Small House of Everything

Small House of Everything

Monday, March 30, 2020


Openers:  It began for Penway with a sudden and unexplainable thirst for knowledge -- that and the dream, although he did not connect the two at the time.  The dream was a stark. surprisingly realistic bit of nonsense, something entirely new to him, and unique because it was so far beyond the range of his norm.

-- Paul W. Fairman, I, the Machine (1968)

Fairman (1909*-1977) was a journeyman writer and editor probably best known for his work in the science fiction and mystery fields.  His first story was evidently "The Roaming Cadaver" in Ten Detective Aces (January 1938).  No further listing for him in the Fictionmags Index occurred until 1947 he published a number of detective and western stories.  His first science fiction story was "No Teeth for the Tiger" in Amazing Stories (February 1950). 

Over a long and active career, Fairman published mysteries, science fiction, horror, erotica, sports, and movie and television tie-in novels. Probably his best known work was in Ellery Queen's A Study in Terror, in which Fairman anonymously wrote the crux of the novel centering on Sherlock Holmes and Jack Ripper, while "Ellery Queen" wrote the framing device.  Fairman also ghost-wrote seven science fiction novels (mostly juveniles) for Lester del Rey unsing del Rey's outlines.  For the soft-core market, he produced many, if not all, of the Man from S.T.U.D. series of ten paperback originals by "F. W. Paul."

He also wrote as Robert Eggert Lee, Mallory Storm, Jerome Buxton, Paul Daniels, John Denver, and under the house pseudonyms Ivar Jorgensen (sometimes presented as "Jorgenson"), E. K. Jarvis, Clee Garson, and Paul Lohrman.  One novel he wrote with Stephen Marlowe was published under Marlowe's pen name "Adam Chase" (for some reason the Librivox version of this novels credits Randall Garrett as the author).  Beginning in July 1949 and continuing through October 1950, Fairman wrote a monthly "as-told-to" series for Mammoth Western, "The Memoirs of John Shevlin -- the West's Greatest Detective," by "John W. Shevlin, as told to Paul W. Fairman.

Fairman had a varied editorial career in genre magazines, beginning in 1952 and ending in 1963.  He was associate editor, managing editor, and editor at various times for Amazing and Fantastic, associate editor for Fantastic Adventures, managing editor of Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine, and funding editor of If, Dream World, and Amazing Stories Science Fiction Novel.  Fairman was most likely also the editor of Ziff-Davis' ill-conceived magazine Pen Pals.

Several of his stories made it to films for the drive-in movie crowd:  "Deadly City" (If, March 1953, as by "Ivar Jorgensen") became Target Earth!, and "The Cosmic Frame (Amazing, May 1955) became Invasion of the Saucer Men (a.k.a. Invasion of the Hell Creatures); "The Cosmic Frame" was also adapted as a TV movie, Attack of the Eye Creatures.  Other stories by Fairman were adapted for The Unexpected, General Electric Theater, and The Twilight Zone.

Fast, facile, and readable were the hallmarks of Fairman's work, much of which is easily -- and perhaps deservingly -- forgettable.  Underneath, there was a raw talent and a quick imagination.  He coulda been a contender.

Oh, Dad, Oh, Dad, Covid's Got You in the Quarantine and I'm Feeling So Sad:  As we and much of the rest of the world self-isolate, things are not getting better.  Estimated deaths for the United States range from 100,000-200,000 before it's over.  Russia, who had been fairly mum, has closed all borders.  An analysis of cremations in Wuhan Province indicate that the Chinese greatly underreported the death toll, and although the Chinese say the worst is over for them, a second wave of infections have started.  India, Italy, England, in fact any country that is not very small and rural...bad.  President Trump continues to blather nonsense and untruths while parading around like the most look-at-me peacock in the world as experts rush to "clarify and modify" his words.  From Trump we learn that hospitals are hoarding ventilators, that we don't need that many ventilators, and that GM and other companies will be turning out all sorts of ventilators at a rapid pace (despite the fact that these are highly complicated pieces of machinery that need not only special tools to produce but also specific parts from about seventeen different suppliers world-wide.  Inadequate supplies and preparation have hindered our response.  Hoarders are over-reacting and disrupting the supply chain.  Many very stupid people are not taking this seriously and will infect others. The Lieutenant Governor of Texas has suggested that the elderly be willing to die to save the economy, and that jamook was serious.  About 25% of the nation's workforce has been let go or furloughed.   The Republicans wanted their $2 trillion financial aid package to include some $500 billion for unspecified purposes, rather than to ease the burden on the working class.  The economy will be roaring again by Easter, by cracky, and people will be going back to work.  Homeland Security has decreed that gun stores are an essential industry and panicked Second Amenders are busily buying up weapons -- about a third of Americans own guns and some 43% live in a gun home, while about 3% of the population own between 8 and 140 guns, which works out to half of the civilian guns in the country,  The Interior Department is waiving ecological regulations for the foreseeable future.  Anti-abortion states see an opening for their cause during this crisis.  It turns out that red states and blue states have different perspectives of this pandemic.  Politics and not science or common sense rule and I'm afraid it's going to get worse before it gets better.

One thing I am sure of:  the United States will be a much different country by the time we are over this thing.

Perhaps it is time for us to relax, take a deep breath (socially distant six feet from others, plese), and enjoy what we can.

Uptown Funk:  Some fantastic editing of old movie dance routines make this YouTube clip very special.  Who are your favorite film hoofers?  For my money, no one can tough The Nicholas Brothers.

Si:  Here's Jack Benny and Mel Blanc in a classic bit from The Jack Benny Show:

The Great Dane:  Victor Borge:

Buttoned Down:   Bob Newhart takes on air traffic controllers:

One Week:  In this 1920 short, Buster Keaton attempts to put together a prefabricated house for his bride (the lovely Sybil Seely), unaware that a rival had altered the building plans:

Ten Good Songs:

Feast Your Eyes:  

Cloudforest Waterfall:  An episode from Sunrise Earth.  Vera Blanca, Costa Rica.

Today's Poem:
[The Flu]

I'm wheezing, sneezing and sniffling too.
Oh, not again, it must be the flu.

Bundle me up and to the doctor I go
A good look at me and he will surely know.

My temperature is, up, my face is all red.
Well. yes it seems to be the flu, he said.

Drink lots of fluids and dine on this brew.
The medicine will help you get rid of that flu.

Under the covers heaped high on the bed,
I feel so sick, oh how I dread

The aches and the pains of my body and head.
Tes, it's the flu others even have said.

Each day goes by with a little less ache
Until I'm all better and for the nurse's sake

Up and around again I'm happy to be
About with the flu is now a memory.

-- Jean Gornay

May you all remain healthy, happy, and safe.


  1. Thanks for all of your hard work assembling this.

  2. Apparently, they handed PEN PALS directly to Cele Goldsmith, to see how this 7 Sisters kid could handle something Fairman definitely din't want to fuss with.