It Goes On The Shelf

No.6 November 1989

Published at The Sign of the Purple Mouth by Ned Brooks
4817 Dean Lane, Lilburn GA 30047-4720
Website -

Cover art by Sheryl Birkhead
Art by Alexis Gilliland
P.1 self-portrait by Ben Indick

The big box that I've been throwing stuff in since IGOTS 5 is full, so it must be time to do IGOTS 6. . .

The Encyclopedia of Monsters by Jeff Rovin, Facts On File, New York, 1989, large 4to hardcover in d/w, 390pp including index, acid-free paper, $29.95. This is a review copy of the latest companion volume to Rovin's Encyclopedia of SuperHeroes and Encyclopedia of Super Villains. The introduction pretty much ducks the issue of how a monster differs from a villain, but entries from the previous volume are apparently not repeated, though I haven't checked each one. Each entry is coded for the source - comics, literature, movies, TV, etc. The volume is well-illustrated in b&w from the sources, but the extensive color pages of the previous volumes in the series are absent.

Our favorite bad novel, Werewolf vs The Vampire Woman by Arthur N. Scram (or Scarm) is mentioned in the long entry under "El Hombre Lobo", about the wolf man or werewolf (named Waldemar) played by Paul Naschy in a series of seven Spanish films in the late 60s and early 70s. The Scarm book is said to be a very loose novelization of the 1970 La Noche de Walpurgis

This is a useful, well-made reference book. Address Books On File, 460 Park Avenue South, New York, NY-10016

Ernest Mann at the Little Free Press, 2714 1st Avenue South, Minneapolis, Minn-55408, one of the publishers who trades with us, sends a notice of his COA and lists his available back issues. He says that his zines are still free, but asks that readers pay the postage - 25 cents in the US. All of his publications have to do with the idea that we would be better off with a `free' economy - by which he means that all goods and services would be free and everyone would work for no pay.

Rosemary's Tadpole, published by Janet Fox, 519 Ellinwood, Osage City, Kansas-66523-1329, 1989, 8vo softcover, 36pp, $2. This is #4 in the series of Killer Frog Contest Anthologies. I found out about it when Richard Dengrove reprinted his 1st-prize entry The Carrot of Death in his zine for the Southern Fandom Press Alliance. This story is so funny that I sent for the anthology. Pretty good too, with some nice art that must be by Janet herself, as it isn't creditted.

The Money Personality $ by A. E. van Vogt, Parker Publishing Co., West Nyack, NY, 1972, small 4to, 201pp. The d/w and price are missing from this copy, though it is in good condition otherwise. The back of the title page reveals that the `A.E.' stands for `Alfred Elton'. I suppose this must be the sf writer, and probably the best-known writer ever to have sunk to producing verbiage for the infamous Parker line of exploitative self- help books. Any van Vogt completist that wants the thing may contact me, I'm sure we can arrange a mutually satisfactory deal.

The Last Cat

Book by Robert E. Howard, Dodd Mead, New York, 1984, 8vo pb, illustrated by Peter Kuper, $5.95. I was somewhat startled to see this offered at $1.95 in Edward Hamilton's remainder catalog. I didn't even know Howard had ever written about cats. A previous appearance in Glenn Lord's Howard Collector (Autumn'71) is noted, but the excellent Kuper illustrations are new here. The writing reminds me a lot of Daniel Pinkwater's wonderful tales of his malemutes and Maine coon cats. I got a few extra in case other Howard fans had missed it.

Notebook for Betty-Sue Bach, P. D. Q. Bach, Theodore Presser Company, Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania, nd (1967 and 1973 copyrights noted), 28pp 4to pb, $2.50. Edited, of course, by Prof. Peter Schickele, and decorated with very silly pseudo-baroque borders. Includes eight pieces for piano (two hands). I wonder what it sounds like?

Monsters & Madonnas by William Mortensen, Jacques de Langre, Hollywood, 1967, 11x14 hc in d/w, $20. Not to be confused with the 1936 book of the same title published by CameraCraft in San Francisco - this one has some of the plates in full color. It seems to be sold exclusively (for $49 - the price given above is what is on the d/w) by an odd outfit called The Grain & Salt Society (Box DD, Magalia, Calif 95954) whose main business is to sell imported French sea-salt and "Super blue-green algae" - they don't seem to offer any grain - perhaps the name of the Society is really Grain of Salt - as in "to be taken with a..."! But it's a handsome book anyway. Mortensen specialized in what can only be called fantasy photography, producing with makeup and staging and special effects pictures that have the impact of something by Maxfield Parrish or N C Wyeth. I see that this book corresponds to Part One of the older one, and they were hoping (twenty years ago!) to do Part Two. But even though this book seems to dated 1967, it is in mint condition.

The Hobbit, A Musical Play, music by Allan Jay Friedman, lyrics by David Rogers, book by Ruth Perry, Dramatic Publishing Company, Chicago, 1972, 124pp small 8vo pb. An attractive booklet that Ken Ozanne spotted in a junk store while visiting here and was kind enough to let me have for my Tolkien collection. This is, according to the title page, an authorized adaptation. The music, alas, is not included. The lyrics are dubious to say the least - the forest scene with the trolls around the campfire has one of them singing "The Troll King's Eatin' Song":

Sea food on Friday, some mermaid sauteed
Washed down with a glass of cold waternymphade
A wood elf named Galion has been added, and two spiders named Arachne and Arachnius. Foo... The back cover seems to have been lifted from the original map in the book and modified by the addition of what look like leprechauns.

MagiCon Original Bookmark Anthology, Joe Siclari (ed.), MagiCon, Orlando, Florida, 1989, 8 2x8-inch cards, unbound. Most of the stories were written for the anthology (including one by our Northern Ireland correspondent Walt Willis), and most have original art by a well-known artist. A clever idea that will no doubt be driving bibliographers and collectors mad for years to come.

The Treasure of the Isle of Mist by W. W. Tarn, Putnam's, New York, 1934, 184pp 8vo hc in d/w, illus. by Robert Lawson, $2. According to the d/w blurb, there were many previous editions of this book, but they are not credited on the back of the title page. In any case, this is the first with the Robert Lawson art. Reginald notes a 1919 edition from Philip Allan in London, so perhaps all the previous editions are British. I always felt that Lawson's talent was wasted on most of the books he illustrated - here he shows what he can do with a real fantasy, and it is almost as good as Heath Robinson.

Some of thus stuff in this box has become incomprehensible since I threw it in there - what can I have meant to say about a local newspaper survey of readers' preference in comic strips, or an ad from Gerber for very expensive reproductions of old comics covers? And then there's an ad for a video from End of the World Enterprises - I think I told them that I would consider running their ad in IGOTS if they sent the video and I thought it was worth getting, but I don't think I ever heard from them.

Letter from Kathleen Gallagher (Box 42, Worthington, Ohio-43085), who was somewhat put out that I sent her something addressed to `Karen' Gallagher. (Perhaps it's because this letter is signed just `KG'!) "Thanks for the recent copy of IGOTS, how ever what does you gots? (It's late and I'm trying.)" (You certainly are...)

"Quintessential Space Debris will be out later this month or early February. The holidays are over and I'm out of excuses to not fanac."

"My humble urges can't match the creativity of many of your loc writers. I put my first creative urges into having a child. Now, I put them into fanzines. It's not nearly as messy (You never saw Phil Harrell do mimeo!) or as expensive as more children."

The C. S. Lewis Hoax by Kathryn Lindskoog, Multnomah, Portland Oregon, 1988, 175pp 8vo hc in d/w (but the price is omitted), illus. by Patrick Wynne. The Multnomah Press, it say here, is "a ministry of the Multnomah School of the Bible", and indeed the catalog they sent with this book was mostly inspirational literature. I don't know the origin of the name `Multnomah' - it looks Latinish at the front and Amerindish at the back. A nicely made book, and well written too, all on the subject of just how Walter Hooper has carried out his self-appointed stewardship of the literary estate of the late C. S. Lewis. Not at all well, according to Ms Lindskoog, and she makes a good case, which I am hardly qualified to judge, but have not seen any refutation of it either.

This is a complex book, but the most serious charges against Hooper seem to be that he created the idea that he was a long-time friend of Lewis out of `smoke and mirrors' in order to seize control of the literary estate; and then mis-edited some of the papers - most notably in that he had published as Lewis' work the fragment of a novel to have been called The Dark Tower. Ms Lindskoog says he wrote this himself, and furthermore, lifted parts of it from the well-known 1962 novel A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle, even though it is presented as a fragment that Lewis abandoned in 1939.

The Patrick Wynne artwork consists of small chapter-headings, but it is quite excellent. I also like the quotation from Logan Pearsall Smith given at the beginning: It is almost always worthwhile to be cheated; people's little frauds have an interest which more than repays what they cost us.

Marc Ortlieb (Box 215, Forest Hill, Vict. 3131, Australia) writes -
"Greetings etc from the chilly summer state of Victoria. It is a typically antipodean summer everywhere except Melbourne, where we got just short of the average December rainfall on Christmas Day alone and where the one-day cricket match between Pakistan and Australia was shortened due to flooding of the pitch. Everyone is screaming Greenhouse Effect but I don't know what those glass houses where the local market gardeners grow rows of tomato plants to shield their marijuana plantations have to do with the weather, unless it's the old Sodom & Begorrah effect." (Is this a Pat & Mike joke? It seems almost impossible to decrease amount of carbon dioxide put into the atmosphere by the increasing use of fossil fuels by an increasing world population - the idea that the Good Life involves getting in your car and going somewhere has been promoted for too long. Can we attack the problem from the other side by creating more shrubbery to take carbon dioxide out of the air?)

"Your book marking scheme looks very much like the one I use to grade my students - anything less than 80% isn't worth it." (Ah, but some of the most interesting books were down in the below-10% range! I have abandoned the attempt to assign any such crude linear measure to books, and I would recommend doing the same with your students - even the `worst' of them may be good for something (even if only to serve as a bad example), and the `best' of them may well turn out to be (ptui!) politicians.) "Waiting for a book to be remaindered doesn't seem to take long now-a-days, especially here in Australia, where we often find British and U.S. remainders dumped on the market before the book itself is released here officially. I just wish they wouldn't punch the holes in the covers - I know that a goodly percentage of remaindered books are only worthy of hanging up in the dunny, but pre-punching the string hole is short of subtle."

"A letter from Walt Willis and Vincent Clarke! It's almost enough to make me want to pub another ish - but not quite, despite the delightful natterings. Letters like that help justify the dead trees that fandom generates. I've often considered trying to psychoanalyse fans, based on the way they organize their book collections. I imagine Harry Warner Jr as having a copy of every book ever written, filed carefully, with two pages reviews folded inside each back cover. Joseph Nicholas and Judith Hanna's collection contains copies of ideologically sound s.f. categorized according to political context, alongside the works of Marx, Trotski et al... (The ideologically unsound material is used as a target for Joseph's model helicopter gunships.) Bruce Gillespie's collection would be graded from mildly depressing to blackly nihilistic..."

"Arthur Machen's essay was interesting, especially in the light of the reader response critics of the late sixties and early seventies. I've been dipping into Stanley Fish's Is There A Text In This Class? recently, having first encountered it while doing a refresher course in English Literature in 1984. Fish was, in his early work, fascinated by the idea that a text cannot exist in isolation from the reader's interpretation of it. His article `What makes an interpretation acceptable?' contains a quotation that should be imprinted on all fanzines that enter into disputes."

"`...disagreements cannot be resolved by reference to the facts because the facts emerge only in the context of some point of view.'
I'm not sure I understand that! Is he a damned relativist or does he grant the existence of an objective fact (however complex)? To me, if there ain't no elephant, or at least the hope of an elephant, the story of the blind men and the elephant becomes extremely pointless and depressing."

Among The Quiet Folks by John Moore, Lippincott, Philadelphia, 1967, 216pp 8vo hardcover in d/w, $4.50. I have mentioned the books of John Moore in previous issues. A British collector told me that this one is quite rare because it was issued first in the US. I found this one in a very small bookstore in Norfolk that had just opened and the books were still being sorted. Fourteen excellent stories, most on the edge of fantasy or the surreal, with settings varying from 17th century England to the West Indies during WWII.

Ruth Berman (2809 Drew Avenue South, Minneapolis, Minn-55416) writes -
"You mentioned that you find it hard to resist a fantasy with a map - I forget if you've discussed a couple of books by sort of Minnesota writers (the qualifier is because one lives in Wisconsin, but she got her degree here), Daughter of the Bear King by Eleanor Arnason, with maps by P.C.Hodgell, and Godstalk and Dark of the Moon by P.C.Hodgell with her own maps. All of their work is excellent. And the maps are a lot of fun. `Bear King', besides the maps of the fantasy worlds involved, has a map of the parts of Minneapolis and St.Paul that come into the story. (I have seen the Eleanor Arnason name somewhere (F&SF?), but I am not familiar with these books.)

"And you were wondering how `nigger' is translated into French. French doesn't have any way to distinguish between `nigger' and `negro', and translates both as negre. One time I was reading a translation into English of some stories by Prosper Merimee, and noticed that there were some places in one story where the evil ship-captain referred to niggers (the narrative referred only to negroes). A righteous, but not very sensitive, reader had crossed out all the `niggers' and put in `negroes', apparently not realizing that the translator was underscoring how Evil the captain was. I checked a copy of the French text, and found as I expected that the original had negre throughout. An interesting question is whether the translator really should have stressed the captain's badness that way, or whether having the captain be polite enough to say `negro' would have minimized his badness so much as to be false to the original. (And whether a more modern translator ought to be using the term `Blacks', although I think this translation came out at a time when `negro' was the correct term.)" (Take that Gary Grady (a Slan I have argued the merits of Esperanto with over the years)! Esperanto could no more translate "nigger" than French - at least the French of Merimee, who wrote in the mid-1800s. Surely by the time of the French colonies in Africa there must have been denigrating (!) terms for the natives to justify their mistreatment...)

"I suspect that "laissez moi en paix" {in Eugene Sue's Wandering Jew discussed in the last issue} could have been translated into slang as "chain up your curb" if the translator had a feeling that the character was a slangy type, or if the translator was just feeling whimsical that day." (The character who says "chain up your curb" is an old soldier named Dagobert, a rather puritanical old bird who would probably use whatever expressions were common to his social niche, but wasn't the type to invent colorful expressions. He says it to a villain of the piece who is harassing him (for ulterior motives that are unknown to him and not very clear to the reader either) in an inn.)

On The Side Of The Angels by Harold Begbie, Hodder & Stoughton, London, 1925, 126pp small 8vo pb, 1 shilling. This is the fourth edition of Mr Begbie's book, but there is no publishing history. Subtitled "The Story of the Angels at Mons" and "An Answer to The Bowmen", with a rather nice cover featuring two angels forming an arch of crossed swords, this book insists that Arthur Machen's famous story, of WWI British troops being inspired at the Battle of Mons by a vision of armed angels in the sky, is really true. Machen insisted to the end of his life that he invented the tale.

The Bowmen was first published on September 29, 1914, in a paper called The Evening News. When it was reprinted in book form in 1915 in The Angels of Mons, Machen declared that the story was pure invention. Begbie insists that Machen is not only wrong, but is deliberately lying for some obscure reason, that the story was inspired by a published newspaper account of the retreat of the British Army from Mons. Alas, this news story is never quoted, nor the date and place of its publication given. All of the eye-witnesses to the actual event are only identified as "Corporal -----" and "Capt. -----", etc., except for a Pvt. Cleaver. Machen himself looked into the testimony of Pvt. Cleaver and discovered that Cleaver was not in the retreat from Mons, but in Westchester at that time.

Begbie's principal complaint seems to be that Machen (who after all wrote a great deal of fiction and non-fiction about faith and miracles and presumably would have been happy to believe in a real miracle) insists on denying the reality of the story of the Angels at Mons and thus removes some essential spiritual support for British patriotism. His book is quite full of jingoistic claptrap and totally gratuitous anti-Semitic rubbish in the most tedious Victorian prose.

I don't remember where I got this book. It isn't in spectacularly good condition - the top of the spine is gone - but I will put it with the Machen books in a baggie as it is rather fragile.

Chester Cuthbert (1104 Mulvey Avenue, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada) writes -
"Many thanks for your letter of October 30th, the copy of Slanapa 225 for October, and also for IGOTS #5 which has just arrived. Although I have read none of the books you review, I am always happy to have your comments concerning them." (I know what you mean - book reviews may reveal something you would like to read, or on the other hand assure you that you needn't bother!) "We seldom agree concerning our reading impressions, but we have common enthusiasms like Merritt and Machen." (I am glad to remember having read Merritt, but I doubt I will ever read much of his work again.)

"Thanks for your mentions of the New Orleans worldcon."

"Thanks also for the information about the Spearman edition of Burn Witch Burn, and for identifying the Liveright editions you have."

"The Philadelphia addresses your letter provided may be useful if David McClintock, from whom I order most of my current books, does not already have a line on what happened to Oswald Train's stock."

"The latest catalog I had from Madle is his 1987. He may have dropped my name from his mailing list, as I have never ordered anything from him; the rate of exchange has been so much against the Canadian dollar, that I trade with David McClintock; in fact he sends me cheques for out-of-print Arkham House books."

The Lemurian Stone by Stephen F. Hickman, Ace, New York, 1988, 342pp small 8vo pb, $3.50. With a cover by the author, who is better known for his artwork than his writing. As mentioned above, I am a sucker for a fantasy with a map. And this one is not at all bad as sword and super-science thrillers go. I carried it about with me and read it bit by bit while waiting for waiters and bank tellers and so on. I mention it here mostly because of my annoyance at the nomenclature. In spite of the title, there is no connection in the plot with the original Lemuria of Sclater, invented as scientific speculation, nor even with the silly books of Col. Churchward. Having given up any hope of an explanation of the title, the reader is lulled by the generally rationally chosen names of characters and places as the story progresses - and then, like a cockroach in the soup, we come across "The Battle of Colophon". Now, the only common use of the word `colophon' (from the Greek word meaning summit or crowning touch) is to denote the section of a book or magazine that reveals when and where and by whom it was published. There is also an archaic use of the word to mean pitch made from the resin of the fir tree - this derives from the name of the town of Colophon in Lydia, also a part of ancient Greece - Croesus was a king of Lydia. But why afflict the reader with either of these references by using the name for a battle that did not even take place on Earth, in fact in a universe that does not even include Earth as we know it?

Ray Zorn (Box 173, Berne, Indiana - 46711) writes -
"Thank you for IGOTS #5. It hardly seems a year since #4 came my way, but my card file says it was by way of a Christmas greeting then."

"IGOTS #5 is interesting as usual. I see my name en passant so I'll keep this (would anyway) as I have the four previous issues. I am not expecting to be quoted! I think I said so before; you were wise in mislaying my previous notes, and can do so with this." (Life is full of little surprises...) "Your review of a John Moore book sent me back to IGOTS #3 and reminded me that I had told you then I had acquired for my Linklater collection John Moore's England, the best of his country writing chose and edited by Eric Linklater (Collins, 1970)." (I've never seen this book, would like to have a copy!) "I haven't read it yet; I tell myself I have a long life ahead because of `all these books' yet to read. Think I probably also mentioned I obtained Michael Parnell's Eric Linklater, A Critical Biography (John Murray, London, 1984), an impressively handsome book with a good bibliography. (Still unread.) When Edrich bookseller of London heard I had this they wanted to know where I got it!" (I get the Edrich lists - did you recommend they send them? I am fairly sure I have never bought anything from them. Nice lists, but very expensive and mostly out of my line of interests. Hmm, perhaps I got a Mervyn Peake from them once...) "This year Edrich did get for me Linklater's Karina With Love, a thin quarto juvenile (Macmillan, London, 1958), photo illustrated, and a singularly illusive book. Quite different from any of his other books."

"I'm pretty much out of touch with the antiquarian book world, but Richard Minter still comes up with some surprises for my `personal bibliography' collection. Recently he wrote me that he had unearthed two large mailing envelopes I had sent him back in 1962, full of odds-and-ends of correspondence, etc from the late 1940's when I published The Lovecraft Collector three issues, 1949. I had remembered `dumping' this stuff on him, but had thought I had done it in the early 1950's when I suddenly lost the interest in HPL. Minter still has the original envelopes from me, with some letters, etc from fantasy `big names' still remaining, though Richard had sold some items long ago. I don't want all this `residue' back; I hope he finds a fantasy dealer who'll take it."

"But he did find something in that batch I can't account for! Xerox or facsimile copies of unknown origin of The Lovecraft Collector #1 and #3. These are distinctly different from the Everts/Connors (1976) reprints, or the Necronomicon (1977) reprint edition. Minter found these among the 1962 accumulation, but where they came from or how they got there is beyond my memory! You can be sure these are now in my own collection, labeled as of unknown origin! It is things like this that make me wonder what else is `somewhere out there' from my past but unknown to me. Richard has turned up many items for me; but there are still some I remember but that must be gone forever. It keeps a spark of interest though!"

"I went to many garage sales this summer, picking up books `just to read' or a few to keep. I've always passed books on to Jon Mason's great old book store at Wabash, Ind., but when I was there in June he had lock/stock/barrel up for sale ($137,500) and intended to move to Pennsylvania in September. I haven't heard whether he actually sold, or moved it all (what a job!) to Pennsylvania."

The Hidden Church of the Holy Graal by Arthur Edward Waite, Rebman Ltd, London, 1909, xix/714pp 8vo hc. Not the original edition, however, but an undated facsimile reprint (including an inscription by Waite) by the Yogi Publication Society of Des Plaines, Illinois. I acquired this at SciCon this very day - Bud Webster insisted that the Huckster Room at this convention contained "no books" except for comics and Trekkie items, and in general I agree with him, it was a poor excuse for a Huckster Room compared to the treasure vaults of yore. Nevertheless, I managed to buy $51 worth of books in about 20 minutes... This was one of them, and cost $12. It appears to be in like-new condition, no d/w but a gold-stamped imitation morocco binding.

A. E. Waite was one of the closest friends of Arthur Machen (who was, of course, also interested in the Grail Legend). One of the pieces in my 1987 Machen collection Guinevere and Lancelot is an account of one of Machen and Waite's bookhunting trips. Unfortunately, Waite did not share Machen's clear, journalistic style of writing, but has an extremely verbose and turgid, almost legalistic style in most of this book. And in spite of the endless qualifiers and modifiers, he never thinks to explain anything for the benefit of those who are not long-time scholars of the esoteric. Still, though I will probably never read all of these 714 pages of rather small print, there are sparkles among the coal:

"The old books help us, perhaps above all things, and among them the old chronicles and the great antique legends. If the hand of God is in history, it is also in folk-lore. We can scarcely fail of our term, since lights, both close at hand and in the unlooked-for places, kindle everywhere about us. It is difficult to say any longer that we walk in the shadow of death when the darkness is sown with stars."

Roy Tackett (915 Green Valley Road NW, Albuquerque, NM-87107) writes -
"Considering that outside the sun is shining and the temperature is hovering around 50F, it is difficult to believe that we are actually a week into December but here is IGOTS 5 so it must be so. Thanx much for remembering me and sending a copy along."

"Vin˘ mentions peanut butter Old Blighty? It was always my impression that peanut butter was something Americans invented and the reaction of the rest of the world was, `you thought it up, you eat it.'" (Sort of like the Aussie vegemite?) "Which, apparently, we do. By the ton, or gallon, or however it comes. Particularly, it seems, our students who, in years past, have been known to subsist solely on peanut butter for months at a time. I think this has changed, though. The price on the jar of peanut butter I bought last week was such that no starving student could afford it. And it wasn't even gourmet peanut butter - just plain old peanut butter."

"Think about gourmet peanut butter..."

"Given the proper circumstances I see nothing to prevent a peasant from becoming an intellectual. The proper circumstances would have to include removing him from the peasant environment." (See Mike Resnick's ghastly story For I Have Touched The Sky in the Dec'89 issue of F&SF.) "As to vicing the versa...I'm reminded of the `hippies' of the late 60s. Bunches of city kids formed communes to get back to the land and the simple way of life. The natural way, as it were. They found out quickly that trying to raise their food with only a shovel and a hoe was more work than they had counted on." (Maybe they should have tried growing gourmet peanuts...) "Certainly, one (Not this one!) can raise a small garden with a shovel and a hoe; I do it almost every summer so we can enjoy the delights of a few fresh vegetables (which taste so much better than the styrofoam imitations sold in the supermarket vegetable departments) but I wouldn't think of attempting to raise enough food that way to supply me for a year. That's real work."

"Space on the shelves is getting to be a problem for all of us. I put up another 40 feet of shelves a few months ago and it was almost enough. (Ah, for the wide open spaces of the West - I wish I had somewhere to put another 40 feet of shelves!) "But that was only after I culled a couple of boxes of paperbacks. But you know what will happen to those: I'll end up trading at the used paperback shops and have almost as many as I started with. And I'll be hard pressed to find room for more shelves or bookcases." (I may yet have to implement my scheme for putting bookshelves on the ceiling...)

"Good to see the note from Avram Davidson. I hope his health continues to improve and he continues to write."

The Queer, The Quaint And The Quizzical - A Cabinet For The Curious by Frank H. Stauffer, Davis McKay, Philadelphia, 1882, 367pp 8vo hc. They don't make them like this anymore. Bound in dark green cloth, with the spine stamped in gold and the front in red with a suitably wonky typeface. This copy belonged to the Sondley Reference Library, apparently a function of the City of Asheville, NC. I wonder if they were as tight with it as the local library is with their copy of the Cumulative Book Index? There is a 13pp index too.

I can't remember now if I had any particular reason for setting this book aside to me mentioned in IGOTS. There is a scrap of paper at p.316/317, but the entries there on `Divining Rods', `Washing but once in a lifetime', `Looking back', and `Toad-stone rings' don't ring a bell. Under the second heading it is noted that no devout Spanish woman dares to bathe without the permission of her confessor (one might suppose that since he has to share the confines of the confessional with her he would hardly forbid it); while a Bulgarian woman is permitted to wash only on the day before her wedding, which I suppose explains why there are still Bulgarians...

Mark Valentine (109 Oak Tree Road, Bitterne Park, Southampton, SO2 4PJ, England) writes -
"Thanks indeed for the copies of The Glitter of the Brook {the collection of the five Arthur Machen essays from the Dalton, Georgia Citizen and the first five issues of IGOTS}) "have passed one on to Roger Dobson. We are both very pleased to have such a choice item. It must be one of my rarest Machen items!" "I am sending under separate cover, and by surface, a copy of the reprint of the Machen biography - we have done a paperback edition in collaboration with Aidan Reynolds, one of the authors." (This book has never arrived, at least I can't find it. Not all that important, as I have the 1963 Richards Press hardcover.)

"The Duckworth omnibus, The Collected Arthur Machen, is out and has received mixed reviews. One, in The Guardian, contains a phrase AM would have relished as the epitome of patronizing faint praise - `Machen was a decent old cove who wrote good prose'. Several commentators have objected to the title, pointing out that the book is more a personal selection than a collection, and others regret the absence of any of AM's supernatural horror."

"The Selected Letters of Arthur Machen is also out, edited by Roger, Godfrey Brangham (of the Society) and occult scholar R. A. Gilbert. There is to be a brief BBC (i.e. national) radio feature on Machen this coming Wednesday, which I hope to tape, and could copy to you."

"Please let me know if you need any help in acquiring the `Collected' or the Letters book - though I think the Society will be stocking both." (I have the dreadful feeling that I never answred this letter, probably waiting for the pb mentioned above to appear. I do have the Duckworth omnibus, but if I ordered the Letters have not recieved them. I don't think my last letter to the Society was ever answered.)

"IGOTS 5 was as enjoyable as ever. The pocket booklet you mention, published by J. L. Carr, does indeed emanate from England. Kettering, the place of publication, is the second town of my home county, Northamptonshire. The publisher is a quite well-known author, whose two best known books are The Harpole Report and The Battle of Pollock's Crossing. One or possible both of these were in the six titles nominated for the prestigious Booker Prize for the best British or Commonwealth novel of the year. Carr has published a whole array of these pocket booklets - selections from the poets, notes on great eccentrics, sporting figures - I think he does it as a hobby. I can send you a bundle if you like."

"All good wishes for '89."

Terry Jeeves (56 Red Scar Drive, Scarborough YO12 5RQ, England) (is this the Red Scar Drive that crosses Wrinkle Avenue just above Acne Lane?) writes:
"Many thanks for the IGOTS which stormed the bastions of the Stately Crumbling Jeeves Mansion this merry morn." {Or something like that, I'm deciphering this handrot with my Captain Midnight Decoder Ring.} "I'm just wondering what follows It Comes In The Mail and It Goes On The Shelf? Possibly `It Gathereth The Dust'? Or, if we wait long enough - `It Busteth The Brackets'?" (You do Carry On, Jeeves!)

"An unforgettable thing happened here yesterday, but as details escape me and I can't recall what I was about, I'll go on to something different." (Completely different?)

"Re saying nasty things and libel - I believe you can say (but not write?) `I think Fred X is a burglar', but not `Fred X is a burglar'. One being a statement of opinion, the other to be taken as a statement of fact. I'm not sure where you are if you say `Many people think Fred X is a burglar' - not that it matters as I have it on good authority that Fred X is a lunatic. (Fred X - his father's name was `Ecks' but he prefers the simplified spelling - is the only convicted ax murderer on my mailing list, and very sensitive about his name.)

"Happy 65 by the way (Who, me? I am a mere tad of 51!) - I was 66 last month, so keep at it and you'll catch me up - unless I take a shortcut to 93 to avoid the Harry Warner syndrome. As for worries, I decided to collect all my little worries into one big one and thus pay less worry payments each month at a lower rate of worry interest."

"I see Vin˘ Clarke seeks a way to save stamp-licking so herewith a valuable tip. Leave all your envelopes standing in a bucket of water. Take them out as needed and they will automatically moisten the stamp when it is put on." (Put on, indeed... The USPS has, in fact, just (11-89) issued its first self-adhesive stamps - but they charge about 10% over face value for them. With any luck, the public will have sense enough to ignore the things and, having sunk a bundle in the hardware to make them, the PO will eventually sell them at face value.)

"An alternative is to move to Sierra Leone where they have self-adhesive stamps which you simply peel off the backing sheet and bung on the envelope. Ain't science wonderful."

"Erg 105 just went off to the printers - I had to type it on a hand powered machine as the w/p is in dry dock for major surgery. Next issue 106 will be Erg's 30th Anniversary - how do you like that bit of trivia."

"Hoping this finds you as it leaves me."

Fishwhistle by Daniel Pinkwater, Addison Wesley, New York, 1989, xvii/232pp 8vo hc in d/w, $16.95. Actually, there are twelve cities listed below the publisher's name on the title page - NY is one of them. Subtitled "Commentaries, Uncommentaries & Vulgar Excesses", this is a collection of the short funny bits such as he does on National Public Radio. I see that they include the one where he accuses Leo Kratzner of stealing his Mad comic collection - shortly after this ran on the radio, they broadcast a retraction, seems Leo Kratzner was someone he knew as a child and Kratzner was listening and called in to say it wasn't so! There's no retraction in the book, but of course I have no tape of the radio piece, the actual name used may have been slightly or entirely different.

A funny book. And being from a big textbook publisher, the thing is actually bound in real cloth. The d/w photo of Pinkwater with his ponies is stuck inside the back flap so that they can run blurbs on the back - two of them by Ellison and Delany, though they unaccountably spell it "Delaney".

The inimitable Harry Warner (423 Summit Avenue, Hagerstown, MD - 21740) writes -
"Hagerstown's public library discards books as inexplicably (I think it has to do with the TV generation having taken over - the ones that get to be librarians do know what a book is, but they don't know a good book from a better one) as the Winnipeg library rejects Chester Cuthbert mentioned. The local institution has plenty of empty shelf space so it can't be done for crowding reasons. The withdrawals that puzzle me mostly are in two categories: books that the library had kept for decades, are still in good condition, and by their nature aren't outdated; if they are useless to the library now, why were they kept that long? In this class are such things as a lot of volumes containing musical compositions of the masters. The there are the discarded books that are almost brand new and undamaged: why did the library buy them if it didn't intend to keep them? An example is a biography of Eichendorff, the German poet. Admittedly that's not the sort of book that will be in great demand in Hagerstown, where the only persons who might concievable be interested are voice students (many of his poems were set to music by Schubert, Brahms, Schumann, and so on) and immigrants from German-speaking lands who are homesick and want to read anything that will remind them of home. But here again, if the library acquired a book with such limited interest, it might as well hand onto it. These aren't stolen books, but books officially marked with the library's big red WITHDRAWN rubber stamp and sold at the annual AAUW used book sale, part of the proceeds of which go to the library. I can understand a library dumping most copies of a best seller from a few years back which is no longer in great demand, books on science that have been outdated by progress in science, and such things."

"Anyone can make a typographical error in the text of a newspaper or fanzine item, like those collected in the Denys Parson volumes. But I've just acquired my first book that has a typographical error in its title. The Metronome and It's Precursors is identified that way on the front cover, on the spine, and on the title page inside. The publisher is Gresham Books, Henley-on-Thames, Oxfordshire."

"You must have come into fandom just too late to have Kettering in your memory as one of the most memorable cities in the United Kingdom. It was the site of a series of British conventions during, if I remember correctly, the late 1950s and early 1960s, just when UK fans were at their best as entertaining scribes of their cons. The celebrated March of Slime was first heard at one of the Kettering cons." (Yes, I wasn't in fandom until 1962, never heard of the March of Slime - and I can't find it in any of my filk books either, must not have made it across the ocean. Do you have the words? I could run them in the next issue.)

House of Humour and Satire (5300 Gabrovo, P.O.Box 104, Bulgaria) sends - in response to my rather bemused query after seeing their ad in some magazine - some entry forms to their 1989 "Ninth International Biennial of Humour and Satire in the Arts" which took place last May 20-24, and some general information.

According to the literature, the House was established on April 1st in 1972, by whom it does not say. Gabrovo was chosen as the site because "Gabrovian" is a "symbol of thrift, ingenuity and wit" in Bulgarian folklore. Some 15,000 "authors and institutes" from 153 countries are said to have contributed to the effort. There are ten exhibition halls and a collection of 138,000 pieces of art and documents, plus a reference library with 25,000 volumes and 7000 periodicals. A "planet" discovered on April 1st in 1976 was named Gabrovo. There is an "Experimental Satirical Theater" and a TV studio, and an information bank supported by UNESCO. Perhaps of most interest, a magazine called A Propos appears twice a year in four languages - Bulgarian, Russian, English, and French.

And all this long before glasnost! They seem to want humour that is independent of language, which would eliminate puns. Except for international news, it would seem that topical humour (they stick to the British spelling) would also be out. One of their prizes is a figurine of Charlie Chaplin, whose style of humour is often mentioned as being totally visual and thus independent of a specific language.

No mention is made of how to obtain this magazine. In fact, the only mention of money is the amount of the various prizes, given in hundreds of levs - I'm not sure if this is the Bulgarian currency unit or a pseudo-currency based on the Latin root for humour, as in `levity'. No, I see from an old Scott stamp catalog that the Lev (=100 Stotinki) is the primary currency unit.

Richard Dalby (4 Westbourne Park, Scarborough, North Yorkshire YO12 4AT, England) writes -
"Many thanks for your letter of 20 November, and IGOTS Number 5."

"I've just found two more John Moore titles which have been despatched to you today. Hope you'll enjoy them - they are two of his best novels, Brensham Village (1946) and September Moon (1957). These are both very nice first editions, with dust-jackets. Fortunately it is still possible to find the post-1945 titles at reasonable prices. (Most of the pre-war books are much more difficult to find.)" (Much thanks for these! I got last time I was in Atlanta a 1966 US pb of September Moon, packaged as a "big romantic novel of lusty, vital young men and women". Just sent you (mid-November) those last two issues of Night Cry you wanted.)

Rants and Incendiary Tracts edited by Bob Black and Adam Parfrey, Amok Press (New York) and Loompanics Unlimited (Port Townsend, Wash.), 1989, 219pp 8vo pb, $9.95. Subtitled "Voices of Desperate Illumination 1558 to Present", this is a collection of very loud bits of persuasion or vituperation by very opinionated writers. Most are, in some sense, political and/or religious; many I find very nearly incomprehensible. Many famous ranters are represented: John Knox, Jean Paul Marat, the Marquis de Sade, Judge Roy Bean, Ezra Pound, Wilhelm Reich, Ayatollah Khomeini (in 1963!), Timothy Leary, and Szandor La Vey. Many other I never heard of. All felt they had something to say, and they said it very forcefully, often at the foot of the gallows. There are at least four spectacular examples of this extreme form of rhetoric that aren't in the book - I will supply the lack right here.

From Hunter Thompson's Generation of Swine (Vintage Books, NY, 1989), about George Bush:

It is difficult for the ordinary voter to come to grips with the notion that a truly evil man, a truthless monster with the brains of a king rat and the soul of a cockroach, is about to be sworn in as president of the United States for the next four years.... And he will bring his gang in with him, a mean network of lawyers and salesmen and pimps who will loot the national treasury, warp the laws, mock the rules and stay awake 22 hours a day looking for at least one reason to declare war, officially, on some hapless tribe in the Sahara or heathen fanatic like the Ayatollah Khomeini.

From The Collected Works of Aleister Crowley (Soc. for the Propagation of Religious Truth, London, 1905), a sonnet in praise of an unnamed publisher:

Egg of the Slime! Thy loose abortive lips
Mouth hateful things: thy shifty bloodshot eyes
Lurk craftily to snare some carrion prize,
The dainty morsel whence the poison drips
Unmarked: the maskéd infamy that slips
Into an innocent maw: corrupter wise!
Sly worm of hell! that close and cunning lies
With sucking tentacles for finger tips. Earth spits on thee, contagious Caliban!
Hell spits on thee, her sin is spiritual.
Only the awful slime and excrement
That sin sheds off will own thee for a man.
Only the worms in dead men's bowels that crawl
To lick a leathlier brother are content.
There are two of these sonnets, and the other is just as bad...

From Michel Tournier's The Ogre (Doubleday, New York, 1972, translated by Barbara Bray):

...political power belongs entirely to Mammon. Those who exercise it take upon themselves all the iniquity of the social body, all the crimes that are committed every day in its name. That is why the most criminal man in any country is the one who occupies the highest position in the political hierarchy - i.e., the President of the Republic and, after him, the ministers, and after them all the dignitaries of the social body: magistrates, generals, prelates - all servants of Mammon, all living symbols of the murky mess called the established order, all covered with blood from head to foot.

The organs of this body are perfectly adapted to its frightful functions. To practice the most abject of trades, men are sifted out by a topsy-turvy selection into groups constituting the most quintessential sublimate of filth the country can offer. It is well know that a cabinet meeting, a church conclave or an international conference gives off a smell of carrion that frightens away even the most blase vultures. On a more modest plane, a board meeting, a staff meeting, any gathering of a constituted body, is a thugs' get-together that any averagely decent man would steer well clear of.

As soon as a man lays down the law he places himself outside it, and thereby outside its protection. Thus the life of a man exercising any kind of power is of less value than that of a cockroach or a louse. Parliamentary immunity ought to be transformed by benign inversion to give every citizen the right to shoot at sight and without a license any politician who comes within range. Every political assassination is a contribution to moral hygiene and brings a smile to the lips of the Virgin Mary and all the angels in paradise.

An article should be added to the constitution whereby all members of a government that is overthrown are executed out of hand. It is unthinkable that men from whom the country has withdrawn its confidence should be able not only to go home again unpunished, but even to pursue their political careers wearing the halo of their fraudulent failure. This arrangement would have the triple advantage of getting rid of the country's deadliest pus, preventing the same faces from turning up all the time in different governments, and introducing into politics the quality it lacks the most: i.e., seriousness.

Everyone should know that in voluntarily donning a uniform of any kind he ipso facto points himself out as a creature of Mammon and lays himself open to the vengeance of decent people. The law should list among noxious beasts that may be shot in season and out of season, cops, priests, park-keepers, and even..."

From George MacDonald Fraser's The Steel Bonnets (Knopf, New York, 1972), the Archbishop of Glasgow's "Monition of Cursing" against the Border reivers from c.1524:

Therefore through the authority of Almighty God, the Father of heaven, his Son, our Saviour, Jesus Christ, and of the Holy Ghost; through the authority of the Blessed Virgin Saint Mary, Saint Michael, Saint Gabriel, and all the angels; Saint John the Baptist, and all the holy patriarchs and prophets; Saint Peter, Saint Paul, Saint Andrew, and all holy apostles; Saint Stephen, Saint Laurence, and all holy martyrs; Saint Gile, Saint Martin, and all holy confessors; Saint Anne, Saint Katherine, and all holy virgins and matrons; and of all the saints and holy company of heaven; by the authority of our Holy Father the Pope and his cardinals, and of my said Lord Archbishop of Glasgow, by the advice and assistance of my lords, archbishop, bishops, abbots, priors, and other prelates and ministers of holy church,
I denounce, proclaim, and declare all and sundry the committers of the said saikles murthris, slauchteris, brinying, heirchippes, reiffis, thiftis and spulezeis, oppinly apon day licht and under silence of nicht, alswele within temporale landis as kirklandis; togither with thair part takaris, assistaris, supplearis, wittandlie resettaris of thair personis, the gudes reft and stollen by thaim, art or part thereof, and their counsalouris and defendouris, of thair evil dedis generalie CURSIT, waryit, aggregeite, and reaggregeite, with the GREIT CURSING.
I curse thair heid and all the haris of their heid; I curse thair face, thair ene, thair mouth, thair neise, thair toung, thair teith, thair crag, thair schulderis, thair breist, thair hert, thair stomok, thair bak, thair wame, thair armes, thair leggis, thair handes, thair feit, and everilk part of thair body, frae the top of thair heid to the soill of thair feit, befoir and behind, within and without.
I curse thaim gangand, and I curse thaim rydand; I curse thaim standand, and I curse thaim sittand; I curse thaim etand, I curse thaim drinkand; I curse thaim walkand, I curse thaim sleepand; I curse thaim rysand, I curse thaim lyand; I curse thaim at hame, I curse thaim fra hame; I curse thaim within the house, I curse thaim without the house; I curse thair wiffis, thair barnis, and thair servandis participand with thaim in thair deidis. I wary thair cornys, thair catales, thair woll, thair scheip, thair horse, thair swyne, thair geise, thair hennys, and all thair quyk gude. I wary thair hallis, thair chalmeris, thair kechingis, thair stanillis, thair barnys, thair biris, thair harrowis, and the gudis and housis that is necessair for thair sustentatioun and weilfair.
* * *
And, finally, I condemn thaim perpetualie to the deip pit of hell, the remain with Lucifer and all his fallowis, and thair bodeis to the gallowis of the Burrow Mure, first to be hangit, syne revin and ruggit with doggis, swyne, and utheris wyld beists, abhominable to all the warld. And their candillis gangis frae your sicht, as mot their saulis gang fra the visage of God, and thair gude faim fra the warld, quhill thai forbeir thair oppin synnys foirsaidis and ryse frae this terribill cursing, and mak satisfaction and pennance.

About 2 pages were omitted at the asterisks above. The reader can probably tell where I abandoned the attempt to modernize the spelling. Typing completed mid-November -

Merry Christmas to All
And a Happy New Year!
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