Friday, February 28, 2014

FFB redux: some best of the years and best of the magazines anthology reviews from years past

As I'm rather under the weather (and such weather), I'll combine a few of my BOTY/other Best Of Friday entries for today's offer (and please see Patti Abbott's blog for today's fresher reviews):

Friday, January 29, 2010

Friday's "Forgotten" Books: Gerald W. Page, ed., THE YEAR'S BEST HORROR STORIES V (DAW Books 1977)

From the Contento indices:

The Year’s Best Horror Stories: Series V ed. Gerald W. Page (DAW 0-87997-311-0, Jul ’77, $1.50, 237pp, pb)
7 · Introduction · Gerald W. Page · in
9 · The Service · Jerry Sohl · ss F&SF Feb ’76
17 · Long Hollow Swamp · Joseph Payne Brennan · ss AHMM Jan ’76
27 · Sing a Last Song of Valdese [Kane] · Karl Edward Wagner · ss Chacal Win ’76
44 · Harold’s Blues · Glen Singer · ss Cthulhu: Tales of the Cthulhu Mythos #1 ’76
56 · The Well · H. Warner Munn · nv *
94 · A Most Unusual Murder · Robert Bloch · ss EQMM Mar ’76
107 · Huzdra · Tanith Lee · ss *
126 · Shatterday · Harlan Ellison · ss Gallery Sep ’75; Science Fiction Monthly v2 #8 ’75
140 · Children of the Forest · David Drake · ss F&SF Nov ’76
159 · The Day It Rained Lizards · Arthur Byron Cover · ss *
179 · Followers of the Dark Star · Robert Edmond Alter · ss Mystery Monthly Aug ’76
194 · When All the Children Call My Name · Charles L. Grant · ss *
214 · Belsen Express · Fritz Leiber · ss The Second Book of Fritz Leiber, DAW, 1975
227 · Where the Woodbine Twineth · Manly Wade Wellman · ss F&SF Oct ’76

I had been, at times feverishly, tearing through the collections and anthologies I could find in libraries and through Scholastic Book Services and bookfairs for four or five years by the time I had begun to get to go to bookstores on my own recognizance, as a not quite teen, when I happened upon this volume. Now, I knew there were mystery/crime fiction magazines and science fiction magazines still around, and even The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction hadn't completely escaped my notice by 1976 and I knew it contained at least some horror fiction, but this was one of the first compelling bits of evidence that the great years of horror fiction weren't solely in the past, that there were ongoing traditions and new as well as old favorite writers still enriching the form. In fact, most of the work by the older hands, including Bloch's pleasant story, were among the slighter contributions, though Wellman's story was both solid and fine, Leiber's "Belsen Express" was suitably nasty and Ellison's "Shatterday" was fully up to what I was hoping for from him. The folks new to me, and in 1977 most not so very far along in their careers, such as Wagner, Cover, Drake, Grant and Lee were the even happier discoveries, as was my first opportunity to read H. Warner Munn, whom I'd read referred to, but not yet read...and while his story, an original in what seemed like it should be a reprint-only anthology, was more Count of Monte Cristo adventure than horror story, it was great fun.

Wagner would, of course, take up the editorial duties after Page's last volume, the seventh, and continue till his premature and unfortunate (and foreseen) death; it was only a few years ago that I learned that Page had, in the '70s, worked for TV Guide, as I did till the recentish dismemberment of that organization (my usual joke involves a misquotation of Julius Caesar--TVG, actually unlike Gaul, is now in four parts). Page's four annual volumes had followed DAW Books's reprints, rather haphazard, of two volumes of a British annual split into three annual books...and while the DAW series died with Wagner, we currently still have two annuals, those of Stephen Jones and Ellen Datlow, which continue the tradition [actually, now three, with Paula Guran's entry]. But this great read, along with with the First World Fantasy Awards and "Hitchcock" volumes I've already cited (and the interstitial material in Ellison's and Asimov's anthologies and collections) helped draw my to the point where I'd be participating in such fannish projects as Patti Abbott's FFB, of which further examples can be found at her blog.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Crime fiction best-of-the-years

In the course of the same conversation, I asked Ed about the annual BOTY crime fiction volumes that were published by Carroll & Graf (rip) under a slightly shifting set of titles from volume to volume, with the last one in the series being the 1999Year’s 25 Finest Crime and Mystery Stories: Seventh Annual Edition, which preceded the first (2000) St. Martin's/
Forge volume, The World’s Finest Mystery and Crime Stories (with the great Thomas Canty sinister watercolor cover painting).

The oddest thing about the Carroll and Graf series (and after St. Martin's dumped the ongoing series that World's Finest essentially began, C&G published two more along with companion novella anthologies before C&G was collapsed by the Publishers Group West failure) was that they were attributed, at least sometimes, to the "Editors of Mystery Scene," which meant, as Ed notes, himself, Martin Harry Greenberg, for at least one volume Joan Hess and at least one volume Robert Randisi, and Larry Segriff...while John Helfers and lately Sarah Weinman have augmented Gorman and Greenberg on their latter-day anthos. And that one (1) of the C&G annuals was published (in abridged form!) in mass-market paperback, out of the multiyear run...which seems strange, given how many sf & fantasy BOTY volumes have appeared over the years in mm pb, and even the Best American Short Stories volumes would do so into the 1970s, at least...but for some reason, as far as I can tell so far, only the Brett Halliday volume, #17, of the Dutton Best Detective Stories of the Year series, which ran from David Cooke's 1940s volumes up through to 1985 and Edward Hoch's volumes for Walker & Co. as The Year's Best Mystery and Suspense Stories, has ever been released as a mass market edition (because Halliday was more of a celebrity Name than Anthony Boucher or Allen Hubin or the other editors of that series, I guess), and with only the other, sadly shortlived, iBooks series, Jon Breen's Mystery: The Best of 2001 (and 2002), seem to be the only BOTYs in crime fiction to have been offered on the "regular" (as opposed to "Quality Paperback") racks...certainly, the Best American Mystery Stories series never has. (The Breen series was shuttered at least in part by the collapse of iBooks, after the death of its founder, Byron Priess; also notable how Ed Hoch and Jon Breen brought their nonfictional contributions to the Gorman/Greenberg projects after their series were finished...Breen's beforehand, as well.)

Or have I missed some? And does this indicate an slighting attittude toward short crime fiction on publishers' parts, going back decades?

Friday, June 12, 2009

Friday's Forgotten Books: BEYOND, edited by Thomas Dardis (Berkley, 1963)

The Contento Index:
Beyond ed. Anon.[by Thomas A. Dardis] (Berkley Medallion F712, Jan ’63, 50¢, 160pp, pb)

7 · The Watchful Poker Chip of H. Matisse · Ray Bradbury · ss Beyond Fantasy Fiction Mar ’54
15 · The Ghost Maker · Frederik Pohl · ss Beyond Fantasy Fiction Jan ’54
27 · Can Such Beauty Be? · Jerome Bixby · ss Beyond Fantasy Fiction Sep ’53
40 · The Real People · Algis Budrys · na Beyond Fantasy Fiction Nov ’53
94 · The Beautiful Brew · James E. Gunn · nv Beyond Fantasy Fiction Sep ’54
117 · I’d Give a Dollar · Winston K. Marks · ss Beyond Fantasy Fiction May ’54
130 · The Root and the Ring · Wyman Guin · nv Beyond Fantasy Fiction Sep ’54
150 · Double Whammy · Fredric Brown · gp Beyond Fantasy Fiction Sep ’54; Naturally, vi; Voodoo, vi
153 · Talent · Theodore Sturgeon · ss Beyond Fantasy Fiction Sep ’53

So, this is about as forgotten a book in fantasy-fiction publishing as has ever been released by a major publisher in the field, featuring good (but largely unreprinted) stories by major writers (and a few solid minor writers) in the field, from a magazine that suffered several strikes against it (but largely not artistically, it having published much rather more popular work). Edited by Thomas Dardis, who is credited nowhere on the package (and might well never have edited another book--he was the editor in chief at Berkley Books at the time), the book is misattributed in some places to the magazine Beyond's editor H. L. Gold, a brilliant fantasist in his own right and the clangorous editor of Galaxy, the most influential sf magazine of the 1950s, the stablemate of Beyond. The fantasy magazine, which was issued beginning in 1953, and was retitled from Beyond Fantasy Fiction to Beyond Fiction in 1955 without notable change in content, was hobbled by the financial reverses the Galaxy Publishing Company had suffered--in its very creation, GP Co. had less resources than the international combine, World Editions/Edizioni Mundiale, that had launched Galaxy among several less successful US ventures, and sold the sf magazine to its printer and shut down their US operations. Also, the success of Galaxy had inspired a number of other magazine publishers to try their luck with sf magazines, and sf and fantasy saw more titles flooding the newsstands, at a time when magazine distribution was already becoming a chancier proposition, than ever before or since. Most of these new fiction titles were decentish, but leaning toward the indifferent; some were terrible...which meant any new one, even the sibling of Galaxy, had little chance to distinguish itself, and by the end of the decade most of the magazines had folded. Despite an average quality as good as any of the best fiction magazines in the decade, Beyond folded in 1955, leaving a legacy of largely brilliant longer fiction, often rather notional shorter fiction, and an unusually large percentage of stories with a sort of simmering sexuality that dared not express itself directly, particularly in the early issues.

So, eight years later, this anthology, plastered with the claim that Beyond was a great sf magazine, which it was not (like its great model, Unknown Fantasy Fiction, it publshed a fair amount of borderly science fantasy, but not as a majority of its content), and with a decent but unspectacular Richard Powers cover and a clumsy grouping of contributors' names.

And its a good, reasoably reprsentative slice of the magazine, leading off with a rather precious Bradbury and wrapping up with a good if unspectacular Sturgeon (not only Bradbury's first great model but also probably the most important contributor to the magazine, much as he was probably the greatest setter of the tone and feel for Unknown in the previous decade, and featuring some of the relatively rare fantasies of Frederik Pohl and Algis Budrys, both much better knwon for their sf, and both vitally important to Galaxy in various ways (even if Budrys was publishing more in nearly every other major sf magazine of the 1950s); the other Gold-magazine stalwarts James Gunn and Wyman Guin (Guin would publish little with any other editor), and such old fantasy hands as Jerome Bixby and Fredric Brown (with two fun if slight vignettes, one of his several specialties).

A good if unextraordinary book, and still, I think, the only anthology drawn exclusively fromBeyond's inventory, which is criminal in and of itself. But, then, Fantastic's nearly thirty years of publishing is represented by two only slightly less obscure volumes, and they only slightly better representative of its best work.

Please see Patti Abbott's blog for more of today's and previous weeks' "forgotten" books.

Friday's Forgotten Books: Anthologies from AMAZING

Friday's Forgotten Books: Anthologies from AMAZING 

At left, perhaps the ugliest cover of any anthology drawn from Amazing's fiction contents, although none of the anthologies has been particularly famous for its cover.

Extracted from the Locus and Contento/Stephensen-Payneindices:

The Best of Amazing ed. Joseph Ross (Doubleday, 1967, hc)
· Foreword · Joseph Ross · fw
· The Lost Machine · John Beynon Harris · ss Amazing Apr ’32
· The Worm · David H. Keller, M.D. · ss Amazing Mar ’29
· The Runaway Skyscraper · Murray Leinster · nv Argosy and Railroad Man’s Magazine Feb 22 ’19
· Marooned Off Vesta [Brandon, Shea & Moore] · Isaac Asimov · ss Amazing Mar ’39
· Anniversary [Brandon, Shea & Moore] · Isaac Asimov · ss Amazing Mar ’59
· The Metal Man · Jack Williamson · ss Amazing Dec ’28
· Pilgrimage [revised from “The Priestess Who Rebelled”, Amazing Oct ’39; Meg] · Nelson S. Bond · nv The 31st of February, Gnome, 1949
· Sunfire! · Edmond Hamilton · ss Amazing Sep ’62
· Try to Remember! · Frank Herbert · nv Amazing Oct ’61

The Best from Amazing ed. Ted White (Manor, 1973, pb)
· No Charge for Alterations · Horace L. Gold · nv Amazing Apr/May ’53
· The Augmented Agent [“I-C-a-BeM”] · Jack Vance · nv Amazing Oct ’61
· The Misfit · Roger Zelazny · nv Amazing Oct ’63
· The Dowry of the Angyar [“The Dowry of Angyar”] · Ursula K. Le Guin · ss Amazing Sep ’64
· Placement Test · Keith Laumer · nv Amazing Jul ’64
· The Horn of Time the Hunter [“Homo Aquaticus”] · Poul Anderson · ss Amazing Sep ’63
· Phoenix · Ted White & Marion Zimmer Bradley · ss Amazing Feb ’63
· Rogue Psi · James H. Schmitz · nv Amazing Aug ’62

Amazing Stories: 60 Years of the Best Science Fiction ed. Isaac Asimov & Martin H. Greenberg (TSR 0-88038-216-3, Jul ’85 [Aug ’85], $7.95, 255pp, pb); Anthology of 20 stories which originally appeared in Amazing, with a section of color illustrations showing magazine covers.
5 · Amazing Stories and I · Isaac Asimov · in
9 · The Revolt of the Pedestrians · David H. Keller, M.D. · nv Amazing Feb ’28
29 · The Gostak and the Doshes · Miles J. Breuer, M.D. · ss Amazing Mar ’30
43 · Pilgrimage [“The Priestess Who Rebelled”; Meg] · Nelson Bond · nv Amazing Oct ’39
57 · I, Robot [Adam Link] · Eando Binder · ss Amazing Jan ’39
67 · The Strange Flight of Richard Clayton · Robert Bloch · ss Amazing Mar ’39
75 · The Perfect Woman · Robert Sheckley · vi Amazing Dec ’53/Jan ’54
79 · Memento Homo [“Death of a Spaceman”] · Walter M. Miller, Jr. · ss Amazing Mar ’54
93 · What Is This Thing Called Love? [“Playboy and the Slime God”] · Isaac Asimov · ss Amazing Mar ’61
103 · Requiem · Edmond Hamilton · ss Amazing Apr ’62
115 · Hang Head, Vandal! · Mark Clifton · ss Amazing Apr ’62
125 · Drunkboat · Cordwainer Smith · nv Amazing Oct ’63
ins. · 60 Years of Amazing Stories’ Covers · Misc. Material · il
147 · The Days of Perky Pat · Philip K. Dick · nv Amazing Dec ’63; expanded to The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldrich, Garden City, NY: Doubleday, 1964
165 · Semley’s Necklace [“The Dowry of Angyar”] · Ursula K. Le Guin · ss Amazing Sep ’64
179 · Calling Dr. Clockwork · Ron Goulart · ss Amazing Mar ’65
187 · There’s No Vinism Like Chauvinism · John W. Jakes · nv Amazing Apr ’65
215 · The Oögenesis of Bird City · Philip José Farmer · ss Amazing Sep ’70
225 · The Man Who Walked Home · James Tiptree, Jr. · ss Amazing May ’72
237 · Manikins · John Varley · ss Amazing Jan ’76
247 · In the Islands · Pat Murphy · ss Amazing Mar ’83

Amazing Stories: Vision of Other Worlds ed. Martin H. Greenberg (TSR 0-88038-302-X, Sep ’86 [Nov ’86], $7.95, 253pp, pb); Anthology of 15 stories. Includes a center insert (unpaginated) of color reproductions of 16 “Amazing” covers from 1930-1985.
7 · Introduction · Robert Silverberg · in
11 · Strange Wine · Harlan Ellison · ss Amazing Jun ’76
18 · The Cosmic Frame · Paul W. Fairman · ss Amazing May ’55
29 · Or Else · Henry Kuttner & C. L. Moore · ss Amazing Aug/Sep ’53
38 · Sail 25 [“Gateway to Strangeness”] · Jack Vance · nv Amazing Aug ’62
62 · Third Stage · Poul Anderson · ss Amazing Feb ’62
79 · The Stars, My Brothers · Edmond Hamilton · nv Amazing May ’62
116 · The Bald-Headed Mirage · Robert Bloch · ss Amazing Jun ’60
ins. · Artists’ Visions of Other Worlds · Various Hands · il
129 · The Forest of Zil · Kris Neville · ss Amazing Dec ’67
134 · Before Eden · Arthur C. Clarke · ss Amazing Jun ’61
145 · Quinquepedalian · Piers Anthony · ss Amazing Nov ’63
160 · A Dusk of Idols · James Blish · nv Amazing Mar ’61
182 · The Crime and the Glory of Commander Suzdal · Cordwainer Smith · ss Amazing May ’64
197 · We Know Who We Are · Robert Silverberg · ss Amazing Jul ’70
207 · No Charge for Alterations · Horace L. Gold · nv Amazing Apr/May ’53
228 · Titan Falling [Bradley Reynolds] · Gregory Benford · nv Amazing Aug ’80

Amazing Science Fiction Anthology: The Wonder Years 1926-1935 ed. Martin H. Greenberg (TSR 0-88038-439-5, Mar ’87 [Feb ’87], $3.95, 316pp, pb); Anthology of stories from the first decade of Amazing, with an introduction by Jack Williamson. UK price £2.50.
7 · Introduction · Jack Williamson · in
11 · The Metal Man · Jack Williamson · ss Amazing Dec ’28
27 · The Jameson Satellite [Professor Jameson] · Neil R. Jones · nv Amazing Jul ’31
57 · The Man Who Saw the Future · Edmond Hamilton · ss Amazing Oct ’30
77 · The Machine Man of Ardathia [Ardathia] · Francis Flagg · ss Amazing Nov ’27
97 · The Tissue-Culture King · Julian Huxley · ss The Yale Review Apr ’26; Amazing Aug ’27
127 · The Voice from the Ether · Lloyd Arthur Eshbach · nv Amazing May ’31
165 · The Coming of the Ice · G. Peyton Wertenbaker · ss Amazing Jun ’26
185 · The Miracle of the Lily · Clare Winger Harris · nv Amazing Apr ’28
209 · The Man with the Strange Head · Miles J. Breuer, M.D. · ss Amazing Jan ’27
223 · Omega · Amelia Reynolds Long · ss Amazing Jul ’32
241 · The Plutonian Drug · Clark Ashton Smith · ss Amazing Sep ’34
257 · The Last Evolution · John W. Campbell, Jr. · ss Amazing Aug ’32
281 · The Colour Out of Space · H. P. Lovecraft · nv Amazing Sep ’27
318 · The Authors · Misc. Material · bg

Amazing Science Fiction Anthology: The War Years 1936-1945 ed. Martin H. Greenberg (TSR 0-88038-440-9, May ’87, $3.95, 331pp, pb); Anthology of 10 sf stories, with an introduction by Isaac Asimov. Available in the UK for £2.50.
7 · Introduction · Isaac Asimov · in
11 · Robot AL-76 Goes Astray · Isaac Asimov · ss Amazing Feb ’42
29 · Devolution · Edmond Hamilton · ss Amazing Dec ’36
49 · The Four-Sided Triangle · William F. Temple · nv Amazing Nov ’39
79 · The Voyage That Lasted 600 Years · Don Wilcox · nv Amazing Oct ’40
119 · Adam Link’s Vengeance [Adam Link] · Eando Binder · nv Amazing Feb ’40
157 · The Living Mist · Ralph Milne Farley · nv Amazing Aug ’40
197 · Phoney Meteor [as by John Beynon] · John Wyndham · nv Amazing Mar ’41
229 · The Council of Drones · W. K. Sonnemann · nv Amazing Oct ’36
279 · Shifting Seas · Stanley G. Weinbaum · nv Amazing Apr ’37
311 · I, Rocket · Ray Bradbury · ss Amazing May ’44
333 · The Authors · Misc. Material · bg

Amazing Science Fiction Anthology: The Wild Years 1946-1955 ed. Martin H. Greenberg (TSR 0-88038-441-7, Aug ’87, $3.95, 318pp, pb); Anthology of 12 stories from Amazing.
6 · Introduction · Robert Bloch · in
11 · You Could Be Wrong · Robert Bloch · ss Amazing Mar ’55
29 · Breakfast at Twilight · Philip K. Dick · ss Amazing Jul ’54
51 · Operation RSVP · H. Beam Piper · ss Amazing Jan ’51
63 · Satisfaction Guaranteed [Susan Calvin (Robot)] · Isaac Asimov · ss Amazing Apr ’51
83 · Restricted Area · Robert Sheckley · ss Amazing Jun/Jul ’53
105 · Peacebringer [“Sword of Peace”] · Ward Moore · nv Amazing Mar ’50
139 · The Little Creeps · Walter M. Miller, Jr. · nv Amazing Dec ’51
191 · The Draw · Jerome Bixby · ss Amazing Mar ’54
215 · A Way of Thinking · Theodore Sturgeon · nv Amazing Oct/Nov ’53
251 · Skirmish [“Bathe Your Bearings in Blood!”] · Clifford D. Simak · ss Amazing Dec ’50
275 · They Fly So High · Ross Rocklynne · ss Amazing Jun ’52
293 · Chrysalis · Ray Bradbury · nv Amazing Jul ’46
319 · The Authors · Misc. Material · bg

If Weird Tales has never been definitively, representatively anthologized (see my earlier post on this subject), then Amazing, the first sf magazine to be a no-bones-about-it science fiction magazine (as opposed to fantasy magazine with sfnal content, or a dime novel/dime novelesque production) has been ridiculously poorly represented, even as several of the anthologies above are pleasant reading. I picked up a copy of the first Martin Greenberg anthology from Amazing the other day, the one edited in collaboration with Isaac Asimov, and while it's a reasonably decent selection of stories from most of the editorial eras of the magazine, it definitely slights some even more than they deserve (to be sure, Amazing has had long fallow periods, most notably during the T. O'Connor Sloane, Ray Palmer, and Paul Fairman editorial reigns...even though the last was notable for much early, and rarely outstanding but reliably competent, work by a stable of Milton Lesser (who wrote more, slightly later, as Stephen Marlowe), Randall Garrett, Robert Silverberg, and Harlan Ellison--Fairman, who was primarily interested in crime fiction (much like his slightly more engaged predecessor and mentor, Howard Browne), famously would buy stories from this quartet without bothering to read them, and run them in Amazing and its slightly more fantasy-oriented companion Fantastic (and Fantastic's shortlived spinoff, Dream World)...his successor, Cele Goldsmith, working as his secretary and first reader, was apparently responsible for most of the better work to appear in the magazine in those years, as she pulled (perhaps most notably) Kate Wilhelm's first published story from the slush pile. Goldsmith, who married to become Cele Lalli, is perhaps the best-represented editor in the anthologies above, as her run from 1959-1965 was possibly the best period for the magazine, despite being barely supported by its publisher Ziff-Davis (her editorial budget apparently was restricted to paying a penny a word to most writers, less than even the other poorly-paying fiction magazines extant at the time, among which only Astounding, becoming Analog, was also published by a financially secure publisher). But being a ZD magazine meant that Amazing and Fantastic were out in the market and reliably issued monthly during her term, which mixed relatively traditionalist adventure fiction with innovative approaches from folks ranging from J. G. Ballard to Cordwainer Smith to David Bunch to such Goldsmith "discoveries" as Ursula K. Le Guin, Roger Zelazny, Thomas Disch, Sonya Dorman, and Keith Laumer (often but not always rather a traditionalist)...and with some rather goofy materials that might've slipped in largely out of having Nothing Better at hand (fellow magazine editor Bruce Elliott placed a long story about a face drawn on the Moon which causes much shame among humanity, who feel themselves Observed).

Howard Browne had been editor during a brief attempt by ZD to budget its fiction magazines up to the standards of their other magazines, which had paid off rather well for the third issue of Fantastic, Fall 1953, featuring a story attributed to Mickey Spillane at the height of his popularity (it had been ghosted, out of desperation, by Browne when Spillane had described his actual contribution in detail, and apparently Not a Good One though this was less important, in advance in a profile in Life magazine, also at or near the height of its popularity, the profile published as the Fantastic issue was being put to bed (this issue of Fantastic might still be the best-selling single issue of any fantasy or sf magazine so far, estimated at about 300,000 copies sold). Amazing's somewhat less successful ploy for reaching a mass audience was a story attributed to gossip-mongers Jack Lait and Lee Mortimer, well-known at the time for such paperbacks as New York Confidential, entitled "Mars Confidential"--clearly a joke, but not a successful one. Browne (editor from the late '40s to the early mid '50s, when he formally tossed it to Fairman), had succeeded Amazing's most controversial editor, Ray Palmer, who mixed decent (and less decent) adventure fiction with nut-cult material, had hoped to make a big break from those years--most of the stories from Palmer's years reprinted in the books detailed above are by Robert Bloch, the most talented at sf of Palmer's stable, which also included such natural crime-fiction talents as William McGivern. (Palmer was perhaps the single most energetic proponent in magazine publishing of the notion that "flying saucers" were the spacecraft of alien visitors, and ran a number of pieces in his magazines from a somewhat delusional Richard Shaver, who believed humanity was imperfectly controlled by Lemurians who lived within the hollow Earth...Palmer, after leaving ZD, founded several magazines including the durable "mysticism" and fringe-topic digest Fate). Asimov sold his first story to Palmer, as well, and it unsurprisingly was collected in the above.

Amazing: 60 Years... not only sports a hideous cover, but also is set in the format that game publisher TSR put the magazine in during its early years of publication (giving the interior of the magazine, and the book, a rather drab look when illustrations are not present...the book includes a rather odd selection of issue covers, not all but most from the issues the stories come from). TSR probably kept the magazine (barely) alive, and even rather lavishly produced in its later years at the company, in large part due to Steven Spielberg's purchase of "media" rights and renting the title for his rather unimpressive anthology series, with ran on NBC television in the US in the mid 1980s (the magazine's covers trumpeted the connection for the two seasons Spielberg had been guaranteed by NBC). George Scithers, late of Isaac Asimov's Science Fiction Magazine and soon to move on to revive Weird Tales with his partners, produced a magazine not too different fromIASFM, albeit with a bit more fantasy content (Fantastic had been absorbed by its older partner shortly before TSR's purchase) and better nonfiction-historical content about the sf field, and blessedly less of Barry Longyear's dire imitation-Jack Vance "Momus" stories which had plagued the latter years of the Scithers Asimov's. The Greenberg/Asimov book doesn't completely slight fiction from Ted White's editorship, during the decade of issues dated from 1969 to 1979, when the magazine's budget was ridiculously small (its publisher, Sol Cohen, treated it as a retirement job, not unlike the 1970s run of that other old pulp hand Leo Margulies as publisher of Mike Shayne Mystery Magazine and its shortlived companions). White nonetheless was able to publish an interesting mix of the traditionalist and avant-garde work, with somewhat firmer grounding in the field than Goldsmith/Lalli had had, and much as his immediate predecessors, Harry Harrison and Barry Malzberg, had also done while trying to move the magazine away from being largely devoted to reprints (but both Harrison and Malzberg chose to stay with the underbudgeted magazines for only a matter of months--White, living in an inherited house and capable of handling art direction and layout as well as editorial tasks, was able to make a longer go of barely being paid for his efforts).

Ah, well...this has turned into quite the late ramble. You could do worse than any of these books, except not Too much worse than Ross's, which is indicative of his rather poor judgment of what had aged well (he'd been the first editor hired for essetially no salary by Cohen when Cohen bought the magazines from ZD on the relative cheap, and while he published some notable new work, such as Avram Davidson's novel The Phoenix and the Mirror, much of that had apparently been in Cele Lalli's inventory when the magazines were sold, and she went on to her career as editor of ZD bridal magazines). Of the last three Greenberg anthos, published before TSR lost interest altogether, the one drawn largely from the Palmer and Browne years is somewhat surprisingly the most engaging, albeit the others are decent cross-sections of their decades. Given a little more support (and continuation), the Greenberg series might've been a decent roundup of the magazine, which throughout its existence managed to publish some remarkably good work under all sorts of remarkably bad circumtances...even as it was often overshadowed by its companions, the Palmer-founded Fantastic Adventures, which was somewhat better-produced at first and notable for late Edgar Rice Burroughs fiction, then as the home of sporadic evidence of Browne's good taste in fantasy fiction: around the turn of the 1950s, it ran such notable work as Fritz Leiber's You're All Alone, Theodore Sturgeon's The Dreaming Jewels, and Robert Bloch's "The Dead Don't Die!" (despite the classically-pulpy title, exclamation point and all, a rather deft and slightly metafictional novella with a genuine sense of unease to go with Bloch's trademark gallows humor), and Fantastic, which for much of its run benefited from being one of the few reliable markets for fantasy fiction in the Anglophone world, and so often averaged of higher quality than its stablemate...particularly during Browne, Goldsmith/Lalli, and White's editorships.

The most recent version of Amazing was shut down, the publisher, TSR heir Wizards of the Coast, claimed, because it was Too Successful, and thus somehow drew too much from the core business of the publisher. That's about Amazing's luck. Nonetheless, as it noted on a lot of its covers over the years..."First in Science 
Fiction: Since 1926."

Friday, May 3, 2013

FFB: Some anthologies from WEIRD TALES, a quick survey:

What's good about it: It's a typically entertaining (for editor Peter Haining) slice through the history of the original magazine, and features facsimile pages reprints, and an attempt to give the flavor of what reading the magazine itself was like.

What's less good: A weakness or a strength or both, depending on how one looks at it (and also typical of Haining anthologies): it avoids the chestnuts for less-often reprinted work from the magazine, and thus is less representative than it could and perhaps should be.

(all indices, except where noted, from ISFDB:)

5 •  Weird Tales (masthead) • (1941) • interior artwork by Hannes Bok
7 • Introduction (Weird Tales) • (1976) • essay by Peter Haining
20 •  Weird Tales • (1936) • interior artwork by Margaret Brundage (variant of Cover: Weird Tales, March 1936)

What's good about it: Another fine anthology mining mostly  (but by no means entirely) under-reprinted and overlooked work from the magazine. Not quite facsimile reprinting, but the original illustrations are often included. The average quality of the fiction here perhaps just a skosh better than in the Haining.

What's less good: The same problem applies...not as representative of the magazine as it could be, by avoiding the popular classics as much as possible. Though that is definitely less of a problem here.

What's good about it (and less so): Bang for your buck, certainly, even though if by its nature emphasizes the shorter stories from the magazine. As a result, of course, it slights a Lot of the best work from the magazine, but is part of a series of short short story and vignette anthologies from its editors and publisher, and is (if I remember correctly) the only one where all the contents were taken from one magazine (including some reprints that magazine offered in its issues). Rather bad cover.

  • What's good about it: The earliest of the WT retrospectives to make an effort to include examples from the various revivals of the title, post-1954; a nice, fat collection of (as with most) a preponderance of less-well-known work.
What's less good: Avoiding the classics does tend to misrepresent the magazine, or in this case magazines (and a periodical book series). 
What's good about it: One of the co-founders of the 1990s revival checks in with another anthology which covers the range of the magazine's revivals...

What's less so: ...but does so mostly by slighting the earlier versions of the magazine in favor of the 1990s revival. Again, an attempt to collect less familiar work, or in this case sweeten the pot of a best-of the most recent revival (a little less than half the book is from the most recent version), leaves a rather incomplete picture of the magazine and its legacy.

The Contento Index of this anthology:

The Unexpected edited by Sam Moskowitz, ghosting for Leo Margulies (Pyramid G590, Feb ’61, 35¢, 160pp, pb) 
6 · Introduction · Leo Margulies · in 
7 · The Professor’s Teddy-Bear · Theodore Sturgeon · ss Weird Tales Mar ’48 
17 · Legal Rites [Pohl as James MacCreigh] · Isaac Asimov & Frederik Pohl · nv Weird Tales Sep ’50 
42 · The Strange Island of Dr. Nork · Robert Bloch · ss Weird Tales Mar ’49 
60 · Mrs. Hawk · Margaret St. Clair · ss Weird Tales Jul ’50 
67 · The Handler · Ray Bradbury · ss Weird Tales Jan ’47 
76 · The Automatic Pistol · Fritz Leiber · ss Weird Tales May ’40 
91 · The Unwanted · Mary Elizabeth Counselman · ss Weird Tales Jan ’51 
102 · The Valley Was Still · Manly Wade Wellman · ss Weird Tales Aug ’39 
115 · The Scrawny One · Anthony Boucher · vi Weird Tales May ’49 
119 · Come and Go Mad · Fredric Brown · nv Weird Tales Jul ’49 
154 · The Big Shot · Eric Frank Russell · ss Weird Tales Jan ’49 

Of all the anthologies drawn from the fiction published in Weird Tales, this might be the only one (certainly the only one I've seen) which draws entirely from the Dorothy McIlwraith years of the magazine, 1940-1954. Given how often Farnsworth Wright, her predecessor (editor from 1924, after the magazine's weathervaning first year, to 1939), is often credited for all the Important and Creative work WT published, this was a pretty extraordinary idea for 1960 (published in early '61)...albeit most of the writers collected here were at least as potent commercial forces at mid-century as Lovecraft, Howard, or, certainly, Clark Ashton Smith or Seabury Quinn. (As well as being generally better artists, but that's my opinion, if one shared by any number of other not merely contrarian observers.)

This is a nice mix of classics (the Wellman, the Brown, to some extent the Sturgeon--a collection of Sturgeon's horror and suspense fiction is overdue, perhaps particularly as the Complete Stories project comes to a close--and the Leiber) and relatively obscure stories (most of the rest...nearly all of whose authors had written better-known fiction for WT, aside from Pohl and Asimov, whose minor but not-bad story was their only WT appearance--and only formal collaboration, I think, till their nonfiction book Our Angry Earth shortly before Asimov's death). That odd quality makes me wonder if Sam Moskowitz ghost-edited this one [apparently, he did], as he did the other WT anthos attributed to Margulies and published by Pyramid at about the same time...Weird Tales and Worlds of Weird (the latter cited some months back by James Reasoner as his forgotten book). Then again, D.R. Bensen, who edited for that excellent paperback house Pyramid, and who was solely responsible for two fine anthologies from Unknown, might've done more than shepherd this one through the process (Pyramid did an impressive set of Harlan Ellison reissues in the mid 1970s, among much else, before being eaten up and spat out by Harcourt Brace Jovanovich in the latest '70s as the Jove Books line...the elegant packaging of most 1970s Pyramid Books, at least the ones I remember, abandoned for some real insults to the eye). (Late bulletin: I'll have to admit the 1972 Pyramid edition of Robert Heinlein's The Unpleasant Profession of Jonathan Hoag, retitled for that issue 6xH, as in "Six by Heinlein," has a quite unappealing attempt at psychedelic cover illustration, as well as an awkward new title...I happened to pull this one out of a box this morning while looking for something else.)

Margulies, of course, had purchased the WT inventory and rights from Short Stories, Inc., after the latter's 1954 collapse (Margulies continued publication of Short Stories magazine till the end of the 1950s), and briefly published a Weird Tales magazine revival in 1973-74, with Moskowitz as editor (Margulies had more sustained success with Mike Shayne Mystery Magazine, which he published from 1956 up till his death in the latter 1970s (it lasted for several more years in other hands), and his other projects in the post-pulp era included Satellite Science Fiction in the latter '50s, The Man from U*N*C*L*E Magazine [and The Girl...] during the TV series' runs, a revival of Zane Grey Western Magazine around the turn of the 1970s, and Charlie Chan Mystery Magazine in the early '70s). 

Mary Elizabeth Counselman and particularly Margaret St. Clair have been entirely too overlooked in recent years, as have, to a lesser extent, Eric Frank Russell and Anthony Boucher, though at least as a critic and fan of crime fiction, Boucher is in print and memorialized by the annual world convention. Of the four, Counselman didn't publish much fiction outside of WT...while St. Clair was able to get almost naked horror into Galaxy magazine at its early '50s first peak. John Campbell used the excuse of a Russell novella to found his fantasy magazine, Unknown, which had a fruitful interplay with McIlwraith's WT. And, of course, Bloch and Bradbury were the hottest stars of McIlwraith's WT, here represented by insufficiently representative stories, but they'll do.

See if you can find a copy, perhaps without the shillings and pence shouldn't be be too hard.

Find more Friday Forgotten Books at Patti Abbott's blog

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Friday's "Forgotten" Books: PRIZE STORIES OF 1949: THE O. HENRY AWARDS edited by Herschel Brickell (Doubleday 1949)

From the introduction:

Miss [Eudora] Welty: "I think [Shirley Jackson's] 'The Lottery' probably charges too much for the show inside, whatever it is; it gave me the feeling that I was listening to smart talk from a platform out front (I guess this makes me a wary hick)."

Among the trio comprising the Prize panel, Welty and Ray B. West, Jr. didn't think nearly as much of the Jackson, easily the best known story in this volume today, as did New York Herald Tribune book reviewer John Hutchens, who "thought it the best story in the book." Hence, "The Lottery" lost out in the "prize" competition, to William Faulkner's "A Courtship," Mark Van Doren's "The Watchman," and the now obscure Ward Dorrance's "The White Hound." Brickell himself is of two minds about the story, but one doesn't doubt him when he suggests earlier in the introduction that he considers this one of the best, if not the best, of the nine volumes of the series he'd edited to this time.

ix Introduction Herschell Brickell
1 A Courtship William Faulkner (Seewanee Review, 1948)
17 The Watchman Mark Van Doren (Yale Review 1949)
30 The White Hound Ward Dorrance (Hudson Review 1948)

--more to come as the day progresses, including an amusing quotation from J.D. Salinger, whose "Just Before the War with the Eskimos" is also included...

For more complete FFB entries, pleas see Patti Abbott's blog today, and check back here later for more and better if so inclined. Thanks!

Meanwhile, for purposes of contrast, here's Martha Foley's Best American Short Storiesselection from 1948 publications, from the Contento Index and assembled by Dennis Lien:

The Best American Short Stories
 1949 ed. Martha Foley (Houghton Mifflin, 1949, hc); [DKL]
1 · Mighty, Mighty Pretty · George Albee · ss Story Sum ’48
19 · The Vacation · Livingston Biddle, Jr. · ss Cosmopolitan Jun ’48
39 · The Farmer’s Children · Elizabeth Bishop · ss Harper’s Bazaar Feb ’48
48 · Under the Sky · Paul Bowles · ss The Partisan Review Mar ’48
55 · My Father and the Circus · Frank Brookhouser · ss The University of Kansas City Review Aut ’48
60 · Exodus · Borden Deal · ss Tomorrow May ’48
72 · Small Miracle · Adele Dolokhov · ss Today’s Woman Nov ’48
81 · The White Hound · Ward Dorrance · ss The Hudson Review Sum ’48
94 · Li Chang’s Million · Henry Gregor Felsen · ss Woman’s Day Nov ’48
100 · Departure of Hubbard · Robert Gibbons · ss Tomorrow May ’48
106 · In the Flow of Time · Beatrice Griffith · ss Common Ground Aut ’48
117 · Evenings at Home · Elizabeth Hardwick · ss The Partisan Review Apr ’48
127 · Castle of Snow · Joseph Heller · ss Atlantic Monthly Mar ’48
135 · A Sound in the Night · Ruth Herschberger · ss Harper’s Bazaar Apr ’48
149 · Jerry · Laura Hunter · ss Mademoiselle Aug ’48
157 · Of the River and Uncle Pidcock · Jim Kjelgaard · ss Adventure Nov ’48
166 · Footnote to American History · Roderick Lull · ss The Virginia Quarterly Review Spr ’48
179 · The Vault · T. D. Mabry · ss The Kenyon Review Win ’48
193 · Vacia · Agnes Macdonald · ss Accent Aut ’48
205 · The Men · Jane Mayhall · ss Perspective Sum ’48
212 · The Heifer · Patrick Morgan · ss Atlantic Monthly Jul ’48
219 · All Prisoners Here · Irving Pfeffer · ss Harper’s May ’48
238 · Episode of a House Remembered · John Rogers · ss Wake Spr ’48
248 · A Girl I Knew · J. D. Salinger · ss Good Housekeeping Feb ’48
261 · Justice Has No Number [Bastia] · Alfredo Segre · nv EQMM Apr ’48
285 · An Island for My Friends · Madelon Shapiro · ss Bard Review May ’48
295 · Children Are Bored on Sunday · Jean Stafford · ss New Yorker Feb 21 ’48
305 · Road to the Isles · Jessamyn West · ss New Yorker Feb 21 ’48

--You'll note the similarity of content in many instances: the Dorrance, a different Salinger, a different Stafford (but both writers represented twice)...

Also notable, the greater eclecticism of the Foley sources (for which she was criticized by some reviewers/carpers...note the major pulp magazine Adventure is represented, as is the literate digest Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine, and a mix of slick (largely women's when not gender-neutral "intellectual") and little magazines. Bordon Deal went on to write some memorable crime fiction, though his Tomorrow story probably wasn't one.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Friday's "Forgotten" Book: BOTTEGHE OSCURE READER, edited by George Garrett and Katherine Garrison Biddle (Wesleyan University Press, 1974)

Mason index to this anthology, which features representative selections arranged in chronological order, within a rough approximation of the magazine's format, down to separating the contents by the language they were written in:

Botteghe Oscure was a semiannual little magazine published and mostly edited by Marguerite Caetani from 1948-1960 from the street Botteghe Oscure ("dark shops" or "dark bodegas") in Rome. It was very well-funded by her, and while it favored poetry also ran some interesting prose, not least in other languages, as each issue by design featured new writing in English, French, and Italian in discrete segments, followed in alternating issues by either Spanish or German sections, and a scattering of translations from ancient languages and others. Apparently most though not all the materials had English translations, but sadly for me this volume doesn't feature translations of the foreign-language texts (with the exceptions of the Char poetry, where the translations were the new component in that issue), so the French and German are mostly only a little better than Greek to me, since I can guess at the cognates in a Roman alphabet (I can stagger through the Spanish and take stabs at the Italian). It published 25 issues, plus a number of supplements, and the most famous piece of work in English it introduced is almost certainly Dylan Thomas's "Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night." Included, of course.

Botteghe Oscure Reader, ed. George Garrett with the assistance of Katherine Garrison Biddle (Wesleyan University Press, 1974, 475 + xix pp, paperback)

• Xiii • Introduction • George Garrett • in
• --American Texts
• 3 • The Clover • Conrad Aiken • pm
• 7 • when faces called flowers… • ee cummings • pm
• 8 • At Rest in the Blast • Marianne Moore • pm
• 9 • The Birth of Venus • William Carlos Williams •pm
• 12 • Castel Sant'Angelo • Peter Viereck • pm
• 13 • To the Noble Dead, My Instructors • Peter Viereck • pm
• 14 • A Half Dozen Small Pieces • Wallace Stevens • pm:
• 14 • 1: What We See Is What We Think
• 15 • 2: A Golden Woman in a Silver Mirror
• 16 • 3: The Old Lutheran Bells at Home
• 16 • 4: Questions Are Remarks
• 17 • 5: Studies of Images I
• 18 • 6: Studies of Images 2
• 19 • Hymn to the Winter Solstice • Clinch Calkins (Marion Merrill) • pm
• 21 • King David • David Ignatow • pm
• 22 • Bathsheba • David Ignatow • pm
• 22 • Mystique • David Ignatow • pm
• 23 • In Your Dreams • David Ignatow • pm
• 24 • A Girl in a Library • Randall Jarrell • pm
• 27 • A Conversation with the Devil • Randall Jarrell • pm
• 33 • On Earth as It is • William Weaver • ss
• 44 • Light at Equinox • Leonie Adams • pm
• 46 • Thistledown • James Merrill • pm
• 47 • Olive Grove • James Merrill • pm
• 48 • The Descent of Orpheus • William Jay Smith • pm
• 50 • The Figure Over the Town • William Goyen • ex (HALF A LOOK AT CAIN, unpublished?)
• 66 • The Walk in the Garden • Conrad Aiken • pm
• 72 • "The Shimmer of Evil" • Theodore Roethke • pm
• 73 • Love's Progess • Theodore Roethke • pm
• 74 • Elegy• Theodore Roethke • pm
• 75 • Who Killed Cock Robin? • Sylvia Beckman • ss
• 86 • The Day-Bed • Richard Eberhart • pm
• 90 • When the Light Falls • Stanley Kunitz • pm
• 91 • Among the Gods • Stanley Kunitz • pm
• 92 • Ostia Antica • Anthony Hecht • pm
• 95 • Love Calls Us to the Things of This World • Richard Wilbur • pm
• 96 • For the New Railway Station in Rome • Richard Wilbur • pm
• 97 • Sonnet • Richard Wilbur • pm
• 98 • Piazza di Spagna • Richard Wilbur • pm
• 99 • The Flower • Carolyn Kizer • pm
• 101 • Columns and Karyatids • Carolyn Kizer • pm
• 104 • The Moors • Babette Deutsch • pm
• 105 • For the Iowa Dead • Paul Engle • pm
• 112 • In Memoriam • William Arrowsmith • pm
• 114 • With My Crowbar Key • William Stafford • pm
• 115 • From the Grave of Daniel Boone • William Stafford • pm
• 116 • How the Rive Ninfa Runs Through the Ruined Town Beneath the Lime Quarry • Archibald MacLiesh • pm
• 118 • The Chinese Deer • Katherine Garrison Chapin • pm
• 119 • Short Thoughts for Long Nights • Robert Penn Warren • pm
• 121 • Nursery Rhyme: Why Are Your Eyes as Big as Saucers? • Robert Penn Warren • pm
• 123 • Equinox on Mediterranean Beach • Robert Penn Warner • pm
• 125 • The Avenger • James Wright • pm
• 127 • At the Executed Murderer's Grave • James Wright • pm
• 128 • Hurry Up Please It's Time • David Madden • ss
• --British Texts
• 137 • Ischia • W. H. Auden • pm
• 140 • Pride • Walter de la Mare • pm
• 141 • An Angel • Walter de la Mare • pm
• 142 • Outside and In • C. Day Lewis • pm
• 144 • Self • Kathleen Raine • pm
• 145 • The Song of Dido • Edith Sitwell • pm
• 146 • Father and Child • Roy Fuller • pm
• 147 • To Alun Lewis • Roy Fuller • pm
• 148 • The Minor Victorian Novelists • Roy Fuller • pm
• 149 • Milk-Wart and Bog Cotton • Hugh MacDiarmid • pm
• 149 • In the Hedgeback • Hugh MacDiarmid • pm
• 150 • The Watergaw • Hugh MacDiarmid • pm
• 151 • The Crash Landing • Louis MacNeice • playlet
• 159 • Traveling Northwards Home • Stephen Spender • pm
• 160 • A Sparrow's Flight • Kathleen Raine • pm
• 166 • Poem (Wakening with the window…) • Charles Tomlinson • pm
• 167 • The Light and Dark • Charles Tomlinson • pm
• 168 • Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night • Dylan Thomas • pm
• 169 • The Devil is a Protestant • Robert Graves • ss
• 179 • Apocryphal • Thom Gunn • pm
• 180 • Excursion • Thom Gunn • pm
• 182 • A Day in the Dark • Elizabeth Bowen • ss
• 192 • Persephone • Ruth Pitter • pm
• 198 • Teresa of Avila • Elizabeth Jennings • pm
• 200 • Kamikazes (A Selection of Their Letters) • Paul West • pm
• 201 • Vinedresser • Paul West • pm
• 201 • Dumb Couple on a Train • Paul West • pm
• 203 • Cave Drawings • Paul West • pm
• 205 • A Famous Man • Patrick Creagh • pm
• 206 • Silences • Patrick Creagh • pm
• 209 • Epithalanium • Patrick Creagh • pm
• --French Texts
• 211 • Guide par l'image • Paul Valery • pm
• 211 • O mes estranges personages • Paul Valery • pm
• 213 • Un home de letters • Albert Camus • ex
• 225 • Bonne chance • Pierre Reverdy • pm
• 227 • L'eperon malicieux, le double-cheval • Antonin Artaud • prose
• 228 • Lettre a la Voyante • Antonin Artaud • letter
• 233 • Lettres • Antonin Artaud • letters
• 247 • Clarte • Andre du Bouchet • pm
• 247 • Avant • Andre du Bouchet • pm
• 248 • On respire •Andre du Bouchet • pm
• 248 • Maree • Andre du Bouchet • pm
• 249 • Equerre •Andre du Bouchet • pm
• 250 • sur "Le pays d'origine" • Andre Malraux • ex
• 259 • Avec ce matin • Yves de Bayser • pm
• 261 • Vacances • Henri Michaux • prose
• 272 • Huit Poemes • Yves Bonnefoy • pm:
• 272 • Le jardin
• 272 • L'abre
• 273 • Le sol
• 273 • Veneranda
• 274 • Le visage
• 274 • Les guetters
• 275 • Le pont de fer
• 275 • Le ravin
• 276 • Les nuits de Malmont • Andre Dhotel • prose
• 288 • Exercises • Wallace Fowlie • pm
• --German Texts
• 291 • Lieder von einer Insel • Ingeborg Bachmann • pm
• 294 • Nebelland • Ingeborg Bachmann • pm
• 296 • Abschied von Irland • Heinrich Boll • prose
• 302 • Der Kuckuck • Gunter Grass • playlet
• 314 • Besonder die kleinen Propheten • Uwe Johnson • prose
• --Italian Texts
• 317 • Storia d'amore • Giorgio Bassani • nt
• 354 • Ucelli • Umberto Salva • pm
• 360 • Poesie • Eugenio Montale • pm
• 363 • Poseie dell'Orologio • Carlo Levi • pm
• 369 • Valentino • Natalia Ginzburg • nt
• 409 • Tre componimenti in versi • Mario Soldati • pm
• --Spanish Texts
• 413 • Nueva Tenochtitlan • Carlos Fuentes • ex (La region mas transparente del aire, 1958; translated in English as Where the Air is Clear, 1958)
• 421 • Pentecostes • Jorge Guillen • pm
• 423 • El rio • Octavio Paz • pm
• 427 • Ciudad mental • Carlos Barral • pm
• --Translations
• 432 • Traduzione dell'"Ode sopra un'urna greca" di Keats (Translation of "Ode upon a Grecian Urn" by Keats) • John Keats • pm (trans. Augusto Frassineti)
• 435 • Poems • Rene Char • pm (trans. Denis Devlin and Jackson Matthews
• 454 • Poemes • Rene Char • pm (original texts in French)
• 470 • Il cimitero dei Quaccheri a Nantucket • Robert Lowell • pm (trans. Rolando Anzilotti; "The Quaker Graveyard in Nantucket")

Substitute for the original blog entry:
Well, having cleverly erased my several paragraphs about this fine anthology, taken from the major little magazine which flourished from 1948-1960 and was published semi-annually and generally edited by the passionate and well-heeled Marguerite Caetani, I will attempt to reconstruct my entry tomorrow, when I get a chance.

One thing I made a point of mentioning--along with an impressive array of the best writers in English, Spanish, Italian, French and German, among other languages, but those five regularly, this is the magazine that first gave the world Dylan Thomas's "Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night"--naturally, among the works included here. And Caetani paid her contributors a time when Harper's Bazaar might pay a poet $75 a poem, and such less-endowed magazines as The New Yorker or The Atlantic Monthly some fraction of that, she was known to offer $300 out of pocket to the likes of Marianne Moore or William Stafford or Walter de la Mare or ee cummings or Wallace Stevens or such prose contributors as Elizabeth Bowen and Robert Graves.

A sampler reflective of the way the magazine was put together rather than a Best-of, including the originals but no translations (unlike the magazine) of then new (often in-progress) works by Albert Camus, Gunter Grass, Octavio Paz, Carlo Levi, and other non-Anglophone contributors, as well...making this the only Forgotten book I'll cite where I can't read a fair amount of it at all, or only the cognates in the French and German...while I can stumble through the Spanish and make a stab at the Italian...

For more Forgotten books, see Patti Nase Abbott's blog, where she sparks and organizes this weekly adventure (three cheers!).


Sergio (Tipping My Fedora) said...

Wonderful stuff Todd - the things you offer when you are having an 'off' day put the rest of us to shame!

Todd Mason said...

Too kind, Sergio, thanks. I do tend to see everything I didn't get to with these...

Kelly Robinson said...

Amazing stuff, as always. Love those BEYOND covers. The artwork is very cool.

Todd Mason said...

Thanks! You're also too kind. The BEYOND issue covers are by Rene Vidmer (the Tanguy-esque portrait of a woman) and Richard Powers (the less Tanguy-esque vision), and Powers also did the paperback best-of cover (and was particularly prone to Tanguy-esque visions...though perhaps H.L. Gold was commissioning such, at least at first). You can see a gallery of BEYOND's covers at