|Vol. 8 No. 4||
–e*I*45– (Vol. 8 No. 4) August 2009, is published and © 2009 by Earl Kemp. All rights reserved.
Contents – eI45 – August 2009Cover: “Art-Savvy Nudes,” by Steve Stiles
Carnal Knowledge, by John Baxter
Letters to Jim O’Meara.1, by Earl Kemp
Fafhrd and Me, by Fritz Leiber
The Unknown Unknown, by Will Murray
More Mack Reynolds, by Earl Kemp
Anthem Series Part VI Section Two, by Earl Terry Kemp
Back cover: “The Ship That Sailed the Stars,” by Ditmar [Martin James Ditmar Jenssen]
THIS ISSUE OF eI is for my old friend Jim O’Meara, because he deserves it, and a lot more.
In the strictly science fiction world, it is also in memory of Charlie Brown, David Eddings, Bette Farmer, and Paul Williams.
As always, everything in this issue of eI beneath my byline is part of my in-progress rough-draft memoirs. As such, I would appreciate any corrections, revisions, extensions, anecdotes, photographs, jpegs, or what have you sent to me at email@example.com and thank you in advance for all your help.
Bill Burns is jefe around here. If it wasn’t for him, nothing would get done. He inspires activity. He deserves some really great rewards. It is a privilege and a pleasure to have him working with me to make eI whatever it is.
Other than Bill Burns, Dave Locke, and Robert Lichtman, these are the people who made this issue of eI possible: John Baxter, Bruce Brenner, Jacques Hamon, Earl Terry Kemp, Fritz Leiber, James O’Meara, Will Murray, and Emil Reynolds.
ARTWORK: This issue of eI features original artwork by Ditmar, Steve Stiles, Harry Bell, Brad Foster, and recycled artwork by William Rotsler.
…Return to sender, address unknown…. 35
The Official eI Letters to the Editor Column
Artwork recycled William Rotsler
By Earl Kemp
We get letters. Some parts of some of them are printable. Your letter of comment is most wanted via email to firstname.lastname@example.org or by snail mail to P.O. Box 6642, Kingman, AZ 86402-6642 and thank you.
Also, please note, I observe DNQs and make arbitrary and capricious deletions from these letters in order to remain on topic.
This is the official Letter Column of eI, and following are a few quotes from a few of those letters concerning the last issue of eI. All this in an effort to get you to write letters of comment to eI so you can look for them when they appear here.
Thursday June 4, 2009:
Jonathan G. Jensen (PulpMags): Good stuff Earl, am making my way though your Ezine on an afternoon with nothing much going on, as they are doing preventive repair on my Semi. It came at a great time, thanks! You guys take a look too; Dave Saunders has some stuff shared here and a good bit of writing by Earl on his editor days at a very interesting company.
Was working on you son’s article on Derleth, very in-depth article, and nice piece of Silverberg’s rejections, good inside view.
Tom Lesser: Very impressive and nicely done Earl. Amazing is a better description. Thank you very much for your kind thoughts about the show. We always look forward to having you at the show.
James Reasoner: Just wanted to say that I’ve been reading eI for several years, always enjoy it, and thought it was about time I told you so. I especially enjoyed Robert Silverberg’s piece about his early rejection slips in eI44. I collected a bunch of them, too, and some of them were from Sam Merwin Jr., so I got a kick out of the rejection letter Merwin sent to Silverberg in 1949. By the time I was sending stories to him, he was the editor at Mike Shayne Mystery Magazine, and I guess the budget didn’t include either form rejection slips or stationery, because most of the rejections I got from him were handwritten on the backs of pieces of paper torn off various documents. But they always had good advice on them and usually specific reasons for rejecting the stories they accompanied. I remember one of them read, “This one goes along just fine for a while, then— blooey!” I guess the ending needed work.
Anyway, thanks for producing some fine reading material.
Friday June 5, 2009:
Art Widner: Many thanx 4 this. Ive been intending for a long time to look at eI & this led me into it. i enjoyd eI 44, but fraid i got tired of all the HPL sumaries & skimd the last qtr. Will b looking for #45. Yr sons quality of ryting may yet eclipse the Old Man.
Saturday August 1, 2009:
Lloyd Penney: There are so few survivors of the great artwork that graced the pulps, so it is good to see artwork I’ve never seen, and thank you for that. I saw a wonderful collection of pulp art at the one-day pulp show in Toronto some years back, beautiful stuff. I’d love to get that book on Norman Saunders and his artwork.
My loc…I have read something, perhaps wishful thinking that the Obama administration is looking into the atrocities of Bush and Cheney, and that if it can be proven that they broke American laws, they could be prosecuted. I will monitor the news for more about this…I am hoping this happens, and Obama will do all the things we’d hoped the World Court would do. I hope you can get that pardon you want. These days, you’d be considered an entrepreneur. Heck, some of the porn filmmakers in LA have had reality shows produced around them; why not you? Take the idea to a filmmaker, and perhaps pitch the idea to a lifestyle network, or perhaps Spike.
Thank you for more information about Arkham House, and August Derleth. I have few dark fantasy/horror books, but I do have a couple of Derleths, and I have wondered as I read more about them, what drove them to write what they did. This essay explains a few things to me, and many thanks for all of this. Such lengthy research will preserve all of this for us long after the paper has crumbled to nothing.
I’d like to go to a paperback collectibles show…there’s nothing like that here. There are plenty of us who would go, if it was held, but I have contact with few people who’d take tables and display their wares. I’d have to do some serious research… We haven’t seen Barbara Hambly for such a long time. Our local convention had Barbara and George Alec Effinger as guests one year…that might have been the weekend they met, and took their relationship further… I got to take George to a ball game here, bought him all the souvenirs he wanted, and treated him to his favorite kind of game, a defensive struggle. I think the Blue Jays lost 1-0 to the Twins that day. Yvonne gave Barbara some recipes for gluten-free cookies, and made some for her so she’d have something to snack on during the weekend. Good guests, and it’s a shame George left us.
Guess that’s all I have to say right now, Earl…I wish there was more interest in things literary around here, but that interest is usually dismissed in favour of craptacular movies and television shows. I stick with fanzines, too. I’m running the fanzine lounge at the Worldcon in Montréal in a few days, so wish me luck. Can’t wait for issue 45.
by John Baxter
If there’s nothing new under the sun, one would think there’s even less new between the sheets. A kiss is still a kiss, a sigh still a sigh, whether a generation goes by or a millennium. So what can have happened in human sexuality during the last hundred years that makes it worth writing a book about?
In one sense, the sceptic would be right. Many of our sexual habits and customs are traceable back not just a hundred years but thousands. “Peeping Tom”, the archetypal voyeur, lived—if he lived at all—about 1050. We still speak of teenage lovers in terms of Romeo and Juliet when the real couple first emerged on the page in the 13th century. Blinded Oedipus still stalks the world of incest as he did centuries before Christ, and modern lesbians have kept Sappho alive as an entity and a symbol well after most of her poems have been lost,
A pimp is still, as he was in the time of Elizabeth 1st, a pimp, and a bordello—whether or not Shakespeare called it a “nunnery”—is still a bordello. The function of a modern vibrator would be readily recognisable to Boccacio, author of The Decameron, as it would to Vatsyayana, who compiled the Kama Sutra. Nor, for all the talk of “sex workers”, are we unaware of what Thomas Ryder meant when, in 1715, he wrote, “I was very warm with drinking wine and had a mighty inclination to fill a whore’s commodity”.
Some things don’t change—but many do. And this book is about those things in the world of sexual sensation which the years since 1900 have transformed, rediscovered or renewed.
The 20th century brought us plastics and the movies, electronics and aircraft, cheap printing, the Internet, and automobiles —all of which had their impact on that universe of the mind and body we call “sex”.
Far more influential, however, than the technical advances of the last hundred years were those in the areas of society. The 20th century, rightly called “the century of the common man,” didn’t so much introduce new modes of sensual satisfaction as make available to everyone those pleasures which the rich had reserved for centuries to themselves. And with the decline in the social constraints imposed by organised religion, ordinary men and women were free of the guilt and public condemnation once regarded as the inevitable “wages of sin”.
Yet if this compilation has one lesson to teach, it is that, while sex changed in matters of detail and degree, in its essentials it remained very much the same. The song was right. The fundamental things apply as time goes by.
“I want to thank all the men in this business who’ve made it easy for me—and all the women who’ve made it hard for me.”
ADLER, PEARL “POLLY”. (1900-1962) US brothel owner. Adler emigrated from Russia as a teenager. By her early twenties, she was leasing Manhattan apartments and stocking them with girls, good liquor, even books. Clients didn’t just come for sex, but to talk, drink, play backgammon or cards, or join her all-night parties. Horny playwright George S. Kaufman ran a tab. Robert Benchley sometimes went there to write his reviews, and drink with Dorothy Parker. Both comic Milton Berle and actor John Garfield were clients. “The world knew Polly as a madam,” said Berle, “but her friends knew her as an intelligent woman, fun to be with, and a good cook.”
During the 1929 stock market crash, ruined brokers visited Polly’s establishment for a last fling before jumping out of their windows. In 1930, Adler refused to inform on her many mobster friends to the Seabury Commission on police and judicial corruption, and was put out of business. She retired to Los Angeles in 1943, won a college degree, and in 1953 published a best-selling ghostwritten memoir, A House Is Not a Home. Shelley Winters played her in a dismal 1964 film version.
AGE OF CONSENT. The age at which a person can legally consent to sex varies between countries. Some nations forbid sex completely outside marriage. Many Anglo Saxon countries choose 16, though there are variations—sometimes, as in Australia, between individual states. In certain countries, different ages apply for men and women, for gay sex, and for anal and vaginal intercourse, while Finland requires only that “there is no great difference in the ages or the mental and physical maturity of the persons involved.” Norway also demands that the couple be “about equal in age and development.” Germany allows sex at 14, provided the older partner is under 18 and not “exploiting a coercive situation” or paying. In Japan, the age of consent is technically 13, but individual prefectures often ignore this, preferring 18.
Songs and jokes of the 1920s and 1930s often turned on the attractions of very young women, frequently from rural societies; hence stories involving a Farmer’s Daughter, and the popularity of books like Erskine Caldwell’s God’s Little Acre about child brides in the Deep South. Since anyone having sex with a minor risked a charge of “statutory rape”, a nubile underage woman became known as “jail bait”. One song celebrated “The sweetest l’il gal to come from a cotton field/Rather make love than eat a decent meal/She’s jail bait….’
While it was far from unknown for older women to pleasure themselves with young men, such situations turned up far less in AngloSaxon literature than in more cosmopolitan France, where they became in particular a specialty of Colette, author of the Cheri series, about a middle-aged woman and her Toy Boy, and Le Ble en Herbe, in which a worldly mondaine on a summer holiday initiates a local 16 year old.
AIDS. Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome. Health condition caused by the Human Immunodeficiency Virus HIV which lowers the body’s capacity to resist infection.
First officially recognized in 1981, AIDS has been traced back to the 1950s. Though its source is still contested, the virus may have migrated from certain West African primates. Responsibility may even lie with Serge Voronoff, who experimented in 1920s Paris with transplanting organs between monkeys and humans.
AIDS is most readily transmitted during anal sex, making the male gay community uniquely vulnerable. For some time before the virus was isolated, its existence fostered rumours of a “gay plague”, Subsequently, it became clear that all members of society were at risk. In January 2006, it was estimated that AIDS has killed more than 25 million people.
In developed countries, AIDS induced fundamental changes in sexual practice which favoured masturbation, voyeurism, bondage and other forms of non-penetrative intercourse. In particular, it hastened the rise of Internet and phone sex.
Most art dealing with or inspired by AIDS has concentrated on the gay community or emanated from it. It includes Angels in America: A Gay Fantasia on National Themes (1990) by Tony Kushner, comprising two plays, Millennium Approaches and Perestroika, the two of which were conflated and filmed by Mike Nichols in 2003, Philadelphia (1993), directed by Jonathan Demme, in which Tom Hanks plays an AIDS-afflicted lawyer successfully fighting his wrongful dismissal, the AIDS Memorial Quilt, begun in 1987 and now comprising 40,000 panels, each memorialising a victim, and And the Band Played On: Politics, People,and the AIDS Epidemic, a 1987 book by Randy Shilts excoriating the sluggish social, medical and social response to the disease
AIRBRUSH. Illustrators’ tool which uses a compressor to distribute a fine mist of paint over precise areas.
AIRCRAFT. “The wish to fly,” wrote Sigmund Freud in 1910, “is a longing to be capable of sexual performance.” As soon as aircraft had room for passengers, aviators explored their sexual potential. The first authenticated case of sex in powered flight dates from November 1916. New York socialite Mrs Waldo Polk was enjoying a “flying lesson” with handsome aviator Lawrence Sperry when she spasmodically bumped the controls, and the Curtiss float-plane plunged 500 feet into South Bay. Though neither was harmed, duck hunters who dragged them from the wreck found them naked. Undeterred, Mrs. Polk continued lessons, and won her licence. Sperry, before his early death at 31, invented that crucial aid to airborne sex, the automatic pilot.
Post-World War I, ex-fighter pilots bought war surplus fighters and “barnstormed” across the US, giving shows by day and sheltering themselves and their planes in barns by night. Heroic figures to the girls who staggered away, weak-kneed, from their first aptly-named “joy ride”, these men coaxed some into becoming “wing walkers”, climbing out in flight to do gymnastics or even play musical instruments. The 1933 musical Flying Down to Rio culminates in an aerial leg show, with chorus girls dancing on wings and having their costumes whipped off by the slipstream. The main character in Arthur Kopit’s 1978 play Wings, is an ageing aviatrix who, after suffering a strike, remembers her exploits as a dancing singing wingwalker. The reality was shown more graphically in The Great Waldo Pepper (1975), where a girl trying a similar stunt loses her clothes and her life.
World War II offered few opportunities for airborne fornication, though in Steven Spielberg’s 1941 (1979) Nancy Allen plays a girl who finds flight aphrodisiac, a fact exploited by Tim Matheson as a horny captain. That sex was frequently on the minds of fliers, however, is evident from the pinups painted on the noses of USAF bombers. A widespread and false rumour suggested a sexy image of actress Rita Hayworth decorated the nose of the Enola Gay, which dropped the first nuclear bomb on Hiroshima, or even the bomb itself. In fact, Hayworth’s likeness was pasted not on the Hiroshima bomb but on the first post-war weapon exploded at Bikini atoll in 1946.
The golden age of airborne sex arrived with CinemaScope in the mid-1950s. In 1963, Come Fly With Me showed most of the clichés already in place; horny or larcenous passengers dating up complaisant stewardesses eager for sex or marriage. In 1965, publicist Mary Wells, re-vamping struggling Braniff International, dressed its stewardesses in outfits by Emilio Pucci. “When a tired businessman gets on an airplane,” she explained, “we think he ought to be allowed to look at a pretty girl.” Overnight, women who’d been dismissed as little more than airborne waitresses were transformed into the figures of sexual legend celebrated in Trudy Baker and Rachel Jones’s 1967 book Coffee, Tea or Me? Braniff depicted one murmuring, “I’m Mandy. Fly me”. In the early 1970s, Southwest put theirs into hot pants and white go-go boots, and adopted the motto “Sex Sells Seats.”
Soon, passengers no longer had to delay sexual satisfaction until landing. In 1974, Sylvia Kristel enjoyed two lascivious interludes en route to Bangkok in Emmanuelle, parodied in the porn feature The Opening of Misty Beethoven, where passengers are offered “First Class with Sex” or “First Class Non-Sex”. In Bob Fosse’s 1979 All That Jazz, Roy Scheider’s pill-popping choreographer, creating a musical number about flight, drives his dancers into a frenzy of aerial erotica, making an aircraft resemble a flying brothel.
Flight crews weren’t slow to realise that the option of sailors to have “a girl in every port” now extended to them as well. The comic possibilities were thoroughly explored in Marc Camoletti’s play Boeing Boeing, about a Paris bachelor juggling three flying “fiancées”. In 1963’s Sunday in New York, pilot Cliff Robertson and his stewardess mistress chase one another around the country, never both in any city at the same time. Steven Spielberg’s Catch Me If You Can showed conman Leonardo DeCaprio impersonating a pilot and exploiting the sexual opportunities. However, the most poignant evocation of the emotional aridity of modern aviation remains Steven Sondheim’s song “Barcelona” for his musical Company, where a man coaxes his One Night Stand stewardess to skip her flight to the Spanish city and stay in his bed.
ALCOHOL. “Candy is dandy/But liquor is quicker,” wrote US poet Ogden Nash (He might have continued, “Though a pill or joint/Does not disappoint.”) The 20th century did not discover alcohol’s erotic effects —only invented new and more potent mixtures to disguise, delay or accelerate them. Alcoholic oblivion was widely exploited to excuse sexual lapses, both of performance and of control. Matt Crowley’s 1968 play The Boys in the Band attacked closeted gays who indulged their homoerotic inclinations, then protested, “I was so drunk last night.”
Despite claims as early as 1903 that “Absinthe Makes The Heart Grown Fonder”, this liquor, often associated with decadence, was actually, like its fashionable companion, opium, a sexual suppressant. Many seducers swore by the nose-tickling effects of champagne, and the British comedy duo of Michael Flanders and Donald Swann persuasively celebrated the aphrodisiac value of sweet dessert wines in their song Have Some Madeira, M’dear, but the preferred “leg opener” was, and remains, gin.
ANDERS ALS DIE ANDERN (Not Like the Others) (German film, 1919) Directed by Richard Oswald. The earliest film to deal with homosexuality, criminalized at the time in Germany under paragraph 175 of its Criminal Code. In one sequence, famous homosexuals from history parade past a banner reading “Paragraph 175”, each one shrinking from it.
In a plot similar to the film Victim, set in Britain half a century later, a concert violinist becomes the lover of a young student, and is blackmailed by another gay. Rather than pay, the musician publicly reveals his homosexuality, and, with his career ruined, kills himself.
Anders als die Andern was co-written by the director and sexologist Magnus Hirschfeld (who also appears in an epilogue). Its many references to cross dressing reflect his theory that homosexuals were simply heterosexuals handicapped by an excess of female hormones. The blackmailer frequents a drag club, and there are documentary sequences on transvestism—a word coined by Hirschfeld—from his Berlin sexology institute. Bisexual dancer Anita Berber also has a small role.
To pre-empt censorship, Oswald made forty copies of Anders als die Andern, shipping them simultaneously all over Germany. The authorities quickly restricted the film to physicians and court-appointed lawyers. Subsequently, the Nazis destroyed most prints, and no complete copy survives.
ANGER, Kenneth. (1927- ) US filmmaker and author. Through his grandmother, a movie costume mistress, Anger was cast as the changeling boy in Max Reinhardt’s 1935 Midsummer Night’s Dream. However, despite actorish good looks, he preferred directing, claiming to have made his first movie at nine. He also discovered occultism via Aleister Crowley and, while living in San Francisco, Paris, London and Egypt, created a sporadic series of obscure but inspired short films, all displaying strong camp and mystical elements. They include Fireworks (1947), hailed by Jean Cocteau EAN as issuing “from that beautiful night from which emerge all true works,” Scorpio Rising (1964), Kustom Kar Kommandos (1965), Inauguration of the Pleasure Dome (1969), Invocation of My Demon Brother (1969), and Lucifer Rising (1972). Anger also began a version of Hostpore d’O, but filmed only a few scenes. He is best known, however, as author/compiler of the book Hollywood Babylon.
APOLLINAIRE, Guillaume (Guillaume Albert Vladimir Apollinaire de Kostrowitzky). (1880-1918) French author. The illegitimate son of an Italian nobleman, Apollinaire kept his mother’s name when he moved from Rome to Paris and launched himself as poet, playwright, art critic, champion of the avant garde, and both scholar and writer of pornography.
Plump, with a slightly comic moustache and a pipe usually clamped between his teeth, Apollinaire, despite his placid exterior, was fascinated with the outrageous and forbidden. In 1917, he would label his play Les Mamelles de Tirésias “surrealist”, a term adopted by Andre Breton and his followers.
Rakehell, despite its flamboyant title, recounts a gently traditional story, probably autobiographical, of a boy’s sexual initiation in the family chateau, starting with erections in the bath, but graduating to sex with his sister and aunt. By contrast, Hospodar has been called “a brilliant fantasy in which all the demons of some insane, Sadeian hell are unleashed.” The hero, Mony Vibescu, is a horny Rumanian “Hospodar” or prince who fights and fornicates his way from Bucharest to Paris and finally Port Arthur in China, where, in 1904, he continues between battles in the Russo-Japanese war. Few sexual activities are left undescribed. Many are morbid; a Russian general sodomises a Chinese boy, and a medical orderly fellates a dying soldier whose legs and arms had been blown off.
Volunteering for the French Army, Apollinaire sustained a head wound in 1916, and never fully recovered. He supported himself with journalism, and by writing introductions, compiling bibliographies and sometimes discreetly expurgating the reprints of porn classics. He died of influenza in 1918. In 1953, the Olympia Press published a vigorous translation of Verges that skilfully showcased its comic violence. Credited to “Oscar Mole”, it was actually by the Scots Beat poet Alexander Trocchi.
ARBUCKLE, Roscoe “Fatty” (William Goodrich.) (1897-1933) US Actor/director. Despite weighing 300 pounds, Roscoe Arbuckle was a gifted physical comedian who turned his improbable athleticism into a $1 million-a-year movie career. On September 5, 1921, he drove with friends to San Francisco for the Labor Day weekend. They checked into the St. Francis Hotel, where Arbuckle’s friend Bambina Maude Delmont provided alcohol and put out a call for party girls. Those who responded included Virginia Rappe, a minor actress who’d worked with Arbuckle in Hollywood, but who blighted her career by spreading a sexual disease through the studio.
Hours later, with everyone drunk and partly undressed—Arbuckle wore pajamas and a robe—Rappe fled the party. She subsequently died of peritonitis from a ruptured bladder, probably related to her infection. Delmont, who had convictions for blackmail and extortion, saw the possibility of profit, and proposed to Arbuckle’s lawyers that she hush up the story in return for a bribe. They refused, since the coroner who autopsied Rapee was emphatic that he found “no marks of violence on the body…no evidence of a criminal assault, no signs that the girl had been attacked in any way.”
Delmont then offered to invent a crime if the price was right. District Attorney Matthew Brady, planning to run for governor, saw the news value of such a high-profile case, and paid up. Testifying before the Grand Jury, Delmont claimed that Arbuckle spent an hour alone with Rappe, who then fled, screaming of rape. Quickly leaked, the lie started new rumours that Arbuckle, too drunk to get an erection, had raped Rappe with a Coca-Cola bottle—or maybe a champagne bottle—or perhaps a piece of ice. Alternatively, his penis was so big that he did the damage himself. None were true, but on September 17, Brady arraigned Arbuckle on rape and murder charges.
Though studio head Adolph Zukor paid for the best defence, newspaper publisher William Randolph Hearst, who backed Brady’s ambitions, pilloried Arbuckle. Hearst later boasted that the case “sold more newspapers than any event since the sinking of the Lusitania.”
Arbuckle endured three trials before he being acquitted of all charges. However, the public preferred to believe that the funny fat man had raped the poor starlet, and refused to watch him on screen, He found work as a comedy director under the name “William Goodrich”, and was set to make a comeback when he died of a heart attack at 46.
ARSAN, Emmanuelle, aka Rollet-Andriane, Maryat, aka Bibidh, Maryat (1932? - ) Every French literary season brings its sexual page-turner, but few had the impact of a pale green-covered paperback issued by Eric Losfeld in the spring of 1959, and called simply Emmanuelle. The novel was supposedly the fictionalised memoirs of Emmanuelle Arsan, a 20-year-old innocent who followed Jean, her older and more sexually experienced diplomat husband, to Bangkok, where she plunged into a life of group sex and lesbianism.
Even more exciting to readers than its echoes of France’s lost colonial empire was the revelation, carefully leaked by Losfeld, that a real French diplomatic wife wrote Emmanuelle. De Gaulle’s government banned it as yet another slur on a foreign service already battered by the gay confessions of Roger Peyrefitte in Les Ambassades. Although Grove Press’s US edition made it an international best-seller the novel remained illegal in France until 1992.
Losfeld let the public visualise Arsan as a pale white ingénue as embodied in the 1974 film by Dutch model Sylvia Kristel. Yet the real Emmanuelle was neither white nor European but Thai, the daughter of politician and diplomat Knun Bibidh Viregggakia. Married to Louis Andriane, a Bangkok-based official of the South East Asian Treaty Organisation, she’d had a brief movie career as “Marayet Andriane”, playing the Chinese slave/prostitute Mally opposite Richard Attenborough and Steve McQueen in Robert Wise’s 1966 The Sand Pebbles.
Once Arsan was “outed”, no exhibition of erotic art was complete without her patronage, no new piece of up-market porn lacked her introduction, or at least a cover quote. She published five volumes of essays on sexual subjects and went into film production, after which she and her husband retired to rural France. In her absence, the name “Emmanuelle” lived on, adopted by a French magazine of soft-core erotica, and attached to numerous films, many with no connection to the original.
AUDEN, Wystan Hugh. (1907-1973) UK poet. The reading of Funeral Blues by John Hannah at the memorial service for his lover in the 1994 film Four Weddings and a Funeral decisively confirmed the austere Auden as laureate of the gay community. Yet during his lifetime his sexual preference remained, to a large extent, “the love that dare not speak its name”. He was embarrassed enough about some of his homoerotic poems to change their “he” to “He”, suggesting that Christ and not some lover inspired them, and never acknowledged authorship of The Platonic Blow, a graphic 1948 evocation of a sexual encounter with one of the young working-class boys he favoured.
AUTO FELLATIO, Ability of some men to suck their own penises. French surrealist and cross-dresser Pierre Molinier practiced this fetish, documenting it in some of his photographs. American actor Ron Turner can claim the honour of first displaying the skill on film, followed shortly by Ron Jeremy in Inside Seka, Behind the Green Door: The Sequel and other films. By then, he had rivals, including gay performer “Doctor Infinity”, who performed the feat in the 1977 film The Double Exposure of Holly, and Philadelphia artist Albo Jeavons, aka “Al Eingang”, who, relates an admiring Jeremy, “devoted his entire career to the art of sucking of his own penis, putting out films like The Young Man From Nantucket * and Blown Alone.”
BAKER, Josephine. (Frida Josephine McDonald) (1906-1975) US entertainer. Daughter of a white or mixed-race father and an African-American laundress in St Louis, Missouri, Josephine left school as 12, was dancing in the chorus at 15, and married twice before she was 17, the second time to Pullman porter Willie Baker, whose name she retained.
Baker’s gangling movements and goofy grin won her spots in the chorus at Harlem’s Plantation Club, the Cotton Club’s 1924 show Chocolate Dandies., the Broadway revue Shuffle Along and, in October, 1925, a featured spot in the Revue Negre when it opened at Paris’s Theatre des Champs-Elysees. Her entrance, naked but for a skirt of feathers, slung over the shoulder of a brawny colleague, electrified the audience. Ernest Hemingway called her “the most sensational woman anyone ever saw.” New Yorker columnist Janet Flanner, a lesbian, acknowledged she too was sexually stirred by Baker. “Her magnificent dark body, a new model to the French, proved for the first time that black was beautiful.”
When the rest of the troupe moved on to Germany, Baker stayed in Paris, where the Folies-Bergere starred her in their revues, dressed in what became her trademark skirt of phallic stuffed bananas (designed by couturier Paul Poiret). Not everyone loved her, Critics disparaged her dances, little more than comic variations on the Charleston and the Camel Walk. She was scorned by French “racial purists” who preferred Africans primitive and submissive. But the majority of Parisians, accustomed to simple tribal people from their African colonies, were enchanted by a wised-up black woman whose acrobatic semi-nude dances made a joke of sex yet were intensely provocative.
Although Baker took numerous lovers, among them the writer Georges Simenon and Paul Colin, who designed her exaggerated art deco posters, she married her manager, Sicilian ex-stone-mason but self-styled “Count” Giuseppe “Pepito” Abatino. He orchestrated her career, attaching her name to ghosted “memoirs” and “confessions”, and even a novel. She also improved her thin voice sufficiently to record six songs, including, “J’ai deux amours” (I have two loves/My country and Paris), which became a hit. and her lifelong signature tune.
Films like Zouzou (1934) and Princesse Tamtam (1935) widened her fame still further, though she lacked the discipline to develop as an actress. She habitually arrived on the set after a sleepless night, and accompanied by some of her private menagerie. This included a chimp, a piglet, a goat, a snake, multiple parakeets, fish, three cats, seven dogs, and a cheetah named Chiquita, which wore a diamond collar and sometimes escaped, causing panic among the crew.
Smarting from racial discrimination and hostile reviews during a US tour, Baker became a French citizen in 1936. Remaining in Europe during World War II, she was active as a courier in the Resistance. The French government recognised this with various awards, culminating in 1961 in the Legion d’Honneur.
BARA, Theda (Theodosia Burr Goodman) (1885-1955) US actress. According to S.J. Perelman, Bara “immortalised the vamp just as Little Egypt at the World’s Fair of 1893 had the Hoochie-Coochie.” Hollywood producer William Fox created Bara to compete with slinky European stars. For publicity photographs, she squatted amid snakes and skeletons, while the studio credited her with occult powers. Her name, they pointed out helpfully, was an anagram of “Arab Death”
Though Fox claimed Bara was the Sahara-born child of a French painter and an Egyptian princess, she actually came from Cincinnati, Ohio, where her father was a tailor. After a brief Broadway career as Theodosia de Coppett, the blonde Goodman dyed her hair black and plastered her face with make-up to star in Frank Powell A Fool There Was (1915) as a seductress who could transfix men with her murmured invitation “Kiss me, my fool”. Though Cleopatra, Camille (both 1917) and Salome (1918) followed, Bara lost ground to more skilled temptresses like Jetta Goudal and Nita Naldi. She effectively retired in 1921.
BARBARELLA. French comic strip. In 1962, French science fiction magazine V proposed an erotic strip about Tarzela, a female Tarzan. Artist Jean-Claude Forest (1930--1998), counter-suggested Barbarella, featuring a voluptuous but innocent space girl. Based in looks on Brigitte Bardot, Barbarella ricochets from one fantastic society to the next, most of which exploit her sexually. Her lovers include Diktor, a robot, Dildano, a revolutionary who introduces her to old-fashioned face-to-face fornication, and Pygar, a blinded angel. The villain Duran Duran tortures her by inducing extremes of pleasure with his Excessive Machine. Barbarella, though his most durable creation, backfired on Forest. “For two years, I couldn’t find any work,” he said. “I was considered a distinguished erotomaniac by the comics industry! They thought, ’If it’s Forest, there will be sex in it and we’ll be in trouble!’ ”
BARDOT, Brigitte. (1934-- ) French actress. Film history dates the nouvelle vague from 1960 and the films of Alain Resnais, Jean-Luc Godard and Francois Truffaut, but credit for tapping the new young audience eager to see performers of their own age rightly belongs to Brigitte Bardot.
Bardot was 21 when her husband Roger Vadim starred her in Et...Dieu Crea La Femme. She’d already made 17 mediocre films, but this romance, set in the then-sleepy fishing village of St. Tropez showed her in a new light Trashy, pouting, half naked, she strutted round town, tossing her mane of golden hair and switching her rump while the matrons tut-tutted and her male co-stars Curt Jurgens, Jean-Louis Trintignant and Christian Marquand panted in her wake.
French film heroines had traditionally been either young and innocent or mature and knowing. This ”sex kitten” who, even though barely out of her teens, knew what she wanted and exploited her sexuality to get it, was something new, and the kids flocked to see her. “In her role of confused female, of homeless little slut,” wrote one critic, “BB seems to be available to everyone,” By 1962, she was the darling of the French intelligentsia. As Simone de Beauvoir wrote in her essay Brigitte Bardot and the Lolita Syndrome, “paradoxically, she is intimidating....(T)here is something stubborn in her sulky face, in her sturdy body....There is nothing coarse about her. She has a kind of spontaneous dignity...”
Almost overnight, “B.B” became the face of the new France. She posed for the bust of Marianne, the symbol of the Republic which occupies a place of honour in every town hall, divorced Vadim to have affairs with a succession of handsome young men, recorded a few songs in her frail little-girl voice, and made the occasional foray into serious cinema with roles as murderess and prostitute. Through all, however, she remained the archetypal tease, at her most effective when she could toss her head, pout and wiggle. Once she became too old for such gestures, she retired, devoting her energies to political causes, in particular animal rights.
BARNEY, Nathalie Clifford. (1876-1972) Hostess, writer. Wealthy Boston dilettante Barney turned up in Paris dressed as a boy, and seduced one of the most famous grandes horizontales of her day, Liane de Pougy. Subsequently she became the doyenne of Paris lesbian society between the wars. “I invented lesbianism,” she announced. Her home at 20 Rue Jacob acted as salon and court, where she and her companion, painter Romaine Brooks, entertained a succession of literary and artistic lesbians, including Gertrude Stein and Alice B. Toklas, Djuna Barnes, Janet Flanner, Dolly Wilde and Radclyffe Hall, as well as “honorary” Sapphists like Truman Capote, Noel Coward, and Raymond Duncan, eccentric brother of the more famous Isadora. Her garden contained a Greek-style “Temple of Friendship”, where she conducted genteel celebrations of Sappho, complete with Hellenic robes and dances. Barney inspired the character of Valérie Seymour in The Well of Loneliness, and was parodied by Djuna Barnes in her comic fantasy The Ladies Almanack.
BARROWS, Sydney Biddle. (1952- ) Socialite and brothel keeper. Dubbed “The Mayflower Madam” because of her Social Register roots, Barrows, an out-of-work Manhattan fashion buyer, spotted the need in the newly affluent 1970s for an up-market call-girl service. Cachet (pronounced “Cash-ay”—French for a distinctive mark or style) opened in 1979. Her girls initially cost $125 an hour, half of it going to Barrows. Cachet boasted of employing only students and professional girls, supposedly earning a little on the side to keep themselves solvent in the Big Apple. Barrows fired one girl after discovering she’d appeared in porn films. “We couldn’t risk anyone finding out that we weren’t as sterling and as pure as we promised, and as we wanted to be.” Police closed her down in 1984, but the articulate and unrepentant Barrows wrote a best-selling autobiography, Mayflower Madam, filmed in 1987 with Candice Bergen as Barrows.
BEHIND THE GREEN DOOR (US film, 1972) Directed by James and Artie, the Mitchell Brothers). Needing product for their San Francisco cinema, the Mitchells, prolific producers of loops, turned to an anonymous pornographic booklet that circulated among American soldiers during World War II. Their title came from The Green Door, a #1 Billboard hit in 1956, in which the sleepless Jim Lowe frets about the wild party going on behind the green door of a nearby house. Impatient with scripts, the Mitchells improvised the action and dialogue, frequently consulting the original text, a few age-yellowed sheets of paper.
In a diner, a truck driver (George MacDonald), asked by the cook and a fellow driver to explain about “the green door”, describes a sex coven that preys on young girls. Gloria (Marilyn Chambers) is abducted from a hotel. After being “calmed” by lesbian caresses, she’s paraded before an audience wearing masks and evening dress. Though silent throughout, she submits enthusiastically to sex with African American Johnny Keyes, a trio on trapezes, and members of the audience. They include the truck driver who, at the climax of the orgy, runs on stage, snatches her up, and flees from the club. The film ends with an extended sex sequence between Macdonald and Chambers that uses psychedelic colour effects, including a cum shot with giant gouts of semen leaping in multi-coloured slow motion.
This sequence, inspired by the work of San Francisco experimental filmmakers like Jordan Belson, indicates the film’s hippie heritage. So does the casting of lesser roles, which run the gamut of physical variety. The orgy, soon to become a Mitchell trademark, includes a Fellini-esque cast of midgets and cross-dressers, middle-aged baldies and a few tattooed people, as well as the gargantuan V. Venus.
The Mitchells opened Green Door in New York City, and, with typical chutzpah, advertised in the trade press recommending the film to Academy members for consideration for the 1973 Oscars.
RAND, Sally, (Harriet Helen Gould Beck) (1904-1979) Exotic dancer. After a brief acting career from which she emerged only with her nom de plumes, coined by director Cecil B. DeMille, Rand gained notoriety at the 1933/34 Chicago Century of Progress Exposition, where young entrepreneur Mike Todd presented an attraction called The Streets of Paris, as part of which Rand performed her Fan Dance, apparently nude but for two sheaves of ostrich feathers and a pair of high-heeled pumps. Filming the show, Todd sold hundreds of prints as souvenirs. Her performance won Rand a part in the film Bolero (1934) opposite George Raft and Carole Lombard, where she danced in a nightclub setting, and even had a minor acting role. First with fans, then with balloons, Rand continued to perform into her sixties, when she appeared at a reception for the astronauts of the Apollo program, an event celebrated in the film The Right Stuff. Rand curtailed her activities during World War II when her body paint, without which she couldn’t perform, was reserved for use on fighting ships. College students who sat in the front row of her shows, shooting bent pins from elastic bands, also drove up the cost of her act by forcing her to buy industrial-strength balloons.
- - -
by Earl Kemp
I had a brother that I never knew. He was born about a year and a half before me, and then died. Every time I asked my parents to tell me his story, it was different. Finally I just gave up asking. That was representative of the things I encountered growing up in an unbelievably dysfunctional family. Missing the brother I never knew became an obsession to me as a small child, because I desperately felt the need of someone beside me to help me through the negative lessons of my childhood.
In his absence, it was necessary for me to improvise, and much to my sorrow I was frequently wrong in my interpretations of what life…the life I was living as contrasted with the life others around me were living…was really all about.
So I settled for best friends instead of siblings. There were a number of them during my childhood, neighbor children with whom I was forbidden to have any contact (“They’re all much too bad for you to be around. You are so much better than they are.”), but nevertheless still elected from among them a best friend. On again, off again, best friends.
In school I found others, some of whom I am still in contact with after all these years. There was Charles Boardman, my horror movie best friend and fellow Edgar Rice Burroughs fan. After he graduated and went away to college, my classmate Rob Roy MacGregor took his place for the last two years of my high school tenure. Rob and I still occasionally exchange email messages trying to avoid total senility.
When I moved to Chicago in the early 1950s and started growing up, I fell into a pit of science fiction fans and became trapped forever. And many of them became great friends: Ed Wood, Frank Robinson, Sidney Coleman, and too many others to name here but while I’m not naming them doesn’t mean they weren’t dear friends, then and now.
One local fan stood out from the pack. Jim O’Meara easily became my best friend forever. The two of us worked closely together, side by side, as fans…producing fanzines together, driving cross-country to fan parties and conventions, sharing cut-rate con rooms, pizzas, beer, striptease clubs, and root beer floats. Until that time I had never had such a friend as Jim. He was easily the brother I never knew. He still is.
During the 1950s I exerted myself to an agonizing degree and bulldozed my way into a leadership position, demanding that the local sf fans help me achieve my greatest ambition, becoming Chairman of a World sf convention. We worked on that project for several years, failing time and again to achieve the targeted goal. But that didn’t prevent us from continuing with the campaign.
And Jim was there fighting side by side with me every step of the way. When we finally succeeded in Seattle in 1961, Jim became Vice Chair of ChiCon III, my right-hand man and all-purpose backup.
And at the same time he left Chicago for his college career in Champaign, Illinois, many miles away.
So I wrote letters to Jim, once or twice a week, trying to keep him in constant update of all the things relating to ChiCon III that was necessary for him to know. At the same time I wrote many letters to other out-of-town Chicago fans who had similarly worked long and hard to bring that convention to Chicago. They were Ed Wood, Sidney Coleman who was already being a genius at Harvard, Vic Ryan, also away at college, Joe Sarno was in the Army, Jerry DeMuth doing conscientious objector slave labor, Howard DeVore (a Detroit sf fan) who was working very hard for ChiCon III, doing much of the petty printing, and other fans that I have probably forgotten. Writing letters…many letters…frequently….
And, then there was work. I was working for United Letter Service for years, an all-purpose graphics house, as a graphics artist. I got that job, knowing very little about the work involved, on the strength of the fanzines I had produced. I made arrangements with United Letter to use their equipment and have them print for me, at lovely discount prices, fanzines and numerous items related to ChiCon III. All this preparation was done on my own time of course, and off the clock at United Letter.
And them professionalism reared its ugly, sleazy head, and I was lured away to William Hamling’s raunchy paperback house, Blake Pharmaceuticals, publishers of such sterling products as Regency Books, Nightstand Books, Bedside Readers, etc. It was a wonderful opportunity for me, and quite an upward mobile position. There was no way I could refuse them and not accept the offer made to me by the editor-in-chief, Ajay Budrys.
In my spare time, I moonlighted at William Thorsen’s American Book Collector as a typesetter and sf book reviewer. I worked there several hours a week, after working all day at United Letter. As attractive as that job was, I had to resign in order to devote more time to convention matters. Between times I worked at being an sf fan and egotistical, hard-driving, nut-fringe whip-cracker….
My, where did all that time come from?
Jim O’Meara kept most of my letters to him and, at my request, returned them to me forty years later to blow me away with their contents. I never knew what a total asshole I was until I reread those letters. I never knew how much work I did, how much time I seemed to have, and the people I knew and loved….
I decided to share snips from many of those letters describing what was going on before, during, and after ChiCon III, ending with the publication, by Advent, of The Proceedings.
Enter the sordid world of Best Friends:
Undated Thursday PM
Got back from the funeral in Milwaukee at 1:30 AM. Went to work today, stayed after work to finish off two more pages of the Progress Report (finished off membership list at 279) with only one more to go. It is now 11:00 PM and I still have to drive over to Rosemary Hickey’s to pick up the copy Jon Stopa sent by her on Saturday to finish off the book. Plates are made on everything but the membership list and the Conklin intro of Sturgeon (that Rosemary has). Printing starts tomorrow with the whole run scheduled to be off the press by Thursday. Friday night shot assembling.
Undated Monday 10:10 PM
After work I walked over to the new Post Office, picked up the mail. Nothing important except the Asmiov manuscript from Doubleday for the convention auction. Then walked over to the old Post Office and picked up one order from American News Company then onto the subway.
Undated Tuesday 10:25 PM
After I wrote you last night I must have hit the mad letter writing streak because I wrote a dozen or more letters to various people. Mostly to movie studios trying to make a tie-in for the convention with sf and horror movies. Tonight I am not going to write any more after this; I’m too damned tired.
Undated Thursday 10:30 PM
Our Progress Reports came today. I hope everyone’s did, because they’re so late. Nothing of any interest in the mail today, just another issue of the German zine, still running Why Is A Fan?
February 26, 1962
I was working on the Progress Report, just finished up the last ad I can do until I get some more copy from Jon Stopa.
Undated Tuesday 11:30 PM
I went right home from work and started working on the Bloch book (Advent produced Robert Bloch’s Eighth Stage of Fandom as a special title for ChiCon III), worked until 8:30 PM on it. Then got ready to go out, left at 9:00, picked up Rosemary and Richard Hickey and drove to George Prices’ to drop off his mail.
We were auditioning the orchestra to play at the convention during the masquerade ball. They were playing for a dance that was supposed to start at 10:00 PM and we didn’t want to be too very late. We got there around 10:15 or so. We were the only people there, outside of bartenders and waitresses, until about 10:45 when the band started coming in. They sat up and started playing shortly after 11. They were magnificent, really good. During intermission I told them to send us their contract. There were probably a total of 50 people at the dance, including the band and all the help. We were the only whites. Hardly anyone danced. It was a drag. Richard slept throughout and Rosemary kept bitching because he didn’t dance at all. It was a swinging evening. At 1:30 AM or so there was a floorshow. A pure delight. Rose Marie, the world’s greatest tassel-tossing shake artist. And I believe she was, remind me to describe her act, it was a beaut, with tassels front and ass-end and lots of hair. After the show we left, went to Surf & Surry (50th and the lake motel) for food and got home a little after 3:00 AM after dropping them off. Sunday went to see Martha and Henry Beck and got back from Gary about 1:00 AM and went to bed.
Monday night, great evening spent on work on the Bloch book.
Undated Thursday noon Regency letterhead
Here I am at work reading what will probably be a forthcoming Regency book. It is a fictionalized version of the Cuban revolution. So far pretty good; but the manuscript will need lots of work. Anyway, I have been reading so much lately, like late into the night, that I’ve got eyestrain. Something like a persistent little headache. I haven’t yet got to the point where I’m taking anything for it.
Jon Stopa is coming over tomorrow night to make sure that I spent at least that evening working on the Progress Report. He is right of course, but I’d much rather just collapse over a few cold brews. And I haven’t touched the Bloch book for what must be a solid week already.
Undated Monday 6:10 PM
Friday night Jon came over and we worked on the Progress Report. They had called me from United Letter pleading that I come in and help Saturday (still have no replacement for me). So, using that as an excellent excuse, I went to work for them. I worked from 7:30AM until 8:30 for the convention, from 8:30 until 2:00 PM (less lunch) for the company and from 2:00 until 4:00 PM on the Progress Report. I was tired as hell. I went to the Post Office and straight home where I went to work again. I got up at 8:00 AM Sunday and started working again. At 6:00 PM I took a break and went out for a short walk then returned and went to work again…
I just got home from work today and am in the process of rushing through this letter so I can again go down to United Letter, and try to finish off the Progress Report and rush back home to start work again.
Undated Tuesday 7:50 PM
Because work is really getting piled up here, I’m looking at 50 convention letters in front of me. I know about all that Bloch book waiting to be done; the Progress Report that is overdue; and on top of everything else off, I’ve been reading so much utter shit in manuscript form (submitted to Regency by pros and agents) that I have an unexplainable urge to write again; better….
Today there was officially conferred upon me a title. I am now Managing Editor of Regency Books; my Editor-in-Chief has decreed. And in this capacity I have written nasty notes to three mainline agents and one magazine editor. It is fun, after a fashion
Undated Monday noon
I feel as if I actually haven’t had a day off to relax and be myself in two whole frigging months. The strain is telling a little too. I know because I’m letting important convention letters go unanswered. The Progress Report is way behind schedule. It would appear on the surface that I’m just fluffing off; I don’t know where the time does go. I have been working on the Bloch book rather regularly though. I like this work; because it is “no thought” work. I just throw the switch and slip into gear and type like mad—I don’t have to think about a damned thing then. Maybe that’s why I do it.
Undated Wednesday 11:30 PM
On the convention front, the Progress Report is printed and should be ready for pickup on Friday. I’ll pick it up at work and take it to Rosemary’s house Friday night….
We got a couple more manuscripts for the convention auction, but still no artwork. (One of the manuscripts was Sturgeon’s “Some of your Blood,” should do well with that one.)
I am having the convention letterhead reprinted, finally, so I now feel free to write on it again.
Undated Monday 11:30 PM
I worked from 7:15 AM until 6:00 PM. Punched out and went to the new Post Office to pick up the convention mail. Nothing of much importance except a package of artwork, five pieces of original art for Things to Come from the sf book club, some of it quite good as a matter of fact. And, miracle of miracles, a letter from Margaret Mead. And what a letter. It is most encouraging and non-committal. She doesn’t say no, but says, quote: “Thank you for your letter. I should very much enjoy attending the convention. It is a difficult date, however, and I can’t yet be certain” And she goes on to ask four important questions about the sf field in general and winds up by enclosing a copy of a book review she wrote of an sf book for The American Scholar. It is absolutely magnificent. It is not a book review, it is a plea for better understanding and better reception of sf. She said in part: “(science fiction)…should be an important part of literature today when our will to survive is at least as dependent upon the picture of the world we or our descendants will live in, as it is upon the contemplation of man’s great achievements in the past. But work in the category ‘science fiction’ has become isolated from the main stream of literature, and often dismissed as ‘not as interesting as a good murder,’ or with the avant garde comment, ‘Well, yes, of course I read Ray Bradbury.’”
Undated Tuesday 11:00 PM
I worked the clock around today, literally from 7:15 AM to 7:15 PM. Then I rushed home, ate and sat down at the typewriter. It is now some nine letters later and a few more to go after this….
A letter from Howard DeVore came today. George Willick is at it again, I told you, blasting at Dirce Archer. Well, he’s being jumped on (me and Pavlat abstaining for obvious reasons).
Undated Monday 8:05 PM
I went for a stroll to the new Post Office, nothing important, one letter bitching about Seacon having given money to Walt Willis and Ella Parker. A note from Frank Robinson saying he had some more artwork from Rogue ready to be picked up….
Tonight I will continue writing advertising pitch letters. I ran out of stamps last night so I stopped. I bought some more today though to keep me going tonight.
Undated Sunday 9:30 PM
Friday I came right home from work, went to the Post Office, right back here and went to work on the Bloch book, ending that work around 1:30 AM. Got up bright and early Saturday and went to work. I even took the train to make it drag more. It was a rainy, miserable day. I left work around 3:00 PM and went walking around. This is when the rain was the worst. I went to both Post Offices, Post Office News, K&B, all over; doing nothing, seeing nothing….
I finally got home on Saturday and picked up the Bloch book where I had left off, paging (measuring to see how many pages it would be).
Undated Wednesday 9:15 PM
I got to work late today, 7:30 AM, and quit at 5:30 PM. I went to both Post Offices before coming home. Four or five memberships for George Price and an answer to a letter I sent to all the movie studios from Disney Studios; they have nothing on tap except Moon Pilot and it’s out already. And another from American International who have about eight fantasies coming up that really look good, including When the Sleeper Wakes. I wrote them right back trying to make a tie-in to get it shown here for the convention.
Undated Friday 11:15 PM
At the new Post Office I got a letter from the Theatre Guild. I had written asking to borrow a script for The Two Worlds of Charlie Gordon (formerly Flowers for Algernon). The script came with a request to return it as it was their only file copy. I read it and it was quite good. I wish I had seen the production. I will send it back tomorrow; wish I could keep it for the convention auction. They also sent some still pictures from the production that I might be able to use somewhere.
Also Ferman of F&SF sent a check for two memberships. It makes me wonder whatever happened to JWC? Not a word from that bastard. And got a letter from the Russian embassy about Yuri Gagarin being a guest of the convention, saying they’d try to put a little pressure on from this end, hope something comes of it….
Undated Sunday 8:30 PM
I got up early and started working at the typewriter. I made up a long list of mundane type people to hit up for ads for the Program Book. It took all morning to make this list up and still no work done on the Bloch book.
Undated Thursday 9:30 PM
It’s going to be one hell of a weekend. The only answer will be to work, and honestly I need time to work, damned near as much as you do. Unless there are lots of letters to answer tomorrow, I’ll let them slide and go right into the Bloch book on Saturday. I’ve got to do all kinds of introductory writing before I can even start to type for real on the book.
The mail at home brought a letter from Ed Wood bitching justly that I hadn’t written him, and a similar one from Dirce Archer because I was a day late with a round-table reply. And one from Ed Emsh saying that he had already mailed two cover paintings for the auction and the artwork for the Program Book cover.
Undated Tuesday 19:10 PM
I didn’t go to the Post Office tonight, just went straight home, tired as hell. At home I got the package from Emsh, two very nice cover paintings and the cover for the Program Book, an excellent job it is too….
Frank Robinson sent me a note (or did I tell you?) that he had some more artwork to be picked up. I’ll try to get them tomorrow night at club meeting.
Undated Wednesday 11:15 PM
I went to Frank Robinson’s to pick up the artwork he had for us. I took him the best copy of that Tales we had. Ajay Budrys was there; both of them were in a blue funk to end all blues…almost like I get at times. It seems that Harlan Ellison had pulled some particularly dirty deal that just came to light today and set the whole organization on end. Whatever it was it looks like a goodie, but they wouldn’t tell me about it….
The artwork that Frank had was not so hot, in my estimation. They were new Rogue illos, abstract, modern, ech! Only one good one in the lot (of about seven), an Emsh, two-collar wash painting, slightly fantastic.
Wednesday, a long dull day at work. Tension has started to rise regarding that interview tomorrow, sweating like a pig and stinking like two. That, plus Wednesday afternoon and no beer. I walked down Van Buren to State today, carefully looking the other way, away from #9. Made both Post Offices again. Galaxy finally came through with their ad for the Program Book. Nothing else of any major significance.
Undated Thursday 10:20 PM
Today was the usual hectic day at work, rush, push, rush…. With the added difference that I stayed after work, from 5:00 until 8:00 PM, working on ads and badges for the convention. It has been raining on and off since 4:00 PM and I got nice and wet. I got home limp, wet, and frozen.
I got about six or so ads done tonight, all that there was on hand to do, plus an Advent ad for the Program Book. I will stay a couple of nights next week, and do a little more advance work for the Program Book, plus set some headlining for the Bloch book.
I got a letter at home from Ross-McElroy (Norman Ross and David McElroy) asking for a list of the people who would appear at the convention for possible appearance on Off the Cuff. I felt duly flattered.
Undated Thursday 10:35 PM
It was raining a little when I left work (it later turned into half-assed snow) and walked to both Post Offices. I really didn’t need to go because I went yesterday. There was a letter from Warner Brothers that The Day of the Triffids would be out in June; nothing else of any interest either place.
Then I came home and started writing letters again.
Got a letter from Pavlat who says George Scithers told him (George just got back from New York) that Georgie Willick was shooting off his mouth about me and D. Bruce Berry all over New York fandom. Shudder!
Tuesday 8:30 PM
From the new Post Office, a package from F&SF containing color proofs for their covers, without logo or writing of any kind, really handsome, and ten copies of a limited edition of a Poe story they did many years ago….
I talked with Ajay today and he told me the bit about Harlan. It has to do, and this is confidential, with Harlan’s sale of Memoirs From Purgatory to Hitchcock for TV. He sold it without clearing Regency rights and withholding Regency’s share, and already took the advance from Hitch. Regency refuses to release the use of their 50% of the book without a signed statement from the network that the credit will read, “Based on the Regency Book….” and payment of $1.00. No further payment and Regency relinquishes its 50% share of the sale. The network refuses to list Regency in the credits and Harlan is faced with returning the advance to Hitch and he doesn’t have it.
Undated Wednesday 9:30 PM
In the mail today I got an ad from Richard Bergeron (I must remember to send him off his fanzines one of these days), a letter from G. Harry Stine that he will give a talk at the convention and nothing much else….
I’ve been typing out labels like mad for the direct mailing of “membership please” letters. They are being printed at work and should be ready Friday. Then as soon as I finish I’ll turn the whole works, labels, letters, etc. over to George.
I have a flock of nominations to turn over to George. They seem to have picked up a little recently. Memberships are sort of averaging 1½ a day, I think.
Undated Thursday 10:30 PM
Tonight I am going to put the finishing touches on the labels for the big direct pitch mailing. The letters are supposed to be ready tomorrow. It looks like we’re picking up quite a few con-members from Chicago, people I never heard of.
April 11, 1962
I’ve been writing a lot of letters in conjunction with the Convention, naturally. And I have found there are a lot of damn nice people in this world that I would have otherwise missed. Along with a few bastards that I could have spent the rest of my life not missing. I’m sure my attorney wouldn’t allow me to discuss any of them (the only times I’ve asked for permission he’s turned thumbs down) but I can mention some of the good guys.
There is, as an example, Rod Serling. I think he is a damn nice guy. He has been helpful, beyond the call of duty, to the Convention Committee. I feel that he has a sincere regard for the field and wishes to see it prosper.
There is Alfred Hitchcock, in the proxy of Joan Harrison of Revue, who has been most helpful too. And George Kondelf of the Theatre Guild; Mr. Koelle of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration; Mr. Morritz of American-International; Mr. Gud of Avalon Books; the whole crew at Doubleday and the Literary Guild of America.
Most of these people have no direct relation to the field of science fiction, yet they perform, or offer, considerable services in our behalf to insure a successful convention. It is very gratifying when these pseudo outsiders offer to help. It is only from within the field that the “gimme” is encountered.
To make a road test of our new used car, we drove Jim back to school last Sunday afternoon. We went via Bloomington and had a very delightful little visit with the great man Tucker.
Undated Wednesday/Thursday 12:05 AM
I figure there were four responses to the direct mail letter in the Post Office today, two at $3.00 each and two at $2.00 each, for $10.00 (yes, I know you can add), this just about clears the printing cost and the postage on the lot. If there are any more they are pure gravy memberships. Around 345 now, George told me tonight.
I even managed to get most of Advent’s business caught up tonight. Tomorrow evening I will stay at work and try to whip up some of the ads that are on hand while I still have facility, for soon I lose the ability, and me my desirability….
Undated Tuesday noon
I’m sitting here, now, in my private office at Regency, at my private typewriter desk (a separate thing from my private desk) at my private typewriter with my private air-conditioner grinding away at me.
This place is so incredibly, physically beautiful that I can hardly wait to show it to you, you won’t believe it. I’ve been putting in lots of reading time here too, and I can safely say that the work is interesting—some of the original version manuscripts go far out, if you know what I mean.
Following are a few letters making veiled references to the ongoing harassment, surveillance by a number of different law-enforcement agencies. Plus a comment about the almost daily 200-mile commute to Milwaukee just to drop off the office mail at their Post Office. This to explain the vagueness of the comments:
Undated Monday 6:30 PM
All ambiguous and anonymous:
It seems that in yesterday’s American (I did not see it) there was an opening column on a series. The second column appeared today.
Along with two policemen.
Enough said, do NOT write me there. A phone tap is suspected.
Undated Tuesday no time
Today was a double header with Kup (Irvin Kupcinet; Chicago Sun-Times) coming through too. Both being Kup plus Mabley. Was halfway exciting at work today, had the radio going all the time, Glenn’s trip I mean.
Tonight I have to do my rehearsing and note making for tomorrow, listen for me on the radio….
Undated no day no time
Everything, right now, is in one hell of a mixed-up mess. I hope you never have to go through anything as tense as this is. And no, it has nothing to do with you, or you and me, or Nancy and me. And I can’t even talk about it now if I were with you. Just believe me that it is, emotionally, rougher than words can describe.
Forgive me, but I’m too screwed up to carry this any further. Don’t ask me anything about the situation either by mail or phone.
Undated Monday 10:30 AM
We had lots of excitement around here last week, none of which is letterable, unfortunately. At any rate it meant I had to work yesterday which wound up with me getting home just around 2:00 AM. It wasn’t all work, naturally, it ended up with a ride to the Milwaukee Post Office (but forget that) to spot all the burlesque joints; we didn’t check any of them out though. That means there is still some virgin territory around here….
It was after 1:00 AM before I looked up long enough to discover I had better stop. Started again at 8:00 AM on Saturday, worked straight through until 4:00 PM then rushed back home to clean up for Rosemary’s party. It was a rather interesting affair. Coulsons, Briney, Sylvia Dees, and Fred Saberhagen all showed up to save the day. Broke up around 1:00 AM and then later I took Briney down to the Harrison. Got up Sunday morning, read the papers then directly to work then, as said, home around 2:00 AM this morning.
I have an invitation to pass on to you. It comes from Dean Grennell and the date Dean has set is Saturday, November 3rd. Just the usual bullshit session and target meet, with a difference. It seems Dean and Jean have gone hog wild with the invites and are inviting people from all over (Detroit, Minneapolis, etc. in addition to Economus and Stu). Anyway, it should be fun.
Undated Tuesday 11:00 PM
Monday morning I overslept and rushed off to work in a mad frenzy. Went into the restaurant at work and had my usual cup of coffee with Raye and Ajay and on my way out of the restaurant I discovered to my horror that I had exactly 27cents on me. And this was the day I’d more or less promised myself I’d make up to Sid Coleman some of my personal snide inward remarks by buying him a nice lunch. So we went on to work. And as soon as we got quiet in the office Ajay asked if he could borrow some money from me, beating me to asking him by about two minutes. So we were both broke. I called up Sid, explained the situation to him and he agreed to pick up the lunch check for the three of us. So, we went to the nicest restaurant around there, had a couple of cocktails, a nice lunch and 2-1/4 hours. Then we took Sid back to the office and chatted until 5:00 PM and I left him, Ajay, and Frank going for coffee.
Undated Tuesday 8:50 PM
There is a committee meeting Thursday night about Progress Report #2. I have an appointment at the American at 3:30 PM Thursday afternoon to be interviewed by Mabley’s assistant about the convention. They called in response to the mimeoed newssheet to the columnists.
Wednesday no time
Around here things are rough as hell. Things are still extremely rush-rush (Ajay is still sick, comes in about an hour a day), so much so that Larry Shaw called in sick this morning. I’m literally working my ass off here, and will tell you more about it when I see you next. Essentially it is just an extreme amount of work due out in an impossibly short time. I actually shouldn’t even be stealing the time to write you this letter.
The next installment of the Proceedings is now one day overdue from the transcriber, and I’m damned glad it is late. I am right up to date on it, and so is Briney with the first reading. Actually I’m almost five pages ahead of him, but that’s nothing.
Thursday March 7, 1963 11:00 AM
I have been working away like hell. Actually I shouldn’t be taking this time to write you at work, there is so much to do staring me in the face. But it is far better that I short the work here long enough to write you than to take the time away from the Proceedings. I am doing an average of 12 finished pages per night. I just talked to Ronald (the transcriber) on the phone and the final pages go into the mail to me on Saturday, which means I’ll have it on Monday. Whee!
I went right home and hit the work on the Proceedings again.
Tuesday 3:30 PM
I spent the whole weekend closeted with the Proceedings. I finally closed them out last night at 208 pages. Now all that is left is the corrections, proofreading, and final corrections. And I will be damned glad to get that over with.
Thursday 12:45 PM
Even though large gobs of the Proceedings are still missing, I started the final typing last night. Got through the first 15 pages or so. Very shortly though I will hit a block that I can’t go beyond. But I can work on it tonight anyway. Actually I look like hell. I was up so late last night working on it I overslept this morning. I have whiskers like yeah and am filled with much of your “it’s only in the mind” stinking sweat and etc.
Monday 3:15 PM
As soon as I finish this letter I’m rushing out to the Baskin and Robbins ice cream store, less than a block away. It is in the 40s, temperature wise, and we figure it’s time to hit the ice cream habit again. I’ve got a marshmallow hot fudge sundae made with French vanilla on order.
Tuesday May 14, 1963 9:00 PM
I have been working like hell, that’s the whole story, but I know that that is no new story. I did manage to finish off the Proceedings Saturday at United Letter, and Ajay mailed it today, so it is somewhere en route to the printer in Ann Arbor. What little non-company work I’ve managed to squeeze out besides that is to do just a little on the paperback index. I’ve also found a way to salvage those convention envelopes….
Undated no date no time
On the Proceedings, by working hard and diligently into the wee hours of each day I am now up with the transcriber on the pretype. I am waiting for more to arrive and have sent the pretype home with Briney to check names, etc. for accuracy.
Monday 10:30 AM
Sam Moskowitz came to visit by prearrangement. We sat around from 7:30 PM until midnight talking about his frozen food convention, his frozen food magazine, and advertising for magazines in general. We touched only very briefly on fandom, dropped it quickly and rushed on to editing and publishing in general.
It was a pleasant enough evening. Later I drove him back to his hotel and then came back to the house and went to bed.
Undated Friday 10:00 AM
Last night, Vincent Starrett (The) called me up to chat a while about science fiction, etc. He was very apologetic about calling me, I told him he shouldn’t have been. It was fun, after a fashion. Me, standing there, holding a drippy paintbrush in my hand, nauseated from the fumes of the paint, shaking in a cold room.
Undated Wednesday 10:30 AM
Noreen is screaming “panic” at Larry and is scared shitless about the world situation. She is on the phone to him about four times a day (yesterday and today) and is flying in to be with him this afternoon. I am picking them up at O’Hare.
Ajay is taking advantage of something, perhaps Larry’s presence. He came in yesterday at 11:00 AM, is not here now, but is expected before noon. He did call Playboy with the word, “I’m ready to talk turkey whenever you can set it up.”
Undated Thursday 9:30 AM
Monday night I got a lot of the pictures keyed into the Proceedings. Also wrote to the Life photographer asking for permission to use his pictures in it.
August 6, 1963 no time
The party for Fritz Leiber was hastily contrived, last minute thing. I invited a minimum of sf types and a minimum of office types. They mixed surprisingly well. (*Martha, John Jackson and girl friend, Richard and Rosemary Hickey, Ann Dinkleman* and date*, Pat Oswalt*, Louie Grant, Fran Schroeder, Lynn Hickman who happened to be in town, John and Joanie Stopa, Frank Robinson, M&M Elliott*, Ann Schuneman* and her brother* and her date*. Everything went along very nicely, not too much consumed. Then along around 3:00 AM the party started breaking up and nine of us who were left decided to go to the Stopas and swim naked in the moonlight. We did. I got back at 8:00 AM with a trunk full of sandy undies. We are the swimmers*.
It was a fine party.
by Fritz Leiber
Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser were born of the Bankrupt Thirties, and like true depression children, they didn’t earn a cent for years and years—five, to be exact.
It was 1934. Five years earlier the market had crashed; the Wall Street chaps had jumped from their windows or lived for months and years in terror of red revolt by the apple-sellers and the bread-line men; one of them had gone haring off to lay the groundwork for Alcoholics Anonymous.
And in 1934 prosperity still seemed acrumble to those of us who were around, despite the small beginnings of social security; in the next year Congress would vote the president four billion dollars for plain unemployment relief—the WPA, PWA, and such: a desperate bribe to desperate men. Midwestern bank robbers were folk heroes.
Jobs seemed impossible to come by and were often rather odd: during the past two years I had been hiring out as an Episcopalian minister; my friend Harry Fischer had been putting on puppet shows featuring the chuckling murderer Punch and the grisly hangman Jack Ketch.
Twenty-five dollars a 48-hour week was a princely wage for college graduates. The Blue Eagle of the NRA was affrighting businessmen while giving them unconfessed hope. Fascism was gathering its final horrendous strength in Europe. Most extroverted brave young radicals were Marxists of some stripe; the introverted ones patched their lives together week by week, hunting work, jeered at the world, played chess or the newly invented contract bridge, read voraciously, and dreamed.
Despite need for escape, the pulp magazines were fading—the weekly pulps of the twenties were gone. The lavish movie houses from the same decade—Balaban & Katz baroque seemed haunted places. TV, using whirling metal Nipkov disks as scanners, was an experiment inside GE labs. Pee-wee golf had replaced the luxurious private links with their marble-lined locker rooms. H.G. Wells was predicting in The Shape of Things to Come an America with the clockwork all run down, and in very truth, fear and lethargy still gripped our land.
The two creators of Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser shared this uneasy lethargy. In the summer of 1934 my friend Harry Fischer had written to me from Louisville, Kentucky: “I am static for fear that any motion would be fatal. The gods have laid my soul aside to molder for a time,” and I had written to him from Atlantic Highlands, New Jersey: “We still have those great foreknowledges of ourselves that you call adolescent fancies. But they will become moldy and rotten and the trolls will creep into them greedily if we do not act soon. Our dreams will become the nests of the little gray ones, unless.
“But there is much of strong hope,” I went on to say, and indeed this was true for that September I received from Harry a long letter in which was embedded this seminal fragment, which I quoted in full in the foreword to my Arkham House book, Night’s Black Agents:
“For all do fear the one known as the Gray Mouser. He walks with swagger ’mongst the bravos, though he’s but the stature of a child. His costume is all of gray, from gauntlets to boots and spurs of steel.”
Of Fafhrd, he wrote that he laughed merrily and was “full seven feet in height. His eyes, wide-set, were proud and of fearless mien. His wrist between gauntlet and mail was white as milk and thick as a hero’s ankle.”
They met “in the walled city of the Tuatha De Danann called Lankhmar, built on the edge of the Great Salt Marsh, and so the saga of the Gray Mouser and Fafhrd was begun.”
In a letter postmarked September 24, 1934, I replied:
“Last night I walked down by devious paths to the sea. And there I sat beside a congeries of silver gas tanks in the light of a veiled moon. I crouched upon a bulkhead and the sea lapped subtly at the rocks about my feet.
“And it came to pass then that a low black craft slid into my range of vision. In the back rose the ominous frame of Fafhrd, clad all in black. Ever and anon he would chance their course when a whisper floated back from the bow, where the grays of the Mouser’s garments hung over the sea like a ghost’s. Through a strange scopic instrument he was peering into the sea—only I noted that the instrument made no ripples where it entered the deeps: it was not into our local waters that the instrument peered.
“There came a swirl of waters on that calm night as if a whirlpool that lay at right angles to the boat had seized it. I caught a glimpse of the Mouser fighting an indistinct creature that held eight swords in as many writhing arms. Immediately afterward the dark sea was empty.”
Of these two fragments Harry’s has style and polish, a remarkable example of hitting the right tone on the first attempt. Mine is a reverie projected on the real world: I actually did go down by those oil tanks at night and sit by New York Bay and imagine things.
It is clear that Harry had been reading Irish myth and legend, for the Tuatha De Danann were the pagan gods of Ireland, children of Danu, the great goddess of fertility and death. They were later identified with the Aes Sidhe, or Little People.
This link with the world of Irish myth was soon dropped, however, and was not as great to start with as might appear. Lankhmar and the Great Salt Marsh are not to be found there, and while Fafhrd as first described is a rather typical Celtic hero, the Mouser certainly is not—he already sounds medieval, perhaps Mediterranean, a being of dark alleyways and docks rather than green forests and meads; a small handsome gray gargoyle come to life.
Incidentally, my vision of the Mouser and Fafhrd peering down into dark waters for hints of alien life—while I peer at them through the dark—is a very apt picture of the writer at his creative work. He peers into the black pool of his unconscious mind, glimpses a flash of green, notes down the exact shade of color and rhythm of disappearance—and then as much as a year later, in the course of actually writing a story, hooks and pulls out of that pool a seventy tentacled green monster as tall as a skyscraper.
Now, let us take a closer look at the two young men who penned and typed the fragments I’ve just quoted. Although sharing the general mood of the mid-thirties, they were anything but typical depression children.
I was born December 24, 1910, son of the Shakespearean actor and producer of the same name. I was deeply familiar from early childhood with the more commonly presented plays of Shakespeare. I went to the University of Chicago, where my interests, aside from writing, shifted from chemistry to physics to math to psychology to philosophy to theology—a quaintly precise trending from the material to the insubstantial. After a rather brief acting career with my father’s last touring company and an even briefer try at the movies, I became an encyclopedia writer, a magazine editor, and finally a freelance writer.
Harry Otto Fischer was born July 9, 1910, the same year but all the way across the zodiac from me—Cancer to my Capricorn. He early became a wide-ranging reader, soaking up everything from Weird Tales and Astounding and Edgar Rice Burroughs to Wassermann and Joyce and Proust, by way of Eric Linklater, Richard Aldington, and James Branch Cabell. In 1935 he married the artist Martha McElroy, who created the earliest pictorial representations of Fafhrd and the Mouser and drew the first full maps of Lankhmar and the world of Nehwon. Despite his early maturing literary ability, Harry went into the box business, where he is a designer and engineer specializing in corrugated packaging. The Scalpel scores pasteboard, Cat’s Claw staples it. I have never heard of any of his cartons turning out to contain poisonous eels of Lankhmar’s salt marsh, or giant spiders of Klesh, but I have my hopes.
Harry and I met about 1930. We had much in common: a great interest in fantasy and romantic literature such as H. Rider Haggard’s and Talbot Mundy’s; a liking for sardonic German wit; both fencers, chess and bridge enthusiasts too; there were strong dramatic streaks: my own Shakespeare and Ibsen, his puppet shows (which he and his wife created and produced jointly) and later his semi-professional ballet dancing (his wife designed sets).
Corresponding with Harry, my typical letters rather quickly jumped from ten lines to ten pages. Soon we were exchanging missives in which news, commentary, and talk about books were regularly spaced out with extemporized fragments of fantasy and poetry. We would often take up each other’s conceits and, tossing the literary ball (or literary bull) back and forth, produce series of loosely related fragments. We explored several other imaginary worlds before that of Lankhmar came dimly into view.
First there was the universe of the Elder Gods, shading into the realm of Loki and the trolls, which grew equally from the Elder Edda and Peer Gynt.
Next there was the philosophy of chaoticism: “The only God is Chaos, and Chaos is his prophet.”
Then there were the Wischmeiers, a prolific Central-European family of rogue geniuses—perhaps a little predictive of the brilliant Hungarians who have played so prominent a part in American scientific and intellectual life the last thirty years: Gamov, Wiener, Teller, Franz Alexander, Szilard, von Neumann, and their compatriots.
The first Wischmeiers were invented on the spur of the moment to confound a Louisville friend who by some almost unimaginable sleight had managed to read Spengler’s Decline of the West before Harry or I did. It seems that Adolf and Herman Wischmeier had written a five-volume commentary on that work, disproving the German cyclic historian’s theses at almost every point. They were students of Freud, a psycho-mythologist and mytho-psychologist respectively, and were currently engaged in psychoanalyzing the Norse gods, much as Freud had taken to pieces Hamlet, Oedipus, Moses, and Leonardo da Vinci.
A flesh-and-blood professor of psychology belittled their work to Harry, but never questioned their existence—minor students of Freud, he would say.
And then there was a Wischmeier who circumnavigated the cosmos in a fiery chariot (establishing incidentally that it was not saddle-shaped)—Elijah Wischmeier, I believe.
A Chicago friend of ours, Georg Mann, joined the game—I believe by inventing Ottocar Wischmeier, who falsified the entire history of the Middle Ages. Georg became more deeply interested than Harry or I in those rapscallion masterminds, those modern Cagliostros, those scarecrow profundities. Georg was another wide-ranging reader with a rat-trap memory—no, a memory that struck down and embalmed thousands of facts at once, like DDT. He was the first student to start from scratch and win a degree at the University of Chicago under Hutchin’s new plan for accelerated learning. He eventually published, in New Directions annuals, several long satiric and polemical biographical essays about members of the Wischmeier tribe. “Anselm Wischmeier” takes apart the neo-Thomists. “Azeff Wischmeier, the Bolshevik Bureaucrat” anticipated all of Orwell’s 1984 and Animal Farm—but unfortunately for Georg, at the peak of our wartime friendship with Russia.
He has recently returned to satiric writing with two contemporary-scene novels published by Macmillan: The Dollar Diploma, which tells all about the fund-raising drives of big private universities, and The Blind Ballots, which takes a bitterly humorous look at suburban school boards and politicking.
I have digressed here because the Wischmeiers are a good example of how contagious the game of imaginary worlds can be and of how a little heavy humor may lead someone to years of work behind the typewriter. Writers, be warned!
Now, what does this background material tell us about the origins of the Mouser and Fafhrd?
For one thing, that those origins were most diverse. Remember chaoticism!
For another, that we were using all our characters, including Fafhrd and the Mouser, to comment on life and the affairs of the world.
Fafhrd began as a somewhat regulation hero, though he has grown much less so. As for the Gray Mouser, one can point out faint similarities to Loki, Peer Gynt, François Villon, Etzel Andergast in Wassermann’s Kerkhoven trilogy, Spendius in Flaubert’s Salammbo, Jurgen himself and Horvendile in The Cream of the Jest, even the Pied Piper of Hamelin and Punch as a young man, but they are greatly outweighed by the differences—quite unconvincing. The Mouser stubbornly remains the Mouser alone.
Authors, of course, inevitably put much of themselves into their characters. So in a sense Harry Fischer is the Gray Mouser and I am Fafhrd.
Being Fafhrd to some degree has been, over the years, an interesting responsibility, which I have fulfilled more in imagination than reality.
I do fence with the three weapons and I have owned workaday sabers, both the fairly comfortable weapon of the Civil War and the ponderous straight blade issued to the U.S. Cavalry just before World War I, which I can liken only to a skewer suitable for broiling roast-size shish kebab. I have occasionally toyed with one of the latter weapons in the manner of Fafhrd, handling it as a foil rather than a broadsword, and I find it really is better for thrusting; if you swing it in a great swashing stroke, you’re apt to fall down.
And occasionally I look down at my unexercised frame and I think of Fafhrd and I go out and climb a fifty-foot mountain or scale a ten-foot rock wall. Or drive a mountain road just fast enough to make the tires start to squeak. Or sail a sailboat in a lagoon. Or plunge into a medium-size Pacific roller, but not one of the really big ones that come crashing in for three days every three years, all the way from Japan.
For a while I was handier at living up to Fafhrd’s reputation for wine-bibbing, but I discovered that this was incompatible with being the skald and scribe of the expedition. As the poet Peter Viereck puts it, “Art, like the bartender, is never drunk” —though he rightly stays in the midst of every wild party.
To find out more about the origins of Fafhrd and the Mouser than I’ve already told, you will have to consult Ningauble of the Seven Eyes.
Sheelba of the Eyeless Face, the balancing mystic-counselor figure to Ningauble in the stories, is perhaps the last clear trace of Irish-sounding invention in them.
Although 1934 ended with Fafhrd and the Mouser sharply crystallized, their background world or worlds was indeterminate.
In the autumn of 1935 I began a novella of the Twain, set in the misty period and empire of the Seleucids, and finished it early in 1936. This tale was rejected by several book publishers and by Farnsworth Wright of Weird Tales as being too full of stylistic novelties. It went through three or four recastings and rewritings, and was finally published in 1947 as “Adept’s Gambit” in my Arkham House collection, Night’s Black Agents.
At this point I want to state categorically that the cavern of Ningauble has obscure space-time linkages—perhaps some sort of seven-fold warps—which permit Fafhrd and the Mouser to adventure occasionally in other worlds than that of Nehwon.
In January 1936 I married Jonquil Stephens, one more super swift reader with interests ranging from the earliest British poets to the latest murder writers, from medieval manuscripts to the modern Russian novel. In the late summer of that year she put me (and a little later, Harry) in touch with H.P. Lovecraft, who criticized and circulated “Adept’s Gambit” —and incidentally engendered in me a larger respect for careful literary polishing and historical researching.
At about the same time I was working up a many-chaptered novel of the Mouser and Fafhrd, which had as a working title The Tale of the Grain Ships. In the written chapters of this novel Lankhmar became more real—a sort of dark counter-Rome, eventually “The City of the Black Toga” —but, perhaps more important, another country emerges into view. In a letter to Harry Fischer postmarked December 9, 1936, and sent from Los Angeles to Louisville, I say that I am planning a new story, “...set in a country that has just been sent by kind dreams: a land a little like Norway in its houses, but more like Thrace because of its city-states and empire.”
On the back of the envelope I have written in ink (along with a picture of trolls oozing from the windows of squat stone towers in a rocky landscape):
“And the king of the new country to be described in this letter was called: Movarl, Overlord of the Eight Cities and of the Northward Limit of Illik-Ving.”
Later, in the body of the same letter, I drew a rather blocky, yet moderately detailed, map of my new country, this Land .of the Eight Cities. Borders were left open, names incompletely listed. And while I seemed to want the world of Nehwon definitely linked to the real world of today, I didn’t want to specify exactly where it lies and whether in the past or the future.
In the following years the World of Nehwon, mapped in greater detail and artistry by Martha Fischer, became more definite and self-consistent, but its linkage with our reality has never been precisely determined. It seems to lie in an alternate universe.
Harry eventually elaborated this briefly noted imagining into the half-written beginnings of an adventure set in the subterranean city-kingdom of Quarmall, south of Lankhmar.
I wrote about 150 pages of The Tale of the Grain Ships, discovered one morning that I still had not introduced many of the main characters or really launched into the plot, and I gave up working on it—the problem of earning a day-to-day living had become too pressing.
It was not until January 1961 that, encouraged by Cele Goldsmith’s purchase of two new tales, I was able to sift seriously through the material again and write the finished tale of the rats and the grain ships, published in Fantastic as “Scylla’s Daughter.”
But I do not want to leave that golden period of 1936, that period of first massive imaginings, without one last quote from that serviceable Los Angeles letter of December 9, 1936—a quote which possibly tells more about the real origins of the intrigue-ridden, pleasure-sated, sorcery-working, thief-ruled city of Lankhmar, its fat merchants and cut-throat rogues, its gilded courtesans and shrewd mountebanks, and its linkages to a certain city in our own world, than perhaps even Sheelba knows:
“Last night we were at a cocktail party given by John Barrymore and the wife of his lately much publicized romance (Elaine Barry). It was at a huge place—at least it had one two-story room in which I could stretch without limit. There we did meet the following: Frederic March, James Cagney, Edward Arnold, Pat O’Brien, Johnny Weissmuller, Frank Shields, Alan Mowbray, Louella Parsons (Hearst’s Hungarian witch and all-powerful columnist), several directors, producers, and lesser fry.
“It amazed me greatly for a while, to see so many of America’s symbols all at once. However, then I got wedged between Mr. Barrymore and Mr. March and discovered, much to my surprise, that they have bottoms that wedge in much the same fashion as any other person’s.
“However, most of them seemed very good-natured, unassuming, and pleasant—who isn’t who’s making a lot of money? Mr. Barrymore is charmingly foul-mouthed, making up in roaring and gusto what he lacks in subtlety and studiousness. He was explaining (and impersonating) a certain gargoyle on Notre Dame at one time—how it sat and looked down at the city and said nothing but, ’Shit! Shit! All shit’ As I pointed out to him, it was likely for fear of what gargoyles themselves might do in that line that their makers often ended them off at the waist. And then he would roar and get maudlin and say, ’When you get up tonight, take a good long sweet piss and think of me, will you?’
“This would be a fine place for you, Gray Mouser. Everyone and everything is so confused; in fact, there is so much of chaos out here, chaos built on fear, suspicion, too much and too little bureaucracy, that a person with a knowledge of the whims and pettishnesses of the blind god Azathoth would have the upper hand.”
I’ll say no more about this quote than that it illustrates a creative point I firmly hold: Fantasy must be fertilized—yes, watered and manured—from the real world.
After this Los Angeles period, Fafhrd and the Mouser languished unpublished and largely unworked-on for two years. Then in 1939 the magazine Unknown appeared—a black bombshell in the fantasy world. I took the silver bit in my teeth, devised a somewhat choppier, more action-packed style of narrative than Harry and I had used in our letters, set up for myself the rule that my heroes should be not Conans or Troses but earthy characters with earthy weaknesses, winning in the end mostly by luck from villains and supernatural forces more powerful than themselves, and turned out the novelette, “Two Sought Adventure,” which appeared in the August issue of Unknown—a bit of fantasy guerrilla warfare before the real kind set in next month along the Vistula River.
When I used the same title for my Gnome Press collection of 1957, this novelette became “The Jewels in the Forest.”
Another year of languishing and I gave a touch of plot to a short mood-piece and made my second Fafhrd-Mouser sale to Unknown: “The Bleak Shore.”
There followed “The Howling Tower,” “The Sunken Land,” and “Thieves’ House.”
Oddly, no Fafhrd-Mouser story was ever published in Weird Tales, though more than one was submitted there, all but “Adept’s Gambit” in the period after Farnsworth Wright. My “oddly” was confirmed by John W. Campbell, Jr., who more than once remarked in accepting a story, “This is more of a Weird Tales piece than Unknown usually prints. However—”
After Unknown became Unknown Worlds and folded in 1943, the appearances of Fafhrd and the Mouser became infrequent. In 1951 Suspense took “Dark Vengeance,” which became “Claws from the Night” in the collection.
In 1953 Bea Mahaffey encouraged me to do, for Other Worlds, “The Seven Black Priests,” based on an off-trail chapter from the long story of the grain ships.
Then, in 1959, I did “Lean Times in Lankhmar,” purely from nostalgia, writing with freedom and not avoiding grotesqueries and humor—the title, by the way, was suggested by George Orwell’s Down and Out in Paris and London, another indication of the close back-door linkage between fantasy and realism. I was greatly enheartened when it was accepted for Fantastic by Cele Goldsmith, who subsequently bought “When the Sea King’s Away,” “Scylla’s Daughter,” and “The Unholy Grail.”
Over the years, through good times and bad, the Mouser and Fafhrd have become such good familiar friends to me, teasing or bullying me out of my discouraged moods when no one else could, that I have no doubt I will continue to solicit adventures from them.
- - -
By Will Murray
The praises of John W(ood) Campbell’s legendary fantasy pulp, Unknown, have been sung often before. Likewise, the Street & Smith magazine has been indexed several times, and one would suppose that there would be little more to say on the matter. After all, Unknown had only a thirty-nine issue run (the last thirteen of those under the title, Unknown Worlds), each one of which has been ransacked for uncounted anthologies and collections. What more could be said?
You’d be surprised. Through the courtesy of Paul H. Bonner, Jr. of the Conde Nast Publications, Inc., here is unquestionably the definitive Unknown/Unknown Worlds index, incorporating data culled from the Street & Smith payment records. It should shed some light into a few unexpectedly dark corners of the most renowned fantasy magazine ever.
This index is modeled after the contents pages of the Unknown issues, but it is expanded to include additional information such as authors’ original titles, authors’ names where pen names were employed, and submission dates for each story. (Serial submission dates are listed only once.) The stories are listed by published title, with the original titles following in parentheses; the bylines follow, with the presumed authors’ real names, where applicable, in parentheses after them. (Certain real names which are close to the pen names, such as Horace L. Gold, R. Alvarez-del Rey, etc., have been indicated only once in the index.) Lastly, the submission dates are placed in the extreme right-hand margin. In several instances, stories are designated by an asterisk as having been transferred from Astounding.. Unknown was created when John Campbell received Eric Frank Russell’s novel, Sinister Barrier, for Astounding, inspiring the editor to create an unusual magazine to house such an unusual story. Apparently other Astounding submissions were channeled into the new magazine at that time, and later as well.
The value of this index rests in its revelations of undisclosed collaborations and rewritten manuscripts, which we’ll leave for the reader to discover for himself. Most of these are self-explanatory. The one ambiguity is the repeated listings of A(lfred) E(lton) van Vogt as the author of several stories, which were run under the name of his wife, E(dna) Mayne Hull. Probably this only denotes that van Vogt submitted the manuscripts for his wife; however a memo from John W. Campbell referred to the Hull name as a pen name of van Vogt’s. Van Vogt might have led Campbell to believe this, of course. Whatever, these entries are preserved as the payment records list them.
The pattern of manuscript submission is also of interest in that it shows that stories for Unknown were heavily bought up in advance. Campbell purchased very few new stories during 1943, Unknown’s last year, as he had a backlog of stories going back to 1941.
In fact, his inventory was so overburdened with manuscripts that he channeled a number of Unknown stories over to Astounding. These included, “Not Only Dead Men” by A.E. van Vogt (November 1942); “Johnny Had a Gun” by Robert Moore Williams (December 1942); “Elsewhen” by Anthony Boucher [William Anthony Parker White] (January 1943); two stories by Anthony Boucher under one of his other pseudonyms, that of H.H. Holmes, “Q.U.R.” (March 1943) and “Sanctuary” (June 1943), and “Paradox Lost” by Fredric Brown (October 1943).
Perhaps of greater interest to the Unknown collector is the chronological list of inventory stories, which follows the index itself. This list of thirty-one manuscripts comprises the contents of never-to-be-published issues of Unknown Worlds, including what would have been the first appearances in Unknown Worlds of a number of authors.
When Unknown Worlds was suspended, Campbell immediately singled out six stories that he planned to run in Astounding, as well as two book reviews. Probably these manuscripts represented the contents of the unpublished November 1943 issue of Unknown Worlds, and they may have already been set in type necessitating publication.
The stories were:
“If You Can Get It-” was published in the November 1943 Astounding immediately and, in a memo dated that month, Campbell said of the remaining five stories:
In that, Campbell’s editorial judgment was for once not acute. He ran “We Print the Truth” in the December 1943 Astounding, along with a warning that the story was a fantasy and that he planned to run occasional fantasies in Astounding in the future.
Reader reaction was so vehement that Campbell was forced to release the remaining stories slowly over the next four years, and he did not try to run any of the manuscripts not set in type, not even “Author! Author!”
Of the remaining Unknown Worlds manuscripts, they have mostly become lost to history, except for a very few which were remarketed by their respective authors. Street & Smith, in their only other known attempt to use some of these stories, submitted three of them to one of their own magazines—Charm, of all things. “Housing Problem” by Henry Kuttner. “The Cats” by Jane Rice and “The Well Wisher” by E.M. Hull were transferred to Charm in June 1944. Only “Housing Problem” was considered fit to print, and it appeared in the issue dated October 1944.
The fate of the remaining stories—except where noted—is a mystery, as they do not exist in the Street & Smith files. As Campbell held out hopes of one day reviving the magazine, he may have held onto the stories, but this is unconfirmable.
Unknown Worlds, which had been cancelled by the World War II paper shortage, was revived briefly in a 1948 magazine anthology titled From Unknown Worlds, but only as a vehicle for reprinted stories. This has not been indexed for that reason.
Now what more can—or need—be said about that wonderful magazine, Unknown!
INDEX TO STREET & SMITH’S UNKNOWN
UNKNOWN WORLDS MANUSCRIPT INVENTORY
Another story, Ray Bradbury’s “Doodad” may have been an Unknown submission originally. It appeared in Astounding, September 1943. Also “Manuscript Found in a Mushroom Cave” by James Val Downie, The Shadow, November 1943.
1) Published in the first issue of Fantasy and Science Fiction magazine, Fall 1949.
Thanks to Daryl S. Herrick, William H. Desmond, and Kenneth R. Johnson for their help with this article.
- - -
More Mack Reynolds
The Home of the Inquisitor
by Earl Kemp
eI43, in April, was a dedicated issue in memory of Mack and Jeanette Reynolds, my dear old friends from San Miguel de Allende, Guanajuato, Mexico. For that issue I had a great deal of help from Mack’s son, Emil Reynolds.
In May, Emil emailed me and asked if I had ever read The Home of the Inquisitor, by Maxine Reynolds, the pseudonym that Mack used on four Gothic novels he wrote for Beagle Books in 1972. He went on to say that the novel was located in San Miguel de Allende and contained many things that I might know of personally. For that reason he was sending me a copy, inscribed “To Earl Kemp, one of Dad’s biggest fans!” and signed Emil Reynolds.
I knew that Mack had written those Gothic novels for Beagle but I had never had copies or read a one of them. With Emil’s recommendation and mention that the novel was set in San Miguel de Allende, I jumped into reading it with particular zeal.
Almost immediately we encounter George Washington Hughes, the protagonist with a very unhandy name, one she has grown accustomed to through the years. Throughout the book she is frequently called upon to explain her unusual name.
We meet George in “Maxine’s” fictional town of San Felipe de Hidalgo, patterned rather closely after San Miguel de Allende in all respects. Oddly enough, it also rather accurately depicts my own personal Mexican art colony, Ajijic, Jalisco, Mexico, and my experiences acquired while living there.
Then, without much delay, we encounter two of the really significant characters in the novel, the couple Clark and Jeanette McCord, described down to the “t”…and accurately, too. Jeanette is the local resident housewife with all the answers to all the questions and the best recipes in town. There is nothing she can’t do well or cook superbly.
Clark, her writer husband, does the local gossip column for the Mexico City Daily News, an English newspaper. And, need I say, he smokes a pipe…constantly. One is always in his mouth or his hand or his thoughts at all times. There are even comments like “does he take it out of his mouth to eat?” because he doesn’t need to do so to talk or do most anything else Mack liked to do between drinks and reloading of his pipe…(frequently in the novel as well). [This is significant, of course, in Mack’s fatal esophageal cancer.]
Mack/Clark also asks visitors from the US to please bring pipe tobacco to him so he has a continuously replenishing supply. Mack Reynolds’ first request….
Not only that, but Clark writes in the mornings, rigidly, without interruptions.
Not only that, but the McCords have a large red parrot [actually a scarlet macaw] named Pancho that stalks, attacks, and bites unsuspecting people.
The second male lead character, Ray Wilcock, hero hunk of the heroine, is also a pipe smoker. It reads very much as if Clark doesn’t know who he is in this book and because Clark and Ray have identical habits and mannerisms, he keeps switching positions with himself.
Jeanette is, as she was in life, the absolute queen of the local area…the person to go to with any question. As she would walk about the streets, she would be greeted continuously, as royalty, and she returned each salute in kind. She knew where to purchase the best of everything at the best possible price on the right day of the week.
In her own right, Jeanette was a superb photographer, and she was depicted that way in this novel, fully equipped and hard at work taking pictures for posterity.
Our heroine, George (Did she ever meet George Cogswell?), has inherited the House of the Inquisitor from her scoundrel brother she hadn’t seen in decades. George is portrayed as the most naive, simple, unsophisticated beautiful woman who ever lived. She finds herself surrounded by fanatical Catholic trappings from the actual Inquisition itself. She is just a simple little 9-year IBM cardpunch operator…the only job she has ever had or wanted. She couldn’t even speak Spanish, never lived in a mansion, never had servants…never had a life.
George’s brother, in his years-long occupation of the House of the Inquisitor, was always broke and in extreme need of funds. Toward that end, he sold the furniture right out of the house. Over time, the interior became very empty and disrespected. Her brother didn’t even bother with disposing of routine trash; he just let it accumulate inside the huge old mansion.
Yet there George was, abruptly right in the middle of one of the most active, glamorous art colonies in all the world, and being dragged along to the-party-of-the-week by total strangers who all turn out to be the A-List local expatriates with big easy bucks to play with who, for reasons unknown, adopt her instantly into their most inner circle of shakers and movers.
It is George’s intent to sell the house as quickly as reasonable and return to her job at IBM in the States. Only the house is in such poor shape physically it would need a great deal of attention before it could be offered for sale.
Plus there were all those frightening rumors surrounding the huge old mansion with its many floors and staircases, quite unique accommodations in the basement, secret staircases from bedroom to bedroom…things that go bomp in the night. George’s newfound friends took over totally and made all arrangements and decisions for her. It was their idea to refurbish the interior of the house and the elaborately landscaped gardens. And they set all their personal servants and routine contract associates to cleaning out the house, touching up the interior, furnishing it, and placing it on the market at $10,000 over the estimated true market value of $40,000.
In the interim, using the talents of the better-known artists of San Felipe de Hidalgo, to turn the interior of the house into an art gallery, selling the local artworks in exchange for a small commission for the gallery.
Clark and Jeanette McCord have the task of publicizing the effort, touting the glories of the house and what a great buy it would be, and Jeanette with photographing the finished rooms and the photographs being printed along with Clark’s articles in the newspaper.
In The House of the Inquisitor, Mack Reynolds managed to repeat most of his favorite stories about expatriates and how they live, and how art colonies evolve, thrive, and die. Much as Mack wrote about in his The Expatriates, published by Regency in 1962, along with a number of the reasons he usually rolls out regarding life in the USA. It is also obvious, to anyone that knows Mack, that he relied heavily on some of his world traveling experiences of living in far off exotic locations. It is interesting to note that while Mack mentions writing travel material for Holiday magazine, he did not mention his decades-long travel articles for Rogue magazine.
Another interesting and uniquely Reynolds thing was Mack’s rather extensive descriptions of the illegal problems associated with private collections of pre-Columbian artifacts. And in describing some of those collections, how they are handled, legally and otherwise, and then exported out of the country. Mexico is the legal owner of all pre-Columbian artifacts anywhere in the nation, and in charge of protecting them all for all.
Each night, as George tries to sleep alone, the eternal virgin, she would hear weird footsteps moving around the house and her own doorknob slowly turning, trying to open. It became quickly evident that someone or some thing didn’t want her living in that spooky, haunted house.
Within only a few days, the house is suitably cleansed and upgraded and furnished in a grand style, the pieces of furniture literally coming out of the best houses in town. As did the estate gardens. The borrowed gardeners and their crews had turned the ignored, stressed-out landscaping into glorious elegance. The walls were well covered with superb artwork and…much to George’s surprise…the paintings begin selling.
…and her ghost continues to taunt her and frighten her every evening.
There was nothing left for George to do except to confront her ghost head on, so she arranged for Ray to sneak into the house and help her set a trap to catch the overnight visitor red handed. Or was she really just setting a trap of her own, to capture Ray…?
The Anthem Series: Part VI Section Two
This is the sixth installment in the Anthem Series project. The first part, Fantasy Press, appeared in eI27 (August 2006) and eI28 (October 2006). The third part, including: Prime Press, Avalon Company, and Chamberlain Press, appeared in eI42 (February 2009). The fourth part, including: Shasta Publishers and Gorgon Press, appeared in eI33 (August 2007). The sixth part, including: Arkham House and Mycroft & Moran, appears in two sections…Section One appeared in eI44 (June 2009) and Section Two appears in eI45 (August 2009).
***Including [a] “Messrs. Turkes and Talbot,” by H. Russell Wakefield. (short story) Bob Fanning, the idle and rich son, tells his father he wants to seek a career in publishing after graduating. His father arranges his apprenticeship with Mr. Turkes of Turkes and Talbot. Part of this apprenticeship is that Bob live on the premises of the business. Bob begins to learn the profession, having a bit of a knack for it. He also learns about the peculiar Mr. Turkes, who is parsimonies, cheap, and not too friendly. Mr. Turkes also seems to have a regular visitor, one that only Bob is really aware of. Not only that Bob’s room is under Mr. Talbot’s now vacant room. He is told that Mr. Talbot left abruptly to visit the Continent, with hints that he was about some woman. Soon, Bob is hearing loud noises from the room above during the night. This leads him to a near breakdown due to insomnia as he listens to the loud thumbing of footsteps. He is told by Mr. Turkes that the noise comes from rats. Recovering somewhat, Bob returns to his old room, but is determined to discover the real cause of those frightful noises. In the night he hears Mr. Turkes shouting at someone. Bob cautiously peers out, sees a wraith, hears a shouting match between Mr. Turkes and the thing. He goes to discover Mr. Turkes dead, and a frightful something rushes from the room. Later it is discovered that Mr. Talbot’s body has been moldering in that upstairs room, killed by Mr. Turkes in order for him to retain control over the business. There is no real explanation for the wraith, only speculation. [b] “History and Chronology of the Necronomicon” (Rebel Press, Oakman, AL, 1938) by H.P. Lovecraft, “Together with a Few Pertinent Paragraphs,” by August Derleth. (article) A whimsical history of the famous mythical book so important to the Lovecraft mythos. ***H.P.L. traces its history from its composition by Abdul Alhazred (the mad Arab) of Sana’a in Arabia, circa 700 A.D., to the present. ***Originally composed as Al Azif (the sound of nocturnal insects supposed to be the howling of daemons) by Abdul Alhazred, circa A.D. 700. In A.D. 950 it was translated into Greek by Theodorus Philetas of Constantinople under the title Necronomicon. Two printing were made of the Latin translation made by Olaus Wormius in 1228, a fifteenth century German and seventeenth century Spanish. Only a few of each later printing are known to exist in various museums. The original lost to time. Rumors credit the preservation of a Greek text to the Salem family of Pickman. ***After this history is laid out, Derleth harshly derides it as a spoof. He cites the appearance of the Necronomicon in the catalog of bookseller, Philip C. Duschnes of New York, in the summer of 1946, as a hoax. The detailed description of the item, one of only fourteen known to exist. Winfred Townley Scott commented on the notice in his column, Bookman’s Gallery in The Providence Journal, adding further confusion when he mentions that he thought it only existed in Lovecraft’s mind. Derleth concludes, insisting that this book is a spurious invention of pseudobiblia. ***The reader can draw his own conclusions about the existence of this book. [c] “Lamia,” “The Namelsess Wraith,” “The City of Destruction” by Clark Ashton Smith. (three poems) (1) “Lamia” Marriage by a long dead man to a wraith. (2) “The Nameless Wraith” A dream journey, perhaps brought on by this nameless wraith, which is wonderful when compared to drab reality. (3) “The City of Destruction” A vision of an eternal city bent on doom. [d] “Introduction: Strange Ports of Call: 20 Masterpieces of Science Fiction” by August Derleth. A historical justification for his selection of stories in his upcoming anthology. Derleth’s historical attempt reviews the genre, insisting on various classifications in order to conclude when real science fiction as a literature began, and, of course, his selection comes from this much more recent beginning. Derleth includes a review of four previous collections, and places his as next in this pantheon. ***An interesting essay, with some informative historical points, but this reader thinks that it was written as an advertising tool to sell the anthology. [e] “A Little Anthology” edited by Malcolm Ferguson. A random selection of quots from various historical works of literature, all dealing with the weird, fantastic or supernatural. ***It is great reading, a choice selection of rare quotes. [f] “Mara” by Stephen Grendon [Pseudo. of Derleth, August]. (short story) The narrator tells his story in the first person, as though writing a letter to inform his friends about his condition. He tells of his seclusion, trying to write, in a remote cabin, and about his housekeeper, Mara. He falls in love with Mara, but she is beneath him socially, so forsakes her. She becomes pregnant, after a fling with his driver. She marries the man. The writer leaves, only to return to the cabin after the death of Mara. He finds her ghost there, waiting for him, to renew their love. Afraid of loosing her once again, he vows never to leave his cabin, and remain faithfully with her forever. ***A much dated story, which is tedious due to the use of an archaic first person narrative style. ***Not recommended. [g] “A Hornbook for Witches” by Leah Bodine Drake. (poem) This poem is a must read for those who do not usually read poetry, but are curious about this poet and her fame. After reading this poem, both the interest in her poetry and her deserved fame become apparent. ***This poem is just as a it purports to be, a list of both demons, familiars, and spells to perform. After reading and re-reading this much too short verse, this reader found a wish for more. [h] “Checklist: The Carvings of Clark Ashton Smith” (catalog) A wonderful list of items, all carvings, offered for sale by Smith. Most are carved in either tale or porphyry, and each is a rendition of a demon of some odd sort. Alas, both size and weight of each item is lacking, as well as a fixed price. Reading this list is one of the high points in this volume. ***Recommended.[i] “The Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath” (Beyond the Wall of Sleep, Arkham, 1943) [Part 1 of 4], by H.P. Lovecraft. (See entry in Beyond the Wall of Sleep) [j] “Books of the Quarter”: (1) “Two Novels and an Anthology” by August Derleth. A review of Greener Than You Think, by Ward Moore and Man Into Beast: Strange Tales of Transformation, by A.C. Spectorsky. Derleth gives a brief synopsis of the title by Moore, which is well worth reading. Next, Derleth reviews Walter Karig’s Zotz!, which he does not synopsize or recommend. For the Spectorsky title Derleth is content in listing the contents and giving his recommendation. (2)“From the Fan Presses” by August Derleth. Reviews of The Forbidden Garden, by John Taine, Venus Equilateral, by George O. Smith, Edison’s Conquest of Mars, by Garrett P. Serviss, and Of Worlds Beyond, as edited by Lloyd Eshbach. Considering the nature of the Anthem Series, the purpose behind this segment, these reviews are by far the most interesting. Of note is Derleth’s disparaging comment about the nature of fan presses, and their dismal track record, he includes these offerings as among them, suggesting that they, as well as the publishers, are highly ephemeral, a point on which he is very mistaken. Derleth dismisses all three offerings as though of little worth, and then he takes on A. Langley Searles for lacking in all judgment and critical literary ability for contributing his energy to the reprint of the work by Serviss. ***Derleth’s caustic and scathing repudiation of Searles is recommended reading. (3) “The Shasta Checklist” by August Derleth. Once again, Derleth is dismissive of the entire “fan” publisher and this title as well, as being only good enough for the “fan.” Derleth thoroughly derides Everett Bleiler’s compilation of The Checklist of Fantastic Literature, erroneously attributing it as a collaboration with Melvin Korshak. ***Apparently the efforts of his competitors caused Derleth great antipathy. (4) “Through a Glass Darkly” by Robert Bloch. Reviews of Dark Carnival, by Ray Bradbury, Revelations in Black, by Carl Jacobi, and Night’s Black Agents, by Fritz Leiber, Jr. All titles published by Arkham House, all are given a glowing review, as great first collections of short stories by their respective authors. ***At least, Block gives the appearance of having read these titles, something that Derleth fails to show. (5) “A Throne off the Old Smith” by Robert Bloch. A review of The Grass Is Always Greener, by George Malcolm-Smith. An invidious comparison is made to Thorne Smith “note the hyphen” when Bloch suggests that this title falls short of the attempt at imitation. (6) “Three Anthologies” by John Haley. The Night Side, edited by August Derleth, The Sleeping and the Dead, selected by August Derleth, and The Fireside Book of Suspense, selected by Alfred Hitchcock. As can be expected, the two Derleth works receive long and glowing reviews, the Hitchcock title received one paragraph. [k] “Short Notices” A catalog type listing of recently released titles, all of which make better reading than the purported “reviews.” [l] “Editorial Commentary” by August Derleth. In this article, Derleth tells the charming tale of his first introduction to Weird Tales, but he continues with a typically nasty dismissal of the overall twenty-five years of talent contained within the magazine. ***This article is followed by the announcement of his other publishing concern, Stanton & Lee, and the plan to publish some of his Sac Prairie novels. ***Of some note are the planned upcoming publications by Arkham House, complete with a justification for the high prices. ***An interesting obituary of Arthur Machen follows, primarily containing a list of his better-known works. ***Of final interest is an obscure concluding paragraph wherein Derleth describes the ambitious plans for the Arkham Sampler, leaving the success of the over-priced digest in the hands of the readers. This is a theme he was to return to in subsequent publications. ***[g], although all too brief, it is a truly enchanting gem.
***Including [a] “A Damsel with a Dulcimer” by Malcolm Ferguson. (short story) Hilaire MacLeod, recently back from India, is haunted by two dreams. The dreams began for him while he was sick with typhoid, and continue upon his return to England. One is brief, a compelling vista of possible a city which draws him, and the other of a tree with two people under it. He becomes convinced that he is actually dreaming the same dream that Coleridge had when writing his poem, Kubla Khan. He travels to the ruins of Coleridge’s house, and has a dream there, wherein he becomes a Tartar horseman. As the Tartar he journeys to a palace, meets a princess who has been waiting for him. Now, Hilaire has become the Tartar, Shan, the beloved of Ina, the future wife of the Great Khan. Troubled by this prospect, he lays his head on her lap, while she plays her dulcimer. He comes awake in the ruins of Coleridge’s former house. This comes at the same point that the poem ends, just as Coleridge was awoken from his drug-induced dream. But Hilaire is determined. As partially explained in a note to his doctor, he returns to the ruins later and somehow manages to return to his preferred dream world, making it his new reality. ***Clearly a sample of typical Arkham fare. [b] “Hellenic Sequel” by Clark Ashton Smith. (poem) Vision of ancient Greece, and death. [c] “A Group of Letters” by H.P. Lovecraft. (letters) A sampling of letters written by Lovecraft, excerpted from the upcoming Selected Letters by Arkham House. ***These letters, some to Frank Belknap Long and some to Clark Ashton Smith, give the flavor, and represent the character of the writer. A picture is faintly developed from reading of the real Lovecraft. ***Recommended. [d] “The Blindness of Orion” by Clark Ashton Smith. (poem) Vision of the star as person. [e] “West Country Legends”: (Popular Romances of the West of England, 1881, as collected by Robert Hunt)(1)“Dando and his Dogs” The priest Dando is a vile, reprehensible villain, who lives to indulge his every hedonistic pleasure, chief among is hunting with his dogs. Forsaking his duties, hunting on the Sabbath, he calls out for drink, insisting that someone even “Go to hell for it.” Someone, obviously the devil, does, and gives him the drink. After quaffing his thirst, Dando inquires about the potent brew, and wishes that he were a devil as well, if he could drink such stuff regularly. The Devil speeds off, with Dando in pursuit, yelling he will pursue the Devil to Hell to get back his catch from the hunt. Dando disappears, never to be seen again.(2)“The Spectral Coach” The Reverend Dodge is asked to investigate the existence of a local ghost. Two litigants locked in battle over a worthless field, one has died, but still pursues his claim as a ghost. Dodge confronts the specter, gives prays, and the ghost disappears forever. ***Both short stories are fine representatives of the finest supernatural literature. [f] “The Wind in the Lilacs” by Stephen Grendon [Pseudo. of Derleth, August]. (short story) Alice Glennon has come to visit her sister-in-law, Emma. Alice is concerned about her brother, Benjamin, husband to Emma, who she has been told has run off. Emma lives with her sister, Teresa, in the house, strangely only on one side. Alice is soon tormented by ghostly whispers calling to her from the nearby field of lilacs. Her hosts seek to calm her by repeatedly giving her homebrewed tea, which only makes matters worse. She is totally spooked by the ghostly summons, which sounds more and more like her brother calling to her. So, she leaves. In the last paragraphs, she has related her story to her Great-uncle Will who has guessed the truth. Ben lies buried in the field, poisoned by his wife and her sister, with arsenic in his tea, for the sake of his insurance. The insurance, ironically, is tied up for years, forcing the two murderers to live with his ghost, unable to profit from the murder. [g] “Unhappy Ending” by Leah Bodine Drake. (poem) A weary traveler finds a deserted tower. He enters, to become the victim of its residents. ***Another fine, amusing poem by Drake. [h] “Fantasy on the March” by Fritz Leiber Jr. (article) A humorous whimsy, written as though a vast army of demons and such are marching ever forward under Fantasy’s banner. The enemy is science, stripping fantasy of its impact. But, through argument, science is seen to add to fantasy, enhancing it further. So, the armies of Fantasy, enhanced march on again, toward the Great Nothing. ***Cute. [i] “Random Notes”: (1) “On the Cthulhu Mythos” by George T. Wetzel. (article) A brief exegesis of the various fictitious tracts invented by Lovecraft to create the illusion of reality in his works. From The Book of Dzyan, The Plateau of Leng, the Necronomicon, The Friend in Need or, Secret Service, and finally ending with the apocryphal Book of Thoth, Wetzel does a masterful job of describing and linking these works in short order. (2) “On the Lurker at the Threshold” by August Derleth. (article) Derleth goes to bat for his contribution to this title, insisting that he wrote nearly the entire work. Derleth attributes only three, very short parts to Lovecraft. ***The Round Tower, a portion by Lovecraft, begins with the last paragraph on page 19, and ends with the second-last line on page 21. ***A random fragment is reproduced in the quotation on page 23. ***The descriptive notes for the “rose window” were rewritten and incorporated into the narrative between pages 55 and 57. ***The total wordage written by Lovecraft was approximately 1000 words. (3) “From a Letter” by Clark Ashton Smith. (letter) Smith announces the production of twenty-six new carvings, with some prices listed. He ends by mentioning that the Checklist in the last Arkham Sampler has brought several letters of inquiry. [j] “A Memoir of Lovecraft” by Rheinhart Kleiner. (article) Kleiner, a longtime friend of Lovecraft, begins with their first meeting in 1916. The early years of this account describe Lovecraft’s demeanor and character. The account is filled with much anecdotal information that rounds out Lovecraft, making him into a living person. The almost loving tone leaves the reader with the sense of having known Lovecraft, and his likeable, admirable qualities. [k] “The Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath” (Beyond the Wall of Sleep, Arkham, 1943) [Part 2 of 4], by H.P. Lovecraft. (See entry in Beyond the Wall of Sleep) [l] “Books of the Quarter”: (1) “Ghosts in Great Britain” by August Derleth. Not Exactly Ghosts, by Sir Andrew Caldecott, The Traveling Grave, by L.P. Hartley, and Ghosts in Irish Houses, by James Reynolds. While praising the first title, Derleth characteristically denounces the ability of the American reader to appreciate fine British literature. Oddly enough, in spite of the inability of the American reader to appreciate a good ghost story, or write one, Derleth goes on to recommend the next title, which coincidentally is published by his company. He praises the final title with a few glowing paragraphs. ***This reader is left with the clear impression that Derleth does not read the books he reviews. (2) “The Macabre in Pictures” by August Derleth. Addams and Evil, by Charles Addams, and What Am I Doing Here? By Abner Dean. The work by Charles Addams is dismissed as merely cartoons. The now lesser known work by Dean is given a bit more praise, as “psychiatric representations.” ***It does appear that Derleth looked at the pictures. (3) “Top-Notch Science Fiction” by John Haley. The Key to the Great Gate, by Hinko Gottlieb, The Lost Cavern, by H.F. Heard, Strange Ports of Call, edited by August Derleth, A Treasury of Science-Fiction, edited by Groff Conklin, and The World of Null-A, by A.E. van Vogt. ***Haley cites Derleth’s introduction to his title as reason to praise the title by Gottlieb! ***He expresses disappointment with the title by Heard. ***The longest portion of this article is in praise of the Derleth title, by way of a list of stories chosen. ***The peculiar selection of The World of Null-A in this series of reviews is given in the first sentence. It was meant to be an Arkham House selection, but was “released to Simon and Schuster so that publishing house could inaugurate a projected series of science-fiction novels.” It seems that since this is no longer an Arkham title, that the work is of lesser note. The hero is dismissed as being “conventional.” The story written by a mere “teller of interesting tales.” ***This reader begins to see an over-arching theme in these Arkham Samplers, works done by Derleth and Arkham House are praised, works by anyone else, especially “fan” presses are dismissed out-of-hand. Elite works by foreign presses are giving a grudging nod of approval. (4) “Deliver us from Evil,” by Robert Bloch. The Book of Ptath, by A.E. van Vogt and Carnacki, the Ghost-Finder, by William Hope Hodgson. Bloch delivers a scathing review of the first title, reserving it for juveniles and mental defectives. ***Oddly, Bloch gives Carnacki the detective several blows, damning the title with faint praise. (5) “Short Notices” A much shorter list of recent releases, but still recommended reading. Chief among them is The Well of the Unicorn, by George U. Fletcher.[m] “Editorial Commentary”: (1) “W. Paul Cook” A touching obituary for Cook. One of his main accomplishments was having Lovecraft write his study, Supernatural Horror in Literature for his amateur publication, The Recluse. (2) “The Status of Stanton & Lee” Derleth says he no longer needs to justify the establishment of Arkham House, and suggests that this applies to Stanton & Lee as well. He goes on to describe the upcoming works of the latter press, chief among them is the publication of his Sac Prairie sampler. ***One can only assume that Mr. Derleth protests to much, and that Stanton & Lee is in fact a vanity press, established in order to publish his own works. (3) “On Price Complaints” While not really addressing the reason for his high prices, he suggests that only those that are easily fooled will buy from other dealers, when so many of his titles are still available directly. (4) “The Machen Collection” Brief announcement of the forthcoming Tales of Horror and the Supernatural, a collection of Machen’s works, edited by Philip Van Doren Stern. (5) “The Readers Write” One of the foremost complaints from readers was about Derleth’s introduction to Strange Ports of Call as printed in the first Arkham Sampler. Derleth announces that an article under the general heading of The Case for Science Fiction, will hopefully be written by someone and printed in an unspecified upcoming issue. (6) “Olla Podrida” An obscure news article from a recent issue of the Washington Times-Herald is reprinted. It is essentially Fortean in nature, involving the unexplained disappearance of an invisible man, and the person seeking such information has been living with an invisible man for eight years. ***Filler. ***[j] is best. ***[i] (2) is worth reading for bibliophiles interested in esoteric details.
***Including [a] “A Kink in Space-Time” by H. Russell Wakefield. (short story) A mental patient, trying to recover, sees a possible phantom. He keeps seeing the phantom, who resembles someone, but he can not quite place the resemblance. Finally, he sees the phantom jump into the river, and the recovery of the dead body. He sees the face, it is himself. ***He has been foreseeing his own death. ***Thin. [b] “Night in the City” by Geraldine Wolf. (poem) A night demon. [c] “The Novels of M.P. Shiel” by A. Reynolds Morse. (article) ***An addenda to The Works of M.P. Shiel: A Study in Bibliography. ***Much of this article is culled from his book, but to much better effect. The result is a clean, less rambling article as Morse attempts to treat Shiel from a literary point of view, and succeeds. ***This article is the companion-piece to The Works. It is too bad that it was not completed and included in that work, but space limitations prevented this. It suffers from the lack, whereas this article does stand alone, it needs to be read in conjunction with the entire work. ***Morse is more than a fan, he is also a critic, well still exercising a keen judgment about this all but forgotten writer. [d] “No Stranger Dream” by Clark Ashton Smith. (poem) A lover and dream-state compared. [e] “The Loved Dead” (Weird Tales, Vol. 4, No. 2, Issue 13, May-June-July 1924; [ghost written by H.P. Lovecraft]) by C.M. Eddy Jr. (short story) ***Proceeded by a long and detailed historical account of the publication and subsequent furor this story first met with. ***Necrophilia. ***The narrator, in the first-person, describes in detail his arousal and infatuation for the dead, the odor, the decay, the very substance. Going so far as to murder people in order to keep dead and decaying bodies in close proximity, which leads to his downfall. Rather than be taken prisoner for his dastardly deeds, he commits suicide to join his loved dead. [f] “On the Mount of Stone” by Clark Ashton Smith. (poem) Annual sacrifice to renew love. [g] “Howard Phillips Lovecraft” by Samuel Loveman. (article) Loveman recounts his acquaintance with Lovecraft and his other close friend, Hart Crane. ***Shorter and not as touching as the account given by Rheinhart Kleiner in the previous issue. [h] “A Letter to E. Hoffman Price” by H.P. Lovecraft. (letter) A long-winded, and expressive semi-article wherein Lovecraft reviews the Comte d’Erlette and compares some parts of his own life and views to his. ***Lovecraft was famous for his long letters, and this shorter sample is of interest. Nowadays Lovecraft would be heavily criticized for failing to get to the point, and the overuse of florid, archaic language when simpler terms would suffice. [i] “Old Wive’s Tale” by Leah Bodine Drake. (poem) Another fabulous poem by a master. ***This tells the tale of the maid who runs foul of Pan. [ij “Strangers from Hesperus” by Norman Markham. ***An interesting article that takes a few moments to make its initial point, that flying saucers and other unexplained appearances and disappearances all occur in conjunction with the nearby orbit of Venus. ***However, after going from skepticism to becoming a begrudging believer, Markham suggests that there is a major civilization on Venus. ***With this he goes to far, crossing from odd facts to unsubstantiated speculation. [k] “Further West Country Legends”: (Popular Romances of the West of England, 1881, as collected by Robert Hunt)(1)“The Parson and the Clerk” A priest being guided across fields by his clerk, in anger declares he would rather be guided by the devil. A peasant appears, amid the clatter of hooves, to guide the priest. The peasant leads the two to a strange inn wherein both partake of a strange feast, only too late they discover they are among demons. The inn, no inn, waking in fear the two are drowned.(2)“The Spectre Bridegroom” Frank Lenine, against the wishes of his parents, falls for the servant girl, Nancy Trenoweth. Separated, the two secretly vow exchanging a wedding ring taken from the finger of a corpse, to be united either dead or alive. Frank is sent to sea. Nancy bears his child. One night Nancy casts a spell to bring her lover back. He comes back, near death, asking for her. But he dies before they can be reunited. A strange horseman appears, and Nancy knows it to be the ghost of her dead Frank. He almost drags her back to his buried coffin, but Nancy escapes at the last second. But Nancy dies shortly thereafter. ***The two are united in death.(3) “The Ghost of Rosewarne” Ezekiel Grosse, a lawyer, cheats his client out of his land, and then buys the Rosewarne estate. He is visited by the ghost of the now dead man, who offers to show him a buried pile of gold. The pile is real, and Ezekiel becomes rich beyond his dreams of avarice. The ghost only says that he will look in upon Ezekiel when he is happiest, and does, driving away all of his friends as the ghostly apparition sits at table with him. Eventually, Ezekiel looses all, and dies a pauper, still haunted by the ghost.(4) “The Execution and Wedding” Sarah Polgrain kills her husband because she loves another, Yorkshire Jack. On the scaffold, Jack promises to be true to her and marry her. Seeking to escape his promise at sea, the Devil and Sarah come for him. He is washed overboard into her arms during a great storm. ***Bad weather in that area is forever after thought to be caused by Sarah Polgrain.[l] “The Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath” (Beyond the Wall of Sleep, Arkham, 1943) [Part 3 of 4], by H.P. Lovecraft. (See entry in Beyond the Wall of Sleep) [m] “Books of the Quarter” (1) “Dr. Keller’s Stories” by John Haley. Life Everlasting and Other Tales of Science Fantasy, by David H. Keller. ***Most emphasis is given to the introduction by Sam Moskowitz, with which Haley differs, thinking Keller’s works contained therein of little note. ***The reader is given the impression that the reviewer has not read any of the stories by Keller. (2) “Wit and Satire” by August Derleth. The Prevalence of Witches, by Aubrey Menen. ***A thin review in which the main point of delight for Derleth were the inclusion of tales within the main story line. (3) “Studies in Murder” by August Derleth. Murder: Plain and Fanciful, by Divers Hands, and The Murder of Maria Marten, compiled by J. Curtis. ***Derleth apologizes for reviewer common mystery stories, while justifying each selection by the thin hook to the supernatural they contain. He praises the second title, written over one hundred years ago, and British, keeping with his typical stance regarding such a provenance. (4) “Gremlins” by Leah Bodine Drake. Sometime Never, by Roald Dahl. ***An excellent review that captures the spirit and action of the book, while asking absorbing questions about the possibilities they incur. ***Recommended. (5) “Short Notices” Another short list of recent releases. The Black Flame by a “fan” press is dismissed. Sac Prairie People released by Stanton & Lee, written by August Derleth is praised. ***Do we detect a theme here? [n] “Editorial Commentary”: (1) “A Sign of the Times?” ***In a few paragraphs, Derleth suggests that the day might come when science fiction and weird fantasy magazines are censored. (2)“Dubious Scholasticism” ***Derleth speaks up for Weird Tales as the earliest magazine devoted to fantasy.(3) “The Arkham Back List” ***A blatant pitch to sell off some titles from the Arkham back list. Derleth tries to inspire fear in the collector that these titles might soon disappear, so buy now. ***Many were still available into the mid-1960’s. (4) “Support for Stanton & Lee” ***A glowing sales pitch for involving the continued success of this imprint. (5) “Our Contributors” ***Of note is the explanation for the inclusion of the article by A. Reynolds Morse. It seems that Arkham House will soon be releasing two titles by M.P. Shiel. (6) “Jottings” ***An update for topics mentioned in the last issue. ***Poems by W. Paul Cook gathered into a volume, Heard in Vermont, by Driftwind Press. ***L.P. Hartley’s The Traveling Grave was the June selection of the Fantasy Guild. ***The publication date for Tales of Horror and the Supernatural, edited by Philip Van Doren Stern, scheduled by Alfred A. Knopf, not Arkham House. ***[c] is best.
***Including [a] “The Sign” (London Evening Standard, February 25, 1936, [Jorkens]) by Lord Dunsany. Jorkens tells another tall tale at the Billiards Club. Noted, and avoided, for his unbelievable stories, he has yet another one, and the narrator becomes hooked on it. As Jorkens relates, he knew an older man named Horcher who had some singular ideas about the transmigration of the soul and reincarnation. While telling Jorkens his ideas, he manages to go out of his way to kill snails, believing them to be such low life forms that they did not come into his notion of upwardly mobile reincarnation. But whenever he did so, he made the following symbol, with one hand he would describe the Greek letter Phi. After his death, it would be by using this symbol that Jorkens would know to what heights he had risen in his latest reincarnation. After Horcher’s death, Jorkens spots a snail in the garden, elaborating tracing out the sign. [b] “Providence: Two Gentlemen Meet at Midnight” by August Derleth. (poem) Written as a dialogue between H.P.L. and E.A.P. as they meet after death, agreeing to continue as in life. [c] “A Note on Aubrey Beardsley” by Malcolm Ferguson. ***Ferguson discusses the artwork of Aubrey Beardsley that accompanied the fantasy writing included in the Keynote Series published by John Lane in London between 1893 and 1897. The works of M.P. Shiel, Arthur Machen, and Fiona Macleod, were profusely illustrated by Beardsley, who died at the age of twenty-six. Ferguson suggests that some of the literature was influenced by the artist, rather than the art being a result of the writing. [d] “Only to One Returned” by Clark Ashton Smith. (poem) Life and love is sweeter to one returned from the dead. [e] “A Spell Useful near Water” by Peter Viereck. (poem) A spell useful to have a sea demon destroy ones enemies. [f] “Nut Bush Farm” (Weird Stories, J. Hogg, 1882) by Mrs. J.H. Riddell. The narrator finds a farm, Nut Bush Farm, to his liking, and becomes a renter. Owned by the sinister Miss Gostock, he begins to piece together the mystery regarding the last tenant. The farm is haunted by the old tenant, Mr. Hascot, who the narrator begins to see walking about into the deep forest. He confides his belief in the haunting to Miss Gostock, who tells him he is mistaken, and that Mr. Hascot left his wife and family for a young slip of girl, running away together. The girl turns up alive, Mr. Hascot murdered by a jealous neighbor. ***A rambling period piece, told as a murder mystery rather than a ghost story. [g] “The Unknown Land” by Leah Bodine Drake. (poem) Not up to her better poetry, this one tells about a dream journey toward an unknown throne were the seekers doom awaits. [h] “The Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath” (Beyond the Wall of Sleep, Arkham, 1943) [Part 4 of 4], by H.P. Lovecraft. (See entry in Beyond the Wall of Sleep) [i] “Change of Heart” by Robert Bloch. (short story) The narrator takes his grandfather’s prized watch to Ulrich Klemm to repair. He strikes up a lasting friendship with the watchmaker when he spots his daughter and falls for her. To his dismay, Lisa will not leave her father for his love. So he leaves, only to return when she has died. He returns to the shop, thinking to talk with the watchmaker, Ulrich, only he finds that it is Ulrich who has died while taking care of his dying daughter. Lisa tells him about his last days, about how he lavished all of his genius to save her. Hugging his sweetheart close, thankful that she can now be his, he hears her heart ticking, like a watch, and runs away in terror. [j] “Anterior Life” by Charles Baudelaire (trans. C.A. Smith). (poem) A king is satiated with his wealth and power, and life is meaningless. [k] “Books of the Quarter”: (1) “The Machen Collection” by August Derleth. Tales of Horror and the Supernatural, by Arthur Machen, compiled by Philip Van Doren Stern. ***After tracking the progress of this publication through the past few issues, Derleth is now able to praise the final work, which includes the “best” of the “best.” (2) “Books of Magical Lore” by August Derleth. The Mirror of Magic, by Kurt Seligmann, and Witches and Fishes, by Sir Hesketh Bell. ***For once, Derleth makes both titles seem interesting. Seligmann is an artist who has profusely illustrated his representation of magic. ***On the other hand, he dismisses the Bell title as thin. (3) “John Campbell’s Stories” by John Haley. Who Goes There? by John Campbell, Jr. ***Haley praises the title story as being true fiction, while the others are merely mood pieces. He adds a footnote about the great cover art by Hannes Bok. (4)“The World is My Idea” by Robert Bloch. Beyond This Horizon, by Robert A. Heinlein. Bloch begins trying to praise Heinlein for attempting to concentrate on social philosophy rather than on gadget descriptions and mathematical exposition, but how dismally Heinlein fails, falling short of the attempt. Heinlein only recreates our contemporary society with trappings of modernity. Despite his apt criticisms, Bloch highly recommends this title as head and shoulders above the rest. (5)“A Cosmic Novel” by Clark Ashton Smith. The Web of Easter Island, by Donald Wandrei. ***No criticisms given, only praise of this first novel by the author. (6) “Short Notices” A list of recent releases. The highlight is the long review of From Unknown Worlds, edited by John Campbell, Jr. ***It does seem that this title was not read, but that the introduction was scanned for notable quotes. [l] “Editorial Commentary”: (1) “Our First Year” This is a notable editorial. Derleth reviews the last year of publishing, complaining about costs in time and money. He grudgingly states that he is going to keep it going for at least one more year. (2) “Fantasy in ‘Comics’” Thin series of thoughts at first pointing out the connection between comics and fantasy writing, ending by distancing the true writer from this field. (3) “Errant Publicity” Derleth takes umbrage with The Unexpected as edited by Bennett Cerf. In this anthology, Cerf takes credit for discovering the contents. Derleth challenges each discovery, citing prior claims. He ends by wondering at the amazing amount of publicity Cerf has received for his dubious claims. (4) “Visitors at Arkham House” Derleth mentions the recent visit to his house by Dr. Keller, and his wife, Celia. This same visit has been told in greater detail by Dr. Keller. Not only did they discuss doing an Arkham House anthology of his works, but Dr. Keller advanced Derleth a sizable loan to keep the nearly bankrupt publisher solvent. It took years for Derleth to pay him back. (5) “Opinion” A disclaimer from the publisher concerning the book reviews and other articles. The authors are solely responsible for their contents, not the publisher who printed them. (5) “Our Contributors” A brief sentence or two about the various contributors, most slanted toward promoting Arkham House, such as the Robert Bloch plug about his upcoming collection, Pleasant Dreams. (6) “Jottings” ***Ray Bradbury has won a $100 third place prize for his story, Powerhouse. ***Two different 1949 Arkham House catalogs will be issued. One will announce all forthcoming titles. The other will list all titles in stock. ***Another short review, this time of The Best American Short Stories: 1948, edited by Martha Foley, rounds out this issue. Derleth takes the opportunity to begrudgingly admit that some American fiction is worth reading. ***This issue contains nothing to recommend. It comes closest to being a true sampler. This issue also displays all the reasons why the concept failed.
Short stories. ***[a] “Genius Loci” (Weird Tales, Vol. 21, No. 6, Issue 114, June 1933). A meadow is haunted by a genius loci. [b] “The Willow Landscape” (The Double Shadow and Other Fantasies, 1933) & (Weird Tales, Vol. 34, No. 1, Issue 185, June-July 1939) An excellent orientale. ***An old Chinese is permitted as a reward for his artistic devotion to enter the background of his willow landscape. [c] “The Ninth Skeleton” (Weird Tales, Vo. 12, No. 3, Issue 60, September 1928). A lover waiting for his sweetheart in a wood has a vision of skeletons, one of which makes advances to him. [d] “The Phantasms of the Fire” (Weird Tales, Vol. 16, No. 3, Issue 84, September 1930). A tramp returns home and is cordially welcomed by his family. But they have been dead for some time. [e] “The Eternal World” (Wonder Stories, Vol. 3, No. 10, Issue 34, March 1932). Science fiction. ***Chandon goes beyond time to an eternal world, which exists eternally without time. But he is trapped there by the nature of the world. Invaders from another cosmos come and steal away timeless statue-beings, including Chandon, expecting to use them in a war. But the Timeless Ones, when they “unfreeze” destroy the planet of their kidnappers and send Chandon back to Earth. [f] “Vulthoom” (Weird Tales, Vol. 26, No. 3, Issue 141, September 1935) & (Avon Science Fiction Reader, No. 2, June 1951). Vulthoom is the living god of underground Mars, but is actually a supernally powerful being from another planet. He now wishes to go to Earth, but is stopped by a pair of Earthmen. [g] “A Star-Change” [Originally published as “The Visitors from Mlok”]. (Wonder Stories, Vol. 4, No. 12, Issue 48, May 1933). Lemuel Sarkis is taken to Mlok, a world far across the galaxy, and remains there until Mlok is destroyed by an invasion of protoplasmic organisms. [h] “The Primal City” (The Fantasy Fan, Vol. 2, No. 3, Issue 15, November 1934) & (Comet, Vol. 1, No. 1, Issue 1, December 1940) A Lovecraft-like story of an ancient city in the Andes, which is defended by cloud-beings who dissolve an expedition that wishes to visit it. [i] “The Disinterment of Venus” (Weird Tales, Vol. 24, No. 1, Issue 127, July 1934). Set in Averoigne, during the Renaissance. An ancient statue of Venus excites libidinous thoughts, when found by an abbey of monks. [j] “The Colossus of Ylourgne” (Weird Tales, Vol. 23, No. 6, Issue 126, June 1934) & (Magazine of Horror, Vol. 5, No. 1, Issue 25, January 1969). Nathaire, the infamous necromantic dwarf, creates by black magic a colossus 100 feet high out of corpse fragments. [k] “The Satyr” Renaissance France. An adulterous wife is carried away by a satyr. [l] “The Garden of Adompha” (Weird Tales, Vol. 31, No. 4, Issue 171, April 1938). The dwarf Dwerulas keeps a garden of vegetable-animal graftings, and his death is avenged upon Adompha. [m] “The Charnel God” (Weird Tales, Vol. 23, No. 3, Issue 123, March 1934). In Zul-Bha-Sair, Mordiggian, the god of the dead, eats all the corpses. Three magicians who wish to steal a corpse run afoul of Mordiggian. [n] “The Black Abbot of Puthuum” (Weird Tales, Vol. 27, No. 3, Issue 147, March 1936). The black abbot, who is only half human, attempts to steal a girl destined for the royal harem. ***Magic. [o] “The Weaver in the Vault” (Weird Tales, Vol. 23, No. 1, Issue 121, January 1934). A horror story of a deserted city with a monster in it. ***[e], [f], [g] are excellent imaginative and mature science-fiction stories, if a note of gruesome horror be discounted, and some of the weird tales, as [b], [l], [m] are worth reading. ***No paperback edition.
Short supernatural stories. [a] “The Shadow on the Sky”‡ (Strange Tales, Vol. 1, No. 3, Issue 3, January 1932) & (Weird Terror, Vol. 1, No. 2, Summer 1970). Sir Hilary James sees a spectral hanging occasionally. The hanging comes nearer and nearer, and finally the obvious happens to Sir Hilary. [b] “Birkett’s Twelfth Sorpse”‡ (The Fantasy Fan, Vol. 1, No. 4, December 1933) & (Strange Stories, Vol. 4, No. 1, Issue 10, August 1940) Two rival corpse-hunters are eager to find the corpse now floating down the river. One murders the other, but does not survive long. [c] “The White Moth”‡ (Weird Tales, Vol. 21, No. 4, Issue 112, April 1933). A dead wife warns her husband against affairs with other women and takes supernatural measures to enforce her warning. [d] “Nellie Foster”‡ (Weird Tales, Vol. 21, No. 6, Issue 114, June 1933). A vampire story told as personality sketches of country women. [e] “Wild Grapes”‡ (Weird Tales, Vol. 24, No. 1, Issue 127, July 1934). A murderer is brought to death by wild grape vines growing on the hidden grave of the man he murdered. [f] “Feigman’s Beard”‡ (Weird Tales, Vol. 24, No. 5, Issue 131, November 1934). An excellent folkloristic regionalistic story of brutal Feigman and revenge by hexerei. [g] “The Drifting Snow”‡ (Weird Tales, Vol. 33, No. 2, Issue 181, February 1939). Ghosts that appear in the snow, as snow vampires, and takes the living to death. [h] “The Return of Sarah Purcell”‡ (Weird Tales, Vol. 28, No. 1, Issue 151, July 1936). Two old maid sisters, one of whom returns from death for the other. Horror and overtones of psychological abnormality. [i] “Logoda’s Heads”‡ (Strange Stories, Vol. 1, No. 2, Issue 2, April 1939) African witchcraft with severed heads. [j] “The Second Print”‡ A murdered magician works revenge through a photograph. [k] “Mrs. Elting Does Her Part”‡ (Strange Stories, Vol. 2, No. 1, Issue 4, August 1939). A falsified mediumistic séance, designed to frighten a scoundrel, turns out to be genuine. [l] “A Little Knowledge” Not supernatural. A criminal steals radium, not knowing that it should be shielded. [m] “Mrs. Bentley’s Daughter”‡ (Weird Tales, Vol. 16, No. 4, Issue 85, October 1930). The wraith of a dead child, told as female personality studies. [n] “Those Who Seek”‡ (Weird Tales, Vol. 19, No. 1, Issue 97, January 1932) & (Startling Mystery Stories, Vol. 2, No. 1, Issue 7, Winter 1967). In an ancient abbey is the inscription, “Those who seek shall find.” Phillips does find: visions of the past, and a horrible monstrosity presumably once worshipped as a god. [o] “Mr. Berbeck Had a Dream”‡ (Weird Tales, Vol. 26, No. 5, Issue 143, November 1935). Old Mrs. Berbeck, who had criminal contacts, is murdered by her son and his wife. Her revenge: she entangles them in unwitting counterfeiting. [p] “The Tenant” (Weird Tales, Vol. 11, No. 3, Issue 54, March 1928) & (Etchings & Odysseys, No. 6, 1985). Old Roxy Caburn the physiologist mysteriously disappeared years ago; an eccentric, he believed that it would be possible to develop a giant germ by proper treatment and food. He was right. [q] “The Lilac Bush”‡ (Weird Tales, Vol. 15, No. 2, Issue 77, February 1930). A lilac bush is raided by grandpa’s ghost, who wanted flowers for his grave. ***Excellent personality implications. [r] “A Matter of Sight”‡ (Weird Tales, Vol. 15, No. 1, Issue 76, January 1930). A conversion about fourth-dimensional second sight, that permits eye-witness accounts of the past. [s] “Chronicles of the City-States” A collection of juvenilia about Renaissance Italy, built around Cesare Borgia and black magic. [1.]“Prince Borgia’s Mass” (Weird Tales, Vol. 18, No. 1, Issue 92, August 1931). [2.] “A Dinner at Imola” (Weird Tales, Vol. 13, No. 4, Issue 67, April 1929). [3.] “Lesandro’s Familiar” (Weird Tales, Vol. 27, No. 5, Issue 149, May 1936). [4.] “The Bridge of Sighs” (Weird Tales, Vol. 18, No. 2, Issue 93, September 1931). [t] “He Shall Come” Combat between good and evil on a train, as a priest fights against a being that may be either the Devil or Antichrist. [u] “Mrs. Lannisfree”‡ (Weird Tales, Vol. 39, No. 2, Issue 226, November 1945) & (Weird Tales (Canada), Vol. 38, No. 3, January 1946). A story told by a stupid young man, about the appearances of Mrs. Lannisfree, who drips sea water. She had been murdered long before. [v] “After You, Mr. Henderson”‡ (Strange Stories, Vol. 3, No. 3, Issue 9, June 1940). Letitia Henderson’s post mortem appearances spoil plans for an ingenious swindle concocted by her cousins. [w] “Baynter’s Imp” (Weird Tales, Vol. 37, No. 1, Issue 213, September 1943) & (Weird Tales (Canada), Vol. 36, No. 13, January 1944). In the manner of John Collier. ***Cyril Baynter, one of the most obnoxious men in town, finds an imp in a bottle, uses it to commit crimes, and then attempts to reimprison the imp. ***Amusing. [x] “The Lost Day”‡ (Weird Tales, Vol. 38, No. 5, Issue 223, May 1945) & (Weird Tales (Canada), Vol. 38, No. 3, July 1945). When Jasper Camberveigh plays with occultism, he somehow loses a day. A crime was committed on the missing day. [y] “A Collector of Stones”‡ (Weird Tales, Vol. 39, No. 8, Issue 232, November 1946) & (Weird Tales (Canada), Vol. 38, No. 4, January 1947). Elisha Merrihew attempts to steal some stones from a cemetery. The obvious happens. [z] “The God-Box”‡ (Weird Tales, Vol. 39, No. 1, Issue 225, September 1945) & (Weird Tales (Canada), Vol. 38, No. 3, November 1945). A box from Stonehenge contains a demon; and an ancient Druid follows the box, attempting to get it back. [aa] “Saunder’s Little Friend”‡ (Weird Tales, Vol. 40, No. 4, Issue 241, May 1948). Doll magic and an ape-like monstrosity that haunts Saunders. [bb] “Just a Song at Twilight” (Weird Tales, Vol. 16, No. 2, Issue 83, August 1930). A song, seemingly of supernatural origin, is heard when a boy falls sick. ***There is a certain amount of juvenilia in this volume, but also many good short ghost stories, as [b], [f], [m], [q], [w]. ***First paperback edition: Ballantine, 542, 1961, 159 pp., pa .35¢; [twenty-two stories marked ‡]
Lovecraft miscellanea and associational material. The title is derived from an essay, “Something About Cats” (Leaves, No. 1, 1937 as “Cats and Dogs” as by Lewis Theobald) & (Twilight Zone, Vol. 3, No. 3, Issue 27, July-August 1983), in which Lovecraft, with heavy humor, defends and praises his favorite animal. ***Six revisions: [a] “The Invisible Monster” (Weird Tales, Vol. 2, No. 4, Issue 8, November 1923) by Sonia H. Greene. An intelligent sea-monster takes revenge for the murder of one of its species. [b] “Four O’clock”by Sonia H. Greene. A murderer is pursued by the supernatural vengeance of a man whom he killed at four o’clock. ***Written in the very heaviest, most purple of Lovecraft’s styles. [c] “The Horror in the Burying Ground” (Weird Tales, Vol. 29, No. 5, Issue 160, May 1937) by Hazel Heald. A mortician discovers an embalming fluid which causes temporary catalepsy when injected into the veins of the living. Burial alive and ghosts. [d] “The Last Test” (Weird Tales, Vol. 12, No. 5, Issue 62, November 1928) by Adolphe de Castro. Long. A brilliant doctor combines bacteriology and the worship of the pre-human deities of the Lovecraft cycle. He associates with a pre-human reptile man, and creates a plague with germs not from Earth. [e] “The Electric Executioner” (Weird Tales, Vol. 16, No. 2, Issue 83, August 1930) by Adolphe de Castro. A confused story of a madman who has invented a machine that kills by electricity. He manages to be in two places at once. [f] “Satan’s Servants” (Magazine of Horror, Vol. 5, No. 6, Issue 30, December 1969) & (Revelations From Yuggoth, No. 2, May 1988) by Robert Bloch. Juvenilia about a witch cult in colonial New England. Interesting for notes by H.P.L. ***There are also articles on various matters, none of which concern us, and some fascinating notes for stories: “The Shadow over Innsmouth,” “At the Mountains of Madness,” and “The Shadow out of Time,” together with discarded fragments from the first. ***Thirteen poems follow, and then memories and articles about H.P.L. [g](1) “A Memoir of Lovecraft” (Arkham Sampler, Vol. 1, No. 2, Spring 1948), by Rheinhart Kleiner. Kleiner, a longtime friend of Lovecraft, begins with their first meeting in 1916. The early years of this account describe Lovecraft’s demeanor and character. The account is filled with much anecdotal information that rounds out Lovecraft, making him into a living person. The almost loving tone leaves the reader with the sense of having known Lovecraft, and his likeable, admirable qualities. (2) “Howard Phillips Lovecraft” (Arkham Sampler, Vol. 1, No. 3, Summer 1948) by Samuel Loveman. Loveman recounts his acquaintance with Lovecraft and his other close friend, Hart Crane. ***Shorter and not as touching as the account given by Rheinhart Kleiner. (3) “Lovecraft as I Knew Him” by Sonia H. Davis, Lovecraft’s former wife, the Sonia Greene above, who gives her own side of various legends about Lovecraft’s marriage. (4) “The Man who was Lovecraft” by E. Hoffmann Price. (5) “A Literary Copernicus” by Fritz Leiber, perhaps the best literary evaluation of Lovecraft which has appeared; it should be read. (6) “Addenda to ‘H.P.L.: A Memoir’” by August Derleth. Additional material about Lovecraft’s personality, with quotes from Lovecraft’s earlier writings. Most of this material, which Lovecraft seemingly outgrew later, is so damaging to him as a person that we wonder a little at its release. ***Of the stories [d] is easily the best in the volume; the others are negligible. Much of the biographical material is slightly variant repetition of earlier articles. ***No paperback edition.
The Science Fiction Issue. ***Including [a] “A Basic Science Fiction Library: A Symposium” ***Two questions were asked of six (although there are twelve responses) writers: (1) What books are essential to a library of science-fiction? (2) Why? ***The following seventeen titles were deemed essential: Seven Famous Novels, by H.G. Wells. Last and First Men, by Olaf Stapledon. Brave New World, by Aldous Huxley. The Short Stories of H.G. Wells. Adventures in Time and Space, edited by R.J. Healy and J.F. McComas. Slan, by A.E. van Vogt. The World Below, by S. Fowler Wright. Strange Ports of Call, edited by August Derleth. To Walk the Night, by William Sloane. The Lost World, by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Sirius, by Olaf Stapledon. Gladiator, by Philip Wylie. Before the Dawn, by John Taine. Who Goes There? by John Campbell, Jr. The Best of Science Fiction, edited by Groff Conklin. Star Maker, by Olaf Stapledon. Out of the Silence, by Earle Cox. ***The selection represents the bias of a generation, influenced by Olaf Stapledon, and the first-person narrative common in the long-winded British literature of the day, wherein essays rather than fiction was emphasized. Today many of these selections would be avoided, while others would still list high on any list. (1) by Forrest J. Ackerman. ***Ackerman admits that some on his list he has never read. Overall, Ackerman gives the best answer to the second question. (2) by Everett Bleiler. ***Bleiler does not justify each selection or give any sound reasons for his pick, except to mention that he stretched it to include several British satires. (3) by Dr. David H. Keller. ***Keller sententiously declares that there is nothing new in this type of literature, quickly emphasizing several old classics. To begin his list he assumes that most readers are poor, and lack both funds and the discrimination to create their own library, but then he makes his own suggestions. He does not answer the second question, he merely states his selection as gospel, with a brief description of the story line, like an advertising blurb. (4) by Sam Merwin, Jr. ***Merwin selects the same basic titles, but without any fanfare of description. His is the shortest essay. (5) by P. Schuyler Miller. ***Miller comes the closest to answering both questions with brevity and alacrity. His list contains brief reasons for each selection rather than a description. (6) by Sam Moskowitz. ***Moskowitz is next in brevity and succinct answer to the questions. He does step outside the area of concern by lamenting what he considers the fatal flaw of such questions, that so little good science fiction has made it from the magazine format into book publication. (7) by Lewis Padgett. ***Padgett takes a different approach to his selection. He describes the difference between fantasy and science fiction, as being that in the latter a known method is used to arrive at an unknown solution, while in fantasy this is reversed. On this basis he makes his selection with further fanfare. After his short list, Padgett continues with his amusing answer, which by far is the best reading, and best answer of all. (8) by Paul Lawrence Payne. ***A list with short reasons attached. (9) by A. Langley Searles. ***Searles declares that his selection was easy to make because there is so little good science fiction to choose from. No other reasons are given with his selection. The reader must thus take his list as gospel. (10) by Theodore Sturgeon. ***Selection takes an intellectual approach, after almost beginning with an amusing one. Not wanting to be tempted by creating a wish list, he applies himself to the task, delivering what he think is expected. One wonders what list he might have created had he pursued the more amusing approach. His list contains the most obscure titles, mostly intellectual and not really fiction or entertaining. Not a list that recommends itself. (11) by A.E. van Vogt. ***Van Vogt divides his list with a historical and modern approach. It is interesting, but not as entertaining as Padgett. (12) by Donald Wandrei. ***Wandrei also succumbs to the “there are no titles of merit” approach. He ends up with a list of intellectual titles, including The Theory of Relativity by Albert Einstein, which as far as this reader can conclude is not science-fiction. [b] “Avowal” by Clark Ashton Smith. (poem) Compared to future sensations there are all nothing as compared to past ones. [c] “The Spring Night” by Ray Bradbury. It begins during a seasonal festival on Mars when one of the famed singers begins a mysterious and disturbing song. Soon everywhere, people and children are all singing or saying things they should not and could not know about. All these things foretell the imminent landing of men from Earth and the dire changes about to occur. [d] “The Case for Science Fiction” by Sam Moskowitz. (article) ***As announced in the Spring 1948 issue by Derleth. ***Mr. Moskowitz does a deft job of elucidating the growth and establishment of this genre in the mainstream literature through the ages. ***Highly recommended. [e] “Dear Pen Pal” by A.E. van Vogt. (short story) ***A series of letters tracking the correspondence between the nearly immortal, Skander of Aurigae II, and an unnamed patient in a mental ward. Skander is trying to trick the patient by having him send him a special photograph designed by his superior technology that will enable Skander to trade places mentally with the patient. Skander is a prisoner for the next thirty years of his life and is seeking a way to escape his boredom. The mental patient is a paralyzed man, soon to die. The patient gleefully informs Skander of this after the trade, as he looks forward to his new immortality. ***Recommended [f] “The Pool in the Wood” by August Derleth. (poem) A confrontation with madness. [g] “Three Reprints”: (1) “Solution of Mind Problems by the Imagination” (Cosmopolitan, October 1928) by Jules Verne. (article) ***Verne does a competent job describing the method he uses of combining a scientific fact with an imaginary covering. He passes the hat to H.G. Wells as his successor in this method. (2) “The Swallowers of Universes” (Saturday Review of Literature, May 22, 1948) by Peter Viereck. ***Butch and Slim, that famous pair of Yankee space-vagabonds, save the Earth from the Swallower of Universes. ***Amusing short story wherein Viereck does not pull out any stops, but uses every cliché known, ending with Butch and Slim on vacation on Venus with their very willing female robot companions. (3) “David Henry Keller and the Scientific Novel in the United States” by Regis Messac. (article) ***Messac seems to be trying to make a case for passing the science fiction torch from Jules Verne to Hugo Gernsback, ending in the hands of David Keller. ***It should be known to the reader that Messac first published Keller’s The Sign of the Burning Hart in his magazine Les Primaires, and tried to publish the first hardbound copy. The first printing was almost entirely burned on the dock at St. Ló during the outset of World War II. Messac is clearly a fan of Keller, with a vested interest out of keeping with the meager talents of the writer. [h] “Time to Rest” by John Beynon Harris [True name of Wyndham, John]. (short story) ***Bert is a resident of Mars and content to sail his handmade boat through the canals, trading knick-knacks with the natives. As the story develops, Bert has found a home, and a love with the natives. It replaces his lost homeland, as the Earth has been mysteriously destroyed, leaving a handful of men alone on Mars. Only Bert seems about to become a true native, as he falls in love with Zaylo. Maybe on his return he will find time to rest in her arms. [i] “Open Sesame!” by Stephen Grendon [Pseudo. of Derleth, August]. (short story) ***Professor Septimus Quince finds the metallic remains of a meteor. However, it is soon discovered that the discovery is more, it contains a disembodied alien intelligence. He brings his find to his friend, the noted physicist, Professor Darrell Royde, and the two discuss the possibility of space travel. Geth, a sentient being from Alpha Orionis, takes over the body of Quince, and reports his progress to the Interplanetary Legion. Step one in the conquest of Earth has been completed. ***Thin, illusive and hard to follow. [j] “Travel Talk” by Vincent Starrett. (poem) A tale of Borneo and the native cannibals. [k] “Books of the Quarter”: (1) The Moon as Goal, by Everett Bleiler. Voyages to the Moon, by Marjorie Nicolson. ***A historical review of literature containing space travel. Bleiler dissects the book in detail, adding interesting additional information lacking in the volume. His main criticism is Nicolson’s lack of precision in her attributions of originality. (2) “Charles Williams’ Novel,” by Edward Wagenknecht. All Hallows’ Eve, by Charles Williams. ***Wagenknecht finds the title lacking in plot, with heavy emphasis on philosophy with the attempt to define Good and Evil. He ends by recommending other titles by this author. (3) “From the Fan Presses,” by Fritz Leiber, Jr. The Torch, by Jack Bechdolt, Skylark Three, by E.E. Smith, and Slaves of Sleep, by L. Ron Hubbard. ***Leiber begins with a short essay about fantasy, and the fantasy writer and reader. This leads to his review of the first title, wherein he merely gives a synopsis. ***For the second title, Leiber gives a more critical review, breezing through a summary of the story while footnoting it with historical and social references. ***Leiber sums up the third title with a terse it contains a “Let’s pretend” approach. (4) “Frank Merriwell on Venus,” by Robert Bloch. Space Cadet, by Robert A. Heinlein. ***A long essay, rather than a review. Bloch begins by comparing the main character to an older literary one, Frank Merriwell, with similar attributes, while glossing over the differences. As he continues, the attempt is stretched to the breaking point as the comparison breaks down. After the break down, Bloch switches to an attack on Heinlein’s basic premise of Imperialism, but fails to make it convincing as he falls short of correctly identifying the premise. Somehow, after criticizing both character and plot, he ends with a laurel to Heinlein, stating that he does write well. ***An interesting early review/essay about Heinlein, well worth reading. (5) “Factual Fantasies,” by Carl Jacobi. Out of the Silence, by Patrick Mahony. ***Jacobi does a competent job of discussing this title. First, by touching on the various factual supernatural, or unexplained, events given without asides. The review, like this title, is left like this, just the facts, no opinions given. (6)“Dr. Keller Again,” by Weaver Wright. The Solitary Hunters and The Abyss, by David H. Keller. ***Both titles are criticized as being out of date. Keller, often thought of as a replacement for Lovecraft, falls well short of the mark, as is apparent in reading these reprinted stories. Wright ends by wondering why these short stories were resurrected. (7) “Whimsy and Whamsy,” by Leah Bodine Drake. “...And Some Were Human,” by Lester del Rey and Moonfoam and Sorceries, by Stanley Mullen. ***In the short review given, Drake does an apt job of pointing the whimsy and humor in the first title. ***Of more interest is Drake’s review of the second title. Drake sums up the work with a few choice and pithy comments, stabbing to the heart of its flaws. The poetry is not appropriate, or good. The stories fail to be convincing and follow a pat formula of good triumphing over evil. ***Once again, Drake scores high marks for wit and wisdom. (8) “Short Notices” Several pages of recent releases are given in this issue, the most notable is for Divide and Rule, by L. Sprague de Camp, a compelling read. [l] “Editorial Commentary”: (1) “This Science Fiction Issue” Derleth goes out of his way to try to make the case that Arkham House is a well-rounded publishing house. Not only does it print weird tales, but it is heavily invested in science fiction, witness this issue. And to cap off his argument he points out that he was going to publish The World of Null A, by A.E. van Vogt. After really failing to make that point, Derleth changes tack, now pointing out that he has personally edited two science fiction anthologies. What that has to do with Arkham House is never explained. Derleth appears to be weak on logic, while long on justification. Time and again he puts on the robe of poor-little-me-against-the-world to explain both his vanity and lack of success. At this point in time, Arkham House was nearly bankrupt.(2)“Coming Collections” Once again, Derleth is using the sampler to promote his own work, this time it is the upcoming anthology, The Other Side of the Moon, which he edited. Of more interest is the brief mention given to the scheduled soon to be released pocketbook anthology by Dell (no name given) that will contain the radio script of The War of the Worlds as done by Orson Wells.(3)“The Arkham Program” Four planned titles are mentioned, Something About Cats, by H.P. Lovecraft, The Throne of Saturn, by S. Fowler Wright, Away and Beyond, by A.E. van Vogt, and Gather Darkness! By Fritz Leiber, Jr. Only the first two titles appeared under the Arkham House imprint.(4)“Our Contributors” Mostly one-liners about a veritable who’s who of the noted science fiction celebrities of the day. Some lesser known such as Paul L. Payne, the editor of Planet Stories, are placed in perspective.(5) “Mr. Gehman on Science and Fantasy” One paragraph notice about a four-page article, Imagination Runs Wild, by Richard B. Gehman, which appeared in The New Republic for January 17, 1949. The point appears to be merely so that Derleth can correct a slip made by Gehman, who gives “Phelps” as the middle name for Howard Phillips Lovecraft. ***Still, in spite of obvious flaws, such as flagrant self-promotion, this is the best issue produced of The Arkham Sampler. ***[a], [d] and [c] are best.
***Including [a] “The Root of Ampoi” by Clark Ashton Smith. (short story) When the circus arrives in smalltown Auburn, the local doctor spots a giant, Jim Knox. Not just any giant, but a perfectly formed one. The two hit it off and over a few drinks, the doctor hears the adventurers story. Shipwrecked in the Banda Sea, the hapless Knox becomes a bosom friend of the Rajah of Salawatti. At his table he hears the wondrous tale of the giant Amazon women who inhabit the far reaches of the Arfak mountains. It is from them that the Rajah gets his fabulous rubies, for beads and cheap trade goods. Knox determines to find his fortune in those mountains. Nearly at the end of his endurance, he finds the tribe. Over time, Knox becomes the beloved of Mabousa, the giant queen of the Ondoar. He marries her and they have a child. This is when Knox learns about the root of Ampoi. A concoction made from this plant is given only to female children at birth. The females grow to giant proportions, while the men are kept small. This is how the Amazons maintain their rule. Knox decides to turn the tables, takes the root, and shortly becomes a giant. But he has violated the tribes basic rules and is exiled. He never does find any rubies, and as a misfit, makes his way as a circus freak. [b] “Fragment” by Vincent Starrett. (poem) Celestial music heard only in a dream. [c] “The Mummy!” by Everett Bleiler. (article) An interesting and well written article about the creation of The Mummy, by Jane Webb. Published in 1827, written out of desperation by the penniless Webb, it went on to become a sensational best seller. After a brief historical account, Bleiler gives a critical synopsis. It would seem that Bleiler enjoyed the novel, but considers it tedious, and overly long at three volumes. Bleiler apologizes somewhat for the extraordinary harshness of his criticism by allowing that Webb was less than twenty when she wrote the novel. He segues into a comparison with modern writers, lamenting that they harbor the same faults. It would seem that nothing pleases Bleiler except very obscure highly over-written and pretentious attempts at pseudo-philosophy, as in the works of Stapledon. [d] “Sed Non Satiata” a poem after Baudelaire by Clark Ashton Smith. Woman, to be conquered, preferred to drugs. [e] “A Feather from Lucifer’s Wing” by Foreman Faulconer. (poem) Granny’s prized treasure, a feather from Satan’s wing. He still hunts for it, but Granny won’t give it back. [f] “Lovecraft and the Stars” by E. Hoffman Price. (article) A convincing attempt to determine the hour and minute of H.P. Lovecraft’s birth using astrological techniques. Price bases his analysis on his personal belief of Lovecraft’s essential character. It would take either a psychologist or someone more familiar with Lovecraft’s character to determine if the actual basis is correct. It would also take an expert in astrology to determine if Price was correct in his usage, or perpetrating a hoax. Why someone would want to determine the hour or minute of his birth is never fully explained. [g] “The Saint of Four-Mile Water” by Leah Bodine Drake. (poem) Saints buried alongside of sinners, get up in the middle of the night and move to another cemetery, bringing their tombstones along. [h] “Technical Slip” by John Beynon Harris [True name of Wyndham, John]. (Imagination, Vol. 1, No. 2, December 1950) (short story) The wealthy Robert Finnerson makes a deal with an agent of the devil. As he is dying the agent promises to reschedule his demise for a monetary consideration. Finnerson makes the deal, and shortly he gets well. Next he finds himself young, reliving his life. He finds the opportunity to save his sister from a terrible accident that left her crippled and bitter. He saves her. This causes the devil’s agent to be reprimanded the next time the contract comes up for renewal. He is cautioned that this time he must not allow major or minor alterations in the past timeline. ***Recommended. [i] “The Last American” (Scribner’s, June 1889) by J.A. Mitchell. (novelette) Khan-Li, a scholar from the Museum of Teheran, finds herself on a historic voyage of rediscovery of the ancient Mehrikan people. Over one thousand years have passed since the mysterious and unexplained near extinction of the Mehrikan people. The world was plunged into a dark age that it is now coming out of, and this voyage aboard the Zlotuhb is a cornerstone of this new enlightenment. ***This story is wonderfully written. The crew sees the remains of the Statue of Liberty. They puzzle over the ruins, and bodies. Almost everything that they see, they misinterpret. Mitchell makes a convincing case for the rediscovery, and all the misinterpretation. The only real flaw are the cute names of the crew, which interfere with the story. There is Nofuhl, who is the first to spot the statue. Ad-el-pate and Bhoz-ja-khaz attempt to relight the torch, thinking it used some sort of wood or charcoal for fuel. Lev-el-Hedyd is thankful that the race perished when he learns that women were equal to men. Finally, the travelers find their way to Washington D.C. from Nhu-Yok. They discover the last surviving members of the Mehrikan people, one family living in the ruins of the White House. Ja-Khaz tries to kiss the last girl. A fight ensues, and all the Mehrikan’s are killed. The travelers bury their dead, taking their ashes back to Persia. The skull of the last Mehrikan will be presented to the Museum of Teheran. ***Notwithstanding the problem with the names, this is a very well done and charming story. Much more timely today...all things considered. [j] “Full Circle” by Vincent Starrett. (poem) A man takes his bride to the very same bed in which his grandfather died. [k] “The Realm of Redonda” by August Derleth. (article) A glib account of the “Royal” family of Redonda, an island in the British West Indies. Matthew Phipps Shiel was king of Redonda from the age of fifteen until his death. His best friend, John Gawsworth became the second monarch, reigning as King Juan I. Gawsworth created a Court of a purely intellectual aristocracy—chiefly of literary figures. Arthur Machen was Arch-Duke, and Victor Gollancz was a Grand Duke. Among the various Dukes was Dylan Thomas. Even Derleth was a member of the Court. Contained in this article is a facsimile of an authentic Court document listing the various members. In 1939, when the poet Gawsworth married in England, the press went to town, giving him many whimsical names based on his “Royal” status. The best quote, paraphrasing, is that the 120 natives are unaware that they have a king, or that he just married. ***Which pretty much sums up such intellectual pretensions. [l] “Gougou” by P. Schuyler Miller. (article) Miller makes a case for the real existence of this sea monster, as previously written about in several fictional stories, such as “The Thing on the Outer Shoal,” Astounding Science Fiction, September 1947. [m] “Characterization in Imaginative Literature” by Jack C. Miske. (article) Miske begins his essay by seeming to be a proponent for characters in science fiction. He takes Derleth, in particular, to task for stating that there are no believable characters in the literature. But rather than offering counter examples, Miske ends up agreeing with Derleth, and making his case for him. Not only that, he sums up by a deplorable leap, lacking in all logic, that characters are not an essential port of a science fiction or fantasy story, story and plot are more important. [n] “Books of the Quarter”: (1)“Jamesian Spectres” by August Derleth. The Ghostly Tales of Henry James, edited by Leon Edel. ***Once again, Derleth returns to his repeated theme. The best stories are the old stories. A collection of antiquated stories, that do not stand the test of time, are preferred to modern literature. (2) “Two Bibliographies” by Everett Bleiler. A Bibliography of the Works of Sir Henry Rider Haggard, by J.E. Scott, and The Works of M.P. Shiel, by A. Reynolds Morse. ***After a scholarly review, and recommendation of the first title, Bleiler dismisses the second. However, Bleiler is right about the second title, and a lack of consistency is the biggest fault inherent in the work. The collations of Shiel’s works, with brief summaries, outweigh the flaws. ***Bleiler’s review and critic is one of the highpoints of this issue. (3) “The Devil and Miss Barker” by Leah Bodine Drake. Peace, My Daughters, by Shirley Barker. ***Barker’s work is a credible attempt to account for the Salem witch trials of 1692. ***Drake handles the review with a typically deft hand. (4) “Christina” by Joseph L. McNamara. The Room Beyond, by Robert Spencer Carr. ***McNamara cites the human, real characterization of the main character, Cristina, as the main and high point of this title. (5) “An Arkham Quartet” by Edward Wagenknecht. The Fourth Book of Jorkens, by Lord Dunsay, Genius Loci, by Clark Ashton Smith, Roads, by Seabury Quinn, and Not Long for this World, by August Derleth. ***Mr. Wagenknecht hangs his praise of these titles around an interesting discussion of the supernatural. But since there are no surprises in his critic, which is entirely lacking amid the high praise, the essay fails as it becomes a promotional device for the imprint. (6) “Messrs. Sturgeon, Williamson & de Camp” by August Derleth. Without Sorcery, by Theodore Sturgeon, Darker Than You Think, by Jack Williamson, The Wheels of If, by L. Sprague de Camp and Lest Darkness Fall, by L. Sprague de Camp. ***The first title is praised, by mainly because of the introduction by Ray Bradbury. The second title is recommended with faint praise. About the ending “certainly it is at least novel.” The third title is praised, it is, after all, a reprint. The final title is recommended to the “reader who is amenable to this particular brand of entertainment.” (7) “Short Notices” A much shorter list of recent releases than in the past. Most notable is the review for The Sign of the Burning Hart, by David H. Keller. Careful mention is made of the introduction by Regis Messac. Both Keller and Messac have contributed to this imprint. [o] “Editorial Commentary”: (1) “Letters to the Editor” A letter from Clark Ashton Smith is quoted almost in full. It praises the symposium from the last issue, especially the essay by Keller. It praises the work and efforts of Derleth with his Sampler, suggesting that it is an unqualified success. (2) “The New Arkham Catalog” A short notice about the recent catalog, which will be used until gone. It lists no less than just under forty new books planned for publication. (3) “Our Contributors” Short one-liners about some of the contributors to this issue. ***Of note is the mention of the forthcoming, A Guide to Imaginative Literature, by Everett Bleiler, which Shasta Publishers announced for 1949. Alas, it was never done. It remains a grave loss to the era. Of all the announced books that never made it to press, this work should have been done. A timely release of this work would have had a major impact on the entire body of imaginative literature. ***[i] is the best.
***Including [a] “The One Who Waits” by Ray Bradbury. (short story) An ancient Martian spirit lives deep inside a well on Mars. When the first Earthmen land nearby, one peers inside. His mind is taken over by the alien. The alien becomes Jones, telling the others that it is a Soul Well, were spirits without flesh just wait and wait. He dies of shock. But not before the next man is infected by the spirit, only to die as well. Each time the alien becomes the man, causing the man to go insane and die. Until, at the end, the alien becomes the last six simultaneously. They all peer into the well, and fall in, leaving the disembodied spirit to wait and wait. [b] “In the Year 2889” (The Forum, February 1889) by Jules Verne. (short story) Even after all this time, it has only been in the last one hundred years that the greatest advances in science have been made. The oldest newspaper is the “Earth Chronicle” which is run by a remote ancestor of the founder of the original “Chronicle” after nearly thirty generations have elapsed. Fritz Napoleon Smith has become fabulously wealthy with his latest innovation. In the past few years he has shifted the printed page to a system of telephony. Every morning subscribers have the news spoken to them over the phone. In this far future, man has increased his life span from 37 to 52 years. Smith has an enormous business concern, taking up an immense office. His latest concern is the failure to contact Jupiter via the modern optical science. Smith is an important figure, with his control of the news media he can mediate a possible war between China and Russia. He advances a young chemist money to solve the final problem in replicating human bodies. Smith witnesses yet another failed attempt at suspended animation. Such is a day in the life of a modern man in the year 2889. ***Cute, but very dated. [c] ‘Heiroglyphics” by Vincent Starrett. (poem) Mysterious signs appear in trivial things. [d] “Journey to the World Underground” (First English translation, 1828 [Part 1 of 2]) by Ludvig Holberg. ***The novel starts with a foreword that assures that everything in the story is a real account of the title character’s exploits in the Underworld. The story is set, according to the book, in the Norwegian harbor town Bergen in 1664, after Klim returns from the university in Copenhagen, where he has studied philosophy and theology and graduated magna cum laude. His curiosity drives him to investigate a strange cave hole on the mountain above the town, which sends out regular gusts of warm air. He ends up falling down the hole, and after a while he finds himself floating in free space. ***After a few days of orbiting the planet that revolves around the inner sun, he is attacked by a gryphon, and he falls down on the planet, which is named Nazar. There he wanders about for a short while until he is attacked once again, this time by an ox. He climbs up into a tree, and to his astonishment the tree can move and talk (this one screamed), and he is taken prisoner by tree-like creatures with up to six arms and a face right below the branches. He is accused of attempted rape on the town clerk’s wife, and is put on trial. The case is dismissed and he is set by the Lord of Potu (the utopian state in which he now is located) to learn the language. ***Klim quickly learns the language of the Potuans, but this reflects badly on him when the Lord is about to issue him with a job, because the Potuans believe that if you perceive a problem at a slower rate, the better you can understand and solve it. But, since he has considerably longer legs than the Potuans, who walk very slowly, he is set to be the Lord’s personal courier, delivering letters and suchlike. ***During the course of the book, Klim vividly chronicles the culture of the Potuans, their religion, their way of life and the many different countries located on Nazar. After his two-month long circumnavigation on foot, he is appalled by the fact that men and women are equal and shares the same kind of jobs, so he files a suggestion to the Lord of Potu to remove women from higher positions in society. His suggestion is poorly received and he is sentenced to be exiled to the inner rim of the Earth’s crust. There he becomes familiar with a country inhabited by sentient monkeys, and after a few years he becomes emperor of the land of Quama, inhabited by the only creatures in the Underworld that look like humans. There, he marries and fathers a son. But again he is driven from hearth and home due to his tyranny and as he escapes he falls into a hole, which carries him through the crust and back up to Bergen again. ***There, he is mistaken by the townsfolk to be the Wandering Jew, mostly due to a lingual misunderstanding (he asks a couple of young boys where he is in quamittian, which is Jeru Pikal Salim, and the boys think he talks about Jerusalem). He learns that he has been away for twelve years, and is taken in by his old friend, mayor Abelin, who writes down everything Klim tells him. He later receives a job as principal of the college of Bergen, and marries. ***Holberg knew that the satirical content of the novel would cause an uproar in Denmark-Norway, so the book was first published in Germany, in Latin. He thus got a broader audience than he would have gotten in the homeland. The novel made him widely acclaimed across Europe. Danish, German, French, and Dutch translations were also published in 1741. ***The book is significant in the history of science fiction being one of the first science-fiction novels in history, along with Johannes Kepler’s Somnium (The Dream, 1634), Cyrano de Bergerac’s Comical History of the States and Empires of the Moon (1656), Voltaire’s Micromégas (1752), and Jonathan Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels (1726). ***It is one of the first science fiction novels to use the Hollow Earth concept. ***In one chapter, Klim refers to Pliny the Elder and his Naturalis Historia when he feels that his descriptions of the Underworld inhabitants would seem too incredible for other humans to believe. ***Niels Klim’s Underground Travels, originally published in Latin as Nicolai Klimii Iter Subterraneum (1741) is a satirical science-fiction/fantasy novel written by Ludvig Holberg, a Norwegian-Danish dramatist, historian, and essayist, born in Bergen, Norway. It was his first and only novel. It describes a utopian society from an outsider’s point of view, and often pokes fun at diverse cultural and social topics such as moral, science, sexual equality, religion, governments, and philosophy. [e] “Oblivion” by Jose-Maria de Heredia, trans. C.A. Smith. (poem) Lament over the death and departure of the ancient gods. [f] “The Door” by David H. Keller. (short story) Carmen is a bored housewife living in the stark desert with her husband. Out for a horseback ride, she discovers a door standing alone in the wilderness. She speculates about it with her husband, thinking that there never was a house or foundation, only the door built for no apparent reason. The oddest part are the hinges, silver skeletons and arms, a medallion of a beautiful woman set into the door itself. Arnold knows about the door but dismisses her interest. Still trying to make a home in the desert, Carmen plants a garden, but the hot wind and sand destroy it. After driving his wife away again with his thoughtless disinterest, she disappears. Arnold goes to the door, seeking her. He travels around the door, and cannot find his wife. He opens the door and finds his wife, sitting content on the other side in the shade of a cool tree. He closes the door and goes away. ***Interesting, but Keller repeats his build-up several times before he comes to the obvious ending. [g] “Two Horsemen” by Vincent Starrett. (poem) Two horsemen, one is life personified and the other death. There is little difference between the two. [h] “Two Poems After Baudelaire”: (1)‘The Giantess” by Clark Ashton Smith. Desire to be a cat and play with nature.(2)“Lethe” by Clark Ashton Smith. Desire that is lust concealed. [h] “Books of the Quarter”: (1) “The Derleth Science Fiction Collection” by Everett Bleiler. The Other Side of the Moon, edited by August Derleth. ***A shameless promotion of this and Derleth’s previous anthology. (2) “Ode to a Skylark” by Robert Bloch. Skylark of Valeron, by Edward E. Smith. ***Loving and touching synopsis. (3) “More Caldecott” by Edward Wagenknecht. Fires Burn Blue, by Sir Andrew Caldecott. ***A familiar theme among reviewers of the Arkham Sampler, British ghost stories are best, and the older the better. (4) “Poetry of Immortality” by John Haley. Unseen Wings, complied by Stanton Coblentz. ***Haley cites Derleth’s poetry collection, Dark of the Moon, as being superior. ***This reader is not surprised in yet another promotion of Derleth and his enterprises. (5) “’American Dreams’ and Utopias” by Everett F. Bleiler. American Dreams, by Vernon Parrington, Jr. ***Bleiler gives a succinct and to the point dissection and appreciation of this history of utopian literature. At the end, he recommends it despite its severe deficiencies. (6) “Salem Again” by Robert Bloch. The Evening Wolves, by Marie McCall. ***A rambling historical fiction, set against the Salem witch trials, without the benefit of any real supernatural elements. ***Not recommended. (7) “A Mixed Bag” by August Derleth. Invasion from Mars, selected by Orson Welles, Life on Other Worlds, by H. Spencer Jones, A Martian Odyssey and Others, by Stanley G. Weinbaum, Descent Into Hell, by Charles Williams, The End of the World, by Geoffrey Dennis, and The Histrionic Mr. Poe, by Bryllion Fagin. ***All are recommended. The British titles, unreservedly, Weinbaum’s work is given a much begrudged and reluctant nod. [i] “Editorial Commentary”: (1) “Coming Events” One-liners about soon to be released titles. Of note is another mention of The Guide to Imaginative Literature, by Everett Bleiler, scheduled for December at $6.00 a copy. ***It was never done. (2)“Our Science Fiction Anthologies” Shameless self-promotion promoting his anthology, The Other Side of the Moon. (3) “Our Contributors” ***One sentence, you know who these people are, so I don’t have to tell you again. (4) “Rheinhart Kleiner (1893-1949)” Short, one paragraph obituary of a contributor to Arkham Sampler, a member of the Kalem Club, and associate of H.P. Lovecraft. ***[b] is best, which is to say that the rest are worse.
***Including [a] “The Triumph of Death” by H. Russell Wakefield. (short story) Young Amelia Lornon is the harried secretary, and companion to the demanding old Miss Prunella Pendleham. Amelia needs her job, but it has become such a hardship that she is suffering from insomnia. She is convinced that the house is haunted by a ghost that appears to her in the night. Their neighbors, the Rector Claud Redvale, and his wife, are troubled for the girl, and seek to console her. Claud is convinced that Prunella, who tithes generously every week in church, is a very evil woman who is hiding some terrible secret. Amelia tells Claud about her visions. He is convinced. Amelia tells Prunella, and she is dismissive, suggesting that Amelia is weak-minded, like her last companion. It seems that Prunella is intentionally trying to drive Amelia mad. She succeeds, but this time to her own undoing, as the mad Amelia kills her. The Rector stumbles across the terrible death scene and flees in terror. ***Not convincing. [b] “Calenture” By Clark Ashton Smith. (poem) Mortals die terrible deaths. [c] “Footnote to Dunne” by Anthony Boucher. (short story/article) ***Can be read as either an essay or a fictional account. ***When his son is born, the narrator delves into theories about time. An obscure attempt to explain solipsism, complete with charts and graphs. ***Incomprehensible. [d] “Holiday” by Ray Bradbury. (short story) Several friends await a special event after a fine dinner. It seems that a celebration is in order, the children play outside, excited, awaiting the once-in-a-lifetime event. As the parents lie to the children about the spectacular fireworks soon to come, the lament places on Earth they have known. At the end it is the Earth that is the centerpiece, as it explodes, and the witnesses on Mars go on about their lives. [e] “Pour Chercher du Nouveau” By Clark Ashton Smith. (poem) A summons for dread demons. [f] “Journey to the World Underground” (1828 [Part 2 of 2]) by Ludvig Holberg. ***See synopsis as given in Arkham Sampler, Summer 1949. [g] “The Death of Lovers” by Charles Baudelaire (trans. C.A. Smith). (poem) Two lovers die such a death that the angels weep. [h] “Escape” by Thomas H. Carter. (poem) Escape into madness upon the death of a loved one. [i] “Sidney Sime of Worplesdon” by Martin Gardner. (article) Sidney Sime became the noted illustrator of Lord Dunsany, beginning with Patches of Sunlight. A list of all of Dunsany’s works illustrated by Sime is given. Followed by a historical account of his life, up to his initial stylistic influences from Aubrey Beardsley. Before his work for Dunsany, Sime illustrated some of the major publications of the late 1890’s. In his famous 1908 work, The Sword of Welleran, Dunsany said that the story, The Highwayman, which appeared within it, was a direct result of a drawing done by Sime. Not only did Dunsany write a story to fit a drawing, it was his first about ordinary people. Despite his praise by Dunsany, Sime did not rise to any great heights, and his genius and talent are all but forgotten now. ***A wonderful essay, skillfully written. [j] “Nightmare” (Poetical Works, 1806) by Erasmus Darwin. (poem) A hideous nightmare containing what are now all the possible clichés of horror. [k] “The Song of the Peewee” by Stephen Grendon [Pseudo. of Derleth, August]. (short story) M4277-GS has developed a slight aberrations. In the twenty-fifth century, the world is run by robots and all humans have their place. Conformity is the key to all existence. But M4277-GS wants to hear the real sound of the Peewee bird, which has long been extinction. The robot rulers questions his request. His family questions his request. They have wonderful recordings that have always been sufficient. Even though the robots seem to be able to create a time machine to enable M4277-GS to hear the sound, the questions continue. He is disrupting their well-ordered society and is put to death. Problem solved, harmony is returned to the world. [l] “A Little Anthology” edited by Malcolm Ferguson. A selection of quotes from literary sources, mostly Fortian of nature. ***Well worth reading. [m] “Abracadabra” by Leah Bodine Drake. (article) Abracadabra was the name of an ancient Sumerian deity. His name was made into a charm and worn throughout Sumer. How his name has lasted and come down to us through the ages is a subject of speculation. As is the true meaning of the god, or charm. ***Lovely essay, much to brief. ***Another word of magic is Hocus Pocus, which comes from practitioners in the Dark Ages, mimicking priests giving the Latin Mass. In Hoc Meus Corpus, thus became Hocus Pocus, complete with a waving of hands. [n] “Books of the Quarter”: (1) “The Rape of Things to Come” by Robert Bloch. Nineteen Eighty-Four, by George Orwell. ***Bloch gives a thorough and compelling synopsis. Followed by correctly defining the work as neither fantasy nor satire, but rather a prophecy and allegory. Bloch looses his finely drawn thread of reason when he tries to prophesize and compare current events as similar elements contained in Orwell’s work. ***Bloch’s essay begins strong, but ends in jingoism. Bloch is not a prophet, and not up to the same level of impact as Orwell accomplished in his singular work. (2) “Perhaps the Future” by John Haley. The Conquest of Space, by Willy Ley. ***This book is of tremendous value for the illustrations by Chesley Bonestell, not for the text by Ley. (3)“Nelson Bond’s New Stories” by August Derleth. The Thirty-First of February, by Nelson Bond. ***Heavily praised by Derleth, who spends the bulk of his review promoting titles by Arkham House that contain the works of Bond. He ends by recommending this title because Bond’s zany stories add to his stature in this minor but popular field. ***It is not entirely clear who Derleth is being dismissive of: fantasy, humor, or competing specialty presses, or possibly anyone who reads. (4) “Anthropology and Fiction” by Everett F. Bleiler. Watch the North Wind Rise, by Robert Graves. ***This review of utopias and other societies, thinly veiled as a fiction is, of course, praised by Bleiler, who emphasizes the obscure and polemic over the entertaining and skillfully written. (5) “A Contrasting Duo” by Fritz Leiber, Jr. The World Below, S. Fowler Wright and The Kid From Mars, by Oscar J. Friend. ***Leiber praises the first title, while dismissing the second one as not the worst but the least. And then, Leiber has the temerity to allow that The World Below is not quite easy reading. Further, that it is not easy for the author to build situations out of indifference and the inexplicable. Instead, Leiber relies on the interpretation of the work by the reader who should experience certain sentiments of mood and tone. ***A deft attempt to make the jejune less than execrable. (6) “A Selected Shelf of Fantasy” by August Derleth. The Best Science-Fiction Stories: 1949, edited by Everett Bleiler and T.E. Dikty, The Big Eye, by Max Ehrlich, The Dowry, by Maggy Gould, Many Dimensions, by Charles Williams, and War In Heaven, by Charles Williams. ***For the first title, Derleth lists some of he contents, and predicts that the series will be a distinguished success. ***It was, sadly ending with the final edition published by Advent:Publishers (which see). ***For the second title, another short synopsis, ending with a one line criticism, that the work will disappoint. ***The Dowry receives the same treatment, and this horror story, which works more as a tale of suspense receives a nod. ***The final two are both works of Good against Evil, filled with Christian mysticism. (7) “Two Views of the Future” Frank Belknap Long. The Humanoids, by Jack Williamson and Lords of Creation, by Eando Binder. ***Long discusses Williamson’s work at length, giving a glowing synopsis, followed by a hearty recommendation. He only mentions, with some scathing comments the other title. Based on an older magazine audience, it is severely flawed. (8) “Short Notices” Several pages filled with recently released titles, chief among them is The Homunculus, by David H. Keller. [m] “Editorial Commentary”: (1) “Books to Watch For” Once again, The Guide to Imaginative Literature, by Everett Bleiler is mentioned. ***The hype for this title that never saw the light of day is amazing. This reader is convinced it was promoted because Bleiler was one of Derleth’s contributors. (2) “Vale” Derleth discusses several of the reasons that the Arkham Sampler failed, and why this will be the last issue. Paramount among them is that he never reached his goal of one thousand readers. (3) “New Magazines in the Field” The Magazine of Fantasy as edited by Anthony Boucher is mentioned as a first issue.(4) “Our Contributors” One-liners about the contributors, most emphasizing Arkham House projects they are involved in. Of note is yet another promotion for the upcoming Shasta production of The Guide to Imaginative Literature, by Everett Bleiler, “off press in a few months.” [n] “Index” An extensive index to the eight issues, done in much smaller type. ***[i] is best.
Short stories, mostly based on the belief that science and materialism are leading man astray. ***[a] “Justice, 1971” (The New Gods Lead, 1932) Improved gerontology upsets the previous age proportions in the population. A scientific government has decreed that the younger people shall tend the older ones, but does not offer sufficient means, so that the younger people are hampered in their own lives. Since the young have not been shown a good example of patience and love, a massacre of the aged takes place. [b] “This Night, 1980” (The New Gods Lead, 1932) An elite of science rules Britain. Professor Cawstin determines to make a certain young woman his mistress, and calmly informs her of his intentions, threatening various horrible diseases if she refuses. [c] “Brain, 1990” (The New Gods Lead, 1932) Professor Brisket, who is the president of the Scientist government, invents a chemical substance which increases mental power enormously. Scientific feuds and intrigues threaten his position, hence he intends to use his discovery to secure his position. But one of his lab animals, a pig who has been treated with his extract, discovers that the professor intends to kill her, and outwits Brisket by substituting an elixir of love and altruism for that of intellectuality. She herself falls victim, though. ***The pig is one of the most interesting characters in modern science fiction. [d] “Appeal, 1950” (The New Gods Lead, 1932) A man accused of murdering his wife is on trial. Spiritualist evidence from the dead is admitted as legal in 1950, but with surprising results in this case. Told as a character study of a lawyer. ***A very good crime short. [e] “Proof” (The New Gods Lead, 1932) & (Magazine of Horror, Vol. 3, No. 2, Issue 14, Winter 1966). A future French government institutes a reign of terror by guillotining all stupid persons. But the premier, M. Jules Bouchere, is himself adjudged stupid. ***There is also material about conscious and unconscious movement in severed human heads. [f] “P.N. 40” (Red Book Magazine, June 1929), (The New Gods Lead, 1932) & (Avon Science Fiction Reader, No. 3, January 1952). A story of the 93rd year of the Eugenic Era. P.N. 40 is a young girl who is born with a predilection for monogamy, a very unsocial trait in the Eugenic era, when marriages are arranged by a mating bureau. She and a congenial male attempt to escape the system. [g] “Automata” (Weird Tales, Vol. 14, No. 3, Issue 72, September 1929), (The New Gods Lead, 1932) & (Avon Fantasy Reader, No. 2, April 1947). When the human birth-rate falls, robots are made. The robots supersede man, who becomes extinct. [h] “The Rat” (Weird Tales, Vol. 13, No. 3, Issue 66, March 1929), (The New Gods Lead, 1932) & (Science Fiction Digest, No. 1, 1954). An injection that can restore youth to the aged is used as a device to escape legal punishment for a crime. Often anthologized. [i] “Rule” (The New Gods Lead, 1932) A story of future governmental techniques, demonstrating the gradual absorption of business by the government. [j] “Choice” (The New Gods Lead, 1932) Two persons in heaven decide to be reborn to aid mankind. [k] “The Temperature of Gehenna Sue” (The Witchfinder, 1946) An unscrupulous society matron and a scientist break up an inconvenient romance by altering the body temperature of a chorus girl. [l] “Original Sin” (The Witchfinder, 1946) & (Avon Fantasy Reader, No. 13, April 1950). Almost a preparatory study for “The Adventure of Wyndham Smith” The human race decides to commit euthanasia, but two abnormal persons decide to live. There would have been a third, but for sexual jealousy on the part of the woman, and the world begins afresh on a sour note. ***Despite some of the author’s opinions, which occasionally approach crotchetiness, some of these stories rank among the best modern science-fiction short stories. [a], [c], [d], [f], [g], [l] are generally recommended. ***This is not the first book publication; two previous volumes of short stories, The Witchfinder (Books for Today, 1946, 240 pp., 5/-) and The New Gods Lead (Jarrolds, 1932, 288 pp., 7/6) are the sources. ***No paperback edition.
Poetry. ***Not reviewed. ***Including [a] “A Hornbook for Witches” (Arkham Sampler, Vol. 1, No. 1, Winter 1948) & (Amazing Stories Quarterly, Winter 1948) This poem is a must read for those who do not usually read poetry, but are curious about this poet and her fame. After reading this poem, both the interest in her poetry and her deserved fame become apparent. ***This poem is just as a it purports to be, a list of both demons, familiars, and spells to perform. After reading and re-reading this much too short verse, this reader found a wish for more. [b] “Unhappy Ending” (Arkham Sampler, Vol. 1, No. 2, Spring 1948) & (Amazing Stories Quarterly, Spring 1948). A weary traveler finds a deserted tower. He enters, to become the victim of its residents. [c] “Witches on the Heath!” (Weird Tales, Vol. 32, No. 4, Issue 177, October 1938) [d] “The Tenants” [e] “The Ballad of the Jabberwock” [f] “Bad Company” (Weird Tales, Vol. 35, No. 8, Issue 198, March 1941) [g] “Mouse Heaven” [h] “Rabbit-Dance” [i] “Wood-Wife” (Weird Tales, Vol. 36, No. 4, Issue 204, March 1942) [j] “A Likely Store!” [k] “The Man Who Married a Swan-Maiden” [l] “All-Saints Eve” [m] “The Last Faun” [n] “Changeling” (Weird Tales, Vol. 36, No. 7, Issue 207, September 1942) [o] “In the Shadows” [p] “Figures in a Nightmare” [q] “The Witch Walks in Her Garden” (Weird Tales, Vol. 29, No. 4, Issue 159, April 1937) [r] “The Seal-Woman’s Daughter” (Weird Tales, Vol. 39, No. 9, Issue 233, January 1947) [s] “They Run Again” (Weird Tales, Vol. 34, No. 1, Issue 185, June-July 1939) [t] “The Path Through the Marsh” (Weird Tales, Vol. 38, No. 1, Issue 219, September 1944) [u] “Old Wives’ Tale” (Amazing Stories Quarterly, Summer 1948) [v] “A Vase from Araby” (Weird Tales, Vol. 36, No. 10, Issue 210, March 1943) [w] “The Fur Coat” [x] “House Accurst” [y] “The Vision” (Weird Tales, Vol. 42, No. 2, Issue 251, January 1950) [z] “Sea-Shell” (Weird Tales, Vol. 37, No. 1, Issue 213, September 1943) [aa] “Willow Women” [bb] “The Girl in the Glass” [cc] “Heard on the Roof at Midnight” (Weird Tales, Vol. 39, No. 8, Issue 232, November 1946) [dd] “Terror by Night” [ee] “Legend” [ff] “The Heads on Easter Island” (Weird Tales, Vol. 41, No. 2, Issue 245, January 1949) [gg] “Haunted Hour” (Weird Tales, Vol. 36, No. 2, Issue 202, November 1941) [hh] “Goat-Song” [ii] “The Nixie’s Pool” (Weird Tales, Vol. 39, No. 5, Issue 229, May 1946) [jj] “The Stranger” (Weird Tales, Vol. 39, No. 12, Issue 237, September 1947) [kk] “Encounter in Broceliande” [ll] “The Window on the Stair” [mm] “The Old World of Green” [nn] “Curious Story” [oo] “The Steps in the Field” (Weird Tales, Vol. 40, No. 1, Issue 238, November 1947) [pp] “Midsummer Night” [qq] “Old Daphne” [rr] “Mad Woman’s Song” [ss] “Griffin’s Gold” [tt] “Black Peacock” [uu] “The Centaurs” Scarcest Arkham House title of all. ***Most all appeared in Weird Tales. ***No paperback edition.
Poetry. ***The book was intended to be a stop-gap volume representing Smith’s poetry while the more extensive Selected Poems was being prepared, although Selected Poems did not ultimately appear until 1971. ***Including [a] “Amithaine” (Different, Vol. 7, No. 3, Autumn 1951). The towers of Amithaine, the deathless chatelaine, and the warriors who stand in battle for both, forever. [b] “Seeker” (First appearance.) Leaving the Lotus field and dreams behind, the seeker finds adventure where none have gone but in dreams. [c] “The Dark Chateau” (First appearance.) A vivid description of that dark chateau, and the lord, now long dead. Both lay moldering into ruins, forgotten by all, neglected. [d] “Lamia” (Arkham Sampler, Vol. 1, No.1, Winter 1948). Marriage by a long dead man to a wraith. [e] “Pour Chercher du Nouveau” (Arkham Sampler, Vol. 2, No. 4, Autumn 1949). A summons for dread demons. [f] “O Golden-Tongued Romance” (First appearance.) An ageless flower, plucked from a now forgotten love, and kept, hidden in a jar, down the long, dark ages. [g] “Averoigne” (Challenge, Spring 1951). Averoigne, a gruesome city, where witches cast their spells, mages ponder great magic wars, and the lamia sing their siren songs to draw the unwary and the weary. [h] “Zothique” (First appearance.) Once a traveler has been to Zothique, he never will want to go anywhere else, not after savoring the kisses of the wanton vampires and seen the crumbling ruins. [i] “The Stylite” (First appearance.) The anchoret, a saint, stands unmoved while being tested by all a fabulous, dark and forbidding, pageant of evil. [j] “Dominium in Excelsis” (First appearance.) Advice to seek the bold path, and live it over and over again, eternally. [k] “Moly” (First appearance.) The flower known as moly, that wards Circe’s art, can only grow from the seekers dead heart. [l] “Two Myths and a Fable” (First appearance.) Warriors seek to slay the basilisk, sailors to find the unicorn, and wizards to find the jars of Solomon and free the imprisoned genii. [m] “Eros of Ebony” (First appearance.) A sculptor of demons and goddesses creates an eidolon of love in ebony, and worships the blind statue with sacrifices of blood. [n] “Shapes in the Sunset” (First appearance.) The dreamer pleads to be taken to the dark land of his dreams. [o] “Not Theres the Cypress-Arch” (First appearance.) (Wings, Vol. 10, No. 4, Winter 1952). Our lives are really guided by ghosts, and we are the wraiths, but we do not know it. [p] “Don Quixote on Market Street” (First appearance.) Don Quixote is wasting his chivalry trying to tilt at Moloch and Mammon on Market Street. [q] “Malediction” (First appearance.) The real curse, never to be broken, is the one that keeps the seeker from the dark beauty of the supernatural realm. [r] “Hellenic Sequel” (Arkham Sampler, Vol. 1, No.2, Spring 1948). Vision of ancient Greece, and death. [s] “The Cypress” (First appearance.) It begins nicely, a dead lover blessing the passing of the beloved with signs of birds and portents no the wind, but if the beloved has found another, the lover will pursue with all the signs of hell. [t] “The Old Water-Wheel” (First appearance.) The incessant turning of an ancient waterwheel reminds the watcher of his own incessant seeking. [u] “Calenture” (Arkham Sampler, Vol. 2, No. 4, Autumn 1949). Mortals die terrible deaths. [v] “Soliloquy in an Ebon Tower” (First appearance.) The poet laments that, along with Baudelaire, time and reality prevent both from living in the worlds of their dreams of dark beauty. [w] “Sinbad, it was Not Well to Brag” (First appearance.) Sinbad concocts an alcoholic brew to rid himself of the Old Man of the Sea on his back, but the poet is not so lucky, his Muse is to stay. [x] “Sonnet for the Psychoanalysts” (First appearance.) A surrealistic reality, the dreamer wakens to see his body parts in various places. [y] “Surrealists Sonnet” (First appearance.) A surrealist hodgepodge of symbolism that hands together via rhymes. [z] “The Twilight of the Gods” (First appearance.) A humorous transplantation of the Greek gods into the modern world, the Golden Fleece hands in a pawnshop, Bacchus is on another drunk. [aa] “The Poet Talks with the Biographers” (First appearance.) More appropriately, the anthropologist questions those whose grave he has robbed. [bb] “Desert Dwellers” (Weird Tales, Vol. 36, No. 12, Issue 212, July 1943). The narrator tells of the hopelessness of fitting into the modern world, while dreaming dreams no one else can dream. [cc] “Hesperian Fall” (First appearance.) The poet tells about his finest love, the mysterious beauty of darkness and oblivion. [dd] “Not Altogether Sleep” (First appearance.) Not clear, but it seems that the poet is taunting its lover by stating that nothing can separate them. [ee] “Some Blind Eidolon” (Kaleidograph, Vol. 19, No. 2, June 1947). The poet professes love more ancient than time for all things dark, a love that will outlast the universe. [ff] “The Isle of Saturn” (First appearance.) The island where imprisoned Saturn rests, and other older gods, is described. [gg] “Oblivion” by Jose-Maria de Heredia, trans. C.A. Smith. (Arkham Sampler, Vol. 2, No. 3, Summer 1949). Lament over the death and departure of the ancient gods. [hh] “Revenant” (Fantasy Fan, Vol. 1, No. 7, March 1934). The poet as the spirit of all things dark, ancient, moldering and supernatural. [ii] “In Slumber” (Weird Tales, Vol. 24, No. 2, Issue 128, August 1934). A dream of a descent into hell is remembered. [jj] “Cambion” (First appearance.) The summoner of all things evil and dark is described. [kk] “The Witch with Eyes of Amber” (Auburn Journal, Vol. 23, No. 32, 24 May 1923) & (Epos, Vol. 1, No. 4, Summer 1950). The lover recoils in shock, after loving the beautiful witch, only to find himself clutching a nameless statue. [ll] “The Outer Land” (Supramundane Stories Quarterly, Vol. 1, No. 2, Spring 1937) & (Spearhead, Vol. 2, No. 2, Spring 1951). A man exiled in some haunted land laments his lost love and describes the hideous realm he inhabits. [mm] “Luna Aeternalis” (Weird Tales, Vol. 42, No. 4, Issue 253, May 1950). The moon dawns on the landscape transforming it into a playground for the supernatural. [nn] “Ye Shall Return” (First appearance.) The mythic dead shall return to the haunted places again. ***Another scarce Arkham House item. ***[f] is best. ***No paperback edition. ***The collected works of poetry: The Last Oblivion, Hippocampus Press, 2002, 200 pp., pa $15.00. [Excluding: [b], [f], [i], [j], [k], [l], [m], [n], [p], [q], [r], [s], [t], [u], [w], [x], [y], [z], [aa], [cc], [dd], [ff], [gg] & [nn].
Short stories, including [a] “The Worm” (Amazing Stories, Vol. 3, No. 12, Issue 36, March 1929), (Fantastic, Vol. 15, No. 1, Issue 129, September 1965) & (Fantastic, Vol. 27, No. 6, Issue 203, July 1979). [b] “The Revolt of the Pedestrians” (Amazing Stories, Vol. 2, No. 11, Issue 23, February 1928) & (Amazing Stories, Vol. 40, No. 9, Issue 424, December 1966). [c] “The Yeast Men” (Amazing Stories, Vol. 3, No. 1, Issue 25, April 1928), (Tales of Wonder, No. 7, Summer 1939) & (Avon Fantasy Reader, No. 14, July 1950). A rather amusing story of a strange war which is fought by rapidly multiplying quickly maturing man-like being made of dough. [d] “The Ivy War” (Amazing Stories, Vol. 5, No. 2, Issue 50, May 1930) & (Fantastic, Vol. 17, No. 1, Issue 141, September 1967). [e] “The Flying Fool” (Amazing Stories, Vol. 4, No. 4, Issue 40, July 1929), (Amazing Stories, Vol. 35, No. 4, Issue 365, April 1961) & (Science Fiction Classics Annual, 1970). An antigravity flying-suit in a homely situation reeking of frustration, cruelty, and—love. [f] “The Psychophonic Nurse” (Amazing Stories, Vol. 3, No. 8, Issue 32, November 1928). A robot nurse. Also a human situation in which a frigid rationalistic woman finally learns love and the true realities of life. [g] “A Biological Experiment” (Amazing Stories, Vol. 3, No. 3, Issue 27, June 1928) & (Amazing Stories, Vol. 41, No. 1, Issue 426, April 1967). In the 40th century the human race is propagated scientifically, and there is even doubt whether natural childbirth is still possible. A single young woman has a baby, and a cultural revolution takes place as women demand to have babies once more. [h] “Free as the Air” (Amazing Stories, Vol. 6, No. 3, Issue 63, June 1931). The United Finance Company, by legal chicanery, almost seizes control of the United States by forcing through legal decision that the air may be owned as personal property. But a small group of true patriots, who hold for cultural primitivism, kidnap them, and save America. [i] “The Bridle” (Weird Tales, Vol. 36, No. 7, Issue 207, September 1942) & (Weird Tales (Canada), Vol. 36, No. 7, January 1943). A small town in Pennsylvania, white degenerates, and folkloristic magic. A bridle made of human skin transforms the person wearing it into a horse. [j] “The God Wheel” After years of search for The Cave, John Alden returns to his native land, and finds it upon his own property. He descends, and finds a God pinned upon a wheel. This is the “first god,” the “unmoved mover,” and so on. Alden breathes the god’s breath, becomes permeated with the god, and saves mankind by establishing giant oaks and stone temples. [k] “The Golden Bough” (Marvel Tales, Vol. 1, No. 3, Issue, Winter 1934), (Weird Tales, Vol. 36, No. 8, Issue 208, November 1942) & (Weird Tales (Canada), Vol. 36, No. 8, March 1943). A dream, and a house that is found as in the dream. Then a yielding to the forces of Pan. [l] “The Jelly-Fish” (Weird Tales, Vol. 13, No. 1, Issue 64, January 1929). A professor perfects a means to project himself into the field of a microscope. [m] “The Opium Eater” Pennsylvania yokels and folkloristic magic. A witch with diabolic power is overcome by the “Long Lost Friend” sort of counter-magic. [n] “The Thing in the Cellar” (Weird Tales, Vol. 19, No. 3, Issue 99, March 1932), (Avon Fantasy Reader, No. 6, May 1948) & (Satellite, Vol. 4, No. 1, Issue 19, June 1959). [o] “The Moon Artist” (Cosmic Tales, Summer 1939) & (Stirring Science Stories, Vol. 1, No. 3, Issue 3, June 1941) An institutionalized mad artist draws a living picture of wolves, moonlight and horror. The narrator is attacked by the wolves, but upon next viewing, the picture is blank. [p] “Creation Unforgivable” (Weird Tales, Vol. 15, No. 4, Issue 79, April 1930). A creative author writes a fantasy about prehistoric men and ape-man, and a dinosaur god. His writing calls the dinosaur into being, and he loses his wife. [q] “The Door” (Arkham Sampler, Summer 1949). A door in the middle of the desert, into a world of happiness. [r] “The Literary Corkscrew” (Wonder Stories, Vol. 5, No. 8, Issue 56, March 1934) & (Startling Stories, Vol. 5, No. 3, Issue 15, May 1941). A borderline fantasy of an author who needed pain to give him the necessary hormones for effective literary work, and had his wife twist a corkscrew into his back. ***The other stories are mostly contes cruels. ***A very uneven collection, which shows amply the author’s peculiar primitive virtues and defects. The two stories of folkloristic magic, [i] and [m], are excellent, as are the purely horror stories, [a] and [n]. The what’s-wrong-with-the-world stories, on the other hand, despite moments of occasional charm, I find crude sermons on Kinder-und-Kirche. [j], however, is very unusual, either as an unwittingly very revealing psychiatrist’s artificial dream, or as the fictionalization of a dream. ***No paperback edition.
A supernatural anthology. Including [a] “Mr. George” (Weird Tales, Vol. 39, No. 10, Issue 234, March 1947) & (Weird Tales (Canada), Vol. 38, No. 4, May 1947). by Stephen Grendon [Pseudo. of August Derleth]. An excellent moral ghost story about a little girl whose relatives wish to murder her to get her money. Mr. George, who is dead, helps the little girl. [b] “The Sign” (London Evening Standard, February 25, 1936) & (Arkham Sampler, Fall 1948) by Lord Dunsany. [c] “The La Prello Paper” (Weird Tales, Vol. 40, No. 3, Issue 240, March 1948) by Carl Jacobi. A sentimentalist about the past is pushed into the past, by infinite regression, a generation or so each movement, as punishment for stealing a paper. [d] “The Gorge of the Churels” (Fantasy and Science Fiction, Vol. 2, No. 5, Issue 10, October 1951) by H.R. Wakefield. India. A churel is the ghost of a childless woman who tries to steal living children. The characters include a fascinating rice-Christian and an arrogant missionary. [e] “Dhoh” (Weird Tales, Vol. 40, No. 5, Issue 242, July 1948) by Manly Wade Wellman. American Indian folklore. Dhoh is a spirit who is half man and half bear. A white man makes the mistake of learning too much about Dhoh. [f] “The Churchyard Yew” (Weird Tales, Vol. 39, No. 11, Issue 236, July 1946) & (Weird Tales (Canada), Vol. 38, No. 4, September 1947) by J.S. LeFanu. Hitherto unpublished in book form? ***A priest and a sexton quarrel for years about the position of a churchyard yew. When the priest moves the tree after the sexton’s death, the results are most unfortunate. [g] “Technical Slip” (Arkham Sampler, Spring 1949) & (Imagination, Vol. 1, No. 2, Issue 2, December 1950) by John Beynon Harris [Pseudo. of John Wyndham]. A dying man gives three-fourths of his property to Hell for a chance to live over again. But a mistake is made, and he returns to the past with memory, and disturbs fate. His memory is removed, and his contract is renewed over and over again. [h] “The Man Who Collected Poe” (Famous Fantastic Mysteries, Vol. 12, No. 6, Issue 71, October 1951) by Robert Bloch. His collection includes the reanimated corpse of Poe. ***Told in imitation of Poe’s manner. [i] “Hector” (Weird Tales, Vol. 44, No. 1, Issue 262, November 1951) by Michael West [Pseudo. of August Derleth]. Hector’s owner sees his ghost, but the owner himself is the ghost. Hector is a pup. [j] “Roman Remains” (Weird Tales, Vol. 40, No. 3, Issue 240, March 1948) by Algernon Blackwood. A satyr. [k] “A Damsel with a Dulcimer” (Arkham Sampler, Spring 1948) by Malcolm Ferguson. A delicate mood story of Cambodia and Coleridge. [l] “The Supressed Edition” by Richard Curle. A suppressed book tells how to evoke the Devil. ***There is a trick ending, but I am not sure that I understand it. [m] “The Lonesome Place” (Famous Fantastic Mysteries, Vol. 9, No. 3, Issue 50, February 1948) by August Derleth. Children’s fears produce a thought-monster that haunts a place for years. [n] “The Case of Charles Dexter Ward” (Weird Tales, Vol. 35, No. 9 & No. 10, Issue 199 & 200, May & July 1941) Howard P. Lovecraft. ***[a], [e], [m] and [n] are best, but on the whole this collection is weaker than many of Mr. Derleth’s others, and is not up to his usual high level. ***First paperback edition: Consul, 1368, 1965, 160 pp., pa 3/6.
Mycroft & Moran
Weird Tales, Vol. 39, No. 9,
Hodgson, William Hope
Carnacki, The Ghost-Finder
Mycroft & Moran; Sauk City, WI 1947 241 $3.00
3,050 copies printed.
(1st edition, E. Nash; London 1913 288 6/-)
(2nd edition, Holden Hardingham; London 1920 248 2/6)
Jacket by Frank Utpatel.
Short stories about a psychic detective. Some of the episodes are genuinely supernatural; others are not. ***From a five part series in Idler, beginning in January 1910 and Carnacki, the Ghost-Finder, and poems, a fourteen-page board-bound brochure published by P.R. Reynolds in 1910, which gave synopses of the episodes. ***The first three stories were in Hodgson’s effects and had not been previously published. ***[a] “The Thing Invisible” The chapel of the Jarnock’s is haunted by a being that strikes down trespassers with an old dagger. ***Rationalized. [b] “The Gateway of the Monster” A room is badly haunted by a giant hand-like manifestation of incredible malignancy. [c] “The House Among the Laurels” An Irish haunted castle is characterized by falls of blood and death for visitors. ***Rationalized. [d] “The Whistling Room” A haunted room in an old Irish castle. It whistles horribly. It is haunted by a mad bard who was burned to death in Celtic Ireland. [e] “The Searcher of the End House” Supernatural manifestations combined with a false haunting. [f] “The Horse of the Invisible” During their courtships, the girls of a certain family are haunted by the Horse. An aspirant suitor fakes a haunting and awakens a real one. ***The Arkham House edition, Arkham House, Sauk City, WI, 1948 contains the above stories plus [g] “The Haunted ‘Jarvee’” (The Premier Magazine, March 1929) & (Avon Fantasy Reader, No. 18, January 1952) A ship is haunted by shadowy beings. Perhaps a preparatory study for “The Ghost Pirates.” [h] “The Find” Not fantastic, but an excellent bibliographic mystery. [i] “The Hog” (Weird Tales, Vol. 39, No. 9, Issue 233, January 1947) & (Weird Tales (Canada), Vol. 38, No. 4, March 1947). A little man, whose barriers against the unseen are weak, calls upon Carnacki for aid. Both are almost overcome by a cosmic force from beyond, called the Hog. Affinities with The House on the Borderland. ***These are all, except [h], thrillers based on physical manifestations of horror, but they are still among the most effective stories of their time. Carnacki comes to life, and his horrors are really horrible, for Hodgson seems to have been a man who had experienced fear and knew how to communicate it to others. These stories also show two interesting technical devices which have become enormously important in some branches of the modern horror story: a metaphysical theory of evil which regards mankind as living blindly in the midst of unseeable horror [cf. also Arthur Machen], which continually strives to break down the feeble barrier that protects him; and a pseudo-erudition in (invented) books of ancient magic, efficacious magical spells, and (spurious) ancient sages and races. ***No paperback edition.
This is the fourth installment in the Anthem Series project. The first part, Fantasy Press, appeared in eI27 (August 2006) and eI28 (October 2006). The third part, including: Prime Press, Avalon Company, and Chamberlain Press, appeared in eI42 (February 2009). The fourth part, including: Shasta Publishers, and Gorgon Press, appeared in eI33 (August 2007). The sixth part, including: Arkham House, and Mycroft & Moran, appeared in two sections…Section One in eI44 (June 2009) and Section Two will appear in eI45 (August 2009).
As with this segment, and with all segments in this project, any and all corrections, enhancements, and additions, are greatly appreciated and solicited. In particular, the receipt of any and all anecdotal material pertaining to the various specialty presses and to the multitude of fine writers and their encounters with these publishers would be much more than greatly appreciated, it is dearly sought after.
Any such communication can be made directly to me at: email@example.com
Thank you, fans and readers, for your appreciation and your contributions.
Arkham House: Checklist
The Early Years
|■||1.||The Outsider||Lovecraft, H.P.|
|■||2.||Someone in the Dark||Derleth, August|
|■||3.||Out of Space and Time||Smith, Clark Ashton|
|■||4.||Beyond the Wall of Sleep||Lovecraft, H.P.|
|■||5.||The Eye and The Finger||Wandrei, Donald|
|■||6.||Jumbee||Whitehead, Henry S.|
|■||7.||Lost Worlds||Smith, Clark Ashton|
|■||9.||Something Near||Derleth, August|
|■||10.||The Opener of the Way||Bloch, Robert|
|■||11.||Witch House||Walton, Evangeline|
|■||12.||Green Tea||LeFanu, J. Sheridan|
|■||13.||The Lurker at the Threshold||Lovecraft, H.P. & Derleth, August|
|■||14.||The Hounds of Tindalos||Long, Frank Belknap|
|■||15.||The Doll and One Other||Blackwood, Algernon|
|■||16.||The House on the Borderland||Hodgson, William Hope|
|■||17.||Skull-Face||Howard, Robert E.|
|■||18.||West India Lights||Whitehead, Henry S.|
|■||19.||Fearful Pleasures||Coppard, A. E.|
|■||20.||The Clock Strikes Twelve||Wakefield, H. Russell|
|■||21.||Slan||van Vogt, A.E.|
|■||22.||This Mortal Coil||Asquith, Cynthia|
|■||23.||Dark of the Moon||Derleth, August|
|■||24.||Dark Carnival||Bradbury, Ray|
|■||25.||Revelations in Black||Jacobi, Carl|
|■||26.||Night’s Black Agents||Leiber, Fritz|
|■||27.||The Travelling Grave||Hartley, L. P.|
|■||28.||The Web of Easter Island||Wandrei, Donald|
|■||29.||The Fourth Book of Jorkens||Dunsany, Lord|
|■||31.||The Arkham Sampler||Winter 1948|
|■||32.||The Arkham Sampler||Spring 1948|
|■||33.||The Arkham Sampler||Summer 1948|
|■||34.||The Arkham Sampler||Autumn 1948|
|■||35.||Genius Loci||Smith, Clark Ashton|
|■||36.||Not Long for this World||Derleth, August|
|■||37.||Something About Cats||Lovecraft, H.P.|
|■||38.||The Arkham Sampler||Winter 1949|
|■||39.||The Arkham Sampler||Spring 1949|
|■||40.||The Arkham Sampler||Summer 1949|
|■||41.||The Arkham Sampler||Autumn 1949|
|■||42.||The Throne of Saturn||Wright, S. Fowler|
|■||43.||A Hornbook for Witches||Drake, Leah Bodine|
|■||44.||The Dark Chateau||Smith, Clark Ashton|
|■||45.||Tales from Underwood||Keller, David H.|
|■||46.||Night’s Yawning Peal||Derleth, August|
|Mycroft & Moran|
|■||1.||Carnacki, The Ghost-Finder||Hodgson, William Hope|
- - -Science fiction prozine cover scans Courtesy Jacques Hamon Collection http://www.collectorshowcase.fr
I think we don’t care much anymore. Most of us, as when we were children, have very sound ethical instincts and realize that it’s all a lot of baloney. And so we’re completely fatalistic about our government’s being for sale.
“The Ship That Sailed the Stars,” by Ditmar [Martin James Ditmar Jenssen]
Return to Earl Kemp page