Small House of Everything

Small House of Everything

Saturday, August 2, 2014


Doug Kershaw.


This is a pretty neat issue with lotsa slam-bang action and crudely drawn and lettered stories.  A number of the pages aren't colored, or are partially colored, but that just adds to the charm.

I loved it!

And check out the ads on the inside back cover for some cool series books:  The Hardy Boys, Nancy Drew, Don Sturdy, The Lone Ranger, The X-Bar-X Boys, Ted Scott, Jerry Todd, Beverly Grey, Judy Bolton, The Dana Girls, and more.

Friday, August 1, 2014


Illustrator Ed Cartier was born this day in 1914.  He first knocked out with his header for the Brass Tacks department in Astounding/Analog.  I soon began looking for his distinctive style and was never disappointed.  He died in 2008, leaving a hole in science fiction and fantasy illustration.


Tom Chapin (Bless him!).


The Other Passenger:  18 Strange Stories  by John Keir Cross (1944)

John Keir Cross (1914-1967) was a prolific writer for BBC radio who later moved to television, adapting such books as John Wyndham's The Kraken Wakes and Dickens' A Tale of Two Cities and The Mystery of Edwin Drood.  He also edited three well-respected horror anthologies.  Along the way, he wrote a number of juvenile books (some as "Stephen Macfarlane"); I reviewed The Angry Planet and The Red Journey Back as Forgotten Books in January 2012.

In the US he is probably best known for The Other Passenger, his second (of two) story collections and the only one published under his name.  Lippincott published the American edition in 1946, but it was the Ballantine paperback Stories from The Other Passenger in 1961 that most people remember.  It was one of the Ballantine horror series with the great Richard Powers covers that grabbed your attention from the get-go and then let the stories take you down strange and wondrous paths.

The stories? They're good.  Some are damned good.  In my mind I can't help comparing them to the stories in another book, Tomato Cain by fellow BBC writer Nigel Kneale  and the Cross stories fall a little bit short of those by Kneale -- just a little bit.  And, from me, that's great praise.

Here's the line-up with the stories from the Ballantine edition marked by an asterisk:
  • The Glass Eye*
  • Petronella Pan
  • The Last of the Romantics*
  • Clair de Lune*
  • Absence of Mind
  • Hands*
  • Another Planet
  • Liebestraum
  • Miss Thing and the Surrealist*
  • Valdemosa
  • Amateur Gardening
  • The Little House*
  • Esmeralda
  • Music When Soft Voices Die
  • Cyclamen Brown
  • Couleur de Rose
  • The Lovers*
  • The Other Passenger*
Copies of the full collection are available from on-line sellers, starting in the $20 range.  The paperback is (of course) available for less.

Give it a try.  I think you'll be impressed.

Thursday, July 31, 2014


Mrs. Elva Miller -- the recording star of the mid-Sixties in the same way that ebola is a minor disease. Some very sick music business genius decided to record her tuneless renderings and I am sure that said genius is now (will soon be) residing in some inner circle of Hell.  Thus did the music scene stumble and falter and modern civilization come to a complete halt.

This is bad, folks.

Here she channels her inner Petula Clark:

And her inner Nancy Sinatra:

Having demolished Nancy, she sets her aim at the old man:

And I think she gave the Beatles nightmares over this:

And this:

The Mamas and the Papas could not elude her unique stylizing:

And, finally, she joins Jimmy Durante in mangling his signature song:

Thus are your eardrums destroyed.  I have done my job and exit stage right.


John McCutcheon.