Friday, May 8, 2015

Friday's "Forgotten" Books: new links

Welcome to this week's list of links to reviews of overlooked (infrequently deservedly) books and stories, by the reviewers detailed below. I'm filling in this week for Patti Abbott, who'll be back at it next week. Please let me know if I've missed your review...and thanks to all the contributors, and to Bill Crider and Richard Robinson for pointers to reviews, and to all you readers...please always feel free to comment here or at the blogs cited below! 

Sergio Angelini: Pattern Recognition by William Gibson

Paul Bishop and Milton Davis: on classic and emerging black speculative fiction

Les Blatt: Call Mr. Fortune by H. C. Bailey (John Norris's Bailey/Fortune novel last week)

David Cramner: The Philo Vance series by "S. S. Van Dine"

Bill Crider: Yearbook by Dan Marlow

Jose Cruz and Peter Enfantino: Harvey Comics 1950s horror titles

cover by Peff

Robert/R.T. Davis: Blood and Circumstance by Frank Turner Hollon

Martin Edwards: Detectives in Gum Boots by Roger East

Peter Enfantino and Jack Seabrook: DC Comics 1963 war/combat titles

Barry Ergang (hosted by Kevin Tipple): The Last Dance by "Ed McBain"

Will Errickson: Spectre by Stephen Laws

Cullen Gallagher (hosted by Ed Gorman): Blowback by Bill Pronzini 

Stephen Gallagher: "Peff" (Sam Peffer)

Charles Gramlich: Crashing Suns by Edmond Hamilton

John Grant: The Girl Who Had to Die by Elisabeth Sanxay Holding

John Hegenberger: The Master of Dragons by H. Bedford-Jones

Rich Horton: Remains by Mark W. Tiedemann

Jerry House: The Last Spin and Other Stories by Evan Hunter

Randy Johnson: Digger #1: Smoked Out by Warren Murphy

Tracy K: G is for Gumshoe by Sue Grafton

George Kelley: Gateway to Never by A. Bertram Chandler

Margot Kinberg: The Bat by Jo Nesbø

B.V. Lawson: Death of an Old Girl by Elizabeth Lemarchand; Death on Remand by "Michael Underwood"

Evan Lewis: "Body, Body--Who's Got the Body?" by Carroll John Daly; "Flash!" by Richard Sale

Steve Lewis: The Cancelled Czech by Lawrence Block

Walker Martin: Weird Tales and bound volumes of pulp issues and magazine excerpts

Patrick Murtha: The Amateur Cracksman by E. W. Hornung

Mark Nevins: A Ticket to the Boneyard by Lawrence Block

John F. Norris: Body Charge by Hunter Davis

John O'Neill: The Goblin Reservation by Clifford D. Simak

Lawrence Person: The H. P. Lovecraft Companion by Philip Shreffler

J. Kingston Pierce: The Gallows in My Garden by Richard Deming

Robert J. Randisi: Syndicate Girl and Liz by Frank Kane

James Reasoner: The Best-Loved Poems of the American People edited by Hazel Felleman

Karyn Reeves: Time Will Knit by Fred Urquhart

Richard Robinson: The Essential Hal Clement: V. 1: Trio for Slide Rule and Typewriter (Needle; Iceworld; Close to Critical)

Jim Rockhill: Feesters on the Lake and Other Stories by Bob Leman

Gerard Saylor: Sally of the Wasteland by Victor Gischler and Tazio Bettin; The Things They Cannot Say by Kevin Sites

Kerrie Smith: The Journeying Boy by "Michael Innes"

Prashant Trikannad: Havanas in Camelot by William Styron

Todd Mason: American Fantastic Tales: Terror and the Uncanny: From Poe to the Pulps/From the 1940s to Now edited by Peter Straub (Library of America, 2009, a two-volume set also sold discretely)

Some years are tougher than others on those who are choosing among nominees for literary awards--here's the 2010 shortlist for the Howard, the World Fantasy Award, for best anthology:

  • American Fantastic Tales: Terror and the Uncanny: From Poe to the Pulps/From the 1940s to Now,  Peter Straub, ed.  (Library of America)
  • Eclipse Three,  Jonathan Strahan, ed.  (Night Shade)
  • Exotic Gothic 3: Strange Visitations,  Danel Olson, ed.  (Ash-Tree)
  • Poe,  Ellen Datlow, ed.  (Solaris)
  • Songs of The Dying Earth: Stories in Honor of Jack Vance,  George R. R. Martin & Gardner Dozois, eds.  (Subterranean; Voyager)
  • The Very Best of Fantasy & Science Fiction: Sixtieth Anniversary AnthologyGordon Van Gelder, ed.  (Tachyon)
The variant coloring indicates the Straub anthology won the award...of course, it had two unfair advantages even in its impressive company: its scope and its mass, drawing, I'd suggest more successfully than any other survey anthology so far, on both the best and most representative sample of work in the horror field in the U.S. over the centuries (as one sees below, publication dates range from 1784 to 2007), with the American remit very much including immigrants such as Collier and Nabokov. Even with over 1400 pages, it would be impossible to touch on all the important short work and writers within these intertwined traditions, and where I might differ with Straub's choices, they clearly aren't made out of ignorance nor impulsiveness. For example, I probably would've taken another Robert Bloch story, though "The Cloak" is a good choice; even if I were of Straub's caliber as a fiction-writer, I probably would not include any of my own (non-annotative) work, even if my publisher's editor pleaded or politely demanded. Some favorites of mine might well have been included instead of a few here, or, even better, along with: Theodore Sturgeon, Manly Wade Wellman, Margaret St. Clair, Kate Wilhelm, Damon Knight, Avram Davidson, Donald Barthelme, Carol Emwiller, R. A, Lafferty, Joanna Russ, Barry Malzberg, Jane Yolen, Alice "James Tiptree, Jr." Sheldon, William Kotzwinkle, Lisa Tuttle, Janet Fox, Karl Edward Wagner, Joe Lansdale, Joseph Payne Brennan's "Levitation".. I would probably have opted for Ellison's "The Deathbird"...but the selection of Jerome Bixby's "Trace" is among the very sapient, despite other more obvious possible choices. And so, still the best of this kind of book I've seen.

Courtesy ISFDb, here are the contents of the two volumes:


Rick Robinson said...

Thanks, Todd, appreciate your work on this.

Todd Mason said...

Thank you, Richard...for the benison and your contribution.

Sergio (Tipping My Fedora) said...

Tons and tons of great stuff - thanks for hosting Todd, much appreciated.

Todd Mason said...

Thanks to you as well, Sergio...and condolences over the election. I imagine we'll have a similar bad night coming up next year, no matter how it's sliced.

Gerard said...

Thanks for doing the work, Mason.

Todd Mason said...

No problem, Saylor! (I've just realized how many Hello, Sailor references you must've heard over the years, Gerard...)

Anonymous said...

Another great list of goodies, Todd . . . and thanks for the shoutout. That's a great cover for the Elisabeth Sanxay Holding; I'd not seen it before.

Todd Mason said...

Thank you, John (Paul--and now I realize how often you must've had Beatles references augmented by papal puns over the last decade or three) (and thank you, Gerard) for your contributions...I'd take that Dodd, Mead jacket to be of the first edition...and clearly they were at least as interested in selling Christie books with it as anything to do with Holding's (her) own...

George said...

Thanks again for filling in for Patti, Todd! You're doing a great job!

Todd Mason said...

Thanks, George, and for your entry. It's fun but can be time-consuming.

Gerard said...

Surprisingly few of that joke, actually. I'm 44, so few of my peers probably heard of the joke.

I just put the first volume of Straub edited collection on hold.

Todd Mason said...

Well, at least George chimed in after John (Paul). Clearly, I'm a creature of my advanced years (50, but probably not acting my age. I preferred Straub's analysis, for the most part, to, say, Hartwell's or Joshi's, as well...hope you enjoy that aspect of the read as well as the selections. The modern volume could've used as much parity of sexes as the first, but others have been worse in that wise as well. (Hey, didn't the Judith Merril book have Zero female contributors, Straw Figure asks? Yup, which is odd, but that book also wasn't so much a best-of or measure of its era or subject, I jauntily reply.)

Charles Gramlich said...

Thanks for getting mine up. I visit patti's blog all the time but somehow missed that she wasn't doing this week.

Todd Mason said...

That's cool, wasn't as clear as soon this week as it was the previous, and I'm glad you were able to contribute. Hamilton, along with being a space opera and weird-scientific pioneer, did a fair amount of thoughtful, relatively quiet work...and not only was Leigh Brackett's lifelong husband, but a great friend of Jack Williamson, and one wonders how much the three of them influenced each other and hashed out ideas and approaches, particularly back in the Heroic Years.