The Digest Enthusiast


Robots in American Popular Culture

Robots in American Popular Culture

Steve Carper takes a comprehensive look at Robots in American Popular Culture in his new book from McFarland.

“They are the invincible warriors of steel, silky-skinned enticers, stealers of jobs and lovable sidekicks. Legions of robots and androids star in the dream factories of Hollywood and leer on pulp magazine covers, instantly recognizable icons of American popular culture.

“This book examines society’s introduction to robots and androids such as Robby and Rosie, Elektro and Sparko, Data, WALL-E, C-3PO and the Terminator, particularly before and after World War II when the power of technology exploded. Learn how robots evolved with the times and then eventually caught up with and surpassed them.”

Steve Carper is a regular contributor to The Digest Enthusiast and author of an ongoing column about robots on BlackGate.com.

Robots in American Popular Culture can be purchased directly from McFarland and select bookstores. Be sure to visit Steve’s companion site for the book: robotsinamericanpopularculture.com

Marie Harlowe

The Occult Digest

Excerpt from Tom Brinkmann’s article on The Occult Digest from The Digest Enthusiast book seven:

The Occult Digest was taken over by [Marie] Harlowe who merged it with her own publication, The Telepathic Magazine, that she had been publishing through her own Maha Publishing Company located at 1221 East 55th Street, Chicago. The Occult Publishing Company was replaced by Maha Publishing, the name coming from the first two letters of Harlowe’s first and last names. Costs were cut once more after Harlowe took over, the magazine was literally down-sized to 5.25” x 8.25” with thirty pages, no illustrations, and less ads. It was in many ways a different magazine from late 1939 on. And, the subtitle was changed to “Dedicated to the laws of higher Mind-Soul expansion.”

A regular contributor to TDE, Tom Brinkmann writes about unusual, off-the-beaten-path magazines, digests, and tabloids. His Bad Mags website was active from June 2004 to July 2017. His books, Bad Mags Volume 1 (2008) and Volume 2 (2009) are available from secondary outlets, including amazon.com

Rocket Stories July 1953

Rocket Stories July 1953

Rocket Stories Vol. 1 No. 2 July 1953

Wade Kaempfert: An Editorial on The Glory Road
Algis Budrys “Blood on My Jets” art by Alex Ebel
George O. Smith “Home is the Spaceman” art by Kelly Freas
Milton Lesser “Picnic” art by Joseph Eberle
Poul Anderson “The Temple of Earth” art by Paul Orban
Wade Kaempfert: Route to the Planets
Ben Smith “Sequel” art by Milton Berwin
Charles E. Fritch “Breathes There a Man” art by H.R. Smith
Irving Cox, Jr. “To the Sons of Tomorrow” art by Tom Beecham
William Scarff “Firegod”

Editor: Wade Kaempfert (Lester del Rey)
Assoc. Editor: John Vincent, E. Lynn
Art Director: Milton Berwin
Cover: Alex Schomberg
160 pages, 35¢

Read Vince Nowell, Sr.’s article “When Things Go Wrong—The Lester del Rey/John Raymond Fiasco” in The Digest Enthusiast book seven.

Alfred Hitchcock May 1966

Alfred Hitchcock May 1966

Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine Vol. 11 No. 5 May 1966
Alfred Hitchcock: Dear Reader (an excerpt) “. . . be King of the Grill, and a Mystery Reading Buff, adn acquire the resolute expression of the gentleman on the cover.”
Edward D. Hoch
“The Rusty Rose”
Robert G. Anderson “Child of the Night”
Frank Sisk “The Sawbuck Machine”
Robert W. Alexander “Over a Barrel”
Ed Lacy “Five Minutes Ago”
Carroll Mayers “The Conspirators”
Robert Edmond Alter “The Shunned House”
F.J. Smith “The Gun Merchant”
Aubrey S. Newman “Community Service”
Ione Ivey “So Tender These Petals”
Dick Ellis “Beware the Righteous Man”
Lawrence E. Orin “The Basement Room”
Geoffrey Knighton “A Matter of Honor”
Joseph Payne Brennan “The Intangible Threat”
Fletcher Flora “The Happenstance Snatch”
Each story includes an illustration by Marguerite Blair Deacon

Editor and Publisher: Richard E. Decker
Managing Editor: G.F. Foster
Associate Editors: Victoria S. Benham, Pat Hitchcock, Ernest Hutter
Art Director: Marguerite Blair Deacon
160 pages, 50¢

Bob Hope’s 1941 Digest Paperback

Excerpt from Steve Carper’s series “One-and-Dones” that appears in The Digest Enthusiast No. 7–9:

Bob Hope’s first book, They Got Me Covered, a self-published curiosity from 1941 that’s of interest because it sold four million copies[!] and launched Hope’s long book career of putting his name on his writers’ output. Pepsodent, the sponsor of his hit radio show, is the real publisher, although the company’s name is nowhere to be found except inside the text. Listeners had the connection beaten into their heads nevertheless by the relentless plugging he gave the book on his show and the fact that it sold for a mere dime if you accompanied that with a box (a complete box, not a box top) from a tube of Pepsodent.”

Robots in American Popular Culture

Meanwhile, McFarland has published Steve Carper’s Robots in American Popular Culture. It’s available directly from McFarland Books. And be sure to check out the companion website robotsinamericanpopularculture.com.

Ollerman on “Hit Me”

Down & Out: The Magazine No. 1

Excerpt from the interview with Rick Ollerman that appears in The Digest Enthusiast No. 7.

The Digest Enthusiast: Unless I just plain missed them, I don’t think you’ve written many short stories, but “Hit Me” in the first issue of Down & Out: The Magazine was terrific. What triggered the tale, and what was unique about writ- ing a short story versus a novel?

Rick Ollerman: Thank you for that. What triggered that particular story was the notion that it was simply not a good idea to hire a hit man to kill somebody, for any number of reasons. The first time they get into trouble themselves, they’re going to say, “Wanna trade? Let me go and I’ll give you someone who wanted to have someone else murdered.” Huge backfire on you.

I’d like to write more but it’s just an easier thing to do if I either have a weekend or long chunk of time free (that happens, right?), or if someone invites me to their anthologies (I’m still waiting). Last year I had a story appear in Windward: Best New England Crime Stories 2016 from Level Best Books as well as another in Jay Stringer’s Waiting to be Forgotten: Stories of Crime and Heartbreak, Inspired by The Replacements (Gutter Books).

Since I don’t outline a novel and I definitely don’t know how it ends before I start, the biggest difference in writing a short story is while I don’t necessarily have to know the ending before I start, I absolutely, positively must know the point of the story.

Once I know the point of the story, I need someone who can tell that story, if it’s going to be in the first person. This gives me the voice of the piece, and if I have that, and the point, I like to take a weekend or three days and just work on the story start to finish. That clearly shows an obvious difference between novels and short stories: one of the two has far fewer words.

I know when I write it out like that it seems simple, and it is. But that doesn’t mean it’s easy. It’s far from that. The sharper, more refined the point and the voice are in your head, the more the story can help you write itself, but simple does not equate to easy. You have less space to develop characters, ideas, and plot, so that means you have fewer tools available for you to make your story what it is in your mind. Unlike a novel, you can hold the entire story in your head at once, but that means it has to be clear enough for you to do so, not something nebulous and ill-defined.

Opening Lines: The Double Take

Manhunt No. 7 July 1953

“This was a morning for weeping at funerals, for sticking pins in your own wax image, for leaping into empty graves and pulling the sod in after you.”

“The Double Take” by Richard S. Prather Manhunt Detective Story Magazine July 1953

Five-Star Reviews

The Digest Enthusiast No. 10

Our thanks to Geographer, Steve Alcorn, and Justin Marriott for their recent reviews and ratings for The Digest Enthusiast No. 10. At the moment, it’s the #1 New Release in its category.

Excerpts from their five-star reviews on amazon:
“Another great issue”
“I always look forward to each new issue of The Digest Enthusiast, and it never disappoints.”
“Best issue yet!” (UK site)

TDE10 is now available from Mike Chomko Books and will soon be in stock from Bud’s Art Books.

James Holding’s Leroy King

Black Cat Mystery Magazine No. 1

Excerpt from the review of Black Cat Mystery Magazine No. 1 from The Digest Enthusiast No. 7:

Together, Martin Leroy and King Danforth make up the fictitious mystery writer “Leroy King,” the creation of real-life writer James Holding (1907–1997). A concept perfect for its original run of ten stories in Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine. Their third outing, “The Italian Tile Mystery,” reprinted here, originally saw print in EQMM Sept. 1961.

The mystery is a puzzle, and the writing partners and their wives sleuth out its solution in this enjoyable puzzle procedural. The editor’s notes reveal a forthcoming complete collection of Leroy King stories from Crippen & Landru—The Zanzibar Shirt Mystery.

News, Fiction, and More

The Digest Enthusiast No. 10 pgs 66 & 67

Rounding out the content of the tenth issue of The Digest Enthusiast:

Fantasy fiction from Robert Snashall and Joe Wehrle, Jr., with art by Carolyn Cosgriff.

News updates from the newsstand giants and the digital darlings of today’s genre fiction digests, straight from their editors and publishers.

In-depth reviews of Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine May/June 2019 and Broadswords & Blasters No. 9.

Plus over 100 digest magazine cover images, cartoons by Bob Vojtko, art by Brian Buniak, a poem by Clark Dissmeyer, first issue factoids, and more.

The Digest Enthusiast No. 10

The Digest Enthusiast No. 10 June 2019
5.5” x 8.5”
160 pages
$8.99 Print
$2.99 Kindle