Small House of Everything

Small House of Everything

Monday, September 30, 2013


  • Boris Akunin, Sister Pelagia and the White Bulldog.  Mystery.  Translated by Andrew Bromfield.
  • Kevin J. Anderson, The Key to Creation.  Fantasy, Book three of the Terra Incognita trilogy
  • (Anonymously edited), The Kiss of Death:  An Anthology of Vampire Stories.  Sixteen stories, thirteen of them original.  Published by The Design Image Group.
  • Mignon F. Ballard, Hark!  The Herald Angel Screamed.  An Augusta Goodnight mystery.
  • John Bellairs, The Best of John Bellairs.  Omnibus volume of three YA fantasies:  The House with a Clock in Its Walls, The Figure in the Shadows, and The Letter, the Witch, and the Ring.
  • Edgar Rice Burroughs, The Rider.  Graustarkian adventure.
  • William S. Burroughs, The Western Lands.  Novel, the final book in a trilogy beginning with Cities of the Red Night and The Place of Dead Roads.
  • Gail Carragher, The Parasol Protectorate, Volume 2.  Steampunk fantasy omnibus containing Heartless and Timeless.
  • Michael Connelly, The Fifth Witness.  A Lincoln Lawyer mystery.
  • Robert Crais, The Two Minute Rule.  A stand-alone thriller.
  • "Kit Dalton"  (Chet Cummingham), Buckskin:  Tombstone Ten Gauge/ Death Draw.  Adult Western omnibus of the 31st and 32nd books in the series.
  • David Drake & Bill Fawcett editors, Battlestations.  Military SF omnibus containing anthologies Battlestation (eleven stories) and Battlestation:  Vanguard (twelve stories).
  • Mignon G. Eberhart, The House on the Roof.  Mystery from a MWA Grand Master.  Does anyone read Eberhart anymore?
  • George Alec Effinger, The Exile Kiss.  SF novel in the Budayeen series.
  • Timothy Findley, Spadework.  Novel.
  • "Dirk Fletcher" (Chet Cummingham), Spur: Wyoming Wench/Portland Pussycat.  Adult western omnibus of the 35th and the 31st books in the series.
  • Alan Dean Foster, Quofum.  SF, a novel of the Commonwealth. 
  • Charles Earle Funk, Heavens to Betsy! and Other Curious Sayings.  Non-fiction.
  • John Gardner, The Art of Fiction.  Non-fiction.
  • William Gibson, Pattern Recognition.  SF.
  • Christie Golden, The Rise of the Horde.  Gaming (World of Warcraft) tie-in novel.
  • Sue Grafton, Kinsey and Me.  Collection of 22 mystery stories and one article.  This adds considerably to the 1991 edition of Kinsey and Me which Grafton's husband had privately printed for her.
  • Heather Graham, The Last Noel and Picture Me Dead.  Thrillers.
  • Charlaine Harris, Touch of Dead:  the Complete Sookie Stackhouse Stories.  Horror collection  of five stories.
  • Charlaine Harris & Toni L. P. Kelner, editors, Wolfbane and Mistletoe.  Werewolves and Christmas, o my.  Fifteen stories.
  • Stephen Hockensmith, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies:  Dawn of the Dreadfuls.  Horror, the prequel to Pride and Prejudice and Zombies.
  • Stephen Hunt, The Court of the Air.  Fantasy.  Jay Lake's cover blurb sold me:  "If Charles Dickens and Jack Vance had ever collaborated, they might have written this book..."
  • Stephen Jones, Editor, The Mammoth Book of Best New Horror, Volume 13 (23 stories from 2001), The Mammoth Book of Best New Horror, Volume 15 (25 stories from 2003), The Mammoth Book of the Best of Best New Horror:  Two Decades of Dark Fiction (20 stories), and The Mammoth Book of New Terror (26 stories).  **Br-r-r-r**
  • J. Robert King, editor, The Dragons of Magic Anthology.  Gaming (Magic: The Gathering) tie-in anthology with twelve stories in the Artifacts Cycle.
  • Laurie R. King, O Jerusalem.  A Mary Russell/Sherlock Homes mystery.  This one looks back on a period before they were married.
  • Andrew Klavan, Hunting Down Amanda.  Thriller.
  • Valentin Korovin, editor, Russian 19th-century Gothic Tales.  Literary/fantasy anthology with 20 stories translated by various persons.  Printed in the Soviet Union with over 600 pages on HEAVY stock, making this literally heavy reading.
  • Nancy Kress, editor, Nebula Awards Showcase 2003.  SF anthology with nine stories/extracts/articles.
  • Mercedes Lackey, Eric Flint & Dave Freer, The Wizard of Karres.  A follow-up to James Schmitz's The Witches of Karres.
  • Bette Golden Lamb & J. J. Lamb, Bone Dry.  Horror.
  • Louis L'Amour, Hanging Woman Creek, Rivers West, and With These Hands.  Two western novels and a collection of eleven adventure stories.  Plus, The Trail to Seven Pines, a Hopalong Cassidy novel originally published as by "Tex Burns."
  • Tanith Lee, The Secret Books of Paradis I & II. Fantasy omnibus containing The Book of the Damned and The Book of the Beast.
  • Holly Lisle, Midnight Rain.  Suspense.
  • Noel L. Loomis, Cheyenne War Cry.  Western.
  • Robin McKinley & Peter Dickinson, Water:  Tales of Elemental Spirits.  Fantasy collection with three stories each by the authors.
  • J. E. Mooney & Bill Fawcett, editors, Shadows of the New Sun:  Stories in Honor of Gene Wolfe.  SF/fantasy anthology with 19 stories.
  • Christopher Moore, The Lust Lizard of Melancholy Cove.  Fantasy.
  • Bill Peschel, Writers Gone Wild:  The Feuds, Frolics, and Follies of Literature's Great Adventurers, Drunkards, Lovers, Iconoclasts, and Misanthropes.  Non-fiction.  Recommended for anyone who enjoys Penschel's entertaining blog.
  • Michael Prescott, Comes the Dark.  Thriller.  This one is copyrighted by horror novelist Douglas Borton, so...
  • Robert M. Price, editor, The New Lovecraft Circle and Tales of the Lovecraft Mythos.  Horror anthologies with 25 and 20 stories, respectively.
  • "Spencer Quinn" (Peter Abrahams"), Thereby Hangs a Tail. The second Chet and Bernie mystery.
  • Kathy Reichs, Devil Bones.  A Temperance Brennan mystery.
  • "J. D. Robb" (Nora Roberts), Divided in Death and Fantasy in Death.  Eve Dallas mysteries.
  • Don Robertson, A Flag Full of Stars.  A novel from one of Stephen King early influences.  (King often cited Robertson, Richard Matheson, and John D. MacDonald as his three favorite writers when he was young; in fact, King used his Philtrum Press to a republish one of Robertson's The Ideal Genuine Man.)
  • Greg Rucka, Perfect Dark: Second Front. Gaming tie-in novel.
  • Arthur W. Saha, editor, The Year's Best Fantasy Stories:  9 and The Year's Best Fantasy Stories:  14.   Fantasy anthologies.  #9 contains ten stories from 1982; #14, thirteen stories from 1987.
  • Jessica Amanda Salmonson, editor, Heroic Visions II.  Fantasy anthology with thirteen stories.
  • George Saunders, Tenth of December.  Collection of ten stories.
  • Darrell Schweitzer, editor, Cthulhu's Reign.  Horror anthology with fifteen stories.
  • Stephen Smoke, Pacific Coast Highway.  Mystery. 
  • Judith Tarr, Queen of Swords.  Historical novel.
  • Patrick Tilley, Blood River.  SF.  Book 4 in the Amtrak Wars series. 
  • Harry Turtledove, Blood and Iron.  Alternate history.  Book One in The American Empire series.
  • Mark Twain, The Devil's Race-Track:  Mark Twain's Great Dark Writings.  Nineteen little-known selections.  Selected by John S. Tuckey.
  • Carrie Vaughn, Kitty Goes to Washngton and Kitty Takes a Holiday.  The second and third books in the fantasy series about radio host/werewolf Kitty Norville.  A great first name for a heroine.
  • Thomas A. Verde, Maine Ghosts & Legends:  25 Encounters with the Supernatural.  Folklore.
  • Livia J. Washburn, The Gingerbread Bump-off.  Part of the Fresh-Baked Mystery series.  Yes, there are recipes.
  • Margaret Weiss, editor, Search for Power:  Dragons from the War of Souls.  Gaming (DragonLance) tie-in collection of fourteen stories. 
  • F. Paul Wilson, The  Keep.  Graphic novel with art by Matthew Smith.  Based on the first book in Wilson's Adversary Cycle, which will later touch the Repairman Jack cycle -- all part of Wilson's Secret History  of the World.  Wilson spends part of his introduction grousing (rightly about the travesty of a motion picture which was made from The Keep.
  • Ian Watson & Ian Whates, editors, The Mammoth Book of SF Wars.  Sf anthology with 24 stories.
  • Leonard Wolf, editor, Blood Thirst:  100 Years of Vampire Fiction.  Horror anthology with 22 stories and five novel excerpts.

Sunday, September 29, 2013


My daughter the sign language student just posted on Facebook:  Going to interpret the stuffing out of "Bye Bye Birdie" this afternoon!

To which, her friend Gwen posted:  Break a finger!


So the October issue of LOCUS arrived in the mail yesterday and there on page 8 was this awesome news item:

"JOSE PRENDES sold Sharcano, about volcanoes the begin spewing out sharks from hell, to Lisa Gus at Curiosity Quills Press via Kathy Muraviov of the Muraviov Company."
As one of the three people in the world who actually watched the SyFy Channel's Sharknado all the way to its pitiable end, I welcome this news, although there is no word as to whether this work of literary genius will be adapted for the small screen.
I'm also hoping for further works such as Sharquake, Sharknumi, Sharkicane, and Sharkphoon.  And why stop at sharks?  Howzabout Gatorquake, Snakano, Grizzlicane, or Kittengory Ten Furstorm?  The mind boggles.
I need some coffee.



Saturday, September 28, 2013


Edith Pargeter (who, while wearing her "Ellis Peters" hat, wrote the Brother Cadfael and the Inspector Felse mysteries) would have turned 100 today.  I met her once, briefly, on her last tour of America; she was a very sweet person.  A very talented writer.



"Arguably Dell's second most famous anthology was Animal Comics, famous because it introduced Albert, Pogo and the rest of the Okefenokee Repertory Players...Issue #1 introduces Albert, a greedy and selfish alligator, Bumbazine, a thoughtful and clever little boy, and Pogo, a possum with a birthday.  In "Albert Takes the Cake," Albert may have a different personality that his later lovable self, but Pogo has no character at all aside from fast-talking his way out of being eaten."

Ah, but from such humble beginnings...

From 1942, Animal Comics #1, wherein everyone's favorite possum first saw light of day:

Also in this issue:  a non-Okefenokee Swamp story by Walt Kelly, "Muzzy and Ginger."

Monday, September 23, 2013


  • Michael Connelly, The Drop.  A Harry Bosch mystery.
  • Clive Cussler & Paul Kemprecos, Medusa.  A Kurt Austin/NUMA Files adventure.
  • James Grippando - Hear No Evil.  A Jack Swyteck thriller.
  • Stephanie S. Henry, An Apology for the Devil.  Religious (?) fantasy.  A first novel published though iUniverse so the quality of the work is up in the air.  Signed.
  • Alex Kava, A Perfect Evil and Split Second.  Maggie O'Dell mysteries.
  • Jonathan Kellerman, Rage and Survival of the Fittest.  Alex Delaware mysteries.
  • David Morrell, Burnt Sienna and Desperate Measures.  Thrillers.
  • John Mortimer, The Third Rumpole Omnibus.  Mystery collection containing Rumpole and the Age of Miracles, Rumpole a la Carte, and Rumpole and the Angel of Death.
  • Larry Niven & Edward M. Lerner, Fleet of Worlds.  SF.  A Ringworld prequel.
  • T. Jefferson Parker, The Renegade.  A Charlie Hood mystery.
  • "Ellis Peters" (Edith Pargeter), The Potter's Field.  Brother Cadfael plows up a human head in the seventeenth book in the mystery series.
  • Kathy Reichs, Break No Bones.  A Temperance Brennan mystery.

Friday, September 20, 2013


The Collected Strange Papers of Christopher Blayre by Edward Heron Allen (1998)

Edward Heron [sometimes hyphenated] Allen (1861- 1943) was a fascinating person:  a member of the British intelligence service during World War I, one-time editor of Violin Times, practicing solicitor, lecturer on protozoology, and author of many books covering his many interests -- including hand reading, violin making, Persian literature, paleontology, marine biology, and Buddhism.  He also wrote two novels, several volumes of poetry, and two collections of short stories under his own name.  But there's the rub:  He also wrote some marvelous stories while hiding under the pseudonym "Christopher Blayre," and may have written (or not) under other pen-names.  It wasn't until two years before his death that it was sussed out that Heron Allen was the person behind the Blayre mask.  Michael Ashley, in his article on Heron Allen in The St. James Guide to Horror, Ghost & Gothic Writers (1998), mentions that some have suggested that he was the person who also wrote as "Dryasdust" and "M. Y. Halidom" -- he wasn't, and Ashley did not support those claims; that author was later revealed to be Alexander Huth -- but (Ashley wrote) "it is very likely that he wrote more fiction than his bibliography covers and his full contribution to weird and science fiction remains to be assessed."

Heron Allen's place in weird fiction is nonetheless cemented by the seventeen stories he wrote as "Christopher Blayre," which were originally published in three (four?  three-and-a-half?) volumes:
The Strange Papers of Dr. Blayre (1932, which itself was an expansion -- by four stories -- of the 1921 collection The Purple Sapphire and Other Posthumous Papers, Selected from the Unofficial Records of the University of Cosmopoli), The Cheetah Girl (1923), and Some Women of the University, Being a Last Selection from the Strange Papers of Christopher Blayre (1934).  It could be that all seventeen stories were written in the same period and, for reasons that will become obvious, were published over a thirteen-year period.

Anyway, "Christopher Blayre" (we are told) is the registrar of the venerable University of Cosmopoli.  Since the duties of the Registrar are minimal, Blayre has been collecting the written experiences of various faculty members -- thus, the "unofficial records."  The stories themselves are fantastic in various ways:  spores from space are found to have been the origin of human life; a beetle's bite precipitates lust; an incompetent doctor accidently kills the Wandering Jew; a library is haunted; an old estate is haunted by pairs of boots set out in a row; and so on.  The stories would fit well into Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction's early years, alongside H. Nearing, Jr,'s stories of Professor Cleanth Penn Ransom.  The University of Cosmopoli can also be a dangerous place to work since a disturbing number of professors who contributed to (or were subjects of) these various unofficial records met their separate dooms in various manners.

The publication history of these books is interesting.  The first (Purple Sapphire) was published by Philip Allan.  Excised from this collection was the novella The Cheetah Girl, which has part of its theme some pretty hefty (for the time) sexuality and lesbianism; the novella was presumably omitted to avoid persecution under Britain's obscenity laws.  Allen later privately published the story.  The collection was expanded in 1932 as part of Philip Allan's famous "Creeps" series, which was anonymously edited by Charles Birkin.  The last four stories were also privately published by Heron Allen in 1934.  The prize of that collection is another story (very eerie) with a strong lesbian theme; again, perhaps why the collection was privately published.  The final story, "Passiflora Vindicta Wrammsbothame," about a passionate new breed of passion flower, has an Avram Davidsonish feel to it.

Tartarus Press, publishers of this complete edition, deserve kudos for bringing these stories back into print.  My only gripe is that the stories are published with no introduction or background information; indeed, with no indication of original publication or from which volumes they arose.  (Although Tartarus did order the stories roughly according to book publication, with the stories from Strange Papers first, followed by Cheetah Girl, and finishing with Some Women.)

Try some of the stories yourself.  The link below will take you to the original eight tales in Purple Sapphire, as well as The Cheetah Girl:

Monday, September 16, 2013


  • David Baldacci, Hour Game.  A Jon Tenney/Rebecca Romin Sean King/Michelle Maxwell thriller.
  • Clive Cussler, with Paul Kemprecos, Serpent.  A Kurt Austin adventure, from the NUMA files.
  • Harlan Coben, Caught.  Thriller.
  • Jeffrey Deaver, The Bodies Left Behind.  A stand-alone thriller.
  • Earlene Fowler, Arkansas Traveler, Br. oken Dishes, Delectable Mountains, Dove in the Window, Goose in the Pond, Mariner's Compass, Seven Sisters, Steps to the Altar, Sunshine and Shadow, and Tumbling Blocks.  Benni Harper mysteries.  The titles are all quilting patterns.  Yep, cozies.
  • P. D. James, The Private Patient.  An Adam Dalgliesh mystery.
  • Louis L'Amour, North to the Rails.  Western.
  • J. Sheridan Le Fanu, Wylder's Hand.  An 1864 mystery written by a master of atmosphere.
  • Madeline L'Engle, An Acceptable Time, Many Waters, A Swiftly Moving Planet, and A Wind in the Door.  YA SF continuing the adventures of the Murry family, whom we met in A Wrinkle in Time.
  • Patricia A. McKillip, The Book of Astrix Wolfe.  YA fantasy.
  • Marcia Muller, The Ever-Running Man.  A Sharon McCone mystery.
  • Jean Rabe, The Day of the Tempest.  Gaming (Dragonlance:  Fifth Age) tie-in novel.
  • "J. D. Robb" (Nora Roberts), Born in Death and Three in Death.  A novel and a collection of three novellas in the Eve Dallas near-future mystery series.
  • Sarah Strohmeyer, Bubbles in Trouble.  Mystery, the return of Bubbles Yablonsky beautician/reporter/sleuth par excellence.

Friday, September 13, 2013


The Beyonders by Manly Wade Wellman (1977)

My choice this week for a Forgotten Book brings us to the Appalachian Mountains that Manly Wade Wellman loved so much.  The isolated town of Sky Notch, population 250, doesn't have much going for it -- a general store, a gas station, a small barber shop, a tiny church, but the school has closed and the only doctor is retired and practices only when needed. On the plus side, the people are friendly, the area is beautiful, and there's plenty of hunting and fishing.  About five miles off in the wood live the even more isolated Kimber clan, a strange group addicted to privacy and their own religion and customs.  The Kimbers do grow the best vegetables in the area and provide the most popular "blockade" -- the local term for moonshine.

Only one member of that family lives in town; Slowly Kimber, actually related to the family by marriage rather than blood, is the town clerk, and does odd chores and cooking for Doc Hannum.  Slowly is one of the better things about Sky Notch and most of the men in town are in love with her, including Duffy Parr and Gander Eye Gentry, neither of whom are ungentlemanly enough to declare their affections.  The small town's population grows by one with the arrival of James Crispin, an artist who has rented a house in town.  Crispin is good-looking, cultured, and friendly, and it soon appears that he is the one that Slowly likes.  But Crispin is a man of secrets and has an agenda for the town folk and for the Kimber clan, in whom he seems unduly interested.

Gander Eye Gentry begins to notice some strange things, including an odd shining shape rising from the bushes in the distance, a shape that belongs to neither man nor bear, a shape that leaves no track -- its only trace some browned grass near where Gander Eye had seen the shape.  Then there was the strange figure that tossed a large chunk of gold -- a large, warm chunk of gold -- at Gander Eye.  And in the woods, off the path that leads to the Kimber territory, there's a large pile of rocks supported only by poles, a pile large enough to bring about an avalanche if released, crushing anyone unlucky enough to be heading to the Kimbers at the time.  Another stranger, a large hairy man named Struve, who claims he represents a company called Beyonders, Incorporated, encounters Gander Eye in the woods, and tries to enlist Gander Eye in some unnamed project that would be a boon to Sky Notch, while promising untold wealth and power to Gander Eye.  At the house rented by Crispin, flowers bloom riotously in the desiccated ground

Crispin talks Captain Kimber, the head of the Kimber clan, into allowing Slowly to escort him to view the clan's secret baptism ceremony -- something no outsider has been allowed to see in over 100 years.  (Somehow Crispin manages to include a few secret words into his conversation with the Captain that allowed him to gain the Captain's trust.)   It turns out that the ceremony is powerful, brief, and performed in the nude.   Gander Eye, jealous, has secretly followed Slowly and Crispin, and views the rite from a distance.

Back at Sky Notch,  in a totally unnecessary plot element, Crispin decides to paint the baptism scene he saw and asks Gander Eye to pose for him.  Gander Eye agrees, as long as he poses alone.  Crispin also talks Slowly into posing separately.  Another unnecessary plot element, although based on a true story and quite funny, involves Duffy Parr, drowning his sorrows in blockade, who suddenly becomes the unwilling half of a shotgun marriage -- a scene that Wellman evidently thought too good to eliminate.

All the strange doings in and around Sky Notch are due a century-old plan of invasion by creatures from another universe.  (I had read one review that claimed the invaders were Lovecraftian.  If you are not too sure what a Lovecraftian monster is and if you squint real hard in the dark while looking in another direction, well...yeah...Sort of...Maybe...Nah, not really.)  A gate between the universes had opened in the mountains and the invaders are now ready to conquer the planet.  All that stands between the aliens and Earth's doom are Gander Eye and a few other mountain men and their guns.

This book was a pleasure to read because of Wellman's love for the area, its people, and their customs; few people treat those subjects better than Wellman.  As for the main plot?...well, that leaves something to be desired.  Read it for the well-drawn characters and setting, as well as for the action and Wellman's clear, flowing writing style. 

Wednesday, September 11, 2013


This is a day for remembering.  The only bad jokes today are the conspiracy nuts and the haters.  Celebrate this day by continuing to live and to love.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013


From 1923, it's Our Gang (aka, The Little Rascals) in the silent comedy No Noise.  Proof positive that chaos reigned, even pre-Spanky and pre-Alfalfa.

Monday, September 9, 2013


Iain M. Banks, Use of Weapons.  SF novel of the Culture.
Marion Zimmer Bradley, The Inheritor.  Horror.
Lincoln Child, The Third Gate.  Thriller,
A. C. Crispin, Star Trek:  Yesterday's Son.  Television tie-in novel.  Ann Crispin passed away last week; she will be missed.
"Amanda Cross" (Carolyn G. Heilbrun), A Trap for Fools.  A Kate Fansler mystery.  I met the author once, a very smart and personable woman; I was blown away several years later when I heard she committed suicide.
David Freer & Eric Flint, Rats, Bats & Vats.  Humorous military SF.
Terry Goodkind, Faith of the Fallen, Naked Empire, The Pillars of Creation, and Soul of the Fire.  Epic fantasies.
Kerry Greenwood, Heavenly Pleasures.  A Corinna Chapman mystery.
James Grippando, The Abduction.  Thriller.
Tom Holt, The Portable Door.  Humorous fantasy.
William W. Johnstone & J. A. Johnstone, Matt Jensen:  The Last Mountain Man:  Massacre at Powder River.  Western.
Arthur Koestler, Darkness at Noon.  Novel.
Jonathan Letham & Karl Rusnak, Omega the Unknown.  Graphic novel.
"Tabor Evans," Longarm and the Horse Thief.  Number 269 in this long-running adult western series.
Melanie Rawn, Stronghold, The Dragon Token, and Skybowl.  The Dragon Star fantasy trilogy.

Friday, September 6, 2013


The Science-Fictional Sherlock Holmes, edited by The Council of Four (1960)

O, Sherlock!  Your singular mannerisms and hyperlogical mind have, from the very beginning, stormed the gates of our consciousness and have conquered our collective heart and mind and psyche.  Is it no wonder that you have become a part of that pantheon of fictional creations which is recognizable in every section of the world?  That you stand tall and aloof alongside other notables such as Tarzan and Mickey Mouse? And -- dare I say it? -- that you have spawned more imitators than any of the others in that exalted pantheon?

Which brings us to the book in question, which (I believe) is the first anthology to deal with the Great Detective in purely science fictional terms.  Arthur Conan Doyle, while no slouch at science fiction and fantasy, sternly avoided such (for the most part) in his recounting the tales of Sherlock Holmes, leaving to the readers' imaginations about the real meanings of the Giant Rat of Sumatra, the Remarkable Worm, the vanishing of Mr. James Phillimore, and other such cases that have gone unrecorded.  Doyle's character has been the object of pastiche and parody almost from the day he first saw print in the Strand.  Is it no wonder that some of these efforts would border on the literary fantastic, and that some would charge headlong across that border to invade that strange territory?

In Ellery Queen's excellent anthology The Misadventures of Sherlock Holmes (1944), the editor included a number of fantastic and science fictional stories among the more pedestrian pastiches and parodies, but -- as I said -- it wasn't until 1960 that this book became the first anthology, brief though it may be, to concentrate on the more fantastic side of Sherlockania.  And who, or what, is "The Council of Four"?  The Baker Street Irregulars, that world-wide organization of Sherlock aficionados, has many local chapters; the one in Denver is The Council of Four, so-named because it began with only four members.  In 1960, the group's six members responsible for The Science-Fictional Sherlock Holmes were Chuck Hanson (Recording Angel), Roy Hunt (Chief Prophet), Norm Metcalf (Archangel-in-Exile), Ellis Mills (plain member), Bob Peterson (Mammon), and Tom Walker(Archangel).  They self-published the book from 2845 South Gilpin Street, Denver 10, Colorado;  Donald M. Grant's Grandon, Publishers printed the book for The Council of Four.  Robert Peterson copyrighted both the book and Anthony Boucher's introduction.

The contents:
  • "Sherlock Holmes and Science Fiction" - an introduction by Anthony Boucher
  • "The Martian Crown Jewels" - Poul Anderson
  • "Half A Hoka -- Poul Anderson" - an appreciation of Anderson by Gordon R. Dickson
  • "The Adventure of the Misplaced Hound" - Poul Anderson and Gordon R. Dickson
  • "The Anomaly of the Empty Man" - Anthony Boucher
  • "The Greatest Tertian" - Anthony Boucher
  • "The Adventure of the Stitch in Time" - Mack Reynolds and August Derleth
  • "The Adventure of the Ball of Nostradamus" - Mack Reynolds and August Derleth
  • "The Return" - H. Beam Piper and John McGuire
To today's reader of both mystery and science fiction, almost all of these stories will be familiar.  For the reader of strictly science fiction or of strictly mystery fiction, a number of the stories will be familiar.  All but "Half an Hoka" and Boucher's introduction have been widely reprinted.  Among the contents are one (and a half) Hoka and two Solar Pons tales -- worth the price of admission by themselves.  Throw in Anderson's deduction, Boucher's erudition, and Piper/McGuire's adventure and you have a superb anthology.  My only quibble:  not enough stories; the book is only 137 pages.  O, well...that deficit has been made up by the numerous SF Sherlockanian  anthologies published after this book led the way.

[By the way, Dickson's appreciation of Anderson, taken from the program booklet of the 17th World Science Fiction Convention, qualifies for this anthology by having a giant extraterrestrial Holmes deduce Anderson's personal and literary qualities.]

Thursday, September 5, 2013


Not-so abject apology time:  It's a few minutes to noon and I just realized that I haven't posted anything on this blog for today.  Then I read that it is Be Late for Something Day.


Wednesday, September 4, 2013


  • When I went to college, my parents threw a gong away part for me, according to the letter.
  • I learned about sex the hard way...from books.
  • Countries are making nuclear weapons like there is no tomorrow.
  • My parents were very protective; I couldn't even cross the street without them getting all excited...and placing bets.
  • I like going to the park and watch the children run and jump around, because you see, they don't know I'm using blanks.
  • You know what I don't like...Indian, I take that back.
  • So there I am at the wailing wall, standing there like a moron, with my harpoon.
  • And always remember the last words of my grandfather, who said, "A truck!"
  • I picked up a've got to if you hit them.
  • A computer once beat me at chess, but it was no match for me with kickboxing.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013


Fred Pohl died yesterday at age 93.  Ed Gorman had it right when he said Pohl was a monument.  any of his books and stories are classics; all are eminently readable.  He was a superb editor, bringing us the seminal Star science fiction series of anthologies (among so many others), he helmed Galaxy and If, he published Delaney's Dahlgren and Russ' The Female Man, he co-wrote Arthur C. Clarke's last novel, as agent and editor he encouraged many of the field's best (and probably, some of the field's worst) writers, his non-fiction books Practical Politics and (with Isaac Asimov) The Angry Earth are exemplars of common sense, he ruffled feathers at the first World Science Fiction Convention, he won more awards than I can count, and he kept his popular blog up until the day he died (yesterday's post was on executions in Texas).  By all accounts he was a nice guy.  I know that there are many people, like me, who are incredibly saddened by his death.

From Out of the Unknown, a dramatization of Pohl's story "The Tunnel Under the World."

And a few Frederik Pohl quotes:

R. I. P., Mr. Pohl

Monday, September 2, 2013


Number 22?  You've got to be kidding!


    It's been a pretty busy book week, with a lot of hefty anthologies, the new Harlan Ellison GN, and more mysteries that you can shake a stick at.  Not mentioned are the 46 books Kitty picked up (for free!); most of those will be going to good homes over the next few weeks.

  • Kathy Acker, Blood and Guts in High School  Novel.
  • Alexander, Blind Justice.  Historical mystery featuring Sir John Fielding, founder of the Bow Street Runners.
  • J. R. L. Anderson, A Sprig of Sea Lavender.  Mystery.  One of the Dell "Scene of the Crime" paperbacks.
  • Kevin J. Anderson, Janet Berliner, Matthew J. Costello, & F. Paul Wilson, Artifact.  Thriller with SF/F/horror overtones.
  • Kelley Armstrong, The Summoning.  YA horror, Book One in the Darkest Power series.
  • "Jonathan Aycliffe" (Denis MacEoin), The Matrix.  Horror.  The author also writes very intelligent thrillers as "Daniel Easterman."
  • Clive Barker, Mister B. Gone.  Horror.
  • "John Benteen" (Ben Haas), Fargo #3:  Alaska Steel, Sundance:  Manhunt, and Sundance:  Riding Shotgun.  Westerns.
  • E. F. Bleiler, editor, Five Victorian Ghost Novels.  Calling them all novels may be stretching it a bit.  They are:  The Phantom Lover by "Vernon Lee", The Uninhabited House by Mrs. J. H. Riddell, Monsieur Maurice, by Amelia B. Edwards, The Ghost of Guir House by Charles Willing Beale, and The Amber Witch by Wilhelm Meinhold.
  • J. L. Bourne, Day by Day Armageddon:  Beyond Exile.  Zombie apocalypse novel, the second in a series.
  • Gary Brandner, Doomstalker.  Horror.
  • Kevin Brockmeier, editor, Real Unreal:  Best American Fantasy Vol. 3.  Fantasy anthology with 20 stories from 2008.
  • Walter R. Brooks, Freddy and the Bean Home News.  Children's book featuring everybody's favorite pig.  (Sorry, Babe.  Sorry, Wilbur.)  This time Freddy and his friends start a newspaper.
  • John Burdett, Bangkok Haunts and Bangkok Tattoo.  Sonchai Jitpleecheep mysteries.
  • Peter Carey, Jack Maggs.  A novel of mesmerism, possession, and 1837 London by a Booker Prize winner.
  • James Hadley Chase, We'll Share a Double Funeral.  Mystery.
  • "Francis Clifford" (Arthur Bell Thompson), The Naked Runner.  Thriller.  It was filmed in 1967 with Frank Sinatra in the lead role.
  • Nancy Collins, Final Destination:  Looks Could Kill.  Movie franchise tie-in novel.
  • Merle Constiner, Two Pistols South of Deadwood and No Man's Brand by William Vance.  An Ace double western.
  • "E. J. Copperman" (Jeff Cohen), Night of the Living Deed.  The first in the Haunted Guesthouse series.
  • Deborah Crombie, A Share in Death.  The first Duncan Kincaid/Gemma Jones mystery.
  • Ellen Datlow, editor, Tails of Wonder and Imagination.  Mainly fantasy collection of 40 cat stories.
  • "Robert Doherty" (Robert Mayer), Area 51: The Reply and Area 51:  The Grail.  The second and the fifth novels in this SFnal thriller series.
  • Garneer Dozois, editor, The Year's Best Science Fiction:  Fourteenth Annual Collection.  SF anthology with 27 stories from 1996 and Dozois' usually in-depth summary of the year in SF.
  • "D. B. Drumm" (John Shirley), Traveler #3:  The Stalkers.  Post-apocalyptic men's adventure.
  • Stefan Dziemianowicz, Robert Weinberg, & Martin H. Greenberg, editors, Nursery Crimes.  Horror anthology with 30 stories.
  • Harlan Ellison, Paul Chadwick, & Ken Steacy, Harlan Ellison's 7 Against Chaos.  SF novel.  Ellison has been working on this for ten years and is very proud of it.
  • Gherbod Fleming, Nosferatu.  Gaming (Dark Ages: Vampire) tie-in novel.
  • John L. French, editor, Bad Cop...No Donut.  Anthology.  Fifteen stories of cops behaving badly.
  • John G. Fuller, The Ghost of 29 Megacycles.  I really hate calling this stuff nonfiction.  This one goes into the experiments of Dr. George Meek, who developed "Spiritcom," which electronically crossed the boundary between life and death -- or something.
  • Ray Garton, Ravenous and Scissors.  Horror novels.
  • Ed Gorman, The Poker Club.  Mystery.  Picked up to replace the copy that went walkabout at a hotel off the NJ Turnpike earlier this month.
  • Jonathan Green, Crusade for Armageddon.  Gaming (Warhammer 40,000) tie-in novel.
  • Roland Green & John F. Carr, Great King's War.  SF continuing the adventures begun by H. Beam Piper in Lord Kalvan of Otherwhen.
  • "Rohmer Zane Grey," Beyond the Mogollon Rim, Gun Trouble in Tonto Basin, King of the Range, and Siege at Forlorn River.  Collections of two, two, three, and three novellas, respectively of western stories featuring heroes (Nevada Jim Lacy, Arizona Ames, Buck Duane, and Yaqui, respectively) created by Zane Grey.  All the stories were lead features in Zane Grey's Western Magazine from 1969 through 1974.  The conceit was that RZG was the son of Zane Grey, while the reality was that this was a house name used at various times by Gary Brandner, Tom Curry, Clayton Matthews, and Bill Pronzini and the Girl who Jeffrey Wallman.
  • Christopher Golden, editor, The New Dead.  Zombie anthology with 19 stories.
  • Christopher Golden & Jeff Mariotte, Gen 13:  Netherwar.  Comic book tie-in novel.
  • Martin H. Greenberg, editor, The End of the World.  SF anthology with 19 stories.
  • Gary Gygax, The Anubis Murders.  Gaming (Dangerous Journeys) tie-in novel.
  • "Matthew S. Hart" (James Reasoner), Cody's Law #1:  Gunmetal Justice.  Western.
  • Andrew Kaplan, Dragon Fire.  Thriller.
  • "Lars Kepler" (Alexandra and Alexander Ahndoril), The Hypnotist.  Mystery novel from Sweden.  Translated by Ann Long.
  • William King, Ragnar's Claw.  Gaming (Warhammer 40,000) tie-in novel featuring Ragnar of the Imperial Space Marines.
  • Louis L'Amour, Borden Chantry, a western novel, and Buckskin Run, a collection of eight western stories and seven "Historical Notes."
  • Robert Lory, A Harvest of Hoodwinks (twelve stories) and Masters of the Lamp (novel).  An Ace SF double.
  • George R. R. Martin & Gardner Dozois, editors, Songs of Love and Death.  Cross-genre anthology with 17 stories.
  • Anne McCaffrey, The Girl Who Heard Dragons.  SF collection with fifteen stories.
  • Sandy Mitchell, Cain's Last Stand and Caves of Ice.  Gaming (Washammer 40,000) tie-in novels, both featuring Ciaphas Cain.
  • Andre Norton, The Hands of Lyr.  Fantasy.
  • Yei Theodore Ozaki, compiler, The Japanese Fairy Book.  Twenty-two fairy tales collected and first published in 1903.
  • Edith Pargeter, Reluctant Odyssey.  The second book in the author's World War II trilogy, written "almost contemporaneously with the action."
  • Louise Penny, A Fatal Grace.  A Chief Inspector Gamache mystery.
  • Otto Penzler, editor, Murderers' Row.  Anthology with 14 mystery stories.
  • Anne Perry, editor, A Century of British Mystery and Suspense.  Mystery anthology with 30 stories.
  • William L. Pohoresky, A Day to Day.  Civil War novel self-published in 1984 and signed by the author.
  • Robert Rankin, The Witches of Cheswick.  Humorous fantasy by a master of the genre.
  • Steven Saville & Althea Konis, editors, Elemental:  The Tsunami Relief Anthology.  SF/F anthology with 23 stories with all proceeds going to Save the Children Foundation in response to the 205 tsunami.
  •  Wilbur Schramm, editor, Great Short Stories.  A 1950 textbook anthology with 28 mostly familiar stories.  What sealed the deal for me is that the editor used the introduction explaining how he wrote his popular short story "Windwagon Smith," which I admired.
  • John Shirley, Predator:  Forever Midnight.  Movie franchise tie-in novel.
  • Dan Simmons, Olympos.  Epic fantasy, the concluding volume in the Ilium duology.
  • D. A. Stern, The Punisher.  Movie-based-on-the-comic-book tie-in novel.
  • Jonanthan Straham, editor, Eclipse Three:  New Science Fiction and Fantasy.  Anthology with 15 stories.
  • Peter Straub, The Throat.  Horror, part of the Blue Rose trilogy.
  • Richard Stevenson, Third Man Out.  A Donald Strachey mystery.
  • Keith Francis Strohm, The Tomb of Horrors.  Gaming (Greyhawk) tie-in novel.
  • David Thompson, Wilderness #41:  By Duty Bound.  Western.
  • Peter Tomasi, Green Lantern Corps:  Blackest Night.  Graphic novel.  Artwork by Patrick Gleason.
  • Hank Wagner, Christopher Golden, & Stephen R. Bissette, Prince of Stories:  The Many Worlds of Neil Gaiman.  Nonfiction, an in-depth look at Gaiman's work through 2008.  And, yes, I'm a big Gaiman fan-boy.
  • Robert Weinberg, The Web of Arachnos.  Gaming (City of Heroes) tie-in novel.
  • Kate Wilhelm, A Sense of Shadow.  SF edging into horror territory.
  • Jane Yolen, Sword of the Rightful King.  YA Arthurian novel.
  • Roger Zelazny, editor, Warriors of Blood and Dream.   Fantasy collection with fifteen stories.