Saturday, November 30, 2019

FRIDAY'S "FORGOTTEN" BOOKS AND MORE: the links to the reviews and texts: 29 November 2019

This week's books and more, unfairly (or sometimes fairly) neglected, or simply those the reviewers below think you might find of some interest (or, infrequently, you should be warned away from); certainly, most weeks we have a few not at all forgotten titles...if I've missed your review or someone else's, please let me know in comments.

Facebook thinks this Friday is the anniversary of Ed Gorman's birth, as well as the day after T-day; most of online seems to think (correctly, I suspect) Ed was born on 2 November 1941. But it seems as good a reason as any to spare a thought for Ed.

Patricia Abbott: Ed Gorman Day; Stranglehold by Ed Gorman; How I Came to Write Stranglehold by Ed Gorman 

Stacy Alesi: The Q List: Fiction Reviews 1983-2013 

Sergio Angelini: The Obstinate Murderer and Speak of the Devil by Elizabeth Sanxay Holding

Brian Bigelow: Ninety Double Martinis by Thomas Hinde 

Paul Bishop: Johnny D. Boggs novels 

Les Blatt: The Body in the Dumb River by George Bellairs; Death from a Top Hat by Clayton Rawson 

Joachim Boaz: "Spacebred Generations" (aka "Target Generation") by Clifford D. Simak, Science Fiction Plus, August 1953, edited by Hugo Gernsback 

Ben Boulden: The Girl in the Attic (revised edition of Night Caller) by Ed Gorman 

Brian Busby: Exodus/UK by Richard Rohmer 

Jason Cavallaro: November books

Bill Crider: Backshot (aka Backshot: 1902) by Ed Gorman 

Andy Duncan: Gahan Wilson

Martin Edwards: Marion (aka Murder Off the Record) by John Bingham; The Eighth Circle by Stanley Ellin; Bodies from the Library 2 edited by Tony Medawar 

Peter Enfantino: Atlas (proto-Marvel) horror comics, December 1952 (and the best of '52) 

Peter Enfantino and Jack Seabrook: DC war comics, February 1976 

Will Errickson: Shadows 3 edited by Charles L, Grant 

José Ignacio Escribano: Maigret's Childhood Friend by Georges Simenon (translated by Shaun Whiteside) 

Curtis Evans: John Dickson Carr's novels, 1950-1972; The Belgrave Manor Crime by "Moray Dalton" (Katherine Renoir)

"Olman Feelyus": Highland Days by Tom Weir; The Organized Mind by Daniel J. Levitin 

Elizabeth Foxwell: Five Women CF Writers Who Died Too Soon 

Paul Fraser: The Great SF Stories 11 (1949) edited by Isaac Asimov and Martin H. Greenberg 

Ed Gorman: The Pat Hobby Stories by F. Scott Fitzgerald; The Plastic Nightmare by Richard Neely 

John Grant: Easter Island by Jennifer Vanderbes; Stinker from Space by Pamela F. Service; You Should Have Left by Daniel Kehlmann (translated by Ross Benjamin)  

Aubrey Hamilton: Coroner's Pidgin by Margery Allingham; Fogland Point by Doug Burgess

Bev Hankins: Tragedy at the Unicorn by "John Rhode" (Cecil Street); Eyes at the Window by George Selmark; Said with Flowers by Anne Nash; When I Am an Old Woman, I Shall Wear Purple edited by Sandra Haldeman Martz 

Rich Horton: "The Continent Makers" and other short fiction by L. Sprague de Camp; Turn Left at Thursday and other short fiction by Frederik Pohl; The Corridors of Time and other lesser-known work by Poul Anderson (excerpts with more illustration)

Jerry House: Nuggets and Dust Panned Out in California by "Dod Grile" (Ambrose Bierce) 

Kate Jackson: Puzzle for Fiends by "Patrick Quentin" (Hugh Wheeler and Richard Webb); Calendar of Crime by "Ellery Queen" (Frederic Dannay and Manfred B. Lee); The Murders Near Mapleton by Brian Flynn

Randy Johnson: Blood Moon and The Night Remembers by Ed Gorman  

Tracy K: Killed in the Ratings by William DeAndrea; The Keeper of Lost Causes by Jussi Adler-Olsen (translated by Lisa Hartford) 

Karen/"Kaggsy": the 1947 Club

Colman Keane: Ain't Nobody Nobody by Heather Harper Ellett; Stay Mad, Sweetheart by Helen Kist; Spider, Spin Me a Web by Lawrence Block; Broken Dreams and The Crooked Beat by Nick Quantrill 

George Kelley: Frozen Hell by John W. Campbell, Jr. 

Joe Kenney: Time Rogue by Leo P. Kelley

Rob Kitchin: The Winter of Her Discontent by Kathryn Miller Haines; The First Wave by James R. Benn 

Kate Laity: Jonathan Miller 

B. V. Lawson: The Bulrush Murders by Rebecca Rothenberg 

Xavier Lechard: the lineage of the family of Ellery Queen, the character 

Des/D. F. Lewis: The Dinosaur Tourist by Caitlin R. Kiernan 

Evan Lewis: "Black Friday, King of the Spies" illustrated by Allen Ulmer, Cat-Man Comics, April 1942; Nero Wolfe, the comic strip  

Steve Lewis: "The Taggart Assignment" by Vincent Starrett, Short Stories, 10 August 1922, edited by Harry E. Maule; "Sargasso of Lost Starships" by Poul Anderson, Planet Stories, January 1952, edited by Jack O'Sullivan; Outside In by Michael Z. Lewin 

Gary Lovisi: the first Fawcett Gold Medal paperbacks


Todd Mason: Criminal Intent 1 by Bill Pronzini, Marcia Muller and Ed Gorman; Best Crime Fiction of the Year Annuals edited by Ed Gorman and Martin H. Greenberg; some suspense fiction anthologies; Edward Gorman; Gahan Wilson, John Simon

John F. Norris: The Third Lady by Shizuko Natsuki (translated by Robert B. Rohmer) 

John O'Neill: Anachronisms and Starship Alchemon by Christopher Hinz; the Tomorrow's Warfare anthologies edited by Joe Haldeman, Charles G. Waugh and Martin H. Greenberg; JO as "Todd McAulty" with Howard Andrew Jones: Five Writers Who Taught Them To Write Fantasy: Fritz Leiber, Leigh Brackett, Roger Zelazny, Harold Lamb and Robert Howard 

Matt Paust: Dead Man's Gun and Other Western Stories by Ed Gorman; Missing Ed Gorman; Some Came Running by James Jones; Sylvia by Leonard Michaels

James Reasoner: Lone Rider by Ernest Haycox 

Richard Robinson: The Black Lizard Anthology of Crime Fiction edited by Edward Gorman 

Sandra Ruttan: Wilted Lilies by Kelli Owen

Gerard Saylor: The Dry by Jane Harper; Guild by Ed Gorman 

Steve Scott: "No Credit Cards for Travis McGee": Jack McClintock interviews John D. MacDonald, Florida Accent, 28 February 1965

Steven H Silver: Bob Shaw; Clifford D. Simak

Kerrie Smith: Dying for a Taste by Leslie Karst; Discount Noir edited by Patricia Abbott and Steve Weddle


Judith Tarr: Ice Crown by Andre Norton (Black Gate on Norton)

Marina Sofia: Letters Home by Sylvia Plath; The Herb of Grace by Elizabeth Goudge; Monsieur by Gerald Durrell 

"TomCat": Noose for a Lady by Gerald Verner; The Orange Axe by Brian Flynn

Prashant Trikannad: Cages by Ed Gorman 


John Valeri: Bones by Jan Valeri

David Vineyard: The Mystery of the Peacock's Eye by Brian Flynn 

Adam Wagner: The Bottoms by Joe R. Lansdale 

Bill Wallace: Blue Movie by Terry Southern; Divine Rascal by Andy Roberts

Lisa Yaszek: "Baby, You Were Great" by Kate Wilhelm, first published in Orbit 2, edited by Damon Knight

Friday, November 29, 2019

Gahan Wilson, 1930-2019; John Simon, 1925-2019 (and Jonathan Miller and Clive James)






I first encountered the work of Gahan Wilson no later than some time in 1972; John Simon in 1975. I probably saw Wilson's cartoons in one magazine or another, I made it to 8yo in '72 so it certainly wasn't Collier's, the first living-wage-paying (for cartoons) market he would contribute to, nor Fantastic, later one of my favorite magazines, which was the first magazine he contributed to (and was very happy to have the $7.50 per cartoon they paid him for the several they bought at Ziff-Davis Publications and ran in the fantasy magazine, along with a single panel in its sf companion Amazing Stories instead in 1953). His cartoons were the primary focus of most of his audience, and not improperly; he was consistently cited throughout his his career, after coming to prominence in the 1960s, as the overlapping heir to Charles Addams in the world of the macabrely humorous panel cartoon, and there was a certain consanguinity with Edward Gorey in both men's work; Wilson also, in drawing his monsters and to some degree his human figures, could also seem to streamline the elaborate grotesqueries of Basil Wolverton. Though, from early on, Wilson contributed art (illustration as well as cartoons) and prose (fiction and critical writing) and sometimes hybrid, heavily illustrated fiction that was a bit too text-heavy to count as graphic fiction, to a wide array of markets which included nearly every important US newsstand fantasy-fiction magazine to flourish during his career ...starting in Fantastic, as noted, he contributed illustration to two of the very last issues of the original run of Weird Tales in 1954, would publish a monthly cartoon in The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, from 1965 to 1981, along with occasional short stories and reviews mostly of horror fiction books, was a columnist on film (and cover artist) for The Twilight Zone Magazine in the 1980s, contributed installments of the mostly book-review column "The Den" and cover and other illustration for the 1980s-onward Weird Tales revival, and was a book review columnist (and cover artist) for Realms of Fantasy in the 1990s (and a cover and interior illustration for a fantasy issue of eclectic little magazine Conjunctions); all this in addition to his regular cartoon (and infrequent cover) contributions to The New YorkerPlayboyNational Lampoon (the trio usually cited in his obituaries), and a variety of other magazines including Punch and Paris Match, and a syndicated newspaper strip, Gahan Wilson's Sunday Comics, which ran from 1974-77, which I recall from The Boston Globe, I believe, in its last year and a half (I don't think the Hartford Times  nor Courant had it, sadly, in earlier years when my family and I were in Connecticut). But I know I was aware of Wilson no later than "The Science Fiction Horror Movie Pocket Computer", as reprinted in Best SF '71, the 1972 volume of Harry Harrison and Brian Aldiss's best-of-the-year annual, and I was lucky to have the Berkley US paperback edition, since the Sphere UK softcover edition, under a less date-infected title, reprinted the flow-chart bit of humor almost illegibly. That piece of work might've been the first thing I saw from National Lampoon, as well, though my first experience with that magazine, and Wilson's running strip there, Nuts (named as well as created in 
response to Charles Schulz's Peanuts and meant to delve a bit deeper into the confusions and distresses the world presents to young children), and it was one of books my father had kicking around the house...I first saw Playboys and New Yorkers at a similar age. Took me a while to catch up with an issue of Punch, though I had certainly read work from it over the years. In the next year or so, I would read Wilson's illustrated story in Harlan Ellison's anthology Again, Dangerous Visions, the title of the story being the image of a flat little blob or stain which becomes the villain of the story as the narrative unfolds, with Ellison's typically lengthy introduction to the story filling us in on Wilson and how Ellison met him while the cartoonist was sketching sf and fantasy fans at a convention, on a project for Collier's in the mid-late '50s (I assume that never made it to print in the magazine, as I've not seen mention of it elsewhere). 
Wilson edits and sculpts the Lovecraft statue that serves as the first trophy of the WFA

I have enjoyed his short fiction whenever I've encountered it since, but have yet to read his collection 
The Cleft and Other Odd Tales, nor his other prose collections (Gahan Wilson's Cracked Cosmos, a 1975 YA-targeted volume mostly overlapping with The Cleft..., and the new Borderlands Press item The Little Purple Book of Phantasies), which I need to rectify (I do have at least one of the two Fantagraphics collections which mix short stories and cartoons). Such illustrated, not quite graphic (though close), novels as Eddie Deco's Last Case and Everyone's Favorite Duck are very much worth seeking out, along with the vast majority of all his work.

And do see Gahan Wilson: Born Dead, Still Weird, if you haven't...widely online, currently no extra charge for Amazon Prime customers.

Roz Chast remembers Gahan Wilson


John Simon I was first made aware of by the amusing, mostly enjoying its own presumption, little book The Best, a collection of essays by Peter Passell and Leonard Ross, which cited Simon as the Best Film Critic; an impulse buy for my father, I assume, in the 1975 Pocket Books paperback. Simon has been deservedly criticized for the degree to which he has written and apparently occasionally said rude things about the appearance of some actors, and such, but is also too often dismissed as a snobbish boor, as opposed to someone who usually stated his opinions intelligently, elegantly and no more goofily nor crankishly than did most of his cohort of film or theater critics (Pauline Kael, Andrew Sarris, Roger Ebert, Frank Rich, I feel I can confidently rest my case without descending to Rex Reed nor Bosley Crowther), and less so and less often than


most. He also wrote fine literary and music criticism, and his unwillingness to give full marks for intent unfulfilled nor novelty as a virtue in itself was often not sufficiently appreciated, nor was his hailing good and better work when he found it, which was often. Including the good and better work by his peers, and his great respect for such critics who had gone before, such as James Agee. His work thus struck me as not altogether different from the primarily literary critics I've admired most, including Anthony Burgess, Dorothy Parker, Damon Knight, Algis Budrys, Joanna Russ, Barry Malzberg, Vivian Gornick, Richard Lupoff, Avram Davidson, John Leonard and others...and, like these others, I've reviewed a few of Simon's books here, if not as frequently nor as well as I'd like. 

Here is the Internet Archive's cache of Simon's New York magazine stage reviewshere is his blog, Uncensored John Simon.

Christopher Bonanos on John Simon





From the NY/NJ Regional News Network running segment discussed above:



Gahan Wilson previously in Sweet Freedom

John Simon so far likewise

I have not been as influenced, nor from such an early age, by either Jonathan Miller (despite very much enjoying Beyond the Fringe and The Body in Question, among some of his other work) nor Clive James (having read only a bit of his work), but I thought I might add this segment here...as indicative of how they were willing to take the afflatus from any given circumstance, as public intellectuals...


Todd Mason 


Sunday, November 24, 2019

FRIDAY'S "FORGOTTEN" BOOKS AND MORE: the links to the reviews and texts: 22 November 2019

This week's books and more, unfairly (or sometimes fairly) neglected, or simply those the reviewers below think you might find of some interest (or, infrequently, you should be warned away from); certainly, most weeks we have a few not at all forgotten titles...if I've missed your review or someone else's, please let me know in comments. And spare a thought for the late Gahan Wilson, his surviving friends and family, and all his fans. And further apologies for a busy and distracting weekend delaying this week's list unconscionably. TM

Patricia Abbott: Trap for Cinderella by Sébastien Japrisot (translated by Helen Weaver) 

Stacy Alesi: The P List: Fiction Reviews 1983-2013

Angie Barry: Mr. White's Confession by Robert Clark 

Brian Bigelow: The Collected Stories of Rhys DaviesPilgrimage by Dorothy Richardson 

Paul Bishop: Tony Masero: fiction and painting 

Les Blatt: A Surfeit of Suspects by George Bellairs; The Chinese Parrot by Earl Derr Biggers 

Joachim Boaz: Beyond Apollo by Barry N. Malzberg; "The Wind Blows Free" by Chad Oliver, The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, July 1957, edited by "Anthony Boucher" (William White) 

Ben Boulden: The Autumn Dead and The Night Remembers by Ed Gorman; Gorman interview; 
briefly: Save the Last Dance for Me by Ed Gorman 

Louis J. Budd: "Plymouth Rock and the Pilgrims" by "Mark Twain" (Samuel Clemens)

Brian Busby: Beautiful Joe by Marshall Saunders (1955 Whitman abridgment); briefly, The Monkees in Who's Got the Button by William Johnston 

Bill Crider: Horrible Beginnings edited by Steven H Silver and Martin H. Greenberg; The Space Magicians edited by Alden H. Norton and Sam Moskowitz 

Martin Edwards: The Eighth Circle by Stanley Ellin 

Peter Enfantino and Jack Seabrook: Warren horror comics, November 1969-January 1970, edited by Bill Parente 

Barry Ergang: Watch Me Die (aka The Man with the Iron-On Badge) by Lee Goldberg

Will Errickson: Shadows 2 edited by Charles L. Grant 

José Ignacio Escribano: Elephants Can Remember by Agatha Christie; "Moray Dalton" (Katherine Renoir); The Big Bow Mystery aka The Perfect Crime by Israel Zangwill; Clouds of Witness by Dorothy L. Sayers 

Curtis Evans: The Art School Murders and The Condamine Case by Moray Dalton (Katherine Renoir) 

"Olman Feelyus": The Amboy Dukes by Irving Shulman; The Glass-Sided Ants' Nest by Peter Dickinson; Murphy's War by Max Catto 

Paul Fraser: Astounding Science-Fiction, August 1938, edited by John W. Campbell, Jr.

John Grant: The Big Bow Mystery by Israel Zangwill; Van Gogh's Bad Cafe by Frederic Tuten

Aubrey Hamilton: The Case of the Crumpled Knave by "Anthony Boucher" (William White); Shotgun Boogie by Steve Brewer  

Bev Hankins: The Noel Coward Murder Case by George Baxt; The Unpleasantness at the Bellona Club by Dorothy L. Sayers 

Rich Horton: Atmospheric Disturbances by Rivka Galchen; Clifford D. Simak

Jerry House: The Mystery of Cloomber by Arthur Conan Doyle 

Kate Jackson: Trial and Error by Anthony Berkeley (Cox); A Bullet for Rhino by Clifford Witting; The Body in the Library by Agatha Christie 

Randy Johnson: The Man from U.N.C.L.E. novels by David McDaniel 

Tracy K: Wicked Uncle by Patricia Wentworth

Karen/"Kaggsy": the 1965 Club 

Colman Keane: Wide Open by "John Warren Wells" (Lawrence Block); Killer Queen by T. S. Hunter; Canadian novels  

George Kelley: The Great SF Stories #16 (1954) edited by Isaac Asimov and Martin H. Greenberg; Slow Horses by Mick Herron

Joe Kenney: C.A.D.S. #4: Tech Strike Force by "John Sievert" (Ryder Syvertsen); Strange Stars by Jason Heller 

Rob Kitchin: How to Run a City Like Amazon, And Other Fables edited by Mark Graham, Shannon Mattern and Joe Shaw; The Honourable Schoolboy by "John le Carré" (David Cornwell)

Kate Laity: The Cross-Eyed Bear Murders by Dorothy B. Hughes 

B.V. Lawson: Ah, Sweet Mystery by Celestine Sibley

Xavier Lechard: John Dickson Carr (and Robert Louis Stevenson)/John Dickson Carr: The Man Who Explained Miracles by Douglas Greene

Des/D. F. Lewis: The Scarlet Soul: Stories for Dorian Gray edited by Mark Valentine

Evan Lewis: Hopalong Cassidy newspaper comic strip attributed to Dan Spiegle; 
Nero Wolfe, the comic strip  

Steve Lewis: "The Girls from Earth" by Frank M. Robinson, Galaxy Science Fiction, January 1952, edited by H. L. Gold; Suicide Seat by "Nick Carter" (in this case, George Warren); "The Gun" by Philip K. Dick, Planet Stories, September 1952, edited by Jack O'Sullivan; Kisses Leave No Fingerprints by Mike Fredman  

Gary Lovisi: 1950s western fiction digests and some paperbacks

Todd Mason: the works of Gahan Wilson; John Simon

William Patrick Maynard: The Curse of the Snake by Guy Boothby 

John F. Norris: The Triple Bite by Brian Flynn; magazine covers for Carolyn Wells's serials

John O'Neill: Re-Birth aka The Chrysalids by "John Wyndham" (John Benyon Harris)

Matt Paust: Booker by David E. McClain; The Beast Who Shouted Love at the Heart of the World: Stories by Harlan Ellison; Sylvia by Leonard Michaels

James Reasoner: Casca: God of Death by Barry Sadler; Spicy-Adventure Stories, August 1941

Richard Robinson: The Singing Bone by R. Austin Freeman 

Sandra Ruttan: The Resurrectionist by Wrath James Wright 

Gerard Saylor: The Wrath of the Bloodeye by Joseph Delaney 

Steve Scott: John D. MacDonald on Travis McGee, paperback originals and, in passing, The Executioners (dumbed down for film twice as Cape Fear) 


Jack Seabrook: "Deathmate" by James Causey, Manhunt, March 1957, edited by "John McCloud" (Scott Meredith) 

Mark Sieber: Gahan Wilson, RIP

Steven H Silver: Alexis GillilandMake Room! Make Room! by Harry Harrison 

Kerrie Smith: Lapse by Sarah Thornton 

Marina Sofia: writers most accounted for in her personal collection 

"TomCat": The Rat-a-Tat Mystery by Enid Blyton; "The Touch of Kolyada" by Edward D. Hoch, Mistletoe Mysteries, edited by Charlotte Macleod; Invisible Death and The Case of the Black Twenty-Two by Brian Flynn

David Vineyard: Thunderball by Ian Fleming 

Bill Wallace: Evergreen Review, May-June 1960 (#13) and September-October 1960 (#14), edited by Baeney Rosset

Matthew Wuertz: Galaxy Science Fiction, September 1954, edited by H. L. Gold