Search This Blog

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Were the Old Ones Responsible?

This is more akin to Robery E Howard's fictional world view, perhpas, but Lovecraft often hinted at our extirpation. Now, do we have factual proof?


By RANDOLPH E. SCHMID, AP Science Writer Thu Apr 24, 6:17 PM ET

WASHINGTON - Human beings may have had a brush with extinction 70,000 years ago, an extensive genetic study suggests. The human population at that time was reduced to small isolated groups in Africa, apparently because of drought, according to an analysis released Thursday.

The report notes that a separate study by researchers at Stanford University estimated the number of early humans may have shrunk as low as 2,000 before numbers began to expand again in the early Stone Age.

"This study illustrates the extraordinary power of genetics to reveal insights into some of the key events in our species' history," Spencer Wells, National Geographic Society explorer in residence, said in a statement. "Tiny bands of early humans, forced apart by harsh environmental conditions, coming back from the brink to reunite and populate the world. Truly an epic drama, written in our DNA."

Wells is director of the Genographic Project, launched in 2005 to study anthropology using genetics. The report was published in the American Journal of Human Genetics.
Previous studies using mitochondrial DNA — which is passed down through mothers — have traced modern humans to a single "mitochondrial Eve," who lived in Africa about 200,000 years ago.

The migrations of humans out of Africa to populate the rest of the world appear to have begun about 60,000 years ago, but little has been known about humans between Eve and that dispersal.

The new study looks at the mitochondrial DNA of the Khoi and San people in South Africa which appear to have diverged from other people between 90,000 and 150,000 years ago.

The researchers led by Doron Behar of Rambam Medical Center in Haifa, Israel and Saharon Rosset of IBM T.J. Watson Research Center in Yorktown Heights, N.Y., and Tel Aviv University concluded that humans separated into small populations prior to the Stone Age, when they came back together and began to increase in numbers and spread to other areas.

Eastern Africa experienced a series of severe droughts between 135,000 and 90,000 years ago and the researchers said this climatological shift may have contributed to the population changes, dividing into small, isolated groups which developed independently.

Paleontologist Meave Leakey, a Genographic adviser, commented: "Who would have thought that as recently as 70,000 years ago, extremes of climate had reduced our population to such small numbers that we were on the very edge of extinction."

Today more than 6.6 billion people inhabit the globe, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

The research was funded by the National Geographic Society, IBM, the Waitt Family Foundation, the Seaver Family Foundation, Family Tree DNA and Arizona Research Labs.

I write fiction, and I also write essays in a cedulous mode. Still, I'm a trained scientist, and I get a bit skeptical when one takes a small population and makes broad implications, without substantiating. But these are world class analysts and I'll take it at face value for now.

Friday, April 25, 2008


It was an Abyssinian maid
And on her dulcimer she play’d,
Singing of Mount Abora.
Weave a circle round him thrice,
And close your eyes with holy dread,
For he on honey-dew hath fed,
And drunk the milk of Paradise.
—Kubla Khan, Samuel Taylor Coleridge.

It was late spring when Hilaire MacLeod came back to Devonshire from India,—pale, thin, and still somewhat shaky as a result of typhoid fever contracted while serving with the armed forces in the Orient,—and placed himself in my care. He had been able to shake most of the fever, the disorientations of time and place which had arisen from his sickness, for he could recognise them as such. However, there remained, as he told me, certain occurrences which persisted much more strongly, seeming to have a further existence than in his mind alone. For he had seen the shapes of a world with laws and patterns of its own, convincing and as firm and immutable as our own, yet different. But where they existed, or how, MacLeod was unable to say.

"Two dream-fragments keep teasing me, trying to break through," he explained. "One of a torrent of water falling from a great height with yet further to go where a camel-humped stone bridge,—quaint, Cathayan, yet sturdy, built with breadth,— spans it. Something lies beyond it for me, if I can only venture across.

‘The other dream is of a tree that spreads out as extensively as a banyan, a great umbrella of foliage, yet somehow a baneful thing. Its leaf seemed like the upas tree one sees in India and Malaya, so I guess that’s what it is. Two figures appear beneath it. And then the picture usually blurred and faded.

"One day, just before leaving the base hospital in India, the second dream came through clearly. I now saw the two figures beneath the tree quite plainly and close at hand, one tall, the other short. They were dressed in black, in tight jacket and trousers coming just below the knee.

Though in typical Burmese costume, they were not Burmese. Their skins were too white; whiter than any known race, occidental or oriental. A dead- white. Albinos? I wondered.

"In a moment, however, the strongest instincts told me otherwise. There was something about that tree wholly unlike the ordinary upas under which children and farm animals tumbled about unharmed throughout India and Malaya. That this was the rare upas tree that blighted all ordinary life that strayed beneath its shade bore in my mind the weight of proven fact. Surely, then, these were no ordinary mortals whom I was somehow observing, undetected, from a vantage-point unknown to myself or them; yet I was equally convinced that I was witnessing something that had a meaning, that existed outside my own mind, just as surely as pieces on a chess-board, the record of a Morse code, a geometrical axiom, all exist whether we understand their meaning or not.

"The two sombre, alien figures stood barefoot on the black earth beneath the tree, talking earnestly. The lean, angular one spoke; and I understood him:

"'It is long, Tibar, since I have drawn the soul and breath from a European.'"

"The other grunted monosyllabically, and bit on a carrot-like root.

"‘Yes, to have one staked to the ground yonder and draw forth the richness of mind and soul and breath from his empurpled lips is good, Tibar. But if they will not come as explorers, we must start them seeking, drawing them with our mental faculties.’

"Tibar threw down the top of the plant he had been chewing. The tall one drew a dozen seeds from his pocket—six bleached ones and six ebony.

"'Do you plant these that are as dark as the Gulf-dweller near that bamboo thicket. Yes. And I will find means to emplant six white ones in the snug, warm area betwixt the skull and brain of six Europeans. They should root well, Tibar ...'

"That was all, Dr. Rochester. A bizarre nightmare, cut off abruptly, with five degrees of fever to explain it. Yet I cannot shrug off these absurd simulacra as I can the grey donkeys, the misshapen bats and cats and owls, the crawfish and other creatures of delirium."

I reassured MacLeod by mentioning instances of obsessions and delusions which occurred to famous men, who had taken them in their stride. Usually, I explained, there are physical factors—in his case, fortunately, temporary ones—in the case of our fellow Devonian, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, rheumatic fever, a breathing difficulty, an addiction to drugs, a propensity—

MacLeod broke in. "That’s the devil of it, doctor. Look. I was reading about Coleridge on the boat coming back. And that’s what I was puzzled about."

He rummaged in his jacket pocket and found a scrap of paper. "Coleridge was taken up with this matter of the poisonous upas tree. In his commonplace book he wrote, ‘Describe a Tartarean Forest of Upas Trees’ and later, ‘Upas Tree—a poem—or article. Mem.—’ followed by an illegible scrawl. Now when I dreamt this dream, I had not seen this passage and it makes me wonder—that is—well, Dr. Rochester, suppose that some idea, some force, had tried to get through to Coleridge, and now is trying to get through to me. Can I be catching sight of the world that Coleridge glimpsed? Will I somehow find the key he never found?

"In the dream-fragments there are sources of both hope and fear, just as in the rest of life. But to feel that something is lurking just outside consciousness is another matter, beyond hope and fear. It is a challenge, a provocation."

I sat back. The idea was too strong for me. I had read Coleridge, and thought then of his Kubla Khan, a marvelous fabric of poetic images. An unfinished thing, for here as elsewhere Coleridge had been led astray in his dreams; in dreams he could not finish, which dissolved when a chance visitor, a man from Porlock, came, leaving him bemused, hardly able to carry on in the world. The rubble of a tumbled air-castle, of a Khan’s pleasure-palace, had thundered down on his head, leaving him what? ——a sublime somnambulist.

A little later, when MacLeod turned to leave, he asked me if I felt it would be too much of a strain if he bicycled out to Ottery St. Mary, where Coleridge was born—a matter of ten or eleven miles from Exeter—on the next clear day. I thought of my own anxiety to see the countryside again after the first war, and replied that if he took it easy he could do it, but that he should not travel in the heat of the day, and if he became

tired, to leave his bicycle at a shop by the way and go on by bus. He agreed, and left. A fine young man, MacLeod, with a will to match his imagination. However, I’m afraid that willpower is no match for obsession, if that’s what I can call it. The matter certainly seemed deep-rooted, and I could not see it fit into the cast of MacLeod’s mind.

The evening of the, next day I had settled down to read when I heard a knock on the door. I went to the door in my housejacket. MacLeod was there, bareheaded, his dark hair tousled, his eyes flashing. He appeared nervous and stammered in framing his words.

"I’m sorry to disturb you, Dr. Rochester, but I have had an experience of which I must tell you before I rest tonight, for it hints at the nature of my mental disturbance. Yet the hint only leads damnably further and deeper, like a will-o’-the-wisp."

I bade him sit down, and offered him a cigarette.

"It was ten o’clock when I left Exeter for Ottery St. Mary, and quite warm. By eleven-thirty I reached the hill above the town, left my bicycle by the hedge-row, and climbed over so I could look down on the little town nestled in the valley. I sat in the shade of a cedar, and realized for the first time that I was quite hot from my exertions. Below me, by a smaller knoll, was the site of Coleridge’s home, which had burned eighty years ago. The foundation could be traced, however, though the brush was coming up where the ground’s irregularities deterred the cattle from grazing, and it was this growth that traced the house’s walls.

"Lying down to enjoy the tranquil scene most fully—the rooks swirling overhead and the lambs grazing below, I was soon asleep."

MacLeod hesitated, reluctant to trouble me of a dream, a little nervous play about his lips, to tell me and ease his mind. It had become, than a dream."

For in the dream he saw a palace of milk-white marble, rising to a central dome like the Taj Mahal, with a multitude of minarets and towers. Yet it was more lofty still, and was set over a natural scarp of black rock on the edge of a tumultuous river whose coursing cast up jets of water, and whose cataracts resounded turbulently in tones constantly rising and falling like the war-cry of a tribe of Tartar horsemen.

MacLeod found himself on horseback, following the road which was hewn from rock, across the camel-humped bridge, and sweeping up out of the gorge, curvihg gradually to the palace gates. In a moment he heard himself giving the password, and was admitted to the grounds. He flung the reins of his longmaned horse to an attendant, and ran up the flight of marble stairs ascending the height of the outer walls. He stood a moment in thought, slapping his leather gloves against his thigh and pulling his earlobe. For a moment he looked out upon the valley directly across the river, and back down the winding road that bridged the river before it at last dipped out of sight.
Then, with a headshake of wonderment he turned and strode into the vaulted doorway and down the vast corridors lit by sconces and braziers in which clear flames gave off a faint trace of cedar and other aromatic woods. The air was comfortably cool, and though the smooth, bare stone looked cold, it was not.

MacLeod pressed on into the palace, passing into rooms richly furnished with tapestries, scrolls, carved wood-screens, paintings, ivories and T’ang potteries. At last he called a servant, 'Prithee, fetch me ma." And the servant hastened off, lie turned to look at a courtyard in the lower half of which peacocks wandered among flower-beds, while in the upper terrace a fountain played.
A gasp behind him made him turn.

"Oh, sir. You dared. The princess—."

It was Ina, the Abyssinian handmaiden, her kerchiefed hand held in alarm before her lips. She siezed MacLeod by the sleeve, pulled him to a wall and thrust him into a narrow stairca!e behind a heavy tapestry, Barely lit by cunningly concealed slits in the masonry, the stairs ran up the wall, abruptly and deviously. He hastened to climb, with Ina behind him. Three times the stairs.turned, almost upon themselves. Then MacLeod waited a moment, until at a nod and thrust from ma, he slipped past the concealing carpet into a small chamber.

"Do you wait here, sir," said Ina, hurrying away.

He had only time to glance out a casement window at the walled-in garden that treasured up the wealth of the Indies and Cathay, when a soft step bade him turn.

"Prince of my hope, you have come."

His heart was a nightingale. His words were simple, overpowered with his love. She was in his arms. Then, feeling her tightening grip on his arms, he released her lips.

"Shan, beloved," she gasped, "you have come here but to die."

"I came here as I had to. I met your father’s courier just inside my province, for I was hunting with my hawks near the border when he came. I came straightway."

"Yes, but he called you but to kill you, beloved. Soon he will be back, and then, on the morrow my future husband will come. Maybe if I can change the guards he will not Learn that you have come yet. But—oh, listen!"

She stood, horror-stricken, her hand at her colorless cheek, as the faint sound of pipes, drums, and cymbals sounded against the river’s brawl.

"It is the Khan! Merciful gods, make him deaf to the tales of his guardsmen. mai Quick, my love, follow her." Reluctantly Shan left his leman and followed Ina through a maze of passages, fleetingly and furtively crossing and climbing yet further through a fantastic succession of chambers until at last the outermost minaret looking down on the road and the river were reached.

"Let {Original has typo "Le"} us pray that he does not hear of your coming," said Ina, "for ever since he threw his master-builder over the parapet into the AIph, he alone knows every stone and nook of this palace."

All Shan’s hopes now lay in getting down the only road, he guessed, brazenly if necessary, trying to run the gauntlet without meeting either the Khan or any of his henchmen set to watch for him and carry out his murder. At least the gods favored him with a day’s grace in arriving prematurely.

Restlessly Shan cast his eyes about the tower-room, with its casements facing four directions, its stone floor with a carpet in the center. Cautiously he looked out and down, and seeing nothing to concern him, gave himself over to his plans for the morrow, He paced the narrow confines, gradually erupting into spluttered curses and fretful gestures. He would choose his time when the gates had opened in the morning, he vowed, his right fist a restless mortar in the pestle of his left hand, and he would call for his horse and ride as if enjoying the new day until he had crossed the bridge. He would then mount a rocky bill he had observed through which the road had been hewn. There he could challenge the prospective bridegroom to personal combat, and if he refused, hurl down boulders on the party until he was shot full of arrows.

But now he must battle air, with windy ifs, with the demon of delay; here, waiting, his fists aching to splinter a jaw, their muscles corded to choke. Below, in the palace, there was no hue and cry. Rather, there was laughter, the sound of musical instruments, the clatter of flagons, a babble of voices, men drinking, brachets barking, hunting-leopards crying, the familiar sounds of the evening feast. The sun was sinking out of view, and the night-watch was being posted in the courtyard below. To himself Shan alternately cursed and implored his gods. Supposing he won, would the Khan recognize his prowess and provinces then with the hand of his daughter?

Ina, who all the while remained silently in a corner, drew from somewhere a dulcimer, and sitting cross-legged upon the floor, began to play upon it, weaving back and forth as with graceful movements she hit the wires with the light hammers, softly at first, singing in an undertone soft fragments of song. She sang and played as if to herself, so as not to approach too directly the objective of soothing Shan, lest he become even more irate. Then at last she sang more fully, realizing that down below no suspicion would be aroused should anyone hear her singing of her birthplace, of Mount Abora, weaving a symphony in memories of her distant homeland, of time-old yearnings, of the proud burden of striving, the eternal ballad-themes that come after the struggles, in the mood of recollection, which tranquillize - Though at first Shan tried to put this by as an attempt to soothe him, he soon saw that he could only risk his life and hazard his love if he were calm, and so reluctantly he slumped to the carpet, determined to be quiet and reserve his strength. So this song of ma’s homeland began to take form and enthrall him, drawing him at first to silent, motionless brooding, then to a lynn of dreams that moved with the sounds of the river in the darkness below, and of ma’s hands before him, storing courage and resolution so that on the morrow ...

MacLeod rubbed at the back of his neck, perplexedly.

"But there was no morrow. I lay again in the sloping field, blinking up at a stout, dumpy woman who prodded me with her walking-stick.

"‘Young man, what town is this?’

"1 was stricken dumb for a moment from the sudden shift from world to world, and only after a long moment spluttered that it was Ottery St. Mary.

"'Well. I suppose there’s nothing here of real interest'

"‘Doubtless you would find it so,’ I countered, though my heart was not yet in my remarks.
"‘Humph ‘ she sniffed, and walked off.

"And as she was leaving my anger mounted slowly until by the time she had reached the turn and started down the hill into Ottery St. Mary I was cursing her softly but vehemently, standing legs spread and hands on hips.

"At that moment I remembered how Coleridge, in writing Kubla Khan, had reached the same point that I had when someone had interrupted him, and the magic he had woven was left unfinished, the art of the weaving being gone. "I was still following the dumpy figure with my eyes when the thought came to me that Coleridge and I reached toward the same dream, clambering over the limitations of the media of our minds with different degrees of success, perhaps, but questing for the answer to the same riddle, and being stopped.

"Now a very strange thing happened, Dr. Rochester. The woman stopped by the cellar-hole of the Coleridge homestead, paused a moment, fumbling with her guidebook. Then she turned, apparently assured this was the place she wanted. She went to the stone steps, mounted, made a motion as if to knock on the door that was no longer there. In a moment, as if her strange ritual had evoked the desired response, she stepped across the overgrown granite threshold, and I lost sight of her for an instant behind a bit of brush. It was such a small scrap of a shrub that I could not believe it capable of hiding her, even momentarily. I waited for her to reappear. Though I never once took my eyes off that bush for over fifteen minutes, I sav no more of her, and it became increasingly absurd that that scant shrub could possibly have concealed her.

"I believe, Dr. Rochester, that if that woman really existed, it was for the sole purpose of breaking off my dream I" MacLeod stood up and paced to and fro in front of me as I strove to hit on the right question. Before his agitation could build on itself, I asked, "Well, what do you propose to do about this matter? If the woman is gone you must dismiss her as a fluke of your senses—or accept her as real and her disappearance as a fluke."

Then, before he could counter this, I went on, "You’ve been in the Orient. You must have noticed the attitude almost universal in Oriental philosophies that our senses and their physical experiences are of less importance than we Occidentals believe. It is all up to you. And I feel sure, MacLeod, that if you can think of this as a fleeting experience, as something to be thought of as you might a scrap of a tune, without trying to tease it into a symphony, or coax some absurd meaning into it, then you’ll be better off.

But MacLeod was paying scarcely any attention.

"Now if I were back in India again,—" he began, as if to himself. "Maybe I’d pick up the trail. Surely there must be some clues, some links, some points of contact."

After a bit he seemed to be more aware of my presence. I hardly remember what I said to him, being concerned because he was agreeing with me haphazardly, heedlessly, out of courtesy; so I finally advised him to go home and rest.

He started, but turned to stammer thanks to me. I waved them away with the back of my hand. So he Left.

That was the last time I saw Hilaire MacLeod. The next morning, however, a boy about twelve years old rang my bell. "Here’s a note for you, sir. Man asked me to give it to you."

"Dear Dr. Rochester, after leaving you I came out here, trying to settle my mind. Will this fantasy of Kubla Khan never resolve itself? I can’t live two lives, one a dreamy reality and the other a real dream. That’s what I’ve been doing, more and more, until I find myself believing, most curiously, that this one in which we meet has become the dream and the other the reality. Then again I ask ‘Can it be so?’ and am afraid. I don’t know, but I think I can solve the matter. And by the gods, I’ll try..."

The boy was still standing there when I looked up. "Where was the young man when he gave you this?"

"Ottery St. Mary. The old Coleridge place, sir."

"And what did he do after he asked you to deliver this note?"

"Turned and walked towards the doorstep of the Coleridge place, sir. It did seem a bit odd, sir, now that you speak of it."

There are a number of ways to get to the Orient from England, MacLeod’s parents realize. Indeed they have gone so far as to offer a substantial reward "for information concerning Hilaire MacLeod—last seen near Ottery St. Mary, Devonshire, June 18, 1947."

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Arkham House

Publication announcements
The following titles are now available:

THE ALIENS OF EARTH by Nancy Kress $20.95 For over a decade. Nancy Kress has written a succession of science-fantasy stories and novels in which a depth of imagination is conjoined to an uncommon perception of human nature. Even Kress’s most committed partisans, however, were unprepared for the appearance of her two awesomely accomplished nouvelles, ‘Beggars in Spain” and “And Wild for to Hold.” The former—a Nebula and Hugo recipient—has become a critically acclaimed novel: the latter—a time-travel adventure involving Anne Boleyn—explores the uneasy interface between technology and humanity as one of eighteen stories in this outstanding collection: “The Price of Oranges,” “Glass,” “People like Us,” “Cannibals.” “To Scale,” “Touchdown,” “Down behind Cuba Lake,” “In a World like This.” “Philippa’s Hands,” “Inertia,” “Phone Repairs,” “The Battle of Long Island,” “Renaissance,” “Spillage,” “The Mountain to Mohammed,” “Craps,””And Wild for to Hold,” and “In Memoriam,” With scratchboard interiors by Jane Walker. (ISBN 0-87054-166-8)
ALONE WITH THE HORRORS The Great Short Fiction of Ramsey Campbell $26.95 The decade of the eighties has witnessed an unprecedented proliferation in the mass production of “horror” fiction, but even in the midst of the horror boom, the short fiction of Ramsey Campbell and the photomontage artwork of J, K, Potter already have been accorded classic status. Alone with the Horrors serves both as a thirty-year retrospective (1961—1991) for Campbell and as a gallery of some of Potter’s most harrowing conceptions: whatever the determination of future generations on contemporary horror, this work will endure: “The Room in the Castle,” “Cold Print,” “The Scar.” “The Interloper,” “The Guy.” “The End of a Summer’s Day,” “The Man in the Underpass.” “The Companion,” “Call First,” “Heading Home.” “In the Bag.” “Baby,” “The Chimney, Stages,” “The Brood,”” Loveman’s Comeback.” “The Gap,” “The Voice of the Beach,” “Out of Copyright.” “Above the World.” “Mackintosh Willy.” “The Show Goes On,” “The Ferries,” “Midnight Hobo,” “The Depths.” “Down There,” “The Fit,” “Hearing Is Believing.” “The Hands,” “Again.” “Just Waiting,” “Seeing the World,” “Old Clothes,” “Apples,” “The Other Side.” “Where the Heart Is.” “Boiled Alive,” “Mother World,” and “End of the Line,” Extensively illustrated by J. K, Potter, “Alone with the Horrors, a virtual ‘best of the best,’ will assuredly rank as among the great short-story volumes of the genre—indeed, of the century,”—Weird Tales (ISBN 0-87054-165-X)
The following forthcoming titles will be released in the spring and autumn of 1994:
THE BREATH OF SUSPENSION by Alexander Jablokov probable price $20.95 Fantasy readers of a certain age will recall the untrammeled delight that attended their initial discovery of this field: how they used to forgo first-year algebra homework in order joyfully to romp through the pages of, say. The Weapon Shops of Isher, Years later. if you’re still reading fantasy but enjoying it less, you might rediscover that vanished sensawonder through the fiction of Alexander Jablokov, In these nouvelles and short stories, Jablokov reprises all the pyrotechnical zaniness of the Golden Age. albeit tinctured with the elegance and intelligence that one expects from modem science fiction, With illustrations by the great J. K. Potter, this first collection by the author of Carve the Sky confirms Jablokov as one of the finest contemporary fantasists: “The Breath of Suspension,” “Living Will.” “Many Mansions,” “The Death Artist.” “At the Cross-Time Jaunters’ Ball.” “Above Ancient Seas,” “Deathbinder,” “The Ring of Memory,” “Beneath the Shadow of Her Smile,” and “A Deeper Sea.” (ISBN 0-87054-167-6)
MISCELLANEOUS WRITINGS by H. P. Lovecraft probable price $29.95 After years in preparation by editors. T. Joshi and the staff of Arkham House. the monumental Miscellaneous Writings at last is ready for publication. This massive assemblage of Lovecraftiana is organized into nine sections. each preceded by Joshi’s illuminating commentary: Dreams and Fancies. The Weird Fantasist, Mechanistic Materialist, Literary Critic. Political Theorist, Antiquarian Travels. Amateur Journalist, Epistolarian, and Personal. The individual works by Lovecraft—over eighty in number!—are too numerous to be listed here, but include such central statements as the “Commonplace Book.” “History of the Necron on’z icon.” ‘Discarded Draft of ‘The Shadow Over lnnsmouth, The Battle That Ended the Century,” “Lord Dunsany and His Work,” “Notes on Writing Weird Fiction,” “In Memoriam: Robert Ervin Howard.” “In Defence of Dagon,” “The Materialist Today,” “Observations on Several Parts of America,” ‘An Account of Charleston” (unabridged version), “Cats and Dogs,” “Some Notes on a Nonentity.” published letters to Edwin Baird and others, dozens of amateur-journalism pieces, the four prose poems and assortedjeug d’esprit, and much, much more. With the aggregate Joshi exegesis constituting a virtual minibiography, the Miscellaneous Writings will become the single most significant volume ever published by and about H. P. Lovecraft, (ISBN 0-87054168-4)
After thirty-two years of near-continuous affiliation with this company, Roderic Meng retired this past spring as Operations Manager and has been replaced by Karen Ganser. A lifelong resident of the Sac Prairie region, Karen brings years of managerial experience to her job and is presently putting Arkham House on-line with a new computerized system. Karen usually can be reached on weekday mornings between nine and eleven central time, and looks forward to hearing from customers old and new-;
Please do not order New Ta/es of the Cthulhu M0vthos. which at the moment is out-of-stock; the status of this title will be clarified in our next addendum. And the five following Arkham House books soon will go out-of-print, though limited stocks remain available at the indicated list prices: One Winter in Eden / Bishop ($13.95): From Evil’s Pillow I Copper ($6.00); Dreams of Dark and Light I Lee ($21.95); HPL- Dreamer on the Nightside I Long ($8.50); and Ctystal Express I Sterling ($18.95). Of the preceding titles, the Czystal Express first edition in particular has become a cultural icon of the cyberpunk movement, and when this Sterling collection is officially declared OP. the market value will skyrocket.
Since the last addendum, The Ends of the Earth by Lucius Shepard has received a World Fantasy Award, John Kessel’s Meeting in Infinity has been designated a Notable Book of the Year by the New York Times, and in March 1993. James P. Blaylock and Arkham editor Jim Tumer were invited by the New York Public Library to a special ceremony honoring (among other books) Lord Kelvin’s Machine. Congratulations to all three authors!
ARKHAM HOUSE PUBLISHERS, Inc. P0 Box 546 Sauk City, WI 53583 October 1993

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Arkham House

Publication announcements
The following titles are now available:

by Lucius Shepard $2195
No fantasist in recent years has contributed a more substantial bibliography of superior stories within an almost unimaginably brief period than Lucius Shepard. A former rock musician. Shepard made his auctorial debut in the 1983 edition of Universe and since then has dazzled the field with superbly crafted tales of futuristic war, menacing wind elementals, parallel worlds, interstellar incursions, a six-thousand-foot dragon, and, in the ironically entitled ‘R & R,” a Central Arnericqn sojourn that is one of the most sheerly harrowing stories ever conceived by an American author. Following a foreword by Michael Bishop, the new collection by this brilliant young writer will include eleven works. many of extended length: “Black Coral,” The End of Life As We Know It,.’ “How the Wind Spoke at Madaket,” “The Jaguar Hunter,” “The Man Who Painted the Dragon Griaule.” “Mengele,” “The Night of White Bhairab,” “R&R,” ‘Salvador, ““A Spanish Lesson,” and “A Traveler’s Tale.” With photomontage interiors by Jeffrey K. Potter, “Shepard’s ‘P & P is the novella of the year.... Try living for a while with these three American soldiers, on leave in a deadly little town where the only choices are to die, to desert, or to return to the horror of the war; you can’t read the story fairly without it changing you—Orson Scott Card in Science Fiction Review (ISBN 0-87054-154-4)
by Tanith Lee $21.95
Reigning empress of the erotic and the exotic, Tanith Lee first appeared before adult audiences with The Birthgrave in 1975 and soon emerged as one of the towering figures in modern fantasy. Mistress of a deliciously sensuous, almost sinuous, prose style, Ms. Lee has regaled readers with tales of werewolves that prowl châteaux, an Earth- woman living in exile on a distant planet, demons that inhabit bodies of the living dead, a vampire princess who has conquered the ages, The twenty-three stories collected herein constitute a massive retrospective of the author’s career at midpoint; the book itself is a distinguished one-volume library of myth-weaving at its most eloquent and evocative. The contents include “Because Our Skins Are Finer,” “Bite-Me-Not,” “Black As Ink.”” Bright Burning Tiger,” “Cyrion in Wax,” “A Day in the Skin,” “The Dry Season,” “Elle est Trois, (La Mort),” “Foreign Skins,” “The Gorgon,” “La Reine Blanche,” “A Lynx With Lions,” “Magritte’s Secret Agent,” “Medra.” “Nunc Dimittis,” “Odds Against the Gods,” “A Room With a Vie,” “Sirriamnis,” “Southern Lights,” “Tamastara,” “When the Clock Strikes,” “Wolfland,” and “Written in Water,” With scratchboard drawings by Douglas Smith, “Lee is able to effortlessly build to a climax of breathtaking menace with overtones of dislocation and loss, This generous collection of twenty-three stories is a must for Lee fans,,..”—Publhen Weekly (ISBN 0-87054-153-6)

by James Tiptree, Jr. $11.95
“The Quintana Roo is a real and very strange place, It is the long, wild easternmost shore of the Yucatan Peninsula, officially but not psychologically part of Mexico, A diary of daily life on its jungly beaches could sometimes be taken for a log of life on an alien planet,” writes James Tiptree, Jr., in the preface to his new collection of three talismanic tales of the supernatural. During the late 1970s Tiptree—one of the greatest American authors of short imaginative fiction—lived for months on the eerie windswept shore of the Yucatan. and the true protagonist of his book is neither the Tiptree narrator nor the manifestations of ancient Maya civilization, but rather the Quintana Roo itself as a living, pulsating entity that envelops the reader within a uniquely alien ambience, Following Tiptree’s introduction are these unforgettable nouvelles of weird fantasy: “What Came Ashore at Lirios,” “The Boy Who Waterskied to Forever,” and “Beyond the Dead Reef,” Profusely illustrated in charcoal by Glennray Tutor. “Excellent work—the erotic and eerie backdrop is powerfully evoked in tales which, in intensity and atmosphere, approach Tiptree’s best,”—Kirkus Reviews (ISBN 0-87054-152-8)
by H.P. Lovecraft $18.95
Edited by S. T. loshi, introduction by T, E. D. Klein. and with an index to Supernatural Horror in Literature,” a chronology of the Lovecraft fiction, and textual notes; see page 3 of stock list for story titles. ‘The culmination of a monumental project—the bringing into print of Lovecraft’s stories in their definitive form, based on manuscripts and notes—Publishers Weekly (ISBN 0-87054-039-4)

The following forthcoming titles will be released in the autumn of 1987
by Michael Shea ( price $16.95)
“One of the most interesting and apt horror writers of our time,” observed the distinguished critic Algis Budrys recently about Michael Shea. Recipient of the 1983 World Fantasy Award for his picaresque Nifft adventures, Shea also is a superbly accomplished exponent of science-fictional horror, Not in the entire history of the genre has an alien monstrosity been more compellingly presented than in “Polyphemus,” while ‘The Autopsy’ ‘—the author’s most famous story—is quite simply one of the great gut-wrenching experiences in modern horror. Shea’s new collection of seven nouvelles extends from the horrific to the humorous, from picaresque to cyberpunk: “The Angel of Death,” “The Autopsy,” “The Extra,” “The Horror on the #33,” “The Pearls of the Vampire Queen,” “Polyphemus,” and “Uncle Tuggs” With wraparound jacket by Harry 0. Morris. (ISBN 0-87054-155-2)

From the vampire-cursed realm of medieval Averoigne to the time-ravaged spires of dying Zothique, the works of Clark Ashton Smith comprise a unique and imperishable legacy. A major pillar of Arkham House since 1942, Smith was a member of the Weird Tales triumvirate, including H. P, Lovecraft and Robert E, Howard, who created a now- legendary golden age of American weird fantasy during the 1930s. Following an introduction by Ray Bradbury, this tribute to a master literary sorcerer will include the following stories: “The Colossus of Ylourgne,” “The End of the Story,” “The Holiness of Azédarac,” “A Rendezvous in Averoigne,” “The Death of Malygris.” “The Double Shadow,” “The Last Incantation,” “A Voyage to Sfanomoe”,” “The Coming of the White Worm,” “The Seven Geases,” “The Tale of Satampra Zeiros,” “The Weird of Avoosl Wuthoqquan,” “The Charnel God,” “The Dark Eidolon,” “The Death of Ilalotha,” “The Garden of Adompha,” “The Empire of the Necromancers,” “The Isle of the Torturers,” “The Last Hieroglyph,” “Morthylla,” “Necromancy in Naat,” “Xeethra,” “The Chain of Aforgomon,” “The City of the Singing Flame.” “Genius Loci,” “Master of the Asteroid,” “The Maze of Maal Dweb,” “The Planet of the Dead,” “The Uncharted Isle,” and “The Vaults of Yoh-Vombis,” With photomontage interiors by Jeffrey K. Potter, (ISBN

P0 Box 546
Sauk City, WI 53583
March 1987

Friday, April 18, 2008

Our Pulp Fiction Heritage and the Significance of Moldering Magazines

Our Pulp Fiction Heritage and the Significance of Moldering Magazines
by Robert Bee

Until the 1960s most science fiction was published in magazines with titles such as Amazing Stories, Startling Stories, Astounding Stories, Galaxy, Fantastic Stories, and Fantasy and Science Fiction. Science Fiction was rarely published in book form until paperbacks became common, and initially the paperbacks were largely reprints from the magazines. It's hard to exaggerate the importance of the magazines to the genre's history, since they controlled the length and content of science fiction stories and novels, as well as shaping the reception of stories and the reputations of authors through blurbs, artwork, and introductions.

In the 60s and 70s, magazines were as vital a part of SF publishing as books. Today it might be argued that the genre's short- fiction magazines have faded in importance as book publication has become the primary and most prestigious form of publication; yet even today many SF writers build their names in the magazines before publishing a novel. Magazines remain an important way for new writers to develop, as well as offering a place for established writers to develop ideas and experiment in a shorter format. To understand the history of science fiction we must study our science fiction magazines as print artifacts.

Inside and Out
Critics who emerge from within the genre, either as writers or as fans, have long recognized the magazine's importance to evolution of the field. Barry Malzberg, in his trenchant and thoughtful book of SF criticism Breakfast in the Ruins, discusses how the magazines and the editors have shaped the types of stories writers produced, for better and for worse. Damon Knight, in his essays of criticism, In Search of Wonder, and James Blish, in The Issue at Hand, commented on magazine fiction of the 1950s, and were among the first to establish critical standards for the field. Prolific amateur fan researcher Sam Moskowitz produced work that was sometimes inaccurate at the detail level but remains significant in that Moskowitz unearthed and cataloged information and stories from forgotten magazines and even 19th century newspapers. Examples of his work include Explorers of the Infinite and Seekers of Tomorrow. Mike Ashley's magisterial three-volume History of the Science Fiction Magazine provides one of the strongest accounts of the genre; their focus on the pulp magazines make Ashley's books essential reference works in SF criticism.

Academic critics, who may not know the history or traditions of the field, tend to ignore the importance of magazines. Important academic works that ignore the fiction’s context include C.N. Manlove's Science Fiction: Ten Explorations, Mark Rose's Alien Encounters: Anatomy of Science Fiction, and David Samuelson’s Visions of Tomorrow: Six Journeys from Outer to Inner Space. These otherwise insightful books are filled with significant theoretical points that are clearly the result of close readings of the literature, but they lose historical value when the authors stress novels and reprint anthologies, a mistaken focus that may derive from applying mainstream models to science fiction works. Mainstream critics tend to focus on individual geniuses, whereas SF is an ongoing conversation between fans and writers: a conversation that occurs at conventions, in fanzines, and in fiction magazines. Any study of a popular genre such as SF must include careful attention to the historical, editorial, and commercial details of the fiction as well as the literary contexts. Paul Carter gets closer in The Creation of Tomorrow, a clearly written study of magazine SF from 1919 through the 1950s which provides an alternative to the novel-focused criticism so common among academic critics. Sadly, although Carter's book is attentive to historical contexts, it does not offer enough theoretical or critical insight.

One deterrent to researching the old magazines remains the expense of collecting them. Pulp magazines were not considered important by academic libraries until fairly recently, and only a few libraries such as the New York Public Library, Temple University, Texas A&M, LSU, and The University of California at Riverside have large collections. For a complete listing of science fiction research libraries consult the Anatomy of Wonder (811-836). Most of these archived collections are far from complete, and obviously a scholar can only consult them if s/he happens to be located nearby. The way most scholars consult these magazines is to buy them, an expensive proposition even though eBay has made the process cheaper and easier. Despite the difficulties of locating and collecting them, reading the actual magazines (rather than reprint anthologies) remains essential to understanding the genre. The magazines provide historical context, and much of the magazine fiction has not been reprinted, or at best, has appeared in hard-to-find editions. The work of most minor authors -- who published only a few stories in the magazines -- has never been collected. For genre or historical studies of science fiction, the minor writers are important; SF tropes are developed in an enormous megatext, a shared tapestry of meaning constructed by all the fans and writers, not just the majors. Science fiction magazines, with their intimate connection between readers and writers, constitute one of the best examples of a genre socially constructed through the interaction of a community.

Works Unseen, Authors Unsung
For a sense of how little pulp-published material is available to any but a small number of scholars, an excellent resource is Everett and Richard Bleiler's book Science Fiction: The Gernsback Years. This reference book describes and catalogs by motif and theme every story, editorial, poem, and letter in SF pulp magazines from 1926 to 1936. Fewer than 15% of the stories discussed have been reprinted. No comparable book has been written describing later periods of SF, but even if a larger percentage of that work has been reprinted, there is still a massive amount of important content that molders in old magazines.

Many famous writers have not seen their entire corpus published. Robert Silverberg and Harlan Ellison each published hundreds of short stories in the 50s, and only a small percentage of that work has appeared in book form. A several-volume project is in the works to reprint Silverberg's complete short fiction, but it's unclear whether (and in fact unlikely that) the project will actually publish all his stories (To Be Continued). Admittedly many of these stories are not either author's best work, but they tell scholars quite a bit about the tropes and themes important to the science fiction of the time as well as the writers’ development.

The magazines avoided publishing more than one story by the same author in an issue, so prolific writers like Ellison and Silverberg produced work under a variety of pennames. Although fans and scholars have traced many of these pennames, much pseudonymous work has not been reprinted. The husband and wife writing team of Henry Kuttner and C.L. Moore relied on at least seventeen pennames. Although there have been several anthologies of Moore and Kuttner's work, much of their writing, which helped shape the development and maturation of SF as a genre, remains between the covers of various pulp magazines (Kuttner and Moore, Two-Handed Engine). This fact is unfortunate because Kuttner and Moore were at times overshadowed by their pseudonyms and were not given credit for the sheer breadth and quality of their work. Some pulp magazines had issues largely written by Kuttner and Moore under various pseudonyms. They were such an effective writing team that if one of them stepped away from the typewriter for a minute the other could take over the story where the other writer left off (Clute, Encyclopedia, 827). Their stories were varied enough that some of their pennames conveyed a "heteronym," a term coined by the Portuguese poet Fernando Pessoa who wrote his poetry and prose under a variety of pen names. Pessoa's heteronyms differ from pseudonyms in that he invented a biography and a different writing style for each of his "other selves." Kuttner and Moore's strongest heteronyms include "Lewis Padgett" and "Laurence O'Donnell." The Lewis Padgett stories, largely published in Astounding during the 40s and 50s include classics such as "The Twonky" and "Mimsy Were the Borogoves," and the Baldy series about persecuted supermen. The Padgett stories are slick, clever SF, with humor and complicated plots. The Lawrence O'Donnell stories, most notably "Clash by Night" and "Fury" are thematically complex with strong characterization and literary touches such as epigraphs, quotations, and mythological references. Kuttner and Moore also wrote under other pennames several superb science fantasy and far future novels for Startling Stories during the 40s. Kuttner and Moore's pennames conveyed distinct enough styles that fans might list their favorite writers as one or more Kuttner and Moore pseudonyms without connecting the pennames back to the original writers.

Much of the nonfiction published in the science fiction magazines has also never been republished and remains of enormous historical value. One excellent guide to the development of the genre is Judith Merrill's criticism. Merill edited S-F The Year's Greatest Science- Fiction and Fantasy from 1956 to 1968, selecting the stronger magazine stories, and writing insightful introductions. She also wrote book reviews for Fantasy and Science Fiction from May 1965-May 1969. Merrill's criticism is especially important because it developed from inside the genre and reacted intelligently to the fiction as it was being produced, at a time when most academic critics ignored SF. Reviews by critics and writers such as Anthony Boucher and Avram Davidson in Fantasy and Science Fiction also help chart everything from the reputation of writers to the reaction of SF's readership to changes in the genre. For example, Lester del Rey's reviews in Galaxy in the late 60s chart some of the resistance to the New Wave among traditional SF writers and fans, and can be compared to Michael Moorcock's editorials promoting the New Wave in New Worlds.

Willy Ley's science columns, largely appearing in Galaxy in the 50s and 60s, had an enormous influence on fandom, as did Asimov's science columns in Fantasy and Science Fiction in the 60s, 70s, and 80s. For decades an editorial led off many SF magazines, a popular feature with the fans. John W. Campbell's trenchant and eccentric editorials helped give Astounding/Analog its unique character. In his early years as an editor, his editorials about science helped Astounding establish its reputation as a serious and technical magazine. Later, when his editorials focused more on his obsessions with perpetual motion machines, ESP, Dianetics, and his rightwing politics, he alienated a significant chunk of fans, and facilitated the migration of readers to other magazines such as Fantasy and Science Fiction, and Galaxy.

More Historical Context
The letter columns in magazines such as Astounding/Analog, Worlds of If, Startling Stories, Thrilling Wonder Stories, Fantastic, and Amazing are generally neglected by critics and historians. Michael Ashley, to his credit, weaves letters and fan reactions to the magazines into his history, but he remains one of the few critics to discuss this rich material. The letter columns demonstrate the reaction of fans to stories and authors, discuss politics, and were a way for fans from different parts of the country to network.

Evidence of reading is hard to obtain since the act of reading leaves no traces. Reading scholars, in an attempt to find documentary evidence for reading, have studied letters, diaries, and marginalia. The letter columns in the magazines offer an enormous amount of reading evidence, tracing which stories and writers appealed to SF readers as well as what they were looking for when they read SF. Samuel Delany has written pioneering criticism on the unique ways that science fiction is read (The Jewel-Hinged Jaw). One way to test the validity of theories offered by scholars such as Delany is to examine the way fans describe their reading practices in the letter columns.

Fantastic and Amazing magazines published a lot of significant nonfiction in the 60s and 70s, some of it never reprinted. In the 70s, Fantastic printed a series of essays by Alexei and Cory Panshin, which contains an excellent analysis of writers such as E.E. Doc Smith and Van Vogt. Fantastic also published a broad selection of interesting articles such as "Science Fiction and Drugs" (June 1970 132-135) by Donald K. Arbogast (a penname for Ted White), and essays by L. Sprague de Camp on Literary Swordsmen and Sorcerers, which charted the rise of sword and sorcery.

Paratexts stand out as another excellent reason to study science fiction magazines. Gerard Genette coined the term paratext to refer to information that is a supplemental to the actual text, such as the introduction or index in a book. Within the science fiction magazines, the paratexts include the editorial comments, the blurbs, the "about the author" text, the illustrations, the cover painting, the letters page, etc. The editor will foreground the stories and authors that s/he thinks will help sell the magazine by featuring their names on the cover, and more profusely illustrating their work. The blurbs that precede each story also constitute an important paratext. Readers would sometimes decide which story to read first by glancing at the blurbs. In the October 1950 issue of Galaxy, the serial "Time Quarry" contains the blurb: "One life should be enough to give for humanity . . . but humanity wanted Asher Sutton to keep making the sacrifice indefinitely!" (4). For Frederic Brown's "The Last Martian": "The worries of a drunk are strange indeed. This one feared his people were all dead on another world. Silly, of course. Only . . . "(145). In the November 1951 issue of Galaxy the blurb for Frank Quattrocchi "Sea Legs" reads: "Restless and footloose, a man in space can't help but dream of coming home. But something nobody should do is bet on the validity of a homesick dream!" (5). For "Self-Portrait" by Bernard Wolfe: "In the credo of this inspiringly selfless cyberneticist, nothing was too good for his colleagues in science. Much too good for them!"(58). Galaxy's blurbs focused on plot as a way to attract readers browsing the magazine at a store, often relying on paradoxes or surprises to build suspense. Sometimes a Galaxy blurb relied on irony or satire to draw the reader in. The last blurb, for example, might cause the reader to wonder about the irony in the "selfless cyberneticist," giving his colleagues something that is "Much too good!" Was the "selfless" cyberneticist going to do something perverse to his colleagues, or harm them in the guise of helping them? Galaxy was a magazine that published quite a bit of satire, and that tendency is reflected in the ironic and paradoxical blurbs.

Many blurbs tried to direct the reader's reaction to a story. The editor John W. Campbell's blurbs in Astounding magazine inform us how he wanted the magazine's stories read. For example, in the June 1952 issue of Astounding, the blurb in Theodore R. Cogswell's "The Specter General" reads: "Normally, a colony is a fairly balanced miniature of its civilization, and acts pretty much like the civilization. But some most peculiar results can come from an isolated military base!" (9). For "The Ghost Town" by Donald Kingsbury : "Sometimes a cat gets into trouble; it's got claws that make climbing up a tree easy, but getting down again is tougher. And under certain conditions getting to the Moon would be like the problem of the tree-climbing cat!" (58). For Francis Donovan "The Short Life": "The Alien had to choose -- and fast -- a living entity to act through. He chose . . . but he made one error . . ."(6, October 1955). For "New Blood" by James E. Gunn: "It would be very dangerous indeed to have something of inestimable value that could not be communicated, taught, or known by any other human being! If you had immortality, but didn't know how or why, for instance . . . ." (62, October 1955). Campbell's blurbs tended to be longer than those by other editors, and to focus on ideas rather than plot or character. Astounding often published "problem-solving science fiction," and Campbell emphasized the problem-solving motif. The tree-climbing cat, the alien, and the immortal in the above blurbs all have a problem to resolve.

Lost Art
The illustrations, both the cover paintings and the interior drawings, are a significant component of the science fiction genre and the magazines' history. At their best, the illustrations convey the same sense of wonder as the fiction. Unfortunately, the original magazines remain the only place to study most SF illustration, which is an underappreciated art form that museums and universities rarely collect because they see illustration as hackwork rather than fine art. Many original cover paintings were not preserved because the magazines often threw them out after printing them. Much SF illustration -- especially the black and white interior art -- has never been republished. SF fans are the primary means of preserving the illustrations: a number of fans have developed extensive collections of original SF art.

The illustrations were created to help sell the magazines rather than to create original art, generally dramatizing a scene from a story, although some writers wrote stories based on a painting, thus reversing the usual order. Much of the iconography of SF: the rocketships, the aliens, the spacemen, the damsels in distress, are either powerfully or awkwardly rendered in paintings and drawings. Frank R. Paul emerged as the father of pulp SF art by painting the covers of all of Hugo Gernsback’s early SF magazines, embellishing the magazines with garish futuristic machines and cities. Howard Brown helped create the space art of magazines such as Astounding and Startling Stories. The magnificent crosshatched art of Virgil Finley, which was published in 27 different magazines, remains impressive; he probably was the best draughtsman in the genre’s history. Chesley Bonestell brought the style of photographic realism to space art, and his paintings invoked wonder and a fascination for space exploration.

The magazines allow critics to chart changes in the genre over time. I have a collection of several thousand science fiction magazines which I rely on for personal enjoyment and to write articles. My collection contains a complete run of Galaxy magazine and Worlds of If. I own nearly every issue of Fantastic from the 1970s, and most issues of Fantastic and Amazing from 58-70, with an especially strong selection from the classic Cele Goldsmith era of 58- 65. I also own hundreds of Analog/Astounding from the 40s through 80s, although that selection is incomplete. I collect assorted Startling Stories, Thrilling Wonder Stories, Fantasy and Science Fiction, and a few New Worlds. The collection remains far from complete, and is ongoing, both in use and in accumulation.

If we look at a magazine picked at random from my collection, the January 1945 issue of Astounding, we can discern quite a bit about the genre at the time. The cover of the magazine advertises the feature story "The Mixed Men" by A.E. Van Vogt. Like most of the Astoundings of the era, the cover contains a black background. Some of Astounding’s cover paintings from the 40s and 50s had yellow or red backgrounds, but the digest sized magazine eschewed the garish design of magazines like Planet Stories and Thrilling Wonder Stories, and published covers with a solid color background and a foreground generally depicting either an astronaut, spaceship, planet, robot, or alien. The design told the reader that the magazine was serious and technical, not designed for juveniles. The January issue begins with an editorial by the editor John W. Campbell about "decimal points" and physics, and then offers a novelette, three short stories, and a serial. The nonfiction includes three science articles illustrated by photos and diagrams. The fiction highlights include the A.E. Van Vogt novelette, and a Frederic Brown short story. The interior art is printed in a subdued black and white. The reader's letters are often remarkably erudite, discussing the science in the stories or factual articles, and the merits of the fiction. Astounding is educational and technical, perfect for engineers and science nerds.

Astounding represents a tradition within science fiction that dates back to Hugo Gernsback, who created the first science fiction magazine, Amazing Stories in 1926, and envisioned "scientific fiction" as a way to educate people about science and technology. Gernsback felt the pleasure of fiction could make the educational pill of science easier to swallow.

Startling Stories represents a strikingly different style of science fiction magazine: one that saw its role as entertainment and social networking for fans. The July 1948 issue of Startling features a cover painting of a group of horrified people being swallowed by the Earth, while in the foreground a beautiful blonde wearing a torn, revealing dress flees in panic. The artist was Earle Bergey, who painted most of the covers for the magazine from 1940 forward, and generally emphasized tough-guy heroes or a heroine in a metallic bra or torn clothing, often being pursued by a BEM (bug-eyed monster).

Startling is larger in size than a digest magazine and designed to catch the eye of an adolescent male who might enjoy observing the gaps in the blonde's dress while scanning the pulp magazines at the drug store. Serious fans in the '40s and '50s often complained in the letter columns that although they liked the fiction, the covers made them embarrassed to be seen with the magazines. The content was more mature than the covers, which were justified as a necessary device for selling the magazine. Although the serious fans and readers may have been the magazine's core readership, the magazines also sold on the newsstands to casual readers attracted to the garish art. The interior art is less sensualistic, and illustrates scenes from the stories more closely than the cover paintings. Instead of science articles, the nonfiction concentrates on fannish issues: the editorial discusses fan organizations, and the magazine includes a column that reviews fanzines. The letter column is also fan focused, and more extensive than Astounding. The fan features helped Startling build a loyal following, and provided lonely fans with a chance for some human contact.

The fiction is impressive and includes a reprint novel by Edmond Hamilton, a novelette by Emmet MacDowell, and five short stories by the pre-cult L. Ron Hubbard, a Henry Kuttner reprint, Jack Vance, Margaret St. Clair, and Walt Sheldon. Problematically, the magazine continued to publish some reprints throughout its history, which contrasts with Astounding, the leading magazine of its time, which did not publish reprints. The problem with reprints is that they stifle innovation by offering fewer publication slots for new writers.

Under Sam Merwin, editor of Startling from '45 - '51, the magazine matured. Merwin dropped features such as the reader columns introduced by "Sergeant Saturn"--a figure that alienated many serfans- - and transformed the magazine into one of the better SF publications of its time. Startling published a lot of science fantasy rather than the more technical fiction of Astounding, with writers such as Henry Kuttner, C.L. Moore, and Jack Vance appearing often.

From 1951-1954 Samuel Mines edited the magazine, and despite the fact that the publication faced increasing competition and folded in 1955, Mines continued to publish good fiction. The classic Mines issue is probably August 1952, which published the taboo-breaking Philip Jose Farmer classic novel The Lovers. The novel was eventually republished as a paperback, but reading the reprint does not have the same effect as reading the original magazine which contained an editorial proclaiming the importance of the novel. Virgil Finley's interior illustrations accentuate the story, and the letter columns of later issues show the fans' vociferous reaction to the story, both pro and con.

Galaxy began publication in 1950 in digest format, and along with Fantasy and Science Fiction was part of the literary reaction to the pulp roots of science fiction. The two magazines intended to make the genre better written with stronger literary values. Galaxy's early covers were designed in an L format, with a white trim around the painting, which contrasts with the pulpy, sensationalistic covers on Startling and Thrilling Wonder Stories. The rear cover of the first issue -- in this case a significant paratext -- was headlined: "You'll Never See It In Galaxy." The things you'll never see in Galaxy include the clichéd themes of space opera, or westerns in space, with "hyperdrives" and "six gun fights." Galaxy was a magazine for serfans, "serious fans," who wanted adult themes and intelligent ideas. Horace Gold's first editorial, "For Adults Only," pointed out that everything about the magazine: from the cover, the interior illustrations, and the design, were designed to break from the juvenile focus of some pulp magazines. Fans would not be ashamed to be seen with an issue of Galaxy.

The paper stock was higher quality, and the magazine was stapled rather than just glued. In my personal collection, Galaxy has survived the ravages of time much better than the larger, pulp magazines of the era. I'm assuming the paper quality is a significant reason for the difference because every Startling Stories I own is crumbling and brittle, whereas the Galaxy magazines are rarely brittle.

Galaxy avoided many of the accouterments of fandom, which Horace Gold apparently associated with the juvenile pulps: it did not run a letter column, or articles about fandom and conventions.

Galaxy's fiction lived up to Gold's principles, tending to be eclectic, and focused on psychology and sociology rather than the hard science fiction of Astounding. The magazine published most of the major writers of the 50s including Heinlein, Asimov, Simak, and Bradbury. The magazine became strongly associated with the satire of Pohl and Kornbluth, but it also published prizewinning stories by writers such as Theodore Sturgeon, Alfred Bester, Avram Davidson, and Jack Vance.

Although the first issues featured cover illustrations Gold was proud of, tending to foreground landscape over action and human figures, the paintings were at best uninspired. The art improved when Emsh (Ed Emshwiller) started contributing covers. Later issues of Galaxy published interior art by artists such as Jack Gaughan, which gave the magazine a more stylish look.

After Gold retired in 1961, Frederick Pohl took over as editor. He expanded Galaxy's editorial policy by accepting science fantasy from Jack Vance and Cordwainer Smith. He also edited Worlds of If throughout the '60s and early '70s; the more popular of the two, If won three Hugos. Pohl considered Galaxy the flagship publication, and If a secondary title, but the fans did not agree. A glance at the two magazines demonstrates that both were excellent publications, but If tended to publish "fun" stories, especially space opera, and serials by golden age writers E. E. Doc Smith and Van Vogt. Although Galaxy rarely published serials and series, If relied on them extensively, which was popular with the readers; some well received serials and series include Fred Saberhagen's Berserker stories, Heinlein's The Moon is a Harsh Mistress, Keith Laumer's Retief series, C.C. MacApp's Gree series, and the early work of Larry Niven.

Science Fiction is a commercial genre, relying on subscriptions and newsstand sales to survive. Science Fiction magazines, with the exception of the British magazines New Worlds and Interzone, have not received government subsidies, and the British magazines have only sporadically received arts council funding. To my knowledge SF magazines have received little to nothing in the way of gifts, donations, or aristocratic patronage. The online SF magazine Strange Horizons survives from reader donations, and has reader fund drives like public radio, but this funding model is new and does not allow it to turn a profit or pay its editors. SF magazines survive on reader subscriptions, while most magazines and newspapers attempt to recoup costs with subscriptions and newsstand sells and make a profit through advertising.

The Economics of SF
The magazines are an essential tool in researching how commercialism affects the genre. Some self-consciously literary fiction is published by university presses with government and university subsidies and can afford to lose money. When Startling Stories ceased to make a profit it folded, a fate that most SF magazines have faced eventually.

The commercial restrictions faced by editors and writers have always been very real, perhaps more so when SF was solely or largely published in magazines. If one book is censored, a publishing company with a varied catalog can probably recover. If a magazine is censored, than it goes out of business; consequently, the SF magazines had to be careful about including sex and profanity.

Commercial restrictions involved more than just concern for sex and profanity; print publication, unlike the Internet, is limited to the number of words that can fit on a page. For years a SF novel had to be written to the length of 60,000 words, as anything much longer required too many issues to serialize, and anything shorter was not considered a novel. Short stories, novellas, and novelettes also had artificial length requirements which varied from magazine to magazine.

When science fiction was initially published in book form it was often in the form of a "fix-up;" a book composed of stories from the magazines stitched together as a novel or a short story collection. Science Fiction stories were often written in series, which allowed an author to create a world and then set several stories in that world, rather than creating a new world and a new future for every story, and gave the writer more freedom to develop his/her world. Fix-ups generally incorporated some new material to connect the loose ends and make the book read more smoothly. Many genre classics are fix-ups, including Isaac Asimov's Foundation Trilogy, Robert Heinlein's Orphans of the Sky, Charles Stross's Accelerando, and much of A.E. Van Vogt's work. The fix-up form works because the writer can develop a world over several years, and then revise and rework the material for book publication. It is a form greatly affected by commercial pressures, but that productively benefits from those pressures. For a critic to study fix-ups, which is an excellent place to analyze commercial and editorial pressures on writers, s/he would need to recover all the original magazines and compare them to the later book publication, to chart how the work changed and developed as the author revised and combined material.

Another related area of research involves studying how magazine publication affected the revision and alteration of manuscripts. The contracts the authors signed gave the magazine rigid control over the text; an editor could alter the manuscript however s/he wanted. Titles were commonly changed, often much to the writer’s surprise. Editors could also alter the text of the story without notifying the author. An extreme example of this tendency was Horace Gold, the editor of Galaxy, who developed a reputation for overediting. Gold was an eccentric, troubled man who suffered from agoraphobia and rarely left his apartment, generally communicating to writers via the phone. Since he wanted Galaxy to be the best written magazine of its day, he would often edit and rewrite the work of contributors, to the point that some authors stopped submitting to Galaxy. He rewrote Robert Heinlein's The Puppet Masters so extensively he infuriated the author. On the other hand, many writers greatly benefited from Gold's involvement. Like John W. Campbell, he fed writers ideas, helping shape some of the best stories of his day. Gold extensively edited some classics of the genre, such as Alfred Bester's Demolished Man, and his guidance helped turn it into a much stronger novel.

Women of Vision
Although most SF writers are men, women writers have always been significant to the genre, and research into the magazine history allows scholars to develop a stronger sense of the importance of women to the genre. There have been important women writers in every era of SF: C.L. Moore, Leigh Brackett, Judith Merril, Katherine MacLean, Margaret St. Clair, Kit Reed, Zenna Henderson, Ursula K. Le Guin, etc. Regardless of how sexist they were, editors needed science fiction enough that they did publish women, and some women became enormously popular as writers. However, sexism was certainly an issue; some women changed their names to make their gender ambiguous, for example, C.L. Moore, Leigh Brackett, or Andre Norton.

James Tiptree Jr. remains the most famous case of a female writer changing her name. Alice Sheldon created a male penname with a personality and biography; she even wrote letters to other writers pretending to be an older, flirtatious man. The most famous example of Sheldon's roleplaying is the letter exchange between Tiptree and Ursula K. LeGuin, in which Sheldon flirted with the younger woman, and pretended to be an older, worldly man (Phillips, "Dear Starbear" and James Tiptree, Jr.). Sheldon was an immensely complicated person, and highlights the complexity of gender relations in SF. It may be that she created the Tiptree personality less out of a fear of sexism than out of a desire for anonymity and its liberating effect on her as a writer.

John W. Campbell has been accused of sexism, but he was quite willing to publish women writers such as Katherine MacLean; he just expected them to write in the Astounding/Analog mode, like the men he published. The reality is that female writers were paid the same word rates as male writers, and when their work was good it was published. Fewer women submitted stories than men, but when they did submit they may have been treated more fairly by the SF magazines than by the larger society. A study of gender in the SF magazines, which would be a book of its own, needs to look at the fact that women did publish stories and write letters to the magazines, so although the genre was male dominated, it was never exclusively male.

The preservation of SF magazines remains an important concern because pulp paper becomes brittle and crumbles over time, so SF magazines, even if preserved under good conditions, will fall apart eventually. The best medium for long term preservation is microfilm, which lasts for decades and is easy to store. There have been a few microfilming projects for SF magazines, for example at Brown University, but much of America’s pulp heritage has not been preserved. Microfilming, despite its manifold advantages, also has glaring disadvantages. Microfilming is sometimes inaccurate and results in missing pages or pages impossible to read. Microfilming destroys the color in the art, and the black and white art tends to be washed out by the process. Digitization is a better tool for display, but not always reliable as a means for preservation. Digitized media can be lost because of outdated hardware or software, and must be migrated onto new software and hardware every few years, which is both expensive and difficult. The best-case scenario is for pulp magazines to be preserved in a climate-controlled environment at a major research institution, backed up on microfilm, and then migrated to a digital format for display purposes. Such a preservation program would require a major grant, or a wealthy donor.

Although SF magazines are vital to the history of the genre, they have been a declining force for decades now. The highpoint of the magazines was the early 1950s when a dozen or so were published, with some boasting circulation in the hundreds of thousands. At that time, the magazines were virtually the only place for SF fans to get a dose of their genre. There was no SF TV, few decent movies, and very little SF published in book form. Today SF is produced in every possible media, and the magazines have become a place for hardcore, serious fans only. Today there are only three professional print SF magazines: Analog, Fantasy and Science Fiction, and Asimov's, with only Analog having a circulation in excess of 20,000 at 23,000. The circulation of these magazines has been declining steadily in recent years. One possible future for the magazines is online since it costs virtually nothing to publish an online magazine. A subscription-based online magazine could be very successful, but Internet users seem reluctant to pay for online subscriptions; they've become accustomed getting things for free online. Advertisements are another funding model for an online magazine, but SF fans are a narrow enough niche that ads may never bring in enormous profits for online magazines. Another possibility might be Print on Demand, which reduces printing and postage costs, and could offer a different business model for a SF magazine. The POD magazine can print issues as they are ordered, and can fill back orders without maintaining an inventory.

Chris Anderson in The Long Tail argues that the Internet is reshaping American common culture into a richer, more diverse culture composed of niches and small communities of common interests. This shift allows media with a small fan base to connect with its audience. To an extent Chris Anderson's model has come true for SF fans since a reader can obtain virtually any SF book through used book sites, an enormous convenience, since just a few years ago fans had to comb used book stores and dealer tables at conventions to obtain hard-to-find books. Online books stores have driven down the price of old SF paperbacks, although the postage can be expensive. SF pulp and digest magazines can be obtained relatively cheaply on eBay, and on a few websites. Websites and online magazines are now available for free, and many, such as The Internet Review of Science Fiction, and Strange Horizons, provide superb content. The downside to the online magazines is that don't seem to make any money, so they tend to pay writers less-than-professional rates and editors work largely on a volunteer basis.. Until someone can create an adequate funding model for the online magazines, they will probably remain amateurish or semi-pro.

Preservation of pulp science fiction magazines remains an important concern: both preservation of the remaining magazines in order to maintain markets for contemporary writers, and preservation of the older magazines to maintain research material for scholars and fans. The research topics that can be addressed by the heritage of SF pulp magazines are numerous: from concerns of genre to history of race and class, from literary studies to general cultural issues. Outside of fandom, the value of pulp SF magazines has often been underestimated, just as the genre has been unappreciated at times. Hopefully, the neglect of SF pulp magazines will be replaced with a stronger historical appreciation as scholars have begun to see the value of popular culture as well as traditional canonical literature.

Works Referenced
Anderson, Chris. The Long Tail: Why the Future of Business is Selling Less of More. Hyperion, 2006.

Ashley, Mike. The Time Machines : the Story of the Science-Fiction Pulp Magazines from the Beginning to 1950. Volume 1 in The History of the Science Fiction Magazine. Liverpool: Liverpool University Press, c2000.

Ashley, Mike. Transformations: Volume 2 in The History of the Science Fiction Magazine, 1950 to 1970. Liverpool University Press, 2005.

Ashley, Mike. Gateways to Forever: The Story of the Science-Fiction Magazines, 1970-1980. Liverpool University Press, 2007.

Astounding Science Fiction. Edited by John W. Campbell, Jr. January 1945. Volume XXXIV, no. 5.

Astounding Science Fiction. Edited by John W. Campbell, Jr. June 1952. XLIX, no. 4.

Astounding Science Fiction. Edited by John W. Campbell, Jr. October 1955. LVI, no. 2.

Barron, Neil. Anatomy of Wonder: A Critical Guide to Science Fiction. 5th Edition. Libraries Unlimited, 2004.

Bleiler, Everett and Bleiler, Richard. Science Fiction: The Gernsback Years. Kent University Press, 1998.

Blish, James. The Issue at Hand: Studies in Contemporary Science Fiction. Advent, 1964.

Carter, Paul. The Creation of Tomorrow: Fifty Years of Magazine Science Fiction. Columbia University Press, 1977.

Delany, Samuel R. The Jewel-Hinged Jaw: Notes on the Language of Science Fiction. Dragon Press, 1977.

The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction. Edited by John Clute and Peter Nicholls. St. Martin's Griffin, 1993.

Fantastic. Edited by . June 1970.

Galaxy Science Fiction. Edited by H.L. Gold. October 1950. Vol. 1, no. 1.

Galaxy Science Fiction. Edited by H.L. Gold. November 1951. Vol. 3, No. 2.

Genette, Gerard. Paratexts: Thresholds of Interpretation. Translated by Jane E. Lewin. Cambridge University Press, 1997.

Knight, Damon. In Search of Wonder: Essays on Modern Science Fiction. Advent, 1967.

Kuttner, Henry and Moore, C.L. Two-Handed Engine. Edited with an introduction by David Curtis. Centipede Press, 2005.

Manlove, C. N. Science Fiction: Ten Explorations. Kent State and Macmillan, 1986.

Philips, Julie. "Dear Starbear: Letters Between Ursula K. Le Guin and James Tiptree Jr."

Fantasy and Science Fiction. Edited by Gordon Von Gelder. September 2006. Vol. 111, No. 3.

Philips, Julie. James Tiptree, Jr.: The Double Life of Alice B. Sheldon. St. Martin's Press, 2006.

Rose, Mark. Alien Encounters: Anatomy of Science Fiction. Harvard, 1981.

Samuelson, David. Visions of Tomorrow: Six Journeys from Outer to Inner Space. Arno, 1974.

Silverberg, Robert. To Be Continued: The Collected Stories of Robert Silverberg. Subterranean Press, 2006.

Startling Stories. Edited by Samuel Merwin. July 1948. 17, 3.

Startling Stories. Edited by Samuel Mines. August 1952. 27, 1.

Thursday, April 10, 2008


The JANUARY 1937 issue of the fanzine THE SCIENCE FICTION CRITIC, Volume 1 Number 7, published monthly by THE FUTILE PRESS (Lakeport, CA.), featuring:
A Note from the Editor Hands of English (by D. R. SMITH, reprinted from NOVAE TERRAE) A Suggestion (by William MILLER, JR.) The Element of Human Interest in Scientific Fiction (of which the instigation and early parts are by Groo BECK, and the latter parts by the Editor) Fantasiana (by Louis C. SMITH) “Lost Horizon” – A Preview In Glancing Through the Magazines
Editor, Claire P. BECK
A NEAR FINE-FINE copy. Digest-sized. 14 pages.

The MARCH 1937 issue of the fanzine THE SCIENCE FICTION CRITIC, Volume 1 Number 8, published monthly by THE FUTILE PRESS (Lakeport, CA.), featuring:
A Note from the Editor Extrapolation—And Error (by John W. CAMPBELL, JR.) The Astounding Schachner (by D. R. SMITH) Clark Ashton Smith’s Carvings (Available As Replicas) In Glancing Through the Magazines (by John B. MICHEL) Editorial Note Ads
Editor, Claire P. BECK
A NEAR FINE-FINE copy. Digest-sized. 14 pages.

The JULY 1939 (Third Anniversary) issue of the fanzine THE SCIENCE FICTION FAN, Volume 3 Number 12 Whole Number 36, featuring:
Fanfarade (by Donald A. WOLLHEIM) IPO (by Jack SPEER) The Forecast (by Olon F. WIGGINS) Vagabondia, StF (by The Vagrant) Fantasy Comments (RALeadabrand) Ye Fantaisie Bookes (by Ye Olde Booke Collector) Campbell and the Frustration of Invention (by Donald A. WOLLHEIM) Ads
Editor-in-Chief, Olon F. WIGGINS Contributing Editor, Donald A. WOLLHEIM Contributing Editor, Hayward S. KIRBY Art Editor, James M. ROGERS
A NEAR FINE copy. Digest-sized. 12 pages.

The NOVEMBER 1939 issue of the fanzine THE SCIENCE FICTION FAN, Volume 4 Number 4 Whole Number 40 (misprinted as “39”), featuring:
The Last of H. P. Lovecraft (by J. B. MICHEL) Stfiana: Ralph Milne Farley, No. 6 Ye Fantasie Books (by Ye Olde Booke Collector) That Community Known as Comanche (by Lawrence PASCHALL) Captain Future Block That Kick, Or, An Entirely Original Article in Three Parts with Incidental Music , Or, This Month We Shall Take Up Taurus the Bull, Also Known As Part III (by Jack GILLESPIE) Science Fiction Fans, Too, Are Human (by Frederic POHL)
Editor, Olon F. WIGGINS Associate Editor, P. J. SEARLES Contributing Editor, Donald A. WOLLHEIM Contributing Editor, H. S. KIRBY Art Editor, James M. ROGERS
A NEAR FINE copy. Digest-sized. 20 pages.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

More Roy Squires

ARKHAM HOUSE EPHEMERAECOMING IN SUMMER 1959! Roy A. Squires - bookseller, bibliographer, printer, publisher, raconteur - issued an Arkham House bibliographic booklet in 1985 noting dates, references, and assigning chronological numberings to all catalogs, announcements, letters & postcards from the noted publisher. This particular piece is number 31 in "The Phil Mays Collection of Arkham House Ephemerae", a leaflet folded to 4 pages.

EDWARD E. SMITH, (DOC) SMITH Dated June 13, 1950A typed letter upon his own stationery, from Science Fiction giant, Doc Smith, to semi-prozine publisher Roy A. Squires thanking him for being able to purchase an old pulp magazine. Simply signed "Doc".Accompanying the original Doc Smith letter I will also include a xerox copy of the return letter from Roy A. Squires to Doc Smith.Folded for mailing, else fine.

Bradbury in fanzines

SHANGRI-L'AFFAIRES #13, APRIL, 1944Edited by Paul Joquel, IIPaul Freehafer was a wonderful character: well-known fan & fanzine publisher, Math-whizz, writer, collector and friend to Clark Ashton Smith & the young Ray Bradbury (SEE MY OTHER FANZINE LISTING THIS WEEK!). Freehafer was one of the minds working on an element in the production of the Atomic Bomb when he died tragically prematurely of a congenital heart defect while still in his twenties. His fanzine "POLARIS" was one of the best of its era.This issue of SHANGRI-L'AFFAIRES is dedicated to Paul Freehafer in memoriam, with commentary by Ray Bradbury among others - "....I'm certain Paul knew how much we all loved him" - from a commentary by Ray Bradbury.A drawing of Freehafer by Arkham House artist Ronald Cline is pictured upon the cover.An excellent companion to my other Bradbury fanzine!Folded for mailing else a nice copy of a rare item!Near fine condition

POLARIS Vol. 1, No. 2, March, 1940Edited by Paul FreehaferPaul Freehafer was a wonderful character: well-known fan & fanzine publisher, Math-whizz, writer, collector and friend to Clark Ashton Smith & the young Ray Bradbury (SEE MY OTHER FANZINE LISTING THIS WEEK!). Freehafer was one of the minds working on an element in the production of the Atomic Bomb when he died tragically prematurely of a congenital heart defect while still in his twenties. His fanzine "POLARIS" was one of the best of its era.This issue features the single-page fantasy short story by Ray Bradbury & Bob Tucker entitled "The Maiden of Jirbu". There is also a story by H. P. Lovecraft friend - Robert H. Barlow entitled "The Root Gatherers"....not to mention cover art by Hannes Bok!Folded for mailing else a nice copy of a rare item!Near fine condition

Walter de la Mare

Walter de la Mare on Lewis Carroll

Every century, indeed every decade of it, flaunts its own little extravagancies and aberrations from a reasonable human standard. Passing fashions in dress and furniture, in plays, music and pictures, and even in ideas and sentiments, resemble not only the caprices of our island {Great Britain} climate, but also the extremes made manifest in English character, both of which in spite of such excesses yet remain true to a more or less happy medium. And so too with literature.

The Victorian age was rich in these exotics. It amuses us moderns, having dried and discoloured them, to make little herbariums of them. We forget to remind ourselves that many of our own prized blossoms are also of the hot-house, and will suffer a similar desiccation. But there is one Victorian wild flower which makes any such condescension absurd – and it is called Nonsense. (page 7)

Walter de la Mare

This is the first edition of Walter De La Mare’s book, LEWIS CARROLL, a fine 67 page reflective essay on the life and works of Charles Lutwidge Dodgson, writing under the pseudonym of Lewis Carroll. This book was published by Faber & Faber in London in 1932. It is in very good condition: it has no writing or markings throughout except for the name of a previous owner on the first free end paper (which is slightly foxed). The gilt lettering on the spine is still sharp and bright, though the brown binding has faded a little in a few spots. This copy has no dust jacket. This is an excellent reference on Lewis Carroll for anyone who collects his works. The high bidder pays postage and insurance. Payment can be made with a check (cashier’s or personal), a money order, or a credit card (via PayPal). Payment must be made within 10 days of the close of the auction.

Oscar Wilde Book: Reading Gaol

This is one of the 1898 printings of the first edition Oscar Wilde's poem, THE BALLAD OF READING GAOL, with C.3.3, Oscar Wilde's cell number while in jail identified as the author, and Wilde's name not appearing in the book. It was published by Leonard Smithers in London. This is one of 1000 copies printed. There were six printings of this book in 1898 with C.3.3. listed as the author. This has the year 1898 (in Roman numerals) on the title page and on the verso of the title page it is identified as the "Sixth Edition", meaning the sixth, and last, printing of the first edition, all identical, and all identifying C. 3.3. as the author. This book is in fine condition -- no markings throughout, the gilt lettering on the spine still clear and sharp, the binding tight, and the only wear on the four outer corners of the covers, and that minimal. This edition of Wilde's Ballad with only C.3.3.listed as the author is a must in any collection of Wilde's work, and, indeed, of turn-of-the century literature. The high bidder pays postage and insurance. Payment can be made with a check (cashier's or personal), a money order, or a credit card (via PayPal). Payment must be made within 10 days of the close of the auction.

Rare Wandrei Item surfaces

This is the first (and probably only) edition of ECSTASY, by Donald Wandrei, published by the Recluse Press in 1928 in Athol, Massachusetts. This is a collection of 30 poems running 39 pages by Wandrei, the co-founder of Arkham House, and better known for his weird and horror story writing. This is Donald Wandrei first published work. It has its original glassine jacket and inserted in the front is a tag that says it is from the library of Donald Wandrei. This is an interesting historical curio by the creator of Arkham House, a press that has had a major impact in the USA on the availability of many significant works of horror, occult, and science fiction.


You're at "Chrispy's Antiquarian Horror Page".

Go Back to Original HPL blog