After The Silence
"How will it fare with kingdoms and with kings?" The poet asked, the terror answers now: You might have let him drink from Plato's springs And set the star of light upon his brow. Instead you let him drudge the lonely way "Beaten and scourged" to Calvaries untold, The while you revelled through your cynic day, And hung him quivering to your "cross of gold". Now he is shambling into Pleiades The ape enthroned, with shrill collective scream, Now from the very mire his savageries Evoke the hate that will destroy your dream. Behold the soaring beast, the articulate clod, For this dumb terror has replied to God.
- Lilith Lorraine
(fromVernon Payne's Cyclotron Vol.1 No.2, Summer 1963)
The "cross of gold" is probably from the famous speech by
William Jennings Bryan, but who is the poet quoted in the first
Forry Ackerman kindly sends another box of five books very shortly after he got IGOTS 21:
I, Vampire ed. by Jean Marie Stine & Forrest J. Ackerman,
Longmeadow Press, Stamford (CT) 1995, 235pp, authors
biographies, bibliography, filmography, $12.95.
This anthology is subtitled Interviews With the Undead but seems to be a collection of genre stories by modern authors.
Donovan's Brain by Curt Siodmak, Pulpless.com, 1999,
182pp, wraps, $19.95.
Houser's Memory, as above, 232pp.
Both of these are part of the "Forrest J Ackerman Presents" series, and the second is also "Book Two of the Donovan's Brain Trilogy" - the title of Book Three is not revealed.
Echoes of Valor II ed. by Karl Edward Wagner, Tor, New
York 1989, 274pp, $17.95.
A curious anthology of stories in the heroic fantasy line by Robert E. Howard, C. L. Moore, Manly Wade Wellman, and the Leigh Brackett and Ray Bradbury collaboration, Lorelei of the Red Mist. Wagner introduces each story, and Forry Ackerman and Sam Moskowitz also provide commentary on two of the C. L. Moore stories; and C. L. Moore's autobiography is reprinted as well.
The Essential Monster Movie Guide by Stephen Jones, Titan
Books, London 1999, 448pp, illus b&w photos, wraps, £16.99.
Forry Ackerman provides an introduction. There are "over 3000" reviews, and several specialized indexes besides the main alphabetical listing, which includes both movie titles and short biographies of genre artists. A useful reference!
The Erl King by Michel Tournier, Collins, London 1972,
Translated from the 1970 Gallimard edition Le Roi des Aulnes by Barbara Bray.
The Ogre by Michel Tournier, Doubleday, New York 1972, 373pp, notes, $7.95.
The same text under a different title. The notes at the end are enhanced with an English translation by Sir Walter Scott of the Goethe poem The Erl King. I was very impressed with this mad and mystical novel when I read it in the 70s. When I learned recently that it had been filmed in 1996 with John Malkovich as the central character Abel Tiffauges, I ordered the video and reread the book - which still casts the same spell. Much of its charm must be laid to the excellent prose that Barbara Bray was able to create in English from the French original. The action takes place in France and Germany in the 1930s and through WWII. In a way Tiffauges is the only character - everything is told from his viewpoint, which is so unusual that it is hard to be sure how much of the story is "real" and how much his imagination. Tiffauges is obsessed with children and with mystical theories, and yet his view of society is sharp and cynical:
In reality our society has the justice it deserves: a justice appropriate to the cult of the assassin which literally blossoms at every street corner, on all the plaques setting forth for public admiration the names of the greatest warriors, or in other words of the most bloodthirsty professional killers of our history.
This in the France of the 1930s, with the guillotine still in
use and a popular entertainment - the main differences in the US
today are that the streetcorner plaques have mostly vanished and
the executions are not carried out in public, so that we have
distanced ourselves more from our hypocrisy.
The film version is about as good as could be expected - much is inevitably lost in the elimination of most of Tiffauges' "Secret Writings" and interior monologue.
AussieCon Three Program Book ed. by Marc Ortlieb, 104pp,
I was a supporting member of the 1999 worldcon and finally received this on February 17 of 2000 - not that I was in any great hurry for it. Previous cons have sent supporting members a pocket program and/or the name-tag as well, but the only other item included here is a set of the convention daily newsletter, The Monotreme, probably more useful.
A nice production with some good photos and Ian Gunn cartoons, but otherwise lacking the pizzazz and spectacular art of the program books of my youth! It was mailed from Prospect Heights IL using an odd bulk rate stamp I never saw before - "Bulk Rate / US Postage / PAID / Bi-county / Mailing". What is a bi-county?
Oho - the next day's mail brought a small envelope "Bi-county Mailing" from the same address containing the plastic name badge and the pocket program!
Fandom: Confidential by Ron Frantz, Midguard Pub. Co. (Box
1711), Mena (AR 71953) 2000, 104/750 signed, 212pp, wraps, illus
photos, cartoons, and cover reprints, glossary, $14.95.
Not quite my fandom, but there is some overlap. George Beahm, Jack Cordes, Forry Ackerman, and Nils Hardin are mentioned. This was a fandom not just of comics but included many forms of nostalgia collecting - Big Little Books, movie memorabilia, and so on.
There seems to have been a good bit of mail fraud and similar problems in this field - their Weekly Express found it necessary to give out a WSA (WE Stamp of Approval) to the honest dealers, and in fact a long (about 1500) list of "WSA members" appears in the back of the book (incomplete because of a fire in 1974). I can count on one hand the number of problems I ever had buying and selling science fiction books for 40 years.
Some time after I wrote this, Ron sent me a review copy of the book - I gave it to my nephew Joe, who is doing his Senior Project in high school on fandom.
The Sworn Book of Honourius the Magician, Heptangle Books,
Gillette (NJ) 1983, 111pp.
Also known as Liber Juratus and the name spelled "Honorius", this is one of the famous grimoires, or books of magical spells, from the 13th century - Richard Dengrove sent me a facsimile he made, in trade for a copy of the equally peculiar OAHSPE. Richard says that the editor and translator Daniel Driscoll "used archaic typefaces to make the text clearer"! Driscoll notes in his introduction that the text is set in 14 and 18 point Goudy Text with 18 point Lombardic Initials in an attempt to reproduce the typographic style and spirit of the original scribe who made the document kept in the British Museum as "Royal MS 17A xlii".
If Richard and I are carried off by demons and never heard from again, it may be because we have violated the instructions in the prologue "That this book is not to be delivered to anyone unless the master be in danger of death, that only 3 copies will be made of it. It is not to be given to a woman or a minor. The recipient shall be godly and faithfull and tested for one year. This book be restored to Honourius or his successors, and if no one can be found able and sufficient to receive it the master will bind his executors to bury it with him in the grave or he must bury it and never reveal its place." And so on - this oath is the reason the book is referred to as a "sworn book" or in the Latin "Liber Juratus".
The original manuscript is said to be devoid of punctuation - perhaps it hadn't been invented yet - and only a bare minimum has been supplied by the editor. A fascinating look into our murky intellectual past!
Derleth - Hawk and Dove by Dorothy Litersky (1 Kenmore
Lane, Boynton Beach FL 33435), National Writers Press 1997,
238pp, illus photos, wraps, $21.
The only source of this book - mentioned in IGOTS 21 - still seems to be the author. It isn't even on amazon.com. Nevertheless Ms Litersky tells me that a second printing of 2000 copies is in hand.
I had heard rumors of adverse reviews of this book, and now Ben Indick and Tom Feller have sent a large sheaf of these, mostly by R. Alain Everts but also by a Norbert Blei.
Everts' problem with the book seems to be rooted in a personal dislike of Derleth himself, who he refers to as "odious". But then he seems to dislike many of the people he mentions in these extensive rants, including Ms Litersky - perhaps he should have left the reviewing to someone else! Nevertheless he has produced 18 pages - full of the same sort of errors he chides Ms Litersky for. While I am hardly qualified to judge between Ms Litersky and Mr Everts on matters of fact, to me her book, with all its faults, is redeemed by being a labor of love, while Everts' vitriolic rant is painful to read because it is so clearly a labor of hate.
The Norbert Blei review appeared in Isthmus Books Quarterly in 1998 and is much more balanced in tone.
Blues For Bird Book I - Parker at his Peak by Martin
Gray, Alpha Beat Press (31 Waterloo St), New Hope (PA 18938)
1999, 28pp, wraps, $5.
The first of a set of twelve chapbooks of poetry about the jazz musician Charlie "Bird" Parker. While it seems closer to what I think of as poetry than most modern attempts, I'm afraid the basic content is lost on me as not being a jazz fan.
Poetry is such an enormous subject and opinions about any particular example so subject to personal taste that any discussion of it is likely to get lost in definition of terms. For me to have much interest in it, a poem must have not only passion and rhythm, but must also seem to say something that could not have been said in prose - as for example the poem by Lilith Lorraine on the back of the title page in this issue.
Romano Lavo-Lil by George Borrow, John Murray, London 1907
(reprinted from 1874), 274pp.
My sister and I were out poking through some Atlanta antique and junque places and I found this old leather-bound book. I had read Borrow's Lavengro and The Romany Rye long ago but had not seen this volume - it has a 50-page glossary of English Gypsy words, a collection of their songs in bi-lingual versions on facing pages, and articles on various other aspect of the 19th-century Gypsy culture in England and in Europe. The final section Kirk Yetholm (in which the pages were still uncut) is a wonderful account of Borrow's visit to a town on the Scots border and his conversation with the local Gypsy queen.
Serpent's Egg by R. A. Lafferty, Morrigan Publications,
Avon 1987, 166pp, £10.95.
I thought I had most of Lafferty's books, but had never heard of this or the one below - Avon is in England. It's subtitled "A Fantasy" but has computers - and a kangaroo that rules the world.
East of Laughter - as above but 1988 and 176pp.
The d/ws on these books are credited to a Neil McCall - I must say that while the layout is not bad, the detail is out of proportion in an unpleasing way and the colors (perhaps not altogether the artist's fault) are garish.
Weird Tales #319 for Spring 2000 showed up early in April with a Wildside Press flyer on the back of the address-label sheet - and every lower-case "c" in the text had vanished, though the space for it is there!
Colonial Excursion by Ron Bennett, Ploy Press, Yorkshire
1961, 93pp, illustrated by Arthur Thomson, photos, map, wraps, $1.
This is Ron Bennett's TAFF (Trans-Atlantic Fan Fund) report - he found a few in the attic recently. The price is in 1961 dollars, I think I sent him $10 for it. The TAFF is an annual fund supported by fandom to send a fan from the US to Europe or vice-versa - the beneficiary is chosen by secret ballot of the supporters. Anyone interested in the fund can probably find the current administrator at fanac.org.
This was produced by mimeo, with the art in red. The photographs are murky, but better than I would have expected - Ron notes that they were done with Roneo photostencils. An extremely detailed and well-written account of the fans of 40 years ago.
Battling the Inner Dummy by David L. Weiner - Mr Weiner imagines that I own a bookstore called "Cuyler Warnell Books Jr" and might like to sell copies of his book. There should be some way to remove such idiocies from the databases of the purveyors of mailing lists.
Vast Alchemies The Life and Work of Mervyn Peake by G.
Peter Winnington, Peter Owen Publishers, London 2000, 263pp,
illustrated photos, index, bibliography, £18.95.
With a Foreword by Michael Moorcock - I remember talking to Moorcock about Peake at some worldcon in the 60s. It is very rare to find a great fantasy writer and poet who was also a great artist. An excellent detailed account of his life and tragic death - during the 60s his attention span grew ever shorter, but the ability to draw was the last thing to go.
The book is very nicely laid out and produced, but betrays the passage of the text through a computer typesetter - there is an unwanted caret in the middle of a word in the middle of p.119. I had the same sort of problem with the last book I set in FancyFont - mysterious errors would appear, and even if I contrived some fix that would remove them, others would appear in the next cycle - and with no error message. Something to do with file size perhaps - it doesn't happen in this zine, which is set with the same software.
Who Shaped Science Fiction? by Robert Sabella, Kroshka
Books (227 Main St, Huntington NY 11743), Commack (NY) 2000,
282pp, bibliography, references, $23.95.
The publisher also has a website - www.nexusworld.com/nova - and includes weasel-words on the back of the title page in some attempt to avoid a lawsuit. Seems unlikely to me! Bob Sabella is also the editor of the fanzines Gradient (15 issues) and Visions of Paradise (now up to 83 issues).
This book has 100 chapters on 100 noted figures (mostly authors, but a few editors and film people are included) in the field of science fiction, in neither chronological nor alphabetical order - if you want to see whether a writer you are interested in was included, you have to search the whole list. The chapters are short, obviously, but well written, and each includes a chronology. Hard to argue with any of the selections, but it seems a little odd to have omitted Derleth and Lin Carter as editors.
Robbery With Violets by John Berry, Shoestring Press,
Halesowen, West Midlands, 2000, 113pp, illustrated in line, wraps.
The art is by ATom, Berry himself, and Steve Jeffrey. These are 21 funny stories about a policeman in a very small village in England in the late 40s, 13 of which appeared in Paul Enever's fanzine Orion in the 50s and 60s. Berry himself was a policeman, so it's hard to tell how much truth there is supposed to be in these tales!
The Adventures of Hemlock Soames (and Flotsam) (Part 2) by Ken Cheslin, Shoestring Press n.d., 100pp, art by author and divers hands, wraps.
Nine more of these Sherlock Holmes parodies - funny stuff!
Wholly Berry by John Berry, Shoestring Press, May 2000, 90pp, illus in line by ATom, Steve Stiles, Alan Hunter, and others, wraps.
These are reprints of eight columns that originally appeared in Cry of the Nameless 1959-93, and one from Hocus in 1960. Much of the artwork is new, however. Hilarious faan-fiction - that is, fiction about the fannish lifestyle of the time.
No price is mentioned, but from the US you might get these by sending $5 each (as with Ken's previous fan reprints in currency as checks of that size cannot be negociated in the British banks - the fee would take it all) to Ken Cheslin, 29 Kestrel Road, Halesowen, W. Midlands B63 2PH, U.K. - or might have. Alas, Ken died of a sudden heart attack in early August.
The Old Fan's 2000 Almanac edited by Dick and Leah Smith
(firstname.lastname@example.org & email@example.com; 410 W.Willow
Rd, Prospect Heights IL 60070-1250), 90pp, illus divers hands,
Also Stet 9 - but with the data on worldcons, Hugos, paper, poison, and fan funds, this will be filed with the references rather than the fanzines. There is also a good glossary of Fannish and an article on the religions of fandom - though the editors will no doubt be tried for heresy and sentenced to drink themselves to death for omitting the True Faith of the Sacred Cat. Hail Lord Mota!! They also fail to mention the Discordians. Excellent art, including pieces by Alan Hunter and Barry Kent MacKay. They note that the entire production was computerized onto Zip disks for excellent printing by a two-color offset press - and not always the same two colors. This is available (if at all by the time you read this) for "The Usual" - that is, by editorial whim and mostly to contributors, in trade to other fanzine publishers, and to fans who wrote letters about the previous issue.
The Match 95 edited by Fred Woodworth (Box 3012, Tucson AR
85702), 64pp, illus, saddle-bound.
The Spring 2000 issue of Fred's anarchist journal, beautifully printed without benefit of computer - I'm sure anarchists are not required to be Luddites... Still, just as it is good for there to be commentary like this from people who have no use for goverment at all, it is good that someone still knows how to do offset printing of this quality.
The cover price is $2.75, and well worth it.
Piracy Days of Long Ago by Kenneth W. Mulder, Mulder
Enterprises, Tampa 1998, 90pp, illus in by Rick Reeves (color),
Gene Packwood, and Richard Becker, and photos, maps, glossary,
bibliography, wraps, $19.95.
One of the books Harry Andruschak brought back from a cruise to the Virgin Islands. Reeves is a pretty good pulp-style artist. There is also one Howard Pyle plate and an interesting woodcut by RFH, whoever he was.
Pirates of the Virgin Islands / Mavericks in Paradise by Fritz Seyfarth, Spanish Main Press, St.Thomas 1988, 33/41pp, illus b&w, wraps.
Another of the books Harry Andruschak sent - and the best illustrations in it are pirated. Three full-page portraits of notorious pirates, and the frontispiece pirate flag designs are lifted without credit from Pirates (ed. Harry Knills, Bellerophon Press, Santa Barbara c.1975).
fungi edited by Pierre Comtois (firstname.lastname@example.org),
Fungoid Press (Box 904), Lowell (MA 01853) 1998, 60pp, illus
divers hands, wraps, $9.
A sample issue of a zine recommended by Dale Nelson. This issue has a special section on G. K. Chesterton that includes a bibliography, Lin Carter's introduction to the Ballantine edition of The Man Who Was Thursday, and Dale's study guide for the same novel.
We also find here the fourth installment of a serialization of Lin Carter's previously unpublished (and never finished) Khymyrium, and learn that it was provided by his literary executor, Robert Price - I had wondered who might control the Carter estate.
The color cover is by the poetry editor, Gregorio Montejo, and he also supplies an excellent article on the verse that Chesterton published in his youth - I had no idea these poems existed, and I like them.
Altogether an excellent zine - good typography and no typos that I noticed.
Friends of Arthur Machen - Jon Preece, Treasurer (9 Ridgeway Drive, Newport, South Wales NP9 5AR, U.K.) writes to remind me of the $32 annual dues (£15 in the U.K.). They produce two excellent hardbound issues of the journal Avallaunius every year.
A Skull for Bald Eagle by Frances Elizabeth Campbell,
Hilltop Press (4 Nowell Place, Almondbury, Huddersfield,
W.Yorkshire HD5 8PB, England), 1999, 90pp, wraps, £3.99,
Steve Sneyd sent me this book from his Hilltop Press. The author was born in 1926 in Altoona PA, in the Allegheny Mountains. There is a short story and some verse, but the bulk of the text is the play A Skull for Bald Eagle. Ms Campbell seems to have a thing about bridges and lightning! The play is in verse, and seems to be a sort of soap opera set on Bald Eagle Mountain.
The Inquisitor compiled by Claire Brialey and Mark Plummer, Beccon Pubs./Fishlifter Press, Croydon 2000, 54pp, illus, index, color wraps, £3. A remarkable fan press production - these are columns by the late Vin¢ Clarke that appeared in the Vargo Statten Science Fiction Magazine in 1954-56. The index traces the fanzines of the time that are mentioned in the Inquisitor columns, which also covered prozines, books, movies, and conventions. In spite of the title, Clarke was in no way a cruel reviewer! The color covers are selections from the covers of the magazine. I don't know how likely it is that copies would still be available by the time anyone reads this - inquire at email@example.com.
Wine of Wonder by Lilith Lorraine, The Book Craft, Dallas
1952, 53pp, Frontis photo portrait, 75 poems.
This book was given to me by Herman Stowell King, who I think of as an "old fan", though I doubt he is much older than myself - but he probably started younger. I was 23 before I encountered fandom.
These are science-fiction and fantasy poems, fully attested by the blurbs on the back of the d/w from Stanton Coblentz and Clark Ashton Smith - "Seldom if ever have the Muses of lyricism and science united their two fold afflatus to a result so distinguished". Only the Bat God Saves, We'll Launch Our Space Ships Yet, Treasure of Mars, Ships of a Winged World Rising, Empress of the Stars, Apprentice Deity - any of these might have been titles on a pulp cover. Most of them appeared in poetry magazines, but some were first printed in fanzines or prozines - Manly Bannister's Nekromantikon, Fantasy Book, Super-Science. They probably would not suit modern notions of poetry -
Always in dreams we've seen them,
Ships of a conquering earth,
Bearing the seeds of freedom,
And laughter, and love, and mirth.
but I like most of them.
A Fragment of Life by Arthur Machen, Tartarus Press, East
Sussex n.d., 125pp, £20.
One of Arthur Machen's oddest and most impressive books. It first appeared in Horlick's Magazine in 1904, and then in The House of Souls in 1906, which is where I first read it. What Tartarus Press has done here is reprint the latter text, and then add as an appendix the original Ch.IV from the magazine, as that was radically changed for the book. I was glad to see it, as I had never read the original Ch.IV. Odd that not only the date of this new book (2000) but the authorship of the excellent Introduction are omitted.
As with many of Machen's works, it is difficult to tell how much of the framing device is invented - the obscure alchemical work Lumen de Lumine by Thomas Vaughn does exist at any rate. On the surface this story of the life of a London clerk and his wife at the end of the 19th century seems dull - no monsters, no swords, no battles. Most of the characters would hardly raise their voices above a polite murmur. And yet it is beautifully written, and as the story unfolds the sense of transcendent awe arises from the protagonist's realization that his dreary London suburb is just a mask on the real world, and that joy, indeed ecstacy, are quite independent of health, wealth, or social status.
Only 250 copies were made of this book, but The House of Souls is not all that rare in reprint editions. The address of Tartarus Press is 5 Birch Terrace, Hangingbirch Ln, Horam, Heathfield, E.Sussex TN21 0PA, England. There is also a website: firstname.lastname@example.org
The Saturday Book 12, 14, 20, 21 edited by Leonard Russell
and then John Hadfield, Hutchinson, London 1941-52, about 300pp.
Tom Cockcroft sent me these, and also another with no number but dated 1941-1942, which must be the first of this series of annual anthologies that lasted through 34 in 1975. I have acquired over the years numbers 1, 4, 6, 7, 8, 9, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 28, and 34; and a Best of done after the series ended. And I also have a South African Saturday Book found in a thrift store long ago - it is undated and has a different editor, but in any case shares no content with the British book, though the format and publisher are the same.
These anthologies have very eclectic contents and excellent artwork, some in colored plates. The writing is so good that almost any odd subject may be interesting.
Shocking Fish Tales by Ray Troll with words by Brad
Matsen, Ten Speed Press, Berkeley 1993, 103pp, illus in color,
When Billy Pettit came by on his world travels in May he noticed a print I had framed long ago - a fish and some hands reaching up from below and the words "Fish Worship - Is it wrong?". The print is unsigned, but Pettit recognized the style and said it was by Ray Troll, who I had just seen on TV as being an artist who draws fossils on the spot as shale is split. So in the spirit of supporting such arcane silliness I ordered the book from amazon.com - not a big seller apparently, as what I got was the 1st edition. The text seems to be mostly non-fiction, though with fishermen it may be hard to tell....
The Far Forests by Joan Aiken, Viking Press, New York
This was one of the 3/$5 books that I got from Klon Newell, an Athens GA dealer, at the May'00 DeepSouthCon in Jekyll Island GA - speaking of which, I just saw some of the 1931 Fredric March film Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, and they consistently pronounced it GEE-kul, while I had always thought it rhymed with heckle.
These are bizarre, even surrealist, tales told in a British stiff-upper-lip manner - great fun as long as you don't expect any hint of revelation.
The Face of X by Robert Lionel, Arcadia House, New York
1965, 192pp, $2.95.
From the sublime to the ridiculous - this was another of Klon's 3/$5 ex-library specials. "Robert Lionel" is thought (by me and other connoisseurs I have consulted) to be one of the many pseudonyms of R. Lionel Fanthorpe, who dictated his science fiction novels and then padded them to the required length with purple prose, demented dialog, and extended descriptions.
They were afraid of these chairs, yet they discovered as they sat on them that they were harmless. They felt like puppets whose strings were in the hands of some strange new master. They knew not what manner of play they were to enact. That it was to be a tragedy of some sort, as far as they themselves were concered as actors, was the only thing they did know. For surely no creature which had acted as this creature, this thing, this X the unknown had acted - could bode anything but evil as far as they were concerned.
Survey of Institutional Collections of Amateur Journals by
Kenneth W. Faig, Jr, as Historian for The Fossils, Inc., 1999,
Ken Faig sent me this record of his attempt to find amateur journalism holdings (both mundane and fanzines) in institutional libraries - he sent a questionnaire to 15 such places, but only got 6 replies (most of them badly filled out by hand). He did not send one to Temple University, which does (or did) have a fanzine collection index online.
My general experience has been that institutional librarians are clueless and/or arrogant, and seem to have completely forgotten that their libraries were set up for the purpose of enabling someone to retrieve useful data. I have had a request for photocopies of a fragile fanzine, and have not been able to get either of two major libraries in this area - Emory Univesity and Georgia Tech (my own alma mater!) - to tell me if they have an archival copier I could use. These copiers allow a book or magazine to be copied without opening it more than 135º.
The Saturday Book 1941-42 edited by Leonard Russell,
Hutchinson, London 1941, 446pp, divers illus.
Tom Cockcroft sent me the first issue of this annual anthology of curiosities, commentary, pictures, and some fiction. I have been idly accumulating Saturday Book for years and now have a bit over half of the 34 issues. I have only one duplicate, #18. This is the first time I have seen the first one, and enjoyed reading it.
The most notable article was one on the history of the humor magazine Punch by Olga Venn. This seems well-written and full of fascinating details and gossip, but two assertions made with no explanation at all did startle me:
- In the middle of a section describing the social conditions of the 1840s when Punch was born, Ms Venn blandly states that "Professor Geolls, piloting Samuel Henson's steam-driven aeroplane, crashed from a height of 10,000 feet and lived to describe the experience." I have been told that there was never a steam-driven airplane (though Floyd Clymer's Steam Car Scrapbook does describe a successful experiment with a steam motorcycle engine in a small plane) - but in the 1840s?
- The Punch artist John Leech is mentioned and described as looking much like Stan Laurel - and then is said to have been "killed by Italian organ-grinders"! The musical mafia?
There is also the full rambling confession of a con man who murdered his mistress for her money (some £7000), and was hanged for it in 1903 - a chilling look into a criminal mind.
Deus Lo Volt by Evan S. Connell, Counterpoint, Washington
2000, 462pp, $28.
A novel about the Crusades, as told from the point of view of a 12-Century French knight. Evan Connell is one of the very few writers I would buy anything by, because I have enjoyed several of his other books so much. The last one that attracted much notice was Son of the Morning Star, about Custer and the Battle of the Little Bighorn, which was filmed for television. I think my favorite is A Long Desire or The White Lantern or Notes from a Bottle Found on the Beach at Carmel.
Mi Cerebro Animal by Carlos Gardini, Minotauro, Buenos
Aires 1983, 127pp, wraps.
This collection of short stories in Spanish was sent by Argentine fan Juan Carlos Verrecchia. My Spanish is inadequate to determine whether the title means "my animal brain" or "my cerebral animal" - perhaps it is a pun and means both. I can just make out that the first story has to do with "psi war", a system devised to kill enemy soldiers with projected dreams of violence.
The Lost Club Journal No.1 (Win'99-00) ed. by Roger Dobson
and Mark Valentine, 50pp, period illus.
No price is given, nor does this seem to be the product of any club - the title, borrowed from an Arthur Machen story, refers to forgotten authors. There is an excellent article on Count Potocki - not the famous author of the Saragossa Manuscript but a poet who was jailed in England in 1932 for obscenity. He had not published anything obscene, but had asked a printer to make 50 copies of a book for private distribution, and the printer decided one of the poems was obscene and called the police. He was found guilty (the exact charge is not specified) by a jury and sentenced to 6 months. He is said here to have appeared in court "in a red mediæval robe, hair two feet long, and scandals (sic)".
Malcolm Ferguson writes of visiting M. P. Shiel, and Roger Dobson writes of Arthur Ransom visiting M. P. Shiel - alas, one of the SF writers whose stories I cannot get much out of. Desmond Tarrant writes of visiting James Branch Cabell in 1957, the year before Cabell died.
There is a wonderful section of short bits, including a page of comments by booksellers in response to a query about Arthur Machen. The address for this magazine - which the editors note will have an irregular schedule - is either 50 St.John St., Oxford OX1 2LQ, England (Dobson) or Stable Cottage, Priestbank Rd., Kildwick, Keighley, West Yorkshire BD20 9BH, England (Valentine).
J.M.Barrie & the Lost Boys by Andrew Birkin, Constable,
London 1979, 324pp, bibliography, notes, index, illus divers
artists and photos, *#163;6.95.
Garrison Keillor comes on the radio about the time I am getting up with 5 minutes of literary commentary related to the current date, and I heard his comment that the model for Peter Pan hated the connection all his life and finally committed suicide. I had had this book for some time (It has a few Rackham illos and was shelved with the Rackham-illustrated Peter Pan) so I read it.
Keillor's comments were a vast oversimplification, but there is something in it - Peter Pan was apparently based on four of the Llewellyn-Davies brothers George, Peter, Jack and Michael. The explanation of Barrie's relationship with them is long and complex, but when their parents died he ultimately adopted them. The success of his play about Peter Pan made Barrie quite wealthy - for years he revised its annual production to include various aspects of the characters of the four boys as they grew up. Peter seems to have resented the notoriety more than the others, and did kill himself by walking in front of a London subway train - but the connection between the two facts is tenuous. As a study in the connections the artist makes between life and fantasy the book is fascinating.
Plokta 19, ed. by Steve Davies, Alison Scott, Mike Scott,
This 14-page fanzine is excellently printed and illustrated, including very good photos - but it is also a fannish first (at least for me) in that it includes a CD-rom called "Dr.Plokta's Lonely Hearts Club Band" with color art in imitation of the famous Beatles album. Even though only the outer part of the disk is used, the CD-rom of course contains far more art and text than the zine itself - a large collection of ATom art in both GIF and TIF format (free for use by faneds as long as a copy is sent to Mrs. Thomson), all the past issues, con reports, links to fannish websites, and so on. Address www.plokta.com.
The Temple of Iconoclasts by J. Rodolpho Wilcock, Mercury
House, San Francisco 2000, 190pp, wraps, $14.95.
I ran across a brief review of this strange collection in one of the big slicks - Harper's or Atlantic, and bought it easily enough over the Net. The entries are all biographies of varying lengths - but some are of real people and others completely invented. Beautifully written (even though it is a translation from the 1972 La sinagoga degli iconoclasti) and great fun to read. The game is given away to some extent by credits to Martin Gardner for biographies of real loonies - few of Wilcock's inventions can compare with the career of Alfred William Lawson, who built the first passsenger aircraft (and indeed coined the word aircraft and got it into Webster's dictionary), published the popular aeronautical magazines Fly and Aircraft, created the Direct Credits Society, and founded the University of Lawsonomy which used only his physics texts about the "Laws of Penetrability" and "ZigZag and Swirl". Lawson (1869-1954) also published a candidate for Worst SF novel called Born Again - and still has a website: http://www.lawsonomy.org.
Anymoon by Horace Bleackley, John Lane, London 1919, 327pp.
A dystopian novel written specifically against the Socialists of the time - the foreword by a Harold Cox concludes "...all schemes for establishing a new social order on the basis of equality have failed and must fail". Before the first chapter there is a quote from Dr. Johnson "It is better that some should be unhappy, than that none should be happy, which would be the case in a general state of equality." The title comes from the surname of the character Joseph Anymoon, who as the story opens is the first President of the British Commonwealth - no other character glories in a name as odd, but it doesn't seem to be intended as symbolic. Historical persons such as Winston Churchill and Neville Chamberlain are mentioned.
I rather doubt I will ever actually read this turgid thing, but it is obviously a sort of alternate history novel. It ends with the restoration of the monarchy, but with Anymoon still top dog.
Dangerous Games by Joan Aiken, Dell/Yearling, New York
1999, 252pp, wraps, $4.99.
One of the more than 100 titles by this author. I ran across it in the Dealers Room at the Last Rivercon in Louisville KY in July and was struck with the excellence of the typography. It apparently appeared in hardcover from Delacorte.
The story, which is a fantasy set in a world something like our own 18th century (but one where James III did become king of England) is also excellent. It occurred to me while reading it that I liked it in much the same way I like classical music.
Gestaltmacher, Gestaltmacher, Make Me a Gestalt by Steve
Sneyd, The Four Quarters Press, Stevenage 2000, 82pp, color
cover, wraps, £5.99 or $12.
The latest collection of Steve's SF poetry, notes that he has published some 500 short stories and a couple of dozen other poetry collections. The back cover has a good color photo of him. I am really unqualified to say much about poetry, but I like the quote in the opening of the introduction -
Everything I did had no point, but at least I succeeded.
The address for the publisher is: 7 The Towers, Stevenage SG1 1HE, England.
Starsongs Too and Starsongs 3, Larry & Meredith
Kirby, St.Matthews 1993 and 1994, about 30 pp each, wraps, $5 each.
These are filksong collections, nice art but no actual music (not that I can read music anyway). Larry sent them to me in trade for a copy of my Quest for the Green Hills of Earth. Funny stuff, though some of it to modern pop tunes that I would rather I didn't even have to remember having ever heard. The price includes postage - address Rt.2, Box 260-B, St.Matthews SC 29135.
The Sparrow / The Children of God by Mary Doria Russell,
Fawcett Columbine, New York 1996/98, 408/438pp, wraps,
Somewhere on the Net I ran across a discussion of whether these books plagiarize James Blish's 1958 novel A Case of Conscience. Although there are similarities in the plots, neither is the only sf considering the theological implications of the discovery of intelligent life on another planet. I can well believe that Russell never read the Blish book - it is somewhat odder that none of the reviewers quoted seem to remember it.
The sciences of interest here are sociology and anthropology - the physics of near-light-speed travel is just background. The characters and alien cultures are well done though, and the plot is labyrinthine and interesting. The alien naming conventions are well worked out too, and the writing is good - though there is a little bit too much of it for my taste.
Wow! 2000, ed. by Bryn Fortey, Forty Winks Press (212
Caerleon Rd), Newport (South Wales) 2000, 36pp, £1.50.
Sean Russell Friend sent me this anthology of jazz related poetry. Both he and Steve Sneyd contributed.
El Vilvoy de las Islas by Avram Davidson, The Nutmeg Point
District Mail (Box 43072), Upper Montclair (NJ) 2000, 32pp, wraps, $12.
The second publication of the Avram Davidson Society (I wonder what the first was?), a reprint from the Aug'88 issue of Isaac Asimov's Science Fiction Magazine. Only the title is in Spanish. A wild and whirling tale, probably based on the years that Avram lived in Belize - not sf really, but a sort of sly literary look at cultures clashing.
Dimension of Miracles Revisited by Robert Sheckley,
Portland (OR) 2000, 130pp, wraps, signed, $35.
Besides the title novella, there are two short stories in this book that Mr Sheckley prints and binds himself at a local copyshop - see www.sheckley.com for details.
A sort of fantasy about the private life of the King of Infinite Space - I have not finished it as yet.
A New Yorker Book Award promo with the remarkable line "this is the only prize we know of that lets the reader decide the winner" - I would guess that the Hugo nominees have a good bit larger readership than the obscure candidates they offer.
The Lost Soul Book X of Walton Stone, selfpublished,
New York 1937, 209pp, frontis photo.
This is the revised edition of an earlier book that was apparently called Walton Stone, a Bunyan, Boone, Crockett, a Robinson Crusoe. I found it (in the original d/w) at a Literacy Council charity booksale at a local mall for $2. W. E. Stone (of Apex NC and Loris SC) had it printed by the Stratford Press in New York.
In spite of the "Book X", this does not seem to be the tenth volume of anything. It is a theological fantasy, a long account by a Mr. Buck (who has died and gone to Hell) of his conversations with Satan, and assaults the reader with unexplained phrases such as "invisible color", "rainbow position", and "wireless battery of great power" - and that's just from the top of p.21. Towards the end of the book Mr. Buck visits the America of 150 years in the future and finds that the Jews and Negroes are gone and the republic overturned by a dictator who is "ridding the land of its many moth-eating (sic) evils". The books ends with Mr. Buck sneaking into Heaven for a chat with his wife Lizzie, but then being carried back to Hell by Satan.
It would be interesting to know how many of these books were made, and how they were distributed. And where Walton Stone got the money for the enterprise - in the book "Mr. Buck" seems to have been a small-time con man.
The Face of the Man from Saturn by Harry Stephen Keeler,
Dutton, New York 1933, 254pp.
And this is the fourth printing of October 1933! This copy - another find at the book sale mentioned above - lacks the grotesque d/w, alas - I have seen it on a website maintained for Keeler fans by Richard Polt,
In a way this may be the best-known of Keeler's bizarre "mystery" novels, as Chapter 12, The Strange Story of John Jones' Dollar, has appeared in several SF anthologies - it's a famous development of the idea that a dollar invested at interest would (after several thousand years) generate an inconceivable fortune, so that the 40th descendant of John Jones would own the Solar System.
It was not uncommon for Keeler to insert a short story into his novels even though the connection to the plot (if anything he already had too much plot) is tenuous - in this case the chapter is a column from a Chicago newspaper read by one of the characters. There is no "man from Saturn" except as a painting, but the rest of the story is far too intricate to describe here.
The Soldiers of Paradise / Sugar Rain / The Cult of Loving
Kindness by Paul Park, Morrow, New York 1987,'88,'91.
I have the first two of what is collectively called The Starbridge Chronicles in the Avon pb reprints and the third in the hardcover 1st edition - someone on the Net mentioned these, I had missed them when they came out. Very poetic science-fantasy set on a distant planet with a technologically backward society severely crippled by an astronomical arrangement where each season of the year lasts for generations. So far I have only read part of the first book, but it looks very promising.
I never knew if Mae Strelkov saw IGOTS 21 - she had a stroke and died just after I mailed it. Here is an inventory of her manuscripts. Of the book-length material, the only one that has been published is At the Lip of the Void.
After e-mail conversations with Trina King and Ron Clarke, who also have some of Mae's manuscripts, it occurred to me that there should be an inventory of them. They were typed on various papers with an antique typewriter and corrected by hand, but are quite legible. Two of them at least have been retyped, as will be noted.
This preliminary inventory will give only the title, size, and subject matter. The location of the manuscript will also be indicated. Texts in mimeo are included as it is not known how many copies were made or survive.
Shanghaied to Heaven; Pp. 1-422; Book One of an autobiographical novel about her childhood as the daughter of missionaries in China.
The Shanghaied Child; Pp. 423-829; Book Two. Not seen in original typescript. This and the previous title are identical with 534pp untitled text sent by grandson Steve Strelkov as retyped in Canada, double-space on standard 8.5x11-inch paper.
At the Lip of the Void; Pp. 830-1220 on 6x8-inch paper, double-spaced; Book Three. Also exists here as 190pp typeset text (and a copy sent to Mae in Argentina), and as 250 kB ascii computer file (copy also sent to Steve Strelkov). Published on my website in August 2000. NB
George and Emma; 141 pages of what would have been the fourth volume, in the possession of her grandson Steve in Canada. Mae said this was a fifth version and that she was still working on it, so there may be more in Palma Sola.
To Heaven on a Bicycle; 68 pages of a proposed book, in the possession of Steve in Canada.
Children of the Rainbow - Linguistics
Vol.I - Language in Echoland; Pp. 1-168 on mimeo on coarse ivory 6x5-inch paper, single-spaced, illustrated, hand-bound. NB
Vol.II - Puric Runa in Echoland; Pp. 169-294 (as above). NB
Vol.III - The Host of IOG; Pp. 1-187 mimeo on grey 5x6-inch paper. NB
Vol.IV - The Dream-Time of the Throng; Pp. 1-120 on mixed papers. NB
Vol.V - Symbols - Yours and Mine; Pp. 1-152 on 5x7-inch mixed papers. NB
Patterns of Antiquity; Pp.1-217 on 8x12-inch paper, double-spaced, illustrated; Linguistics. NB
Land of the Counter-Clockwise Sun; Pp.1-115 on 8x13 paper, dated 1974; fiction. NB
The Alongside Land; Pp.1-199 dbl-spaced on standard paper, no date but typed in Cordoba; fiction. NB
The Vortex; Pp.1-92 dbl-spaced on standard paper, no date but typed in Cordoba; fiction, with a note that it is an earlier draft of another 195-page manuscript. NB
A Planet Much Like Earth; Currently being published in Ron Clarke's The Mentor - Part 9 is in #95. This seems to be the manuscript that I thought Buck Coulson might have - he returned it to Mae, who then sent it to Ron. RC
The Trail Blazing Arrow; Pp.24-99/17-40; Part I published in The Mentor for Feb'90. RC
A Feast of Dogflesh; a comparison of Old Chinese and Quechuan words on this subject; size unknown, mentioned by Mae on the back of another manuscript. Vadim Strelkov has told me in a letter that he does not think he will ever be able to sort the roomful of books, fanzines, correspondence, and manuscripts that Mae left behind in San Pedro de Jujuy.
Any further data on such manuscripts would be welcome!
We also heard from:
Harry Andruschak, who has been on a Caribbean cruise and found something about the Dead Man's Chest in a book in St.Thomas in the Virgin Islands - Piracy by Kenneth W. Mulder says that a "Dead Chest" is a coffin, and the tiny island listed on charts under that name had some imagined resemblance to a coffin - Harry couldn't see it. Might depend on the angle of view and the island's vegetation. Harry kindly sent the two books on piracy mentioned above.
Dave Bates, still battling the side effects of treatments for cancer - says he can't type but managed five pages of better handrot than I could ever manage! Dave tries to figure out what the cover of IGOTS 21 meant - I certainly never knew! He is also looking for copies of Burnett Toskey's fanzine Impossible, says someone contacted him about them but he lost the reference during his illness - Dave is still at the old address, 355 Kennedy Drive, Putnam CT 06260.
Doris Beetem, who sends a voluminous list of the used book stores of Pennsylvania (even though she lives in Florida - she gets around). Doris was one of the early members of Slanapa, and has rejoined.
Sheryl Birkhead, who sends a Christmas card and a COA and a postcard showing the Scrug from Edward Gorey's The Utter Zoo.
Dainis Bisenieks, who noted signs of literacy amidst the technobabble - two of the cloned pigs ware named Alexis and Carrel. Alexis Carrel was the author of Man, The Unknown and noted for being the first to culture chicken tissue outside the chicken and (with Charles Lindbergh) invented machines to keep organs alive outside the body. Dainis also writes about copies of the curious novels of Edward Whittemore that he has found - I think I have all of them, and mentioned them in some previous IGOTS. And Dainis sent a clipping from the Philadelphia Inquirer (1/12/00) about half a human brain having been found in the Bethlehem sewage plant - I wonder if they ever found the half-wit that lost it?
Sandra Bond, who sends her Quasiquote 1 which has a wonderful bookstore cover and a last-page parody about HPL as sung by Abba.
Michael Bracken, who rather than try to sell them or throw them out sent parcels of his big 1970s fanzine Knights of the Paper Spaceship to me and Greg Pickersgill.
Anibal Bueno, who got a hundred of the book boxes I had left over from the move from Virginia, and gave me a gift certificate for Barnes & Noble - I used it to get a copy of the latest Golden Retriever movie reference.
Ken Cheslin, who sends a drawing of Olaf with Happy New Year greetings and has gotten his copier fixed - see mention above of Robbery With Violets. Since I last heard from him in July, I learned that he passed away (a sudden heart attack) in August. Ken also sent me the magazine Private Eye - I received an envelope of them two weeks after he died.
Tom Cockcroft, who sent some issues of The Saturday Book that I didn't have, and some other excellent books - Laurie Lee's Cider with Rosie, T. H. White's The Goshawk, John Buchan stories, a Coleridge biography, Cold Comfort Farm, and others. Also a Best of the Saturday Book that I enjoyed very much. Later Tom sent Saturday Books 15, 16, and 17; and a review from The Spectator of Valerie Grove's biography of Laurie Lee.
Alden Scott Crow, who sends his Word Play with a discussion of the expression lion's share, saying that it means "all of" something rather than the greater part, as the lion does not share. I am not altogether sure about this - my recollection of a description of life on the Serengeti Plain read long ago seemed to include the idea that the hyenas and jackals clear away whatever the lions leave of their kill.
Margaret Cubberly, who denies being au courant - in fact claims to be a Luddite. Margaret actually attended the speech by that purveyor of effervescent swill Pat Robertson where he was said to have come out in favor of a death penalty moratorium - Margaret says he only wanted the moratorium for "born-again Christians"! Robertson and Falwell are said to be at odds over this minor retreat from barbarism - when thieves fall out, the honest man has reason to rejoice!
Chester Cuthbert, who sends numerous notes on the occult books he reads, and mentions the peculiar plight of Canadian book collectors, who in getting books from the US face a bizarre postal rate structure and high customs duties. The customs are the affair of their own government of course, but why does the US have a unique postal rate schedule for Canada?
Brad Day, who says he is looking for an agent to sell his sf novels. I sent him what I could off the Net, but it's really out of my line. If anyone understands this business maybe they could write him at 216 North 13th St., Chariton IA 50049.
Gary Deindorfer, who says he thought the cover to IGOTS 21 looked familiar, as if he had seen it in some previous fanzine - I don't think so, unless I used it myself on an apazine and forgot about it. But since it was taken from a xerox sent long ago by a dealer, anything is possible.
Mike Dobson, erstwhile leader of the NC fandumb of yore, who sends a somewhat delayed 1999 family Christmas Letter noting the appearance of his alternate history WWII battle novel, The Fox on the Rhine, which I helped proofread online.
Mike Don, who does an excellent list of SF books from England
called Dreamberry Wine - includes reviews, letters, and
Alan Hunter art. You can reach him at
Bill Donaho, who notes a COA to Veterans Home, PO Box 1200, Yountville CA 94599-1297.
Ken Faig, who was interested in the David Case books mentioned in IGOTS 21, and says he and his wife are finishing up the second book of Edith Miniter's amateur journalism. Ken also sent me photocopies of two curious anti-Lovecraft rants by Francis T. Laney - Lovecraft is 86 (Skyhook 8, 1949) and Who Was Howard Davidson? (Spacewarp, 1950); and a copy of Robert Lichtman's memorial on the late Bill Danner. The new Miniter book, The Coast of Bohemia went to the printer in June.
John Foyster, who also decodes MUP as Melbourne University Press, and adds that the MUP Encyclopedia of Australian SF was edited by Paul Collins, not Russell Blackford - perhaps I should not mention books that I don't actually have on hand!
Sean Russell Friend, who sent the verse anthology mentioned above and some artwork.
Bruce Gillespie, who sent his new fanzine Steam Engine Time, done in conjunction with Paul Kincaid and Maureen Kincaid Speller - an Internet collaboration put on paper in Australia. Excellent article on Cordwainer Smith!
Jim Goldfrank, who sends the program book for a ballet based on C. S. Lewis' The Magicians's Nephew set to music by Benjamin Britten, that was directed by his daughter.
Mark Harris - well, his copy of IGOTS 21 was returned as "undeliverable" from Quincy MA.
Don Herron, who found the IGOTS website and liked it. Don notes that Dorothy Litersky is nearly blind, which makes her achievement with the Derleth biography all the more amazing.
John Howard, who was apparently the first British fan to get a copy of Dorothy Litersky's biography of August Derleth - at least directly from her. He agreed with my assessment of it.
Binker Hughes, who sends a Christmas card and also gave me some antique mimeo equipment from her basement - see the website.
Ben Indick, who has just joned the 21st century and gotten online, sends a copy of Part VII of Alain Evert's rant against Dorothy Litersky's biography of August Derleth. And I think it was Ben who sent me the Maxfield Parrish exhibit catalog.
Trinlay Khadro, who says that when she was in school she was told to use pi=3.15 in homework problems, but now her daughter is told to use pi=3.14. The latter is closer to the true value, 3.14159... (not quite enough room in this zine to give the exact value). I never heard of using 3.15, though I remember being told as a child that 22/7 is pretty close.
Herman Stowell King, who gave me the great Wine of Wonder mentioned above. Herman is a Fan of Yore - Lilith Lorraine published one of his poems in her magazine Flames, and he once owned one of Clark Ashton Smith's fantasy carvings. And yet on the rare occasions that I met him, he seemed to be about my age - must be that painting in the attic....
R'ykandar Korra'ti, whose name sounds like a Jack Vance character but is actually a fan who sent me two photos of the fanzine library at Norwescon 23 - because someone gave them a copy of IGOTS 21.
Brant Kresovich, who sends his zine For the Clerisy and also a postcard about the World Wide Party showing the grotesque home of Washington Irving in Tarrytown NY. Ken Lake, who is a British Damon Runyon and Ezra Pound fan. The mind boggles.... Ken is a guru with the big philatelic (stamp-collecting to the hoi-polloi) firm of Stanley Gibbons - see the website at www.stanleygibbons.com
Robert Lichtman, who is still looking for a copy of Where Have All the Flower Children Gone? by Plunker Adams.
Guy Lillian, who sends the 12th issue of his massive genzine Challenger, on the Hugo ballot at ChiCon - a hundred pages, that's a lot!
Eric Lindsay, who is out in the boonies and misses good bookstores. He says one of his hobbies is collecting clippings on misdeeds of Australian government officials and publishing a listing of them - some two pages every year or so. Australia either has very good government or a very lax press!
Stephen Miller, who writes to correct my misapprehension in IGOTS 21 that he was the author of a story in Fantasy Book 12 - that was a different Steve Miller than the one who does indexes such as the Miller/Contento SF Magazine Index.
Dale Nelson, who notes that he has written an article on C.
S. Lewis for Pierre Comtois' Fungi - I had never heard of
this zine, but there is a fine website at
and I am supposed to get a review copy.
Jack Palmer, who sends a loc in a radically decorated envelope which includes the word VULGARITY in 90-point letters - not that he actually accuses me of that in his letter, which is quite complimentary! Jack also incloses some dada phoolosophy by Blaster Al Ackerman, and 6 rupees in bills issued by the Japanese Government (perhaps during the late unpleasantness of the 1940s?).
Petri Peltonen in Finland, who read IGOTS 18 on the Net and sent an e-mail saying that "Astara" was an old penname of Marion Zimmer Bradley - one of the very few e-mail locs I have had from the online IGOTS.
Karen Pender-Gunn, who is selling some of the late Ian Gunn's
books for the benefit of GUFF. I have no idea how long this will
go on, but she can be reached at
Lloyd Penney, who says he had missed IGOTS and was glad to see it return - I wasn't aware it had been away!
Greg Pickersgill, who sends kind words about IGOTS. Greg has one of the largest fanzine collections - and has it indexed and the duplicates sorted out to supply other collectors. He can be reached at email@example.com.
Derek Pickles, who liked the front of IGOTS 21 but not the back, and says that my review of Fred Chappell's Farewell I'm Bound to Leave You reminded him of Groucho Marx as Captain Spaulding - not the impression I meant to give at all, alas! Derek (and Steve Sneyd as well) mention a guillotine (Steve calls it a "sort of crude guillotine") that has stood in the main street of Halifax for hundreds of years. The French version as invented by Dr Guillotin only dates back to 1794.
Mark Plummer, who sends a long e-mail about David Case, and also explains that the "MUP" in the title of the MUP Encyclopedia of Australian SF stands for "Melbourne University Press". Mark also mentions novels by Ross Leckie as containing details of daily life Carthage that Ken Lake asked about - Hannibal, Scipio, and Carthage. And Mark quotes a long passage by Vin¢ Clarke from a 1954 Vargo Statten Science Fiction Magazine (V.1#3) explaining the Model A20 VariTyper Composing Machine which he said had automatic justification - fancier than the only VariTyper in my collection.
Richard Polt, who besides being a fellow typewriter collector publishes a fanzine about Harry Stephen Keeler - in the April issue of the Keller News he notes that he has just discovered Lionel Fanthorpe, who is just as bizarre and prolific a writer as Keeler, though not in quite the same way.
Ray Russell at Tartarus Press
who sends a flyer about a Rhys Hughes book with the startling title The Smell of Telescopes - old typewriters have a notable unique odor, so perhaps telescopes do too! I was amazed that this envelope was delivered at all, my address, obviously printed on it with some sort of computer printer, was either very dim to start with or wore off in the postal handling.
Steve Sneyd, who sent a catalog from Cold Tonnage Books in
Surrey and thus induced me to buy two R. A. Lafferty books I
didn't have. Steve also notes that Lilith Lorraine's literary
executor, Vernon Payne, has given him blanket permission to
allow reprinting of her verse in suitable books or magazines.
Steve also mentions a poem by Shelley The Witch of Atlas
and speculates that it might have been inspired by accounts of
the Moorish queen Cahena that Manly Wade Wellman wrote his last
novel about - I don't seem to have a copy of this poem. And
Steve sends a copy of his paper on the legend of Melusine
- somewhere I have a novel based on it and can't find it because
I have forgotten the name of the author. Steve later sent a
catalog from Dedalus (not to be confused with the US remainder
dealer Daedalus) - nicely done, but I get the feeling that most
of the books offered would give me psychic indigestion. Try
if you are interested. And then there is the 50th issue of Steve's Data Dump, a running attempt to track all sf poetry.
Milt Stevens, who complains about the use of ambergris as the name of the city in the Jeff Vandermeer Early History of Ambergris, saying that a word for whale vomit is hardly suitable as the name of a fantasy city. I know what he means, but I enjoyed that very odd book in spite of it. I suspect the word was chosen for its euphony - there are no whales in the story!
Juan Carlos Verrecchia, who sents an Argentine SF collection (see above) and says he got the Siclari reprint of Quandry that I ordered for him.
Harry Warner, who sent 4 boxes of mimeo stencils he thought I
was more likely to use than he - I do still have the machines
and ink, and a dot-matrix printer to cut them with. Harry says
there is a dearth of genzines these days - there has been some
recent debate on the Net as to whether a genzine is one (like
this zine) that gets general distribution (very general now that
it's on the WWW), or has to be in the classic fanzine form, with
contributed articles and a lettercol as well.
Harry also mentions a vague recollection that Forry Ackerman did fanzines on a VariTyper in the late 30s or early 40s - if so he had a lot more patience than I ever did. The VariTyper is a typesetter - faster than letterpress, but slow compared to a manual typewriter.
George Wells, who with his wife Jill, Hank Davis, and the unlikely Gary Tesser sent me a very silly birthday card from the wilds of exotic Long Island.