Small House of Everything

Small House of Everything

Monday, September 29, 2014


Kate Wolf.


  • "L. A. Banks" (Leslie Esdaile Banks), The Wicked.  Fantasy novel in the Vampire Huntress Legend series.
  • J. M. Barrie, Peter Pan and Other Plays. Collection of five plays:  The Admirable Crichton, Peter Pan, When Wendy Grew Up (actually a seven page afterthought), What Every Woman Knows, and Mary Rose.
  • Alice Borchardt, The Raven Warrior.  Fantasy novel in the Tales of Guinevere series.  The back cover has a complementary quote from Anne Rice.  Would Rice have enthused so much if the author hadn't been her sister?
  • Tom Brown, Jr., as told to William Jon Watkins, The Tracker.  Brown's story as a tracker in New Jersey's Pine Barrens.
  • Loren L. Coleman, Rogue Flyer.  Gaming (Crimson Skies) tie-in novel, Book 1 of the Wings of Justice series.  Air pulp meets 1937 apocalyptic United States.
  • [Diane Duane], Tom Clancy's Net Force:  One Is the Loneliest Number.  The third in the YA series based on the adult series created by Clancy and Steve Pieczenik.
  • Dave Duncan, The Relunctant Swordsman.  Fantasy, Book One in the Seventh Sword series.  Also, Perilous Seas and Emperor and Clown, Parts Three and Four in the fantasy series A Man of His Word.
  • Joe Hart, The River Is Dark.  Self-published mystery.
  • Carla Jablonski, The Books of Magic:  The Invitation.  YA fantasy novel based on the graphic novel created by Neil Gaiman and John Bolton.
  • Victoria Nalani Kneubuhl, Murder Leaves Its Mark.  "A Hawai'i Mystery" featuring Mina Beckwith and Ned Manusia
  • [Bill McCay], Tom Clancy's Net Force:  Virtual Vandals.  The first in the YA series.
  • Lisa Miscione (better known as Lisa Unger), Angel Fire, The Darkness Gathers, and Twice.  Mysteries, the first three books in the Lydia Strong series. 
  • Warren Norwood, Flexing the Warp, Fize of the Gabriel Ratchets, and Planet of Flowers.  SF, books 2 through 4 in the Windover Tapes series featuring diplomat Gerard Manley and his sentient starship.
  • "Christopher Pike" (Kevin McFadden), Christopher Pike's Tales of Terror.  YA horror collection with six stories.
  • James Reasoner, Antietam, Chancellorsville, and Vicksburg.  Volumes 3,4,and 5 in his Civil War Battle series.
  • Laura Joh Rowland, The Concubine's Tattoo and The Fire Kimono.  Two Sano Ichiro mysteries set in late 17th century Japan.  I read the first three books in the series when they came out and I was very impressed.
  • Laurence Shames, The Naked Detective.  An off-kilter Florida mystery.
  • Akimitsu Takagi, The Tattoo Murder Case.  The author's first of many well-regarded mysteries.  this one, first published in 1948 under the title Shisei Satujin Jikene, won the Mystery Writers Club Award of Japan in 1949.  Translated and adapted by Deborah Boliver.
  • Vivian Vande Velde, Never Trust a Dead Man.  Edgar-winning YA mystery.
  • Robert Weinberg, Stefan Dziemianowicz, & Martin H. Greenberg, editors, 100 Creepy Little Creature Stories.  Instant remainder horror anthology.  As usual, a nice mix of good and not-as-good stories, with a large proportion being lesser stories from the pulps.N

Sunday, September 28, 2014


From A Yank at Valhalla by Edmond Hamilton

          Bray called excitedly to me from the forward deck of the schooner.

          "Keith, your hunch was right.  There's something queer in this trawl!"

From The Sun Destroyers by Ross Rocklynne

          Out in space, on the lip of the farthest galaxy and between two star clusters, there came into
          being a luminiferous globe that radiated for light-years around.  A life had been born!


The Stanley Brothers.

Saturday, September 27, 2014


Carolina Night Hawks.


A comic book based on an pretty decent 1951 Burt ("I have pecs") Lancaster film.  The movie also starred Jody Lawrence, Gilbert Roland, Kieron Moore, George Tobias, John Dehner, and Mike Mazurski, and Gerald Mohr -- all of whom may be unrecognizable in the somewhat stilted artwork in the comic book.

Sergeant Mike Kincaid of the Foreign Legion is in the stockade for (justly -- he is the  hero, after all) striking an officer.  There he learns  of a planned attack on the Legion's fort.  The Legion's main body of troops are away, so Mike finds himself in charge of a group of nine prisoners who must delay the  invaders until reinforcements arrive.  Think of this as a precursor to The Dirty Dozen.oy

A tale of courage, derring-do, and romance.  Enjoy.

Friday, September 26, 2014


The Drifters.


Willie and Joe:  The WWII Years by Bill Mauldin (2011)

It's impossible for me to praise this book too much. 

Willie and Joe are the war-weary army everymen who slog their way through World War II with humor and pathos in Bill Mauldin's cartoons in Stars and Stripes and other publications.  These are the guys -- muddy, unwashed, unshaved -- who put up with sore feet, poor food, bureaucracy, cold nights, and constant danger, yet are able to take a laconic look at themselves and the war while  remaining emphatic to its many victims.  These are the guys who dream of home, hot baths, soft beds, never forgetting the families they left back home.

Willie and Joe contains all the known cartoons Mauldin did from 1940 through 1945, beginning with work published in Arizona and Oklahoma newspapers.  Back then the main character was a Choctaw indian named Joe Bearfoot, representing some of the native Americans Mauldin met while serving with the Oklahoma 45th.  As Mauldin's talent grew and matured, so did his characters, who imbibed Mauldin's strong eye for character and detail.  The book runs to some 700 pages, with well over 650 pages containing cartoons.  In addition there's a remarkable biography of Mauldin, explanatory notes, and preliminary drawings.  A virtual treasure trove.

Between Mauldin and journalist Ernie Pyle (and Mauldin's cartoon saluting Pyle's death will break your heart), American got to see war in a personal way that they had never done before.  Willie and Joe represent the men who have been called "The Greatest Generation."  This is a book that shows you why.

Highly recommended.

Thursday, September 25, 2014


You may not believe this. children, but once upon a time people listened to comedy on record albums.  Yes, once there were record albums and we played them on a machine called a record player.

Let's harken back to those days with Allan Sherman, whose brief career shined brightly once upon that time.

Here's the full album My Son, the Folksinger.


The Beach Boys.


Things have been complicated lately for poor Archie.  He married Betty.  He married Veronica.  He was killed defending his gay friend.  And so on and so on.

Things were much easier in the late Forties for the world's oldest teenager.  The Archie Andrews show ran on radio from 1943 to 1953.  Here's six episodes from the radio program with Bob Hastings as Archie, Harlan (Hal) Stone as Jughead, Rosemary Rice as Betty, Gloria Mann as Veronica, and Alice Yourman and Art Kohl as Archie's parents.


Tuesday, September 23, 2014


Hank Williams.


From the title alone, you know you are in trouble watching this film.  That knowledge is intensified during the credits when you note that the flick has a dialogue coach.  And then the film starts...

The narrator is Mother Nature.  Hoo-boy!  She tells the audience of the time -- ten thousand years ago -- when she and Father Time tried a failed experiment in Wongo:  they made all the women beautiful and all the men ugly while to the south they made tribe where all the men were beautiful and the women...were not.

We open with a native landing his canoe on the beach and taking a walk through the jungle.  (You know it's a jungle because of the shots of lizards, tropical birds, and a puny alligator; the film was shot at various tourist spots in Florida.)  The man is walking along some well-trimmed jungle grass; you're not supposed to notice that the grass is next to a dirt road with tire tracks.  One of the wild women pokes her head out from the wall of the Coral Castle in Homestead, Florida.  She has a rubber lizd Williamsard tied to her left arms.  We are to believe the lizard is real because it bobs its head when she wiggles he wrist.  And then...

O Sweet Mother of  Mercy!  I can't go on!  You will have to see if you have the stamina to watch it for yourself.

The movie stars Jean Hawkshaw, an whose only credit on IMDb was this movie.  Surprisingly, six of the other wild women have this flick as their only credit also.  One wild woman, Adrienne Bourbeau (no, not Adrienne Barbeau), has three credits, and only one (Joyce Nizzari, whose character didn't even have a name) went on to any sort of actor career.  (This was Nizarri's first film.  She had been "discovered" at age fifteen by Bunny Yeager, a photographer known for her tasteful (?) nude photographs.)  Of the male cast, the less said the better; only one of them (Ed Fury) went on to star in some Italian beefcake films.

Here's the coolest thing about The Wild Women of Wongo.  The director was James L. Wolcott.  (He was also the uncredited executive producer.)  Wolcott directed only one other movie in his career, 1969's clip show The Best of Laurel and Hardy.  So why is this so cool?  Because Wolcott was a close friend of Tennessee Williams and Williams actually directed most of the movie!  He had asked Wolcott if he could direct some of the movie and Wolcott said sure, why not?  Williams evidently did it for the jollies.

It also interesting to note that some of the stock music used in this film was so bad that it was reused a year later by Ed Wood on Plan 9 from Outer Space.

Brace yourselves, children!  Here comes The Wild Women of Wongo!

Monday, September 22, 2014


Gene Pitney.


Two weeks' worth because of computer problems earlier.

  • Peter Ackroyd, Venice:  Pure City.  Non-fiction.
  • Lloyd Alexander, The Illyrian Adventure.  YA adventure novel in the Vesper Holly series.
  • Philip Athans, Baldur's Gate II:  Shadows of Amin.  Gaming (Forgotten Realms) tie-in novel.
  • Paul Auster, The New York Trilogy.  Literary mystery omnibus containing City of Glass, Ghosts, and The Locked Room.
  • Francesca Lia Block, The Rose and the Beast:  Fairy Tales Retold.  YA fantasy collection with nine stories.
  • Richard Burton, translator, The Arabian Nights Entertainment:  The Book of the Thousand Nights and One Night, Volumes, I-VI.  Three boxed books (two volumes per book) from the Limited Editions Club.
  • Orson Scott Card, Prentice Alvin.  Fantasy, Book Three in The Tales of Alvin Maker.
  • Ann Cleeves, White Nights.  A Jimmy Prez mystery.
  • Eoin Colfer, The Wish List.  YA fantasy.
  • Henry Steele Commager, editor, The St. Nicholas Anthology.  A thick collection of poems, fiction, 1891-1947, from the noted children's magazine.
  • Glen Cook, Darkwar Trilogy 3:  Ceremony.  SF.
  • John H. Curran, Agatha Christie:  Murder in the Making:  More Stories and Secrets from Her Notebooks.  The second of the notebooks' treasure trove.
  • Charles de Lint, The Dreaming Place.  YA urban fantasy.
  • Matthew Dunn, Erased.  ThrillerSigned.
  • William Gibson, All Tomorrow's Parties.  SF.
  • Tod Goldberg, Burn Notice:  The Giveaway.  Television tie-in novel.
  • Robert Allan Gorsuch, Ghosts in Kent County [sic] Maryland.  Folklore, a research paper submitted as part of the requirement for the author's Master of Education degree.  The title given is taken from the cover; the title page gives it as Folk Tradition in Kent County, Maryland.
  • Simon R. Green, Deathstalker Rebellion. SF, the second nin the Deathstalker series.
  • Elizabeth Hand, The Affair of the Necklace.  Movie tie-in novel of a movie I had never heard of.
  • Charlaine Harris, The Julius House, Last Scene Alive, and Poppy Done to Death.  Aurora Teagarden mysteries.
  • James P. Hogan, Endgame Enigma.  SF.
  • Nancy Holder, Spirited.  YA historical "retold fairy tale." 
  • William W. Johnstone with J. A. Johnstone, Blood Bond:  A Hundred Ways to Kill, The Last Gunfighter:  Ambush Valley, Savage Guns and Sidewinders:  Deadwood Gulch.  Westerns, all but the third being parts of ongoing series.
  • Erik Larson, Thunderstuck.  Non-fiction.  Dr. Crippten's attempted escape over the Atlantic.
  • Donna Leon, Suffer the Little Children.  A Commissario Brunetti mystery.
  • Aleck Loker, Grave Mistakes.  Archeological thriller
  • Ellen MacGregor, Miss Pickerell Goes Undersea.  Juvenile SF, part of the long-running series.  I can take Miss Pickerell or leave her, but I do like her cow.
  • The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, March 2001.  A special Lucius Shepard issue.
  • Michael Malone, The Four Corners of the Sky.  Novel.
  • Bill Mauldin, Willie and Joe:  The WWII Years.  Willie and Joe represented the true heroes of WWII, war-weary grunts slogging through army life from 1940 to 1945.  This collection contains everything Mauldin published during those years that still exist.  A magnificent collection with 635 pages of cartoons, each one a gem, and with extensive endnotes and a 45-page section reproducing Mauldin's original art.  Beautiful.
  • Pat Murphy, The Falling Woman.  Fantasy.
  • [Mysterious Press], The Mysterious Press Anniversary Anthology.  Eighteen original stories published to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the niche publishing house.  I remember their original catalog, a book a page...Robert L. Fish, Asimov's Sherlockian limericks, a Robert Bloch collection, and a Norgil the Magician...great stuff.  Wonder if I still have that catalog lying around?
  • Philip Palmer, Debatable SpaceSF.
  • Ridley Pearson, Hidden Charges.  Thriller.  Previously published as The Seizing of Yankee Green Mall.
  • "Elizabeth Peters" (Barbara Mertz), Lion in the Valley and Summer of the Dragon.  Mysteries.  An Amelia Peabody and a stand-alone, respectively.
  • James Reasoner, Chickamauga.  Historical novel, Book 7 in the author's The Civil War Battle Series.  No matter what name he writes under (and the Good Lord knows there's been a passle of them), Reasoner is always worth your time.
  • Kirk Sanson, Don Pendleton's The Executioner #134:  White Line War.  Men's action adventure novel.
  • "D. B. Shan" (Darren O'Shaughnessy, a.k.a. "Darren Shan"), The City:  Book Two:  Hell's Horizon.  Fantasy, the middle book in a trilogy, his first work for adults.
  • Rick Shelley, Side Show.  Military SF novel.  Copyright by Bill Fawcett & Associates.
  • Dan Simmons, Olympus.  SF epic, the sequel to Ilium.
  • D. Alexander Smith, Marathon.  SF.
  • Nancy Springer, I Am Morgan le Fay.  YA Arthurian fantasy.
  • Brad Steiger, Angels of Love.  Twenty-three supposedly true stories of angelic "matches made in heaven."  The publisher marketed this one as "inspirational," not "paranormal."
  • Charles Stross, The Hidden Family, The Clan Corporate, The Merchants' War, and The Revolution Business.  SF, Books Two through Five in The Merchant Princes series.
  • Vivian Vande Velde, All Hallows' Eve.  YA collection of thirteen horror stories.  An uncorrected proof.
  • Carrie Vaughn, Kitty and the Dead Man's Hand.  Paranormal romance in the series about a werewolf radio host.
  • Ken Weber, Cleverly Crafty 5 Minute Mysteries.  Forty of 'em.
  • Anthony Zuiker with Duane Swierczynski, Level 26:  Dark Origins.  Thriller.  A "Digi-Novel."

Sunday, September 21, 2014


     "Young man," said the Lord Chancellor severely, "are you seriously implying that you are the Prince of darkness?"
      "We do not recognize that title!" cried Lady Surplice.  "Prince, indeed!  It is not in Burke, Debrett or the Almanack de Gotha--"

from May Fair by Michael Arlen (1925)


Noel Paul Stookey.

Saturday, September 20, 2014


Tom Paxton, Peter Yarrow, and Noel Paul Stookey.  I'll be watching these guys (along with many others) at the World Folk Music Association concert next Saturday.


The Duke not only rode the range in the movies; he tackled owlhoots in the comics in the early Fifties.

This one's the Winter 1949-1950 issue.  Saddle up, partner!

Friday, September 19, 2014


From 1931, Duke Ellington and His Cotton Club Orchestra.


The Story of the Phantom
The Story of the Phantom #2:  The Slave Market of Mucar
The Story of the Phantom #3:  The Scorpia Menace
all by Basil Copper (1972)

When I was a kid I never really bothered with Lee Falk's comic strip character The Phantom.  After all, the guy had no superpowers (one reason why I didn't care for Batman, either), wore a skin-tight purple suit (although like the superheroes, he wore his underwear on the outside), and lived in a cave (Alley Oop wasn't one of my favorite characters either).  Hey, what did I know?  I was just a kid.

For those who aren't familiar with the character, the current Phantom is the 21st one.   Over 400 years ago, a young man was aboard with his father, a captain of a merchant ship, when the ship was attacked and destroyed by pirates, killing all aboard except for Kit, the young man.  Knocked overboard and more dead than alive, Kit washed ashore.  He was found by the Bandar, a feared jungle tribe of pygmies, and nursed back to health.  He then swore to devote his life to fighting "piracy, greed, cruelty, and injustice," and that his children and his children's children will carry on the fight.  The Bandar eventually take Kit into the jungle to a large cave whose mouth resembled a skull.  Kit wore a costume and a mask to help inspire mystery and fear in pirates worldwide worked alone and no one saw his face.  He married and had a son and when he died his son took up the costume and his father's cause.  And so it went through the years, giving rise to the legend of The Ghost Who Walks, a centuries-old immortal avenger.  When he had to go out among the world, the Phantom adopted the name Kit Walker.

Which brings us to the 21st Phantom.  The Story of the Phantom was the first of fifteen novels published in paperback by Avon in the early Seventies.  Although credited to creator Lee Falk, the book was written by Basil Copper, who also wrote the next two books in the series.  Here we get the back story of the Phantom and meet Kit Walker as a young child, trained from birth to become the next Phantom.  Kit is sent to America to his aunt and uncle's home for schooling.  Accompanying him is Guran, a Bandar pygmy ten years older than the boy and Kit's best friend, who acts as a companion/bodyguard.  Civilization proves to be a strange place for the two and adjustments do not come easily, but soon Kit proves himself, rescuing a very young Diana Palmer and later becoming a star athelete in just about every sport imaginable.  The Story of the Phantom reads like every boy's fantasy.  Kit is the hero and the star; everything he does earns him the admiration of all around him.  He's just a regular fellow who is idolized.  He's the kid, who in real life, all the other kids would hate.
Kit begins a romance with Diana but it is cut short when he receives word that his father is dying and he must return home to Bengalla, a fictional African country.  (Originally, Bengalla was located in the jungles of India.  A number of changes were made in the comic strip over the years, including the spelling of the country.)

Which brings us to book #2, blurbed as "Lee Falk's original story" and written by an uncredited Copper.  Supposedly this was the 21st Phantom's first major adventure since the death of his father but it is clear from the narration that it is not.  (The original story was from a 1961 comic strip arc, twenty-four years after the strip began.)  Over the ages, the Phantom had brought justice to Bengalla, in part because of the Jungle Patrol that was formed by the first Phantom and was originally manned by reformed pirates.  The Phantom served as the anonymous Supreme Commander of the Jungle Patrol.  The Jungle Patrol has been concerned about recent escapes from an "escape-proof prison" located outside their boundaries.  Dozens of prisoners have escaped over the past few years and none were ever seen since.  Turns out that the warden of the prison has been taking the prisoners to The Slave Market of Mucar where he and the ruling prince have made a fortune selling the prisoners.  The Jungle Patrol has had little success in investigating the escapes until the Phantom himself gets involved.  Along with a young Patrolman, the Phantom eventually travels to Mucar to stop the entire operation.

In The Scorpia Menace things have changed.  (This one was is credited to Copper for adapting Falk's original story.)  Diana Palmer, her widowed mother, and her uncle now know the secret of the Phantom.  Diana is now an Olympic gold medalist in swimming and is gaining a reputation as an explorer.  Diana decides to take an evening class in ancient history at the local college to see if she can find out more about the Phantom (whose history can be consider somewhat ancient -- if you squint your eyes and look at it in an unlit room).  Diana decides to do a paper on the piracy that was rife when the first Phantom was created.  She uncovers a vast pirate organization that was known as Scorpia (a conflated version of the Singh Brotherhood which the comic strip Phantom battled), as well as indications that Scorpia continue to exist until about fifty years ago.

Because she is a socialite, Olympic champion, and a well-known explorer, Diana is interviewed by the local paper.  During the interview she mentions her research on Scorpia.  The story is picked up by a local television station.  Scorpia still exists and has been transformed into a world-wide (and secret) criminal organization.  As you can guess, local Scorpia agents learn of Diana's researches and are afraid of what else she may discover.  They warn Diana off, which (of course) does no good with one of Diana's pluck and grit.  They then kidnap Diana and make it appear that she died crashing her private plane into the ocean.  (Did I mention that she was an accomplished pilot?  I really didn't need to mention that, did I?)  Diana is flown to Scorpia Island, the world-wide headquarters of the organization.  There in Scorpia's stronghold, she comes face to face with the hereditary leader of Scorpia, who decides -- because of Diana's beauty, intelligence, and courage -- to marry her.  This covers the first sixty per cent of the book.  Finally the Phantom enters the stage.  On hearing of Diana's supposed death, he rushes to America and, on investigating, smells a rat.  It's not long before he heads off to find Scorpia Island and rescue his love.  Once again, The Ghost Who Walks faces the army that is Scorpia.

Not great literature and full of plot holes and inconsistencies, but I had great fun reading these three pulpish adventures.

Of the remaining books in the series, six were written by Ron Goulart under his "Frank S. Shawn" pseudonym, one was written by Bruce Cassidy as "Carson Bingham," one by Warren Shanahan, and the remaining four were credited to Falk.  Falk himself, continued to write the comic strip until days before his 1999 death, taking off his hospital oxygen mask to dictate the stories.

The Phantom continues today in the comic strip and in stories published by Moonstone Books.  A new Phantom movie is in the works and may actually be made.

Describing the Phantom, Lee Falk said, '''The Phantom' is a marvelous role model because he wins against evil.  Evil does not triumph against the Phantom...He hates dictatorship, and is in favor of democracy.  He is also opposed to any violation of human rights."

Now I'm kicking my stupid kid sensibilities.  I really should have followed the Phantom's adventures over the years.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014


Flanders & Swann.


In a New England seaside town there was a competition for "Best Seafood Cook."  The competition was fierce but soon all were eliminated but two chefs, each equally talented.  In the final round one chef put a glaze on his entry which was enough for his to narrowly win over the other chef.

The losing chef was philosophical, though, and on congratulating the winner was heard to say, "There but the glaze of cod go I."


Most of my computer problems have been fixed but I'm still trying to get some things back to normal.  Should be posting regularly now.

Thursday, September 11, 2014


Grrr.  Plagued by computer problems the last few days.  Back soon, I hope.

Friday, September 5, 2014


Jimmy Buffett.


Science Fiction Through the Ages 1  and Science Fiction through the Ages 2, both edited by I. O. Evans (1966)

I. O. Evans (1894-1977) can be considered a forgotten name in science fiction.  He edited and translated many of Jules Verne's work for the Firtzroy editions of Verne's novels, many of which ended up as Ace paperbacks in the late 1960s.  He edited Jules Verne - Master of Science Fiction, which  gave fifteen extracts from Verne's novels.  He evidently wrote a critical work on Verne.  And he wrote two science fiction short stories.  The man seems fairly limited in his knowledge of SF.

Evans was confident enough to come out with this two-volume survey of science fiction, confident enough to stretch the limits of the field to his liking, and confident enough to hack out dribs and drabs from various books to illuminate his thematic history of the field.  Alas, some of his choices are questionable while others are weak.  And the man sure loves his extracts.

Here's Volume 1:

  • "Secret Weapon" (from Count Robert of Paris by Walter Scott)
  • "The Vanished Civilization" (from Timaeus and Critius, based on Plato)
  • "Interplanetary Warfare" (from A True Story by Lucian)
  • "The Moon Voyage" (from Somnium by Johannes Kepler -- ha-ha!  Fooled you!  Because Evans could not find an English translation he used a summary written by Roger Lancelyn Green.)
  • "Utopian Science Fiction" (from The New Atlantis by Francis Bacon)
  • "Satirical Science Fiction" (from Gulliver's Travels by Jonathan Swift)
  • "The Human Mutant" (from The Life and Adventures of Peter Wilkins by Robert Paltock)
  • "Visitors from Outer Space" (from Micromegas by Voltaire)
  • "The Recalcitrant Robot" (from Frankenstein by Mary Shelley)
  • "The Menace of the Machine" from Erewhon by Samuel Butler)
  • "The Conquest of the Air" from "The Balloon Hoax" by Edgar Allan Poe)
  • "Into the Unknown" from 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea by Jule Verne)
All this (basically) proto-science fiction in 156 pages, including introduction and notes.  Just as well, I don't know if I could have taken much more.

On to Volume 2:
  • "An Expostulation," a short poem by C. S. Lewis
  • "The Atomic Bomb" (from The World Set Free by H. G. Wells)
  • "Action at a Distance" (from Ralph 124C41+ by Hugo Gernsback)
  • "Refugee," by Arthur C. Clarke -- the first of eight complete stories in the book
  • "The Feeling of Power," by Isaac Asimov
  • "A Little Oil," by Eric Frank Russell
  • "The Cold Equations," by Tom Godwin
  • "The Flinties," by I. O. Evans -- I did mention he wrote two science fiction short stories, didn't I?  Well, this is one of them.
  • "A Sound of Thunder," by Ray Bradbury
  • "He Walked Around the Horses," by H. Beam Piper
  • "The Light," by Poul Anderson
  • "Those About to Die --" (from On the Beach by Nevil Shute)
Some decent (albeit familiar) stories lurking in the book's 173 pages (including introduction and notes).

Here's the thing:  I can't figure out for what audience these books are intended?  SF readers?  Hardly.
Novice SF readers?  I can't see them putting up with much of the stuff in the volumes; they probably would throw the books down before they got to the good stuff anyway.  Educators?  The books are a little weak and specious to be taken very seriously.  The general public?  Hah!

It seems that the publishers of these British paperbacks, Pan, may have had a hard time also. To my knowledge, the books have never been reprinted.

As history, an overview, or thematic survey, these two books fall flat.  There is at least something to be said for their quirkiness, which is the only reason I can recommend them.

Thursday, September 4, 2014


Linda Ronstadt and Phoebe Snow.


One of my favorite detective characters from the past is John J. Malone, Craig Rice's hard-drinking defense lawyer.  One way or another, Malone will get his client off the hook -- even if it means bribing someone.  (Yes, Malone can be considered the ancestor of Lawrence Block's far more amoral lawyer Ehrengraf.)

Malone first reached print as a second banana to characters Jake Justus and Helene Brand in the novel Eight Faces at Three.  The soon-to-be-married Jake and Helene quickly moved into the second banana position to make way for the rumpled little lawyer.   (And, as time went by, Jake and Helene were absent from much of the series.)  Malone appeared in many short stories as well as eleven novels by Rice -- the last novel apparently being and early draft written just before her death.

Rice, whose real name was Georgiana Randolph Craig, also published a series featuring Bingo Riggs and Handsome Kusak, stand-alone mysteries, true crime articles, and ghost-written work for Gypsy Rose Lee and George Sanders.  She was the first mystery author (albeit disguised as a man) to make the cover of Time.  Malone stories were the basis of three movies made from 1945 and 1950.  He was featured in a fondly remembered 13-episode television series in 1952-3.  And he had his own radio show, The Amazing Mr. Malone (also known as Murder and Mr. Malone), which appeared on
ABC radio in 1948 and ended on NBC radio in 1951 with the title character played variously by Gene Raymond, Frank Lovejoy, and George Petrie.  Despite her success, Rice had a troubled life and died way too early at the age of 50.

In 1960, Larry M. Harris (perhaps better known as Laurence Janifer) continued the Malone saga with the mystery The Pickled Poodles.  Book-ending this novel, he wrote three classic SF novels with Randall Garrett under the joint pseudonym Mark Phillips whose protagonist (Kevin Malone) is hinted to be John J. Malone's descendant.

The link takes you to three of the radio episodes.


Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Tuesday, September 2, 2014


Willie Nelson.


Happy Harmonies was MGM's response to Disney's Silly Symphonies cartoon series and was the studios first major attempt to dip their toes into the animation field.  Rather than create an animation department out of whole cloth, the studio hired out the Harman-Ising Studios which produced 36 animated shorts from 1934 to 1938.

The Old Mill Pond features frogs who happened to bear some resemblance to Cab Calloway, Bessie Smith, Fats Waller, Bill Robinson, and Louis Armstrong.  Sadly, the cartoon emphasizes some unfortunate stereotypes, but the music is great.

Monday, September 1, 2014


Here's your Labor Day song.

John McCutcheon.


  • Margot Arnold, Dirge for a Dorset Druid.  A Penny Spring and Sir Toby Glendower mystery.
  • S. J. Bolton, Blood Harvest.  Billed as a "Modern Gothic."
  • Jeanne M. Dams, Denise Dietz, Cynthia P. Lawrence, & Valerie S. Malmount, A Feast of Crime.  Collection of four mystery novellas.
  • Brian Herbert, Sudanna, Sudanna.  Humorous SF novel.
  • Barb Hendree, Blood Memories.  A Vampire Memories novel.
  • Ellen Kushner, Choose Your Own Adventure #58:  Statue of Liberty Adventure.  Juvenile about a young girl transported to 1907 on a ship of immigrants heading to America.  There's enough alternate endings to keep the folks at Ellis Island busy for weeks.
  • Camilla Lackberg, The Ice Princess.  An Erica Falck/Patrik Hedstrom mystery.  Translated by Steven T. Murray.
  • Joe R. Lansdale, Trapped in the Saturday Matinee.  A collection of 20 pieces by Hisownself and I'm not even going to try to classify them.  Included is "Duck-Footed," which has had a hard-to-find separate publication.  This one was bought with an Amazon gift card that I received last Christmas -- and, yes, I procrastinate.
  • Tanith Lee, The Silver Metal Lover.  SF.
  • Julian May, Jack the Bodiless.  SF, Book One of the Galactic Milieu trilogy. An uncorrected proof.
  • Anne McCaffrey & Elizabeth Scarborough, Maelstrom.  SF, Book Two of The Twins of Petaybee.
  • H. Warner Munn, The Lost Legion.  Historical novel of the Roman Empire.  One of a zillion books on my want list.
  • Deborah Noyes, editor, Gothic!  Ten Original Dark Tales.  YA anthology.
  • Jody Lynn Nye, Taylor's Ark.  SF.
  • Mel Odom, The Rover, Shadowrun:  Headhunters, and Shadowrun:  Preying for Keeps.  Fantasies, the last two being gaming tie-in novels.
  • Steve Perry, Leonard Nimoy's Primortals:  Target Earth.  Gaming tie-in novel.
  • Frederik Pohl, The Siege of Eternity.  SF, the second book in the Eschaton Sequence.
  • Kathy Reichs, Spider Bones.  A Temperance Brennan mystery.
  • Charles Sheffield, editor, How To Save the World.  SF anthology with thirteen stories.
  • Stephen Woodworth, In Golden Blood.  Mystery, the third in the Natalie Lindstom series about a woman who can speak to the dead.
  • Patricia C. Wrede, The Enchanted Forest Chronicles.  Omnibus of four fantasies:  Dealing with Dragons, Searching for Dragons, Calling on Dragons, and Talking to Dragons.
  • Jane Yolen & Bruce Coville, Armageddon Summer.  YA novel about two kids whose parents believe the world will end on July 27.
I also picked up a bunch of Warhammer and Warhammer 40,000 gaming tie-in books:
  • Dan Abnett, The Armour of Contempt (Gaunt's Ghosts), Double Eagle (Sabbatt Worlds), His Last Command (Gaunt's Ghosts), Only In Death (Gaunt's Ghosts), Ravenor:  The Omnibus (contains Ravenor, Ravenor Returned, & Ravenor Rogue), The Saint (Gaunt's Ghosts omnibus containing Honour Guard, The Guns of TanithStraight SilverSabbatt Martyr), and Traitor General (Gaunt's Ghosts).
  • Ben Counter, Daemon World.
  • Aaron Dembski-Bowden, Cadian Blood (Imperial Guard).
  • Marc Gascoigne & Christian Dunn, editors, Let the Galaxy Burn (Warhammer 40,000 antholgy with 38 stories) and Tales of the Old World (Warhammer anthology with 36 stories).
  • Sandy Mitchell, Cain's Last Stand (Ciaphas Cain), Duty Calls (Ciaphus Cain), Innocence Proves Nothing (Dark Heresy), and Scourge the Heretic (Dark Heresy).
  • Steve Parker, Gunheads (Imperial Guard).
  • Rob Sanders, Redemption Corps (Imperial Guard).
  • Steven Savile, Vampire Wars (Warhammer Von Carstein Trilogy omnibus containing Inheritance, Dominion, and Retribution).
  • Michel Scanlon, Steve Lyons, & Steve Parker, Imperial Guard Omnibus:  Volume One (contains Fifteen Hours by Scanlon, Death World by Lyons, and Rebel Winter by Parker).
  • Lucien Soulban, Desert Raiders (Imperial Guard).
  • Gav Thorpe, The Last Chancers (omnibus containing 13th Legion, Kill Team, and Annihilation Squad).
  • C. L. Werner, Forged by Chaos (Warhammer Age of Reckoning) and Brunner (Warhammer Bounty Hunter). 
  • Chris Wraight, Iron Company (Empire Army).
  • Henry Zou, Blood Gorgons (Bastion Wars), Emperor's Mercy (Bastion Wars), and Flesh and Iron (Bastion Wars).