It Goes On The Shelf
No.25 November 2003
Published at The Sign of the Purple Mouth by Ned Brooks
4817 Dean Lane, Lilburn GA 30047-4720
Website -
"And departing, leave behind us
Toothprints in the hands of time."

Cover art by Tim Kirk
(from Wizenbeak by Alexis Gilliland, Bluejay 1986; by permission of the artist)

Cartoons by Alexis Gilliland

Five of the copies of IGOTS 24 that I mailed in October 2002 wandered back after a few weeks, marked "Insufficient address" - the address label had become insufficient when the Post Awful machinery rubbed some of it out! I have been using the same Avery label sheets and the same LaserJet printer since 1997 and this never happened before. I complained to the USPS, but of course got nothing but useless bureaucratic gobbledegook.

John and Diane Fox down in Oz kindly send a Christmas card and four books - at the remarkable postage cost of $A17.50. The US is apparently the last of the English-speaking countries that provides a postage break for books, and that is apparently about to vanish. Since July of 2002 the regulations note that the overseas book rate postage only applies to mailings of some impossibly large quantity, so that in general it is of use only to Boy George Dubya's corporate pals. I have mailed books overseas at this rate anyway, because the clerks don't seem to have caught up with this atrocity yet. So far, however, the M-bag book rate of around $1/lb remains available if you are mailing over 10 lbs.

The Sooterkin by Tom Gilling, Text Publishing, Melbourne 1999, 212pp, wraps.
This novel seems to be based on old records of an abnormal birth, a child that looked something like a seal pup, in Tasmania in 1821, and the word "sooterkin" dates from that period. Perhaps this was a child like those born only very rarely until the modern use of the drug thalidomide, which caused a rash of such births.

Tomorrow and Tomorrow and Tomorrow by M. Bernard Eldershaw, Virago, London 1983, 456pp, wraps, 4.50GBP.
This fat trade pb carries the notice "Full Uncensored Text" on the cover, and was actually printed in Finland. The author's name is a pseudonym for Marjorie Bernard and Flora Eldershaw, who wrote it in the 1920s. It is science-fiction in that some of it takes place in the 24th century.

The Weird Colonial Boy by Paul Voermans, Gollancz, London 1994, 302, wraps, 4.99GBP.
Alternate-world fantasy about a boy who collects tropical fish.

The Hospital Ship by Martin Bax, Picador, London 1977, 201pp, wraps.
A low-budget pb (the model on the cover can only afford underwear and boots) but larger than mass-market. Ballard compares it to Burroughs (and I would guess he means William rather than Edgar Rice). It has to do with an atomic powered ship trying to save some remnant of civilization during some world-wide catastrophe.
This is a truly bad book - not in the moral sense, or in the sense of fascinatingly atrocious imagery like Scarm or Scrymsour, or even in the physical sense (though it is badly made, of very cheap paper). It is bad because it is dull, and because it is impossible to see how the author or the editor could have thought anyone would want to read it. Neither the protagonist nor his love affairs are very interesting, and his descriptions of the worldwide catastrophe and the super-ship show little interest in either. And the author could not keep up this charade to anything like novel length - the text is inflated with long quotations from assorted dull tomes, which are acknowledged on the copyright page.

Uncle Boris in the Yukon by Daniel Pinkwater, Harcourt 2002, 195pp, wraps, illustated in line by Jill Pinkwater, $12.
Apparently there was a Simon&Schuster hardcover in 2001 and I missed it - I have very nearly all of Pinkwater's books. This one is subtitled "and Other Shaggy Dog Stories" - and in fact there is little about Uncle Boris in the Yukon. But it doesn't matter - Pinkwater is funny, even writing about dogs, something I know nothing at all about.

Dancing Cats and Neglected Murderesses by Edward Gorey, Dent, London 1980, unpaginated, illus by author, wraps, 1.50GBP.
Alan Hunter kindly sent this with a Christmas card, and it turns out to be one that was missing from my Gorey collection even in the Workman edition (which seems to be what the 1980 date pertains to). It is a "Double Feature" - the cats and the murderesses are quite unconnected! There are a lot more of the cats, as well, and not all of them are dancing - some are merely posing in costume. There are only twelve murderesses, and they may have been meant for postcards, as the title page bears the legend "Dogear Wryde Postcards".

Dainis Bisenieks sent five very miscellaneous books down from Philadelphia - and a copy of the October 24 1973 Philadelphia Daily News showing congersman Dan Kuykendall (R., Tenn.) of the era waving the noose with which he said they should not lynch Tricky Dick Nixon.

Thus Was Adonis Murdered by Sarah Caudwell, Dell 1994, 314pp, cover art by Edward Gorey, wraps, $5.99.
One of a series of pb reprints that Gorey did covers for - the original hardcover was Scribners. The Sirens Sang of Murder by the same author also has a Gorey cover on the pb reprint. As a murder mystery it seems turgid and inflated.

How From a Monkey I Became a Man by Sam Goldfarb, Operation Truth, Hallandale FL 1967, 191pp, illus photos, wraps, $0.95.
An inspirational autobiography by a man who became a millionaire in the fashionable clothing trade. There are 89 (short!) chapters and a picture of King Christian X of Denmark. The title has something to do with hatred in monkeys that men cannot afford, apparently inspired by the work of Charles Darwin. The rest of it seems to be on about that level of intellectual rigor. From what little I know about it, the other primates are not nearly as likely to act out of hatred as the average man.

Among Friends by Samuel McChord Crothers, Houghton Mifflin, Boston 1910, 278pp.
Commentary about this and that - books, politicians, education - well-written but wandering and inconclusive. A chapter on "My Missionary Life in Persia" turns out to be about his dreams of such activities as a child. Much poetry is quoted. Beautiful gold-stamped binding.

Linguistic Limericks by Joe R. Christopher, The Bosque River Press, Stephenville TX 2002, 20pp, wraps, #26/35.
I associate the author's name with Tolkien fandom of the 70s. Some say that a true limerick must be dirty, but these are all clean - at least insofar as I understand them. Perhaps there are obscure obscenities in the technical jargon.

Goodbye to Western Culture by Norman Douglas, Harpers, New York 1930 (3rd printing), 241pp.
There are no chapters - the text is broken into unlabelled lumps on disparate subjects. And the last, very short, section, just a three-sentence paragraph, opens with "Here are about a hundred footnotes." - but no footnotes appear here or in the book at all, nor are any pages missing. The other side of this page has the publisher's statement about the font (Caslon Old Face). I suppose Douglas means to say that the sections of the book are the footnotes to some imagined unpublished work - I see that the subtitle of the book is "Some Footnotes on East and West".
Some sections are more interesting than others, but all are well-written. The book apparently grew from marginal comments in a copy of Mother India - the author of this is not given.
Perhaps it was a very well-known book at the time - yes, a Net search shows that it must have been an account of travels in India by Katherine Mayo.

The Telling by Ursula LeGuin, Harcourt 2000, 264pp, $24.
I almost didn't read this novel set in her universe of the Hainish Ekumen and the ansible subspace communicator. I had bought it more or less on reflex when it came out, and then some comment about it online got me interested in trying to read it even though I could never get into The Dispossessed or Always Coming Home. The opening pages of The Telling seem very murky and dull, mere overly-personal musings about a gloomy future Earth that the reader has no background in.
Then the protagonist, a linguist and historian named Sutty, is sent to the planet Aka. At first this seems to make little difference to the slow turgid account of bureaucratic fumbling and personal angst. But I persevered - and when Sutty leaves the capital city for a town in the mountains and begins to investigate the remnants of the old banned culture left after a brutal civil war, the book comes to life. Real characters emerge, and a fascinating history of an alien (but human) culture.
This is a relatively short novel (50-60,000 words - I like short novels). And it could just as well have started on p.31, to my taste! The page count is deceptive, perhaps mandated by the Sales Department - the margins are wide and the text set in double-spaced lines. But once the story gets finally gets started, it seemed to me to be just the right length.
Although the story of Sutty and the preservation of the books of Aka is complete here, there is an unresolved supernatural event and room in Aka for many other stories - perhaps there will be a sequel.

Monster in the Closet, Bob Dahlin and Troma Team 1998, DVD.
Al Fitzpatrick kindly sent me this silly movie and I enjoyed it. John Carradine gets top billing even though the monster gets him in the opening sequences. Other old stars also appear - Claude Akins as the sheriff and Henry Gibson as the mad scientist. The indestructible monster is a fearsome-looking creature that lives in closets. The plot is utterly idiotic - but of course this is a Troma film. I have not figured out how to experience the "Aroma du Troma" offered in the liner - do some DVD players now includes smellovision?

Shall We gather at the Garden by Kevin Donihe, Eraserhead Press, PDF file.
This 1-meg cyber-ghost was downloaded from an e-mail offer. It runs some 240 pages in the Adobe Reader, so I suppose that's what it would take to print it out. As with many old novels, there are pages of ads at the back for other books from the same press, and an attractive image of the color cover appears at the beginning.
It is too diffuse and incoherent for me - the symbols and skiffy archtypes used no doubt mean something to the author, but they do not link up in the story so has to come to mean anything to me. The spelling and syntax are fine, but the language lacks any hint of the poetic. Only the protagonist/narrator has much depth - the rest of the characters seem to be cardboard popups for him to interact with.

Out of My Mind by Jack Bilbo, Modern Art Gallery, London 1946, 124+pp, illus in line by the author, 12/6.
Short surreal tales, each with an explanation at the end as to how true it is. "Modern art" was not as asinine in 1946 as it has become since, but the artwork does not add much.

Crypt of Cthulhu 107, ed. by Robert M. Price, 56+pp, wraps, $4.50.
Apparently current but dated "Eastertide 2001" - perhaps the editor is living in the past but trying to catch up. Nice cover art by D. L. Hutchinson.
This magazine is subtitled "A Pulp Thriller and Theological Journal", and the editorial gets into the theological differences between the Lovecraftian and Derlethian tentacles of the Mythos philosophy.
One of the tales (the longest) is credited to Derleth (and a John Glasby) and another to Lin Carter (and Laurence Cornford).
There is also a rather nasty poem by Richard Tierney, and Tom Cockcroft's column "Notes from a Snug Room", about the idea that trans-dimensional travellers might return as mirror images, with their internal organs switched around. This seems to have been the effect of the "shining trapezohedron" in "The Haunter of the Dark". I wondered about the word "trapezohedron", which sounds geometrical enough - it can be found even in the Webster's Collegiate. It is a solid bounded by "trapeziums", and a trapezium is a four-sided plane figure with no two sides parallel.

Anti-Utopia by John Brill, Lucas Bros., Columbia (MO) 1940, 133pp.
Simplistic anti-Marxist twaddle, but a nicely made book set in an attractive font - with which, however, they did not use ligatures.

White House e-Mail ed. Tom Blanton, The New Press, New York 1995, 254pp, illus photos, diskette, wraps, $14.95.
An ex-lib copy (Hennepin County - "officially withdrawn") of a book created after a 6-year Freedom-of-Information lawsuit brought by the National Security Archive. An all-star cast in the Reagan-era skullduggery of Iran/Contra and other dances with dictators - John Poindexter, Ollie North, Colin Powell, etc. The diskette works fine in my old 486 but while this 2002-vintage Windows 2000 PC can list the files on it from DOS, it will not open them, even though they are plain ascii text files.
I think Denny Lien sent me this - I should have made a note!

Krax 39 ed. Andy Robson (63 Dixon Lane, Leeds LS12 4RR, U.K.), 64pp, illus in line, wraps, $7.
A poetry zine, but with excellent art by Alan Hunter and a lot of fanzine reviews in the back. Very nicely lithoed. Reviews two of my apazines for SFPA as "science-fiction networking for typewriter collectors"!

Out of Reitsch? by John Berry, 2002, 60pp, illus by author.
The four chapters that make up this novella first appeared in 1997 with consecutive issues of Orbit (the Journal of the Astro Space Stamp Society), a magazine about space-theme stamps and other postal collectibles. Ironically, the first copy John sent me was lost by the postal system!
A heavily-illustrated alternate future story in which the British and the French cooperated to put a satellite in orbit in 1947, and then alleviated some of the difficulty of putting men in orbit by using midgets. The illustrations include portraits, cartoons, and, of course, the imagined commemorative stamps that accompanied the program.
Address John Berry, 4 Chilterns, South Hatfield, Hertfordshire, AL10 8JU, Great Britain - no price given.

Mortal Engines by Philip Reeve, Scholastic Press 2001, 293pp, 12.99GBP.
This was recommended to me on one of the Net lists. The publisher apparently does mostly juveniles, but no age range is suggested and I think anyone from the golden age of 12 up would enjoy it. The basic premise, that the cities of the Earth would become roving predators, seems quite impossible to me - and yet the book is so well-written (something in the style of Joan Aiken) that the story overcomes this problem. I wonder if someone dared the author to start with the paragraph:
"It was a dark, blustery afternoon in spring, and the city of London was chasing a small mining town across the dried-out bed of the old North Sea."

a pound of paper by John Baxter, Doubleday 2002, 417pp, appendices, 15GBP.
Actually a bit over a pound, about 19 ounces. This is subtitled "Confessions of a Book Addict" so I had to have a copy. It was said to be hard to find, but I got a mint 1st edition through the WWW at about cover price. As if to try to make up for all the tawdry books they inflicted on us over the years, Doubleday (which is now a division of the global Transworld Publishers) went all-out on this one - a beautiful d/w, real cloth binding, color endpapers, a bound-in silk ribbon bookmark, nice typography, and I don't recall spotting any typos either.
Baxter was a science-fiction fan who grew up in rural Australia in the '50s and became a book collector and dealer, so most of what he has to say is of interest to me, and he says it well. The three Appendices include an informal "If your house was on fire..." poll and a collection of idiocies culled from eBay offerings. Someone on the fictionmags list complained about the lack of an index. That would have been nice - and once you have a cyber-text, couldn't a computer be programed to do most of the work of creating one?

The Match 99, Winter 2002-2003, ed. by Fred Woodworth (Box 3012, Tucson Arizona 85702), 76pp, illus, Free.
Fred has been doing this excellent zine since 1969, which averages out to about three a year. He has neither phone nor e-mail - you have to write. And while he accepts donations towards the expense of publication, they have to be in stamps or cash. He typesets and prints the magazine on his own equipment, and a beautiful job too. I don't think he uses any technology later than the '60s either! He collects Varitypers and the interchangeable fonts they used.
The content makes for interesting reading - most of it is aimed at the abuses of governmental power, though there is an excursion into criticism of computer technology. This column is illustrated with a beautiful engraving of the first typewriter, the Hansen Typing Ball. There is also the first half of a fascinating analysis of Buddhism from an anarchist perspective.

84 Charing Cross Road by Helene Hanff, Futura, London 1976, 220pp, wraps, 11.60.
Tom Cockcroft sent me this collection of correspondence between New York collector Helene Hanff and the bookseller Marks & Co at the title address in London. I remember when the book became a bestseller in 1971, but never had a copy. This edition also includes the sequel, The Duchess of Bloomsbury Street, an account of Miss Hanff's visit to London.

The Quaker City or The Monks of Monk Hall by George Lippard, Odyssey, New York 1970, 575pp, wraps.
This ponderous novel sold 60,000 copies when it appeared in 1844, and was still selling 30,000 a year in 1854 when the author died at the age of 32 - this from the 32-page introduction by the editor of this academic edition, Leslie Fiedler. And yet Lippard's "Preface to a New Edition" is dated 1876! Lippard was a friend of Edgar Allan Poe - but his prose falls more in the category of other young contemporaries such as Mary Shelley (Frankenstein) and Jane Loudon (The Mummy), pretty hard going for the modern reader. Even though nearly a half-million copies were produced in the author's lifetime, the only ones currently offered on the Net are modern academic reprints and decrepit copies of the 1876 edition. I mention it here mainly because of my failing memory - I think of it occasionally but can't remember the details, and imagine that I have an old edition. I have the text of all IGOTS issues in one large file as an aid to memory. This copy was not in the best condition when I got it somewhere for 25 cents.
At least two scholars found on the Net refer to this work as "porno-Gothic". I don't remember anything that would be considered obscene now from my reading of it many years ago, but it is full of radical rants and descriptions of dire adventures in hideous slums in Philadelphia. Lippard says that it was written with a moral intent, but I expect it was the horror that sold. He was apparently obsessed with fears of what would happen to his younger sister if he should die, so that is what the book is "about".
Later I found that I do have an older edition:
The Quaker City or The Monks of Monk Hall by George Lippard, Leary, Stuart & Company, Philadelphia 1876, 494pp, illus in line.
The title page also offers "the author's portrait and autograph" but that page must have been lost from this copy. There seems to have been more than one artist, but none is credited. The pre-title shows a dwarf looking into a pit and a man using a coffin as a boat in a grotesque style, but the other artwork, signed Darley-Del, is in a more conventional style.

The Khoja by Henry D. Barnham, Appleton, New York 1924, 260pp, illus in line by Tony Sarg, glossary.
Translated from the Turkish by Barnham actually, and with an introduction by Sir Valentine Chirol. The copious artwork (the index to it takes up two pages) is not credited, but I think I can make out the signature. The Contents takes up six pages!
Books such as this are often found to be the creation of the supposed translator. The title refers to the 14th-century author, Nasr-ed-Din Khoja, and the "Khoja" is said here to be an honorific meaning "master" or "teacher". His tales were passed down by oral tradition - so this is really an English version of Turkish folk tales attributed to a famous medieval teacher.
Barnham references earlier translations of these tales such as The Turkish Jester or the Pleasantries of Cogia Nasr Eddin Effendi of 1884 by the famous George Borrow, in an edition of 150 copies.
The 180 or so tales are really just anecdotes. The artwork seems to concentrate on animals. The last tale is rather surreal - long after the death of the Khoja, a man who looks like him (but how would they know?) appears and says that he has seen the Khoja sitting on his coffin and asking for his friends to visit. So the whole population of his home town of Akshehir goes off to see him, and when he cannot be found, considers it a great joke - but when they return to the town, the dome of the mosque has vanished....

The Street of Queer Houses and Other Stories by Vernon Knowles, Boullion-Biggs, New York 1924, 156pp, illus in line by William Saphier.
Someone on a net-list mentioned this book as being mis-attributed, and I looked the author up in google - he was born in Adelaide Australia and then moved to England, where he was an editor of juveniles as late as 1961. He published quite a few other books of fantasy in the 20s and 30s, but this is the only one I've ever seen - I've had it for some time.
The book is well designed and I enjoyed the stories. I think they could have found a better artist - Saphier is at best a weak imitation of Donald Corley. The title story especially calls for Sime or Kirk to draw the houses!
My copy is defaced in an odd way - little patches of green pencil here and there, mostly on the artwork; and there is a small trapezoidal cutout, apparently done with a razor, that affects only the page numbers at the bottom of pp.135/136.

Come Fygures, Come Shadowes by Richard Matheson, Gauntlet Publications, Colorado Springs 2003, 144pp, 346/500.
No price appears on this book, but there is a website:
if you want to inquire. I had not read any Matheson in years, but I remembered liking his work. This book is a fragment of what he meant to write (as described an an Afterword). Hard to say whether it is just as well that the projected 2000 pages were never produced - the central character is in such distress throughout what was published that the longer story might have been unbearable.
Claire's story opens in 1921 in the New York area. The fad for spirit mediums started by the Fox sisters has been codified into the Spiritualist Church, and Claire's mother is a medium. Claire has the power as well, but resists her mother's insistence that she join in the weekly seances. And with good reason - her experiences are gruesome. Well-written but rather depressing, as there is no resolution.

The Faithless Lollybird by Joan Aiken, Doubleday, New York 1978, 256pp, illus in line by Eros Keith, $6.95.
I refuse to actively collect the books of Joan Aiken - she writes faster than I can read, and she had a head start. But I do have a shelf of them accumulated over the years, like this copy from a local thrift store, defaced and discarded by some public library. Excellent fantasy tales - my enjoyment of them is subconscious and uncritical, much like listening to Mozart. I don't feel that the Eros Keith art adds much - he just isn't in a class with Edward Gorey and Robin Jacques, who have also illustrated some of her many many books.

The Ballachulish Beat / a Play with Songs by Cecil P. Taylor, Rapp & Carroll, London 1967, 122pp, 21s.
A curious science-fictional play based loosely on the search for profitable pop bands inspired by the success of the Beatles. The songs are pretty good pastiches of the pop noise of the era.

The Prince's Person by Roger Peyrefitte, Farrar Straus & Giroux, New York 1965, 212pp, $4.95.
The US edition from the British one by Secker & Warburg, Peter Fryer's translation of the 1963 French original La Nature du Prince. A very well written and entertaining account - supposedly based on period documents - of the ridiculous scandal of the 1580s where the Pope arranged a test of the virility of Vincenzo Gonzaga, Duke of Mantua and Montferrato, so that he could decide whether to grant an annulment of his unconsumated marriage to Margherita Farnese, granddaughter of the Duke of Parma and Piacenza.

Life on the Moon by Filippo Morghen, Harry Margary, London, 12pp, illustrations, 20GPB.
This is a set of 10 fantasy drawing originally published in 1768, with an introduction by Brian Aldiss. I bought one from Margary before there was an Internet. The sheets are 17.5x12.5 inches on heavy high quality paper, and the artwork is very fantastical - the frame story is that they are from things seen by Bishop John Wilkins. Now you can order them through a website:
They also publish antiquarian maps and playing cards.

Twisted History by Dale Jensen, Malthus Press, Berkeley CA 1999, 30pp, illus, $4.00.
The author sent me this copy of his fourth book of verse in trade for the zine. I particularly like the alternate history of Edgar Allan Poe, in which he survives the collapse in Baltimore to write a novel about earthworms that is "still taught in the schools"! Weird Tales Vol.1,No.1, March 1923 - but just a replica, not the real thing. On the other hand, the real thing would be rapidly crumbling away. The replica is on a paper that will outlast me anyway. The cover illustrates "Ooze" by Anthony M. Rud. Sentient ooze is the very devil to draw - the artist has the heroine in the coils of what looks like an octopus with the head of a bear. This (and the 2nd issue of WT, and several other ancient pulps) can be had through the website:

Fire in My Blood by Lady Newborough, Elek, London 1958, 212pp, frontis portrait.
A very frank (or invented?) autobiography of a Yugoslavian aristocrat who grew up in the 1920s and seems to have carried on with most of the jet set (except they had no jets yet) of the time. Even Hitler and Mussolini tried to seduce her. She was also noted for her clothes and dancing. But in the photo she doesn't look like anything special - perhaps standards of beauty have changed.

Man Made Angry by Hugh Brooke, Ray Long and Richard R. Smith Inc, New York 1932, 276pp, $2.
Long and Smith are the publishers, and their full names appear not only on the title page, but are shoehorned into the bottom spine of the binding and dust-jacket! I first mentioned this book in IGOTS 2 some 17 years ago, and it might have sat on a basement shelf for another 17 years except for a lady who e-mailed me about helping her get a copy. When I looked for data on the Net, I discovered that mine is apparently the only copy known to the WWW!
I may have bought this because the d/w is so hideous - black on red paper in art deco fonts and a very crude image of a knife dripping blood - and it seemed unusual to find a surviving d/w on a novel of the 30s.
The story is a psychological study of a serial killer in the contemporary London literary world. The author liked words I don't normally see in novels - a suit is "voyant"; the protagonist has "erethistic" emotions.
An odd passage refers to a hotel-room light bulb "so worn that its little S of wires glowed only tremulous crimson" - is that at all possible? My experience has been that incandescent bulbs remain at constant brightness until they burn out, sometimes in a brighter flash. Would there be a different effect with direct current (as compared to the alternating current we are used to) or the higher voltage used in the UK?
The killer notices that each killing excites his poetic inspiration and he becomes noted for his verse. And in fact the poem quoted after his first killing (of a cat) is pretty good:


Bring me a feast of sunsets
with the wine of dusk in jars,
I thirst for the milk of moonlight
and the white food of the stars.
Break me the bread of thunder
in the blessing of the rain,
with the wind to fill my heart up
and the night to feed my pain;
then the waves shall nurse my slumber
and the tender-fingered tide
will trawl me to a deep quiet peace
where all is satisfied.

On p.96 there is an excellent explanation of the generation gap: "We don't believe in morality, because our fathers and grandfathers believed so intensely in it and made such a mess of the world."
I had to tell the lady who wanted the book that I would not be able to part with it. I asked her if she wanted her name and e-mail published here in case someone else has a copy to spare, but she never answered. Later her nephew e-mailed me such a startling offer for the book that I agreed to sell it to him. I sent it by UPS and they lost it - when they couldn't get a signature at the address I had given them, they found an old one for him and left it there, claiming he had signed for it. Their online tracking failed to note this, and they have billed me $5 for getting them to reveal it from a trace! Once the buyer knew where it had gone he did recover it, fortunately.

The Mad Shepherdess by Hugh Brooke, Longmans Green, London 1930, 345pp.
Not nearly as good as the later book by the same author - no shepherdess, nor much in the way of madness. A sort of social comedy about upperclass twits in a small town in England who have nothing to think about but sports and motorcars and each other's love affairs. Trails off into drivel about the character Quartilla becoming the star of an early low-budget film. This is the sort of book that gives mundane literature a bad name - reminded me of those films where I keep thinking that the plot is badly in need of a vampire or a werewolf.

Chile - Death in the South, by Jacobo Timerman, Knopf, New York 1987, 134pp, $15.95.
Since Timerman wrote this account of the atrocities of the Pinochet tyranny (installed and supported by Kissinger and the CIA), Pinochet himself has been arrested and released as too far gone in senile dementia to be tried for his crimes. But he hardly carried out these abominations personally or alone - will Kissinger or Pinochet's Chilean henchmen ever be brought to justice? I'm not holding my breath.... I lived in Chile as a child in the 1940s, when US policy towards the country at least seemed somewhat more benign - we were there because my father was chief electrical engineer on the construction of a steel mill at Talcahuano, made possible by a loan from the US. I remember it as a pleasant place. I looked on the WWW to see what's going on there now, but found little I could understand, even though I can still read Spanish fairly well, other than that the military is still running the country and has joined the DEA's eternal drug wars.

The Bedside Guardian 8, ed. anon, Ives Washburn, New York 1959, 256pp, illus in line by Low, $3.75.
These are essays from a British newspaper, the Manchester Guardian, for the years 1958-59. Although made for sale in the US, with a New York imprint, it was printed in Great Britain. The contents are varied - politics, sports, art, literature - and some quite incomprehensible to me, while others are excellent. The artwork is political cartoons. An article on a trip to Brussels Belgium for the 1958 "great world exhibition" mentions its "Atomium" logo - at the same thrift store I found a souvenir model of the "Atomium" marked "Bruxelles 1958".

Rosebud, With Fangs by Beverly Keller, Nothrop, Lee & Shepard, New York 1985, 156pp, $10.25.
An odd price to find printed on a d/w! A pleasantly nutty juvenile, not as good as Joan Aiken's but fun. Rosebud is the nickname of the protagonist's little brother, who is turned into a sort of were-bear by the villian.

The Century of the Detective by Jurgen Thorwald (translated from the German by Richard & Clara Winston), Harcourt Brace & World, New York 1965, 500pp, sources, bibliography, index, illus. photos and drawings.
A detailed account of the development of forensics, with examples from noted cases, mostly in Europe. The bibliography runs to 606 titles!

The Elder by Cris Freddi, Knopf, New York 1985, 323pp.
I have had Freddi's earlier novel "Pork" for years but had never read it, then found this in the local thrift store. A bizarre fantasy set in some alternate England - reminded me a bit of the Gormenghast books, but with less style and more action. And a great deal darker. The society in this grim tale is totally devoid of art (other than some crumbling statuary) or literature (other than oral legends), so it is not surprising that the descriptive material seems a bit out of sync. Freddi likes to use similes involving monkeys - and yet there are no monkeys in the locale, nor pictures of them, nor any reason for the word to even be current in what appears to be an unindustrialized version of England.

Weeping Bay by Joy Davidman, Macmillan, New York 1950, 257pp.
Joy Davidman was married to William Lindsay Gresham (Nightmare Alley) and then to C. S. Lewis. This was her second novel - and no one on the Net seems to offer a copy of it. This is only a reading copy - no d/w (I would be curious to know what the d/w looked like), the cloth stained and worn, the binding disintegrating. The text is all there however, and the paper not darkened.
Rather like Dickens or Eugene Sue, but less wordy and yet with more description of the environment. There really is no central character, and several intertwining plot lines. Weeping Bay is a small French town in the Gaspe, a region of French Canada along the St.Lawrence. The characters all have difficult French names - Herve Kirouac is the simplest, and there is a touch of French syntax in their dialog, and the occasional French word or phrase, but the writing is very good. The time is unspecified, but tourists do come from the US by car and there are buses.
The main plot line concerns the efforts of a priest (almost everyone is Catholic) to organize the workers at the only local industry, a factory where iron stoves and similar appliances are made (in atrocious working conditions). This priest represents a church "syndicate" that organizes labor unions in competition with the more radical organizations (like the IWW I suppose, though the Wobblies are not mentioned). There are already three priests in town, and the Cure and the police chief are brothers and the local high-muckitymucks, so there is some friction among the clergy. Aside from the hotel owner (who caters to the tourists) and the factory owner and few others, everyone seems to live in a hovel and work for slave wages and have too many children to try to feed. There has been too much intermarriage, and one family has three deaf children. One of these, Willy Caron, is a sort of idiot-savant - he cannot speak and no one has tried to teach him to read, but he is a brilliant artist.
There is one outsider who revs up the action - the electrician of a travelling carnival who is a lay preacher and distributes tracts secretly and sings strange hymns that are partly traditional and partly made up to suit the occasion.
It would be interesting to know how Joy Davidman (who as far as I know was a nice Jewish girl from an urban environment) came to write this! Perhaps she was one of the tourists.

Girl in Landscape by Jonathan Lethem, Vintage 1999, 280pp, wraps, $12.
A trade pb found at the thrift store - pretty good attempt to depict an alien society and the attempt of humans to live on an alien planet with the remnants of an ancient civilization. The style reminds me of Ursula LeGuin's.

Whistling Cat by Robert W. Chambers, Appleton-Century, New York 1933, 397pp.
A recent addition to the yard or so of this author's books that I have accumulated over the years in hopes of finding anything as interesting and mysterious as The King in Yellow, written about 40 years earlier. This one appears to be a Civil War story about Juan Maddox, a telegrapher in the Union Army. There is a good bit of technical detail. The title however seems to appear only in a Negro dialect song that that the hero's wife sings at the end. The text of the song appears in a Foreword, and there the writer says he was born in a "Texan" town named Whistling Cat on the Rio Grande - this Foreword is apparently by the imaginary hero of the tale rather than by the author, who was born in Brooklyn NY in 1865.

No Clock in the Forest / The Stolen River by Paul J. Willis, Avon, New York 1993, 219/190pp, map, wraps, $4.50 each.
These have the "AvoNova" logo and silly cover art by Rowena Merrill, but I was interested in them because I knew Paul Willis - he and his brother Ron were the editors and publishers of the fanzine Anubis (1966-68), and when Ron died, Paul gave me the unbound fragment of what would have been Anubis 5 because he could not bring himself to finish it without Ron, or to throw it away. They had been printing the pages as they went, and it filled 10 paper boxes. That must have been about 1980. I think Paul was active with the FortFest, a DC area Fortean convention, after that - he and Ron had published INFO Journal (1967-76).
These books were published about 12 years later, and I didn't know about them until after his death. Apparently no one knows what he died of - his body was found in his bed, and he had been dead too long for a cause of death to be determined.
I have not read these books as yet. They seem to have too much bad dialog.... They are both set in a magical land that the hero wanders into while mountain climbing. A friend recently sent me a second copy of No Clock in the Forest, so if you are interested you are welcome to it.

Saturday Night Reader ed. by Emma Tennant, W.H.Allen, London 1979, 246pp, illus in b&w, 5.95GBP.
A peculiarly eclectic anthology - 8x10 inches and bound in boards covered with slick red paper like a juvenile - with adventure and horror stories, odd traveller's tales, a lot of avant-garde art and bad photos, and peculiar non-fiction.
Angela Carter and J. G. Ballard have stories, and then John Sladek a "traveller's tale" which is clearly sf as it is set in 2000 and told from the viewpoint of an alien visitor to Earth.
There is also a long piece about Frida Kahlo, a conversation with Robert Lowell, and a collection of "sayings of children", two pages of inane babble in very large print. It would be interesting to know who Emma Tennant and her publishers thought the audience for this book was!

The Smallest Adventure by Leonard Lambert, 20pp illus in color.
This odd book was sent to me by Anthony Holcroft in New Zealand - no publisher, place, date, or price appear on it, except that the paintings are dated by the signature 1975-78. It consists of 20 pages of heavy card, printed on one side only and bound with wire. Leonard Lambert is a surrealist whose work can be seen on the Net. What he has done here is look back over some 50 paintings and chose these to publish with an equally surreal narrative. The art itself looks a little like that of Dali or Miro. The very fine process screen looks different under a microscope than others I have seen - instead of photo dots, there seem to be lines - the red and yellow lines run NW-SE, the blue and green lines run NE-SW, and the black lines are vertical.
Later I had this from Anthony -
"Glad you like The Smallest Adventure, Cuyler. I intended a follow-up email, but the postal service beat me to it - didn't think it would arrive so soon. What you have is a 'mock-up' for a local publishing firm, Hazard Press, who were keen to make a book out of it if a Literary Fund subsidy could be arranged to help with costs - I'm not sure where it's at just at the moment."

From Craig Smith by e-mail, whose art teacher knew Hannes Bok:

Hi Ned,
I finally found the copy of my former art teacher's book that mentions Bok, and that I mentioned on WEG. I think you said you wanted to read it, but even if you didn't here it is, you're stuck with it (I know you're a Bok fan)! There was less to it than I remembered, but still worth reading.
From: SKETCHBOOK by William Cumming (1984):
There was only one member of the project who was younger than I. This was Hans Bok, a large smooth boy, pasty and nearsighted with an ingratiating smile on nervous features. Hans drew constantly, fantastic creatures, aliens, Martians, monsters with eyes on stalks. While he drew, he whistled. Hans didn't whistle popular tunes or ditties. He whistled symphonies, operas, oratorios.
In 1939 after becoming studio director, Mark Tobey came to my desk one day, patently nervous and ill-at-ease. "You seem to know Hans pretty well," he ventured. "Could you speak to him about his whistling? You know, I don't mind people whistling, it's just that he whistles whole concerts at a time! Why he just whistled Afternoon of a Faun from beginning to end, and I'm really unnerved!" Mark really was unnerved, particularly since he had little love for European classical and romantic music with its endless line, and I was a bit unnerved at the idea of asking Hans to stop whistling, so I don't know what happened in the matter.
Some years later, during the mid- 195Os, I picked up a Fantasy Magazine in Louis Bruns' Ace Book Store. Something about the cover attracted my eye. The cover was signed "Hans Bok."
I turned to Ace. "I can't believe it! I know the guy who painted this!" I said.
Ace grabbed it out of my hands. "I've been looking all over for that!" he rasped. "I've got customers who'll pay twenty bucks for it!"
He continued, telling me how Hans Bok covers were collectors' items among fantasy addicts. I was stupefied.
Later I received confirmation of all this from Faye Chong, who had kept in touch with Hans over the years. Hans had gone to New York during the early years of the war, from which he was exempt due to a leaky heart. In New York he had begun doing covers for Fantasy Magazine. In a short time they had become collectors' items. By the fifties, his originals were fetching tremendous prices. All this time, he and Faye had kept in touch, settling down eventually into a regular Christmas letter in which each would send news of his life and of friends and family. But just the year before I inquired about Hans, Faye's annual letter hadn't been answered. Two months rolled by, and one day Faye's letter returned in his mailbox. On the envelope, next to the name "Hans Bok" was one word stamped in red. DECEASED
What's interesting about this (to me anyway) is that Faye Chong, who knew Bok better than Cummings did, was another teacher of mine. He taught sculpture in my high school, in spite of the fact that he was one of the major Northwest artists and could've taught anywhere. He didn't get much appreciation for it, either. I remember hearing that kids often made fun of him. Being a small Chinese man who walked, bent over, with a slow shuffling walk, he was a natural target for dumb white kids. He died during one of his classes of a heart attack. Now I'm getting depressed...
Wish I'd known about both of these guys knowing Bok, I would've liked to have asked them about him, though this may be all Cumming remembers.

Complete Courses in Civil Service by James W. Calley, Civil Service Pub. Co., Bayside New York 1936 5th ed., 272pp.
These were the "Mental Tests - Questions and Answers" for the positions of Railway Postal Clerk, Mail Carrier, Inspector of Customs ($2,100/year), P.O. Clerk, Patrol Inspector ($1,800), Stenographer-Typist ($1,260-1,620), Immigrant Inspector ($2,100). The applicant is expected to have passed Third Grade Arithmetic and know (for example) how to do word problems involving logic and long division; how to spell "pewter", "bilious", and "chattel"; the capitols and principal cities of all the states and where the states are and where the major rivers are; the Constitution and civil government; and copying and correcting letters and other texts. The stenographer-typist was expected to know the difference between a mimeograph and a multigraph, but there is no mention of actual typewriters. I suspect most college graduates today would flunk these tests!

Saucers! by Laura Mundo Marxer, Whirling Wheels by Rev. John Miller STM, Interplanetary Carriers and Venusian Scouts by Ben Blazs, SEX AND THE UFO by Laura Mundo, and Update! ed. by James H. Wales
These - and several more - are all xeroxed typescript publications sent to me unsolicited by Mr. Wales, legible but lacking any attempt at elegance. As to the content I cannot make head nor tail of it - perhaps the Grey Ones have fogged my brain. The entire text of SEX AND THE UFO is in upper case, so that I feel like the writer is shouting at me. The problem with these papers is that the writers run mostly to bald assertions of unlikely and unverifiable "facts", with no attempt at logic or any basis in concensus reality. There is no way to get a handle on the impenetrable gibberish. How did discussion of interesting unexplained phenomena become a parody of religion? I have myself seen an unidentified flying object - my sister saw it too. It did not look like anything that could possibly fly, either to the naked eye or through binoculars. My first thought was that it was a balloon - a balloon after all could look like anything with the right paint job - but it was tumbling. How could a balloon tumble at a constant altitude? How could it change direction abruptly? I do not expect to find the answer in these papers....
A query to James Wales at the address (7803 Ruanne Ct) in Pasadena MD resulted in a note from him saying that he got my name and address from Keith Walker's Fanzine Fanatique!

Sunfire, Serapion, The Elf Trap and The Nightmare by Francis Stevens, Apex International.
Which is about all I know from the flyer Steve Sneyd sent. One side shows these four titles as on covers with Virgil Finlay art, while the other has a short blurb and a price list from a J. P. Moumon in France, with an instruction that buyers in North America can send him a check in dollars US or Canadian. The prices are $12 each (except $14 for Serapion) plus 10% for postage. That would bring a set of the four Francis Stevens books to $55. Since the flyer is undated I have e-mailed Moumon to confirm -

Sube Cane by Edward Bellamy Partridge, Penn Publishing Co., Philadephia 1925, 356pp, illus by "Widney".
This novel was apparently very popular at the time, as it first appeared in 1917 and was still being reprinted in 1925. According to offers of copies at, the earlier editions had color plates, but mine has only b&w. The book might have languished forgotten on my list of Duplicate books forever except that within a few weeks two people (one of them the author's grandson), e-mailed me about buying it.
I'm not sure why I have it at all - it doesn't seem to be SF or fantasy. Perhaps I was attracted by the odd title and the copious artwork. The artwork isn't credited, but the name "Widney" appears on the plates, and he (?) was competent if not brilliant. I suppose I'll have to read enough to see what it's about.
It's something like Tom Sawyer or Peck's Bad Boy or Aldritch's Story of a Bad Boy - easy to read and very funny.

Happy Hour Stories by Rowena Bennett, Whitman Publishing Co., Racine WI 1946, 382pp, illus in line by Sally De Frehn.
This large volume in large print on bad paper was found through the forum at where people describe books they have lost the title and author of, in hopes of having a long-lost book restored. I remembered only one story from this book, and it was a very early memory. I would have been 8 in 1946 - and could not have read the story much later. The story is a fantasy about an orphan boy whose cat eats a dictionary and is then able to talk. I had forgotten the detail that it was a rhyming dictionary and the cat talks in rhyme.
Another detail, which I remembered but didn't connect with this story, was the idea that hunger might be alleviated by reading the names of food items! And I am surprised that I didn't remember that the orphan boy is named Rob Roy, as I have an uncle and cousin of that name. The title of the story is The Rhyming Cat. Ms Bennett seems to have had a thing for non-human verbalization - the first story in the book is The Talking Lollipop. I suppose I should try to read the whole book to see if any other stories ring a bell in my aging brain-pan.
As I handled this book, six pennies fell out - I could not tell whether they had been between the pages or inside the spine. They had probably been put there by the book's first owner however, as they all predate the book. There are two 1943 steel pennies, and the other four are copper pennies dated 1920, 1942, and 1944.

Preface to an Unwritten Novel by Donald Corley (in the May 1927 Harper's Magazine.
I ran across this title in a reference book at the public library in Hampton Virginia when I first got interested in Corley back in the 1970s. But I could never find the work itself - or the reference book again! Now Douglas Anderson has kindly sent me a photocopy of the 8 pages in the old magazine. Doug says that there are a lot of uncollected Corley stories in the old magazines and that he thinks they are better than those in the books published by McBride - someone should publish a collection!
Once I knew the title and issue of the magazine where this appeared, I was able to look it up on the Net, and found that a bound volume of the half-year containing this issue was not very expensive. The copy I got was bound for the Parmly Billings Memorial Library, and then further defaced with stamps of the Billings Montana public library. The covers and tables of contents were omitted, but an index to the 800pp volume by title is bound in at the back.
Hard to say just what this piece "...written in Tokay, and pounced with tarnished stardust..." is "about". It may be about writing a novel, but not one that was ever published - though this was written before his only published novel, The Fifth Son of the Shoemaker. A little like Borges, a little like Rabelais!

The Pleasures of a Futuroscope by Lord Dunsany (1878-1957), Hippocampus Press, New York 2003, 200pp, $32.95.
Who would have thought that there would be a new Dunsany novel after all these years - and with such an awkward title. This was published with the permission of the trustees of the estate, and edited by S. T. Joshi. The cover art by Jeff Remmer is unfortunate, but there is an excellent photo of Lord Dunsany on the back of the d/w.
This was written, according to the introduction, in 1955, and provided as a typescript corrected in Dunsany's hand. It is a very curious tale - the narrator, apparently an old man living alone, comes into possession of a machine that can view the future. It has locality and zoom controls as well a setting for the time. But the old man seems to have no interest in the money or power which might be gained by the ability to see the future - the plot concerns the lives of stone-age level survivors of some catastrophic destruction that results in a crater lake where London used to be. <{>John and Diane Fox down in the Antipodes send four more books!

The Shattered Goddess by Darrell Schweitzer, New English Library, 1996, 242pp, wraps, 5.99GBP.
Or $A14.95 in Australia - for a mass-market pb. Still a bit of sticker shock to anyone in my generation! I see that I have the 1982 trade pb from Donning - $5.95.
Pure fantasy, with no attempt at historical or technological underpinning.

My Lady Tongue and Other Tales by Lucy Sussex, William Heinemann Asutralia 1990, 280pp trade pb.
Striking collage cover. The author was born in New Zealand and has lived in Australia since 1971. The title story won the Ditmar Award in 1989.

And Disregards the Rest by Paul Voermans, Gollancz, London 1993, 256pp, 4.99.
The cover shows a man being driven mad by the sight of flying eggplants with pink wings - I know just how he feels.... "Powerfully strange...." says the cover blurb!

Map of Power by Tess Williams, Arrow, Australia 1996, 506pp, $A14.95.
High-tech far-future fantasy.

The Eerie Mr. Murphy by Howard Wandrei, Fedogan & Bremer, Minneapolis 2003, 424pp, illus by author, $35.
The long-delayed matching companion volume to Time Burial, with art in the text and an extensive artfolio in the back. Another volume, Don't Send a Boy, is noted as forthcoming. I will not hold my breath - I had ordered this one through Charles McKee:
and it was cancelled and then revived before finally being shipped in July.
Some of the artwork (which looks a lot like that of Wallace Smith) is signed "Olmier von Drei". About half the book is taken up with pulp reprints from the 1930s, and the rest with juvenilia, previously unpublished material, and artwork.

Medusas by Lee Ballentine and Psallat Ecclesia Mater Illibata by Notker Balbulus, Hilltop Press, West Yorkshire 2002, 16pp, color illos, 1.65/$3.
These poems from Steve Sneyd's press are bound topsy-turvy like an old Ace Double, each with a color cover by Paul Petard. And each has an introduction in microprint that is far longer than the work itself. It is all very mysterious, and I'm sure anything I said about it would be a misunderstanding! The Notker Babalus piece is given in both English and Latin. It may be available from:

American Nights Entertainment by Grant Overton, Appleton/Doran/Doubleday/Scribners, New York 1923, 414pp, photos, index.
This is the first book I ever saw attributed to four major publishers! Apparently it was a cooperative effort to promote the sale of their books through bookstores. The 26pp index is in very small print and very detailed. Each of the 22 chapters is on a different author or subject, and there are portraits of ten authors bound in. One chapter uses Lewis Carroll's Alice as a character in the exposition. The authors featured are those whose books filled the used-book stores I started going to in the 1960s - mostly forgotten today except for Joseph Conrad.

Cargoes for Crusoes by Grant Overton, Appleton/Doran/Little Brown, New York 1924, 416pp, photos, index.
Similar to the previous by the same author. Both are 1st editions, and this one has a note pasted in the front that it was sent as a gift from the "Deseret Book Company". Aldous Huxley gets a chapter but no photo, as does E Phillips Oppenheim. In addition to the subject index, this one contains a 14pp "Price Index" - a list of books, alphabetical by author, with the price of each. Most are around $2!
These two Grant Overton books were given to me by Steven Mayes, who ran across IGOTS on the website - much thanks!

Hitting the Skids in Pixeltown ed. by Orson Scott Card, Phobos Books, New York 2003, 279pp, wraps, $14.95.
The 2nd annual Phobos Award anthology - at the back we get bios of the writers and the judges. Card was assisted at the editing by Keith Olexa and Christian O'Toole.
This is an award for new writers, and indeed I never heard of any of them, with the possible exception of Carl Fredericks - could this be the Carlton Fredericks who used to write the "Marching Barnacles" column for Ed Meskys' Niekas? It is an excellent story.

Nobody Gets the Girl by James Maxey, Phobos Books, New York 2003, 244pp, wraps, $14.95.
Both the trade pbs from Phobos are review copies. This one is a novel - a "comic book novel" according to the subtitle. The hero is invisible and one of the villians is a 100-ft baby doll with a gun for a head. Gimme a break....

Tales of Wonder by Mark Twain, Bison Books, Univ. of Nebraska 2003, 385pp, notes, bibliography, wraps, $16.95.
This trade pb originally appeared in 1984 as The Science Fiction of Mark Twain. The editor is David Ketterer. The best-known piece, A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court, is represented only by excerpts on the time-travels aspects of that tale. I was most impressed with the wild and energetic attack on the Christian Scientists in The Secret History of Eddypus, the World Empire - in this alternate history, Pius XII is the last Pope. After that, the world was ruled for 1000 years by 103 women named "Mary Baker G. Eddy" in succession!

I also heard from:

Jan Alvarez, who traded Tolkien buttons with me - I sold her a bunch of the John Closson and Nancy Lebovitz designs I had made in the 70s and she gave me one from a promotion in New Zealand where contributors got their names put on the back of theater seats.

Doug Anderson, who sent me a copy of his annotation of The Hobbit (see above) and a xerox of a bizarre Leonard Cline story from a 1923 issue of The Laughing Horse. This is titled Polypimple's Apocalypse and reveals (in case you ever needed to know) that Cline's middle name was Lanson. Doug also sent a Donald Corley story I had sought for years - see above.

Dave & Su Bates, who send a Christmas card.

George Beahm, who arranged for the Tim Kirk cover; and sent some prints made by the new "Giclee" process.

Rose Beetem, who sends two issues of the DASFA's (Denver fandom) beautiful fanzine Periodical Lungfish from the previous millennium.

Sheryl Birkhead, who sends a card with a picture of the Dusky Tree Kangaroo, and asks where the Interplanetary Postage stamp came from - I think John Berry designed and printed it.

Dainis Bisenieks, who notes that all five of the strange novels of the late Edward Whittemore have been reprinted by Old Earth Books (which is run by the old Baltimore fan Mike Walsh).
Dainis also sends the old book by Crothers mentioned above; and mentions a number of typos in IGOTS 24. There are probably more here!

Nelson Bond, who says not to send him IGOTS any more, as he is legally blind and cannot read anything smaller than 22-point. Perhaps he can read it online with the right software.

Bill Bridget, who sent by Priority Mail (with a card congratulating me on my 1998 retirement) three Harry Potter candles (votive?), a diskette with a WMA file of the Dixie Chicks doing "White Trash Wedding", and a CD-R of the soundtrack of The Prince of Egypt. Perhaps this is in celebration of my having survived 5 years of retirement.... When I responded to the address on the box, the Post Awful bounced it back - I finally discovered that one digit in the street number was wrong when Bill sent another package with a candle, a fancy typesetting of the first two pages of The Enchanted Duplicator, a JPG file of Dan Steffan's painting of Jophan and his Shield of Umor, and a WMA file of "Does Your Chewing Gum Lose Its Flavor on the Bedpost Overnight". This last would not open but only produced some gobbledegook from MicroSoft about "migrating licenses".

Bill Burns, who kindly sent Netscape 4.8 on CD as I had not been able to download the free upgrade with my dial-up modem - and included on the CD the entire contents of (at that time, November 2002)!

Ron Clarke, who notes that he found some manuscript pages by Mae Strelkov in his garage, and will be publishing them in The Mentor. I have amended the manuscript inventory in IGOTS 22 (online). Ron complains that I didn't seem to be really enthusiastic about anything in #24 - getting old, I guess. I wrote him to say how much I liked LeGuin's The Telling - see above.

Tom Cockcroft, who has completed an index to the letters in Famous Fantastic Mysteries and Fantastic Novels (published in the Langley Searles' Fantasy Commentator), and now another such to the letters in Super Science Stories. There has been mention on the fictionmags list of such indexes for several other magazines, and vague notions of putting them all on a website.
Tom also sent the very early satirical revision of the Ten Commandments by Arthur Hugh Clough (1819-1861) who wrote a 20-line satirical poem published just after his death called The Latest Decalogue. This contains the oft-quoted "Thou shalt not kill, but need'st not strive / Officiously to keep alive."

Andrew Convery, who sends an explanation of the Bruno Furst Number Dictionary mentioned in IGOTS 7 (Nov'90). The dictionary was sold through magazine ads in the '50s and '60s and came with pamphlets explaining how to use it as a memory system to be applied to any list you might want in your brain. Andrew says he was able to use it as a child to memorize the order of the cards in a deck in less than a minute. It looks to me as though the talent is in Andrew, not in Furst's system - I don't think it would work for me!

Kevin Cook, who I have been trading apazines with.

Margaret Cubberly, who was interested in Katherine Mansfield's odd The Aloe but didn't buy it, as it's still here. She also liked Taral's "New Ten Commandments".

Chester Cuthbert, who sends a clipping from the Winnipeg Free Press noting that the 37,000-piece pulp collection that Robert Stimpson left the University of Winnipeg in 1996 has been sold to dealer L. W. Currey for $140,000.

Don Dailey, who welcomes me as an Associate Member of First Fandom - active more than 30 years but not before January 1, 1939 - and encloses a copy of the Bylaws.

"Good Time Eddie" Ferrell, of 1970s Carolina fandumb, who e-mails me with the URL of the music site where he appears:

Brad Foster, who mentions the Baltimore bookstore where the books are free - see:

Chuck Freudenthal, who e-mails from the "Second Fandom Fringe" with an "anti-Tolkien" article that I can't find now.

E. B. Frohvet, who accused me of concentrating on "occult" tomes here - I think there were three mentioned in #24.

Alexis Gilliland, who sends two of his inimitable cartoons, and asks for a copy of my tape of his great fan opera, Inside 2001. I was on the front row with my recorder when this was presented at a DisClave long ago.

Jim Goldfrank, who ran across Ian Lawther playing the bagpipe at a metro stop in the DC area - Lawther has a website at:!

Mary Gray, who also liked The Girl Green as Elderflower and didn't realize the "Hobart Gladiator" was not the name of an actual typewriter make.

Thomas Hall, who says he just got Arthur Machen's translation of The Fortunate Lovers - I've never seen that. He also asks if the Edsel CDs such as the reprint of the Knight/Johnson The King of Elfland's Daughter are made in France - no, according to the liner they are made in The Netherlands.

John Hertz, who sends his zine Vanamonde and also an offprint from Chronicle of his report there on the 2002 worldcon in San Jose. An excellent account, with photos, but I do not regret missing it or feel any urge to go to TorCon (if SARS allows for a TorCon). Did I grow up, or grow old? I don't know.

Anthony Holcroft down in the Antipodes, who bought two copies of Bogey Beasts and promised me a cassette of the Josef Holbrooke music - so far he has sent an odd booklet of surrealist art by Leonard Lambert, see above.

John Howard, who says that the two Fritz Leiber books from Midnight House are worth getting in spite of the typos.

Ben Indick, who says he is not going to buy a second house to put more books in....

Terry Jeeves, who says he gave up buying SF ten years ago!

Ted Ketton (at, who sent me a second copy of the King of Elfland's Daughter CD - someone wanted this, but I have forgotten who.

Herman Stowell King, who sends a Christmas card. And then, in July, a card giving his e-mail address:
He uses a limited system however - plaintext only, no attachments. In October he sent a Halloween card, and another this October - alas, I have fallen behind getting this zine out even once a year....

Ken Lake, who sends a Christmas card but not much else since his word-processor died. He's trying to get going again with a PC. In October he phoned and said he was hoping to learn to use a Mac that had been installed.

Robert Lichtman, who notes that Bob Leman's Feesters in the Lake was followed by a chapbook called Instructions about a "strangely compelling symbol". I never heard any more however - oops, I see a flyer for this from Tachyon was lost in the box where I throw things for IGOTS. Robert complains about my having three copies of Adventures in Unhistory and not offering to sell one - well, I gave one away, one is mint, and the other is a worn copy with special meaning to me as it was signed by Davidson to Bill Danner.

Eric Lindsay, who notes (in connection with the HTML errors in the online IGOTS that I could not see with my own browser) that most sites have some errors. He recommends some "validator" sites but I fear the voodoo is beyond me.

Joseph Major, who quotes Skeptical Inquirer to the effect that the Oak Island "mystery" was just a scam in support of Masonic organizations.

Sean McLachlan, who used to trade Ichthyoelectroanalgesia with me. Says he is now a full-time writer, married, and moving to Spain. He promises to send me his illustrated history of Byzantium!

Murray Moore, who says that while Toronto does have less crime than comparable US cities, he is dubious about Michael Moore's statement in Bowling for Columbine that people there don't lock their doors.

Julia Morgan-Scott, who sent a CD-ROM of some of her artwork, some of it in color. She explains that this went to many faneds at once, as she works three jobs and barely has time to do any art, much less keep track of who might use it. A different approach, and certainly the best way to distribute color art, which involves large file sizes. I don't even try to use much tone with my laser printer, and can't do color at all. And aside from the technical details, my preference is for line art, and I like Julia's line art very much.

Harry O. Morris, who sends a historical photo of a cowboy using a jack rabbit for cattle herding.

Dale Nelson, who sends a depressing rant about buying more books than one is likely to live to read - yeah, but I'm addicted....

Rick Norwood, one of the old SFPA gang, who says he is trying to prove the Hadamard Conjecture; and mentions a book I never heard of, Mr Belloc Objects by H G Wells.

Cath Ortlieb, who e-mails a query about the source of the "New Ten Commandments" in IGOTS 24 - Taral both devised and typeset this page.

Ken Ozanne, who moved his massive book collection to a new house in the midst of the disastrous Australian forest fires.

KRin Pender-Gunn, who sends a postcard - note the name change from "Karin", even more mysterious on the postcard, where the "R" was smeared into weirdness.

Lloyd Penney, who notes that he is one of the voices on a spoken-word CD of five horror short stories by Canadian authors, available from:
but this was a year ago so who knows. No use to look for the latest news here! Lloyd says he would like to see the Interplanetary stamp I printed an image of and asks the color and size - it's b&w, gummed, 1.15x2.85 inches.

Derek Pickles, (now, says that Steve Stiles' cover critter was a "hell of chicken" - bet he wouldn't say that to its face! Derek also sends a Christmas card.

Jessica Salmonson, who sends a fancy one-of-a-kind Solstice Tree decoration and a cryptic Pag-Hat the Rat Girl postcard of comment.

Roger Sheppard, who says that he celebrates the arrival of IGOTS by having two breakfasts and reading it straight through - well, I'll hardly be to blame if he gets too fat! He didn't know I like Tanith Lee....

Gavin Smith, who told me that the old LP Going to Damascus by Carl Oglesby had been done on CD. This CD (UV 063 and VMD 6527/6569 are the arcane codes on the liner) from Universe, a division of Comet Records, is available through and there is also a This CD contains both of the Carl Oglesby LPs, two of my all-time favorites.

Gavin also notes (as of October 2002) that two pages are missing from the Hippocampus Press edition of The Black Diamonds by Clark Ashton Smith and will be in the next edition, or might be gotten from the Hippocampus Press website or the Eldritch Dark website. I checked these sites in October 2003 but found nothing about it. So I e-mailed them and Derrick Hussey at Hippocampus Press:
says they will be made available later for download by people who bought the book.

Steve Sneyd, who asked for more from the book about Lancashire legends, as he has explored the area.
Steve later sent an Ace-double style poetry chapbook from his Hilltop Press (see above) and a large collection of clippings, including some modern anti-war posters and the Francis Stevens reprint flyer - see above.

Milt Stevens, who sends an e-loc saying that he didn't think an explanation of the Purple People Eater was necessary or possible; and that he had been told that Goldbach Conjecture (that every even number is the sum of two primes) is false because 2 is an even number and 1 is not (but why?). I am no expert in Number Theory, but that does not seem like the interesting end of the problem to me. Milt also notes the pun in there being 288 (two gross) of limericks in the Limericks: Two Gross mentioned last time, and points out that the prohibition against oral copulation in the California Penal Code is Section 288(A)!

Harry Turner, who sends a Christmas card with his own excellent art.

Mark Valentine, who sends the beautifully printed One Farthing postage stamp designed by C.P.Langeveld for the Republic of Upware, featuring a portrait of Samuel Barber. In the retro spirit of the thing, the user has to supply his own adhesive.

Juan Carlos Verrecchia down in Argentina, who mentions the gruesome financial situation there - he e-mails me in Spanish and I e-mail him in English!

Harry Warner who was 80 in December of 2002. Harry mentions the death of John Maule, whose strange books (published under the name Ilya Mourometz) were mentioned here. Harry himself died in February of this year.

Toni Weisskopf-Reinhardt, who sends a Christmas card with a photo of a polar-bear family, the cub wearing a Santa hat - I bet that was added to the image by cyber-voodoo.

Fred Woodworth, who also had a roller spontaneously go from the solid to the liquid state - his was in an A.B.Dick platemaker in an uncooled shed in the high desert near Tucson, mine was in a Gestetner 320 in a cool basement. Planned obsolescence?

And so closes another issue, in the third year of the reign of the False Steward. I hope that all of you had a Happy Halloween, and will have

A Merry Christmas


A Happy New Year!

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