Monthly Archives: December 2016

Farewell 2016, Welcome 2017

Naked Villainy by Carl Hodges, Suspense Novel #3

I read over two dozen digest magazines in 2016 and expect to do the same in the new year. The best of the crop was Carl Hodges’ Naked Villainy, the final Suspense Novel, which I wrote about in TDE4.

I sampled several true crime digests and found most of them to be superior to their sensational covers. True Crime Detective and Crime Lab were the stand outs.

On the psychic sciences front I read an issue of Beyond, Exploring the Unknown, Search, and several Fate magazines. There’s a good reason Fate is still around. It’s the best.

Gary Lovisi and Richard Greene published five issues of Paperback Parade this year. All excellent, but for me the highlight was #92. You had me at Humanoid Puppets on the cover.

We lost Video WatcHDog and Thuglit this year. Fortunately, the work of Tim and Donna Lewis continues online, and Big Daddy Thug, Todd Robinson, published Rough Trade.

TDE5 is very nearly complete and will be out soon, perhaps as soon as next week. Watch this space for the announcement. Happy New Year!

James Rosenquest

There are six short stories by James Rosenquest listed in the Internet Speculative Fiction Database. All but one appeared in 1959 in Super-Science Fiction. His first, “Horror in Space,” received a cover credit on the February 1959 issue of SSF. Here’s how it starts:

“Moroney!” Lieutenant Muller’s voice rang out in the hot, dry air.

Moronay, came the echo, bouncing back from amethyst cliffs, and died quiveringly among the giant ferns a hundred yards off.

The the opening spread of this 22-page yarn includes an illustration by Ed Emschwiller.

Rosenquest also wrote crime fiction and sold stories to detective story digests like Trapped, Off Beat and Guilty. He also wrote a handful of stories under the pseudonym F.X. Fallon, including one for Shock Mystery Tales.

H.A. DeRosso: Killer

AHMM Oct. 1957 with H.A. DeRosso’s “The Executioner”

“It was the middle of the morning when the rider topped the rise and started down the road to Baxter’s ranch. Baxter was down in a corral teaching a colt to respond to the bit when the horseman appeared. Baxter stopped his work and came out of the corral. He did not know why but a sudden, unpleasant premonition had come over him.”

That’s the opening of H.A. DeRosso’s “Killer” from Gunsmoke #2 August 1953. Here’s what the man himself had to say from the back cover author Roundup:

“I wrote my first story in March 1935 while still in high school. It did not sell and neither did 78 others which followed. Finally, in April 1941, after six years of trying, the 80th story I’d written was taken by Street and Smith’s Western Story Magazine [“Six Gun Saddlemates”]. To date, I’ve had 167 stories published. Most of these were Westerns, though I’ve also sold several science-fiction novelettes and half a dozen mystery yarns. One of my Western serials appeared in Collier’s.”

The Roundup highlights DeRosso’s two novels Tracks in The Sand and .44, after which DeRosso adds: “I am single, if that means anything.” He wrote several additional novels after 1953 and died via accident or suicide in late 1960, still in his early 40s.

Image from Cullen Gallagher’s Pulp Serenade.

The American Bystander #3

The American Bystander #3

What’s more fun than reading? Reading a brand new laugh out loud magazine? Michael Gerber’s American Bystander is the funniest magazine around. A veritable who’s who of humorists, cartoonists and caricaturists delivered in a package worthy of its talent inside and out.

Visit the website for a taste. Order, watch mailbox, read, howl. As The New York Times declares, “Essential reading for comedy nerds.”

Universe Science Fiction #1

Universe June 1953

The first issue of Universe Science Fiction debuted in June 1953. It was published by Bell Publications at the same address on Clark Street where Clark Publishing had begun Fate and Other Worlds in the late 1940s. Ray Palmer edited those two titles as Robert N. Webster and created a new pseudonym for Universe, George Bell.

Universe ran for ten issues and then folded into Other Worlds, with a dual numbering system from that point on. Here is the contents of Universe #1:

“Constant Reader” by Robert Bloch
“The World Well Lost” by Theodore Sturgeon
“The Castaway” by Murray Leinster
“Down Will Come the Sky” by Nelson Bond
“Bow Down to Them” by Mark Clifton
“Muscle Man” by Frank M. Robinson
“Stowaway” by Mack Reynolds
“The End” by Charles E. Fritch

Malcolm H. Smith was the cover artist and art director for the magazine. His painting depicts Reynolds’ “Stowaway.”

Interior illustrators include Michael Becker, W.E. Terry, Bert Duuur, H.W. McCauley, Malcolm H. Smith, John Cadel, Herb Ruud and Gredno Mahasm.

Daniel L. Galouye

Super-Science Fiction February 1959

“In isolation compartments like this one, we keep our cases under observation until they are completely reoriented.” The Institute guide swaggered along the balcony, shoulders pompously erect despite the weight of his garish epaulets. Supercilious boredom was heavy in his voice.

That is the opening to Daniel L. Galouye’s “Beware the Robot!” lead story of Super-Science Fiction February 1959. The cover and the story illustration for “Robot” are both by Ed Emschwiller.

Seasons Greetings

Nostalgia Digest Winter 2017

Eve Arden trimming the tree featured on the cover of the Winter 2017 edition of Nostalgia Digest. Here’s what waits inside:

“I was Jack Benny’s Violin Student!” by Jay Rosen, as told to Wendy All
Excerpt from an interview with William Daniels and Bonnie Bartlett that will run on March 25 on Those Were the Days
“Through Think and Thin” The movie career of Nick and Nora Charles, America’s high society detectives, by John J. May
“Christmas with the Roosevelts” by Mary Jo Binker
CELEBio: Henry Fonda issued by 20th Century Fox in 1947
“The Lakefront Legacy of Lenox Lohr” by Jim Dohren
“Quoth the Radio…” the delights (and occasional disasters) of Edgar Allan Poe on radio by Paul Adomites
“Full Force Gale” the story of Mr. Gordon—and Our Miss Brooks by Jim Manago
“Let Freedom Sing” from Philadelphia to the Lincoln Memorial: the transformative voice of Marian Anderson by Phil Marsh
“Cry U.N.C.L.E.” by Michael Barrett
“They Also Served” by Wayne Klatt
“Mail Call”

Plus, the Radio Program Guide for Those Were the Days

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

Tom, Dick, Harry, Mike, Alec or Rufus?

Black Mask January 1925

At the moment, copies of “The Creeping Siamese,” a collection of stories by Dashiell Hammett, part of the Jonathan Press Mystery series, J48, are offered for sale on from  $25 to $75 in Very Good condition. The second to last story inside is “Tom, Dick or Harry,” which also happens to be the last Continental Op story in the volume. Here are the opening lines:

“I don’t know whether Frank Toplin was tall or short. All of him I ever got a look at was his round head—naked scalp and wrinkled face, both of them the color and texture of Manila paper—propped up on white pillows in a big four-poster bed. The rest of him was buried under a thick pile of bedding.”

The story originally appeared under the title “Mike, Alec or Rufus?” in Black Mask January 1925.

Image from Galactic Central.