of what not to waste trees on.
A Dynamo Going to Waste by Margaret Mitchell, Peachtree
Publishers, Atlanta 1985, 150pp, illus photos.
These are letters to Allen Edee written 1919-1921 by the author of Gone With the Wind, edited by Jane Bonner Peacock. They seem rather inconsequential to me, perhaps of interest for the slang current at the time. I bought the book in a thrift store thinking I might resell it, but it apparently isn't worth much.
Unintended Consequences by John Ross, Accurate Press,
St.Louis 1996, 863pp, illus photos.
Said to be a novel, but illustrated with what appear to be period photos - the addall website says it is more of a memoir disguised as a novel to protect the protagonists from prosecution. It starts in 1906 and runs through most of the 20th century, and seems to be mostly about firing guns. And every time a gun is fired we get to hear in detail about what kind it was and what sort of cartridge was used and what spectacular effect the target suffered.
Krax 40, ed. Andy Robson (63 Dixon Lane, Leeds, Yorkshire LS12 4RR, U.K.) - some 64 pages of verse and a separately bound 20pages of well-written short reviews. Nice art by Alan Hunter, Harry Turner, Marge Simon, and others, and he's looking for more.
By the Balls by Dashiell Loveless, UglyTown Productions,
Los Angeles 1998, 216pp, illus in line by Paul Pope, wraps, $5.95
This book, sent to me by Jan Alvarez, is made in the size and style of the old Dell "mapback" mystery paperbacks - it's a "Bowling Alley Murder Mystery" and the lurid cover shows a bowling ball decorated with a skull, while the back cover has a map of Testacy City (on I-15 north of Las Vegas). The actual authors are said to be Jim Pascoe and Tom Fassbender. I think they may have read too much Harry Stephen Keeler.
Ceremonials of Common Days by Abbie Graham. Womans Press,
New York 1936, 96pp.
This is the 2nd edition. The 1st, published in 1922 and reprinted three times, is credited to a second author as well, a James Mustich Jr. Only one copy of the 2nd printing of the 1st edition has survived to be listed on addall.com.
A curious book - at first I thought it actually prescribed certain ceremonies for various occasions, but after some study it appears to be a collection of prose poems: On the Eve of Being Bored, Of Celestial Shopping, Of the Ruppeny Moon. This last explains (with what factual basis I have no idea) that "when the young gypsy wife dies the husband grieves for her and gives her a "patrin," a sprig of holly tree. He slips a holly leaf under the clothes at her throat, saying, "Some tells us how when we dies we are cast into the arth and there is an end of us, an' others, we goes to the ruppeny moon. Perhaps, Sanspriel, you goes to the ruppeny moon up ther, as we tell the childer they does, an' live forever, never hungry, or wet, or tired, an' balansers to spend, and pretty clothes to wear." (Quoted from a novel Tamsie by Rosamond Napier).
The last piece is on ink: "Ink is a divine commodity . . . ink
cannot be packed and yet it cannot be left behind. To abandon it
would be an act of desertion, a faithlessness to a high trust.
One of two things may be done with ink at the time of departure.
It may be given to a resident friend, or it may be carried in
the hand. . . . I shall probably arrive at the gate of heaven
carrying a half bottle of blue fountain pen ink."
The War Romance of the Salvation Army by Evangeline Booth
and Grace Livingston Hill, Lippincott, Philadelphia 1919, 356pp,
illus 30 photos.
The date is that of the copyright, and the war of the title is the "World War" of 1914-1918. The double frontispiece is formal portraits of William Bramwell Booth, General of the Salvation Army (son of the founder, William Booth, who had died in 1912), and Evangeline Booth (daughter of William Booth), Commander-in-Chief of the Salvation Army in America; while the rest of the photos are of scenes in the war zone or at Salvation Army facilities.
Grace Livingston Hill was a very prolific writer of romances
both before and after the war and seems to have done the actual
writing, including conversations which she probably had to
The last 70 pages are taken up with letters from
politicians and generals and others, including a Western Union
Cablegram from Marechal Foch in facsimile; and a chapter of
history and statistics.
At the back are three pages of ads for Grace Livingston Hill's
novels - but here she is called "Grace Livingston Hill Lutz" - I
have sent my aunt, who likes these novels, quite a few of them
but have never seen any with that byline.
Tim Kirk & Colleen Doran: The Art of Imagination by George
Beahm (? - text not actually attributed), Flights-of-Imagination,
2004, 16pp saddle-stapled, illus b&w.
This was done for a Lord of the Rings celebration called "The Rivendell Hall of Fire" held in the Los Angeles area. There are 7 illos by Kirk and 2 by Doran, and photos of each. Jan Alvarez kindly sent me this booklet.
Bradford M. Day, a science-fiction bibliographer and
long-time correspondent, passed away on February 25, 2004, in
Pella Iowa. I had this sad news from his son, Brad Day III, also
a fan, who is living in the family home - 216 North 13th Street,
Chariton IA 50049.
The last I heard from Brad Day he was looking for an agent for
his fiction. He had self-published quite a lot - like his
indexes, it was all xerox from typescript. His 1994 Checklist
of Fantastic Literature in Paperbound Books is 2 inches thick
and weighs about 5 lbs!
Hobnail Review, which seems to be a sort of mundane
British Factsheet Five, sends a flyer offering a sample
copy for $2. They solicit review copies of "alternative
magazines" and articles about publishing. No hint as to who is
behind this operation, or where they got my address. Address is
PO Box 44122, London SW6 7XJ and overseas orders are to be paid
in cash only.
C L Moore's stepdaughter Carole Ann Rodriguez (18009 San
Fernando Mission Blvd, Granada Hills CA 91344) says (in an
e-mail forwarded to fictionmags by Dave Langford at
Ansible) that she inherited the literary estate of Moore
and Henry Kuttner and is researching their work, as the family
copies were lost. I sent her my reprinting of Quest of the
Keeler News - The first 45 issues of this newsletter of
the Harry Stephen Keeler Society are available on CDrom from the
Editor, Richard Polt (email@example.com).
Wormwood #1, ed. by Mark Valentine, Tartarus Press 2004,
88pp, wraps, \a1617.99
Mark kindly sent me this timeless publication - no date appears on it anywhere! It's a journal "dedicated to fantasy, supernatural and decadent literature". This first issue, minimally illustrated mostly with author portraits, has articles on Gustav Meyrink (The Golem), E. R. Eddison, Ernest Bramah, and Thomas Ligotti. There is also an interview with Dame Muriel Spark. And two excellent review columns, one by Douglas Anderson - as always I see there are a lot of books I never heard of!
Beautifully printed and well written - there is no indication
of the dollar price or availability, but the website is given:
Wicked Wigan by Goeffrey Shryhane, Book Clearance Centre,
Wigan 2002 (rep. from 1993), 100pp, illus photos and drawings,
Steve Sneyd sent me this lurid collection of bits on the colorful history of the "Township and Borough of Wigan", about 20 miles NE of Liverpool. It seems to have been an awful place in Victorian times!
Angel Loves Nobody by Richard Miles, Prentice Hall 1967,
I've been indexing my library, starting with the SF. I'm not sure why this was in those shelves, except that the plot sounds very much like what happened at Columbine 23 years later - except that the cabal of killers was much larger, and only teachers and administrators were targeted.
Ancestors of Avalon by Diana L. Paxson, Viking 2004,
363pp, a map, $25.95
A review copy from the publisher, offered over the Net. In some bureaucratic hiccup, they sent another, packaged differently. I'm not sure how this is indexed - the full title may be Marion Zimmer Bradley's Ancestors of Avalon. Copyright by the author and the Marion Zimmer Bradley Literary Works Trust, and the fifth in a series after Priestess of Avalon, Lady of Avalon, The Forest House, and The Mists of Avalon.
The action is set in the British Isles c. 2000 BC (the date on
the map) and must involve later dates as well, as the opening
pages by Morgraine mention conflict between the adherents of the
Old Religion, brought to Avalon from sunken Atlanta, and those
upstart Christian priests. But I see that in a brief afterword
we find: "As a rule, Marion was not particularly interested in
maintaining consistency among her books."
There are pages of lists of the names of characters and places
just before the map - is the reader expected to memorize them? I
must say that I find the naming conventions annoying as compared
to similar efforts by Tolkien or Vance. What are we to make of
"Micail" except an attempt to hide "Michael" in misspelling? But
the prose is even worse, and I never penetrated to the details
of the plot.
Slave Songs of the Georgia Sea Islands by Lydia Parrish,
Creative Age Press, New York 1942, 256pp, illus. b&w photos,
sheet music, bibliography.
I picked up this large tome about the music of the Gullah people along the Atlantic coast of Georgia at the local Last Chance Thrift Store thinking that my sister might like to have it. But then I was struck by the endpapers (signed by "Woods" but not otherwise credited) which, in the midst of some vaguely African patterns, have in red what looks like a Mayan dancer and two pages of Arabic squiggles.
So I consulted that mighty cyber-oracle called Google - and
discovered that Lydia Parrish was the wife that Maxfield Parrish
betrayed with Sue Lewin; and that there is an extant manuscript
written by Bilali on Sapelo Island in the early 1800s - and
pages from it are used in the endplates. Bilali was a black
Moslem slave, and the diary is (or was in 1942) in the Georgia
State Library in Atlanta. There is considerable speculation here
and on the Net about the influence of Islam on the Gullah culture.
The Fallen Star, or the History of a False Religion by
Sir E. L Bulwer, Bart., Health Research, Mokelumne Hill (CA)
1971, 57pp, illus Emil Bayard, ring-bound.
I have other facsimile reprints from this publisher, and they did quite a list of them - it appears in the back. Most were $2-3, none more than $10. They have card covers and are bound with the plastic loop system.
This one is by the author better know as Bulwer-Lytton, and
was originally published by Eckler in New York. They omit to say
when, but the Net probably knows - well, it was in his 1876
Collected Works. The artwork is quite good.
The story is an attempt to imagine the rise of religion in a
prehistoric tribal culture - as invented by a clever charlatan
named Morven, a crippled shepherd, who is aided by a demiurge who
turns out at the end to be Lucifer. I suppose this would have to
be called a theological fantasy! The details are well worked
out, but the characters are rather thin.
To bulk the book up to almost a half-inch thick, the
publishers have thrown in another reprint - The Origin of
Evil by Lord Brougham, 72 pages of theology. The author is
not further identified, nor is any date or source given.
The last five pages offer many other such reprints - Fuller's
1907 essay on Aleister Crowley, The Star of the West;
Margaret Peeke's Zenia the Vestal; some Marie Corelli;
more Bulwer-Lytton - Zanoni and The Coming Race;
The Blue Island by W. T. Stead - all public domain I
think. I see that Health Research is still in business (they
have moved to Pomeroy WA) and has a website.
Another Green World by Henry Wessells, Temporary Culture
I ran across Wessells because he maintains an excellent Avram Davidson site, but this book is his own thing, a collection of 9 stories. And very strange stories they are, on the Borges-Lovecraft axis with footnotes - so strange in fact that I find I cannot remember much about them after, though they are very clearly written.
The Lost Queen of Egypt by Lucile Morrison, Lippincott
1937, 368pp, illus in line by Frank Geritz, color frontis by
Winifred Brunton, bibliography, glossary.
A book badly abused by the Limestone High School Library, wherever that was, and last checked out in 1973. The Queen Ankhsenamon was historical judging from the bibliography - a daughter of Ankhenaten (Amenhotep IV) c.1500 BC. The prose, alas, is turgid and overwrought, but the art is nice.
On the Necessity of Bestializing the Human Female by
Margot Sims, for the Center for the Study of Human Types, South
End Press, Boston 1982, 140pp., illus in line, wraps, $6.
Either lunacy or deadpan humor.... The diagrams are crude (and often rude) but functional. The thesis here is that "men and women belong to different species!" and women are the "true humans". The project to "bestialize" them started in 1968, and has apparently been successful - the first woman was added to the FBI's "10 Most Wanted" list that year; and between 1972 and 1975 the women enrolled in Law School rose from 9% to 23%. Perhaps there is a clue in the banner across the upper right corner of the cover: Millions not yet printed!
Muggles and Magic by George Beahm, Hampton Roads Pub. Co.,
Charlottesville 2004, 394pp, illus in b&w and color photos by
Tim Kirk, appendices, wraps, $16.95
This is subtitled J. K. Rowling and the Harry Potter Phenomenon with a disclaimer that it is "unofficial" and not authorized or endorsed by Rowling or Warner Bros. Decorative art by Tim Kirk and a lot of color pictures of Rowling, the Harry Potter actor, London, and numerous owls. It's a general reference to the subject, including a bio of Rowling, the making of the movies, a long list of editions and other collectibles with value estimates, and a guite to websites.
"Hampton Roads" is a nautical term referring to the area of
Chesapeake Bay between the ports of Norfolk and Newport News
that is navigable by large ships. Perhaps the publishing company
originated there - Charlottesville is on the other side of the
state, in the mountains.
Necronomicon Press (Box 1304, West Warwick RI 02893), said
to be defunct, has risen from the grave and sent a postcard
offering Lovecraft Studies 44 and Studies in Weird
Fiction 26. Their website is:
and you can subscribe there to a mailing list.
I must be getting old - I find in my #3 cassette player a tape
marked only "Athenaum waltz / Tom Bombadil Rivendale suite".
Side A has some 15 minutes of someone playing piano or a wind
instrument, perhaps a recorder. But who? The waltz, played on
piano, must be the Atheneum Waltz that my Grandmother
Lester wrote. My mother had me publish and copyright it some
years ago. By a process of elimination, what remains must be
music based on Tolkien's Lord of the Rings - but whose?
The Last Enemy by Iris Barry, Bobbs-Merrill, Indianapolis
1929, 320pp, $2.50
I bought this long ago at the place run by the idiots who stapled price tags to the endpapers of used books. Except for those holes, an excellent 1st edition of an obscure fantasy. No UK publication is noted, but the book is set in England, and the author's other book mentioned in a review by Humbert Wolfe from the London Observer sounds very British as well - a novelized biography of Lady Mary Montagu. A search of the Net reveals that The Last Enemy was published in England in 1930 as Here Is Thy Victory.
The story is set in a small town called Hallam. The main
characters are middle-aged, slow, and dull, and there are
endless descriptions of their petty concerns. By page 100, the
main character, the "Registrar of Births, Deaths, and Marriages"
has just begun to notice that he has not registered any deaths
lately - this is not news to the reader whose copy retains the
dust-wrapper, where the McGuffin is revealed - no one in the
south of England is dying. The reader who doesn't know the book
is a fantasy may well have fallen asleep wondering why the book
was ever published at all!
As the nation falls into chaos because the failure of anyone
to die upsets the web of society, we get a bit of soap opera
about a reporter who is unfaithful to his betrothed in the
boonies with a fast woman in London. Then, in a climactic final
mob scene, a small plane writes a message in the sky over London
- "DEATH IN BRAY". And then everyone goes home, happy that the
balance of nature has been restored - even though there is no
explanation of the cause, or any reason to believe that a single
death was the end of the matter - only deaths from natural
causes had ceased, there were still murders and suicides.
Eyes of the God by R. H. Barlow, Hippocampus Press 2002,
210pp, bibliography, indices, wraps, $15
A review copy, said to be pretty much the collected works of HPL's friend Barlow, edited by S. T. Joshi, Douglas A. Anderson, and David E. Schultz. The handsome color cover by Saunders is reprinted from a 1936 issue of The Californian.
The fiction is mostly quite short - 27 pieces in 135 pages -
and the rest of the book taken up with verse. The introduction
is only 4 pages, but quite detailed.
As the introduction notes, the influence of Lord Dunsany is
very marked in these tales. A few are marked as collaborations
with Lovecraft, including the first, very short one, which oddly
enough is not fantasy at all from the viewpoint of the reader.
The verse is for the most part quite traditional - which works
better for me than more modern stuff! I like Leon Trotzky and
Huitzilopochtli, which is partly in Spanish - the
Introduction notes Barlow's career in anthropology at Mexico
City College. There is a very good "Statement about poetry" in
the midst of the poems. Some of the later verse (it has been
arranged chronologically) is quite "modern" and experimental -
one poem contains a line of mathematics! Alas, the math is
gibberish - perhaps something was lost in transcription. Or perhaps
there some content that eludes me in
Hippocampus Press may be reached at Box 641, New York NY 10156, or
Exploiting Sanctuary by David Castleman, The Mandrake
Press 2004, 90pp, wraps.
I can't remember whether I ordered this, or perhaps it was offered over the Net as a review copy. No letter was enclosed, though there is an odd photo-print loose in the front and a poem on a card loose in the back. There is a website:
Well, it is SF, but the prose style has gone beyond purple
into ultraviolet with dayglo polkadots. I got as far as the room
shaped like a "short cube"....
Pretty standard stuff I suppose - but p.173 shows seven girl scouts "pledging allegiance to the flag" with the straight-arm salute popularized a few years later by the Nazis; and the state constitution mandates separate (but equal) schools for "white" and "colored" children, and forbids marriage between "white" and "negro" persons.
Numbers: Fun & Facts by J Newton Friend, Scribners 1954,
208pp, illus diagrams, bibliography, index, $2.75
This book attributes the words googal and googalplex, for 10 to the 100th power and 10 to the googalth power respectively, to a Dr. Kasner of Columbia University, who blames it on his 9-year-old nephew. Most references trace the word to 1940 and spell it googol.
Greenhouse by Dakota James, Donald Fine 1984, 221pp.
Like 1984, a novel of failed prophecy - it has the "greenhouse effect" cooking us in 1997 - in fact the super-title is "It Happened in 1997". But where 1984 is grim, this is pretty light-hearted, with a lot of loopy characters and social satire. But in the end the hero is shot, and then the world ends.
The Well of Lost Plots by Jasper Fforde, Viking 2004,
This is an "Advance Uncorrected Proofs - Not for sale" copy of the third in a series of novels about Thursday Next. The gimmick in these books is that super whizzbang technology or magic or some other hand-waving makes it possible to visit works of literature in person, that is, the "real-world" characters can go meet Jane Eyre in the famous novel - thus the title of the first book in the series, The Eyre Affair. Thursday Next is a Literary Detective with SpecOps, the agency responsible for policing these activities.
When I agreed to take this review copy from Kevin Che at
Penguin Group, I had just started the first book in the series -
but by the time the review copy arrived, I had given up on it.
The characters just don't grab me, and the basic idea, while
fine for a fantasy short story, has too many unresolved
complications for a novel, much less a series. There will
apparently be a fourth book this month (August 2004), making it
The Eyre Affair / Lost in a Good Book / The Well of Lost
Plots / Something Rotten - and who knows how many more. The
series could go on indefinitely without exhausting the available
literary worlds. But trying to get through the first one
exhausted me - just from thinking but...but...but.
This Advance Uncorrected Proofs copy has an odd extra three
pages at the back - fake JurisFiction ads, one recruiting for
Sense & Sensibility, one offering tourist accomodations at
Tara (Atlanta burnt twice daily), and one warning that the
Minotaur is wanted for Murder and PageRunning.
A Myth of Shakespeare by Charles Williams, Oxford
University Press, London 1929, 149pp
Charles Williams was a friend of Tolkien and C. S. Lewis, and wrote a series of occult novels and some lengthy poetry and commentary on the Arthurian legend and other matters. I had not seen this play in both rhymed and unrhymed verse - ten scenes in two parts - until I ran across it at a local thrift store.
A Note at the front indicates that the play was written
specifically for a Shakespeare festival. Abridged quotes from
the plays are in italics. The same visit to the thrift store
produced another Williams book:
The House of the Octopus by Charles Williams, Edinburgh
House Press, London 1945, 115pp, 5s.
This is a fantasy play set in an imaginary land (apparently in the South Sea islands), about with theological conflicts with Christian missionaries. It is printed on very bad paper that seems to have both unbleached and mica inclusions - but does not seem to have gotten any worse in nearly 60 years.
The plot is very obscure and mystical - there is a Speaking
Flame, and the inhabitants of P'o-l'u seem to worship the
octopus and have powers in the form of mental "tentacles".
The Chaos Falchion by Jeff Carldon & David Elmsworth,
self-published, 2004, 264pp, spiral wire bound.
An "Advance Reader / Prepublication Version" of a 140,000-word SF novel full of incident and character and skiffy alien artifacts, with robots and secret moon bases. The McGuffin is a sort of talking metal foot-ball shaped gizmo with strange powers. By p.62 I still didn't know why the super-weapon of the title is called a falchion (an ancient name for a short curved sword - Hank Reinhardt showed me one from his collection many years ago).
The prose is quite smooth, but the plot reminds me a little of
Harry Stephen Keeler's "webwork" - there is too much of it. The
weirder characters are given very unlikely names, but their
weirdness seems inconsistent and pointless. The teenage hero is
The authors are looking for a publisher - address firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Falling Star by Charlotte Augusta Sneyd and Elizabeth
Sneyd, Hilltop Press, West Yorkshire 2004, 7pp, wraps,
Bound topsy-turvy with Why Photographers Commit Suicide by Mary Ladd.
Steve Sneyd does not reveal in his Introduction just what
relation he is to Charlotte and Elizabeth, but notes that
Charlotte was born in 1800. The astronomical fantasy, subtitled
The Lamentable Adventure of the Princess
Piccadilla-Stella, is based on an actual 1847 charity bazaar
held in London for victims of an Irish famine.
A footnote to the poem mentions the early large telescope
built by the Earl of Rosse - it had a lens 6 feet in diameter
and went into use in 1845, and remained the world's largest
telescope for 70 years. It can still be seen at Birr Castle in Ireland.
Mary Ladd's contemporary poem is a fantastic memory of an
exhibition of photographs taken on Mars.
The end of an era - my Aunt Parkie, who is in her 90s,
writes that I should send her no more of the novels of Grace
Livingston Hill that I would run across here and there over the
last few decades. And then, quite suddenly at 96, she passed
away. I never saw The Big Blue Soldier, said to be the
rarest of the scores of books by this author.
The Attempted Rescue by Robert Aickman, Tartarus Press, North Yorkshire 2001, 223pp, frontis portrait, GBP27.50.
A wonderful autobiography by the author of the short-story collections Cold Hand in Mine and Painted Devils - and now the massive 2-volume story collection, also from Tartarus Press.
This book is a reprint from 1966, and is very much a personal
account of his life through WWII, with nothing about his writing
(which started in 1949), and not even such basic facts as his
date of birth (1914). He had a very unusual childhood as the
only child of an odd couple - his father much older than his
mother - both apparently quite mad. He lived until 1981, and
this book seems to hint at further autobiography, but I don't
know if it was ever done. I would certainly like to read it.
The Creston Creeper by Don Oakley, Eyrie Press, Vienna VA
1988, 463pp, $16.95.
With a d/w illustration by Evelyn D. Thrift, possibly the worst d/w I have seen since The Virgin and the Swine. This seems to be cathartic patriotic erotica. One reviewer quoted on the back of the d/w says it has "a bit too much detail". I weep for the trees....
Murder in the Hellfire Club by Donald Zochert, Holt
Rinehart Winston, New York 1978, 240pp, $8.95.
Nice d/w by Haller. The plot involves Benjamin Franklin as the detective in London in 1757. But the dialect (authentic or invented) is so thick that much of the dialog is incomprehensible.
Disenchanted Night by Wolfgang Schivelbusch, Univ. of
California 1988, 227pp, illus b&w, bibliography, index.
A translation, by Angela Davies, of a 1983 German book. The subtitle is "The Industrialization of Light in the Nineteenth Century". Beautifully illustrated account of the rise of artificial lighting - oil, gas, and finally electricity, and it's effect on society. I probably bought it with the intent of using some of the illos to decorate apazines.
The American Book Industry by Russi Jal Taraporevala,
Bombay 1967, 110pp, tables, appendix, bibliography.
Based on his 1955 graduate thesis. Utterly non-literary analysis of book-selling as a product like soap or pickles.
Clovis by Michael Fessier, Wingate, London n.d., 160pp,
illus in line, 7s 6d.
A comic fantasy about a parrot of human intelligence, with Searlish drawings by Carlotta Petrina. The first chapter includes the remarkable claim that it is impossible to determine the sex of a parrot except by observing that it has laid an egg!
The back of the d/w advertises two other silly books by George
Mikes and Nicholas Bentley - How To Be An Alien and How
To Scrape Skies.
The Day After Roswell by Col. Philip J. Corso (Ret.),
Pocket Books 1997, 341pp, illus photos and diagrams, appendices,
I think Ken Lake mentioned this to me - this copy of the 5th printing (a standard hardcover in d/w, not a "pocket book") came from the local Last Chance Thrift Store. Col. Corso was assisted in his writing by a William J. Birnes.
Corso might have been a fan I suppose - there's a photo of him
at 13 in 1958 operating a radio-controlled robot. Other than
pictures of contemporary humans, the photos are the standard
murky UFO shots. The diagrams are mostly NASA Apollo Project
reruns. The most interesting claim is that the integrated
circuit chip - the foundation of modern digital technology - is
"reverse-engineered" from alien artifacts.
Mysteries of the Mexican Pyramids by Peter Tompkins,
Harper & Row 1976, 427pp, illus drawings, photos, and diagrams.
What I love about this book is the wonderful period artwork that Tompkins has retrieved from the archives and published at a nice scale (the book is 8x10). There is no artist's credit for most of it - perhaps the artists are unknown. I always take it as a sign of quality in a book when the front and rear endpapers are different, as they are here - two 15x10-inch pictures of pyramids in the jungle.
Eurotunnel by Peter Haining, New English Library 1973,
144pp, illus photos and drawings.
Another oversize tome with great pictures - a history of the Channel Tunnel from England to France. Schemes for this project go back 170 years - borings were actually commenced in 1880. Haining is a noted anthologist in the field of fantasy, and has retrieved some excellent images from various archives. One 1949 design provided a walkway for pedestrians - though it's about 30 miles from Dover to Calais!
This copy apparently was rebound by Haldane Imperial College
as the binding is gold-stamped with the Dewey Decimal Number
624.19 and they put their bookplate in it.
Vanished Halls & Cathedrals of France by George Wharton
Edwards, Penn Publishing Co., Philadephia 1917, 324pp, illus in
color and b&w by author, index.
A thrift store find - the binding is shot, but the front cover in red and gold on the blue cloth is still striking. There are 17 gorgeous color plates - perhaps there should have been one more as one plate is missing. Most are of grand cathedrals but the last is a view of the home of Joan of Arc at Domremy.
With Stars in My Eyes by Peter Weston, NESFA Press 2004, 336 pp,
much art by divers hands, appendices, photos, index.
There are not a lot of histories of fandom. This one, subtitled My Adventures in British Fandom, starts in 1963 and so covers pretty much my own time at it. The NESFA Press is online.
Urban Sociology by Nels Anderson & Eduard C. Lindeman,
Crofts, New York 1930, 414pp, index.
A curious feature of this generally dry technical tome is Ch.XII on "Urban Social Types" which gives very arbitrary and subjective descriptions of the Rich Man, the Philanthropist, the Booster, the Feminist, the Club Woman, the Allrightnick, the Rebel, the Club Man, and the Bohemian. The "Allrightnick" seems to be a successful immigrant.
The Kasidah of Haji Abdul El-Yezdi, Sir Richard Burton, Brentanos, New York 1926, 169pp, illus in line by John Kettelwell, notes.
The text consists of several hundred rhymed quatrains arranged
in nine "books" - something like the FitzGerald version of
The Rubiayat, though I don't find the verse or the imagery
nearly as attractive as that classic. At the trivial price I
would have bought it in any case, but what really attracted me
were the twelve bizarre plates by Kettelwell, an artist I had
never heard of. I will insert "The Ghoul" here as a sample. The
best one is a figure of Death personified on a camel, but that has a bit too much solid black to risk at the local copyshop.
The Design of Everyday Things by Donald A. Norman,
Doubleday 1990, photos & diagrams, references, index, wraps, $12.95
This appeared in 1988 as The Psychology of Everyday Things. I bought it at a local thrift store because as an engineer I am interested in design - part of the fun of a thrift store is seeing the odd objects that someone must have designed.
And I always look in such books for anything about
typewriters. This one has 5 pages on typewriter design, mostly
about the keyboard layout. Norman shows five layouts - the
ubiquitous "qwerty" pattern that Christopher Latham Sholes designed in
1875 in an attempt to keep pair of letters that fall adjacent to
each other in English from being typed with opposite hands, as
this would lead to jams and clashes of the typebars; the more
efficient (in terms of the most frequently used letters all
falling on the "home" row) Dvorak or ASK; two alphabetic
layouts; and a random layout. Norman says that his research
indicates that to a novice learning to type there is little to
choose between these layouts, but that for a fast typist the
Dvorak is best, closely followed by the "qwerty", and the rest
poor. It is possible I think to get a Dvorak keyboard for your
PC, but I have been using the "qwerty" for 50 years and would
find it a strain on the brain to switch!
Air Car - I was amazed to read that the tiny country of
Luxembourg plans to open a factory in France next year to
produce a car that stores its motive energy as compressed air.
The car is tiny as well - it will be interesting to see if it
can be street-legal in the US. See:
- at under $10,000 they might sell quite a few to daring souls with short commutes or for very local trips. The range is about 50 miles at 70 mph. There is a clever provision to use the cold exhaust for air-conditioning - but no mention of how such a vehicle might be heated!
Atlantis Manifesto by Peter Lamborn Wilson, Shivastan
Publishing, Kathmandu Nepal & Woodstock NY 2004, 22pp, illus in
line, 86/250 on handmade paper.
I got into correspondence with Mr. Wilson over the question of how (as SF fans used to do) he might publish without the use of electricity, much less cybernetics. There are plenty of hand-cranked mimeographs left, but stencils and ink have become hard to find.
The booklet is very nicely typeset and printed on the textured
paper. The content not easily described - a sort of pyrotechnic
cornucopia of esoteric references and bizarre imagery. I like
Dressed in green silk shirts & fur hats
a la Nestor Makhno our scouts
will someday declare war on Connecticut
torching SUVs & smashing your tellies.
We have a cult of Mary Shelly
we carry her portrait on huge banners
draped in deep mourning.
I had a green silk shirt once - well, parachute "silk". The
publisher, Shiv Mirabito, may be reached at
Old Ashmolean Reprints
(Four small booklets, about 4.5x7 inches, in tissue d/ws over card covers)
I - Musaeum Tradescantianum by John Tradescant, Oxford 1925, about 80pp, portraits, 3s
This was reprinted from the 1656 original for the opening of the Old Ashmolean Museum. It's a listing of the contents of Tradescant's "Collection of Rarities, preserved at South-Lambeth neer London". Some seven pages appear to be facsimile, and the rest reset. This was one of the first of what we would call a "museum" in England, an ordered collection of things that people might want to come look at. Animals, fossils, utensils, coins, artwork assembled from all over the world. The last of the Tradescants died in 1662, and in 1683 25 cartloads of the collection were transferred to the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford.
II - Elias Ashmole's Diary ed. by R. T. Gunther, Oxford 1927, 183pp, frontis portrait, engraving, appendix (letters), index.
This diary covers the years 1633-1694. The spelling has been modernized, but a few pages are in Latin. Some surviving letters are also reprinted, and the diagram of Tradescant's horoscope, as cast by Ashmole. Ashmole's own horoscope is mentioned on the same page as his christening, apparently with no sense of theological conflict.
III - Prognostication by Leonard Digges, Oxford 1926, 76pp, diagrams and tables.
This is reprinted from 1555, reset but the archaic spelling retained. It seems to be a mixture of astrology, meteorology, and astronomy, with accounts of omens seen in the sky. There is also a "kalendar", and a table for the tides on the coasts of England, and a table for the "movable feasts" of the church year. The Kalendar tables are represented only by a sample in this reprint - they are hard to follow!
IV - Theodelitus by Leonard Digges, Oxford 1927, 59pp, illus.
As you might guess from the title, this is about surveying, and in fact Digges is credited with the invention of what we call a theodolite. The original appeared in 1571, as part of a larger work called Pantometria. The text is reset but the spelling retained. In Ch.32 he undertakes an example of finding the difference in true level over a distance of ten miles, taking into account the curvature of the Earth!
Admit the Distance D C 10 myles, the Semidiameter of the
earth, 5011 Italyan Myles, euery Myle conteyning 1000 pace
Geometricall, the pace being 5 foote, the Square of this
Semidiameter is this number of pace 25110121000000. Likewide 10
Myles the Distance squared yeeldeth 100000000 paces, this added
to the Square of the earths Semidiameter produceth
25110221000000 paces: Nowe if from the roote Quatrate thereof ye
subtract the Semidiameter, there will remain 9 pace, 4 foote and
11 Inches: so much you may assuredlye say, that the water leuell
E is vnder the other leuell at C. Nowe if you would know
standing at A by the Fountaine not approaching nigh the Castle
howe deepe it were requisite to sink a Well, there to receiue
this water you may thus doe, first measure the line B C, that is
to saye, howe high the ground platte of the Castell is aboue the
lehell right Line of the Fountaine D, for this you are taughte
howe to doo before, then searche out the difference between the
straight and water leuell of the same Fountaine by the rule
given in the last chapter, these two ioyned together, doo
produce the profinditie B E, that is how many pace, foote and
inches you shall sinke a Well at the Castell, to receiue Water
from that Fountaine.
Crimes & Chaos by Avram Davidson, Regency, Evanston (IL)
1962, 156pp, wraps, 50\a162.
"An Original Book - Not a Reprint" - no doubt technically true, but of the nine nonfiction entries, six acknowledge previous 1959-1961 publication in some unnamed Fawcett magazine. Still I was glad to have it and enjoyed reading it.
The catastrophes covered are the Triangle Shirtwaist Co. fire
(which led to extensive fire safety legislation), the career of
Al Capone, Jack the Ripper, the WWI marksman Sam Woodfill, a mad
steamboat race, Prohibition beer in Yonkers, the Charge of the
Light Brigade, Devil's Island, and the steamboat General
This last is especially interesting, as it is based on an
account by an anonymous eyewitness source, still living some 60
years after the excursion steamer went down. The inquest
revealed that the lifesavers were stuffed with sawdust and 13
years old, and that the lifeboats were bolted to the deck and
Fancestral Voices by Jack Speer, NESFA Press 2004, 190pp, wraps.
This book (published on the occasion of Jack Speer being Guest of Honor at Noreascon 4) also came out of fandom, but is more a collection of essays reprinted from fanzines than a history. And goes back long before my time in fandom - the earliest piece originally appeared in 1938.
This collection of articles, mostly from fanzines, was edited
by Fred Lerner. The title has no more to do with "prophesying
war" than the Harry Warner's All Our Yesterdays had to do
with "lighting fools the way to dusty death". Speer is interested in
everything and can write intelligently about it, a rare talent!
There are also four pieces of fiction.
A 1938 letter to The Daily Oklahoman mentions an
estimate (by a P. E. Cleator) of $100 million as the cost of
sending a rocket to the Moon - even taking inflation into
account, I think in the end it cost considerably more!
An excellent fan memoir - see the website at:
Popular Research Narratives, Tales of Discovery, Invention
and Research, collected by the Engineering Foundation,
Williams and Wilkins, Baltimore 1924, 152pp, index.
No editor is named, but Edwin E. Slosson contributes a sort of preface. There are 50 short pieces, some on processes since fallen into disuse, some on essential discoveries, some strange forgotten curiosites. I was intrigued with the account of cast iron that after decades in the sea became as soft as lead, but then rehardened after exposure to the air. There is also an explanation of the invention of what we now call arc-welding, and another of a Serbian named Pupin whose "Pupin coil" made transcontinental phone service possible - in 1924 there were 600,000 of these devices in the AT&T system. The invention of Bakelite is explained, and the invention of hardened steel armor plate. The only illustration, alas, is a drawing of some alchemical symbols in an article on how alchemy lead to modern chemistry.
Tyrant Moon by Elaine Corvidae, Mundania Press
And that's all I know about this one - an October postcard with a Charlotte NC postmark advises that this is available as a hardcover, a trade pb, and an eBook. See:
I think the corvidae is the family of crow-type birds. The plot summary on the card is very sword&sorcerish.
The Dream Life of Balso Snell by Nathanael West, Dover
2004, 59pp, trade pb, $4.95
This originally appeared in 1931. It consists of extremely bizarre (but clearly described) surreal episodes. The blurb says it is erotic and scatological black humor, but what I noticed mostly was that West certainly had a bizarre imagination.
Adventures to Come ed. by J. Berg Esenwein, McLoughlin
Bros., Springfield (MA) 1937, 187pp, illustrated.
A rather poor copy, found in the basement bargain SF shelves of a local bookstore. It is said to be the first original anthology of SF stories, but the claim is controversial - none of the authors was ever heard of again! I have read speculation that Esenwein wrote it all himself, or that the stories were done by the students in his English class.
There are nine stories, but only 8 authors: Berger Copeman (2),
Jack Arnold, Russell Kent, Raymond Watson, Nelson Richards,
James S. Bradford, Norman Leslie, Burke Franthway - some of
these names sound made-up to me. The art is uncredited (though
there might be something on the missing dust jacket) and quite
professional (and obviously influenced by the SF pulps of the
time) if not great. There is no editorial matter at all.
The stories are pretty much light comic SF in an easy style -
and all in what looks to me like the same style, which would
indicate that this is only superficially an anthology at all.
John and Diane Fox in the Antipodes kindly sent three books I had never seen, two anthologies and a novel:
Mystery, Magic, Voodoo & the Holy Grail, ed. by Stephanie
Smith and Julia Stiles, Harper-Collins/Voyager 2001, 340pp,
Seems to be a fat mass-market pb, but no price appears on the cover. A short blurb notes that the contents were written to order - the authors share a common agent, and the agent sent them the title with a request for a story! Each author also contributed a 1-page biography, which in most cases includes a URL or e-mail address.
And they are excellent stories - long short stories I suppose, as there are only 8 in 340 pages.
Dark House ed. by Gary Grew, Mammoth 1995, 255pp, trade
The theme of this anthology is old houses, loosely. There are 13 stories and the print is sparser on fewer pages. These stories are somewhat more arty and tedious that the ones in the previous anthology, which were pretty much straight-forward story-telling.
The Bitter Pill by A. Bertram Chandler, Wren Publishing,
Melbourne (Australia) 1974, 158pp.
A short hardcover novel in dust jacket, but no price is given. Quite a different sort of thing from Chandler's space opera - this is near-future sociological SF about the stresses created in our society by the fact that more people are living longer. But not without humor - one scene involves "Miss Boobsie Titterton, Dairy Queen of Napier, North Zealand".
Remarks on the Uses of the Definitive Article in the Greek
Text of the New Testament Containing Many New Proofs of the
Divinity of Christ by Granville Sharp, ed. by W. D. McBrayer,
The Original Word Inc., Atlanta 1995, 115pp, appendices, index.
This attractive little volume, bound in gold-stamped leatherette, is a reprint of the 1803 third edition of a book by Granville Shark, based on letters from 1778. Apparently what he called the "definitive article" then is what we now call the "definite article", that is (in English) "the".
In Biblical Greek this seems to have been "ò".
Things then get rather thick - Rule I is "When two personal
nouns of the same case are connected by the copulative
"jai", if the former has the definitive article, and the
latter has not, they both relate to the same person." Based on
this and other such rules, passages of interlinear Greek and
English are analyzed to "prove" the divinity of Christ. These
arguments would seem to depend strongly on the erudition of
whoever wrote the original Greek.
Christopher and Cressida by Montgomery Carmichael, Macmillan,
New York 1924, 211pp, appendix.
An odd book that I bought long ago for 10 cents. There is an introduction, but it seems to be only a framing device to introduce a narrator, who then tells a complex tale over-full of exotic names. There are numerous foodnotes, and the first refers to a book by Daniel Mauldsley that seems to exist (three copies are offered online - but they seem to be in identical decrepit state) but Mauldsley is thought to be a pseudonym of Carmichael. And while both books refer to Sambuca or the Sambuca, the only website that discusses this book at all says that "Sambuca" was the name of a 2-room hermitage in England. There is no way to search for "the Sambuca", as the search engines ignor the article. The introduction describes an Italian locale, and there is a town in Sicily called Sambuca, which has lent its name to a breed of dog and to an anise-flavored liqueur, produced by the infusion of witch elder bush and licorice, sweetened with sugar and enhanced with a secret combination of herbs and spices. It comes in six colors!
Perhaps the author over-indulged in the liqueur.... The tale
seems to involve the ancient Mavourez family (Google does not
find the name!), flaming swords, holy relics, Bonnie Prince
Charlie, and theological squabbles; and too much Latin.
In the working out of the plot, we find that the narrator is
also protagonist, and had read the book, Solitaries of the
Sambuca, and - because the plot is so tragic - had in the end
become a "solitary" (a religious hermit without holy orders)
himself. So is this a novel about an imaginary reader of a
non-fiction book, or a novel about the reader of a novel?
Moon Over the Back Fence by Esther Carlson, Doubleday, New
York 1947, 191pp, $2.50
A fantasy - the dust jacket shows the Moon and the back fence and a little girl and a man flying over the fence.
The author's photo on the back of the dust jacket has a blurb
saying she is 27, was born in Marshalltown Iowa, and is married
and lives in Rochester NY. And the Social Security Death Index
lists only one Esther Carlson born in 1920 - but not on Dec 3,
which the "Crinkles" website gives as the birthday of the author
of children's books. And then F&SF says that the "Joanna
Collier" who had seven stories published in the late 40s and
early 50s (most of them in F&SF) was the wife of fantasy writer
John Collier and born "Esther Carlson" - but he was British, and
20 years older, and apparently never lived in Rochester. So
whose picture is this? Oddly enough, it looks familiar, as if I
had seen it somewhere else.
But in any case, a fun book! The plot lines - each chapter is
essentially a story about some activity of the little girl and
her mad uncle during the summer between the 2nd and 3rd grades -
remind me a bit of South Park. You might expect a 1947
juvenile to be more restrained, but there are assaults, a
decapitation, graveyard mining.... Some of the incidents are
quite surreal, such as the one where the girl and her uncle sit
under the big dining-room table during a luncheon meeting of the
Toilers for the Lord Society and switch the ladies' legs around.
J. G. Ballard Quotes, selected by V. Vale & Mike Ryan,
RE/Search Publications, 416pp, illus photos, trade paper, $19.99
This heavy little odd-sized (5.3x7 inch) lump of a book was sent to me as a review copy. The numerous photos required coated paper. A $60 signed hardcover is promised for February:
I have a small collection of books of quotes (besides the
usual Bartletts and so on) but had never thought of
Ballard as being that quotable! These are arranged in 12
categories, each subdivided into sub-categories to give a 2-page
table of contents. They date from things published from 1962
right through this year - a long writing career.
Not the sort of book that I would "read", but interesting to
browse in, and useful if you wanted to know what Ballard thought
about a given subject. I can't say that I care much for the
photographs. On some subjects I am at a loss - I have not seen a
movie called Crash based on something he wrote. Other
quotes seem obscure and provocative at once:
"The attack on the World Trade Center in 2001 was a brave attempt to free America from the 20th Century. The deaths were tragic, but otherwise it was a meaningless act."
Just what "brave", "free", and "meaningless" are supposed to convey in this context eludes me!
Last Night's Fun by Ciaran Carson, North Point Press /
Farrar Straus and Giroux, New York 1996, 198pp, $21.00
This is subtitled In and Out of Time with Irish Music. I like traditional Irish music, but know very little about it - or about music in general for that matter. But this is so well done that it holds my interest. Oddly enough, as his prose is so pleasant, the photo of the author on the rear dust jacket flap looks like a man about to commit suicide, or murder! Too much fun the night before, perhaps....
Erdös on Graphs by Fan Chung and Ron Graham, A K
Peters, Wellesley (MA) 1998, 142pp, diagrams, index.
Paul Erdös, who died in 1996 at 83, was one of the 20th Century's great mathematicians. He owned nothing that he could not carry in a briefcase and small suitcase, and spent all of his time at mathematics. Most of this book - which I found in a local thrift store - is beyond me, of course, but I find it interesting to read about such prodigies. I recognized the name because I had previously read The Man Who Loved Only Numbers (Hoffman 1998). The last 20 pages of Erdös on Graphs are "Erdös Stories" by Andy Vazsonyi. Besides understanding negative numbers at the age of 4, he had oddly-shaped feet and an odd gait; and very fast reflexes.
I also heard from:
Jan Alvarez, who sends a Christmas card and a weird mapback "Uglytown Mystery" - see above.
Rose Beetem, who kindly sent me a box of fanzines of the 60s and 70s that her late lamented mother, Doris "Elder Ghodess" Beetem, had saved. There were even copies of my own It Comes In The Mail in there.
Mervyn Binns, who has been sending me his Out of the Bin, eight issues so far this year.
Sheryl Birkhead, who sent a Christmas card.
Susan Boren, editor of Clip Tart, who sent an elegant booklet called The Face in Space made from the artwork of a 3rd grade class in Killeen Texas.
Ray Bradbury, who sent an e-mail thanking me for the Planetary Society birthday e-card. Says he dreams that in a hundred years a boy on Mars will be reading The Martian Chronicles under the bedcovers with a flashlight.
Tom Cockcroft, who confesses to (or complains of?) bibliomania, and admits to not knowing what proactive means. I think this bit of annoying gibberish appeared in the 1980s with the "Total Quality Management" granfalloon - I see from the Supplement to the OED that it originated in 1933 as part of "learning theory", and was devised as an opposite to retroactive.
Kevin Cook, who explains that his job as a real estate attorney in New York gives him an hour a day of the train to get some reading done!
Margaret Cubberly, who sends a Wonder Woman card, a clipping of her excellent column in the Gloucester VA paper, and a catalog page offering jewelry made from antique typewriter keys - many typewriter collectors are appalled at this sort of cannibalism!
Chester Cuthbert, who sends an obituary on the death at 81 of First Fandom member and collector David Blair, in Winnipeg.
Al Fitzpatrick, who sent two Troma DVDs - one of which wasn't at all bad, a high average for Troma! And - later - an early edition of Strange Objects by Gary Crew - I now have three different typesettings of the text of this odd Australian fantasy.
Diane & John Fox down in Oz, who send a botanical card - the Actinotus helianthi. I was just doing volunteer proofreading of an OCR of an 1850 Notes & Queries and ran across a description of a plant that sounded like the big feathery thing in my yard that my sister calls "dog fennel". John and Diane later sent three books - see above.
Jim Goldfrank, who sent a printout of Arthur Levesque's poem 'Twas the Call of Cthulhu: "This ain't the last time all the stars will be right!"
Mary & Terry Gray back in "Newport Ne", who send a Christmas card - at least that's what it says on their return-address sticker. I suspect they are really still in Newport News.
John Haines, who sent his SF poetry zine Handshake and 7 pages from an ancient encyclopedia entry on typewriters.
John Hertz, who sends a list of the entries in John Brunner's collection of Rudyard Kipling science fiction; and an offprint of his report on the 2003 TorCon III, the Toronto worldcon, from Chronicle.
Jason Hozinsky who kindly sent a copy of the Harry Stephen Keeler Society newsletter, not knowing I was already a member.
Steve & Suzanne Hughes, from SFPA, who send a card.
Herman Stowell King, who sent a Halloween card.
R'ykandar Korra'ti, Librarian of the Norwescon Fanzine Lending Library, who sends the four issues of the daily zine from this year's con.
Kris & Lola, who live in Spain but write from Finland, where they were attacked by elk flies. Kris was looking for a English Kalevala - there seem to be lots at amazon.com.
Sean MacLachlan, who upon moving to Spain sent me about 40 lbs of mostly '90s zines, some SF and some just odd - sorting it out inspired me to sort the miscellaneous magazines into bins.
Matei Monica in Israel, who is apparently unclear on the nature of IGOTS and offers me a "free-lance contribution". But what's really odd is that on the outside of the envelope, which held nothing but the single folded sheet, is the hand-written message "Please, do not bend". Perhaps this is a philosophical injunction rather than a request to the mail-handlers.
Jack & Pauline Palmer, who sent a songbird card enhanced with a frog tipping his bowler hat to the black-capped chickadee.
KRin Pender-Gunn, who sent a www.santa.com card - I haven't looked to see what's on that site!
Hank & Toni Reinhardt, who sent a Hankmas card - a photo of a wolf!
Jessica Amanda Salmonson, who sends a fantastic Paghat the Ratgirl illuminated postcard.
Joyce Scrivner, who returns a set of fanzines loaned out in 2002 - this is the first such loan I have done since Frank Prieto borrowed the file copy binder of Collector's Bulletin decades ago and never returned them.
Milt Stevens, who liked the Kirk cover on #25, but says my entries aren't as weird as they used to be.
Jan Stinson who sent a Christmas card and her Peregrine Nations.
George Wells, who (with wife Jill and henchman Gary Tesser) sent a silly card on the occasion of my birthday.