Monthly Archives: June 2016

Nelson Nye’s Rock Bottom Yarn for Gunsmoke

Long Run by Nelson Nye

Long Run by Nelson Nye

In the debut issue of Gunsmoke, Flying Eagle Publications introduced Nelson Nye’s “Rock Bottom” with: “It was a crazy thing to do with the posse so close behind him, but he couldn’t help himself. He had to wait and find the girl.”

The opening paragraph: “He stood there like a fool, with time running through his fingers and knowing it and not doing anything about it. A man with Sam Halsop on his backtrail ought to be pounding leather. Farradine didn’t know why he’d come into the town in the first place. Need of a horse was poor excuse for a man with a price on his scalp showing his face in a place this size. He wondered how crazy a man could get for a woman.”

It was love at first sight for Farradine, but that first glimpse didn’t reveal his obsession’s secret.

Nelson Nye (1907–1997) wrote his first novel in 1936 and launched a professional writing career that lasted over six decades. In 1953 he co-founded the Western Writers of America (WWA), to promote the literature of the American West and bestow Spur Awards for distinguished writing in the Western field. Nye served as the organization’s first president and earned two Spur Awards himself for best reviewer (1954) and for best novel, Long Run (1959).

Nye wrote more than 125 books over his lifetime including four nonfiction works about quarter horses which he bred and trained. In 1968 he won the Saddleman Award for “Outstanding Contributions to the American West” from the WWA.

Dashiell Hammett’s Continental Op

Bestseller Mystery B62 April 13, 1945

Bestseller Mystery B62 April 13, 1945

On April 13, 1945 Lawrence Spivak published a collection of Dashiell Hammett’s short stories starring the Continental Op. Edited by Ellery Queen, Bestseller Mystery B62 was a 128-page digest that sold for 25¢. After Queen’s introduction, first up is “Fly Paper,” reprinted from Black Mask (Aug. 1929). Here’s the opening:

“It was a wandering daughter job.
“The Hambletons had been for several generations a weathy and decently prominent New York family. There was nothing in the Hambleton history to account for Sue, the youngest member of the clan. She grew out of childhood with a kink that made her dislike the polished side of life, like the rough. By the time she was twenty-one, in 1926, she definitely preferred Tenth Avenue to Fifth, grifters to bankers, and Hymie the Riveter to the Honorable Cecil Windown, who had asked her to marry him.”

The cover includes an illustration and design by George Salter, who led the design department at Mercury Publications for over a decade, beginning in 1938.

Analog Jul/Aug 2016 Double Issue

Analog Jul/Aug 2016

Analog Jul/Aug 2016

“Fall” by Arlan Andrews, Sr.
“Purytans” by Brad R. Torgersen

“No Strangers Any More” by Ian Creasey
“The Metal Demimonde” by Nick Wolven
“Cory for Coriolis” by John Shirley

Short Stories
“Pleistocene Brains” by Christina De La Rocha
“A Violent Wind” by Andrew Barton
“Story Night at the Stronghold” by Larry Nivan and Jerry Pournelle
“Mandalas on the 405” by Elisabeth R. Adams
“The Battle of Ceres” by Karl Bunker
“Fallacious” by Sean Vivier
“Death of a Starship Poet” by James Van Pelt

Special Feature
“The End or Leaving the Reader Satisfied” by Stanley Schmidt

Science Fact
“Energy for the Future” by Richard A. Lovett

“Soft Collision” by Scott E. Green and Herb Kauderer

Reader’s Departments
Guest Editorial: “Earthrise,” “The Blue Marble,” and The New Skunk Works by Richard A. Lovett
Analytical Laboratory Results
Biolog: Andrew Barton by Richard A. Lovett
In Times to Come
The Alternate View by John G. Cramer
The Reference Library by Don Sakers
Brass Tacks
Upcoming Events by Anthony Lewis

Editor: Trevor Quachri
Assistant Editor: Emily Hockaday
Cover: Joel Iskowitz, Design: Victoria Green
192 pages, on sale until July 19, 2016
Analog website

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Many thanks to Lesann Berry, Peter Enfantino, Tom Johnson, Maurice-Jean Mottoulie, Rick Ollerman, Bill Thom, and D. Blake Werts for taking the time to provide feedback on the Digest Magazine trading card checklists in development.

In general, most respondents liked the card format. However, some would like to see each digest’s contributors—writers and artists included. There is also some concern about printing and trimming trading cards. How many people can print duplex on card stock? How difficult is the trim?

Printing the information two-up on a letter-size sheet is a suggested alternative. I will likely offer both approaches and see if one is more popular than another. Stay tuned.

In other news, I noticed our friends at DreamHaven Books have launched a new, improved website. Check it out!

Abominable Snowman: Beyond the Surface

Beyond #1 Sept. 1968

Beyond #1 Sept. 1968

The first issue of Beyond magazine burst onto newsstands in Sept. 1968 with the question: “Is California’s Abominable Snowman a Creature from Another World?” Here’s the opening teaser:

“If you didn’t see it with your own eyes, you could never believe it. It’s a creature so incredible, so close to being human and yet so far away, that you can’t help but gasp as you read the description:”

It’s huge, hairy, at least seven-feet tall, 300 pound and captured on film by Roger Patterson and Bob Gimlin on October 20, 1967. Franklin Stevens’ report for Beyond details the reaction of scientists and Hollywood special effects experts to the film’s authenticity—all admit it could be genuine.

But is the primitive species a native to this planet or something far beyond? Stevens presents accounts of “Snowmen” arriving in UFOs and evidence of underground cities of “Snowmen.” He concludes his report with this chilling prediction:

“But primate, creature from outer space, or creature from inner earth, one thing is sure: the Snowman is with us. He’s nearby, and he’s real. And we should be knowing a lot more about him very soon.”

As true today as it was 48 years ago.

Harlan Ellison aka Ellis Hart and the Super-Science Two-Fer

Super-Science Fiction Feb 1957

Super-Science Fiction Feb 1957

Harlan Ellison is of course the world-renown speculative fiction writer. Like many of his contemporaries he often wrote stories under a pseudonym, in some cases so a magazine could run two or more of his stories in the same issue, without appearing to lack a more diverse selection of contributors. This may have been the case in the second issue of Super-Science Fiction (Feb 1957) which ran both “Mission Hypnosis” by Harlan Ellison and “The Untouchable Adolescents” by Ellis Hart. The opening of “Adolescents” follows:

“The planet of Diamore, hung round and gaudy in the view-plates. As colorfully unchanging as it had been every day for the two weeks since the Wallower had plopped out of inverspace near it.”

The ship’s crew offers to help the inhabitants of the doomed planet. The story is illustrated by Kelly Freas, who frequently contributed paintings and illustrations to Super-Science Fiction.


Digest magazines collectors’ checklists

Digest Magazine Checklist Trading Cards


For some time now I’ve wanted to design a checklist for digest magazines. The idea of making it into a set of trading cards appeals to me for a number of reasons, but mainly because separate cards make it easy to rearrange them as new titles are added.

The checklist on the back looks like this:
☐ #1 Oct 1951 __________________
(You can note condition or any other useful info in the space provided.)



The cards are designed to be printed on an 8.5” x 11” sheet of card stock, with eight different cards per sheet. Print them out front to back and cut them apart along the trim marks.

Some digests have very short runs. Any blank space is filled in with additional info about the title (see The Big Story card).

Some titles have too many issues to fit on one card and may require multiples. For example, Beyond magazine had 19 issues. The first dozen were digests and the final seven were magazine-size, so I split the run accordingly.



Take a look at the pictures and let me know if you’d find these things useful. (Click the image for a larger version.) Please leave feedback here or on Facebook or via email.

Questions for You
Front cover repros—keep them or just make checklists?
Is the information on the checklist side useful? Anything missing? Anything extraneous?

The first set of eight cards will be available as a free PDF file soo—after the design questions are settled. Thanks!

Weirdbook #32

Weirdbook #32

Weirdbook #32

Second issue of the relaunch.

“Childhood’s Dread” by Taye Carrol
“The Other Neighbors” by Daniel Davis
“Rare Air” by Mark Slade
“The Children” by J.E. Álamo
“The Radiant Boy” by Kevin Wetmore
“The Whisperer in the Woods” by Peter Schranz
“Sweet Oblivion” by Andrew Darlington
“An Unsolicited Lucidity” by Lee Clark Zumpe
“Black Carnival” by Bobby Cranestone
“The Howard Family Tradition” by P. R. O’Leary
“Hell in a Boxcar” by Scott A. Cupp
“Jorōgumo” by Kelda Crich
“Clay Baby” by Jack Lee Taylor
“The Corpse and the Rat: A Story of Friendship” by Joshua L. Hood
“Getting Thin” by DJ Tyrer
“Maybe Next Door” by Richard LaPore
“Containment Protocol” by Leeman Kessler
“Under a Rock” by Lori R. Lopez
“The Children Must Be Hungry” by L.F. Falconer
“The Road to Hell” by Kevin L. O’Brien
“Maggot Coffee” by Roy C. Booth and Axel Kohagen
“Baby Mine” by Marilyn “Mattie” Brahen
“In Blackwalk Wood” by Adrian Cole
“My Longing to See Tamar” by Jessica Amanda Salmonson
“Gust of Wind Made by Swinging a Blade” by Molly N. Moss

“Necromancer’s Lair” by Chad Hensley
“The Helm” by Chad Hensley
“Ex Arca Sepulcrali” by Wade German
“The Laughter of Ghouls” by K.A. Opperman
“Ode to Ashtoreth” by K.A. Opperman
“The Necro-Conjuring Sorceress” by Ashley Dioses
“What Dark Gods Are Friends to Me?” by Chad Hensley
“Scarlet Succubus Shrine” by Frederick J. Mayer
“Penelope” Sleepless” by Darrell Schweitzer

Publisher and Executive Editor: John Gregory Betancourt
Editor: Doug Draa
Consulting Editor: W. Paul Ganley
Production Manager: Steve Coupe
6” x 9” 174 pages
$12.00 Print
$3.99 Kindle
Wildside Press

Dashiell Hammett: Bestseller Mystery B40

Bestseller Mystery B40, 1943

Bestseller Mystery B40, 1943

Dashiell Hammett’s “$106,000 Blood Money” is the follow-on story to “The Big Knockover.” In 1943, Frederick Dannay negotiated the rights to both and ran them as “$106,000 Blood Money” in Bestseller Mystery B40, presented as one continuous “novel.” “Blood Money” simply begins as “Part II,” following “Knockover” which is not titled in the book/magazine. Here’s the opening:

“‘I’m Tom-Tom Carey,’ he said, drawling the words.
“I nodded at the chair beside my desk and weighed him in while he moved to it. Tall, wide-shouldered, thick-chested, thin-bellied, he would add up to say a hundred and ninety pounds. His swarthy face was hard as a fist, but there was nothing ill-humored in it. It was the face of a man of forty-something who lived life raw and thrived on it. His blue clothes were good and he wore them well.”

For more on Dannay’s run of Dashiell Hammett digests see Steve Carper’s comprehensive history in TDE3.

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Bookseller Mike Chomko is stocked up on issues of TDE, including our latest release. If you’re among those fortunate to attend the upcoming PulpFest 2016/FarmerCon in Columbus, Ohio on July 21–24, he’ll have them for sale there along with a great collection of other titles. Mike is a great supporter of TDE and the New Pulp movement, so be sure to check out his titles at the show or online.

Thanks to Steve Alcorn, who runs Writing Academy, where you can find a wide variety of excellent courses for writers online, for posting his 5-Star review of TDE4 on yesterday. “I particularly enjoyed the article about Criswell Predicts. I’m just old enough to remember when he was big, and the tacky artwork from the 60s and 70s brought a smile.”

Planetstorm by Joe Wehrle, Jr.

Illustration for "Planetstorm" by Joe Wehrle, Jr.

Illustration for “Planetstorm” by Joe Wehrle, Jr.

Joe Wehrle, Jr. is a writer and artist. His stories and artwork have appeared in the Cauliflower Catnip Pearls of Peril, Menomonee Falls Gazette, 1971 Clarion Anthology, Vampirella, Two-Gun Raconteur, Worlds of If, Galaxy and many other publications. He’s a key contributor to The Digest Enthusiast as cover artist, reviewer and fictioneer. His SF story “Planestorm” appeared in TDE3. Here’s the opening:

“The tiny survey ship lay at rest beneath an unfamiliar sun. In the operations cubicle, Rick Mills began the complicated process of sealing himself into the bulky, sand-colored field suit. He double-checked the gear as he loaded it onto the suit and attached the proper input studs. When he installed the heat- pack, it beeped, he winced, and he hurriedly unclipped and reset it properly, hoping his grandfather hadn’t noticed the telltale sound.”

Joe will be back with a new cover for TDE5, due out in Jan. 2017.

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A tip of the ten-gallon to James Reasoner for his comments on TDE4 on Rough Edges today: “THE DIGEST ENTHUSIAST continues to be one of the very best publications out there.”

Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine July 2016

EQMM July 2016

EQMM July 2016

Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine July 2016
The 75th Year of the world’s leading mystery magazine.

“The Staff of Asclepius” by Steven Saylor
“The Granite Kitchen” by David Morrell
“Get Them Out” by Nancy Pickard
“The Red Tattoo” by Percy Spurlark Parker
“The Hangman” by David Dean
“Flight” by Trina Corey
“The Man From Away” by Brendan DuBois
“Consuming Passion” by Martin Edwards
“The Peter Rabbit Killers” by Laura Benedict

Special Feature
Department of First Stories: A History by Marvin Lachman

From the Editor’s Desk
Reaching for the Stars

Blog Bytes by Bill Crider
The Jury Box by Steve Steinbock

Department of First Stories
“Black Monday” by John H. Sherman

Editor: Janet Hutchings
Cover art by Cathy Gendron
112 pages
$4.99 on newsstands

On sale until July 19, 2016
The Mystery Place: Ellery Queen