Wednesday, December 29, 2021

Short Story Wednesday: THE SUPERNATURAL READER edited by Lucy and Groff Conklin (Lippincott 1953); ROD SERLING'S DEVILS AND DEMONS edited by Gordon R. Dickson (Bantam 1967)

The Supernatural Reader 

edited by Lucy & Groff Conklin
(Philadelphia: Lippincott, 1953, $3.95, 349pp, hc)

Rod Serling’s Devils and Demons
ghost-edited by Gordon R. Dickson 
(Bantam, Feb ’67, 212pp, pb) 
    • vii · Introduction · Rod Serling · in
    • 1 · The Montavarde Camera · Avram Davidson · ss F&SF May 1959
    • 14 · The Coach · Violet Hunt · ss The English Review Mar 1909
    • 31 · Adapted · Carol Emshwiller · ss F&SF May 1961
    • 40 · Death Cannot Wither · Judith Merril · nv F&SF Feb 1959
    • 61 · The Story of the Goblins Who Stole a Sexton · Charles Dickens · ss The Posthumous Papers of the Pickwick Club Jan 1837
    • 72 · Pollock and the Porroh Man · H. G. Wells · ss New Budget May 23 1895
    • 87 · Stars, Won’t You Hide Me? · Ben Bova · ss Worlds of Tomorrow Jan 1966
    • 101 · The Bottle Imp · Robert Louis Stevenson · nv New York Herald Feb 8-Mar 1 1891
    • 129 · The Adventure of the German Student · Washington Irving · ss Tales of a Traveller, John Murray 1824
    • 135 · The Four-Fifteen Express · Amelia B. Edwards · nv Routledge’s Christmas Annual, 1867  1866
    • 160 · The Blue Sphere · Theodore Dreiser · ss The Smart Set Dec 1914
    • 177 · The Bisara of Pooree · Rudyard Kipling · ss The Civil and Military Gazette Mar 4 1887
    • 182 · A Time to Keep · Kate Wilhelm · ss F&SF Jan 1962
    • 197 · Brother Coelestin · Jaroslav Vrchlický  (as by Emil Frida)  · ss  Lumír Jan 20 1878 (trans./ed. Edna Worthley Underwood, from"Flétna", in Short Stories from the Balkans, Marshall Jones Co., 1919)

The 1966 paperback edition of the Conklins' anthology, sharing rack space with the 1967 Dickson/ "Serling" volume (and seeing at least four printings over the next several years)...the Collier pb, with more pages (and twice as many stories) on better paper, would set you back 95c, while the Bantam volume was 60c (by the 11th printing in the early '70s, the price would rise to 75c). I have this edition of the Conklins' book (though I find the cover on the first Collier paperback, from 1962, the handsomest of the packages the book has sported). In the wake of the remarkable success of Ira Levin's Rosemary's Baby, the televised horror soap opera Dark Shadows catching fire, and a number of paperback houses discovering that tagging anything remotely relevant as a Gothic was a guaranteed selling-strategy...perhaps that both books saw more reprints in 1967, and just after, than the Reader had had or either would have again is less surprising in retrospect than it might be (the Serling-branded book might've had a bump both from The Twilight Zone's entry into the syndicated television repeats market and from his initial-draft scripting the 1968 film Planet of the Apes). It doesn't hurt that they are both fine collections, even if the lack of concern for detail on Bantam's part (managing to refer Worlds of Tomorrow magazine in the publication credits as "The World of Tomorrow", for example), as well as featuring a slightly larger proportion of (theoretically) public domain stories (if good and mostly not overly familiar ones, in both volumes) than the scrupulously credited Conklins' volume might discourage a few potential readers.

Groff Conklin and Rod Serling were busy, productive, eventually frustrated people, who both chain-smoked their way into early graves. Both had been rather broad-scope in literary and narrative arts in their early careers, and eventually found themselves locked into working in fantastica, which they enjoyed but to some extent wished they didn't have to rely on, particularly as the rewards contracted. Conklin, who as a young man contributed to Poetry magazine, began his anthology-editing career with volumes drawn from The Smart Set and The New Republic, and wrote benchmark guides to home repair which would remain in print for decades, was 63 when he died of emphysema in 1968; Serling, a playwright who began his career in radio, was at least as widely-known for his teleplays Patterns and Requiem for a Heavyweight (and hassles with sponsors and censors) at the height of his career as he was for creating The Twilight Zone and its offshoots; and who found himself as prominent as a voice-over man and narrator as as a writer at the end of his career, was 50 when the third heart attack in a brief period, while he was on the table for open-heart surgery to repair damage from his second, essentially killed him in 1975. Conklin's wife and co-editor on The Supernatural Reader, Lucy Conklin, had died the year after the first edition was published, in 1954, and her husband added a note to reprints of the book stating that she had fully collaborated on the selections and the introduction with him; I have to wonder why her name is missing from the later editions otherwise. Presumably as lazy a marketing strategy as having Gordon Dickson, a talented writer and occasional editor, ghost the "Serling" book (he had also previously ghost-edited Rod Serling's Triple W: Witches, Warlocks and Werewolves for publication in 1963). I suspect Serling did write his two-page introduction... it has his cadences down.

The stories I loved decades before I encountered either volume include, among the Conklins' selections, were Sturgeon's "Shottle Bop", "Saki"'s "Gabriel-Ernest" and Bierce's "The Moonlit Road"; from the Dickson, Davidson's "The Montavarde Camera" and Stevenson's "The Bottle Imp", and I was a late-comer to the Wells, but only as late as reading it some years ago in Fraser and Wise's Great Tales of Terror and the Supernatural. A couple of the others, I liked rather than loved from my early reading, remembering them less well till refreshing my memories. 

Among the stories new to me in our volumes for today:

The Supernatural Reader:
"Pick-up for Olympus" by Edgar Pangborn is the one story original to either volume, a slight but amusing vignette about a 1960s (in this 1953 story) small-town garage mechanic enchanted by the durable but neglected 1930s Chevy truck that rolls into his gas station one day. So taken with the truck, he barely notes the rather unusual owners.

John Collier's "Bird of Prey" is good, mid-level Collier, a writer one can only suspect was high on Patricia Highsmith's inspiration list. And both students of Ambrose Bierce. A very happy couple (with only one notable sore spot between them) and their beloved pet parrot do not have a good time after a certain visitation by Another sort of bird.

Devils and Demons:
Carol Emshwiller's "Adapted" is a typically urgent recounting, not quite stream of consciousness but almost so, of the life of a woman who is of Other folk, at least on her father's side, and how she realizes this only rather late in life, and hopes she hasn't managed to cut this realization off in her quarter-Other daughter.

"A Time to Keep" by Kate Wilhelm is an interesting approach to her protagonist's free-floating anxiety, expressed in sustained hallucinations occasionally triggered by passing through doorways. Not completely successful, but a stepping-stone toward more assured work from later in her career. 

First US edition

First UK hardcover edition

UK paperback edition

For more of today's entries, please see Patti Abbott's blog.

Tuesday, December 28, 2021

Tony Baer: Recent Reads (a guest post): Anna Kavan, Ted Lewis, W.L. Heath, John Allen, Nat Turner, John Rechy, Eugene O'Neill, Carl Panzram, Agnes Smedley, Nelson Algren, Carlos Bulosan, Ralph Ellison

Ice, Anna Kavan.  A waifish, opiate-addled writer’s last breath:  a translucent bone thin blond heroine.  An obsessive pursuer, racing through a glacial earth, hallucinations and reality colliding like icebergs in a continental drift.  Sparse, terse prose, reporting a world to come.  Catch her if you can. 

GBH, Ted Lewis.  A drunken, booze guzzled writer’s last belch:  an alcoholic paranoid underworld kingpin, some underling in his outfit is screwing him.  How many kills and how much isolation til he peels down to the ugly core, exposing the rotting seed within. 
Only bummer is that unlike Kavan, Lewis lacks the courage of his convictions, going 3rd person omniscient after the kaleidoscopic downfall—just to make sure you got it, dear reader.  Wouldn’t want you left feeling as confused and wasted as your protagonist, would we?

Violent Saturday, W.L. Heath. So you’re reading Appointment in Samarra, or Tender is the Night, or maybe Revolutionary Road, and in the middle of it, and while the upper crust handsome couples self-immolate in wanton lust and plastered parties, some bank robbers come to town and blow everything to smithereens.  
I dug it.

Narrative of the Life of John Allen, alias Jonas Pierce, alias James H. York, alias Burley Grove, the Highwayman, Being His Death-bed Confession to the Warden of the Massachusetts State Prison (1837).  Short, surprisingly readable, unapologetic, plain language life story of a burglar.  It's surprising to see that people were actually able to write in fairly modern American English in 1837.  Mainly a series of stories recounting various crimes and time in prison.  Unfortunately, he died about 2/3 of the way through the story, so the end of the book is written in the 3rd person by the warden.  According to Wikipedia, and probably more interesting than any content in the book, is this factoid:  "The book is most often associated with the copy in the collection of the Boston Athenaeum. This copy was bound in the author's own skin, tradition holding that Allen requested that a copy of his confession be bound in his skin and given to John A. Fenno, who had earlier resisted Allen's attempt to rob him."

Confessions of Nat Turner (the 1831 version--not the Styron novel).  Again, fairly plain English, which is nice.  I was shocked how violent Nat Turner's Confession was.  God told him to start killing slaveholders, so he and his buddies started doing it--Manson style.  They axe-murdered entire families, men, women, children, even infants.  Not at all apologetic, and not particularly abolitionist.  Nat Turner says his own master and family were fairly kind to him--so it wasn't retribution.  Nat Turner was a very religious man, memorized large chunks of the Bible, never took a drink, never gambled, never cursed, never engaged in sexual improprieties, and was revered by the other slaves who knew him as a kind of a prophet who thought he was on some apocalyptic mission from God.

City of Night, John Rechy (1963).  Semi-autobiographical story of a hustler, raised (razed) in El Paso, then onto New York, LA, Hollywood, San Fran, Chicago and finally to Mardi Gras in New Orleans.  Definitely gives you the feeling for the life of a hustler in mid-century America, and all of the strange encounters of street life.  Has the ring of truth.

Long Day's Journey Into Night, Eugene O'Neill.  You know what's odd is the passive-aggressiveness of the upper class when compared to the pure violence of the lower depths in the prior 3 books mentioned above.  Yes, the characters are all tearing each other apart.  But if you translated it in into another language, I bet the violence wouldn't register with the reader at all.  They're all drinking and syringing themselves to death, yes, but the proximate cause of all the pain is the guilt they thrust at each other like rapiers to the gut.

Panzram Papers by Carl Panzram:  The short memoir of a serial killer written right before execution in 1930.  Remarkable document.  Clean, simple, hardboiled prose.  Events flatly described without remorse and without pride.  No desire for either reprieve or profit.  No belief in redemption in this world or the next.  He made a gift of the memoir to a death-row guard he'd grown to like.  The guard, trying to find a publisher for years, finally got it published in 1970.  Read on Kindle:  $2.99 on Amazon

Daughter of Earth
, Agnes Smedley.  1929, semi-autobiographical novel of a poor Missouri farmer's daughter.  But this daughter is a freaking firebrand.  She is not going to accept a mediocre life if she can help it.  And she ain't gonna be dominated by shit.  This is the story of a born rebel who tries to bull her way through all the world's oppressive forces to become free.  No prison can cage her spirit.   Her only novel.  And pouring your soul into something like this, you doubt she had anything much left to say on the subject of her life.  [TM: she did write some short fiction, and nonfiction for The Masses and elsewhere]

Somebody in Boots, Nelson Algren.  1935.  Semi-autobiography of a road kid, part time hobo, part time pimp, small time criminal, full time loser, wandering around aimlessly across America after his father murders the guy that took his job and his sister converts the family home to her personal brothel.  After the book failed to sell, Algren tried to gas himself.  When that failed, he reinvented himself with the much less convincing (IMHO) but much better loved Never Come Morning.  Algren rewrote the book in the '60s using '60s hipster prose as Walk on the Wild Side, from which Lou Reed made a song (with some Warholian Factory flourishes).    

America is in the Heart, Carlos Bulosan.  1946.  Semi-autobiographical novel about a poor Philippine farmer's kid chasing after the American dream, travelling across the sea, finally to arrive at Alaskan canneries and migrant labor camps.  Trying to avoid the life of crime of his brother, a cheap crook, he shifts back and forth between shiftlessness and decency.  Inspired by his buddy John Fante, he writes down the story of his life.  

Invisible Man, Ralph Ellison. 1952. Despite a long life, Ellison only finished this one novel--another semi-autobiographical one.  And reading it, it's pretty easy to see that he, like Smedley, probably said all he had to say.  He grew up believing all the bullshit.  That if he'd be a good boy he could pull himself up by his bootstraps and make something of himself.  He was a really good orator.  He was recognized in high school for it.  And was to be given a medal and scholarship by the mayor at a town hall.  So he showed up to give his speech about being a good boy and lifting yourself by your bootstraps.  But the mayor said 'Oh, first things first, boy--first you gotta have a boxing match with 5 other black boys'.  So the white drunken crowd threw them all but naked into the ring and wanted the black boys tear each other to pieces, which they did, the winner getting a $10 bill.  Afterwards, he gives his speech on black and white unity to which no one listens.  He then goes to Howard University, where he works really hard to be a good boy.  He's so good that the chancellor chooses him to chauffeur around a big fat old white donor.  The donor orders him around.  He wants to see the real townfolk.  So on the white dude's orders they stop by the house of the town pariah who tells the donor his story of how he mistakenly impregnated his daughter one drunken evening.  The donor is equal parts appalled and titillated and really needs a drink.  So demands to be driven to the closest watering hole which happens to be the town whorehouse.  For showing the donor the reality of the town, he's expelled by the chancellor.  He heads to NYC, where the Commies pretend to befriend him in order use his oratory to cause Harlem riots, which they think might spearhead a revolution.  Now everyone hates him.  The Commies, the Black community, his family, the university.  He is nothing.  He is an invisible man.  

Reprinted from the Rara-Avis discussion with Tony's kind permission...

Wednesday, December 22, 2021

Short Story Wednesday: "It Could Be You" by Frank Roberts, THE BULLETIN (Australia) 3 March 1962 and reprinted variously since

"It Could Be You" by Australian reporter and short story writer Frank Roberts is perhaps his best-remembered story, and was first published in a fairly typical issue of the public affairs magazine The Bulletin...not only did it see reprints in the U.S. in Short Story International (the September 1964 issue) and the Judith Merril speculative fiction best-of -the-year in 1965, but had previously been included in the Australian bi-annual best-short-stories series Coast to Coast volume covering 1961-62, and was later featured in a pioneering 1968 anthology of Australian sf edited by John Baxter, and in a few other anthologies, including a volume devoted to satire, edited in 1972 by the same Hal Porter who edited the '61-'62 Coast to Coast, and that book titled after the Roberts story. 

And it's a story that certainly stuck with me when I first read it, in the Merril annual, borrowed from a Nashua, NH, Public Library in 1978, age 13 (by the reckoning of some, the golden age of SF). John Boston, editor, critic and historian, in reviewing the Merril volume recently on the Galactic Journey blog, noted that its central concept "is not exactly a new idea to readers of the SF magazines, but it’s sharply written and no longer than it needs to be." Sharply written, and with a certain verisimilitude that could be missing from what Kingsley Amis had tagged "comic inferno" stories, even those written for Galaxy magazine at its height, in the 1950s and 1960s; the story is an acidic indictment of what we as humans will put up with in terms of random cruelty if the circumstances are Justified Just might be that this story, down to its last-line twist of the emotional knife, was particularly adept to speaking to me as an adolescent reader in a New Hampshire town not overwhelmingly friendly to recent arrivals nor nonconformity, but it holds up on re-reading, even if the notion of humans in various ways hunted by peers has seen a lot more variations in the decades since part because the metaphor remains both relevant and powerful. 

As noted, I first read "It Could Be You" in Judith Merril's The Year's Best S-F: 10th Annual Edition (1965, mostly selecting stories from 1964 publications). Merril was much taken with the then relatively new US magazine Short Story International, which reprinted stories in English or in translation into English from a wide variety of sources, and which ran 1963-67 and then was revived by the same publisher in 1977, and this iteration of the magazine survived into 1997 (when I found 1978 issues after reading this Merril volume, I wasn't at first aware the magazine had ever folded). The Roberts story first had been published in the Australian news-analysis magazine The Bulletin in its 3 March 1962 issue, and from there had been included in the appropriate volume of  the biannual Best Australian Short Stories anthology, Coast to Coast: Australian Stories of Today: 1961-1962, edited for this issue by Hal Porter (published, as the series was, by Angus and Robertson, Ltd, and distributed throughout the Commonwealth and to some extent in the US)--sadly, though, the Porter bi-annual failed to specify which issues of The Bulletin the several stories from that magazine in the volume were taken from. Short Story International picked up "It Could Be You" for a 1964 issue, where Merril saw it and took if for her annual (using the excuse that it was a 1964 story for most US readers, at least; the James T. Farrell story which follows the Roberts in the Merril book, reprinted from The Socialist Call in 1958 by SSI in 1964 was included under similar pretenses. Sadly, at no point in the Merril book is the Roberts story properly credited to its first publication site, either). 

This odd elision continued when Australian editor John Baxter included the story in The Pacific Book of Australian SF (Angus & Robertson, 1968), where at least Baxter cited The Bulletin without giving the issue date. Subsequent editions were apparently no more specific, at best, such as U.S. expatriate editor Tom Boardman, Jr., in his U.K. "instant remainder" anthology Science Fiction Stories (Octopus Books 1979). At least one major reference work in Australia erroneously attributes first appearance to the Coast to Coast volume, as well.

Here's the issue of  The Bulletin, which is archived by the National Library of Australia online at this link:

For more of today's short story selections, please see Patti Abbott's blog.

Even given the typically cheap package this discount/instant remainder book received, it's odd how much the foreground character looks like a quick and dirty take on Sylvester Stallone as Rambo. Not quite what the target audience was likely to be, in 1979 nor later...

Wednesday, December 15, 2021

Short Story Wednesday: Robert Arthur, editor: ALFRED HITCHCOCK PRESENTS: STORIES MY MOTHER NEVER TOLD ME (Random House, 1963)

 With indices courtesy William Contento, 13 April 1947-13 December 2021.

The celebration among my film-oriented friends and acquaintances and blogging colleagues of Alfred Hitchcock's 117th birthday anniversary (eleven come seven!) [in 2016] on and around 13 August reminded me, as any mention of Hitchcock is likely to, of just how profound the influence of the anthology series he licensed his name to (with Random House, under the ghost editorship of Robert Arthur, who sometimes would use his pseudonym "Pauline C. Smith" for the purpose), the Alfred Hitchcock Presents: books, a multimedium tie-in to the television series launched the same year, 1956 (which also saw his partnership with a magazine publisher, to form HSD Publications produce the first issues of the still-publishing Alfred Hitchcock's Mystery Magazine. Random House would shortly thereafter begin publishing Arthur's similar, though rather handsomely  illustrated, young readers' anthologies, and eventually to begin a series of teen detective series novels, the Three Investigators, who initially would interact with Hitchcock as a character in the books. Add to that that Dell Books would publish the fat AHP: hardcovers in two-volume paperback sets, and also the more or less annual best-ofs from the magazine, and a level of intentional and unintentional confusion about who was responsible for what under the Hitchcock brand remains a tangle for bibliographers, as has been addressed occasionally on this blog and related ones and centrally on a few such as Frank Babics's and The Hitchcock Zone

So, here's the Contento index of this volume; imagine the effect on a young reader such as myself at age 10 or 11, upon opening such a magisterial selection, not the first AHP: I read, nor certainly the last, but one of the best of a brilliant set...drawn from sources as eclectic as the nature of the stories, save that they featured characters drawn into or trapped by extraordinary circumstances of one outre sort or another, usually told in excellent or at least engaging prose, and usually both intense and shot through with often grim wit:
    Alfred Hitchcock Presents: Stories My Mother Never Told Me ed. Alfred Hitchcock (ghost edited by Robert Arthur) (Random House LCC# 63-16155, 1963, $5.95, 401pp, hc)
    Derivative anthologies: Alfred Hitchcock Presents: Stories My Mother Never Told Me (Dell 1966), Alfred Hitchcock Presents: More Stories My Mother Never Told MeAlfred Hitchcock Presents: Stories My Mother Never Told Me, Part IAlfred Hitchcock Presents: Stories My Mother Never Told Me, Part II.
    • Introduction · Alfred Hitchcock (ghosted by Robert Arthur) · in
    • The Child Who Believed · Grace Amundson · ss The Saturday Evening Post Dec 16 1950
    • Just a Dreamer [Murchison Morks] · Robert Arthur · ss Argosy Jul 5 1941
    • The Wall-to-Wall Grave · Andrew Benedict · ss Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine Sep 1962, as “Walkup to Death”
    • The Wind · Ray Bradbury · ss Weird Tales Mar 1943
    • Congo · Stuart Cloete · ss Story Mar/Apr 1943
    • Witch’s Money · John Collier · ss The New Yorker May 6 1939
    • Dip in the Pool · Roald Dahl · ss The New Yorker Jan 19 1952
    • The Secret of the Bottle · Gerald Kersh · nv The Saturday Evening Post Dec 7 1957
    • I Do Not Hear You, Sir · Avram Davidson · ss The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction Feb 1958
    • The Arbutus Collar · Jeremiah Digges · ss Story Aug 1936
    • A Short Trip Home · F. Scott Fitzgerald · nv The Saturday Evening Post Dec 17 1927
    • An Invitation to the Hunt · George Hitchcock · ss San Francisco Review Mar 1960
    • The Man Who Was Everywhere · Edward D. Hoch · ss Manhunt Mar 1957
    • The Summer People · Shirley Jackson · ss Charm Sep 1950
    • Adjustments · George Mandel · ss Great Tales of the Far West, ed. Alex Austin, Lion Books 1956
    • The Children of Noah · Richard Matheson · ss Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine Mar 1957
    • The Idol of the Flies · Jane Rice · nv Unknown Worlds Jun 1942
    • Courtesy of the Road · Mack Morriss · ss Collier’s Nov 5 1949
    • Remains to Be Seen · Jack Ritchie · ss Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine Jun 1961, as by Steve O’Connell
    • The Man Who Sold Rope to the Gnoles · Idris Seabright (pseudonym of Margaret St. Clair) · ss The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction Oct 1951
    • Lost Dog · Henry Slesar · ss Mike Shayne Mystery Magazine Feb 1958
    • Slime · Joseph Payne Brennan · nv Weird Tales Mar 1953 [Dell paperback reprint edition only]
    • How Love Came to Professor Guildea · Robert S. Hichens · na Pearson’s Magazine Oct 1897, as “The Man Who Was Beloved” [Dell paperback reprint edition only]
    • Hostage · Don Stanford · ss Cosmopolitan Aug 1953
    • Natural Selection · Gilbert Thomas · ss Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine Aug 1950
    • Simone · Joan Vatsek · ss Today’s Woman 1949
    • Smart Sucker · Richard Wormser · ss Manhunt Jan 1957
    • Some of Your Blood · Theodore Sturgeon · n. Ballantine Books 1961 [missing from the Dell editions]
--the impressive mix of a few Not Yet Quite chestnuts of anthologies of suspense and horror fiction, and related fields, with stories new and older from writers famous or then as now somewhat little known (and keeping it in the family, Arthur includes not only his own fine story--and would in other volumes have both an Arthur and a Pauline C. Smith story on occasion--but also a good one by his wife, Joan Vatsek). Robert Arthur knew his fields of fiction well and had excellent did his successor Harold Q. Masur, after Arthur's rather early death in 1969; Masur would continue to produce only slightly less diverse anthologies for Random House till Hitchcock's death in 1980, and then one more volume for the same instant remainder publisher, Galahad, that was then publishing at least one of the AHMM-derived anthologies. And, as several of the Arthur Random House volumes could boast, the inclusion as the last entry a complete novel, its first time in a hardcover edition (as apparently no book club was interested in reprinting a paperback original novel about a rather pragmatic fellow who believes quite sincerely he's a vampire...and among other things finds a very convenient manner of sating his craving for blood)(hey, as a kid, I was already aware of the rudiments of menstruation...largely from reading Louise Fitzhugh's second novel about Harriet the Spy, The Long Secret, and from the light pass-over of the matter in some sex-ed materials I'd read, but this was still a bit icky...and that much more so apparently to many theoretically adult readers and editors). Perhaps it wasn't just space limits nor copyright matters/conflict with the Ballantine paperback edition that led to the novel being dropped from the Dell paperback reprint editions...which add the Joseph Payne Brennan story "Slime" and the already rather familiar Robert Hichens "How Love Came to Professor Guildea" (which Arthur would also include in his 1965 YA anthology Alfred Hitchcock's Monster Museum) to help fill the hole.
1970s edition...
I certainly remember the horror stories in this anthology the most clearly among the contents, though the Fitzgerald, as crime fiction, is also very much of a piece with his most famous work in dealing with both the resentment and the envy of the wealthiest Americans, and the enchantment of the protagonist with a young woman not too interested in commitment...another companion piece to Gatsby. The Matheson (borderline suspense/horror about a nice New England town with some odd nutritional tics of its own), the Brennan (one of the most famous of the inspirations for The Blob, and the author's most famous story), the Rice, the Jackson, the Hichens, the Collier, the proto-steampunkish sfnal horror of the Davidson (this might've been the first Avram Davidson story I read) and particularly the "Seabright"--the most famous story by Margaret St. Clair, though her "The Boy Who Predicted Earthquakes" was dramatized rather well by Night Gallery...I had read the "Gnoles" story in a Betty M. Owen Scholastic Book Services anthology before encountering it here, but it remains great fun. The Masur volumes were even more studded with major crime fiction writers I would encounter again in my adult reading, though often their bylines hadn't stuck with me, and I discovered I'd read them years or decades before in looking again at the anthologies recently, where as one can see above, Arthur was no slouch in this manner, either...Henry Slesar's "Lost Dog" has stuck with me. And I do remember not being able to find "arbutus" in the first dictionary I consulted. And this was definitely the first encounter I had with the fiction of Stuart Cloete...though I wouldn't learn that his surname was "clew-tee" for a decade or so. 
I'd say this anthology series, more than any other single set of books, exposed me to what I might enjoy in future reading and sent me down interesting new pathways...often, any anthology or certainly any anthology series I enjoy is at some level compared with range and grace of these books, which apparently did very well indeed for their publishers for more than a quarter century, and are so sorely missed by some that McSweeney's even reprinted one, in a typically half-assed though cute package, in tandem with a similar anthology edited by contributor Ray Bradbury back in the day. 

For mor of today's books, pleas see Patti Abbott's blog.
Sergio Angelini's fine review-essay


George said...

I was a big fan of these ALFRED HITCHCOCK anthologies when I was a kid. In the 1980s, I lost interest but now I'm buying the missing anthologies whenever I run across them.

Todd Mason said...

I never quite lost interest, but the ALFRED HITCHCOCK'S ANTHOLOGY issues published in the 1980s reflected the blander nature of the magazine as edited by Cathleen Jordan (not awful, and featuring a scrap more horror fiction than Eleanor Sullivan had before her, but blander)(sadly notable, how Davis Publications editors Sullivan and Jordan both died rather young, in their early '60s...crime fiction doesn't Usually do that to one).

Todd Mason said...

Editors: (from the FictionMags Index)
William Manners - Editor: Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine, Dec 1956 – Aug 1961.
Lisa Belknap - Editor: Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine, Sep 1961 – Jan 1963.
Richard E. Decker - Editor: Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine, Feb 1963 – Sep 1964.
G. F. Foster - Editor: Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine, Oct 1964 – May 1967.
Ernest M. Hutter - Editor: Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine, Jun 1967 – Feb 1976.
Eleanor Sullivan - Editor: Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine, Mar 1976 – Nov 1981.
Cathleen Jordan - Editor: Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine, Dec 1981 – Jun 2002.
Linda Landrigan - Editor: Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine, Jul 2002—.

Todd Mason said...

Davis Publications, Inc.; New York: Alfred Hitchcock’s Anthology
Eleanor Sullivan - Editor: Alfred Hitchcock’s Anthology, 1977 – Mar 1982.
Cathleen Jordan - Editor: Alfred Hitchcock’s Anthology, Sep 1982 – 1989.

Sergio (Tipping My Fedora) said...

Awesome post Todd (and thanks for the nice shout out) - I had no idea the Sturgeon book had been published in one of the Hitchcock anthologies. One would imagine that more readers would have found it this way than in the original paperback, do you think?

Todd Mason said...

Considering how well most paperbacks were still selling in the early '60s in the US, no, unless there was some distributor resistance to that title or Ballantine. But given how many AHP: books were in libraries, it might have eventually come close (in those bad old days that paperbacks weren't so welcome in libraries and paperbacks rack life in non-booskstores could be as little as a few days or a week...

Check ISFDB's record of editions for the Sturgeon novel here:

Jerry House said...

I read this anthology (and all of Arthur's AHP anthologies) when I was much younger. They have stayed with me as an example of what an anthology should be. Thanks for the review, Todd.

Two points: "Andrew Benedict" was an Arthur pseudonym; and you published this review on Gerald Kersh's birthday.

Todd Mason said...

Thanks! I was utterly unaware of Benedict, and really should've mentioned Kersh, as well as reading the ISFDB page of birthdays...AHP anthologies introduced me to his work...

Sergio (Tipping My Fedora) said...

Thanks for the link Todd - had far more reprints than I would have imagined!

Mathew Paust said...

The face even a mother would have trouble loving.

Jack Seabrook said...

Todd, do you have any idea what story by Robert Arthur was used as the source for the Hitchcock hour "The Cadaver"? I've searched everywhere but have not found it yet. I am sure the story was not called "The Cadaver" and I know it wasn't in AHMM.

Todd Mason said...

Other than to guess *maybe* "The Jokester" as by Anthony Morton (The Mysterious Traveler Magazine Mar 1952; The Saint Detective Magazine (UK) Jan 1956) or "Welcome Home"(Dime Mystery Magazine Oct 1948, as “Calling All Corpses!” by Robert Jay Arthur; The Mysterious Traveler Magazine Jun 1952). not even a vague suspicion. I will ask around.