Wednesday, April 16, 2014

More loot

I received a pile of loot that I had ordered from Amazon.
Scouring Amazon for various Mammoth titles, I came across The Mammoth Book of Sword and Honor. It occurred to me that aside from Ambrose Bierce's (American) Civil War Stories, I don't think I've really read historical/historical-military fiction in the short form. I was intrigued. I was extra intrigued because The Mammoth Book of Sword and Honor was in the Amazon Bargain Books, and they claimed to only have a few copies left.
So, we came blame most of this on that. ;) I didn't want to pay double the price just to ship it, so I piled on the other stuff to get free shipping.
At first, I wasn't sure about The Mammoth Book of Dracula. I have other vampire anthologies and Mammoth books and wasn't sure about an entire Mammoth book of stories directly related to Dracula. But, the authors in the table-of-contents finally swayed me to put the book on my wishlist. Amazon were down to their last copy, so I added it to my order.
Psycho Mania is a new book and according to the copyright page, not a reissue. But, for all intents & purposes, it is a Mammoth book.  It is edited by Stephen Jones and the layout is the same as a Mammoth tome.  If it had been published ten years ago or earlier, it would have been titled, The Mammoth Book of Psychos.

As a matter of personal taste, I am not one for slasher/demented-murderer horror. There is too much of that in the real world. I prefer my horror to have some supernatural element. But, the cover claims some of these tales do have a supernatural element. It contains the Bloch classic, "Yours Truly, Jack the Ripper" which I have never read and I have wanted to read for a long time. That is the main reason I bought the book.
Charles Rutledge was kind enough to send me some wilder, early 1960s Sexton Blake stories. (which I sheepishly admit I still need to read.) I thought I should educate myself on some classic Sexton Blake tales. I was surprised how thick this book is! Most of the other Wordsworth Tales of Mystery and the Supernatural are half this thick.

Finally, I wanted to complete my mini Tarzan movie collection with Tarzan the Magnificent. It features Gordon Scott's last outing as the Lord of the Jungle, and his second outing as an articulate, modern Tarzan. Looking forward to watching it soon.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Going Mammoth


Writing that Karl Edward Wagner post probably wasn't the best idea for me. I'm hankering to acquire more Mammoth books, now.  Heck, not hankering - have been.

I also wanted to try some noir/pulp in the short form, and The Mammoth Book of Pulp Fiction caught my eye. It's my first used purchase from Amazon (I usually go with eBay or ABEBooks) but I was able to use Amazon credit and get it free.

That started the ball rolling, all right.

The Zombies! book is really The Mammoth Book of Zombies reissued.

I also grabbed a digital version of The Mammoth Book of Vampires (with the class action lawsuit credit that Amazon issued a few weeks ago.)

But, I've also been reevaluating which books I want digital (because, it's really a lease, not a purchase) and which ones I want physically. After a long time, I'm swinging back toward the print side of the needle for more titles - not all certainly, but more than before.

So, eventually I might end up with a print copy of The Mammoth Book of Vampires.

Like Zombies!, some of the Mammoth books have under gone name changes. In addition to the above, I already owned The Mammoth Book of Monsters, The Mammoth Book of Wolfmen(/The Mammoth Book of Werewolves,) The Mammoth Book of Frankenstein, The Mammoth Book of Vampires Stories by Women, and - branching out from horror - The Mammoth Book of Sorcerers Tales(/The Mammoth Book of Dark Magic.)

And yeah - I have more on order as we speak. I'll share when I get my hands on them!

I'm really in the mood for short stories lately - both as a reader, and as a writer with a few ideas bubbling for upcoming anthologies.  I'm getting motivated, being entertained and analyzing what makes a story work.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Lumley on the cheap

Subterranean Press' The Compleat Crow by Brian Lumley has been on my wishlist since I made this post last year.

 It finally came out today - and at Amazon, it has already gone out of stock.

However, there was no delay for the Kindle edition, it is available for a mere $3!

Also, I missed this one at the end of last year.

No Sharks in the Meds and Other Stories, which completes a trio of collections - The Taint and Other Novellas being one and Haggopian and Other Stories being the other. (also only $3 each)

There are other Lumley ebooks on the cheap, too, but I am focusing on the Mythos stuff, not the Necroscope series.

Now, if the Primal Lands ebooks would go on sale, I'd be sitting pretty!

Friday, March 21, 2014

Book haul and things that change

If you "friended" me on Facebook, then you know I was blabbing about going book shopping for the past few days. I took a vacation day today and did just that. (I also attended some family matters in the afternoon - so it wasn't all about me and it was a productive business and pleasure day.)

I thought I would ramble a bit on the subject, because I need a post anyway.

First, the store. I went to The New England Mobile Book Fair. It is neither mobile, nor a fair. It is a warehouse-sized bookstore and they are open year-round. It's not far from me but I only go a few times a year or I'd be out of money and out of space. It's a great store, in fact, it pretty much is a warehouse. It is not a used book store. These books are new. Over the years I've come home with a lot - even out-of-print stuff. When I find those gems, they're diamonds. Imagine finding a book in mint condition at the used book store. Well, here, it's truly mint if you find one. My best find?  Conan of Aquilonia, ACE 1977 edition. I bought it around 1997. It had been sitting on the shelf (or, in back and then brought out) 20 years. Maybe just for me, eh? ;)

Now, there used to be one trick to navigating the store. They used to keep everything by publisher and title. Not by genre (with a few end-cap like exceptions) and not by author. It took some getting used to. But, if you came prepared with a list of books upon which you had noted the various publishers, there were great finds to be had.

Not to mention just browsing the hell out of the place.

But things change, yes they do...-

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

The Hypothetical Mammoth Book of Karl Edward Wagner

No, sorry there isn't actually a book named The Mammoth Book of Karl Edward Wagner, though there should be!

Recently, I started poking around my handful of Mammoth anthologies. I have mostly horror tomes edited by Stephen Jones.

I love those things, though I tended to grab them for a single story. Going back over the tables-of-content, I am noticing authors who I am now aware of that I wasn't aware of when I bought the books - Manly Wade Wellman, David J. Schow, Hugh B. Cave, et al.  (Which is why I should find more reading time.)

Some of these Mammoth anthologies have even found their way to ebook versions.

Sooo... - long story long, I thought I'd put together a list of Mammoth appearances of Karl Edward Wagner. For those who are interested in reading him but find acquiring the Wagner collections and novels difficult, maybe these can help. Some of the ebooks are pricey but there are lots of good stories alongside Wagner's tales. If not available as ebook, some can be found cheaply enough used.

The Mammoth Book of Frankenstein (Kindle)
“Undertow” (A Kane tale)

The Mammoth Book of Wolfmen (out-of-print)
(a reprint of The Mammoth Book of Werewolves (out-of-print))
“One Paris Night” (A Becker tale)

The Mammoth Book of Vampires (Kindle - yes, you can preview it, just click where the cover image would be)
“Beyond Any Measure”

The Mammoth Book of Monsters (out-of-print)
“.220 Swift”

The Mammoth Book of Zombies (Kindle)

The Mammoth Book of Terror (out-of-print)
"The River of Night's Dreaming"

The Mammoth Book of New Terror (Kindle)
"The Fourth Seal"

Best New Horror 2 (Kindle) (technically, not Mammoth but edited by Jones and came up in my search)
"Cedar Lane"

In fact, there are also a large number of Best New Horror Stories. Wagner's name is on many of the covers, but I can't see the contents of the out-of-print ones. E.g.; number 4. (update; available for Kindle; number 3 and number 5)

Oh, of course, I just found this. I knew about it, but forget about it, too. Well, it doesn't have the Centipede collections or the ebooks or later Mammoth books, so my efforts aren't completely in vain.

Karl Edward Wagner Bibliography.

Also, according to that list, he had two stories in The Mammoth Book of Ghost Stories. (out-of-print)

Happy hunting!

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Acting My Face by Anthony James

If, like me, you are a child of 1970s television and film, then you know the face, if not the name.

My wife has gotten very involved in our town's cable access television station. It turns out one of her compatriots is a very good friend of Anthony James. In fact, in the afterword her friend is mentioned as one of the main driving forces that convinced James' his memoir was worth writing and his personal story worth getting out to the public.

So, the above is a personally autographed copy to my wife.

I was wondering how a guy here in Massachusetts made an in-road of friendship with a L.A. Hollywood guy.

Well, a quick glance at the book told me.

Since 1994, Anthony James has been living here in Massachusetts, pursing the life of a retired actor turned artist. He retired from acting and moved across the country. In fact, he and I lived in the same town for an overlap of about five years! You'd think I'd have picked up on him at a grocery store or something! Then again, if I saw him, I would probably have done a double-take and then shook my head and thought, "He sure looks like that guy from Hollywood."

You never know - it is a small world.

I look forward to reading it!

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

recently read comics; Thun'da, Kade, Sledgehammer 44

Stumbled on this one from Arcana during a Comixology sale. It intrigued me as Kade seemed - from a quick glance - to be a combination of Karl Edward Wagner's Kane and Barry Sadler's Casca.

Kade: Mourning Sun
Although the cover clearly indicates a WW2 adventure, the blurb mentioned turn-of-the-20th-century Cossacks, which made me even more interested. I was a little disappointed the Cossack section didn't last very long. I think it would have been more interesting. The story largely involves Kade chasing after Lucifer. Lucifer is impersonating a German officer (Sympathy for the Devil?) and trying to raise an undead army in a most gruesome manner. Kade just misses Lucifer more than once, usually at a physical cost - including years of 'death.'

This story did not make clear to me (nor was there a foreword to explain) where Kade comes from. I can't tell if he is man, demon or angel. He is immortal and he feels no physical pain. Once I figure out which book is the first one, it might have his origins.

There are quite a few of these Kade collections, and in the back of this one, they list each era & location were each story is set. I already have a couple more (it was a half-price sale) and might get some more if I like those.

Onto the jungles of Africa, where Dynamite Entertainment revived the old King of the Jungle...- Thun'da. As Tarzan knockoffs go, I didn't find Thun'da too bad, and hey - originally created and drawn by Frank Frazetta!

Roger Drum is an Army specialist who crash lands in a strange land populated by dinosaurs, Stone Age tribes and other nasties. The crash gave his partial amnesia. He tries to piece together his memories as he fights to survive and climb to the top of the food chain.
The very nice touch here is that each issue includes original Thun'da comics, drawn & created by Frank Frazetta (and, a lot of the stories were written by Gardner Fox.) It also allows you to follow the revamp and see where the new stuff came from. Very neat.

Last up, we have a Mike Mignola entry, Sledgehammer 44.

Sledgehammer 44
I enjoyed this, but I must say... - the opening and the opening of Atomic Robo's first tale are very similar. I sure hope that is coincidence. In each case, the metal heroes are delivered into an enemy position via a bomb, from which they then exit. Someone else already did the footwork.

I found a little thread here, too. The Sledgehammer suit predates Robo, but the Robo story and layout predate this Sledgehammer 44 spinoff. And the Sledgehammer is just a suit (a'la Iron Man) whereas Robo is an actual robot.

Anyway, once the story got rolling, it was certainly its own entity. I enjoyed it enough to try another Sledgehammer 44 title sometime in the future.