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Thursday, March 13, 2008

New Era Publishers

Here's another antiquarian item I typed up tonight. Other notes I found are included below.***The Arkham Sampler, Winter 1949, "Books of the Quarter" {Reviews}"Dr. Keller Again"The Solitary Hunters and The Abyss, by David H. Keller. New Era Publishers, Philadelphia, 265 pp. $3.00"The first to forge ahead of Lovecraft and Quinn" enthused an admirer of Dr. Keller fifteen years ago after reading the original publication of The Solitary Hunters in Weird Tales. And the first installment of the serial polled higher in reader appeal than the perennially popular Woman of the World by A. Merritt. Now, a decade and a lustrum later, Keller's novella of entymology, penology, psychology, and mystery has been put between hardcovers for fresh judgement. The wraiths of Lovecraft and Merritt need scarcely fear that their earthly laurels will be trampled in the mad rush to acclaim this story today, but it is a good one just the same.The story was laid in the future at the time (1934). Unfortunately, somebody slipped up and forgot to change 1943 to sometime in the 50's, so that it suffers anachronistic incompatibilities. But Dr. Keller's abilities as spinner of an outrageous, Collieresque tale minimize such temporal faults.Keller spoke, as a child, in an unknown tongue, and learned English as a foreign language, and he has always used it in its simplest form with extreme effectiveness. The appeal of The Solitary Hunters is heightened by the straight-forward, straight-faced manner in which its wildly improbable plot is unfolded.Even wilder and more improbable is The Abyss, which we are told is of more recent creation; a previously unpublished, somewhat longer novella which comprises the second half of the book. Here we are treated to the unlikely spectacle of eight million New Yorkers simultaneously descending into the hidden recesses of their subconscious minds and uninhibitedly reacting as their ancestors did one to five thousand years ago. Through the shambles this situation creates, Dr. Keller moves with pad, pencil, and a third eye of psychological insight, recording the revolting revelations of human nature with the beast barriers down.There is little of literary value in this book, but lotus lovers seeking escape from this mad world of today may lose themselves in these tow even madder ones of this mental magician's imaginings.-Weaver Wright***A reference indicates that Weaver Wright was a pseudonym of Forest J. Ackerman. (as well as Amaryllis Ackerman, S. F. Balboa)***I also found this: Dr. David H. Keller had been one of the most popular science fiction authors of the 1920's and 1930's. Thus it was not surprising that several small presses, composed mainly of fans who had begun reading science fiction during that time, chose a Keller book as their first publication. Unfortunately, Dr. Keller was no longer a name that could sell books and the Avalon Bokk Comapy, New Era Publishers and NFFF all ceased publication after producing one book by Dr. Keller. In: Science/fiction Collections: Fantasy, Supernatural & Weird Tales By Halbert W. Hall***And this is circulating. (Binding: Hardcover) Publisher: Philadelphia: New Era Publishers, Date Published: 1948 Description: For sale. Octavo, cloth. First edition. Signed by Keller. The only book published by New Era Publishers. 2000 copies were printed. 1000 copies were bound and eventually most copies circulated, although some were damp marked while in storage. The 1000 sets of unbound sheets were junked by the printer. A fine copy in very good dust jacket with faded spine panel, touch of wear at head and tail of spine panel and corner tips, and some offset of printing ink on rear panel. This one is formerly, Donald A. Wollheim's copy with his ownership stamp on rear free endpaper. Elsewhere is noted: Jacket design and two illustrations by J. V. Baltadonis. & Keller signed on the front free endpaper.I'm unable to find an image of the book online.

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