Monthly Archives: May 2016

Believe it later: The Mysterious Traveler Mystery Reader

The Mysterious Traveler Mystery Reader #5 Sept. 1952

The Mysterious Traveler Mystery Reader #5 Sept. 1952

Our final entry on the Mysterious Traveler Magazine ends with a five-star story by editor Robert Arthur. “Later Than You Think” originally appeared in Baffling Detective Mysteries (July 1943). Here it’s credited to the Traveler himself. It begins with the following paragraph:

“The scene: a battered little station house far out in the suburbs. Sergeant Patrick Merlin, on night duty, sits behind his desk, plump hands folded over a bay window that would do credit to a Buddah. The station house door opens, letting in a burst of wind and rain before Nick Daniels, rookie reporter on the police beat, can get it shut. Nick turns, wiping the rain from his face, and Sergeant Merlin, jowled like a bulldog, stares at him with little round eyes that are dark and expressionless . . .”

A desperate man cuts a desperate deal and spends the rest of his life scrambling to stop the inevitable train wreck his life is soon to become. Everything clicks in this tale including the dialogue. Like this beauty that predates Hans and Franz by several decades, “Tell it to me now and let me believe it later.” The Mysterious Traveler Mystery Reader #5 (Sept. 1952)

The Digest Enthusiast #4 is here!

The Digest Enthusiast #4

The Digest Enthusiast #4

The fourth edition of our book-length magazine celebrating yesterday’s and today’s digest magazine titles is now available in print and digital versions. Here’s what’s inside:


Art Taylor: Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine
Editors of the new generation of digital digests:
  Alec Cizak (Pulp Modern), Jennifer Landels (Pulp Literature),
  John Kenyon (Grift Magazine),
 Kristen Valentine (Betty Fedora), Sheri White (Morpheus Tales


Suspense Magazine and Novels by Richard Krauss

Galaxy Science Fiction Novels by Steve Carper
Galaxy Magabooks by Gary Lovisi

Criswell Predicts: Fate & Spaceway by Tom Brinkmann

Shock Mystery Tales by Peter Enfantino

Max Allan Collins’ Pocket Pin-ups trading cards

H.G. Wells Society Newsletter #30
Bulldog Drummond by Sapper
Mystery, Detective, and Espionage Magazines by Michael L. Cook


“A Rat Must Chew” by Gary Lovisi

“The Hideout” by Ron Fortier
“Strangers in Need” by Joe Wehrle, Jr.

“Wounded Wizard” by John Kuharik

Artwork and Cartoons:

Sean Azzopardi

Rob Davis 

Brad Foster

Michael Neno

Bob Vojtko
Joe Wehrle, Jr.

Also includes:

Editor’s Notes
Suspense Magazine index
Social media round-up
Opening Lines

Print $8.99 (b&w interior) 
Includes ~100 cover images, 152 pages     CreateSpace
eBook $2.99 (color throughout) 
Includes ~ 50 cover images
Kindle     Kindle Preview

Larque Press website

Writer’s Digest July/Aug 2016

Writer's Digest July/Aug 2016

Writer’s Digest July/Aug 2016

Landing in mailboxes and on newsstands now, includes:

Interview with Lisa Gardner
Mapping the POV Minefield
Visual Writing Inspirations
Meet the Agent Dado Derviskadic
Breaking In: Debut Author Spotlight
Q&A with Agent Barbara Poelle
Short Story Contest Winners
And more

Editorial Director: Jessica Strawser
$6.99 retail, ~$2.50 via 8-issue subscription
72 pages
July/Aug issue on sale until July 11, 2016
Writer’s Digest website

Crime Syndicate Magazine #2

Crime Syndicate Magazine #2, May 2016

Crime Syndicate Magazine #2, May 2016

Crime Syndicate Magazine #2, May 2016
“Bottom of the Ninth” by Dietrich Kalteis
“The Song Remains the Same” by Matt Andrew
“Fight in the Dog” by Mike O’Reilly
“The Counselor” by Preston Lang
“Sugar” by Michael Bracken
“Thunderstone” by Stephen McQuiggan
“Secrets in the Snow” by J.M. Taylor
“Jackpot Blue Thistles” by Jinapher Hoffman
“Stickup” by Nick Kolakowski

Edited by Dietrich Kalteis and Michael Pool
5” x 8” 142 pages
$7.99 Print, $2.99 Kindle
Crime Syndicate Magazine website

The Mysterious Traveler Presents: Ray Bradbury’s “The Crowd”

The Mysterious Traveler Mystery Reader #5 Sept. 1952

The Mysterious Traveler Mystery Reader #5 Sept. 1952

“The Crowd” debuted in Weird Tales (May 1943) and was picked up for reprint by editor Robert Arthur for The Mysterious Traveler Mystery Reader #5 (Sept. 1952).

Here’s the macabre opening:
“After the accident, the crowd gathered swiftly. A ring of faces looking down at Spallner, stirring, shifting, gaping. Where they came from, he did not know. He had heard their hard heels clattering over the asphalt of the street, heard their shouts and tiny squeals and curses as they saw the new motor car crumpled against the brick wall.”

The gist of Bradbury’s story is an impossible notion. The idea that there’s something more than the obvious to the crowd that forms when accidents happen. But once the suggestion is made, the master storyteller thrusts his main character into a chilling chain of events, and it’s impossible to look away.

Nostalgia Digest Autumn 2014

Nostalgia Digest Autumn 2014

Nostalgia Digest Autumn 2014

The cover story of the Autumn issue of Nostalgia Digest, by Terry Salomonson, credits The Lone Ranger with saving a radio station from bankruptcy and giving birth to a radio network. When Detroit’s WXYZ ended their contract with CBS . . .

“. . . programing became a major issue and headache. No transcribed programs were available. All drama and musical broadcasts were live. If was a big programming hole to fill. This was when station manager Harold True suggested that dramatic director James Jewell contact Fran Striker of Buffalo, NY to supply six half-hour scripts a week. On the telephone Striker agreed to a deal of $4.00 per half-hour script, giving WXYZ first performance rights in the Detroit area. He started providing three different series.”

Nostalgia Digest
Editor: Steve Darnall
5.5” x 8.5” 64 pages, b&w interior
$4.50 on newsstands
Four-issue subscription $17
Eight-issue subscription $30

Paperback Parade #93

Paperback Parade #93

Paperback Parade #93

Now arriving in mailboxes:
Paperback Talk by Gary Lovisi
James Bond in UK Pan Paperbacks by Gary Lovisi
Fit To Be Tied: Film Tie-In Paperbacks by Graham Andrews
Matchless Paperbacks by Richard Greene
Cozy Up with Kozy Books by Gary Lovisi
Philip Waylie Faces Death by Richard L. Kellogg
Favorite Vintage Paperback Covers by Larry Purkey
A Look at Venus Prime by Gary Lovisi

Editor: Gary Lovisi
5.5” x 8.5” 112 pages, full color throughout
$15 + postage for a single issue
$40 for three-issue subscription
From: Gryphon Books

Jerome Bixby & Joe E. Dean: Beyond Fantasy Fiction

Beyond Fantasy Fiction #1 July 1953

Beyond Fantasy Fiction #1 July 1953

Scriptwriter for the classic Star Trek episode “Mirror, Mirror,” Jerome Bixby was a prolific author, editor and scriptwriter with a resume that includes It! The Terror from Beyond Space, The Twilight Zone’s “It’s a Good Life,” Deep Space Nine’s “The Emperor’s New Cloak,” and editing of Planet Stories in 1950 and 1951.

In 1953 he teamed with Joe E. Dean to write “Share Alike,” which ran in the first issue of Beyond Fantasy Fiction (July 1953). I found only one other credit for Dean, a short story from Jungle Stories (Spring 1951).

Here’s the opening to “Share Alike”

“They spread-eagled themselves in the lifeboat, bracing hands and feet against the gunwales.

“Above them, the pitted and barnacled stern of the S.S. Luciano, two days out of Palermo and now headed for hell, reared up hugely into the overcast of oily black smoke that boiled from ports and superstructure. Craig had time to note that the screws were still slowly turning, and that a woman was screaming from the crazily-tilted afterdeck. Then the smoke intervened—a dark pall that lowered about the lifeboat as the wind shifted, blotting out the sky, the ship.”

The story was included in Zacherley’s Midnight Snacks (Ballantine 1960) and other anthologies. (Zacherley was a monster movie TV host in Philadelphia and New York City during the 1950s and 1960s. Besides Midnight Snacks, he  also cooked up Zacherley’s Vulture Stew for Ballantine the same year.)

William Hope Hodgson haunts the Mysterious Traveler

The Mysterious Traveler Mystery Reader #5 Sept. 1952

The Mysterious Traveler Mystery Reader #5 Sept. 1952

“The Whistling Room” by William Hope Hodgson first appeared in The Idler (March 1910). A terrific story, it was selected by editor Robert Arthur for The Mysterious Traveler Mystery Reader #5 (Sept. 1952).

The Traveler himself claims “…it’s the most startling ghost I’ve ever encountered, and one of the strangest ghost stories ever written.”

The opening: “Carnacki shook a friendly fist at me as I entered, late. Then he opened the door into the dining room and ushered the four of us—Jessop, Arkright, Taylor and myself—in to dinner.”

As the haunted room is slowly introduced it seems only mildly foreboding. But Hodgson does a masterful job of building evidence of a monstrous presence there, its threat nearly too much for even Hodgson’s famous occult detective Thomas Carnacki.

David Gerrold’s “The Great Pan American Airship Mystery”

Asimov's July 2015

Asimov’s July 2015

What irony—a 1930s airship on the cover of a modern-age SF digest? David Gerrold’s “The Great Pan American Airship Mystery, or, Why I Murdered Robert Benchley,” on Asimov’s July 2015 cover, art by James Steidl/, provides the inspiration.

Pan Am’s own “flying boat,” the China Clipper, is credited by some as the end of the airship. Its landmark flight over the Pacific in 1935 may have sparked Gerrold’s imagination for the star-studded maiden voyage of his behemoth helium airship, “Big Lady,” that crosses the country from New York City to San Francisco in just over 24 hours.

His story is more an entertaining travelog of celebrity shenanigans, 1930s glamour and airship technology, than murder mystery. Both Gershwins, Jolson, Jessel and Cohan are onboard for entertainment, but the action centers on the writers, Parker, Fitzgerald, Kaufman, Benchley, Broun and Woollcott, who, along with Tallulah Bankhead, spend hours imbibing martinis and plotting a murder mystery victimizing a rotating roster of celebrities. Our narrator, writer by desire, is a steward who frequently dotes on the writers’ table in order to witness writerly gems like the cure for writer’s block. “Quite simple. You put a sheet of paper in the typewriter and you type the word ‘The.’” (The human mind, unable to tolerate the unfinished sentence, immediately begins work to make sense of it.)

Gerrold adds a few friendly jibes at SF and Hugo Gernsback to spice up the proceeding without pandering to his audience. Overall, a fine piece of speculative fiction.