Recent Acquisitions

I haven’t done a post like this in years, but I’ve picked up some very interesting stuff in recent months, some of which may end up getting reviewed here on the blog eventually, so I figured I would post some of my acquisitions.

First up are the first three issues of Strange Aeons magazine, autographed by both Kelly Young and Rick Tillman (thanks, guys!). I’ve now read all these and they are an excellent mix of Lovecraftian fiction and comics. Really good stuff and I’m stuff I will be picking up additional issues in the future. Of this batch, issue #3, focusing on the King in Yellow was my favorite. Issue #23 has just premiered, and most of the magazine’s run is till available HERE.

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Imported six of Rainfall Books’ chapbooks from the UK. These guys have been around for years but I only discovered them a couple months ago when they were mentioned in a Facebook group I follow. No frills design, but lots of good stories. I focused on some horror, sword and sorcery, and pulp themed issues. Don’t let the primitive website throw you off, these chapbooks contain some very good stuff. I will be getting more of them!

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My buddy Jon K. sent me a batch of books he had some duplicates of. This batch contains some of the Mark Hood books (a James Bond knockoff) and some of Warren Murphy’s Trace novels (funny detective novels by one of The Destroyer’s creators), and a random Hampton Stone crime novel. Great stuff I’m happy to add to my library–thanks again, Jon!

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PS Publishing published a great set of reprint editions of Basil Copper’s Solar Pons Victorian detective novels (Solar Pons was, as you probably know, a Sherlock Holmes pastiche character created by August Derleth). I had been wanting them but was forced to grab them when PS Publishing offered them as a set for 50% off. What a deal! Very much looking forward to digging into these.

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John Creasey and “The Cinema Crimes”

The Cinema CrimesYou may recall that I had the fortune to acquire a large collection (~200 books) written by prolific British novelist John Creasey (who also wrote under many pseudonyms). I made available a checklist/bibliography of John Creasey’s works because all of the sites pertaining to Creasey I found online were incomplete, incorrect, or both. In my initial post I requested help in identifying errors and omissions in my own bibliography. One kind soul by the name of Morgan Wallace took up the challenge and contacted me to let me know that he had spotted an error. I had one of Creasey’s books, The Cinema Crimes, listed as a stand-alone children’s novel, as does every online resource devoted to Creasey that I know of. Mr. Wallace has a copy of The Cinema Crimes — I do not — and informed me that not only is it not a children’s book, but it was a Toff story (i.e., part of the long-running Toff series). I think that’s fascinating because no one that I have seen has ever listed this one as a Toff story. He was kind enough to forward me a high-quality scan of that book cover. I don’t believe this appears elsewhere online, at least not in this high of quality. As you can see from the cover, it’s definitely not a children’s novel.

Just one more mystery related to Creasey’s writing, I guess. I’ve updated my files and made the current version available on the blog here under “Resources.”

Oh and Morgan also pointed me to a great resource I was not aware of: The FictionMags Index, for which he has done a good bit of cataloguing. The good folks there have attempted to catalogue “the “Gaslight” magazines of circa 1880-1914, the pulp magazines of the first half of the 20th century, the “Big Slick” magazines of the mid-20th century, the digest-sized magazines of the 1950s and 1960s.” Wonderful! Please check it out if these kinds of magazines and authors are of interest to you.

Recent Acquisitions: Massive John Creasey Mystery Collection

john-creasey-sml1Have you heard of John Creasey? There’s a quick biography of him here. I first heard of him a few years back as an extremely prolific British author I had never encountered. He was one of those former “big names” who was long out-of-print as far as I could tell. That all changed a few weeks ago when I visited the local library used book sale. Those are always fun, but you can never get your hopes up, or be looking for specific books. You just have to rely on serendipity and hope for the best. So I ventured into the “rare book” area of the sale and saw two Xerox boxes full of mass market paperbacks, all penned by a familiar name: John Creasey. Playing it cool, I asked the attendant how much they were asking for the books. She told me they were asking $0.50 per book, and that she estimated there were about 200 books in the boxes. I thought about it a while, looked through the rest of the books at the sale, and came back and bought the lot of Creasey books, since I knew that if I didn’t I’d have always regretted it. I don’t know the origin of the collection. The library sale attendant said that they had been recently donated as a lot, and that they had hated to break up the collection. My guess would be that someone had been collecting these books for a very long time. And they certainly knew what they were doing, because there were no duplicates, despite the fact that Creasey books were frequently reissued in US editions with different titles. Out of the ~200 books, there was a single duplicate. Needless to say, I have been enjoying researching Creasey and his work since I bought the books, and have no regrets about the purchase. Frankly, I think I got a real bargain and now have one of the largest Creasey collections on the planet, especially since he rarely turns up in used book stores.

There are several challenges to collecting Creasey:
1. The sheer number of works he wrote is daunting.
2. The relative lack of availability of his work, at least in the U.S. He’s just plain hard to find here. I suspect he must be relatively easier to find in the U.K., though I don’t know that any of his stuff is still technically in print.
3. The number of different pseudonyms he used. Creasey used many, many different noms de plume over the decades.
4. The re-releases under new titles of many of his earlier novels. This further complicates things.
5. The lack of an authoritative source for Creasey’s entire bibliography.

There are a number of partial Creasey bibliographies available online, and at least one that purports to be complete, but even it contains a number of errors. After acquiring this collection, I felt obliged to construct as complete a Creasey bibliography as I could, if only to determine exactly what I had here. I am including John Creasey bibliography and an John Creasey Checklist Spreadsheet that list all known Creasey books.

As far as I can tell right now — and I make no claims that this bibliography I have compiled is 100% accurate, only that it is the best currently available online — Creasey wrote at least 576 different books, not including major rewrites of books later published under new titles. Think about that for a moment. Almost 600 books. Wow.

My collection:

I currently own 192 books written by Creasey. The breakdown, by series, of my collection:
33 books from the Chief Inspector Roger West series
2 books from the Commander George Gideon series
7 books from the Dr. Emmanuel Cellini series
15 books from the Dr. Palfrey series
41 books from the The Baron series
44 books from the Patrick Dawlish series
49 books from the The Toff series
1 stand-alone novel (historical fiction)

I hope to begin reading some of Creasey’s books soon and will likely review at least some of them here. I’d love to hear from other fans or collectors of Creasey’s work, especially those who can shed light on any of Creasey’s books I don’t list in my own bibliography. I also certainly welcome errata as well. I’m sure there are mistakes in my documents and I’m interested in rooting them out and correcting them.

Recent Acquisitions

I haven’t done one of these in a while, so I won’t attempt to literally list every book I have acquired since I did the last one. That would be…a lot of work. So what I’ll do here is focus on the books I acquired during my recent trip to San Diego and Los Angeles. I’m an east Coast-kind of guy, but I usually manage to make it out to California at least once a year. I love the weather, though the lack of seasons, earthquakes, and wildfires bug me.

I ended up hitting three used bookstores in the Encinitas/Cardiff area, and wasn’t incredibly impressed. Two were tiny and with unimpressive stock. The store I bought the two books from had one of the worst organization (non-)schemas I have yet encountered and one of the others had some good stuff but was WAY too expensive. I always kind of resent paying a premium for the store’s location. If anyone know of a particularly good used bookstore in the greater san Diego area, let me know, as I have not yet found one I really like there yet. Still looking.

More impressively, I spent a day in the Burbank/North Hollywood area doing nothing but pawing through used bookstores. The day started off with breakfast with a friend I had never before met in the flesh! We’ve been corresponding for years about all things bookish (and otherwise) but had never had the chance to meet in real life. Fortunately, neither of us turned out to be serial killers so we spent the day talking about books and going to four great used bookstores. The first was Dark Delicacies, a really nice shop that specializes in horror. They seem to do LOTS of book signings there. Had a good conversation with the proprietor, Del Howison. Then it was off to two stores that were across the street from each other: Brand Bookstore (on Brand St., natch) and Mystery and Imagination. Brand is a general-purpose used bookstore and had some good stuff. I’d be proud to have this one in my own area, though it was the least interesting of the four L.A. stores. The next was Mystery and Imagination, a used bookstore specializing in pulp, SF/fantasy, crime/mystery, etc. They also do lots of signings, and had a nice chat with Christine Bell, one of the proprietors, who also took the time to show me some signed books I just didn’t have the money to purchase. The final stop of the day was the Illiad Bookshop, the largest of the four stores and one with used books of all kinds. Lots and lots of books there. All in all, it was a great way to spend a day: booking and hanging out. I HIGHLY RECOMMEND all of those stores and am looking forward to checking them out the next time I find myself in the Los Angeles area. I also hit a local used bookstore that I had let lay fallow for a while when I returned home.

Enough about the stores – what did I buy? Here are the highlights in no particular order:

  • The second Solar Pons collection by August Derleth. Pons was a Sherlock Holmes rip-off with just the names changed. I have the first volume (though I have not yet read it); there were seven altogether. I have heard this one also contains a Fu Manchu crossover, which I’m looking forward to.
  • Eight more Richard Blade men’s adventure novels. Kind of a guilty pleasure of mine. These have so far been pretty formulaic, but there’s something about them that’s very appealing.
  • Philip Jose Farmer’s Flight to Opar. My goal is to complete my collection of Farmer’s various pulp pastiches and sequels to classic adventure novels.
  • Dennis Wheatley’s The Fabulous Valley. Not one of his Black Magic novels, but looks like a fun one about an inheritance and an ill-fated expedition to Africa. How can you go wrong with that?
  • Talbot Mundy’s Queen Cleopatra. Part of the Tros of Samothrace historical fiction series. I’m also very interested in collecting the rest of his Jimgrim novels.
  • James Blish’s A Case for Conscience. I’ve been looking for this one for a very long time.
  • Three Vatican conspiracy thrillers by Daniel Easterman. It’s a fun sub-genre that I’m interested in, and Easterman has written a lot of these sorts of books.
  • Brian Lumley’s Iced on Aran, the fourth of his Dreamlands books. Not everyone likes Lumley’s particular vision of the Cthulhu Mythos, but I applaud his efforts even though there are some aspects of his writing I don’t care for. Still need the third one though.
  • Two sword and sorcery novels by Lin Carter: Thongor in the City of Magicians (just need one more Thongor novel to complete my collection) and Down to a Sunless Sea (this was the last of his Mars series that I needed).
  • Desmond Cory’s Undertow and Timelock. One of his Johnny Fedora series (I have one other). A friend turned me on to these. They are a surprising challenge to collect. This is going to be a very long-term project as they are hard-to-find in stores and expensive to purchase online.
  • Turn Loose the Dragon by George C. Chesbro. One of the last of his books that I needed. This one is a stand-alone, but I really like his Mongo Mysteries.
  • Legend in Blue Steel by “Spider Page.” The final Spider novel, published in 1979 with all the names changed for legal reasons. Supposedly not an awesome novel, but for a completist fan of the Spider – one of the most brutal and over-the-top pulp heroes – this was a must-buy. Never seen it “in the flesh” before.
  • The three Magira books (War Gamers’ World, Army of Darkness, and Messengers of Darkness) by “Hugh Walker,” published by DAW. I love all DAW books for their covers and trade dress, but this set really intrigued me. These were written by German author Hubert Strassl and were inspired by a long-running German fantasy wargame in the 1970s. Looking forward to reading these.
  • Mike Hammer omnibus #1 (first three novels). I already own a copy of this one – so why did I buy this? Well, because this copy was signed by both Mickey Spillane and Max Allan Collins. How could I pass that up?
  • Dark Delicacies II: Fear, edited by Del Howison and Jeff Gelb. Bought from Del Howison himself, and signed by both editors. Looks like a great scary collection.
  • Beastmarks by A. A. Attanasio. I really enjoyed his Radix Tetrad (weird, wonderful, mind-bending SF at the end of time that hasn’t received nearly enough attention; seriously, a dissertation could be written about this series). This is a collection of his short stories I didn’t even know existed.
  • Emerald Eyes by Daniel Keys Moran. Read this years ago and have the rest of the Continuing Time series (except the last one, which has only been released in eBook format thus far.
  • The Man of the Future (chapbook) by Edward Bryant. Not familiar with the author, but it was illustrated by Dan Simmons (!) and signed by both Bryant and Simmons.
  • Also picked up a variety of odds and ends, mostly one-off mass market paperbacks, but I don’t want to list each and every one, so I’ll just stop here.

So that was a really fun (and successful) trip!

Recent Acquisitions: Seven Issues of Amazing Stories (1954-56)

I haven’t posted about any recent acquisitions in a while, so I thought I would mention that I recently picked up seven mid-1950s issues of Amazing Stories:


July 1954 (vol. 28, no. 3)
November 1955 (vol. 29, no. 6)
December 1955 (vol. 29, no. 7)
January 1956 (vol. 30, no. 1)
March 1956 (vol. 30, no. 3)
August 1956 (vol. 30, no. 8)
September 1956 (vol. 30, no. 9)

Great looking covers, aren’t they? Let me know if you’re interested in hearing about the specific contents of any of these issues. The first six issues were all edited by Howard Browne, while the September 1956 issue was the first edited by Paul W. Fairman. I would love to get my grubby mitts on some of the late 1940s issues edited by the (in)famous Ray Palmer, especially some of the one with pieces by Richard Sharpe Shaver. I’ll have to keep my eyes peeled for those issues.

They’re all in terrific shape and were only $4 each, so I think it was a bargain. I have not yet had a chance to read them, but I’m looking forward to it.

Recent Acquisitions: Pulpy awesomeness

I haven’t posted about recent book acquisitions in a long, long while, but I have some real treasures to mention, so here goes. I stopped by a local used bookstore I don’t pop into very often a couple weeks ago. No reason for staying away for so long, I just never get around to it. In any case, the place had lain fallow for probably a year or so. These finds were well worth the wait. Here’s what I got:

* The first two Dreamlands novels by Brian Lumley ($2.50 each). Sure, I know that many Lovecraft purists don’t like Lumley’s contributions to the Mythos, but I’ve always enjoyed his enthusiasm, even if he tends to expend too much of his wordcount on exposition and really long flashbacks.

* Seven Doc Savage novels (the Bantam editions), five of which I didn’t already have ($2.50 each). The ones I didn’t already have: THE MYSTIC MULLAH, THE PHANTOM CITY, THE METAL MASTER, THE KING MAKER, and THE RED TERRORS. The duplicates were THE DEVIL GENGHIS and THE LAND OF TERROR. I need to bundle up those latter books with my other Doc Savage duplicates and put them on eBay. I’ve also got some Dray Prescott and Fu Manchu duplicates, among many others, so drop me a line if you’re interested and perhaps we can work something out.

* Seven ORIGINAL pulp magazines, all in just about as good a condition as you could expect to find in 2011. ($4.00 each!!!!!) These are: FANTASTIC ADVENTURES June, July, September, October, November 1948; January 1949; and August 1952. I have many, many reprint editions of pulp novels, stories, collections, the magazines themselves, etc., but these are my first actual pulps. Yes, I know that this wasn’t one of the major titles, and it’s from an era that was slightly past the heyday of the pulps, but, hey, at $4 a piece, how could I pass these up? A phenomenal find, and one that made my day. (The pictures of these beauties are a little fuzzy because they are in plastic sheaths.)

Recent Acquisitions: January 2011 Amazon.com Order

Well, OK, technically, I don’t have them in hand yet, but I thought I’d mention an Amazon.com order I placed the other day. It’s a rather large one, but that’s because I had a Christmas gift certificate from two dear friends, another Amazon credit I received from the credit card I use which gives me money back to use on Amazon, and a $20 LivingSocial gift certificate that I bought for only $10. I ended up getting $76 worth of books for only $16, including shipping.

In any case, here’s what I got:

  • BPRD, Volume 9: 1946: The next graphic novel trade paperback in one of my favorite series (set in the Hellboy universe).
  • Lobster Johnson: The Satan Factory: A novel, also set in the Helboy universe, and the first about the eponymous pulp hero.
  • The Amulet of Samarkand: Young adult fantasy, first in the Bartimaeus trilogy.
  • Chasm City: I really enjoyed the first book in the Revelation Space series, so I’m hoping this one is as good.
  • Sandman Slim: I have heard nothing but great things about this horror/urban fantasy novel, and I believe there’s a sequel out as well.
  • The Ruins of Gorlan: Another young adult fantasy, and another first in a series. This one is first in the Ranger’s Apprentice series. I’ve been wanting to check this one out for a while now.
  • Pax Britannia: The Ulysses Quicksilver Omnibus: First three novels (and some short stories?) in a steampunk series. Sounds neat, but I don’t know anything about it, so I’m taking a bit of a chance here.
  • The Spider vs. The Empire State Omnibus (Black Police Trilogy from 1938): The three-novel Spider arc in which a Nazi Party analogue takes over New York State and the Spider — one of my favorite adventure pulp heroes — must organize the resistance and take back New York from crypto-Nazis.

Looks like I’ve got some great reading ahead of me. Comments on any of these books are welcome as always.