I ran across a post at File770.com featuring the third volume of a collection of stories eligible for the 1941 Retro Hugo Awards at next year’s Worldcon. The collection is an ongoing project by File770 user von Dimpleheimer.
Since the third volume is a big batch of stories by Henry Kuttner and Ray Cummings I followed the link and grabbed a copy, only to discover that von Dimpleheimer had made the eBook cover with my very own Pulp-O-Mizer. This put a smile all over my face. Like, actually, all over my face.
So I went back and downloaded the first two volumes and, sure enough, they had also been Pulp-O-Mized. This may be my very favorite use of the Pulp-O-Mizer to date.
But I started out by looking for the stories, and of course I found them, too. Now, I’m a big believer in the Henry Kuttner/C.L. Moore cooperative, but I don’t think I’ve read Cummings before. I’m having a great time correcting that oversight.
There’s a lot of variety in the stories. This is partly due to the different magazines they were written for – Cummings’ WeirdTalesian stories for the horror magazines are entirely different from his SF and humorous pieces. And you also have to factor in the astonishing rate at which these pulp writers ground out their work. Every story in this volume was written in the year 1940: there are twenty-three by Kuttner, and thirty by Cummings. That’s not their whole output; that’s just what’s included here. These writers were just pounding those words out.
There are places where this shows, of course, but Cummings has already taken a place on my virtual humor shelf next to Kuttner and Fredric Brown. That’s largely on the strength of one story, World Upside Down, but I’m sure there will be more. (The Vanishing Men, while it’s not about time travel, underscores one problem with time travel that’s always overlooked.)
Want to find out for yourself? You can get the download links for Volume One here; for Volume Two, here; and for Volume Three, here.
On December 11 an extensive collection of drawings, watercolor roughs, and paintings by Frank Frazetta will be going on auction through Profiles in History. The pieces – which also include a large number of works by Hannes Bok, Roy Krenkel, Al Williamson, Hal Foster, and others – was previously available for private viewing on the East Coast. The West Coast previews will run through the fourth of December.
Odds are that neither you nor I is going to be bidding on any of these. But I (and possibly you) can be quite excited about the auction’s catalog. You can download the PDF version of the catalog from this page. I did, and I lost a whole lot of time this morning as a result.
The man who assembled this incredible collection is Dave Winiewicz. Over the years he got to know Frazetta and many of his contemporaries, as you can easily see from the catalog notes.
“Incredible” isn’t hyperbole. The collection, which is heavy on drawings, represents almost every phase of the artist’s career.
The fact that so much of this work is in pencil or ink is just fine by me. When I rediscovered Frazetta it was his ink work that I found I admired the most. Those deft lines, with their inevitable certainty, present the form and lighting in the scenes beautifully while each of them has an essential prettiness and grace that in no way interferes with the shapes they communicate. At its best, it’s pure mastery.
Included in the auction are two pens that the artist liked so well that he stored them away to use again… only to forget about them. Nice! But surprising, to me, since I thought he inked exclusively with brushes.
Matthew Hughes has just published new paperback editions of his earliest Archonate novels, Fools Errant and Fool Me Twice. I’m always happy to do the layouts for his books and I’m especially happy to do the print layouts. Say what you like: I really do like paper.
As with most of Hughes’ self-published editions, the cover paintings are by Ben Baldwin. I just adapted them to the book’s shape, which I did here with knotwork borders.
From the description of Fools Errant:
Wise, witty and just a little weird, Fools Errant wryly strolls the satirical path laid down by Douglas Adams, Terry Pratchett and Jack Vance, heralding the brilliant debut of a gifted new voice.
Foppish young Filidor Vesh wants only to dally among his shallow pastimes. But a simple errand for his uncle, the vaguely all-powerful Archon of those parts of Old Earth still populated by human beings, becomes a frenetic odyssey across a planet speckled with eccentric nations pursuing odd aims with intense determination.
Harried at every step by the irascible dwarf, Gaskarth, and frequently at the peril of wild beasts, enraged mobs and a particularly nasty thaumaturge, Filidor makes a relucant progress toward a final encounter with an ancient and possibly world-ending evil.
Fool Me Twice continues the adventures of Filidor – who we’ll see again, in the Hapthorn novels and elsewhere – in his new position as apprentice to his uncle, the Archon. Once again we have travels to far and peculiar corners of Old Earth – in what’s remarkably like the last age before Jack Vance’s Dying Earth – while Filidor “must cope with philosophical pirates, prophet-seeking aliens, light-fingered mummers, and a tiny, bothersome voice in his left ear.”
As always, lots of fun. If you’re more of an ebook reader – I don’t judge – you can also get the books in electronic form through your favorite outlet or at Hughes’ own Archonate Bookstore.
… who is me.
I know. That does seem redundant. Pretty much everything you see here is a word from me, whether or not I’m wearing my Sponsor Hat, so you could argue that it doesn’t really bear mentioning that this is A Word From Our Sponsor. On the other hand, it’s my blog (and my hat) so I’m going to call it whatever I like.
Sorry. Lost track of my thought there. The actual Word, then, is that from now through November 8th you can save a bunch of money on T-shirts from The Retropolis Transit Authority and Saga Shirts. Twenty per cent, in fact. All you have to do is add at least $30 worth of T-shirts to your shopping cart and then, when you check out, use the coupon code JOY20.
Since men’s and women’s tees are priced at $21.95, after the discount a shirt will be just $17.56: a pittance, honestly. Kids’ shirts are even a little less.
The same discount applies to T-shirts you design in the Pulp-O-Mizer. I just don’t have nifty sales banners over there. Why not? I’ll have to ask Our Sponsor.