Friday, February 26, 2016

Friday's "Forgotten" Books; the links to the reviews: 26 February 2016

Down There film tie-in edition
This week's links to the books reviewed, cited or otherwise dealt with below, in the weekly roundelay sponsored by Patricia Abbott, continental wanderer particularly in cold months. Patti will be hosting again next week.

Sergio Angelini: Vespers by "Ed McBain" (Evan Hunter)

Frank Babics: "Murder in the Dark" by Hugh Pentecost

Yvette Banek: 2015 in books and reviews

Joe Barone: The Unexpected Inheritance of Inspector Chopra by Vaseem Khan

Elgin Bleecker: Perfidia by James Ellroy

Fred Blosser: The Threateners by Donald Hamilton

Paul D. Brazill: Small Change by Andrez Bergen

Bill Crider: The Doctor's Son by John O'Hara; If: Worlds of Science Fiction: every issue online

Scott A. Cupp: Carter and Lovecraft by Jonathan L. Howard

Martin Edwards: The Ponson Case by Freeman Wills Crofts

Curt Evans: The Wailing Rock Murders by Clifford Orr

Fred Fitch: Levine by Donald Westlake

Ed Gorman: Down There by David Goodis

"John Grant": Album Leaf (aka The Spider in the Cup) by Marjorie Bowen (originally published as by "Joseph Shearing")

Rich Horton: Ares Express by Ian McDonald

Jerry House: Evening Tales for the Winter edited by Henry St. Clair

George Kelley: The Best of the Best, Volume 2: 20 Years of the Best Short Science Fiction Novels edited by Gardner Dozois (see also under Bill Pronzini, below)

Margot Kinberg: The Lying Down Room by Anna Jaquiery

Rob Kitchen: Dark Star by Alan Furst

B. V. Lawson: The Labours of Hercules by Agatha Christie

Steve Lewis: The Treasure at Loatani Point by Riall W. Nolan; Death on the Rocks by John B. West; My Life is Done by Sara Woods

Rod Lott: Jaws 2: The Making of a Sequel by Louis R. Pisano and Michael A. Smith

Todd Mason: Worlds of If: A Retrospective Anthology edited by Frederik Pohl, Martin Harry Greenberg and Joseph Olander; TQ 20 edited by Reginald Gibbons and Susan Hahn (see also Bill Crider, above)

Carol Matic: The Wheel on the School by Miendert DeJong

Jeff Meyerson: Even the Wicked and Murder in the Navy by "Richard Marsten" (Evan Hunter)

Neer: Ninety Three by Victor Hugo (translation unspecified)

John F. Norris: She Who Was No More by Pierre Boileau and Thomas Narcejac (translation by Geoffrey Sainsbury)

Mathew Paust: Faces of the Gone by Brad Parks

Bill Pronzini and George Kelley (and Jeffrey Marks): People vs. Withers & Malone by Stuart Palmer and "Craig Rice"

James Reasoner: Pursuit by Lewis B. Patten

Richard Robinson: The Mammoth Book of Sherlock Holmes Abroad edited by Simon Clark (etc.)

Gerard Saylor: The Order of the Forge by Victor Gischler and Tazio Betin

Steve Scott: The Good Old Stuff by John D. MacDonald (and the stories as first published)

Kerrie Smith: Missing by Melanie Casey

Kevin Tipple: Top Suspense: Favorite Kills by the members of the Top Suspense Group

"TomCat": The Witness on the Roof by Annie Hayes

Tracy K: Pashazade by John Courtenay Grimwood

Bonus citations: 
2009 saw two rather clangorous anniversaries: the 60th anniversary of the founding of The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, and the half-century anniversary of the first broadcast of The Twilight Zone, which among other effects had inspired a magazine that offered a lot of good fiction and more in its run from 1981-1989; it also had a companion magazine, Night Cry, for a few years. F&SF editor and publisher Gordon Van Gelder and TZ magazine co-publisher, and widow of Rod Serling, Carol Serling decided to put together impressive,  fat anthologies, his a retrospective on what his magazine had published, hers an anthology of new stories inspired by the series in some manner, that I've been meaning to review for some years, but haven't gotten around to reading...just dug them out from the stacks as I pack up my old apartment. But this won't stop me from making a few comments...perhaps it's also notable that both anthologies would have direct sequels, as they presumably did well enough and there was always room for more gems from the one magazine, and contributions to the issues of the other we weren't ever to see published (TZ the magazine was an OMNI-like gamble, on the part of Montcalm Publishing, most notable previously for the Penthouse competitor skin magazine Gallery, on publishing a magazine that touched on the fantasticated beyond solely sexual fantasy).
  • Publication: The Very Best of Fantasy & Science Fiction: 60th Anniversary Anthology
  • Editor: Gordon Van Gelder
  • Year: 2009-09-00
  • ISBN: 978-1-892391-91-9 [1-892391-91-0]
  • Publisher: Tachyon Publications
  • Price: $15.95
  • Pages: 475
The first thing I'd note about the F&SF anthology is the mostly very sapient choices of stories...whether the almost necessary ones ("All Summer in a Day" from Bradbury, "Harrison Bergeron" from Vonnegut, "One Ordinary Day" from Shirley Jackson, and of course "Flowers for Algernon" from Keyes), but also such less compelled choices as "The Deathbird" from Ellison and "I See You" from Knight...and opting for a Zelazny other than "A Rose for Ecclesiastes"; the only real clunker in the bunch, I'd suggest, is "The Gunslinger" by Stephen King, which struck me on first reading as perhaps the worst story I'd read so far or at least certainly the worst by King (who had already come close at least a couple of times, as with "The Cat from Hell").  What I note about the TZ selection is that many of the best and most interesting (or even sustainedly commercial) writers are left off the front cover, which seems odd...and the only genuinely bad writer of the bunch, at least in my experience, is Whitley Strieber (even if I've yet to read a completely successful prose fiction by Rod Serling himself, either, as opposed to decent work in prose by his brother Robert)...but I'll have to get back to you to say whether the Karen Joy Fowler or Joe R. Lansdale stories are items they'll be remembered for.

Out about the same time...

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Tuesday's Overlooked Films and/or Other A/V: the links to reviews, interviews, and more

See below, for the small and not so small gems gathered (even when about items that aren't even good paste), and if I've missed your or someone else's useful and/or entertaining and insightful post, please let me know in comments. Thanks! 

Anne Billson: Christopher Nolan and similar superannuated children in film; mirrors in film

Anonymous: Punch-Drunk Love; That Thing You Do!; Pillow Talk

Bhob Stewart: Cream in My Coffee (1980 telefilm); Rodney Dangerfield; Wally Wood's Alka-Seltzer ad

The Big Broadcast: 21 February 2016 (limited window)

Bill Crider: Casanova (2005 film) [trailer]

B. V. Lawson: Media Murder

Colin: The Incredible Shrinking Man

Comedy Film Nerds: Oscar Núñez; Oscar predictions with Doug Benson

Cynthia Fuchs: Jim: The James Foley Story; Containment; The Other Side

Dan Stumpf: The Missing Juror

Dorian Bartolucci: Spellbound

Elgin Bleecker: Southpaw

Elizabeth Foxwell: Mr. Arkadin (aka Confidential Report)

Evan Lewis: The Kennel Murder Case; Remo Williams: "The Prophecy" (1988 tv pilot)

George Kelley: The Lady in the Van
mirrors in Orphee
"Gilligan Newton-John": Alucarda; Voodoo Dolls; Wonder Woman: "The Man Who Made Volcanoes"; The Sinful Dwarf

How Did This Get Made?: LOL

Iba Dawson: The Oscars and their discontent

Ivan G. Shreve, Jr.: Thieves' Highway

Jack Seabrook: Alfred Hitchcock Presents: "Mail Order Prophet"

Jackie Kashian: Jeff May on comics art and drama; The Jackie and Laurie Show

Jacqueline T. Lynch: Alexis Smith

James Reasoner: Derailed

Janet Varney: Brandie Posey

Jerry House: Private Snuffy Smith; TED Talks: "The Greatest TED Talk Ever Sold"

John Grant: The Phantom Speaks

Jonathan Lewis: The Mask of Fu Manchu

Karen Hannsberry: death and life of Albert Dekker; Registered Nurse

Ken Levine: James Burrows

Kliph Nesteroff: The Phil Silvers Special: Summer in New York; The David Letterman Show (1980 NBC morning series premiere; audio only)

Kristina Dijan: Silver Lode; Ride Clear of Diablo: Six Black Horses; February Film Diary; Frankenstein Must Be Destroyed; Rififi

Laura G: My Pal, Wolf; Wicked (stage): Footsteps in the Night; Desert Pursuit

Lucy Brown: Dancing on the Edge

Martin Edwards: ShetlandDickensian and War and Peace; Seven Psychopaths

Marty McKee: Hell's Bloody Devils; Scorchy; Bulletproof; Code of Silence

Mildred Perkins: Manhattan (tv series)

Mitchell Hadley: TV Guide listings: Minneapolis/St. Paul, 1 March 1957

Patricia Nolan-Hall: The Invisible Ray

Patti Abbott: Seinfeld: "The Contest"

Paul Brazill: It's a Gift; Oh Mr. Porter!

Rick: Black Angel

Robert/Television Obscurities: W*A*L*T*E*R (M*A*S*H spinoff tv pilot)

Rod Lott: Valley of Gwangi; Southbound; Komodo

"Rupert Pupkin": The Serpent and the Rainbow

Ruth Kerr: The Lonely

Scott A. Cupp: The Girl, the Gold Watch and Everything

Sergio Angelini: Doctor Who: All-Consuming Fire (audio drama)

Stacia Jones: Bop Girl Goes Calypso

Steve Lewis: Kit Carson (1940 film); The Missing Juror; Lisbon

Valerie Deane: A Place in the Sun

Vienna: Meet Me in St. Louis; Suspicion

Friday, February 19, 2016

FFM: KEYHOLE MYSTERY MAGAZINE and SHOCK in 1960 (edited by Dan Roberts and anonymously, from Winston Publications)

A slightly corrected redux post, with new links and images:
Second issue; cover by Ed Emshwiller
1960 was an odd year in fiction-magazine publishing, and a tough one. A number of interesting projects were launched--too often only to stumble and fall, or fold, after only a few issues; a number of venerable titles and publishing groups changed hands, settled in with new owners, or went out of business, or all three.  Three was often a magic number for the good new magazines of 1960, though Saul Bellow and partners' The Noble Savage got as far as five issues in two years, while New World Writing got a new publisher and slightly different format, and the major little magazine Accent ended its 20-year run; Pocket Books' adventure in magazine publishing, Ed McBain's Mystery Bookwas among the three-issue titles, while one of the new TV-related fiction titles offered by Great American Publishing, Tightrope, saw four, with another, 77 Sunset Strip,  getting out a single issue and their horror companion, Fear!, two. While The Saint Mystery Magazine was continued by another publisher, most of Great American's fiction magazines, including their newly-purchased Fantastic Universe (with a last issue featuring Robert Bloch, Fredric Brown and Jorge Luis Borges), were folded by the end of 1960, as were Columbia Publications' last titles: Double Action Western, Future Science Fiction, Double Action Detective (which had at the end featured a Edward Hoch "Simon Ark" story in every issue) and Science Fiction Stories (the last issue offering new work by Kate Wilhelm, Murray Leinster, Donald Westlake, A. Bertram Chandler and Donald Wollheim). And two interesting new magazines from a small publisher, Keyhole Mystery Magazine and Shock: The Magazine of Terrifying Tales, had their three-issue runs.
A battered copy of the first issue; cover by Emsh
Keyhole was a literate crime-fiction magazine in a period when the flood of cf titles, inspired in large part by the mid-1950s success of Mickey Spillane-flavored Manhunt, had started to recede; Manhunt itself had lost much of its audience (though claiming on its increasingly cheap-looking covers to still be the most popular cf magazine in the world, almost certainly fraudulently). Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine had recently been purchased to help found Davis Publications, and (back at EQMM's original home, Mercury Press), though long-running companion Mercury Mystery had just folded, Bestseller Mystery Magazine continued. Aside from the magazines mentioned above, and the then relatively-new Alfred Hitchcock's Mystery Magazine, Mike Shayne Mystery Magazine and the somewhat eccentric Mystery Digest (and a brief attempt to import the British John Creasey Mystery Magazine in 1959), most of the US cf titles were leaning cheap and sleazy, often having as much in common with "men's sweat" "true story" sex-and-adventure magazines as they did with the better crime-fiction titles.  Keyhole was doing a lot better than the likes of Web Detective or even the somewhat more professional Trapped
Rather good choices in reprints, mixed with some solid, if not groundbreaking, original fiction, and a bit of attempted pop-culture hipness in invoking Elvis in the cover story--coauthored by Robert Bloch as "Will Folke"...
If anything, an even better least in adding Bloch, Sturgeon and Collier originals along with another Davidson in the mix. 

And with the third and final Winston issue, deFord's back, and she and Bloch and Collier are joined by Roald Dahl, the busy Charles Boeckman, and then-new writer R. A. Lafferty--one has to wonder how new a George Kauffman item could be. A four year old Ellin reprint from EQMM seems a bit recent, but EQMM would do similar things...and it was Ellin (today is the anniversary of his death, oddly enough). Note also, still pinning hopes to a pop-music crossover appeal, with Fabian Forte, of all people, as a detective. 

Meanwhile, and for no obvious reason edited anonymously (with radio/comics-style "editorial hosts" who are a Beast and a spider), Shock showed some signs of being aimed a bit younger, while still offering a lot of first-rate work...albeit even more of it reprinted and not a little of that set chestnuts from the horror and suspense literature.  EC Comics legend Jack Davis did all three covers, much in the style of their horror comics or Mad...while some of the fiction was a bit grim even for the more receptive kids:

But, then again, there are worse things for young minds to be warped by than "Bianca's Hands"...the Davidson story was reprinted in F&SF a decade later, and a decade+ after that in Dennis Etchison's anthology Masters of Darkness III.  Originals by Richard Matheson, Jim Thompson, Reginald Rose (12 Angry Men), and Davidson are nothing to dismiss out of hand, even if the Davidson is probably the closest to major work by its author. A young Lenny Kaye, a decade+ before starting to play with Patti Smith Group and putting together the Nuggets anthology albums of garage-rock and protopunk, wrote a published fan letter about this issue.

Originals by Davidson again, deFord, and Bloch again as "Will Folke" does get the sense that Dan Roberts, whoever he? was, definitely edited both Winston titles.
And the third and last Winston issue features originals by Edward Hoch, Lafferty, Westlake, and journeyman John Anthony West, among others...including one of the best stories of Bloch's career, "Final Performance," a story that is in more ways than one a hardboiled punch in the gut. 

It's a real pity that these magazines didn't do better in the suddenly crowded, then thinned out, marketplace of 1960...and even more a pity that Winston apparently sold the title rights and unpublished inventory, if any, to Pontiac Publishing, already responsible for some of the bottom of the barrel sleaze titles, of which their 1961/62 continuations of Keyhole and particularly Shock were prime examples.  Don't confuse the originals with these decomposing revenants...

And see the indices at Phil Stephenson-Payne's The Crime, Mystery, & Gangster Fiction Magazine Index, the source of the indices above and several of the cover images.  For a sense of how these magazines went, try Peter Enfantino's reviews of the archetypal Web Detective.

For more of today's titles, please see Evan Lewis's blog (filling in this week for Patti Abbott, on assignment in Traverse City).  [Original post info there: please see Patti's blog for today's list.]
The third, and last!, issue...

And given that I've posted about Shock (this one rather than the several other magazines of that title, not even counting its shudder-magazine continuation) and Fear! and the Magazine of Horror and its stablemates, (and the various revivals of Weird Tales starting after the turn of the next decade),  I suppose doing a take on the Other horror magazines of note in the 1960s, such as Macabre, The Arkham Collector, Bizarre! Mystery, and even the all-reprint Strange Fantasy might well follow...along with such early '70s colleagues as Coven 13/Witchcraft and Sorcery, The Haunt of Horror (the fiction magazine from Marvel, before they turned it into a large-format comic), WhispersWeirdbook and others...

...And the comments on the original post:


Bill Crider said...
I wish I'd seen some of these on the stands. Any magazine featuring Fabian as a detective would have been a must-buy. 
Todd Mason said...
He reportedly was very good as a psychopath in the episode of BUS STOP, one based on a Tom Wicker story, that got the series pulled off the air...
Juri Nummelin said...
Is Dan Roberts the same guy who wrote lots of western and romance paperbacks in the sixties and seventies? If so, his real name was William Edward Daniel Ross and he lived 1912-1995, writing lots of short stories for different mags. 
Yvette said...
Oh Todd, I wish I had something of interest to say about your well researched and comprehensive post but I have never read any of this sort of thing in magazine form. I know, I know, you probably consider this a shortcoming in my literary education - so be it. :) But all is not lost: I did recognize 11 of the authors listed. I am not completely beyond the pale.
Todd Mason said...
Well, Juri, is this the guy who was most probably best known in the 1960s for the DARK SHADOWS novels as by Marilyn Ross, and a GUINNESS BOOK record-holder for prolificacy? Probably. Have to wonder if he was faster than Barry Malzberg or more productive than Robert Silverberg or Lester Dent, but these magazines seem like a likely job for him to take on.

Yvette, there is no lack of people who've never read a fiction magazine, nor even picked up one to check out some excellent illustration or see what a favorite writer was up to. You might enjoy the experience more than you think (you sure you haven't?)...and just don't tell Walker Martin, fellow northern Jerseyite, who might have to come by with several hundred examples for you to can tell they fascinate me, but this FFMagazine post is perhaps the least popular, so far, that I've posted in a while, so perhaps I tax the readership.
Walker Martin said...
I discovered the crime digests about the same time I discovered the SF digests(1956). But as a teenager living on my small allowance, I could not afford all the SF magazines plus the crime magazines like MANHUNT, etc. But many years later, I did start collecting MANHUNT and the many imitators. Then when I retired a few years ago, I figured I was finished with the crime stuff and sold them at Pulpcon.

Turned out I was wrong and I started collecting them again! I picked up a set of MANHUNT which I've written about and at Windy City in April 2015 I bought over a hundred crime digests like TWO FISTED, OFF BEAT, SURE FIRE, etc. Then I bought another hundred when they were delivered at my home. Titles like GUILTY, TRAPPED, and PURSUIT.

I have KEYHOLE and SHOCK (again!) and will hang on to these until the bitter end.
Casual Debris said...
Good article. I like Davidson's "The Tenant." Interesting to note that its inclusion in the Etchison anthology was Davidson's own doing (the idea for the Masters of Darkness series is that the authors themselves select one of their own, lesser known yet personally liked stories). Had Davidson not been invited to the series, the story would until today remain un-printed outside its two magazine appearances.
Todd Mason said...
Frank: Yup (plus at least French translation in Fiction, the French correspondent to F&SF)...though perhaps that will change soon.

Walker...have you made initial efforts toward placing your collection with a library or archive? And have you found much worth reading in,say, Off Beat?
Todd Mason said...
And, thanks!
Walker Martin said...
I'm still busy collecting and reading, so I haven't given much thought to placing it with a library or archive. My feelings now are more in line with placing the magazines and art with other collectors.

MANHUNT is quite readable in the early and mid fifties and some of the other hardboiled crime digests are of interest also. But OFF BEAT, TWO FISTED, and some of the others are just about unreadable. They are collectible mainly because of the bizarre cover art. I've found this applies to many of the men's adventure magazines also. The Nazis and damsels in distress covers are outrageous and crazy but the fiction, or so called "articles", are hopeless.
George said...
KEYHOLE and SHOCK didn't show up around here. I've never seen these covers before but I really like them!
Jack Seabrook said...
Walker, let me know when you want to start placing magazines and art with other collectors. I'm just a short drive away.
Todd Mason said...
George, you can do worse than Emshwiller and Davis on their worst days...I wonder if Forte posed for the photo cover, or it was an image already at hand.

Jack, many of us live in NJ, after all, or worry about trying to place my collection, as George did his, with a university or similar, is if some idiot comes in and decides it's a lot of waste paper...much as might happen to a collector with unsympathetic or overwhelmed survivors. Or the kind of optimist who hopes against hope for a $150+ eBay sale on a single copy, if rare, of a Myron Fass issue, full of half-Fass fiction. At least the last might wise up.
R.T. said...
This is amazing stuff! What a great lineup of names! I am especially intrigued by the Saul Bellow connection, and I'll be digging further into that one. 
Todd Mason said...
THE NOBLE SAVAGE published a best-of that is harder to find than issues of the magazine itself, RT...if you hit the link above, you'll see part of the reason the enterprise had some potholes on its road...and how those led pretty directly to Bellow's HERZOG.
Todd Mason said...
Well, actually, I take that back: the best-of volume Bellow and Keith Botsford put together from four of their magazine projects can be had inexpensively online, and is also still in print at full price from its publisher, all 1100 pages of it: Editors, edited by Saul Bellow and Keith Botsford