Back cover art by J. Flora Ta'Bois from Willis Brooks Hawkins' The Queerful Widget, Boni & Liveright, New York 1920.
Previous issues 12-20 are up on the website, and all of the duplicate books that I thought worth the trouble of listing. The rest went to my sister's yard sale or to Goodwill. The books are all shelved now, though the photography books are still in a muddle. Most of the fanzines are filed, but I have a ways to go getting them into the Index.
I miss the daily visit to a good thrift store that I had in Virginia - though that store had been buggered up by a new manager just before I left. There is nothing like it in this area. There are antique stores here, and one used-book place, and a Union Mission junk-pile - but the selections are far inferior. Not that I need any more junque or books either, but old habits die hard. We will have to see if there is anything for me to comment on here!
Games by Brad Day (216 North 13th St, Chariton IA 50049),
1995, about 75pp, illus diagrams.
These are all new board games. I don't find a price, you could write and ask. I am totally incompetent to evaluate them - the only board game I ever enjoyed was Scrabble.
Matter - Radiation - Space - Gravity by Brad Day, as above, 20pp.
A cosmology by someone who has thought a lot about it - I cannot claim to have understood it, but then after getting a BS in Physics I spent my entire working life in the esoteric details of wind-tunnel testing.
Spearhead V.2 No.2 Spring 1951, ed. by Thomas H. Carter,
Bill Danner of Stefantasy fame gave me this little poetry zine, which he had a few copies of because he printed it for them from handset type. It was the last issue of the title. It contains verse from oddly disparate genres of poetry - skiffy poets like Clark Ashton Smith, Lilith Lorraine, Stanton Coblentz and August Derleth; but also mainstream people like the famous e.e.cummings and William Carlos Williams and Joe Kennedy.
The Lilith Lorraine poem Since We Are Property is very Lovecraftian!
Character Against Chaos by Lilith Lorraine, Avalon Press,
Rogers (AK) 1947, 126pp.
Inspired by the gifts from Steve Sneyd and Bill Danner, I looked for Lilith Lorraine in the used-book sources now accessible on the WWW. This was all I found. I forget what I paid for it - not a lot. It was inscribed by the author to a friend in 1960. The title page notes a novelette she wrote that may be sf - The Brain of the Planet. But the book itself, alas, is neither sf nor verse but a sort of homespun self-help text - not as bad as the psychobabble rubbish I see too much of, but not the sort of thing I have much use for either. There are seven short poems used as chapter-ends.
No Voice From the Hall by John Harris, John Murray, London
1998, 242pp, index, illus photos, 17.99.
The price is in pounds. This is subtitled Early Memories of a Country House Snooper and I could not resist it, as I have long had a recurring dream of wandering through an abandoned house. It is an excellent account of years of such adventures in the country estates of the British upper crust. These palaces were built, rebuilt and added to over hundreds of years - and then before WWII many were abandoned due to bad economic conditions, and during WWII, many more were wrecked after having been requisitioned by the military. Harris took to exploring what was left in 1946, and by 1961 had been through 200 of them before they were pulled down - he notes that during 1955, a house was destroyed every 2 days.
Science Fiction, Fantasy, & Weird Fiction Magazine Index
(1890-1997), ed. Stephen T. Miller and William G. Contento,
Locus Press (Box 13305), Oakland (CA 94661) 1998, CDrom.
Steve Miller kindly sent me this very useful reference. No price is given, but I'm sure Locus will tell you. It is accessed from a CDrom drive using a browser (my Netscape 4 works fine) and indexes 13,000 issues of 900 magazines by author, story, and cover artist.
Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror: A Reader's Guide by
Roger Sheppard, Trigon Press, 1999, 416pp, $52.
And Andy Sawyer recommends it... If you want 100 of them, it's only $48! I have only the flyers on this - you can e-mail them at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Cleveland Play House 1915-1927 by Julia McCune Flory,
Western Reserve University, Cleveland 1965, 136pp, illus.
I got this from a website dealer because I had been so impressed with her illos for Charles S. Brooks books (some of which I lifted for previous issues of IGOTS). Turns out she was a puppeteer, and a founder of the Cleveland Play House. I also found what must have been her last book, India in Glittering Chariot (self-published in 1971). The Play House book is illustrated with the designs and posters she did for them.
The Adventures of Hemlock Soames 1 by Ken Cheslin, 82pp,
illus Ken & ATom & Alan Hunter and Steve Jeffrey, wraps, $5.
Demented Sherlock Holmes pastiches, great fun. This came along with Olaf 3, a big book of Ken's Olaf cartoons. Ken also has on hand two reprint volumes of ATom (Arthur Thomson) cartoons, one by Vince Clarke and one by Ella Parker; and has collected art for a big retrospective to be called ATom-2000 - write him at 29 Kestrel Road, Halesowen, East Midlands B63 2PH, U.K. This has come in since I heard of the project - an excellent tribute. It's 100 pages and costs $5. The only practical way to send him money from the US, other than a sterling draft, is to just inclose cash bills.
Fandom Denied, John Berry, Shoestring 1999, 80pp, illus
This fifth volume of the Fables of Irish Fandom set is also from Ken, copiously illustrated by Arthur Thomson and with an excellent portrait of him on the cover. A sort of memorial to Thomson, George Charters, and Bob Shaw; and has a beautiful Thomson artfolio at the back. In honor of John's idea that more of ATom's work should be seen, I will lift one of his many typewriter cartoons to put here as an example:
Fengriffen by David Case, Hill & Wang, New York 1970,
I got interested in Case after reading The Cell (Hill & Wang 1969) mentioned last time, and have since read The Third Grave (Arkham House 1981) and this - he apparently produced only the three books in the horror field, though the Arkham House jacket biography has him born in upstate New York and writing Westerns. Still a mystery why Reginald (1979) insists he was born in England when all three of his books have him born in New York.
There seems little doubt to me that all three books were written by the same person, the style is certainly consistent. The Fengriffen characters, of which there are only six, seem a little flat to me, and the story a bit shallow as well, though certainly horrible enough - and keeps the reader guessing to the end as to whether it is, in fact, a fantasy.
Brotherly Love, Pumpkin Books, Nottingham (UK) 1999, 276pp, 16.99.
Or something over $25... A new book by Case with a Ramsey Campbell introduction, based (according to Campbell) on Case turning up by accident in the bar of the con hotel for the 1979 World Fantasy Convention in Providence RI - Case was in town to buy a typewriter ribbon. Of the six tales in the book, all are about what would be expected from the author of The Cell and Fengriffen - perhaps a little less depressing in tone - except for the last one (over a third of book in length) which is serio-comic science fiction, a little bit like something by Jack Vance.
Something NASTY in the Woodshed by Kyril Bonfiglioni,
International Polygonics, New York 1991, 190pp, wraps, $7.95.
A trade pb reprint of the 1976 British hardcover. There is a marginal witchcraft component, but basically this is a silly book - the Punch review quoted on the front says it has an "agreeably high body count"; and the back-cover blurb says it is in the "Wodehouse idiom". I thought it was fun and ordered several others. The chapter headings are all from Swinburne, except for one fake!
Fates and Destinies by Charles T. Scribner MD, Hilltop
Press, 1999, 32pp, illus diagrams, $4.
Steve Sneyd kindly sent a copy of this very odd booklet from his press (4 Nowell Place, Almondbury, Huddersfield, West Yorkshire HD5 8PB, England). It is not the verse he usually specializes in but a sort of speculative analysis of prehistoric astronomy. It is subtitled Translations from the Neolithic and has to do with the numerical ratios between the solar year, the lunar month, and the cycles of the seasons and the eclipses of the sun and moon.
Scribner's idea seems to be that the people who built the neolithic monuments were capable of performing the mathematics needed to predict eclipses, and that people today could do it too, and without computers. I am doubtful of the whole concept for several reasons - mainly that I don't believe the eclipses were of any more practical interest to the neolithic peoples than they are to us; and also that even simple computations are very tedious without positional notation. I can believe that the stone circles were used to keep track of the seasons, but not the eclipses - and the seasons were a lot more important. We use positional notation without even thinking of how important it is, and Scribner's calculations here are all done using it - so is your phone bill. But there is no evidence that the people of the stone age had it. Another problem here is that Scribner's own math is a bit shaky - he carries it as far as 10 significant digits, and yet on p.5 has an obvious error in the 4th significant digit of a result that would be exact based on his own data.
In Space's Belly by Steve Sneyd, Hilltop Press 1999, 24pp,
illus Alan Hunter, bibliography, index, wraps, $6.
See address above in previous item. This is about poetry in "UK SF Fanzines and Little Magazines in the 1970s" - I don't think I got any of these except for Zimri (I have 3-7) and some of Pete Presford zines. Steve says there was a resurgence of poetry starting in 1968, and blames it on Greg Pickersgill.
The Match, ed. Fred Woodworth, No.94 Summer 1999, 64pp,
I don't remember anymore how I came to receive the first issue of this anarchist journal - it was some years ago. I always enjoy reading it, as it is well-written and has interesting ideas. It is beautifully laid out and printed lithographically. The text is set on a VariTyper, and I have corresponded with Fred about that curious device - I have a non-operational one in my typewriter collection and he has sent me copies of some of the old manuals.
This issue has a beautiful color cover of allegorical philosophy. I will quote Fred's definition of anarchism (which all other anarchists would probably find fault with):
A philosophy of resistance to, and criticism of, all statist laws and authoritarianism; the theory that all forms of government rest on violence, and are therefore wrong and harmful, as well as unnecessary.
Even though I do not doubt the horrors of government listed in The Match (or in the daily paper for that matter), I am not an anarchist myself. While I agree that the idiocies of government should criticized and resisted, and it may well be true that all forms of government rest on violence, I am not so sure about "wrong and harmful", and very doubtful about "unnecessary". It seems to me that "government" and all of its flaws are inherent in human nature. Certainly the local, state, and federal government are all full of idiocies and evils - but if they were by some chance to vanish overnight, we would find ourselves subject to even worse very soon from whichever local warlord had the most guns and goons.
Sown in the Darkness by William Richard Twiford, Orlin
Tremaine Co., New York 1941, 371pp, illus in wash, photos, and
I got this from Klon Newell at DeepSouthCon in New Orleans. It's racist twaddle, but it is skiffy - one of the plates shows people in the fashions of the year 2000. They look like bad imitations of pulp covers of the 1930s, perhaps not surprising as Orlin Tremaine was editor of Astounding then. The art is credited to a Louis Jambor, who gets a whole page about his work above the proscenium in the Atlantic City Auditorium and his 26 murals in the New Yorker Hotel. He also did portraits. What he did for this book would hardly serve to grace a crudzine.
Twiford had strudel in his noodle over the dastardly Yellow Peril:
"...forces now at work are certain to result in the downfall of the white race..."
and shows a map of the eastern US with the battle lines of the war against the Oriental hordes. In the end they are defeated and all non-whites (blacks and gypsies are specifically mentioned) are forced into Mexico. This is in the fictional part of the book. The 63-page appendix is devoted to some twenty of Twiford's other notions:
- scientific money - incomprehensible economic schemes full of words like compensorage and 1944 quotes from a California senator named Belmont Sagmund.
- Cosmocracy and Communism - a 1994 telaudiocasted speech by the Honorable Patrick McCune made up of the jingoistic drivel we still hear from the radical right.
- Thus Sayeth the Lord - a curious melange of Christianity and Darwinism used to justify racism.
- The Levitation Dance - an explanation of a levitation illusion done with "polarized glass" and "alnicko alloy piano strings".
- tandem cycles - two-man motorcycles used by the police and the Knight Riders. They were fitted with transparent bulletproof shields.
- air-conditioned beds - a scheme for cooling or warming a mattress with air pumped through it.
- for the blind - an electric typewriter operated by voice, and a revision to the Braille code.
- the Orpiano - an electric tube instrument which could be played as an organ or as a piano or both at once for organ-piano duets.
- moving sidewalks - with graduated speeds of 6, 12 and 20 mph.
- sun engine - something rather like a Sterling engine based on a new alloy of high thermal expansion.
- great wind engines - two designs for vertical-axis wind turbines, with crude diagrams; and a much less likely kite-balloon wind motor.
- land battleships - made by the Orientals, 200 feet long and 50 feet wide, with room to land small planes on top.
- bombproof nets - made of plastic rope and copper wire carrying a high voltage that detonated bombs before they struck.
- hills transformed into level lands - after the topsoil was removed the hill was blown up and the topsoil put back over the resulting crater.
- calendar reform - a 14-month calendar with twelve 28-day months, two 14-day months, an extra New Year's Day, and another day that only occurred every fourth year.
- alphabet reform - the familiar 26-letter alphabet with its redundant values is retained but the forms of the letters are changed in bizarre and pointless ways. On p.348 the Lord's Prayer is given in the new alphabet!
- Shortwrite - nine pages are devoted to a supposedly improved method of writing longhand.
- Miami mountain - the last 13 pages, and an illustration, are devoted to a $1.25 billion scheme for building a mountain 18 miles NW of Miami FL. It is to be 2000 ft high with a 4-square mile base and 160-acre summit. It would be used for something that sounds rather like Disney World, but also have wind-generators on the top.
On the final page Twiford solicits letters from the readers - but no address is given beyond "Miami, Florida". The copyright is assigned to Twiford and Albert J. Doermann.
The Bridge of Distances by Ella Scrymsour, Philip Allan &
Co., London 1924, 310pp.
This was published 2 years after her The Perfect World, mentioned in a previous issue. The first part of it is a standard racist pulp adventure involving two British rogues stealing a princess and a priceless jewel from a noble Chinese family in 1873 - and the second part is theosophy about the karmic consequences of this adventure in 1923. Much better written than The Perfect World, but not as much fun!
Five of the seven books sent to me by Forry Ackerman:
This Island Earth by Raymond F. Jones, Pulpless.com Inc., 1999, 191pp, wraps, $19.95.
The publisher offers "paper-optional" books - this can also be downloaded from www.pulpless.com, either free with commercial messages or for a small fee without. A trade pb with the cover taken from the movie of the same name, and with "Forrest J. Ackerman presents" above the title, which will drive some indexers nuts...
The website does offer a large selection of books - the "top 40" on the home page seem to be a mixture of SF and psychobabble with skiffy cover art.
New Eves ed. by Janrae Frank, Jean Stine & Forrest J. Ackerman, Longmeadow, Stamford (CT) 1999, 427pp, $14.95.
This anthology of SF by women writers covers seven decades, and includes a short commentary on each of the 32 stories. The attractive d/w art is by Laura Freas.
The Gernsback Awards 1926 V.I, introduction by Forrest J. Ackerman, Triton Books, 1982, 309pp, illus by Frank R. Paul, $14.95.
The spectacular d/w is by Paul as well I think, though it isn't credited. The introduction by Forry is titled "Retroactive Hugos"; and there is a dedication page with photos of Gernsback and Paul. This was to be the first of 28 volumes, one for each year through 1953, but only this one ever appeared. The ten stories are all from 1926, and include H.G.Wells (seems late for him), Murray Leinster (I knew him, though by then he was using his real name, Will Jenkins), and Curt Siodmak (who I always though of as post WWII).
Ackermanthology! ed. by Forrest J. Ackerman, General Publishing Group, Los Angeles 1997, 302pp, wraps, $12.95.
This collection of 65 "rediscovered" short stories were chosen on the basis of being "cosmic, comic, sexy, surprising, memorable" - if not all at once. The cover art has the flavor of Van Dongen in Analog to me, but isn't credited. The last ten stories are labeled "unclassifiable" and include Hannes Bok's excellent Beauty.
Becoming Human by Neil Lee Thompsett, Noggin, Beverly Hills (CA) 1998, 326pp, $5.
The author is said to have been 13 at the time he wrote this SF novel. The cover is a photograph of a hideous clay face, but the obscure publisher (289 South Robertson Blvd, Suite 880, Beverly Hills CA 90211) used better paper than is found in most mass-market pbs. Apparently self-published - checks for orders ($2 p&h) are to be made to Neil Thompsett himself.
I have gotten through the first quarter of the book, and while it isn't great SF, it is certainly the best novel I have read by anyone that young!
Derleth Hawk... and Dove by Dorothy M. Grobe Litersky,
National Writers Press (1450 S. Havana St, Auorora CO 80012)
1997, 238pp, illus photos, wraps, $21.
This copy was purchased directly from the author (1 Kenmore Lane, Boynton Beach FL 33435) and the price included shipping. The typo in the name of the place of publication (I think they meant "Aurora") is the first in the book, but alas not the last.
I am told that this book - so far the only biography of August Derleth - has maddened some of the Mythos gurus such as Everts almost to apoplexy. I do not have as much emotional involvement in the subject.
The title has nothing to do with the political hawk/dove polarization of the Vietnam era or the Cold War. There are a lot of typos and bad syntax, and the narrative does not always flow smoothly either. And yet in the end I did read the whole book, and enjoyed it. Derleth was an interesting character, and Ms Litersky did manage to get access to a lot of material that I would never have heard of otherwise - and whatever her other faults as a writer, it is clear that she is passionate about her subject.
Necromancies and Netherworlds by Darrell Schweitzer and
Jason Van Hollander, Wildwide Press, Berkeley Heights NJ 1999,
159pp, illus b&w by Hollander, #32/200, $30.
There is no d/w but the slick paper on the boards does carry a nice color illo. There is also a $15 pb edition. You can reach the publisher at www.wildsidepress.com.
These ten tales, reprinted from various genre prozines of the 90s, are all set in an ancient decadent society - much like the work of Lord Dunsany. I enjoyed them very much. The artwork is good too, but there is too little of it, and most of it printed too small - the title page cut is a b&w version of the color art on the front, but the rest are 2-inch chapter headings.
Look Back All the Green Valley by Fred Chappell, Picador,
New York 1999, 278pp, $24.
This is the fourth and last of the semi-autobiographical novel cycle that started with I Am One of You Forever and continued with Brighten the Corner Where You Are and Farewell, I'm Bound to Leave You. Even though I have the first three I have never read them, but I sort of fell into this one, and enjoyed it very much. One chapter is a very bizarre sf fantasy about a trip to the moon.
Limericks for the Midnight Hours by W. Paul Ganley, Zadok
Allen 1999, 30pp, cover by Jason Van Hollander, wraps, $4.
Severe danger of the reader's brain liquifying and running out his ears, but if you want to risk it, this and similar ghastly tomes may be had from Darrell Schweitzer, 6644 Rutland St, Philadelphia PA 19149-2128.
The Skull of the Waltzing Clown by Harry Stephen Keeler,
Dutton, New York 1935, 247pp.
I've had this book for many years but never read it until now - I think I bought it in a thrift store just because of the bizarre title. Recently I was in contact over the Net with a typewriter collector who also has a website -
for Keeler fans - I had no idea there were Keeler fans. Apparently there are quite a few of them - they have driven the average price of the old hardcovers well past $100 according to the pages of copies of his books offered by dealers on the Net!
I would not say Keeler was a great writer, but he is easy enough to read. He has a fondness for obscure technology and criminal argot and other dialect. This one novel alone includes more than most people would want to know about safes, shirts, masonry, Western genealogy, and the magazine business of the 30s. The plot, which hinges on a life insurance scam, is convoluted and unlikely, with endless sidetracks, flashbacks, and stories in letters. Keeler's wife wrote short stories, and he sometimes included these in his novels (of which there is an exhaustive list on the website) - I suspect that Chapter 14 in this novel is one of those stories, as it is self-contained and in a smoother, tighter style than Keeler's rambling prose.
I enjoyed reading it, but not enough to pay $100 for another - keep your eyes peeled in the dwindling number of places stocking cheap hardcovers from the 30s. Most of Keeler's have bizarre titles, and many of the d/ws shown on the website are very striking in design.
I had mentioned be interested in Keeler's Spanish editions, and Richard Polt kindly sent me one:
Las Gafas del Sr. Cagliostro by Harry Stephen Keeler, trans. by Fernando Noriego Olea, Instituto Editorial Reus, Madrid 1947, 558pp, 25ptas.
I haven't the vaguest notion what the Spanish peseta was worth in 1947. The title translates as something like "The Spectacles of Mr. Cagliostro" - meaning his eyeglasses. I will have to get a good Spanish dictionary before I try to read this. I had no idea what "gafas" were. A battered old dictionary I had in Chile in the 40s explains that these were eyeglasses that hooked over the ears - as if they used a different word for lorgnettes or pince-nez. The generic Spanish for eyeglasses is ante-ojos, literally "before-eyes". Keller was apparently popular in Madrid - they offer translations of nine other of his books.
The Great American Road Trip by Peter Genovese, Rutgers
Univ. Press, Piscataway (NJ) 1999, 272pp, 300+ photos, $29.95.
A book about U.S.1, the old highway from Maine to Florida, which they note can also be ordered from "Parson Weem's Publishing Services". But what interested me was the way the oversize postcard advertising it was addressed:
C W BROOKS
CUYLER WARNELL BOOKS JR etc.
Bizarre errors are propagated through the endless buying and selling of mailing lists!
A Royal Enchantress by Leo Charles Dessar, Continental
Publishing, New York 1900, 350pp, illus b&w by B. Martin Justice.
And with a pictorial binding showing Her Royal Highness casting a spell - I never would have known about this book except that in her catalog Jessica Salmonson looked at the first paragraph of the preface and noted that the title character is none other than Cahina, the last queen of the Berbers. Manly Wade Wellman called her Cahena in his wonderful last novel of that title, mentioned in IGOTS 18. Wellman calls her "the Cahena", as though the word were a title, while Dessar treats "Cahina" as a given name - but they were obviously writing about the same person. Dessar credits his interest in her to a rather confusing half-page passage in Vol.V of Gibbons' Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire - I extracted this passage from the Gutenburg Project website.
According to Dessar, who says he found other historical references to Cahina (though he does not list them), she was the daughter of the Berber king Ibn and his wife Constancia, daughter of Gregorious, the Byzantine Prefect of Tripoli.
An interesting story, once you get used to the turgid style that was popular at the time. As in Wellman's novel, Cahina is either a sorceress or has psychic powers. Her kingdom, under attack by the forces of early Islam, is either Constantine, the city that the Romans built on the ruins of Carthage, or Cirta, about 200 miles to the west. She marries the king of Tingiana - ancient Tingis was a city on the African side of the Straits of Gibraltar. She ruled over a mixture of Berbers, pre-Islamic Moors, Jews, and Christians in the last years of the 7th century - a history book I have notes that Constantine was destroyed by the Islamic army of the Egyptian caliph in 697, but in this novel Cahina has her own people destroy it in an attempt to get the Caliph of Egypt to leave them in peace.
There is no one in the Dessar novel who exactly corresponds to the Saxon mercenary Wulf of Wellman's story - a Greek Christian soldier named Cornelius comes fairly close.
The Early History of Ambergris as by Duncan Shriek
(Jeff VanderMeer), Necropolitan Press 1999, 84pp, illustrated in
collage by Jeffery Thomas, glossary/index, wraps, $7.99.
A bizarre history of a strange city in some world not quite like our own. There is a bow to Jorge Luis Borges, but the characters and events are considerably more grotesque. The index is really an extension of the copious footnotes. I ran across this on the Net and sent for it without any clear idea of what it is - but I was not disappointed. Reading it is a bit like watching Cirque du Soliel. There is a website: www.necropolitanpress.com.
The Time of Achamoth by M. K. Joseph, Collins, Auckland &
London 1977, 181pp.
No price is given on the d/w. I looked this up after rereading his galaxy-spanning The Hole in the Zero (Gollancz 1967), a book I had had for years and was reminded of by a discussion on the Net. I was impressed enough by that to look up his other books on the WWW.
As you might guess from the title, this is also SF, though it was promoted on the d/w as "a New Zealand novel by the author of A Soldier's Tale". It has to do with research into time travel, and a curious Note at the front mentions "other operatives in the field" and lists eleven other writers (I suppose, though the only names I recognize are Siegfried Sassoon and Herbert George Wells). The plot involves the defeat of the title character, the evil power Achamoth. From the same dealer I got:
A Pound of Saffron, Gollancz, London 1962, 253pp, 18/6.
This was Michael Joseph's second novel - the first was a WWII military story called I'll Soldier No More - set in a university in New Zealand. It is probably based on his own experience, as he moved there is 1946 and by 1977 was a professor at Auckland University.
The Comet is Coming! by Nigel Calder, BBC, London 1980,
160pp, index, bibliography, illus photos and diagrams, 8.75.
But it only cost me a dollar at the Book Nook. This was published as a tie-in with a BBC TV show on Halley's Comet - somewhat in advance of its 1986 appearance. Lots of great illustrations, including a page from a book published in 1541 showing that a German astronomer of the time knew that comet's tails always point away from the sun. The text wanders far afield to meteorites and Fred Hoyle's theory that comets infected the Earth with what we call Asian Flu.
The Saturday Book 4, 6, 7 & 8, edited by Leonard Russell,
Hutchinson, London 1946 & '48, 288pp each, profusely illus.
These annual anthologies of essays, art, antiquities, photography, hobbies, fiction, and what have you continued through the 34th year. I had eight of them but nothing earlier than #9 until Tom Cockcroft sent me these. The #4 (this was 1944 Britain and WWII still dragging on) was apparently the first with color plates, and shows what was left of the editor's office after one of the last bombs fell nearby; and has a long sequence of b&w photos on the "Manners and Customs of the English" which includes one of the last gibbet in England. The #6 has lots of Victorian photos, including an 8-man tricycle. The #7 has excellent photos, including a long color section on miniature paintings, and a wonderful account by Fred Bason of his attempt to swap cigarette cards with Adolf Hitler, who was said to have the best collection in Europe. He never succeeded, but visited Berlin a month before the war started and brought back 3000 German cards - which were destroyed with the rest of his collection by an incendiary bomb at the beginning of the war. The #8 has a fascinating diary fragment by book-dealer Fred Bason, cartoons by Ronald Searle, an autobiographical bit by Bertrand Russell, an excellent explanation of the pre-Raphaelite painters, and a silly article with sketches of supposed European racial types.
The Town Below the Ground by Jan-Andrew Henderson,
Mainstream, Edinburg 1999, 172pp, appendix, bibliography,
illus., wraps, 5.99.
The price is in pounds. This a brief history of Edinburgh Scotland, concentrating how it came to have such multiple layers of cellars and tunnels. A wonderful account of what must have been a dreadful place to live. The second part of the book consists of ghostly tales.
The Silence of the Langford by Dave Langford, NESFA Press,
Framingham (MA), 1997, 278pp, bibliography, wraps, $15.
A very funny, fannish collection, including some short fiction - part of it was previously published in 1992 as Let's Hear It For the Deaf Man but I missed that somehow.
Diane Fox in the Antipodes sent some tilted books:
Terror Australis edited by Leigh Blackmore, Coronet 1993, 348pp, illus b&w by divers hands, wraps, $A12.95.
A mass-market pb of Australian horror stories. Two of the illos are by Gavin O'Keefe, who illustrated and typeset our An Island in the Moon. I used to hear from Blackmore occasionally - he contributes a 6-page introduction with a brief history of horror fiction Down Under, and one of the stories.
Salt by Gabrielle Lord, McPhee Gribble 1991, 281pp, wraps.
An SF novel set in 2075 - Sydney is a walled city and the temperature and salt level of the sea have risen catastrophically. Offhand this seems unlikely to me - the salinity of the sea has been constant for a long time. It could only rise rapidly if some of the water went elsewhere, and while an increase in temperature would drive some water into the air, it would also tend to melt the icecaps, which are fresh water.
The Day My Publisher Turned into a Dog by Gail Morgan, Frances Allen, Sydney 1990, 110pp, wraps, illus by Nigel Buchanan.
A satiric fantasy about the publishing business - rather good art.
Rock n Roll Babes from Outer Space by Linda Jaivin, Text Publishing Co., Melbourne 1996, 294pp, wraps.
Erotic comedy SF it says in the blurb - Ms Jaivin's previous novel was Eat Me. The bad music credits take up half the back of the title page. The asteroid Eros is sentient. The narrator is a Nufonian named Baby... I may not get very far with this one!
Skip Trace Rocks by Peter Layton, Hilltop Press 1999,
22pp, illus by Alan Hunter, $6.
Science-fictional modern verse, all explained in the Steve Sneyd foreword. The Alan Hunter artwork is excellent. The title poem opens:
swim through space at
miles per hour
the Earth & its volcanoes
an enormous painted ball
more and more when
they light up to take my picture
does resemble a mug shot
NOVA Express #18, Fall/Winter 1999, ed. by Lawrence Person
(Box 27231, Austin TX 78755-2231), quarterly, 4/$12.
Apparently a sample copy sent to It Goes On The Shelf - in spite of the price and a rather large staff, they note that they should be nominated for the Hugo "Fanzine" category. This issue is 46 pages, multilith on heavy white stock, and has attractive b&w artwork and easy-to-read layout. Most of it seems to be devoted to interviews and columns about a fiction genre called slipstream - fortunately they provide a list of examples, but unfortunately I have read few of them. Vonnegut's Cat's Cradle has faded from my aging brainpan, and I found Gene Wolfe's Castleview too tedious to finish. Many of the writers I have never heard of at all, such as Arturo Perez-Reverte - a review of a translation of his The Club Dumas makes it sound like something I might like.
This issue also has a long overflow from a previous issue of a squabble between John Clute and Russell Blackford over Clute's review of Blackford's MUP Encyclopaedia of Australian SF&F. The first question in my mind was "what does MUP stand for?", but that is never answered.
There is one piece of short fiction, a very good mathematical fantasy by Allen Varney, and some well-written reviews, but - rather odd in a fanzine - no letter column.
We also heard from:
Forry Ackerman, who out of the blue sent a box containing Forrest J. Ackerman's Worlds of SF, Ackermanthology, Becoming Human, New Eves, This Island Earth, I Vampire, and The Gernsback Awards V.I - perhaps he was trying to redress some imbalance between the east and west coasts... Two of these books (Worlds of SF and I Vampire) unaccountably vanished before I could write about them.
Harry Andruschak, who sends a postcard photo of the floating palace he dined at in Hong Kong, and says that the tiny island in the British Virgin Islands that the pirate song calls "Dead Man's Chest" is called "Dead Chest" on the charts. In case you should be looking for it.
David & Su Bates, who send a Christmas card.
Dainis Bisenieks, who kindly gave me the Edward Gorey d/w for How To Make a Moron, and sent a color xerox of the d/w on one of the volumes of the Latvian Lord of the Rings - the artist must not have read the story, Gandalf seems to have a pet dog with a human head! Dainis also sends a clipping about a man who rented a truck and drove from Lubbock TX to Philadelphia to pay $464 for 1700 sf books that had been donated to a suburban library - a representative of the library says they get 150-500 books a day! Darrell also complains that I do not review any new books - but I see that so far 11 books mentioned above have publication dates in 1998 or 1999.
Nelson Bond, now 90, who is trying to reduce the clutter in Roanoke and so returns fanzines I had sent him over the last 20 years!
Ray Bowman, who sent a rude scrawl addressing me as "Sir" in answer to my note that a CDrom he offered had not appeared three weeks after my check for it cleared. Production troubles apparently - but how was I to know but what the CDrom was lost in the mail? The CDrom did finally appear about 6 weeks after the check cleared, and does have some 1200 hi-resolution pulp cover images - took me a little fiddling to access the contents of a disk with no label or file name, but Netscape 4 knows how to do it once you ask in the right place.
Nick Certo, who notes that the five drawings that he published on pp.41-45 of his Hannes Bok Drawings and Sketches but could not identify at the time have now been traced - they were for the story Winter Wheat in the Feb'44 issue of Wings, a promotional magazine for the Literary Guild book club.
Jack Chalker, who says in an e-mail that the account of the origin of the name of my Purple Mouth Press in his massive reference The Science-Fantasy Publishers never got corrected because I never sent him the correct version - presumably now I have done so, by reply e-mail. Anyway, the "purple" is from grape-flavor KoolAid, not purple ditto masters!
Robert W. Chambers, who says he has just about everything Hannes Bok ever published. He incloses a page of catalog listing for Bok's correspondence with Shasta Press ($7500), the metal plates used to print the d/w to Kinsmen of the Dragon ($600), a 1938 Bok painting of Li'l Black Sambo ($5000), and a colored pencil and watercolor Madonna and Child ($6500).
Ken Cheslin, who confuses me with Ben Indick, but incloses a copy of the curious British magazine Private Eye. His copy of IGOTS 20 was rather late, as I sent it to his old address and it came all the way back...
Tom Cockcroft, who asks if I would like some more issues of the annual The Saturday Book - yes, I only have seven of the 34 issues. Tom also sends some copies of curious letters to himself and Ray Zorn from F. Towner Laney, mostly about Lovecraft.
Scott Alden Crow, who liked IGOTS and the Julia McCune Flory artwork in an old issue, and says he will send his Grammar Q&A in trade.
Margaret Cubberly, who sends a Christmas Letter and a typewriter cartoon, and says she is now a swordswoman. She was always pretty sharp...
Bill Danner, who says that #123 was probably the last issue of his wonderful letterpress zine Stefantasy. I just copied all of the ATom art from the issues I had for Ken Cheslin's ATom 2000 project. Bill also asks "What is TQM?" - he retired long before that con game was devised!
Gary Deindorfer, who says he is enjoying the duplicate copy of William Seabrook's autobiography No Hiding Place that I sent him.
Frank Denton, who sends zinelet As The Crow Flies about his arduous retirement activities, including bookhunting in Vancouver.
Ken Faig, who says he is working on a second collection of the amateur journalism of Edith Miniter! The first one ran to about 1000 pages and I have it only as an ascii file. Ken also sent an obituary of Russ Brown, who had a 65-year career in typewriter repair.
Al Fitzpatrick, who sends a funny Christmas card.
George Flynn, who says that Purple Mouth Press is not the only one to suffer from erroneous details in the Chalker/Owings Science-Fantasy Publishers - the account of NESFA Press is apparently off too, though he gives no details.
Brad Foster, who says that it's ok to put his IGOTS 13 cover up on the website with a copyright notice.
Diane Fox, who in addition to the books mentioned above sent a 25-page Christmas letter with reviews.
E. B. Frohvet, who writes about the curious question of whether Mervyn Peake's portraits of Titus' sister Fuchsia in his novels Titus Groan and Gormenghast were meant to show her as being of African descent.
Jim Goldfrank, who sends a Christmas card with a picture of his dogs; and a large bundle of Mae Strelkov material that he had kept for 20 years - four of the pieces of hecto art were different or better copies than what I had, and I scanned then for the website that Richard Brandt has set up:
Mary Gray, who sent a Christmas card.
Thomas Hall, who says he got the Complete Pegana after seeing it listed here, and wishes someone would reprint all of Dunsany's Jorken stories. He is also looking for ancient tomes in the field of alchemy.
George Hoak, who sent an article on the history of fanzines from Z Magazine - I have snitched cartoons off their direct-mail ads, but never subscribed. George has an enormous (but not large enough for the number of books on hand) bookstore in Stone Mountain Village called Memorable Books - you might find anything there, or you might not, but you will find a visit memorable. An antigravity belt would be handy, the books go up 15 feet.
Gary Hunnewell, who sends on diskette an enormous annotated bibliography of Tolkien fanzines.
Barry Hunter, who sends his review-zine Baryon.
John Howard, who says that he remembers when Lionel Fanthorpe's The Black Lion appeared and doesn't think the sequels listed there ever got into print.
Ben Indick, who got the one duplicate Robert W Chambers tome I had listed.
Trinlay Khadro, who asks if the expression 23 skidoo originated with its use as the name of a Black Smudge card game - no, the card game book was 1939, while 23 skidoo is traced back to 1906 by the Oxford English Dictionary.
Herman Stowell King, who sent a Christmas card from ghoul-haunted Wicomico VA!
Brant Kresovich, who notes that he is folding his excellent zine For the Clerisy, at least for a while, and said he liked the IGOTS website. His zine has since been revived.
Ken Lake, who quotes some guru as saying that the non-words represented by uh, huh, um, uh-huh, and uh-uh "are the truly native earmarks of an American" and asks what an earmark is - I think it had to do with identifying marks on the ears of cows or sheep. But I always thought that such non-words were universal, rather than unique to Americans or even English-speakers. I suppose they would differ some from one language to another - the Canadians are often mocked as tacking an eh onto the end of sentences. Ken also wants books on daily life in ancient Carthage. In a later letter Ken notes the appearance of fnord in Fortean Times and says that it appeared in an SF story man-eating reptiloid aliens before it appeared in Shea & Wilson's Illuminatus book The Eye in the Pyramid - but what was the title and author?.
Robert Lichtman, who says he has an Autumn'59 issue of Lilith Lorraine's poetry zine Flame with a poem by Charles Bukowski! Robert says he has found the World of Fanzines and The Queerful Widget that he was looking for, and offers me a scan of the cover illo on the latter that he thinks would make a good IGOTS cover. He is still looking for a copy of the hardcover edition of The Improbable Irish (by Walt Willis writing as "Walter Bryan"), and for Where Have All The Flower Children Gone?, a 1988 book by Barry Adams.
Eric Lindsay, who asks if I will be at AussieCon - alas, no.
Steve Miller, who dug out the Dec'84 Fantasy Book with a David Zindell story - I liked the Neverness books so much that I am chasing down the handful of stories he had published. Steve has it because he had a story in the same issue!
Joseph Major, who points out that the "N-rays" mentioned in the 1922 fantasy The Green Ray mentioned lastish had already been discovered by the French scientist Rene Blondlot - well, close... According to Martin Gardner's Fads and Fallacies in Science it was Prosper Blondlot who announced in 1903 the discovery of the N-ray, which was focused with aluminum lenses - unfortunately, Blondlot was the only one who could detect this radiation.
Ed Meskys, who sends a Christwas letter noting that Carlton Fredericks has published a web novel - I remember his funny Marching Barnacles column from Niekas in the 60s.
Murray Moore, who had an even more gruesome move than mine, as he had family to move as well, and refinished hardwood floors! He plans to publish a fanzine to be called Aztec Blue.
Harry Morris, who says he is getting rich selling books on eBay!
Dale Nelson, who thinks someone should do an anthology of the best material from the Tolkien zines of the 60s and 70s.
Mark Owings, who sends a tabloid called Outlook/Books for Collectors - collectors of other things, like teddy bears and CocaCola items.
Lloyd Penney, who says we should check out the Toronto worldcon bid at www.torcon3.on.ca.
Derek Pickles, who sends an e-mail with links to the Bletchley Park and Enigma Machine sites - as a typewriter collector I would like to have one of the original machines!
Pete Presford, who sends a postcard of six carved stone heads from the screen at Southwell Minster in deepest Wales with the cryptic comment that they made him think of my readers - well, two of them do have sensitive fannish faces, but the other four are beasts or demons... If the shoe fits...
Roger Reus, who says in an e-mail that he has gotten computerized and notes a COA to POBox 7312, Richmond VA 23221.
Ray Russell of Tartarus Press, who says that they have gotten the manuscript and permission to publish Sarban's (The Sound of His Horn, Ringstones, The Doll Maker) unfinished novella The King of the Lake; and that they will also be publishing "two very fat volumes" with all of Robert Aickman's eerie tales.
Jessica Salmonson, who sends her 35th catalog of weird books - and I actually succeeded in buying one before someone else got it. Her website is at www.violetbooks.com.
Leland Sapiro, who says that Riverside Quarterly is not dead but sleepeth. Leland also notes a COA to 503 Smith Street, Marion AL 36756; and wishes that I would give more complete addresses for publishers. In general I give addresses only on review copies and small-press or fan publications - it is pointless to give them on old books, and I don't know if the big publishers even want to sell single copies by mail.
Robert Schmunk (email@example.com), who says that Hindenburg's March into London (Winston, Philadelphia 1916) is "retroactive alternate history" - a fine distinction!
Darrell Schweitzer, who says that my source (the 1901 issue of Truth) is all wrong about the Emperor Honorius, his wife Placidia, their daughter Honoria, and Attila the Hun - so much for Truth...
Alison Scott & Steven Cain of Plokta fame send a COA to 24 St.Mary Road, Walthamstow, London E17 9RG, U.K.
Joy Smith, who notes a COA to 8925 Selph Road, Lakeland FL 33810, and incloses a curious flyer for a magazine called Once Upon a World ($10 from Emily Alward, 646 West Fleming Dr, Nineveh IN 46164) of which #9 contains Joy's novella Hidebound.
Steve Sneyd, who sends the text of the Lilith Lorraine poem After the Silence that I quoted a fragment of last time. It apparently never appeared before except on colored paper in a Texas poetry zine called Cyclotron, so the copy is dim. But legible, and also not that long, so I have copied and typeset it - a wonderful poem. I would reprint it here but I have no idea how to clear the rights. Steve also sends a review of a current pb Long John Silver by Bjorn Larsson, an account of the subsequent career of the character from Stevenson's Treasure Island. In a later letter he mentions a friend whose ISP filters certain rude words - with the result that the British towns Penistone and Scunthorpe cannot be searched for or referred to!
Steve also sends his 1999 Winter Solstice card - and I got it on the winter solstice - and his Millinend Celebration Commemorative Collagism; and the latest Hilltop Press book Skip Trace Rocks (see above).
Milt Stevens, who mentions Robert Charles Wilson's story Divided By Infinity where books drift over from alternate realities, and wonders if that's where I get some of the ones I write about here. Milt also notes, with reference to the mysterious Black Smudge card deck, that there was a brief period in 1938 when it was thought that Germany might ally with Poland to attack Russia - this would explain why the deck seemed to be designed for the troops of a US-Russian alliance even though the Hitler-Stalin non-aggression pact and its dissolution were still in the future.
Mae Strelkov, whose attempt to make hecto ink by the old Henley formulas was not entirely successful, probably because the aniline dyes are not available in the right form. She had no problem making the gelatin bed however, and would like some hecto carbons if anyone has any.
Taral, who notes, as I realized when I began to put IGOTS on the website, that I don't automatically have the right to that re-use of contributed art such as his cover on IGOTS 17. I have been clearing anything from a living artist that wasn't specific to the zine. Later he sent a cartoon strip indicating that he has acquired a new publisher, Shanda Fantasy Arts (Box 2452, Conway AR).
Juan Carlos Verrecchia, who sent $$ from Argentina for me to get him a copy of the Quandry reprint set from Joe Siclari; and for some of the duplicate books listed on my website. I write him in English and he writes me in Spanish and sends his Galileo in trade for IGOTS.
Keith Walker, who sends his resurrected Fanzine Fanatique, a fanzine review zine he trades with other faneds - address 6 Vine St, Lancaster LA1 4UF, England.
Mathew West, a fellow typewriter collector, who sends three issues of his zine Resist - which has little to do with sf or typewriters (though he does use a picture of an Oliver on one cover. It seems to be mostly social commentary and reviews of punk rock.
Robert Whitaker, who used to sell me weird books at Disclave. Robert says it's time for a new edition of Sidney Sime's artwork - yes, it's been 20 years since the Skeeters and Heneage&Ford books came out (and over 25 since George Locke's Ferret Fantasy books). Alas, they were remaindered for ten years so I don't guess there is a lot of incentive.
Madeleine Willis, who sends a short note on August 11 saying that she liked by review of the Fanorama collection that Bob Lichtman published and that she is in the hospital with stress and that Walter is not expected to recover from his latest stroke as far as ever being active in fandom again. I have learned since that Walt Willis passed away in October, at the age of 79.
Toni Weisskopf, who sent a Christmas card.
G Peter Winnington, who sends the latest issue of his excellent Peake Studies, and notes that he is publishing a new biography of Mervyn Peake to be called Vast Alchemies.