Well, here it is the end of November 1991, and the big box where I stash the stuff for It Goes On The Shelf is already full, even though it has hardly been two months since I published #8! So I will have to get started early on the next issue just to keep the box from overflowing. One reason it is so full is that a number of over-size items have turned up. Taking things in the usual order - off the top - we have:
Islandia by Austin Tappan Wright, Farrar & Rinehart, 1942.
I paid $3 (the original price, as it happens) for this at a local flea-market. It says "3rd Large Printing" and has a gold on green d/w I had never seen before. The binding cloth is very coarse as compared to an old copy I have had for years with the same date inside. This d/w also offers a small $1 Introduction to Islandia, prepared by Basil Davenport. Tuck's Encyclopedia mentions the Davenport book, but I have never seen a copy.
The Boomer Bible by R. F. Laird, Workman Publishing, New York, 1991,
This is an enormous trade pb, over 2 inches thick, with a hologram of a `gimme' hand on the cover. The structure is based on the King James version of the Bible, but the content is much stranger than mere parody. When I saw that it contained a `Book of Ned', I had to have a copy for my Silly Book collection.
"The Good Word According To Ult. Ned" seems to be about how the hippies all turned into yuppies. Also included in the massive tome are a parody of the Book of Common Prayer and a collection of parody hymns.
In July 2001 I was advised that there is a website: http://www.BoomerBible.com and it seems to be just as silly as the book!
The Stephen King Story by George Beahm, GB Publishing, Williamsburg
Virginia, 1991, $75.
This is the Deluxe Edition - which George gave me when I had Thanksgiving dinner at his mother's house, so don't expect too much impartial littry crit here. There is also a Limited Edition at $35. A beautiful production in slipcase, limitation sheet, lots of nice art and photos. George and I were responsible for the two Heresy Press books about the art of Vaughn Bode and Tim Kirk, respectively. This book about Stephen King - a subject George is far more interested in than I am - is an investigation into who King is and why his work is so popular. I have read very little of King's work myself - I have tried it, but the endless repetition of points I long since understood puts me off. I have seen all the movies, and liked about half of them, particularly Carrie and Dead Zone. I particularly disliked Cujo (the characters are idiots and there is no supernatural element) and Christine (the characters and the supernatural element, a demon automobile, are too silly).
A Short Introduction to the History of Human Stupidity by Walter B.
Pitkin, Simon & Schuster, New York, 1932.
I got this from Chester Cuthbert as part of a trade, and told him that I was not surprised that it is quite a large volume... Some 574 pages, probably over 200,000 words, including 18 pages of Index.
I don't know if I will ever read all of Pitkin's book, but it is fascinating to browse in. His remarks about Negroes seem uncalled-for and would be called racist today. His pages on Francis Thompson would indicate that Thompson was probably what we would now call autistic. His complaint that Thompson's use of invented words "verges on artistic impropriety" because they show a lack of consideration for the reader is amusing - there are sections of this book labelled Moros and Psychagnoia! All words, of course, are invented - generally the meaning is clear from the context as long as the reader and the writer have some cultural background in common.
The Blob That Ate Oaxaca and Other Travel Tales by Carlos
Amantea, Mho&Mho Works, San Diego, 1992, $12.95.
I think I got this trade pb because I was a subscriber to The Fessenden Review when it ceased publication. The late Carlos Amantea was nearly as gonzo a writer, in his own peculiar way, as Hunter Thompson. There is no particular point to this book - it is just a series of tales about travel, mostly south of the border (Amantea was born in Savannah but lived most of his life in Honduras) and in India, but fun watching the screwballs along the way.
Inquire Within for Anything You Want To Know, no editor named,
Garrett, Dick & Fitzgerald, New York, 1857.
This is subtitled `Or, Over 3,700 Facts For The People'. My late uncle Edward Planas showed me his copy when I was in Florida for SunCon (the 1977 worldcon). I had been under the impression that it was a British book - my uncle was of German descent and had a degree from some British university - but there is no indication that this is a US edition of a British book. There are actually 3,779 `facts' - actually short articles ranging from a paragraph in length to over a page - in 434 pages. The key to these entries takes up some 25 pages of Index.
Many of these entries have to do with the selection and preparation of food. How to lay a table is also covered, as well as how to choose a horse. Agriculture and grammar are covered, as well as simple physics (chemical methods of freezing `without ice or acids' are described) and cures for various maladies. Nor are all of the entries serious - the first one contains a pun too hideous to repeat; and a pidgin-English recipe for cooking rice is given just for fun. The lino is almost used here - the top of each page carries a factoid or motto or proverb.
Some of the formulas would be difficult to mix today - I don't know offhand what is meant by the `proof spirit' or `corrosive sublimate' called for in a bug poison. Poisons are covered in detail, as are a number of dance steps and card games. Nearly four pages are devoted to ways of detecting adulterations in food and drink - necessary knowledge in the days before the FDA. Bread was whitened with alum, and flour was adulterated with chalk or plaster of paris. Cayenne pepper was adulterated with brick dust, red wood dust, or even red lead (!). Pickles were made bright green with copper compounds.
Entry 3264 is a `Curious Fact' - A musket-ball may be fired through a pane of glass, and if the glass be suspended by a thread it will make no difference, and the thread not even vibrate. Huh?
The Science-Fantasy Publishers, A Critical and Bibliographic History,
by Jack L. Chalker and Mark Owings, Mirage Press, Westminster Maryland, 1991.
I have forgotten what I paid for this massive `Third Edition Revised and Enlarged', but Locus notes $75 - the thing runs over 700 pages and must weigh 5 lbs. A very useful reference to the field, even if the commentary is a bit supercilious. My own efforts appear only among the separate listing for fellow-travelers, as having been either non-fiction or non-hardcover. The story given to explain the origin of the name of the Purple Mouth Press is somewhat of an improvement on the facts! Reviewers in the fan press have noted quite a few factual errors in the volume - and note that it is produced in such a way that such errors can be corrected between printings, apparently of 100 copies each. To get updated errata, address Mirage Press, Box 1689, Westminster MD 21158-1689.
I usually bring back a box or two of books from my two-week visit to Atlanta at Christmas. I didn't buy much this year, partly because my old book-hunting friend Emory Bradley had passed away in October and partly because I had the flu Christmas week and lost interest in book-buying. I even went out to the big flea-market in on Peachtree Industrial Blvd in Atlanta and found nothing that I could work up the interest to buy - though I regret now not having gotten a translation of a very ancient manuscript published as The War Between The Sons of Light And The Sons of Darkness. But I did come up with a couple of interesting books:
The Golden Age of Children's Book Illustration by Richard Dalby,
Gallery Books, New York, 1991, 8.5x11-inch format & 50 plates in color.
The price is not on it, though there is a bar code block. I see that it was printed in Singapore, and a good job too. Richard Dalby is a correspondent and gets IGOTS. Excellent short biographies of the artists of the period, defined here as from 1860 to 1930. The artists covered are about what you might expect, except for the inclusion of William M. Timlin and two illustrations (one in color) from his famous 1924 The Ship That Sailed To Mars. Perhaps Mr. Dalby can tell us how the color plate was so well reproduced - did the publishers have the original painting to work from? If it is possible to do this well from a copy of the book, why hasn't the whole book been reprinted?
Learning to Typewrite by William F. Book, ??, ??, c.1925.
This was rebound (apparently in 1982) by the `U of M' with their accession code "652 / B 641-3" on the spine - but they had lost the title page, so I don't know the publisher or place of publication. The text starts with the Preface, which provides a date at the end, though not necessarily the date of publication. And I cannot tell whether this belonged to the University of Michigan, Minnesota, or Montana, or some other outfit that calls itself the `U of M' - there is also a tiny stamp in the gutter with the notation "Nov 16'25 McClurg".
At any rate, Mr Book manages to get more about how to learn or teach typewriting into these 463 pages than most of us would want to know or believe. He actually includes diagrams of imagined changes in a typical brain cell as learning takes place! The book was apparently intended as a textbook, as there are exercizes at the end of each chapter. There is one sample of a `drum recording' that showed not only how many letters (or the space-bar or shift) were struck in each second, but the typist's pulse as well. And there is a chapter on the champion typists of the times, the best apparently being Albert Tangora, who could hit 147 words/minute. At this rate, typists were striking as many as 10 times per second with their right hand, according to the data shown here!
Oddly enough, the entire book contains no picture or diagram of a typewriter! Nor is there any discussion of the design of the machine itself. Only one sample of actual typed text is shown, and this purports to be for the purpose of discussing timing errors that would cause spacing errors - but the example seems to have been cooked up and edited crudely by hand, as even the worst of the typewriters available in 1925 would not produce `o's of different shapes on successive strikes! My experience has been that when a letter falls too close to the previous letter typed, it is because the carriage bearings are sluggish or the tension spring weak, not because the typist struck too fast.
A Prince in Space by George Zileski, Vantage, New York, 1986, $10.
Mr. Zileski's picture takes up the whole back of the d/w, and he looks about as dumb as the cover art... He is said to be an Australian originally from the Balkans, a cook who specializes in Morton Bay bugs in chili sauce! Perhaps one of our Aussie readers can explain where Morton Bay is and why they eat bugs there. The book is illustrated by Ken Landgraf - one of the plates shows people jumping from some sort of anti-gravity platform onto a cartoon whale that is spouting, grinning, and floating 95% out of the water.
The text is full of the errors in grammar and syntax that one expects in this sort of literature, but lacks the bizarre imagery that denote a truly championship bad book like Scarm's (or Scram's) Werewolf vs The Vampire Woman.
Jack & Jill by Helen Hodgman, Duckworth, London, 1978.
This very short novel (just over 100 pp) was sent to me by Diane Fox in Australia. It is quite long enough, as all the characters are thoroughly unpleasant, and (as might be expected) unhappy. Still, the book is a well-written and interesting account of the lives of some very odd Australians - I suppose they might get a similarly twisted notion of people in the US from reading something like Flannery O'Connor's Wise Blood.
Song of Gondwana by Craig Robertson, Penquin, 1989, $12.99.
This book is also from Diane Fox. Note the remarkable price for a mass-market pb! It is hardly worth the bother to put down the place of publication of a Penquin book, it is a thoroughly multinational enterprise.
This is a remarkable fantasy novel that rather reminds me of Rachel Maddux's The Green Kingdom. It is written in such a detailed (a bit too detailed, perhaps) naturalistic style that the appearance of the fantasy element is quite startling. It concerns the adventures of an amateur researcher in the bird-life of the Australian bush who is living alone in a borrowed wreck of a house way out in the boonies and starts pursuing subtle anomalies in the pattern of life of the local birds. This is so detailed that I can only believe the author led such a life at one time. And then, bingo, he is a sort of man/bird in another dimension, exploring what is apparently a prehistoric landscape with other transformed people from his own time! I haven't finished this yet, and don't know if there is any clear explanation of the title's use of the name of the ancient continent, Gondwana. Perhaps it will turn out that the fantasy element was all a dream, as in the movie The Wizard of Oz - all of the transformed human/animal creatures he meets in Neverland are analogues of people he had known in the `real world'.
The Letters of J R R Tolkien, edited by Humphrey Carpenter, Houghton
Mifflin, Boston, 1981.
I ran across a copy of this in a local thrift store and actually started reading it - when I checked, of course, I found that I had had two copies on the shelf, probably since the book appeared ten years ago! Appropriate timing, I suppose, as this year is the centennial of Tolkien's birth. His letters are fascinating, especially those to his youngest son, Christopher, who has become his literary executor. I had not known that Eddison read part of The Mezentian Gate (which he never finished) for Tolkien and Lewis and the other Inklings; and Tolkien liked it very much. He also expresses admiration for Lindsay's Voyage to Arcturus.
There is, of course, a lot of material about the details of publication of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings. In the late 30s there was an offer from a German publisher to do a translation - if Tolkien would certify that he was `Aryan'! His reply to them was, as the British say, rather stiff. Tolkien loathed Disney, and was worried that some such art might get into the US editions - in the end, there was the Bass-Rankin stuff, not quite as bad as Disney. I wonder what he would have thought of the latest effort:
The Lord of the Rings by J R R Tolkien, Houghton Mifflin, Boston,
1991, $60, illustrated by Alan Lee.
This enormous volume runs to nearly 1200 pages, and has 50 color plates in addition to the original maps and designs by the author. The art is beautifully printed. The style reminds me a little of Timlin's art for his The Ship That Sailed To Mars. If there is any complaint, I suppose it would be that Lee avoids the more spectacular opportunities - there are few elves depicted, only three battle scenes, nothing of Saruman and the Palantir, little of Galdalf - one would certainly have expected an illustration of the confrontation between Gandalf and the Balrog on the bridge at Khazad-Dum. Lee's orcs and Gollum are quite satisfactorily hideous, but he is not as successful with the beauty of the elves. His Men look more or less like illustrations I have seen of ancient Britons, which is not unreasonable. But he does not even attempt a picture of Gimli or Legolas. On the other hand, his scenery and architecture are quite excellent, and there is a wonderful portrait of the elderly Bilbo.
And the story? The story is as great as ever, the most wonderful epic of English literature. I first read it when I was in college in the late 50s, and I have read it several times since, I read it this year, and I will no doubt read it again - like all great stories, it has a power quite independent of whether you "know how it turns out".
Chapters 5&6 of The Secret Glory by Arthur Machen, Tartarus
Arthur Machen's The Secret Glory (Secker, London, 1922 but there was also a US edition by Knopf), considered one of his major works, is an oddly structured book with four very long chapters. Chapter 5&6 have languished at Yale all these years - Machen sold them to an American with the injunction that they must never be published and Yale got them when the collector died (see A Bibliography of Arthur Machen by Goldstone & Sweetser, University of Texas Press, 1965). They have just been published and I have reread the first four chapters and the final two and loved it - but why didn't Machen want them published? I am told by Mark Valentine that the American was Vincent Starrett and the prohibition on publication must be seen in the context of their relationship - The Secret Glory is dedicated to Starrett, but later they had a disagreement over Starrett's US publications (such as the Chicago edition of The Shining Pyramid) of Machen's work. Mark also says that the publication of Chapters 5 & 6 was authorized by Janet Machen.
You might find the Knopf edition in a library that hasn't thrown out all the old books or in a used-book store. This new book may possibly be obtained (the edition is limited to 250 copies) from the publisher, R. B. Russell (51 De Montfort Road, Lewes, East Sussex, BN7 1SS, England). The price is 21.50 pounds and US buyers are asked to remit the equivalent (which runs around 1.75 $/pound, see the financial pages of the newspaper for the current rate) in dollars plus an extra $3 for postage. Mr Russell has also published two issues of an excellent magazine, Machenalia, and I got the book and the magazines with a check for $50 total.
Martial Justice by Richard Whittingham, Regnery, Chicago, 1971
Richard who? Whittingham is said on the d/w to be the `head of a Chicago publishing house', but I don't know if it is Regnery. He has written other books, but not in the this field - it was something he stumbled across while in the army and decided to write up.
Subtitled the last mass execution in the United States and illustrated with official photographs, this is the story of seven German prisoners-of-war who were hanged on August 25, 1945, for the murder of a another German prisoner who they considered a traitor. There is little doubt that they committed the crime, though with the cooperation of other prisoners in Camp Papago, which was in the city limits of Phoenix, Arizona.
The interesting details of this abomination are that Navy Intelligence told the Army not to put the victim in with the other prisoners, because he had assisted in their investigations and would be killed - the German prisoners killed quite a few of their own men who came to be considered traitors. And the men who were executed were revealed at the trial to have been tortured into confessing, but nothing was done about it. And the executions were delayed during WWII, as long as there was some hope of exchanging the seven for US prisoners in Germany, and then carried out as soon as the war was over, under Truman's signature.
The Germans executed were all in their early 20s and had grown up under the Nazi system. What is appalling is that enough people, presumably the products of a so-called Christian democracy, could be found on our side to carry out these tortures and executions without any protest being raised until 25 years later.
Nile Shadows by Edward Whittemore, Holt Rinehart Winston, NY, 1983,
Remember when you could still buy a big fat novel for under $20? Of course, I got this 1st edition in d/w for about $3 in a thrift story - it's the third of the four books in the Jerusalem Quartet, preceded by Sinai Tapestry and Jerusalem Poker and to be followed by Jericho Mosaic (which I finally got a copy of - I could use more than one, as Ken Lake is looking for them too). This book is set in the 1940s and, like the others in the set, has to do with the British in the Middle East - but in more of a fantastical than historical mode.
Grave Example by Barnaby Dogbolt, Heinemann, London, 1953.
I got this at a local fleamarket for $1 - it was the `cheaper edition' and sold new for 5 shillings - and I bought it mostly for the impressively hideous d/w by Stein. I thought at first that it was a murder mystery in an academic setting, but I'm over halfway through and no one has been murdered, so I suppose it's just silliness. The school is a medical school in North Carolina, but the only political subdivision named is `Mercia' - I know it's North Carolina because they use the Tar Heels nickname. The blurbs on the back of the d/w promoting Mr Dogbolt's previous effort, Maiden Voyage, seem to indicate that he was an American writing for British consumption. I wonder if Barnaby Dogbolt isn't a pseudonym for a British writer pretending to be an American to write comedy for the British market - he insists that the Dean of the medical school's office overlooks "the High Street". But why does everyone refer to Dean Nimblewit as "Mr Dean" - surely that isn't the fashion in England or North Carolina.
Dogbolt, whoever he was, has a talent for bizarre imagery that reminds me a bit of Arthur N Scarm (or Scram, whoever he was) - I would like to find his next effort, listed here as forthcoming and entitled My Orange Has Bitter Rind.
No Sign of Life by Micheal Delving, Doubleday, New York, 1979, $7.95.
In the earlier "Micheal Delving" mysteries they really seemed to want to conceal who was behind the pseudonym, but by the time they got to this title he apparently didn't care, as there is a d/w photo and the copyright is in his real name, Jay Williams. This may be the last one, Williams died sometime in the 80s. I had all but this title - the others are The China Expert, Bored To Death, The Devil Finds Work, Die Like A Man, and Smiling The Boy Fell Dead - though some are just pbs. In fact, I see that I have two of Bored To Death if some other Delving fan is looking for that.
These mysteries all feature the adventures of an American antiques dealer, Dave Cannon, in England, where he goes on buying trips and always (of course) manages to stumble into a murder. Some are better than others, and I remember that I thought one was awful - but I can't recall now which one. This one is pretty good as to characters and plot, but the resolution is rather contrived and unlikely in my opinion.
The Lost World by Arthur Conan Doyle, Hodder & Stoughton / George
Doran, New York, 1912.
A very poor copy of this title, which I only got for the uncredited artwork - it looks like the work of Joseph Clement Coll. The title page is odd - the `Hodder & Stoughton' appears above the `New York' and the `George Doran' below.
War of the Words ed. by Steve Sneyd, Hilltop Press (4 Nowell Place,
Almondbury, Huddersfield, West Yorkshire HD5 8PD, England), c.1991, $3.
A small but elegant collection of sf `pomes' with a nice cover by Harry Turner and a suitably demented back cover by Ken Cheslin. I particularly like Sam Youd's Rubaiyat of a Science Fiction Fan.
Ole Doc Methuselah by L. Ron Hubbard, Bridge, Los Angeles, 1992.
This is a trade-pb format `advance uncorrected proof copy' of the $18.95 hardcover to be released (it says) April 20. Hubbard wrote the seven stories about Ole Doc Methuselah in the 1940s and they were published in Astounding under the name René Lafayette. There is no artwork other than the usual garish cover, but there are six hours of cassette tapes of a reading by Roddy McDowall.
I am not old enough to have read these things when they appeared, and as far as I can recall I have never read any of them. Skimming through the first story, it seems to be light space opera with particularly clumsy syntax and inane pseudo-scientific terminology. Hard to say whether they are worth saving from the crumbling of the pulp - and why not include the art, or get some new? Bridge never sent me the McDowell tapes of this book, but they did send:
Battlefield Earth by L. Ron Hubbard, read by Roddy McDowall, Bridge
Audio, Los Angeles, 1991, $29.95.
Six cassettes in a plastic holder, playing time about 8 hours. McDowall is an excellent reader - somewhere I have a tape of him reading Lovecraft's The Outsider - and makes even this twaddle pleasant to listen to once you get past the opening noise. Not that it does me a lot of good, I always fall asleep if I listen to much of it.
James Potter at Bridge Publications notes my complaint that his last letter (or some of the promotional material with it) stank of perfume and says they don't do that and it must have been the fault of the USPS - I suppose it is possible that a sample broke in the mail and contaminated a lot of it. Whatever it was, it made my eyes itch.
The Devil's Maze by Gerald Suster, Sphere, London, 1980, 85p.
A copy signed by the author for Roger Dobson and kindly sent to me by Mark Valentine. I was particularly interested because it was said to be a continuation of Arthur Machen's The Three Imposters. And indeed it is dedicated to Machen, the chapter headings are in the style of the Machen book, and there is an `Epilogue by the Author' about the earlier book - but I don't think Machen would have much cared for the tribute! This is a lurid thriller with none of Machen's subtlety or skill with language. It resembles The Three Imposters mostly in that the plot is quite impossible to follow. Perhaps that is the meaning of the `Devil's Maze' of the title, which appears only in a preliminary quote from a 17th-century diabolist named Jasper Herrick, probably invented for the occasion.
The Village iDiot #15 edited by Joe Singer, Mother of Ashes Press (Box 66, Harrison, IA 83833-0066), 1992, $3.
Not exactly a fanzine... Experimental typography, dreadful fiction (in the sense that the characters are all people I wouldn't want to know, doing dreadful things for no apparent motive), interesting art, and ads from other corners of the non-sf amateur press.
Barddoni edited by Pete Presford, Rose Cottage, Buckley, Clwyd, Wales
CH7 3JB, United Kingdom, 1992, 2 pounds.
This is a cassette tape that Pete started on in 1985. It does not weigh 2 pounds, the cost is 2 pounds British - about $3.60. Four dollar bills would do.
This is a standard cassette recorded on both sides, probably an hour total, though it doesn't say and I didn't time it. There are 21 items listed on the handmade liner sheet, a sort of anthology of poetry, stories, and strange sounds. The sound quality is a bit less than what one would expect from a commercial tape, but not bad on my player with the Dolby on - the main problem is level variation. The electronic music and sound effects is well done, and so are the readings. I didn't much care for the dubbed jazz and old rock music. Overall I enjoyed it a lot, though it would be impossible to comment on it in detail. I did learn the answer to one thing I had wondered about, namely how to pronounce Steve Sneyd's surname - it rhymes with `need'
Otros Mundos, Dec'91, edited by Daniel Bugallo, Buenos Aires.
The `literary director' of this magazine, Horacio Moreno, sent me a copy at the instigation of Moises Hassan in Chile. The title translates as Other Worlds, no doubt inspired by the old pulp of that title. This is the third issue, on a rather pulpish paper with a slick 2-color cover. I don't find a price - Argentina is still in the grip of an insane inflation so they may have to give out a price at distribution rather than at publication. The art is energetic, if a bit crude - the art director has a curious practice of re-using an image at a different scale in the same story. The cover is a Santa Claus gag - Santa has just been unveiled as Cthulhu or some such critter.
My Spanish is too far gone for me to attempt to evaluate the stories. There is one translation, Damon Knight's Strangers in Paradise from the Apr'86 issue of Fantasy & Science Fiction. This is a most remarkable story to choose for translation, as the plot turns on the hero's discovery that a poem found among the papers of a dead poet is an acrostic sonnet whose initial letters reveal an ancient crime - the translator, Martin Salias, managed to translate the poem so that the acrostic is preserved in Spanish!
I was also surprised to note an ad offering what seemed to be an sf magazine on computer disk - what format was not clear.
Today is April 4 and this zine is up to 8-10 pages. I thought I would mention here that I have run out of shelf space for things to go on, so I have been packing up some old volumes of lesser interest in boxes. These items are not totally lost, however - I have inventoried them in Paradox3 and anyone who is curious can send an SASE for a printout of the inventory.
I also recieved in the mail today a `bulletin' from the Center for Constitutional Rights noting that General Hector Alejandro Gramajo, whose proposed solution to the political problems of Guatemala was to exterminate 30% of the population (and he has done his best to carry it out), has been awarded a Master's Degree in Public Administration by the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. To paraphrase somebody, the world is not only more evil than we imagine, it is more evil than we can imagine.
Are You A Genius? by Robert A. Streeter & Robert G. Hoehn, Blue
Ribbon, New York, 1933 (that is, reprinted from the Stokes edition of 1933).
A very silly book and in poor condition, but I couldn't resist the Dr Seuss illos. Perhaps I will stick one in.
Difficult Questions, Easy Answers by Robert Graves, Doubleday, New
York, 1973, $6.95.
A collection of fascinating essays on a wide variety of very odd subjects such as the role of psychedelic mushrooms in the Jewish and Christian religions, the Sufic checkerboard, and the Scots superstition about the nine of Diamonds. Includes the radio interview by Edwin Newman (2/15/70) in which Graves stated that male homosexuality is caused by drinking too much milk...
Why Priests Should Wed by Justin D. Fulton, Rand Avery, Boston, 1888.
The title page of this elaborate production includes the Rand Avery logo, an owl with a third eye in the middle of its feathered forehead, and just above the publisher's name the curious line Published under peculiar circumstances by. Each page has a decorated border of Roman Catholic symbols, and there is a testimonial letter by the infamous Anthony Comstock.
I suppose few people remember now the anti-Catholic literature published in this country around the turn of the century - I vaguely recall seeing several such books at my grandmother's house in south Georgia. If this book by Fulton is a fair example, it's hard to see who would have read them or why they would take them seriously - but then I never understood how Comstock was taken seriously in his day. The illustrations are spiced up with gruesome scenes of Inquisitional torture, and bits of the text are overprinted in black (for words or lines) or with little drawings accompanied by inspirational messages (where several lines are to be omitted), apparently to enhance the prurient interest. P.118 is totally obliterated by these ancient dingbats except for the words `They then say' at the top!
Ben Hecht The Man Behind The Legend by William MacAdams, Scribners,
New York, 1990, illus., index, $24.95.
Although this book is listed in Book-In-Print as being available from Macmillan's NJ warehouse, I wound up having to buy it from the author because of computer glitches at Macmillan. Still, this lead to some interesting correspondence - my interest in Hecht is mostly that he wrote a book, Fantazius Mallare, illustrated by Wallace Smith. Smith was said by Ronald Clyne to have gone to jail for the Mallare artwork, but apparently this was an exaggeration - he and Hecht were, however, fined $1000 each for "obscenity"; and $1000 was quite a lot of money in 1924. The particular points I was curious about were where the rest of the Wallace Smith artwork is - he could hardly have developed that style in the handful of drawings that have been published; and what happened to the copies of Fantazius Mallare seized by the US government - the book did not seem to be as scarce as would have been expected if they had seized even half of the 2000-copy edition. MacAdams was able to answer this last question to some extent - after the obscenity conviction, the publisher made another 2000 copies and sold them `under the counter'. However, MacAdams and I discovered that we both have copies of the original numbered edition, and that mine is #587 while his is #1900 and something - so what did the goverment seize?
It should be noted that Hecht and Smith went to a great deal of trouble to have themselves convicted of obscenity. They had wanted to create a test case of the federal obscenity law and have a show trial in order to turn public opinion against it by ridicule. Hecht also intended to enter a million-dollar civil suit for defamation of character against John Sumner and his infamous Society for the Suppression of Vice if Sumner attacked his book. The famous Clarence Darrow was to have been their attorney. The plan was to send review copies of Fantazius Mallare to all of the literary lights of the time, and then have Darrow call these people as expert witnesses at the trial. Alas, the scheme foundered on the unforeseen pusillanimity of the literary establishment - only H. L. Mencken agreed to appear as a witness. In the end there was no trial because Hecht and Smith endered a plea of nolo contendere. The character Fantazius Mallare is said to be a sort of Hecht alter-ego - he appears again in the sequel, The Kingdom of Evil (illustrated by the much inferior artist Anthony Angarola), and in 1935 Hecht wrote and directed a film, The Scoundrel, in which Noel Coward plays Mallare - I wonder if that still exists?
MacAdams also helped
with my attempt at a Wallace Smith bibliography. Anyone interested may send an
SASE for a copy of the latest version of this. It will include MacAdams' own
book, as there is an illustration there of the bookplate that Wallace Smith made
for Ben Hecht - and MacAdams was even so kind as to send me one of the original
bookplates that had never been used!
And what of the Ben Hecht biography itself? It is mostly about Hecht's career as a screenwriter in Hollywood. My interest in movies is mostly at the non-verbal level, but it is an interesting and well-written account.
Scorpio Descending by Alex McDonough, Ace, New York, 1991, $3.95.
This pb is a review copy with a note in the front from Janet Fox saying that she wrote this and the earlier Scorpio Rising. The blurb on the back says that this is a "Brian Preiss Visual Publications, Inc. Book" - but the only visual is the cover and a crude map of Petrograd. The new minimalism, perhaps. I have not read any of the Scorpio books - it seems he is a time-traveling alien. In this book, he gets stuck in Russia during the 1917 Revolution. Janet seems to have done quite a lot of research on Russian folklore and customs.
Killer Frog - Dressed To Kill ed. by Janet Fox (519 Ellinwood, Osage
City KS 66523-1329), 1991, $3.
This is an anthology of the Killer Frog material from Janet Fox's Scavenger's Newsletter. Awful stuff, but then it was apparently meant to be! I like the Russ Miller artwork.
The History of Sandford & Merton by Thomas Day, James K. Simon,
Not a first edition, but already a classic in 1851, it appeared originally in installments from 1783 to 1789. This edition has numerous color plates, but the artist is not credited. Thomas Day was an English gentleman who died in 1789 according to the biography at the front of the book.
This is not a large book - about 5x7 by a bit over an inch thick - and yet it has over 500 pages on the rag paper of the time, which is slightly foxed but otherwise in good condition. The type is quite small but well-spaced, so that there are about 270 words/page, or some 140,000 words altogether. And yet this is a book intended by the author for the instruction of children - the subtitle is Moral and Instructive Entertainment for Young People! You would look a long time today for a young person that would attempt to read it... Or an old one, for that matter - the fashion has changed and this story of two young boys named Tommy Merton and Harry Sandford seems unbearably tedious to me. The plot can take only a faltering step before one stumbles over some moral lesson or expository lump that has been dragged in with only the most tenuous connection to the story.
I was interested to see a small note in the back that the book is stereotyped (by S Douglas Wyeth, Agt., No. 7 Pear St, Phlad'a. if you must know - apparently the length of this book exhausted them and they weren't quite able any more to spell out Philadelphia in full, though there is no lack of space). The word stereotyped refers to a process by which a book was set up in cold type and then a mold made from each sheet (which would have included the several pages on one side of a signature sheet). The molds were then cast in lead and the book printed from these Stereotypes, while the expensive cold type was freed to set the next sheet, etc. The stereotypes could also be kept to print subsequent editions if the demand justified it. This technique is the origin of the phrase tired old stereotypes. In this edition the number of pages per signature seems to vary - the pages are numbered at the top in the usual fashion, but there is another number at the bottom of some of the recto pages, the last one being `45'. 12x45 would be 540, indicating 12 pages per signature. But sometimes these marks are 8 pages apart, sometimes 12, sometimes even 16 - the bookkeeping on this must have given the printers of the time a pain! Sometimes this mark has an asterisk `*' with it - something to do perhaps with correction of the stereotype plates, which was done with hand-tools.
The Day's Portion by Arthur Machen, Village Publishing, Pontypool,
This softcover is edited by Godfrey Brangham and Nigel Jarrett and printed on high-quality paper, which is a benefit to the reproduction of the numerous photographs, though I don't like a dead-white paper like this. I not sure just what sort of place Pontypool is - the full address is Village Publishing, 58A Windsor Road, Griffithstown, Pontypool, Gwent NP4 5HY, United Kingdom. They do not divulge the price of this or the other Village Publishing books listed in the rear, and I have forgotten what I paid for it. Gwent is an old name for the part of the British Isles that most maps and atlases refer to as Wales.
These are 29 pieces that Arthur Machen wrote for magazines, book introductions, and so on between 1910 and the end of his life - the latest date is 1949, a wonderful article called The Haters of Wonder, published after his death in 1947. There seem to be only two overlaps with my own Guinevere and Lancelot And Others - the introductions to the 1926 books The Dragon of the Alchemists and Notes and Queries.
Sir Harold and The Gnome King by L. Sprague de Camp, Wildside Press,
Newark NJ, 1991, $5.99.
This is a 71pp trade pb (Wildside Novella #1) with a Stephen Fabian illustration - Fabian captures well the famous Cartier gnome face. The story originally appeared in the World Fantasy Con book for 1990, and deCamp has contributed an original article about the origin of the Harold Shea stories. I enjoyed reading this, excellent comic fantasy - the Gnome King is Ruggedo, from the Oz books, and Princess Ozma appears as Queen of Oz, married with children...
The Chalchiuhite Dragon by Kenneth Morris, Tor/Tom Doherty Associates,
New York, 1992, $19.95.
Kenneth Morris died in 1937 and this novel set in the Toltec civilization has lain in the archives of the Theosophical Society ever since. He was noted for The Book of the Three Dragons and The Fates of the Princes of Dyfed, both based on Welsh myth, and the more obscure (and never reprinted) The Secret Mountain. I wanted to mention this book (which I got from Weinberg Books) here, even though I may not have read it by the time the zine is published. Visually it is not a great production, though there is an excellent photo of Morris on the back of the d/w, otherwise distinguished only by a rather crude Richard Powers sketch of a hawkish Toltec icon.
Scarlet Dream by C. L. Moore, Don Grant, West Kingston RI, 1981, $20.
A beautiful book that a friend overseas asked me to get him. These are ten of the old Weird Tales stories about Northwest Smith, each with a color plate by Alicia Austin, who also did a d/w and endpapers.
The James Gang by Rosemary Pardoe, The Haunted Library, Hoole, Chester, England, 1991, $3. A beautiful little bibliographic booklet on writers in the M R James tradition, great cover art by Dallas Goffin and Nick Gadsby. The US agent is Richard Fawcett, 61 Teecomwas Drive, Uncasville CT 06382. About 100 writers are listed, with brief commentary.
Ecce and Old Earth by Jack Vance, Tor/Tom Doherty Associates, New
York, 1991, $21.95.
This is the sequel to Araminta Station and Book Two of the Cadwal Chronicles - of which I have not read any. I got it for a friend overseas. It's the sort of thing I would prefer in pb to carry about and read at odd moments - or to read in bed. Those big hardcovers are too easily damaged when I fall asleep! The d/w art is a spaceship scene by Vincent diFate. An odd choice for art, as Vance uses space science just to get far enough off to write a tale with a complex plot using characters with very odd names and even odder social structures - I have enjoyed several of his previous books of this sort over the years.
Well, it is now late September and I have read both of these books and enjoyed them very much. The third book in the series, Thror, was available at MagiCon, but only in the $75 limited edition - I will wait for the paperback!
Famous Fantastic Memories ed. by Stefan Dziemianowicz, Robert
Weinberg, and Martin Greenberg, Gramercy, New York, 1991.
No price on this, but I paid Weinberg $10 for it and he included the signature sheet by the three editors. These are stories from the old pulp, some 30 of them in 450pp, with a d/w and one interior illo by Virgil Finlay. The d/w was somehow recreated (perhaps with computer scanner voodoo) from an actual cover on a copy of the old pulp, as faint wrinkles and scuffs around the artist's name were copied as well. Famous Fantastic Mysteries was itself a reprint pulp, and many famous stories appear here - Arthur Machen's Novel of the White Powder from The Three Imposters and Robert W Chamber's The Yellow Sign from The King In Yellow - but there are also stories I am unfamiliar with, such as Jack London's The Shadow and the Flash and Irvin Cobb's Fishhead from which they took the Finlay interior used as a heading - they print it as a mirror image sometimes, but preserve the signature correct!
Landscape Painted With Tea by Milorad Pavic, Knopf, New York, 1990,
Odd that after all the commentary in the fan press on his earlier Dictionary of the Khazars, I never heard of this until I ran across it in the Daedalus Books catalog - fortunately at a considerably lower price than appears on the cover. Perhaps I was not paying attention... Translated from the Serbo-Croatian by Christina Pribicevic-Zoric - perhaps it will expain in some way the ghastly mess in that region. This is an attractive book, beautiful typography on an ivory paper and an excellent d/w illustration. The story seems even harder to get into than with Dictionary of the Khazars.
the plains by Gerald Murnane, McPhee Gribble/Penguin, Australia, 1990.
Very much like a Penguin pb, except that no price appears on it... Diane Fox sent me this. I see that it is a revised reprint from the 1982 Norstrilia Press edition. A dull and incomprehensible book that I nevertheless plowed through - fortunately is is only a bit over 100 pages - in hopes that the protagonist, who seems quite as bored with his life as the reader, would finally do something or at least get eaten by a kangaroo.
Jump To Glory Jane by George Meredith, Swan, Sonnenschein & Co.,
London, 1892, illustrated by Laurence Housman.
A very curious book-length (hand-lettered with only a stanza or so to the page) poem about Jane, who was divinely inspired to jump (apparently a sort of demure vertical hop) and had the power to spread the habit to others. Perhaps I will snitch some of the art for this issue, it is certainly in the public domain - or is it? Probably not - Laurence Housman was 27 when this book appeared, and lived until 1959, so under British law the book is copyright until 2009.
The Island Under The Earth by Avram Davidson, Ace Books, New York,
1969, 75 cents.
Remember 75 cent pbs? I apparently bought this new when it came out, but only just got around to reading it... Certainly not his best book, but a very curious fantasy. It was supposed to be the first volume of a trilogy, and the other two books were to be The Six-Limbed Folk and The Cap of Grace, but these never appeared. Aside from the confusing plot and unclear locale, the thing lacks anything in the way of a hero or even a reasonable facsimile of a protagonist - Captain Stag is an unpleasant fellow with no clear motives for his behavior. It's as if Davidson had a vision that he really didn't understand himself.
The Book of Surprises ed. by Rudolf Flesch, Harper & Row, New
Almost all the entries in this 467-page anthology of fiction and non-fiction really are delightfully surprising. My favorites were Eleanor Graham's account of the strange life of Beatrix Potter; Henry Beston's biography of the giant (well, 6'7") Giovanni Battista Belzoni who was in turn a monk, a circus performer, and finally the discoverer of an entrance to the pyramid of Chephren (the second largest of the Egyptian pyramids); Maurice Druon's story The Black Prince, which was printed as fiction but is the essentially true account of how the line of `English thoroughbred' horses started with an Arabian rescued from a Parisian water cart by an amateur; an 1850 account of `burial clubs' and infanticide among the poor in England - a sort of combination of the lottery and post-natal abortion; Robert Lewis Taylor's biography of Vilhjalmur Stefansson (I have thought of reprinting his short satirical book The Standardization of Error if I could get some good artwork), the arctic explorer and author who lived to the age of 82 on a diet of steak and whiskey; John Buchan's odd `anti-sf' story Space; Berton Roueché's account of the Whaler Presbyterian Church at Sag Harbor, Maine; and Richardson Wright's account of the origins of popular spiritualism in the US with the Fox girls `tappings' (they were cracking their toe joints, not a particularly rare talent - I can do it myself).
Lord of the Hollow Dark by Russell Kirk, St.Martin's Press, New York,
Good old-fashioned diabolism but beautifully written - the members of a black lodge are going to raise hell at Balgrummo Lodging and have disguised the affair as a cultural event with all the attendees using names from T. S. Eliot so that they can get the required innocent victim...
A strange outfit called Cease To Exist (Dept.S, 83 Clerkenwell Rd, London EC1M 5RJ) got my address somewhere and offers assorted occult and satanist titles, including a volume called Satanskin, a collection of erotic horror tales by James Havoc - this opus can be had in a limited edition bound in black goatskin and signed by the author in his own blood for only 99 pounds sterling (something under $200). Don't expect a review of it here...
We are often told that the US has no political prisoners - but Italian citizen Sylvia Baraldini has been held since 1982 on obscure `conspiracy' charges related to anti-war protests, in violation of the Strasbourg Convention to which the US is signatory.
Amok Books (Box 861867, Los Angeles CA 90086-1867) sends a postcard offering an art book called New Slovene Art "...based on the principle of a conscious abandonment of personal taste, judgements, convictions..." - it certainly looks awful enough, judging from the samples on the card!
Goblin Moon by Teresa Edgerton, Ace Books, New York, 1991, $4.50.
The background of what seems to be a sort of alternate 18th-century England is a bit awkward, and some of the names are too derivative, but still a good atmospheric fantasy once it gets going.
Captives of Time by Malcolm Bosse, Delacorte, New York, 1987.
No price is given and in fact the cover is marked `Not for sale... Advance reading copy from uncorrected proofs and there is inclosed a letter from someone at Delacorte to someone at the big Hampton library offering it for their consideration. I will have to look sometime and see if they bought it. They should have, it's an excellent story set in medieval Europe during the period when the pendulum-escapement clock was still a rare novelty.
Acceptance Therapy by Lisa Engelhardt, Abbey Press, St.Meinrad
Indiana, 1992, illustrated by R. W. Alley.
Pseudo-inspirational psychobabble, said to be based on a multi-million-selling book by Vincent Collins - but the cartoon art is quite good. What a waste...
The Fantastic Muse by Arthur C. Clarke, Hilltop Press, Almondbury,
A reprint by Steve Sneyd (4 Nowell Place, Almondbury, Huddersfield, West Yorkshire HD5 8PB, England) of an article about poetry that Clarke had published in the fanzine Novae Terrae in 1938 - done in honor of Clarke's 75th birthday.
All Our Yesterdays by Harry Warner, Chuck Connor, Wissett, 1990, $15.
This is an entirely different book than the one of the same title published by Advent (Chicago, 1969) - full address is Chuck Connor, c/o Sildan House, Chediston Road, Wissett, Near Halesworth, Suffolk IP19 0NF, England. Mr Connor neglected to number the pages and I'm not going to count them, but the damned thing is 1/2-inch thick. Good mimeo in the over-size British format with much fannish art. These are reprints of several dozen Harry Warner fanzine articles from 1951 through 1975. Says not to send dollar checks - I think I sent cash.
On Labor Day weekend I drove down to Orlando for MagiCon, the 50th World SF Convention. I saw Jack Vance, the Guest of Honor, and actually met Walt and Madeleine Willis, the Fan Guests of Honor. I talked to a lot of old friends, sold a few books, and, of course, bought a few books:
Way Up High and Here There Be Dragons by Roger Zelazny, Don
Grant (Box 187, Hampton Falls NH 03844), $80 the boxed set.
These rather expensive children's books were on display at the convention but copies for sale had not yet arrived. I have ordered a set. They are a long-rumored collaboration between Zelazny and the illustrator, Vaughn Bode - the Grant catalog says that Zelazny wrote the stories in the late 60s. The 14 color plates by the late Vaughn Bode are magnificent.
The Collected Feghoot by Grendel Briarton, Pulphouse (Box 1227, Eugene
OR 97440), $10.
A trade pb with 122 of the demented pun tales that the late Reginald Bretnor wrote under this pseudonym and ten great illustrations by Tim Kirk. I guess it's a good thing I bought this, as I cannot find my copy of The Compleat Feghoot published in 1975 by Mirage Press!
Photographing Fairies by Steve Szilagyi, Ballantine Books, New York,
A very odd novel about a photographer in England in the 1920s who actually does photograph fairies. Obviously inspired by Arthur Conan Doyle's book of faked photographs supposedly taken by two little girls in their garden - and Doyle appears as a character. I enjoyed it very much.
Trilby, The Fairy of Argyle by Charles Nodier, Estes & Lauriat,
Nodier, a member of the French Academy, wrote this story after a visit to Scotland in 1820, and it is translated here by Nathan Haskell Dole. This is apparently the origin of the name of the title character of DuMaurier's famous novel Trilby, which also became the name of a type of hat. The original Trilby, however, is always refered to as being male.
Betelguese / A Trip Through Hell by Jean Louis DeEsque, Connoisseur's
Press, Jersey City, 1908.
But is this `Jersey City' New Jersey? The copyright was entered at Stationers Hall in London. Nothing in the book clarifies the matter. There is an uncredited frontispiece depicting a demon in a toga clutching a large serpent, and a photograph of the author, whose preface is mostly concerned with an idiotic explanation of why he chose to locate Hell in Betelguese. His Hell is ruled by the frontispiece character, who he calls Typhon, and the book-length poem might have inspired Clarke Ashton Smith, as it is full of words that are either obsolete or invented - olpe, glozing, hyoids, gyte, dysodile, thenars - and that's just from the first three pages! DeEsque claims to have written the whole thing in 16 successive nights, and states that it has 8116 lines. A quick check shows that no more than 1900 lines actually appear here, however.
Rocking Island by Edwin M. Love, Thomas Nelson & Sons, New York,
Stamped in red in several places is the notice Mfg. Dept. Copy, Do Not Remove From File. This was published three years after William Timlin's The Ship That Sailed To Mars and resembles it to some extent - the story is a very original fantasy, and the illustrations are done by the author himself. Love is nothing like the artist that Timlin was, but he tries for the same sort of effect. Nor is the printing of the quality of the Timlin book. The excellent stories are all about a boy's adventures in his dreams.
Zimiamvia: A Trilogy by E. R. Eddison, Dell, New York, 1992, $16.
This huge trade pb - nearly 1000 pages and over 2 inches thick - contains the three novels Mistress of Mistresses, A Fish Dinner in Memison, and The Mezentian Gate. There is said to be material from the Bodleian Library never published before - The Mezentian Gate was left unfinished at the author's death - and the Keith Henderson picture of Fiorinda and the maps of Zimiamvia are also included, along with a glossary and two genealogies.
The Eighth Stage of Fandom by Robert Bloch, Wildside Press, Newark,
I somehow missed getting the 1962 edition of this famous book. Wildside has added an introduction by Wilson Tucker and an afterword by Harlan Ellison.
I see that I have here - but where did I get it? - a copy of the Winter 1949 issue of The Fanscient #6 edited by Donald B. Day for the Portland Science-Fantasy Society. And it includes an article by Robert Bloch called The Seven Ages of Fan, illustrated by Ralph Rayburn Phillips. In the last illustration, called the Final 7th Saving Stage of Fan, publishers are lined up at Bloch's house to get all his `crud' for their books!
This tiny fanzine - 4x5, 32 pages - also contains two beautiful Finlayesque illos by D. Bruce Berry, several pieces of fiction, a photo and bibliography of Ray Bradbury, and a page by Berry thanking the fans who sent him books when his were lost in a flood.
A Wealth of Fable by Harry Warner Jr, SciFi Press (Box 8442, Van Nuys
CA 91409), $25.
This is a much-enhanced reprint of the FanHistorica mimeo edition, edited by Dick Lynch, who also collected the 225 photographs of fans mentioned in this history of fandom of the 1950s. There is also a d/w by Steve Stiles and an introduction by Wilson Tucker. Magnificent - there are people pictured here that I've corresponded with but never seen!
AIDS and the Washington Monument is the title of a newsletter by a Bob Livingston in Birmingham Alabama - Richard Dengrove sent me a xerox of it. The Rev. Livingston undertakes to explain how both the AIDS epidemic and the Washington Monument are a Masonic plot to convert the world to phallic worship. Somehow he fails to note the well-known fact that the 555-ft monument has foundations that extend 111 feet below the surface, thus making its overall vertical extent 666 feet!
Arthur Machen and The Sphinx by Julie Speedie, Tartarus Press (51 De
Montfort Rd, Lewes, East Sussex, England).
This booklet is one of a series from the Tartarus Press. Beautifully printed, and illustrated with four laid-in photographs, two of Ada Leverson (known as The Sphinx) and two of Arthur Machen. Much interesting material on the literary environment that surrounded Machen. I see that I also have here another such booklet by Machen himself:
Rus In Urbe, and other pieces by Arthur Machen, Tartarus Press, 1992.
These four pieces all appeared in magazines in 1890. They are beautiful descriptions of country places that Machen knew.
Blood-Sucking Monkeys From North Tonawanda by Crad Kilodney, Charnel
House (Box 281, Station 5, Toronto, Ontario, Canada).
Rodney Leighton sent me a xerox of this booklet, taking some trouble to copy on both sides of the page and saddle-staple it. I think I had made some remark in a letter to a Canadian fanzine that Kilodney's books sounded interesting but that I hadn't ordered any because this one, which sounded the most extreme, was said to be out of print. Funny satire and I enjoyed it, though the digs at the Canadian literary establishment are rather over my head.
Rude Astronauts by Allen Steele, Old Earth Books (Box 19951, Baltimore
This collection is to be the first book from this press, just created by long-time Baltimore fan Michael Walsh. The signed, limited, slipcased hardcover is $50 and the trade pb, $10.
My Life Depends On You! by Martti Koski (Kanervakummuntie 5, 21290
This half-page-size booklet was mailed to me from Finland, my address apparently gotten from a fanzine (as the name is given as `Ned' Brooks, which I use only in fandom) and mailing label apparently computer-printed. The `new' and `port' in Newport are separated on the label. Koski claims that the US and Canadian goverments have conspired to conduct biological experiments on civilians without their knowledge - `aerial contaminants' sprayed over Winnipeg in 1952, LSD experiments at McGill University in 1958, and current attempts at mind control and `telepathic terrorism' by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police using microwaves.
The accusations against a Dr Ewen Cameron at McGill University have been in the press, and a 1980 clipping from the Regina, Saskatchewan, Leader-Post is reprinted here.
If this is a hoax, it is a rather complicated and pointless one. Koski's account of his mental and physical problems is gruesome but there is no way to check it.
The booklet also includes a report from a Dr Wickbom at the Univ. of California Medical Center in San Diego on x-rays of the skull of a Robert Naslund, saying that he seems to have some sort of transmitters implanted in the base of his skull; and inclosed loose in the booklet is a page about a Robert Naeslund who is supposed to be a victim of Swedish brain research and to have died of cancer in 1985. Murky pictures are said to show x-rays of the transmitters in his brain, one implanted by surgery and one through his nostril. These devices are said to cause the victim's eyes to function as a TV camera! It is also alleged that Prime Minister Otto Palme (later murdered in a still unsolved shooting) gave the police the `right' in 1973 to insert transmitters into human beings.
Well, who knows? I wouldn't put any of these activities past the spymasters of the world. Even Aviation Week & Space Technology, one of the trade journals of the military/industrial complex, admits that the current `black' budget, for which no one is accountable to our elected representatives, runs to about $100 million per day.
In Spite Of Innocence by Michael L. Radelet, Hugo Adam Bedau, and
Constance E. Putnam, Northeastern University Press, 1992, $29.95.
The authors of this new book studied records of capital trials in the US from 1900 to 1991 and concluded that over 400 citizens were sentenced to death (not all were executed) even though they were later found to have been innocent of the crime. Their conclusion is that the death penalty should be abolished - but the current trend seems to be in the opposite direction: the governments of the death-penalty states and the Reagon-Bush Supreme Court have conspired to accelerate the rate of executions by changing the rules so that only legal errors, and not new evidence, can be considered in appeals.
Tales Too Terrible To Tell #5 edited by George Suarez, New England
Comics Press, Quincy Mass., $3.50.
Dave Hall sent me this. The title is quite correct.
Where Memory Slept by Purefoy Machen, Green Round Press (19 Cross
Street, Caerleon, Gwent, U.K.), 1991.
I don't remember the price. Purefoy was Arthur Machen's second wife and the mother of his two children. They lived together until her death shortly before his own. These are her memoirs, well-printed and illustrated with photographs and bound up in gold-stamped green cloth some fifty years after she first offered them for publication. I enjoyed them very much. Her maiden name was Hudleston and she was brought up in Victorian fashion, the daughter of a major in the British army and the granddaughter of a clergyman.
I have heard that the delayed issue of Weird Tales, #305, though already reviewed in Locus, will actually be published in a new format with slightly different contents. Apparently the new distributor prefers the 8.5x11 format for the newstands. I certainly hope it is published somehow, it's one of my favorite zines - in fact the only other prozine I get is F&SF.
Norb by Daniel Pinkwater and Tony Auth, MU Press, Seattle, 1991,
This reprints all of the daily comic strips published under that title. It ran in as many as 70 papers and lasted exactly a year. It never ran here, but Rusty Burke sent me some xeroxes from Texas. I think both Pinkwater and Auth (the artist) are too good to waste their talent on the badly-printed strips as they appear in the daily papers! There is a Foreword by Pinkwater and an Introduction by sf author Vonda MacIntyre.
After All These Years by Sam Moskowitz, Niekas Publications (RFD 2,
Box 63, Center Harbor NH 03226-9729), 1991, $5.95.
This is also Niekas 43a. A 100-page saddle-bound pb in a distinctive half-page-width (4.25x11) format that they have been using for some time now. It consists of Moskowitz's extensive answers to 18 questions on his sf career in a postal interview conducted by Jeffrey Elliot and edited by Fred Lerner. There is also a bibliography. A fascinating contribution to the history of fandom.
Some notable things that the Post Awful has left here -
The Conspiracy Series, a detailed 28-page description of their cassette tapes (produced 1982-90) explaining the `One World Conspiracy'. Since there is only one world (that we know of, anyway), it isn't clear to me what they mean by conspiracy - they seem to try to cover every political controversy of the century. At any rate, you can contact them about it at World Intelligence Review, Box 507, Chalmette LA 70044
Dumars Reviews #11 (Denise Dumars, Box 810, Hawthorne CA 90251) came to me because a review of this zine appeared in Scavengers Newsletter. A well-printed half-size saddle-stapled zine, some 28 pages, $2 or $7.50/4. About half of it is reviews of restaurants, films, books, and other zines and the other half poetry. The zines reviewed are mostly non-sf, but there is a review of Dangerous Visions bookstore's 10th anniversary party.
Gauntlet (309 Powell Road, Springfield PA 19064) is a very large expensive ($12.95 for #3, out in March'92) magazine that doesn't appear very often (I should talk...). They are interested in censorship issues (the subtitle is `Exploring the Limits of Free Expression). Since I don't know why there should be any such limits other than the taste of the publisher and the reader, I haven't found their efforts all that startling.
Nadir 11 (Moises Hasson, Casilla 3657, Santiago, Chile) is a fanzine in Spanish. This issue (June'91) is 32 pages half-size with some excellent art, including a startling color abstract done as a photographic print and pasted to the cover. Available for the usual, I think. I have corresponded a little with the editor, and he kindly sent me with this a copy of a 1950 issue of a magazine called El Peneca that was popular when I lived in Concepcion, Chile, in the late 40s and early 50s. It is not as I remember it - I must be remembering earlier issues. Moises also explains in a letter the origin of the name of the excellent cabernet sauvignon that I bought in Atlanta - it was called Casillero del Diablo and had a little devil's-head on a ribbon around the neck of the bottle. My dictionary said that `casillero' was a naval stores-keeper, which hardly seemed relevant. Moises explains that the word also means wine-rack, and that the name is based on a legend created by the owner of the winery, the Marquis de Concha y Toro. The Marquis wanted his best wines left alone, and so started a rumor that that corner of his wine cellar was haunted by a demon!
Not Necessarily #150 is George Flynn's apa:NESFA zine (Box 1069,
Kendall Sq Station, Cambridge MA 02142).
Interesting report on Corflu 9 and on his experiences as a professional proofreader.
The Oleander Press (17 Stansgate Avenue, Cambridge CB2 2QZ, England) publishes an odd variety of books - travel, mythology, games, etc. I have their Dictionary of Common Fallacies and some of their British regional booklets.
The Printer's Devil 12 (Joe Singer, Box 66, Harrison ID 83833) is a
sort of fanzine for printers ($6.25/yr-3 issues).
This issue has a very interesting section on neglected printing processes like spirit and hecto and even a sample of home-made paper with instructions for purists who really want to start their publishing efforts on the bottom rung... It was through this zine that I heard from Fred Woodworth who publishes The Match, an excellent anarchist zine.
United Mythologies Press (Box 390, Station A, Weston, Ontario M9N 3N1, Canada) is run by Dan Knight and publishes mostly R A Lafferty - the current project is to publish his More Than Melchisedech in three parts, starting with Tales of Chicago. There are to be 50 copies at $50 each. I was disappointed not to see Lafferty at MagiCon, hope he's ok.
The USPS is now giving away a software that adds their barcodes to mailing labels. Of course, my mailing list was not in quite the right format, but I wrote a TurboBasic program to convert it and (after taking out all the foreign addresses) I now have a mailing list for the US which will print with barcodes, and will use it to mail this issue.
And then there's the mail - many of you I correspond with aside from comments on IGOTS so this is a rather arbitrary compilation but at least it's alphabetized this time, for convenient ego-scanning. `CC' denotes a Christmas Card.
David & Su Bates - CC - Hope Su is better!
Jim Battle - I'm not sure who this is, the name and an address appear on the back of a rather rude but very funny joke page that I might reprint except it is an umpteenth generation xerox and I have no way to recover the artwork.
Ruth Berman says she doesn't want fanzines and literary zines mixed in the listings, she wants one or the other, and asks if I get anything from my Dustbooks listing that says I only accept submissions of artwork. I had forgotten about that... I never got any useful artwork from it, though it might explain some of the abstract stuff that has turned up. Ruth liked the Game of Life margins lastish. She also notes that she is rereading Mary Poppins and is surprised that these books aren't popular in England.
John Gregory Betancourt of Wildside Press (see above) sends a copy of his Performance Art, a quarter-size booklet with four excellent fantasy stories and a Gahan Wilson cover.
John Binns, The Bearded Bard (14 Silver Royd Close, Wortley, Leeds, Yorkshire, LS12 4QZ, England), says he saw a mention of my zine in The Village iDiot and incloses his broadsheet of what I can only call asinine aphorisms - a fair sample is When the Queen goes to the toilet do you get a royal flush?
Sheryl Birkhead sends some of her preliminary experiments with doing art on a Mac, may be able to use one of them here.
Dainis Bisenieks (I met his wife & son at MagiCon) is helping someone there translate LotR into Latvian... He thinks the "DENSA" mentioned lastish is a typo.
Brian Earl Brown sends a densely-typed postcard - looks like IBM MicroElite - and with my glasses off (I am very nearsighted) I can make out that he has provided Richard Bergeron's PR address, thanks.
Rusty Burke sends a form letter noting his COA: 2112 Dexter Avenue, Apt.102, Silver Spring MD 20902 and for packages his work address, 201 Maryland Avenue NE, Washington DC 20002.
Anita Cole - CC - and a note about the Miami Book Fair International. Hope she got through Andrew ok!
Avram Davidson writes to correct my derivation of jubilee lastish - amazing how many readers thought I was serious about that! As he notes, it really comes from the Latin jubilare and the Hebrew yobail. He also notes that the art for his delayed Adventures In Unhistory (Owlswick Press) is all by George Barr - the Jack Gaughan art that appeared with the separate articles was not all to his taste, he didn't like the cartoon style used with some pieces.
Michael Dobson sends a piece of red paper noting that he has degenerated into a Management Consultant and Seminar Leader. And to think he used to be a fan... Send him something fannish at 8687 Manahan Drive, Ellicott City MD 21043 - maybe he will recover.
Michael Drax (Box 20593, Sun Valley NV 89433) wants any information on the business of the connection between L Ron Hubbard and Aleister Crowley. I sold my Crowley collection and never had much on Hubbard (though I just picked up the Bridge reprint of his Fear with the fancy artwork in a junk store this week).
Eric Ferguson III - CC - threatens that we may meet again...
Jan Howard Finder notes a COA to 164 Williamsburg Ct, Albany NY 12203 - saw him briefly at MagiCon.
The Fortean Times (Paul Sieveking) notes a COA to Box 2409, London NW5 4NP, England - one of my favorite zines.
Brad Foster writes that he has gotten married - now I don't suppose he'll ever do the illustrated edition of The Ballad of Eskimo Nell...
Diane Fox - CC - notes a COA to Box 9, Hazelbrook NSW 2779, Australia. She sent some of the weird books mentioned in this issue.
Don Franson (6543 Babcock Ave., North Hollywood CA 91606) sends his fanzine review zine Trash Barrel - oh come on Don, it ain't that bad...
John and Serena Fusek - CC - Did you ever reach Joe Celko, John? I talked to him at MagiCon.
Richard E. Geis actually sends a note saying not to send fanzines any more, he prefers to just sit and think... After a while I expect he will just sit...
Alexis Gilliland was at MagiCon and I didn't say anything to him about falling for the jubilee hoax... But he didn't give me any artwork anyway...
Jim Goldfrank notes he has gotten married, been to Cork, and learned a new dirty limerick... Well, it's not that dirty:
There was a young lawyer named Rex
Who had undersized organs of sex
When charged with exposure,
He answered "Oh no, sir:
De minibus non curat lex."
Mary & Terry Grey - CC - Did you know that Ivan Clark was on the Hogu Ballot at MagiCon in the category `Fan I would most like to see gafiate'?
John Guidry was not only at MagiCon but warned me in advance... Seems to have recovered from NoLaCon...
Dave Hall writes all the time but this letter has a COA for Avram Davidson which I think has been rescinded...
Don Herron writes that in his opinion Arthur Machen's injunction to Vincent Starrett that the last chapters of The Secret Glory (see above) never be published were based on his conviction that the book was a failure. Don also relates a curious tale of the death of the primary Machen bibliographer, Adrian Goldstone, with whom I had very brief correspondence years ago - Goldstone saw the parking brake fail and a parked car start down one of San Francisco's hills, and was killed trying to jump in the car and stop it.
Steve & Binker Hughes - CC -
Terry JeevesErg fame (56 Red Scar Drive, Scarborough, N. Yorkshire, YO12 5RQ, England) sends a want list - he particularly wants any edition of The Mightiest Machine by John W. Campbell. Also some pulps - I had a couple of SF Digest I was willing to part with.
Elaine Koogler - CC -
Linda Krawecke - CC - now at 28 Duckett Rd, Haringey, London N4 1BN, England, if I can make out the handrot that also got wet in the Postal Service. Must be the ex-SFPAn.
Regina Krummel sent me a novel to read, but I didn't think it quite fit the rather ill-defined needs of the Purple Mouth Press.
Dick and Nicki Lynch - CC - note a COA (Box 1350, Germantown MD 20875) - not only saw them at MagiCon but they won the fanzine Hugo for their excellent Mimosa! They also inclose an awful photo Dick (?) took of me at Ditto this year - hope this never makes it into a fan-history like the Wealth of Fable (see above) that Dick edited!
Ernest Mann, who has been sending me (and many others) Little Free Press pamphlets (he started in 1969, and was up to #90) for years about how we should all work for nothing and let all goods and services be free, now sends a Termination Notice that he is ceasing publication. I reviewed his book I Was Robot in a previous issue.
Mark Manning sends not a Christmas card but a very odd birthday card - it shows two nuns on a sort of ski-lift spitting on pedestrians below, with the message inside being Wishing you gobs of birthday joy! And to think that Mark's late lamented Tand was once considered the Great White Hope of traditional fanzine publishing... Just goes to show you can't trust anyone under 30...
Joe Mayhew sends such a beautiful illuminated loc that I think I will run a photo-image of it here somewhere - this issue is severely short on art. [NB - Joe is, alas, now deceased]
Dale Nelson (Mayville State Univ., 330 3rd St NE, Mayville ND 58257) sends a formal letter to `Mr Brooks' and then a postcard to me about his search for artwork by Dionysius Andreas Freher (1649-1728). I told him what little I knew about it and said that although some IGOTS reader quite likely knew more, it would take a while to get another issue out and get an answer, as I only do one a year! He already knows about Illumination on Jacob Boehme by Muses, Raine's Blake and Tradition and Blake and Antiquity, Parabola Magazine for August'89, and The Threefold Life of Man by Boehme (1909); and has ordered the Summer'48 Horizon - I told him about the art in Manly Hall's Secret Teachings of All Ages.
Rick Norwood at the Manuscript Press (Box 336, Mountain Home TN 37684-0336) sends several pages about his project to reprint all the Hal Foster Prince Valiant color pages. He is selling some of his collection, and also notes that copies remain of the excellent Manuscript Press books Archipelago by Ray Lafferty and Left of Africa by Hal Clement.
Sue Orr sends a 2-page Christmas letter from the winery she runs with her husband in Madisonville TN - she used to run the computers at our windtunnel - and must have read my remarks about downtown Knoxville from the 1991 DeepSouthCon as she scribbles `when where you in downtown Knoxville?' - June of 1991 it must have been.
Ken & Marea Ozanne - CC - note that son Alex is engaged to be married.
Curt Phillips - CC - recently had me copy Walt Willis' Slant for him, all seven issues. I kept the master copy and sent him a second-generation copy, so as not to have to mangle the originals again if someone else wants this.
Roger Reus sends the names and addresses of a couple of other Wallace Smith fans to aid in my attempt to clarify the Fantazius Mallare business - and notes that one of Wallace Smith's novels, The Captain Hates The Sea, became a 3 Stooges movie!
Robert E. Gagehorn of the Western Review Institute addresses a note to "Ned Brooks & friends" - while I hope I have some friends, none of them have much to do with the production of IGOTS except for contributing artwork (hint hint). Sagehorn is another person interested in some arcane connection between Aleister Crowley, Cal Tech, someone named Parsons, and L Ron Hubbard - alas, I know nothing about it. He also asks if I have read Norstrilia and think it the origin of the Dune series - I found this question confusing when I got this letter last December, and I don't remember now what I decided about it... Ah yes - Cordwainer Smith's novel Norstrilia as such did not appear until 1975 and so could hardly have been the source of Herbert's Dune, which appeared in 1965. However, the name Norstrilia as a corruption of "Old North Australia", the planet where the giant sick sheep were raised for the production of the drug stroon does appear in Cordwainer Smith stories as far back as 1950. Whether this concept had any influence on Herbert in the invention of his Dune stories is impossible to say - it seems to me that any number of sf writers of the 50s and 60s used the idea of exotic drugs in various ways. And why not, with the example of actual science all around them? Tonight's (9-27-92) 60 Minutes TV show had a segment on a `clotting factor' derived from human blood that is required to keep hemophiliacs alive - it costs $1000/oz. Sagehorn also mentions Bush's 1000 Points of Light crap as borrowed from an Alice Bailey - I never heard of her but I hope she made better use of the concept than Bushie. If you think IGOTS is esoteric, try Sagehorn's Newletter (Box 806, Chino CA 91708)!
Mark Valentine, a fellow Arthur Machen fan, very kindly sent me Roger Dobson's copy of The Devil's Maze - see review above. He also sends his thought on the question of why Arthur Machen did not want the final chapters of The Secret Glory published, and notes that Machen's daughter Janet - who authorized the edition reviewed above - thinks her father would be delighted by the renewed interest in his work.
Joe Wesson (1605 Valley Rd, #1, Pullman WA 99163) sends his Joe Wesson Magazine, whose rather unimaginative title is made up for by the note in the colophon that it is a "First Quantum Phase-Jump Church of the White Rastas Publication"...
Walt Willis - who I met at MagiCon, and Madeleine too - notes that he has slowed down a bit since his heart surgery. I must quote some of this in full though:
IGOTS is full of serendipity. I can't think of anywhere one is so likely to come across fragments of "forgotten lore", reminding me of both George Charters and Edgar Allan Poe...and anything that does that can't be bad.
I don't know whether I was more impressed by the derivation of "jubilee" or the revelation about the fortune in submerged timber awaiting salvage, but I cannot add anything about either of those subjects. The only contribution I can make is to your review of The Radio Papers. I used to listen in the late 'Thirties to an anti- Nazi radio station, purportedly broadcasting illegally from inside Germany. Nowadays I suspect it was actually based in Russia, but I never read anything about it so preserved my illusions of dedicated liberty-lovers keeping one step ahead of the Gestapo. I remember their transmissions always ended with a substitute for the Horst Wessel Lied (the Nazi anthem). The new verse ended "Fur die International Brigade, Un die Fahne des Solitaritat". This inclined me to suspicion about the bona fides of the broadcasters, it seeming doubtful to me that genuine freedom fighters would rally around the "banner of solidarity". This was of course many years before the term got street credibility in Poland.
There was an anti-Nazi underground in Germany and many of their members were martyrs to the Gestapo, as documented in stories like The White Rose. But the lines you quote do sound like they were lifted from Communist rhetoric. In the end there was little for a decent man to choose between the fascists and the communists, but I suppose the anti-Nazis of the 30s had to take their help where they could get it.
John Wright sends a Christmas airletter from South Africa. David Bates recently sent me one of John's radio plays (from the BBC) on tape and I enjoyed it very much - John never told me he wrote sf radio plays!
Ray Zorn, a fan from the Age of Phisterus, says to keep IGOTS coming. The British poetry fan Steve Sneyd still wants to publish your lost poems, Ray - and I still have that wire recorder...
Typing completed October 1, 1992 -