Friday, February 25, 2011
Friday's "Forgotten" Books: Robert Arthur, editor: ALFRED HITCHCOCK'S MONSTER MUSEUM revisited, among some other matters...
From the Contento Index:
Alfred Hitchcock’s Monster Museum [ghost-edited by Robert Arthur] ed. Anon. (Random House, 1965, $3.95, 207pp, hc); all illustrations by Earl E. Mayan.
* · Introduction: A Variety of Monsters · [attributed to] Alfred Hitchcock · in
* 1 · The Day of the Dragon · Guy Endore · nv Blue Book Jun ’34
* 29 · The King of the Cats · Stephen Vincent Benét · ss Harper’s Bazaar Feb ’29
* 46 · Slime · Joseph Payne Brennan · nv Weird Tales Mar ’53
* 73 · The Man Who Sold Rope to the Gnoles · Idris Seabright (Margaret St. Clair) · ss F&SF Oct ’51
* 79 · Henry Martindale, Great Dane · Miriam Allen deFord · ss Beyond Fantasy Fiction Mar ’54
* 95 · The Microscopic Giants · Paul Ernst · ss Thrilling Wonder Stories Oct ’36
* 114 · The Young One · Jerome Bixby · nv Fantastic Apr ’54
* 144 · Doomsday Deferred · Will F. Jenkins · ss The Saturday Evening Post Sep 24 ’49
* 162 · Shadow, Shadow, on the Wall · Theodore Sturgeon · ss Imagination Feb ’51
* 174 · The Desrick on Yandro [John] · Manly Wade Wellman · ss F&SF Jun ’52
* 188 · The Wheelbarrow Boy · Richard Parker · ss Lilliput Oct ’50 (reprinted in F&SF, 1953)
* 193 · Homecoming · Ray Bradbury · ss Mademoiselle Oct ’46
As I'm slowly gathering up decent reading copies of all the "Hitchcock" anthologies, I just received my new copy of this, the first of the hardcover YA anthologies I've purchased (I had only read library copies and infrequently read one or two of the rather pointlessly abridged paperback copies previously), and so revisit this one after two years for FFB purposes. First off, what a fine book this is, with the generally handsome (and appropriately sinister) Earl Mayan illustrations and design running throughout, and a judicious selection of magazine fiction...if I hadn't been primed to love fiction magazines by early experience of them directly, anthologies such as this one might've done the trick by themselves.
Excellent choices by geniuses such as Benet and Wellman (one of the most resonant of his John the Balladeer stories), Bradbury and his mentor Sturgeon, and St. Clair...Miriam Allen deFord and Benet both represented by stories wherein there's some confusion as between human and dog and human and cat, but in such various means...and you simply, neither now nor in 1965, see too many reprints of Paul Ernst's work, a man who wrote solid, memorable stories such as this (about small humanoid creatures so dense they walk through the matter of the Earth as we might walk through water), even as questionable as the physics involved might be (it was in a 1936 issue of Thrilling Wonder Stories rather than the somewhat more rigorous pages of a 1943 Astounding or even Sam Merwin's TWS of 1949)...Ernst wrote a lot of shudder pulp after and probably along with this story, and probably is remembered now, when at all, mostly for that (late bulletin: a little engine-searching turns up the datum that he might well be best-remembered for writing the lead novels for the hero pulp The Avenger). (One of the stories, along with the Endore, bumped from the paperback reprint...did the paperback editor see it as dated--it refers as a 1936 story to "the Great War," when it is set? Too grisly? "I've never heard of Ernst"?).
Altogether a delightful volume, as good to pick up now as when I was nine. Among the several more adult "Hitchcock" volumes I've picked up along with this one over the last week, my first hardcover copy of AH Presents: My Favorites in Suspense (1959), which reminds me that Patricia O'Connell ghost-edited at least this volume in the series, and which volume concludes with the Elisabeth Sanxay Holding novel The Blank Wall...I hope to be able to further Ed Gorman's cause on behalf of a Holding revival some more in the near future.
And, as I'm gathering also all the Avram Davidson volumes I didn't already own, so as to have the stray story or variant and prefatory matter, I've finally looked at the 1971 Doubleday edition of his collection Strange Seas and Shores...which has an introduction by Ray Bradbury. Which fact is not mentioned anywhere on the clumsily illustrated cover, even in the dustjacket flap copy, nor is the Bradbury authorship mentioned on the title page nor Even in the table of contents nor credited in the copyright acknowledgments page...the marketing genius juggernaut that was Doubleday in the '70s retains its luster. Because what you want to do, if you go out of your way to have a Bradbury introduction to a 1971 story collection, is hide it as much as possible.
For more of today's "forgotten" books, please see Patti Abbott's blog for the links roll and more. Your servant, from the land of upper respiratory distress...