Back in 2002, Peter Ruber approached me with a publishing project, and I accepted immediately. Before approaching me, Peter, I am confident had approached every other publisher under his sun, who declined his offer to publish. In fact he had first started to discuss this project with me back as far as 1999 or 2000. He had two major collaborators Victor Berch, and Darryl Richardson. The title of the book “King of the Pulps: The Life and Writings of H. Bedford-Jones.
I knew of HB-J because he was a correspondent of Vincent Starrett, and Starrett had written in his autobiography Born in a Bookshop that HB-J had attempted a literary hoax, but I will let the reader wonder about this hoax for now. I worked hard to draw the project together. After the publication I received a stern reprimand from one of Peter’s contributors, Darryl Richardson who was unhappy with the end result. I attempted to smooth things over. I also received several e-mail communications from a certain editor of an ERB Fanzine who demanded a complimentary review copy. I repeatedly declined — with amusement.
Well, the book was published in 2003, and I repeatedly suggested to Peter that it should have an index — well it doesn’t, and the only criticisms I have received to date have been the lack of an index!
Henry Bedford-Jones was born in Canada, but spent all of his writing life in The United States of America, and lived in California.
A large portion of the book consists of a bibliography of HB-J’s writings for the pulp magazine, and more importantly, a listing for his many pseudonyms. One of the major series characters is JOHN SOLOMON.
Well, after the book was published, I thought the next project would be a collection of the John Solomon stories. The early adventures were published in magazine and book form under Alan Hawkwood. They were quite elusive, and expensive. I relied on the bookshelves of many collectors in the quest to complete — Digges La Touche, Randy Vanderbeek, Robert Preston and Robert Weinberg. The six episodes of “The Gold of Ishmael” was actually the hardest to complete.
The final collection of stories consists of 970,000 words in three folio volumes.