Thursday, September 30, 2010

September's "Forgotten" Music: RAINY DAY (and, THE BUNCH)

A number of folks in the loose assembly of early 1980s LA-based bands which became known collectively as the "Paisley Underground" got together to record some tracks that were released in 1984 as Rainy Day. This album has not yet been released in any digital format, as far as I know...somewhere, I have a cassette copy, which probably wouldn't sell for the inflated prices that the LP does.

As puts it:
Rainy Day (Self-Titled)
Rainy Day (Author), Susanna Hoffs & Vicki Peterson (Author), David & Steven Roback (Author), Will Glenn (Author), Michael Quercio (Author), Matthew Piucci (Author), Dennis Duck (Author), Kendra Smith (Author), Ethan James (Author), Karl Precoda (Author) | Format: Vinyl

Only three tracks have been posted, and reposted, around the web, that I've found, but they do give a sense of the charm of this collection of covers of folk-rock songs and work that draws on the folk-rock of the '60s, even as such bands as the Bangs/Bangles and the Dream Syndicate did themselves.  ***2014 update: here's a full-album post:

As Jenny Woolworth put it in her Women in Punk Blog:

Included here for you today are three songs: ”Flying on the Ground is Wrong” (featuring Kendra Smith on vocals, David Roback on guitar and Susanna Hoffs on backing vocals), “I’ll Be Your Mirror” (featuring Susanna Hoffs on vocals and guitar, David Roback on guitar, bass and tambourine and Kendra Smith on backing vocals) and “I’ll Keep it With Mine” (featuring Susanna Hoffs on lead vocals, David Roback on guitar and tambourine and Will Glenn on violin).

And this kind selection leaves off the fine reading of Alex Chilton's "Holocaust" and a handful of wit, from the Lossless Music site:

Track Listing:

1 I'll Keep It With Mine
2 John Riley
3 Flying on the Ground Is Wrong
4 Sloop John B.
5 Soon Be Home
6 Holocaust
7 On the Way Home
8 I'll Be Your Mirror
9 Rainy Day, Dream Away

1. I'll Keep It With Mine
Written by Bob Dylan; originally recorded by Nico.
Personnel: Susanna Hoffs - lead vocal; David Roback - guitar, tambourine; Will Glenn - violin; Michael Quercio - bass guitar.

2. John Riley
Written by Phil Belmonte, Bob Gibson, Ricky Neff; previously recorded by the Byrds, Joan Baez, Pete Seeger, Judy Collins, and others.
Personnel: Michael Quercio - lead vocal, bass guitar; Matthew Piucci - acoustic 12-string; David Roback - electric 12-string, background vocals; Will Glenn - violin, background vocals; Dennis Duck - drums.

3. Flying on the Ground is Wrong
Written by Neil Young; originally recorded by Buffalo Springfield.
Personnel: Kendra Smith - lead and background vocals; David Roback - guitar; Susanna Hoffs - background vocals.

4. Sloop John B.
Traditional; best known as a Beach Boys hit.
Personnel: Michael Quercio - lead vocal, bass guitar, percussion; Ethan James - keyboards; Dennis Duck - drums; David Roback - guitar, congas.

5. Soon Be Home
Written by Pete Townshend; originally recorded by the Who, as Part V of "A Quick One While He's Away".
Personnel: David Roback - lead vocal, guitars; Michael Quercio - bass guitar, drums; Vicki Peterson - background vocals; Susanna Hoffs - background vocals; Spock - tambourine.

6. Holocaust
Written by Alex Chilton; originally recorded by Big Star.
Personnel: Kendra Smith - lead vocal; Steven Roback - piano; Will Glenn - cello; David Roback - guitar; Ethan James - backwards piano.

7. On the Way Home
Written by Neil Young; originally recorded by Buffalo Springfield.
Personnel: David Roback - vocals, guitar.

8. I'll Be Your Mirror
Written by Lou Reed; originally recorded by the Velvet Underground and Nico.
Personnel: Susanna Hoffs - lead vocal, guitar; David Roback - lead guitar, bass guitar, tambourine; Sue and Kendra - background vocals.

9. Rainy Day, Dream Away
Written by Jimi Hendrix; originally recorded by the Jimi Hendrix Experience.
Personnel: Michael Quercio - lead vocal; Ethan James - bass guitar, keyboard; Dennis Duck - drums; Karl Precoda - guitar; David Roback - congas.

One of the other discussions of this album that I've found on the web noted that it reminded the author of that other collection of covers of older songs by a group of folk-rockers (no bones about it folk-rockers in this case), the album recorded by the largely Fairport Convention-member/ex-member conglomerate and entitled Rock On (and here swiping from Wikipedia):

Sandy Denny lead vocals from Rock On:

Track listing(s)

Original LP album
"Crazy Arms"
"That'll Be the Day"
"Don't Be Cruel"
"The Loco-Motion"
"My Girl the Month of May"
"Love's Made a Fool of You"
"Willie and the Hand Jive"
"Jambalaya (On The Bayou)"
"When Will I Be Loved"
"Sweet Little Rock 'n' Roller"
"Learning the Game"

Flexi-disc included with original LP
"Let There Be Drums"

Fledg'ling Records FLED 3042 CD bonus tracks
"Let There Be Drums"
"Twenty Flight Rock"
"High School Confidential"
"La Bamba"

Gerry Conway - drums and percussion (not the comics/tv Conway)
Tony Cox - piano
Sandy Denny - vocals
Pat Donaldson - bass
Ashley Hutchings - vocals
Trevor Lucas - vocals, 12-string guitar
Dave Mattacks - drums and percussion
Linda Thompson - vocals
Richard Thompson - vocals, guitars
Ian Whiteman - piano
The Dundee Horns - brass

And this one is now an overpriced collectible, too, in its CD release (I have the vinyl from Island). But the (Amazon samples) link above will give you a taste of what they were on about (2014 additional video links)...sadly, events today keep me from writing up the paean to folk-rock and its extensions I hoped to...

Please see Scott Parker's blog for the other "forgotten" music this month...

Friday, September 24, 2010


The last major subsets of "firsts" among the fiction magazines that got me hooked were arguably books, most of them...Alfred Hitchcock's Mystery Magazine for January, 1978 was the first adult fiction magazine purchased for me new, 75c and the best bargain in fiction magazines at the time. And, unusually for AHMM covers of the time, it was competently composed...and there were memorable stories from Lawrence Block and Jack Ritchie, particularly. Inasmuch as I'd already collected some mid-'60s back issues, and read a few more borrowed from the Enfield Central Library, I was given the funds to buy a subscription...and not too long after, I was able to procure a copy of the first Alfred Hitchcock's Anthology, which many reference sources would prefer not to call a magazine, despite being issued periodically to newsstands by magazine publisher Davis Publications (who also issued Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine and the Ellery Queen's Anthologies, which the Hitchcock item imitated), although a Dial Press hardcover edition was also published which tried to disguise the all-AHMM selections as one of the eclectic anthologies Robert Arthur and Harold Q. Masur would ghost for Hitchcock and Random House. These, instead, were edited by the magazine's the manner of the many previous Dell paperbacks taking their contents from AHMM. The early AHA issues/volumes had a Very rich backfile to draw on, so you can see how addictive they could be, as about the same time, I was not only also picking up new issues of EQMM and Mike Shayne Mystery Magazine, but was always happy to stumble over such treasures of the recent past as The Saint Mystery Magazine,,,and, several years later, in 1985, a clangourous new porject popped up, the New Black Mask, even as MSMM was beginning to go into its final tailspin, Each issue of New Black Mask, all published as books by HBJ, which would also sell you a subcription to the series just like a magazine, featured a remarkable mix of writers spanning the range of hardboiled and noir ficton and bit beyond. I actually picked up the last volum as NBM to keep first, then collected most of the rest as I catch could, and also the successor series, A Matter of Crime (after the trademark holders of Black Mask challenged NBM's right to use the title).

I started reading the eclectic little magazines (as distinct from fantasy-fiction littles such as Whispers), aside from arguably Short Story International (which was a nonprofit that used good paper and charged twices as much for itself per issue than most of the other fiction digests...but it was on newsstands, unlike most littles), with TriQuarterly, which in its first decade particularly was offering one great issue after another, particularly when Robert Onopa was associated with the magazine, in the latter '70s. A snobbish backlash over the SF issue (Algis Budrys, Ursula Le Guin, Thomas Disch, Samuel Delany) severed most of the staff, including Onopa, from the magazine, which has yet to fully recover its quality of those years...the subscribers, I guess, had been pushed to their limits by the previous western (Dorothy Johnson, Cormac McCarthy, et al.), "Love and Hate," and other theme issues, including "Prose for Borges" and more. (TriQuarterly has gone web-only just recently.) Of course, even before I began reading the little magazines that were no-bones-about-it magazines (such as also The Paris Review and took me a while to find The Ontario Review and Boulevard and the comparitively dull Story revival), I had found some of the periodical book/magazine projects that had begun in the 1950s, such as New World Writing (the 6th volume/issue featured a long excerpt from Louis Armstrong's memoirs, contemporary Japanese haiku in translation, and more),
and their modern descendents, such as the Doubleday Literary Guild loss-leader Works in Progress (which in the first issue I had offered the best chunk of Alix Shulman's Memoirs of an Ex-Prom Queen). I tumbled to New Directions and New American Review (later simply American Review) and Evergreen Review (in those largely post-censorial times) not long after.
...come to think of it, mentioning Evergreen reminds me of two other categories of fiction magazine that I haven't quite yet nostalgically surveyed...the humorous and the erotic (the latter had quite a vogue in the '80s and '90s, ranging from Yellow Silk to Paramour, from Future Sex to Blue Blood).

For more "forgotten" books this week, please see Patti Abbott's blog.

Friday, September 17, 2010


Joanna Russ was kind of a fortuitous presence in my early reading of adult fantastic ficiton...her hilarious "Useful Phrases for the Tourist" was in Robert Silverberg's anthology Infinite Jests ("Are you edible? I am not edible."--an early exposure, for me, to what I call a story of apparatus), which I read when I was about about the same time, I saw my first issue of F&SF on a newsstand, at the drugstore where I bought my comics and the occasional book or National Lampoon, the January 1976 issue with Russ's "My Boat" leading it and Stuart Dybek's "Horror Movie" looked intriguing, but it cost a Whole Buck, and I could get four comics for that, if I even had a whole buck on me at the time. Meanwhile, the first F&SF I owned was the November 1971, featuring Russ as the book reviewer, leading off her column with Shulamith Firestone's speculative feminist nonfiction, The Dialectic of Sex.

Her three important nonfiction books primarily about literature, as opposed to the mixed collection of essays Magic Mommas..., which I've briefly reviewed previously, and her last completely new published work so far, history of the feminist revival What Are We Fighting For?, are all witty, challenging, and often brilliant...and often harder to find than her only sustainedly in-print novel, the brilliant The Female Man. How to Suppress Women's Writing is a a book-length study; To Write Like a Woman a collection of longer essays, and The Country You Have Never Seen mostly a collection of her book reviews, public letters, and shorter essays. The first two are excerpted on Google Books at the hypertext both is and is not remarkable how much of her work has been Google Booked, given her importance and her relative lack of support by her publishers...though, notably, all three of today's books are in print, from their respective university presses. I'm not sure if Russ is on record as wary/annoyed by Google's book project as Ursula Le Guin has been...but Russ is at least semi-retired as a public figure, having a degenerative back problem that had her writing most of her later works standing up. (As someone who is wondering what the hell is suddenly up with his worsening eyes, I have nothing but sympathy.)

Suppress was Russ's first extended work of nonfiction, and is an excellent approach to the subject at hand, well documented and willing to note where the exceptions to the overarching problem exist, however partially. I like To Write even better, particularly "Someone's Trying to Kill Me and I Think It's My Husband," a brilliant quick study of the state of the supermarket gothic in their first flourish (they are not quite back in the nonetheless related form of the paranormal romance). The Firestone-led column is one of the many review-essays and related writing collected in Country, which collectively allow for Russ's playfulness and wit to express themselves perhaps most blatantly...another F&SF essay memorably runs through a series of metaphors for the books under discussion, each except the last considered as a variety of toy rabbit.

Russ began her academic/creative career in drama, as I recall, rather like her near-exact contemporary Barry Malzberg...they were both writing stage drama while working within academe, at least as grad students; Kate Laity has done something similar, while going on to profess while freelancing, while Malzberg left campus to become a full-time freelancer and off-and-on literary agent and editor; Russ, I believe, split the difference, continuing to teach in drama off and on while conducting her literary career...the latter in prose rather than in drama. Hence also one of her several points of community with Fritz Leiber, who was first professionally an actor before he was a writer and who consistently wrote prose with a dramatic sense to it, often in dramatic or near-dramatic form. (Then there are all the busy screenwriters who are among "our" prose writers, such as Leigh Brackett, Robert Bloch, Henry Slesar, William Goldman, George R. R. Martin, Alan Brennert, Harlan Ellison, Bruce Jay Friedman, Jules Feiffer [the last two also stage playwrights] and others...while Jack Sharkey might've been one of the few to eventually make a career mostly based on stage drama, writing dozens of one-act plays for Samuel French and their clients in mostly community and amateur theater.

That's only one point between Leiber and Russ, who also both wrote among the most challenging work in fantastic-fiction (i.e. Leiber's Conjure Wife and "Coming Attraction" and "The Night He Cried" [with the arguably limited target, looming larger at the time, of Mickey Spillane's fiction and its influence) to Russ's The Female Man and her affectionate parodies of Lovecraft and vicious ones of Heinlein and his imitators), their mutual love for bringing an extra dimension or several to adventure fantasy (Leiber and Russ even wrote one story each which feature the other's avatars Fafhrd and Alyx within their own fiction cycles), and, of course, both serving as reviewers and columnists for the most visible fantasy amgazines on newsstands in the 1970s, among other markets.

Country might be the last new book we see from Russ, and that is a pity, except only in that it's a fine collection of work from throughout that career, and worth the stiff price of the paperback edition (or even the very stiff price of the stiffer format). It occurs to me that Liverpool delayed its publication...Russ might've wanted it out in 2005, making neat ten year itnervals betwen her purely liteary nonfiction books. (But maybe not.)

And it occurs to me that I don't remember if I had the wit to suggest to Patti Abbott, when she asked me about utopian and dystopian fiction, that The Female Man goes beyond its seeds in "When It Changed" to posit a throughline of incomplete dystopia and utopia at every stage of its narrative, not even least the parts set in the here and now of its composition-space/time...along with Damon Knight's "The Country of the Kind," one of the more challenging and meliorated of utopias for its larger implications (even as Leiber's "Coming Attraction" and Kate Wilhelm's "The Winter Beach" and its expansion Welcome, Chaos among other work are meliorated dystopia).

Please see Patti Abbott's blog for a rundown of the other, more prompt Friday "Forgotten" Books for this week.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

More radio and podcast links: comedy and comedians

BBC Radio 4's Comedy page...access to (at least this week's set of) BBC audio sketch shows and sitcoms. BBC Radio 7 takes some repeats from 4 and adds some more material.

Comedy and Everything Else, Jimmy Dore and Stef Zamarano's podcast (which sometimes cross-riffs with Dore's Pacifica Radio series), notable for a pronounced though very much not doctrinaire leftist stance, and a lot of good food.

Comedy Death Ray Radio, Scott Aukerman's interview, sketch and music showcase...originally comedy/novelty music for the most part, but increasingly moving away from that as the better comedy music is growing scarce. Perhaps the most uneven of the programs listed here...can drag a bit, particularly in the lesser sessions of Aukerman's recurring games of "Would You Rather...", but also can be devastatingly hilarious...more elaborate showcases for improv parody-character sketches than most of the podcasts, as well, which often are the funniest bits. In fact, an episode in which Jimmy Pardo and his regulars filled in as hosts, and featuring an extended improv by Maria Bamford and Paul Gilmartin and music from the charming Garfunkel & Oates, might still be my favorite. Also on the Earwolf pages, the Sklar Brothers' sports and comedy podcast Sklarbro Country is also charming, if a bit literally too inside baseball, etc., to sustain my attention as readily.

Dork Forest Radio, Jackie Kashian's formerly lo-fi podcast (on lo-fi BlogTalkRadio) is a charming delving into all kinds of geekery, or what Kashian dubs the Dork Forest. (See also, The Nerdist) Uniquely among these podcasts, when on BlogTalk Radio, there was a live chatroom running alongside the live podcast...Kashian is trying to decide what she'll do about that with the new, undistorted-audio format. Kashian is also probably the most gentle of podcast hosts, though unafraid of asking, usually politely and/or self-deprecatingly, the hard questions.

Doug Loves Movies, Doug Benson's gameshow/interview podcast, the game usually all about trying to guess a movie title with as few clues as possible from Leonard Maltin's film-guides. Benson also usually has a few words to say about recent viewing experiences, and the guests are usually a mix of comedians, actors (Elisabeth Shue confirmed your suspicions about Paul Verhoeven), and occasionally Leonard Maltin.

The Firesign Theater Radio Hour as dusted off and presented by WFMU
The Firesigns refined and concentrated their best work on their records, from Waiting for the Electrician or Someone Like Him onward, with the exception of the radio-show sampler Dear Friends where even there most of the examples taken are no longer than five minutes...the hours could ramble (even more!), but do demonstrate the influences ranging from Bob and Ray through Ken Nordine to the Goons. So far, I like the third one best. But I at least like them all.

Harry Shearer's Le Show sometimes is dismissed or criticizaed out of hand by folks on some of the podcasts...podcasts that probably wouldn't've existed without the Loooong-standing example of Shearer's mix of music, monolog, and sketches (almost always one-person prductions in which Shearer does all the voices). Shearer's wife, the excellent jazz-pop singer Judith Owen, is often heard in the musical segments.

The Long Shot, a relatively new podcast featuring the disparate quartet of comedians Eddie Pepitone, Sean Conroy, Jamie Flam, and Amber Kenny, who amusingly, acerbically chat, do audio sketches, and feature disparate that guest Tig Notaro asked them, "How do you all even know each other?"

The Nerdist podcast, a key component of the larger, features a crew spearheaded by Chris Hardwick, whose credits run from standup to cohosting Wired Science on PBS; he's most regularly visible on G4, and he and his partners, or he alone, interview a range of guests only slightly less wide-ranging than Jackie Kashian (see The Dork Forest). Hardwick in the most recent episode railed against those who criticize him for kissing his guests' asses, correctly noting that what could be cynically (if unsurprisingly) miscontrued thus is his genuine enthusiasm for speaking with the guests, riffing cheerfully, and generally trying to share his passions.

Never Not Funny, Jimmy Pardo's podcast, usually featuring Matt Belknap, the proprietor of A Special Thing, and one of the oldest of the continuing series (with Kashian's Dork Forest). The link is to the free feed, as NNF offers a free first twenty or so minutes as an enticement, then offers the rest of a given episode only to paying subscribers...Pardo's mock aggression, almost always immediately self-deflated, mixes well with his slightly retro persona.

The Pod F. Tomcast, Paul F. Tompkins's new performance and interview podcast, is as distinctive as his performances tend to least so far, with only two episodes up so far.

The Sound of Young America, etc.: gets one podcasts of TSOYA elements and also the more informal and uncensored Jordan, Jesse, Go! among other bits and pieces, including the Canadian Stop Podcasting Yourself and the college-station years of TSOYA, and archival bits from San Francisco legends Mal Sharpe and James Coyle. Colin Marshall's text reviews of podcasts are wide-ranging and thoughtful, as well as frequently funny.

Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me..., NPR's primary humor series (unless we consider Car Talk also primarily a humor series), remains a pleasant and frequently hilarious news-quiz game show, with comedians and writers competing for meaningless points, and guests competing on behalf of audience members. The comparable PRI series Whad'Ya Know?, features a somewhat more rambling style and fewer guests in the gameshow seqments, though also features a fine jazz combo. CBC's comedy and whimsy series Wiretap also gets a fair amount of clearance in the States...and averages perhaps a bit better in that wise than such more popular US series A Prairie Home Companion or This American Life. I'll put in a plug here for the not quite primarily humorous series On the Media and pop-science series RadioLab. Just a notch below these is Studio 360.

Weezy and the Swish is the only "dead" podcast that I list here (at least so far), Louise Palanker and Laura Swisher's project, one of the earlier comedian podcasts, and still one of the few not hosted mostly and entirely by Caucasian men. A smattering of their episodes archived here.

WTF, the Marc Maron podcast, one of the most attention-getting as Maron probes himself and his guests usually a bit more relentlessly, yet for the most part professionally (Maron's experience on Air America and with BreakRoom Live tells) than most of his peers. A mixture of usually one-on-one interviews interspersed with a sporadic set of talk-show-style multi-guest live episodes, both eminently worth catching.

...and for more pointers to comedy audio and more, see Punchline magazine online...

Friday, September 10, 2010

FFB: FANTASY: SHAPES OF THINGS UNKNOWN, edited by Edmund J. Farrell, Thomas E. Gage, John Pfordresher & Raymond J. Rodrigues (Scott, Foresman 1974)

From the Contento indices:

Fantasy: Shapes of Things Unknown ed. Edmund J. Farrell, Thomas E. Gage, John Pfordresher & Raymond J. Rodrigues (Scott, Foresman 0-673-03409-7, 1974, 384pp, tp); Textbook, in The Man [sic] in Literature Program [hello 1974].

Cover · Dream · Joan Miro (interior art uncredited and apparently in the public domain, aside from an uncredited panel from a Marvel Thor comic)
Unit 1: The Seen and the Unseen
9 · Thus I Refute Beelzy · John Collier · ss Atlantic Monthly Oct ’40
15 · The Laocoön Complex · J. C. Furnas · ss Esquire Apr ’37
28 · The Blue Lenses · Daphne du Maurier · nv Ladies Home Journal May ’59
68 · Harvey · Mary Chase · play, 1943
Unit 2: Children of the Devil
149 · Mrs. Amworth · E. F. Benson · ss Hutchinson’s Magazine Jun ’22
165 · Gabriel-Ernest · Saki · ss The Westminster Gazette May 29 ’09
173 · O Ugly Bird! [John] · Manly Wade Wellman · ss F&SF Dec ’51
190 · The Green Scarf · A. M. Burrage · ss The London Magazine Aug ’26
Unit 3: Beast and Creeping Things
209 · Born of Man and Woman · Richard Matheson · vi F&SF Sum ’50
213 · The Fly · George Langelaan · nv Playboy Jun ’57
249 · Talent · Theodore Sturgeon · ss Beyond Fantasy Fiction Sep ’53
258 · Heartburn · Hortense Calisher · ss The American Mercury Jan ’51
Unit 4: Powers and Abilities
271 · The High Divers · Jack Conroy · vi
274 · Pecos Bill · Phil Squires · ss Legends and Tales of the Old West, 1962
280 · The Portable Mrs. Tillson · Whitfield Cook · ss Story, 1937
291 · The Man with English · Horace L. Gold · ss Star Science Fiction Stories #1, ed. Frederik Pohl, Ballantine, 1953
301 · Free Dirt · Charles Beaumont · ss F&SF May ’55
Unit 5: Signs and Wonders
313 · The Chaser · John Collier · ss New Yorker Dec 28 ’40
317 · The Masque of the Red Death · Edgar Allan Poe · ss Graham’s Lady’s and Gentleman’s Magazine May, 1842
324 · Prey · Richard Matheson · ss Playboy Apr ’69
337 · The Horn of Plenty · Vladimir Grigoriev · ss Galaxy Dec ’69
354 · The Magic Shop · H. G. Wells · ss The Strand Jun ’03
366 · Discussion Questions · Misc. · ms
377 · Biographies of Authors · Misc. · bg
383 · Pronunciation Key · Misc. · ms
384 · Index of Authors and Titles · Misc. · ix

This is my first textbook entry in the "Forgotten" Books roundelay, although some of my other choices over the last two and a half years have been used as texts in courses in various venues. Despite a certain potted quality about most of them, I've loved good literature anthology texts all my literate life, and collected them as I came across them for sale as a child, usually for small change in library and tag sales, and at the five-and-dimes such as WT Grant's (where the textbooks were usually in the 3/$1 bin rather than the 4/$1 bin with the Lancer paperbacks in the mid-'70s). Scott, Foresman was a leading publisher of elementary and high-school textbooks in the US in the 1970s, probably the leading publisher of the literature textbooks, and how many other books were so widely thrust upon public-school students, at least, yet so easily forgotten after they were turned back in at the end of the school year (leading to a brisk trade in queries to information librarians and occasionally booksellers, along the lines of "It was a story about a horrible car-crash, that turned out to be a test..." (I can identify this widely-reprinted story "spoiled" thus for you at the end of the entry...another widely-reprinted story in the same sort of venue was Donald Westlake's allegorical sf "The Winner," from Harry Harrison's Nova 1 anthology of original sf stories).

Liberal and well-funded school districts might well've taken this and other volumes in the "Man in Literature Program" for junior or senior-high cirricula...I certainly would've enjoyed seeing what my classmates would make of the classroom discussion questions as this, for Hortense Calisher's "Heartburn": "Briefly summarize the circumstances by which Dr. Retz acquired the small animal in his chest. By what circumstances can he be relieved of it?" As it was, I first read Bradbury's "All Summer in a Day," Alan Nourse's "Brightside Crossing," and Clifford Simak's brilliant "Desertion" in my 7th-grade Scott, Foresman text, though the class only went through the Bradbury, after three previous years going through the Scott, Foresman "elite" series of Cavalcades, Ventures and Vistas in another state's elementary school...they also published the irregular set of hardcover editions of "free reading" books we had in the classroom, including Keith Robertson's Henry Reed's Journey and Harold Courlander's Ride with the Sun, which I have briefly reviewed previously.

Meanwhile this is a fine selection of chestnuts and a few odd surprises, the umpteenth anthologization at least of such work as the Benson (whose Mapp and Lucia novels of manners would not yet have had their revival by 1974, and his brilliant horror fiction was still what he was best remembered for) and the Colliers and the Langelaan, with the Sturgeon, Du Maurier, Wellman and Gold not quite in the same league (each of those writers having more-anthologized stories) but all fine choices, and the Saki, Poe and Wellman impeccable choices except for the weak protest that these stories by them were almost ineluctable by any literate youngster. Well, persistent literate youngster. That kid probably wouldn't've had much other chance to read "Prey" or "Free Dirt," though, however much they might enjoy their creators' work on Twilight Zone repeats or horror or suspense film broadcasts...and the inclusion of such "outliers" as Harvey and the tall-tale retold among the other fantasies seems valuable to an old eclecticist such as myself. I'm sorry that reading texts these days probably aren't allowed to be as adventurous today (Texas's more retrograde folks do indeed lead the way), as I will enjoy acquainting myself with the few unfamilar stories in this volume, which arrived in today's mail, such as the Furnas and the apparently very obscure Conroy item, and rereading the plethora of familiar stories, almost all first read by the age I'd be assigned this book.

Meanwhile, this seems an opportune point to mention two recent retrospectives (contents detailed at the end of the post), by our surviving veteran annual horror anthologists:

Darkness: Two Decades of Modern Horror, edited by Ellen Datlow and The Mammoth Book of the Best of the Best New Horror (the UK title differs slightly but is no more wieldy), edited by Stephen Jones. Both cover twenty-year periods, Datlow's the two decades after she was first on the jury for the World Fantasy Award and the next year co-edited the first of her Year's Best Fantasy and Horror volumes (my first published fiction, "Bedtime," she was kind enough to shortlist in the 1995 volume). Jones's book is more directly keyed to his annual Best New Horror, which he began, initially co-editing with Ramsey Campbell, with their 1990 volume...he takes one story from each volume so each of the twenty years is represented by a story; Datlow's book is less worried about having each year repressented, which is probably the richer if less systematic approach; John Pelan's enormous retrospective of 20th Century short horror fiction, forthcoming from Cemetery Dance Publications, is probably going to be not Quite the volume(s) it could be, in part because he is rigorously holding to a schedule of each year represented by one story and no writer having more than one story in the two volumes...the greatest error this forces, by me, is exclusion of Fritz Leiber's "Smoke Ghost," almost certainly the single most influential short horror story of the century in English...and some other questionable, if usually good, choices as Robert Bloch's representation by the relatively cheerful fantasy "That Hell-Bound Train" (his "Yours Truly, Jack the Ripper" is almost certainly the most plagiarized horror story published in English in the last century...though it wouldn't be my choice to represent him, either...perhaps "Sweets to the Sweet" among so many other candidates), or the inclusion of a number of what I'd call suspense stories, such as Joe Lansdale's triumphant "Night They Missed the Horror Show," rather than supernatural stories.

The ISFDB and Contento also have the following sf companion to the Fantasy book indexed (I have to wonder how many other volumes in the Not-Woman in Literature series there were):
Science Fact/Fiction ed. Edmund J. Farrell, Thomas E. Gage, John Pfordresher & Raymond J. Rodrigues (Scott, Foresman 0-673-03407-0, 1974, 394pp, tp)
ix · Science Fiction: Before Christ and After 2001 · Ray Bradbury · in *
3 · The Gun Without a Bang [as by Finn O’Donnevan] · Robert Sheckley · ss Galaxy Jun ’58
9 · Crabs Take Over the Island · Anatoly Dnieprov · ss International Science Fiction Jun ’68
26 · All Watched Over by Machines of Loving Grace · Richard Brautigan · pm The Pill vs. the Springtown Mine Disaster, 1968
27 · EPICAC · Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. · ss Colliers Nov 25 ’50
33 · R.U.R. · Karel Capek · pl, 1921
80 · The Human Factor · David Ely · ss The Saturday Evening Post Nov 16 ’63
90 · The Thinking Machine · Isaac Asimov · ar Science Digest Dec ’67
93 · Misbegotten Missionary · Isaac Asimov · ss Galaxy Nov ’50
105 · Elegy · Charles Beaumont · ss Imagination Feb ’53
112 · Aesthetics of the Moon · Jack Anderson · pm
115 · Constant Reader · Robert Bloch · ss Universe Jun ’53
126 · Who’s There? · Arthur C. Clarke · ss New Worlds Nov ’58
130 · We’ll Never Conquer Space · Arthur C. Clarke · ar Science Digest Jun ’60
137 · The Sack · William Morrison · ss Astounding Sep ’50
152 · Mariana · Fritz Leiber · ss Fantastic Feb ’60
156 · I Always Do What Teddy Says · Harry Harrison · ss EQMM Jun ’65
163 · The Man Who Could Work Miracles · H. G. Wells · ss The Illustrated London News Jul, 1898
177 · Echoes of the Mind · Arthur Koestler · ar Esquire Aug ’72
183 · The Reluctant Orchid [Harry Purvis (White Hart)] · Arthur C. Clarke · ss Satellite Dec ’56
191 · Founding Father · Isaac Asimov · ss Galaxy Oct ’65
196 · The Wound · Howard Fast · ss The General Zapped an Angel, Morrow, 1970
205 · The Sound Machine · Roald Dahl · ss New Yorker Sep 17 ’49
215 · Love Among the Cabbages · Peter Tompkins & Christopher Bird · ar Harper’s Nov ’72
223 · Puppet Show · Fredric Brown · ss Playboy Nov ’62
231 · Random Sample · T. P. Caravan · vi F&SF Apr ’53
234 · On the Wheel · Damon Knight · ss Nova 2, ed. Harry Harrison, Walker, 1972
239 · Orbiter 5 Shows How Earth Looks from the Moon · May Swenson · pm The Southern Review, 1969
240 · The King of the Beasts · Philip José Farmer · vi Galaxy Jun ’64
242 · UFO Detective Solves ’em All—Well Almost · Philip J. Hilts · ar The Washington Post, 1973
247 · The Good Provider · Marion Gross · ss F&SF Sep ’52
251 · A Sound of Thunder · Ray Bradbury · ss Colliers Jun 28 ’52
261 · Who’s Cribbing? · Jack Lewis · ss Startling Stories Jan ’53
267 · The Third Level · Jack Finney · ss Colliers Oct 7 ’50; F&SF Oct ’52
271 · Speed · Josephine Miles · pm, 1960
272 · The Inn Outside the World · Edmond Hamilton · ss Weird Tales Jul ’45
284 · On the Relativity of Time · Wolfgang Pauli · ar, 1949
286 · Relativity Wins Again · Anon. · ar Science Digest Jan ’72
287 · A Matter of Overtime · Anon. · ar Time Mar ’69
289 · There Will Come Soft Rains · Ray Bradbury · ss Colliers May 6 ’50
295 · The Forgotten Enemy · Arthur C. Clarke · ss King’s College Review Dec ’48
301 · Earthmen Bearing Gifts · Fredric Brown · vi Galaxy Jun ’60
304 · The Ifth of Oofth · Walter Tevis · ss Galaxy Apr ’57
312 · Electronic Tape Found in a Bottle · Olga Cabral · pm, 1971
313 · Brace Yourself for Another Ice Age · Douglas Colligan · ar Science Digest Feb ’73
317 · The Census Takers · Frederik Pohl · ss F&SF Feb ’56
322 · Disappearing Act · Alfred Bester · ss Star Science Fiction Stories #2, ed. Frederik Pohl, Ballantine, 1953
337 · Bulletin · Shirley Jackson · vi F&SF Mar ’54
340 · Autofac · Philip K. Dick · nv Galaxy Nov ’55
359 · Toward the Space Age · William Stafford · pm, 1970
360 · Spaceship Earth · R. Buckminster Fuller · ar, 1969
364 · Biographies of Authors · Misc. · bg
366 · Science-Fiction Awards · Misc. · ms
378 · Pronunciation Key · Misc. · ms
379 · Discussion Questions · Misc. · ms
394 · Index of Authors and Titles · Misc. · ix

and...the contents of the Datlow and Jones and Pelan books noted above:

Darkness Table of Contents (Tachyon Publications)
Trade paperback / 424 pp. / March 2010 / 978-1-892391-95-7

Jacqueline Ess: Her Will And Testament by Clive Barker
Dancing Chickens by Edward Bryant
The Greater Festival of Masks by Thomas Ligotti
The Pear-Shaped Man by George R.R. Martin
The Juniper Tree by Peter Straub
Two Minutes Forty-Five Seconds by Dan Simmons
The Power and the Passion by Pat Cadigan
The Phone Woman by Joe R. Lansdale
Teratisms by Kathe Koja
Chattery Teeth by Stephen King
A Little Night Music by Lucius Shepard
Calcutta, Lord of Nerves by Poppy Z. Brite
The Erl King by Elizabeth Hand
The Dog Park by Dennis Etchison
Rain Falls by Michael Marshall Smith
Refrigerator Heaven by David J. Schow
---- by Joyce Carol Oates
Eaten (Scenes from a Moving Picture) by Neil Gaiman
The Specialist’s Hat by Kelly Link
The Tree is My Hat by Gene Wolfe
Heat by Steve Rasnic Tem
No Strings by Ramsey Campbell
Stitch by Terry Dowling
Dancing Men by Glen Hirshberg
My Father’s Mask by Joe Hill

The Best of the Best New Horror contents:
Robinson Publishing, UK • tp • £9.99 ISBN: 978-1-84901-304-8; Running Press, USA • tp • $13.95 ISBN: 978-0-7624-3841-9
1989 NO SHARKS IN THE MED Brian Lumley
1990 THE MAN WHO DREW CATS Michael Marshall Smith
1991 THE SAME IN ANY LANGUAGE Ramsey Campbell
1993 MEFISTO IN ONYX Harlan Ellison
1995 QUEEN OF KNIVES Neil Gaiman
1996 THE BREAK Terry Lamsley
1998 MR. CLUBB AND MR. CUFF Peter Straub
1999 WHITE Tim Lebbon
2002 20TH CENTURY GHOST Joe Hill
2003 THE WHITE HANDS Mark Samuels
2004 MY DEATH Lisa Tuttle
2005 HAECKEL'S TALE Clive Barker
2006 DEVIL'S SMILE Glen Hirshberg
2007 THE CHURCH ON THE ISLAND Simon Kurt Unsworth
I: Index by Contributor
II: Index by Title
III: Contents of Previous Omnibus Editions

The Century's Best Horror Fiction
edited by John Pelan ISBN: 1-58767-080-1
Table of Contents
1901: Barry Pain -- The Undying Thing
1902: W.W. Jacobs -- The Monkey's Paw
1903: H.G.Wells -- The Valley of the Spiders
1904: Arthur Machen -- The White People
1905: R. Murray Gilchrist -- The Lover's Ordeal
1906: Edward Lucas White -- House of the Nightmare
1907: Algernon Blackwood -- The Willows
1908: Perceval Landon -- Thurnley Abbey
1909: Violet Hunt -- The Coach
1910: Wm Hope Hodgson -- The Whistling Room
1911: M.R. James -- Casting the Runes
1912: E.F. Benson -- Caterpillars
1913: Aleister Crowley -- The Testament of Magdelan Blair
1914: M. P. Shiel -- The Place of Pain
1915: Hanns Heinz Ewers -- The Spider
1916: Lord Dunsany -- Thirteen at Table
1917: Frederick Stuart Greene -- The Black Pool
1918: H. De Vere Stacpoole -- The Middle Bedroom
1919: Ulric Daubeny -- The Sumach
1920: Maurice Level -- In the Light of the Red Lamp
1921: Vincent O'Sullivan -- Master of Fallen Years
1922: Walter de la Mare -- Seaton's Aunt
1923: George Allen England -- The Thing From--"Outside"
1924: C.M. Eddy, Jr. -- The Loved Dead
1925: John Metcalfe -- The Smoking Leg
1926: H.P. Lovecraft -- The Outsider
1927: Donald Wandrei -- The Red Brain
1928: H.R. Wakefield -- The Red Lodge
1929: Eleanor Scott -- Celui-La
1930: Rosalie Muspratt -- Spirit of Stonhenge
1931: Henry S. Whitehead -- Cassius
1932: David H. Keller -- The Thing in the Cellar
1933: C.L. Moore -- Shambleau
1934: L.A. Lewis -- The Tower of Moab
1935: Clark Ashton Smith -- The Dark Eidolon
1936: Thorp McCluskey -- The Crawling Horror
1937: Howard Wandrei -- The Eerie Mr Murphy
1938: Robert E. Howard -- Pigeons from Hell
1939: Robert Barbour Johnson -- Far Below
1940: John Collier -- Evening Primrose
1941: C.M. Kornbluth -- The Words of Guru
1942: Jane Rice -- The Idol of the Flies
1943: Anthony Boucher -- They Bite
1944: Ray Bradbury -- The Jar
1945: August Derleth -- Carousel
1946: Manly Wade Wellman -- Shonokin Town
1947: Theodore Sturgeon -- Bianca's Hands
1948: Shirley Jackson -- The Lottery
1949: Nigel Kneale -- The Pond
1950: Richard Matheson -- Born of Man & Woman
1951: Russell Kirk -- Uncle Isiah
1952: Eric Frank Russell -- I Am Nothing
1953: Robert Sheckley -- The Altar
1954: Everil Worrell -- Call Not Their Names
1955: Robert Aickman -- Ringing the Changes
1956: Richard Wilson -- Lonely Road
1957: Clifford Simak -- Founding Father
1958: Robert Bloch -- That Hell-Bound Train
1959: Charles Beaumont -- The Howling Man
1960: Fredric Brown -- The House
1961: Ray Russell -- Sardonicus
1962: Carl Jacobi -- The Aquarium
1963: Robert Arthur -- The Mirror of Cagliostro
1964: Charles Birkin -- A Lovely Bunch of Coconuts
1965: Jean Ray -- The Shadowy Street
1966: Arthur Porges -- The Mirror
1967: Norman Spinrad -- Carcinoma Angels
1968: Anna Hunger -- Come
1969: Steffan Aletti -- The Last Work of Pietro Apono
1970: David A. Riley -- The Lurkers in the Abyss
1971: Dorothy K. Haynes -- The Derelict Track
1972: Gary Brandner -- The Price of a Demon
1973: Eddy C. Bertin -- Like Two White Spiders
1974: Karl Edward Wagner -- Sticks
1975: David Drake -- The Barrow Troll
1976: Dennis Etchison -- It Only Comes Out at Night
1977: Barry N. Malzberg -- The Man Who Loved the Midnight Lady
1978: Michael Bishop -- Within the Walls of Tyre
1979: Ramsey Campbell -- Mackintosh Willy
1980: Michael Shea -- The Autopsy
1981: Stephen King -- The Reach
1982: Fritz Leiber -- Horrible Imagings
1983: David Schow -- One for the Horrors
1984: Bob Leman -- The Unhappy Pilgrimage of Clifford M.
1985: Michael Reaves -- The Night People
1986: Tim Powers -- Night Moves
1987: Ian Watson -- Evil Water
1988: Joe R. Lansdale -- The Night They Missed the Horror Show
1989: Joel Lane -- The Earth Wire
1990: Elizabeth Massie -- Stephen
1991: Thomas Ligotti -- The Glamour
1992: Poppy Z. Brite -- Calcutta Lord of Nerves
1993: Lucy Taylor -- The Family Underwater
1994: Jack Ketchum -- The Box
1995: Terry Lamsley -- The Toddler
1996: Caitlín R. Kiernan -- Tears Seven Times Salt
1997: Stephen Laws -- The Crawl
1998: Brian Hodge -- As Above, So Below
1999: Glen Hirshberg -- Mr. Dark's Carnival
2000: Tim Lebbon -- Reconstructing Amy

For more of this week's book selections, please see Patti Abbott's blog for the roundup of links and guest suggestions.

****spoiler bit from above****

"Test" by Thedore L. Thomas, from F&SF, April 1962, and reprinted at least twenty times, I'd guess. I recall seeing it in the Xerox Publications classroom magazine Read, for example, ca. 1977.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Tuesday Memorial

The Breeders were That good. Really, folks, Try not to abnegate yourselves with anything, including narcotics, black tar or otherwise...and maybe we can stop incarcerating the slow suicices. They've got their own liminal, limned houses.

And there was that other band Kim Deal was in. The Pixies called my folks' house once, at like 2-3am ET, to talk to my brother, who'd sent them some art. They were feeling no pain. My father, who answered the phone, was feeling less festive. (I didn't live there any longer, or I might've saved everyone a brief lack of actual conversation.)

What's come in (after Rick Robinson's roundup notes)

Items in this long weekend, essentially:

STORIES, Neil Gaiman and Al Sarrantonio, eds.
NEW STORIES FROM THE SOUTH 2010, Amy Hempel, ed.
DARKNESS, Ellen Datlow, ed.
THRILLER 2, Clive Cussler, ed.

Magazines (current issues):
FICTION (Mary Gordon has an interesting but minor stalker story to lead off)
PHOTO (the French original)
BITCH (Ursula K. Le Guin’s brief interview is worth a look)

THE NEW CONTINENT, The Dizzy Gillespie Orchestra featuring Lalo Schifrin

STRIVE FOR JIVE, The Toshiko Akiyoshi Orchestra
SATURDAY NIGHT AND SUNDAY MORNING (apparently a premium offered with a gift subscription to SIGHT AND SOUND)

Friday, September 3, 2010

Friday's "Forgotten" Magazines and Periodical Books: Firsts: F&SF, FANTASTIC, WHISPERS, SHADOWS, TZ, ARIEL, WEIRD TALES, OTHER WORLDS and before.

(Indices from and the Contento indices; magazine cover images mostly from the collection at Galactic Central).

So, I thought I'd highlight the first new issues I picked up of some of my favorite fiction magazines from my salad days (having already blogged about the first older issues I encountered, my free first taste)...the second taste, no longer free (though only Ariel was so expensive as to make me think twice...).

The March, 1978, issue of F&SF (the first issue to cost $1.25...editor and publisher Edward Ferman would offer "all-star" issues for the anniversaries and every price rise...and clearly, my timing was exquisite) was pretty impressive, both for its nice proportion of horror stories (the Wellman, the Grant, the Garrett Lovecraftian parody which inspired the cover, and the relatively weak Young) and for the longest fiction in the issue, John Varley's "The Persistence of Vision." Solid columns by Algis Budrys, Baird Searles (his rundown of the film of Damnation Alley, quite probably the funniest column Searles wrote) and Isaac Asimov, a Gahan Wilson cartoon, Ted Thomas's deft humanistic sf piece, Glen Cook's fine Vancean fantasy, and a not-bad Papa Schimmelhorn story...instant addiction.

6 • The Persistence of Vision • novella by John Varley
51 • Hundred Years Gone • [Southern Appalachia] • shortstory by Manly Wade Wellman
63 • Books (F&SF, March 1978) • [Books (F&SF)] • essay by Algis Budrys
65 •   Review: Gateway by Frederik Pohl • review by Algis Budrys
66 •   Review: The Futurians by Damon Knight • review by Algis Budrys
72 • The Family Man • shortstory by Theodore L. Thomas [as by Ted Thomas ]
78 • The Seventh Fool • shortstory by Glen Cook
83 • Cartoon: "I suppose you don't think this is hard work! • interior artwork by Gahan Wilson
84 • Hear Me Now, My Sweet Abbey Rose • shortstory by Charles L. Grant
97 • Films and Television: The Road to Albany • [Films (F&SF)] • essay by Baird Searles
100 • Down the Ladder • shortstory by Robert F. Young
111 • The Horror Out of Time • shortstory by Randall Garrett
123 • Anyone for Tens? • [Asimov's Essays: F&SF] • essay by Isaac Asimov
135 • Papa Schimmelhorn's Yang • [Schimmelhorn] • novelette by Reginald Bretnor

The quarterly Fantastic had its July issue out by March (and also the first $1.25 issue), so the next time I dropped by the Derry bookstore that was my source of new fiction magazines, and most of my new books, in my New Hampshire years (a real pity it didn't ever carry UnEarth nor Shayol nor even the Boston-based Galileo regularly in those years), I snagged it. Again, Robert Young's story was more foolish than not, but fun enough to read (and an opportunity for Stephen Fabian to do his mild cheesecake illustrations), but Charles Sheffield's first Erasmus Darwin historical fantasy (further stories would appear in Alfred Hitchcock's Mystery Magazine and F&SF in months to come, as Fantastic would soon go into its final decline) was impressive, as the horrors by Malzberg, Springer, and arguably Davis were augmented by charming fantasies by Godwin and Haldeman, and a borderline sf by Bunch. And Fritz Leiber was their book reviewer! I did luck into his first column in about a year or so...and one where he was, as he had with Katherine Kurtz previously, reluctantly forced to give a very negative review...unsurprisingly, even moreso (along with inviting a guest to give another persoective, at least as unimpressed).

4 • Editorial (Fantastic, July 1978) • [Editorial (Fantastic)] • essay by Ted White
6 • The Journal of Nathaniel Worth • novelette by Robert F. Young
7 • The Journal of Nathaniel Worth • interior artwork by Stephen Fabian [as by Steve Fabian ]
20 • The Last Rainbow • novelette by Parke Godwin
21 • The Last Rainbow • interior artwork by Joe Staton
44 • The Chill of Distant Laughter • shortstory by Sherwood Springer
45 • The Chill of Distant Laughter • interior artwork by John Rodak
54 • The Treasure of Odirex • [Erasmus Darwin] • novella by Charles Sheffield
55 • The Treasure of Odirex • interior artwork by Lydia Moon
93 • Prowl • shortstory by Barry N. Malzberg
96 • David's Friend, the Hole • shortstory by Grania Davis
97 • David's Friend, the Hole • interior artwork by Tony Gleeson
105 • What Weighs 8000 Pounds and Wears Red Sneakers? • shortstory by Jack C. Haldeman, II
108 • Send Us a Planet! • shortstory by David R. Bunch
116 • Fantasy Books (Fantastic, July 1978) • [Fantasy Books (Fantastic)] • essay by Fritz Leiber
119 •   Review: The Sword of Shannara by Terry Brooks • review by Fritz Leiber
123 • . . . According to You (Fantastic, July 1978) • [According to You (Fantastic)] • letter column conducted by Ted White

There were only two more Ted White issues of Fantastic before Arthur Bernhard bought out his retiring senior partner Sol Cohen as publisher, and remade Fantastic into a garish mostly-reprint magazine with game but even more underpaid tyro editor Eleanor Mavor (she used the pseudonym "Omar Gohagen" at first). White wandered over to Heavy Metal for a year, where he luxuriated in a real about the same time, Ben Bova was leaving the sf magazine Analog and wandering over to a gig at Omni, and leaving behind a minimal budget for a similarly luxurious one.

So, as I mentioned, Ariel simply cost too much. Though it was handsome, as I browsed each issue as I found it, this second issue being the first I saw. A buck and a quarter I could swing on my irregular allowance...but $6 for one rather slim issue/volume? Even with that lineup? Um...
Cover: Frank Frazetta
fep • Ariel: The Book of Fantasy, Volume Two • interior artwork by Franklin Booth
bc • Ariel: The Book of Fantasy, Volume Two • interior artwork by Bruce Jones
2 • Ariel: The Book of Fantasy, Volume Two (frontispiece) • interior artwork by Richard Corben
3 • Title Page (Ariel: The Book of Fantasy, Volume Two) • interior artwork by Frank Frazetta
5 • Contents Page (Ariel: The Book of Fantasy, Volume Two) • interior artwork by Frank Frazetta
6 • Eggsucker • [Vic and Blood • 1] • shortstory by Harlan Ellison
6 • Eggsucker • interior artwork by Richard Corben
14 • Interview with Frank Frazetta Part II • interview of Frank Frazetta • interview by Armand Eisen
14 • Interview with Frank Frazetta, Part II • interior artwork by Frank Frazetta
27 • The Princess and the Merman • shortfiction by Bruce Jones
27 • The Princess and the Merman • interior artwork by Bruce Jones
32 • The Lake — To __ • interior artwork by Michael Hague
33 • The Lake — To __ • (1827) • poem by Edgar Allan Poe (aka The Lake)
34 • Science Fiction Chauvinism • (1975) • essay by Ursula K. Le Guin [as by Ursula Le Guin ]
34 • Science Fiction Chauvinism • interior artwork by Mark Corcoran
36 • Frodo as Christ • interior artwork by John Butterfield
36 • Frodo as Christ • (1970) • essay by Myra Edwards Barnes [as by Myra Edward Barnes ]
40 • The Burning Man • (1976) • shortstory by Ray Bradbury
40 • The Burning Man • interior artwork by Bruce Jones
44 • Thinking of Frankenstein • essay by Arthur Asa Berger
44 • Thinking of Frankenstein • interior artwork by Michael McClue
47 • Paradise Gems • shortstory by David James
47 • Paradise Gems • interior artwork by Tom Kowal
48 • The Helmet-Maker's Wife • novelette by Keith Roberts
48 • The Helmet-Maker's Wife • interior artwork by Robert Noback
56 • Den (Ariel #2) • comics by Richard Corben
71 • Islands • (1963) • shortstory by Michael Moorcock
72 • Islands • interior artwork by Jeff Jones

But one I was willing to expend the effort and expense (a mere $4 for this relatively fat double issue, in comparison) to obtain was my first Whispers issue, having already enjoyed library copies of the First World Fantasy Awards anthology, with its Whispers sampler within, and the first Whispers anthology.
Title: Whispers #13-14, October 1979: Fritz Leiber tribute issue
(wraparound) Cover: Steve Fabian
fep • Our Lady of Darkness • interior artwork by John Stewart
bep • Smoke Ghost • interior artwork by Chris Pellitiere
1 • Whispers (masthead) • (1977) • interior artwork by John Linton
2 • Editorial (Whispers #13-14) • essay by Stuart David Schiff
3 • News (Whispers #13-14) • essay by Stuart David Schiff
12 • A Ghostly Photograph of Fritz Leiber • interior artwork by Emil Petaja
13 • The Button Molder • novelette by Fritz Leiber
35 • Swords and Deviltry Folio • interior artwork by Stephen Fabian [as by Steve Fabian ]
43 • Fritz Leiber Revisited: From Hyde Park to Geary Street • essay by James Wade
48 • Alderman Stratton's Fancy • (1969) • shortstory by David Campton
55 • Alderman Stratton's Fancy • interior artwork by Ray Capella
56 • Castle of Tears • [Dread Empire] • shortstory by Glen Cook
64 • Castle of Tears • interior artwork by Vincent Napoli
69 • Blood Moon • shortstory by Thomas L. Owen
78 • Chang Dree • shortstory by Gerald W. Page
88 • HPL: A Reminiscence (part 2 of 2) • essay by H. Warner Munn
96 • The Sorcerer's Dream • shortstory by Brian Lumley
99 • The Sorcerer's Dream • interior artwork by Alan Hunter
100 • A Fly One • shortstory by Steve Sneyd
104 • A Fly One • interior artwork by Denis Tiani
105 • The Last Ambition • shortstory by Charles L. Grant
109 • The Last Ambition • interior artwork by Alan Hunter
110 • Who Nose What Evil • shortstory by Charles E. Fritch
115 • Who Nose What Evil • interior artwork by Jim Shull
116 • The White Beast • [Dilvish] • shortstory by Roger Zelazny
118 • The White Beast • interior artwork by Alan Hunter
119 • The Secret Member • essay by J. Vernon Shea
121 • The Dead Line • shortstory by Dennis Etchison

--Goodness. Even the minor Lumley was fun to read. Much less the Leiber, the Etchison, the Campton, the Grant...

Meanwhile, here's the lineup for that first Whispers anthology, from Doubleday:
Whispers ed. Stuart David Schiff (Doubleday 0-385-12568-2, Aug ’77, $7.95, hc); Also in pb (Jove 1979).
· Introduction · Stuart David Schiff · in
· Sticks · Karl Edward Wagner · nv Whispers Mar ’74
· The Barrow Troll · David Drake · ss Whispers Dec ’75
· The Glove · Fritz Leiber · ss Whispers Jun ’75
· The Closer of the Way · Robert Bloch · ss *
· Dark Winner · William F. Nolan · ss Whispers Dec ’76
· Ladies in Waiting · Hugh B. Cave · ss Whispers Jun ’75
· White Moon Rising · Dennis Etchison · ss *
· Graduation · Richard Christian Matheson · ss Whispers Aug ’77
· Mirror, Mirror · Ray Russell · ss *
· The House of Cthulhu · Brian Lumley · ss Whispers Jul ’73
· Antiquities · John Crowley · ss *
· A Weather Report from the Top of the Stairs · James Sallis & David Lunde · ss Whispers Dec ’73
· The Scallion Stone · Basil A. Smith · nv *
· The Inglorious Rise of the Catsmeat Man · Robin Smyth · ss New Writings in Horror and the Supernatural #1, ed. David A. Sutton, London: Sphere, 1971; Whispers Jul ’74
· The Pawnshop · Charles E. Fritch · ss *
· Le Miroir · Robert Aickman · ss Whispers Aug ’77
· The Willow Platform · Joseph Payne Brennan · ss Whispers Jul ’73
· The Dakwa [Lee Cobbett] · Manly Wade Wellman · ss *
· Goat · David Campton · ss New Writings in Horror and the Supernatural #1, ed. David A. Sutton, London: Sphere, 1971; Whispers Dec ’75
· The Chimney · Ramsey Campbell · ss *
· Afterword · Stuart David Schiff · aw

The only conteporary series which could touch the Schiff anthologies, at least at first, was Charles Grant's Shadows volumes, with their emphasis on what Grant himself preferred to write, "quiet" or subtle horror...Avram Davidson's brilliant "Naples" led, and not only in its placement in this impressive debut.

Shadows ed. Charles L. Grant (Doubleday 0-385-12937-8, 1978, $7.95, hc); Also in pb (Playboy 1980).
· Introduction · Charles L. Grant · in
· Naples · Avram Davidson · ss *
· The Little Voice · Ramsey Campbell · nv *
· Butcher’s Thumb · William Jon Watkins · ss *
· Where All the Songs Are Sad · Thomas F. Monteleone · nv *
· Splinters · R. A. Lafferty · ss *
· Picture · Robert Bloch · ss *
· The Nighthawk · Dennis Etchison · ss *
· Dead Letters · Ramsey Campbell · ss *
· A Certain Slant of Light · Raylyn Moore · ss *
· Deathlove · Bill Pronzini · ss *
· Mory · Michael Bishop · nv *
· Where Spirits Gat Them Home · John Crowley · ss *
· Nona · Stephen King · nv *

(Well, to be fair, Ramsey Campbell found his 1980 New Terrors anthology published in two volumes...not supported, as Kirby McCauley was with his comparable Frights and Dark Forces, with one fat volume...these all comparable reads....)

Even Zebra, so ready to help overload horror fiction with mediocre to terrible horror novels in a few years, was willing to briefly support two anthology series, both not quite what they should be, and not quite up to these others, but more grist for my mill...Roy Torgeson's Other Worlds (which actually managed to leave out the Avram Davidson story mentioned on its cover...published in the second and final volume), and Lin Carter's Weird Tales, the second revival to use the title (Sam Moskowitz had edited four issues for Leo Margulies's Renown Publications in 1973-74 of the first revival...Carter's series saw four volumes, and some questionable accounting on everyone's part helped kill it...a two-issue revival followed in 1984, and the current WT began its much more tradtionalist (than currently) run in 1985 when George Scithers and his editorial staff left the D&D-gaming TSR Publishers, who'd hired them from founding Asimov's to edit Amazing (combined with Fantastic) after TSR bought it from Bernhard; TSR promptly sold the tv rights to the magazine and title to Steven Spielberg for his plastic timewaster...a bump of cash which no doubt helped keep the magazine going despite TSR nonchalance.

Other Worlds 1 ed. Roy Torgeson (Zebra 0-89083-558-6, Dec ’79, $2.25, 282pp, pb)
9 · Introduction · Roy Torgeson · in
18 · Fire from the Wine-Dark Sea · Somtow Sucharitkul · nv *
40 · The Birdchaser · James E. Thompson · ss *
46 · The Pavilion Where All Times Meet · Jayge Carr · nv *
69 · The Bully and the Beast · Orson Scott Card · na *
142 · Hideout · Steve Rasnic Tem · ss *
153 · The Last Performance of Kobo Daishi · Alan Ryan · nv *
178 · Miss Notworthy and the Aliens · Sharon Webb · ss *
187 · Water Kwatz, or More Bible Suckers · Ronald Anthony Cross · ss *
207 · The Dragon That Lived in the Sea · Elizabeth A. Lynn · ss *
215 · The Painters Are Coming Today · Steve Rasnic Tem · ss *
221 · Perfect Balance · Steve Perry · ss *
235 · The Character Assassin · Paul H. Cook · ss *
249 · from The Last Viking: The Saga of Harald Hardrede · Poul Anderson · ex *

Weird Tales [No.1, v48 # 1, Spring 1981] ed. Lin Carter (Zebra 0-89083-714-7, Dec ’80, $2.50, 268pp, pb)
5 · Editorial · Lin Carter · ed *
9 · Scarlet Tears · Robert E. Howard · nv *
47 · Down There · Ramsey Campbell · ss *
65 · The Light from the Pole · Clark Ashton Smith & Lin Carter · ss *
86 · Someone Named Guibourg · Hannes Bok · nv *
Annals of Arkya:
___ 116 · 1. The Courier · Robert A. W. Lowndes · pm *
___ 116 · 2. The Worshippers · Robert A. W. Lowndes · pm *
117 · Bat’s Belfry · August W. Derleth · ss Weird Tales May ’26
130 · The Pit · Carl Jacobi · ss *
149 · When the Clock Strikes · Tanith Lee · ss *
174 · Red Thunder · Robert E. Howard · pm JAPM: The Poetry Weekly Sep 16 ’29
175 · Some Day I’ll Kill You! · Seabury Quinn · ss Strange Stories Feb ’41
194 · Healer · Mary Elizabeth Counselman · nv *
219 · The House Without Mirrors · David H. Keller, M.D. · ss *
230 · Dreams in the House of Weir · Lin Carter · nv *

And, finally, in 1981, a magazine rolled onto the stands that wouldn't quite replace Fantastic in my heart, but did in its seven-year run consistently improve and offer a good array of much of the best short fantasy and horror published during its time...and even helped name as well as first publish some of the best of the not-so-quiet horror writers, the "splatterpunks"...Twilight Zone. I missed the first issue, and started with the second. (Its sister publication, a few years later, Night Cry, was even better but had poorer distribution...very catch as catch can.)
6 • In the Twilight Zone: Rewriting the Legends... • essay by T. E. D. Klein
7 • Other Dimensions: Books (Twilight Zone, May 1981) • essay by Theodore Sturgeon
7 •   Review: Far from Home by Walter Tevis • review by Theodore Sturgeon
7 •   Review: King David's Spaceship by Jerry Pournelle • review by Theodore Sturgeon
7 •   Review: Zelde M'Tana by F. M. Busby • review by Theodore Sturgeon
7 •   Review: Wild Seed by Octavia E. Butler • review by Theodore Sturgeon
7 •   Review: Orbit 21 by Damon Knight • review by Theodore Sturgeon
7 •   Review: Shadows 3 by Charles L. Grant • review by Theodore Sturgeon
7 •   Review: The Last Defender of Camelot by Roger Zelazny • review by Theodore Sturgeon
7 •   Review: Fundamental Disch by Thomas M. Disch • review by Theodore Sturgeon
7 •   Review: If All Else Fails by Craig Strete • review by Theodore Sturgeon
7 • Review of the nonfiction book "Godel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid" by Douglas R. Hofstader • essay by Theodore Sturgeon
7 • Review of the nonfiction book "The Time Falling Bodies Take to Light" by William Irwin Thompson • essay by Theodore Sturgeon
8 •   Review: An Island Called Moreau by Brian W. Aldiss • review by Theodore Sturgeon
8 •   Review: The Claw of the Conciliator by Gene Wolfe • review by Theodore Sturgeon
8 •   Review: Conan and the Spider God by L. Sprague de Camp • review by Theodore Sturgeon
8 •   Review: Nightmares by Charles L. Grant • review by Theodore Sturgeon
8 •   Review: Jack Vance by Martin Harry Greenberg and Joseph D. Olander and Tim Underwood and Chuck Miller • review by Theodore Sturgeon
9 •   Review: A Fond Farewell to Dying by Syd Logsdon • review by Theodore Sturgeon
10 • Other Dimensions: Screen (Twilight Zone, May 1981) • essay by Gahan Wilson
13 • TZ Interview: Peter Straub: "I Looked Into My Imagination and That's What I Found" • interview of Peter Straub • interview by Jay Gregory
18 • In the Sunken Museum • novelette by Gregory Frost
19 • In the Sunken Museum • interior artwork by Frances Jetter
28 • Blood Relations • shortstory by Lewis Shiner
28 • Blood Relations • interior artwork by Arthur Somerfield
34 • And I Only Am Escaped to Tell Thee • shortstory by Roger Zelazny
34 • And I Only Am Escaped to Tell Thee • interior artwork by Bob Gale
36 • Chronic Offender • shortstory by Spider Robinson
37 • Chronic Offender • interior artwork by Steven Guarnaccia
46 • Seven and the Stars • shortstory by Joe Haldeman
46 • Seven and the Stars • interior artwork by Jose Reyes
53 • TZ Screen Preview: The Hand • essay by uncredited
57 • Drum Dancer • shortstory by George Clayton Johnson
57 • Drum Dancer • interior artwork by A. G. Metcalf
60 • Brief Encounter • shortstory by Michael Garrett
60 • Brief Encounter • interior artwork by Jose Reyes
62 • How They Pass the Time in Pelpel • shortstory by Robert Silverberg
62 • How They Pass the Time in Pelpel • interior artwork by uncredited
70 • Magritte's Secret Agent • novelette by Tanith Lee
70 • Magritte's Secret Agent • shortfiction by Jose Reyes
89 • Show-by-Show Guide: TV's Twilight Zone: Part Two • essay by Marc Scott Zicree
95 • The Monsters Are Due on Maple Street (teleplay) • shortfiction by Rod Serling
106 • Looking Ahead (Twilight Zone, May 1981) • essay by uncredited

...of course, I was primed for all these as a small child, when my parents presented me with a few issues of Humpty Dumpty and Children's Digest, when they were published by the Parents Magazine folks, and not yet by Christian conservatives.

This was one of the issues of HD I had:

And, with excerpts from Hugh Lofting and Lewis Carroll (and Herge's Tintin comics serialized), I think I had this issue of CD...

While my folks would get me a few Highlights for Children and, as a Webelos, Boy's Life in the next few years, I think the digests made a stronger impression... pity my folks didn't know about Jack and Jill and Cricket...nor realized how much I enjoyed the digests...of course, I was also reading the crime-fiction and sf digests, and Short Story International, and The Atlantic Monthly and Dissent, and Omni and Scientific American, and Downbeat when I could find it, by the turn of the '80s...

For more of this round of "forgotten" books, and probably less nostalgic ramble by anyone else this week, please see George Kelley's blog, as he fills in for the vacationing Patti Abbott.

And, in a ten-years-later addition to the discussion here, illustrator and writer Tony Gleeson cites his own years-later experience with the illustration of a Grania Davis story in this issue of Fantastic, the illustration reprinted below from the context of the issue archived here. (Text and illo are a bit sharper and more readable at