Friday, November 4, 2016

FFB: BEWARE OF THE CAT edited by Michel Parry (Gollancz 1972; Taplinger 1973)

In the 1970s, if any British anthologist of horror fiction was rivaling Peter Haining and Hugh Lamb in productivity (at least among those whose books were also available in the US), Michel Parry was the one. And this, which really should've been titled Beware the Cat, was his first. Some of his other anthologies were explicitly aimed  at older readers (most famously the two released by UK paperback line Corgi jokingly as if edited by "Linda Lovecraft": The Devil's Kisses and More Devil's Kisses...both featuring one of Chris Miller's intentionally obnoxious National Lampoon stories, the latter volume essentially pulped by Corgi because of complaints about Miller's "The Magic Show"), but Beware of the Cat was usually stacked in the young readers' shelves in my experience.  (Not only his sex-themed anthologies probably not shunted over to YA library shelves, but [given this was the '70s] also his three anthologies devoted to fantasticated drug-experience stories.)

And, aside from horror usually not being taken very seriously in the US (and perhaps held too suspect in the UK), the assumption (not driven by Taplinger's packaging) that the book was meant for young readers might've been driven in part by the proportion of chestnuts included (and that it was illustrated)...though by no means was the book completely devoted to stories Everyone's Read:
Note also he eschewed the obvious Poe story, even with three other stories perhaps nodding to it with their titles, at least...a solid anthology, with endnotes (I always appreciated these back when; still do)...and while I'd read the Benet, the Saki, the Bierce and perhaps (though probably not) the Sturgeon elsewhere first, the others were new to me.  The small slew of Parry anthologies I'd see afterward were always welcome...
For more of today's books, please see Patti Abbott's blog...

Addendum: Stephen Jones notes via FaceBook that this anthology led directly to Parry's script for the anthology film The Uncanny (1977):

The Uncanny (1977) by MargaliMorwentari

5 comments:

Sergio (Tipping My Fedora) said...

I used to get so many of the Haining anthologies as a kid in the late 70s - but I don't think i ever came across any by Parry. My loss, clearly!

Todd Mason said...

I wonder if Taplinger--also publishing the US editions of not a few Hainings and Lambs--wasn't responsible for better library distribution of his earlier books, at very least, than they might've gotten from the gamut of UK publishers, most paperback lines, responsible for the original editions of many of Parry's books.

I'd rarely be disappointed by a Parry selection. Haining at times might opt for an interesting curio in one or another of his books over a genuinely good story, and I'd say that was less true of Parry.

Mathew Paust said...

That cat's not scary enuf for horror. Eyes too comical. I avoid horror anyway, tho, so even if the cat did its job I'd probly still miss the party.

neer said...

Hi Todd

Here's my entry for Tuesday's Overlooked Film: Dead of Night (1945)

http://inkquilletc.blogspot.in/2016/11/tuesdays-overlooked-film-dead-of-night.html

Thanks

Richard Robinson said...

I've been looking in all day, expecting a comment on the election results. Mine is on my blog.