Category Archives: Coming Soon in 2009

A Green Poetry Project

My friend Bill McCoy lost his wife two years ago after a long struggle with Alzheimer’s Disease, over ten years. I first met the couple through Jean Portugal, and Ann Skein Melvin who was working as the Librarian at The Royal Canadian Military Institute in Toronto. Jean had been working for many years on her magnum opus — We Were There which was finally published in 1998. Bill edited two of the volumes, and provided valuable proof reading services for the entire project.

Bill and I lost touch for a couple of years, and then we met again after Ann Skein Melvin died. Bill wanted to purchase her volume of poems edited by her husband David Skein Melvin.

Bill and I met with David Clink in mid 2008 and invited him to edit a active anthology of poems discussing the environment and green issues, and hopefully this will be published in 2009. Each poet has been invited to contribute a portfolio of poem or poems occupying eight pages.

Some contributors have backed out and other poets have been added.

The cover and internal illustration will comprise a suite of photographs by Geoffrey James.

Bill plans to dedicate the volume to the memory of is wife Anna.

Green Poetry
An active Anthology edited by David Clink

Dedicated to the memory of Anna McCoy

Sponsored by William McCoy

The environment is in the headlines more and more, with the threat of global warming taking the forefront. This anthology should not only be about this phenomenon, but other issues of the environment, which can include (but not limited to) poems about clear-cutting, pollution, the bee population dimishing, extinct and endangered animals, oil spills, eco-systems, changes to the gulf stream and the ozone layer, man’s encroachment on the wild, nature’s response (Disease, avian flu, SARS). frankenfoods, the introduction of the non indigenous species, migratory patterns shifting, and so on. This list barely scratches the surface!

Contributers: 1.) bill bissett; 2.) Allan Briesmaster; 3.) Jenna Butler 4.) George Elliot Clarke; 5.) Carolyn Clink; 6.) Karen Connelly; 7.) Barry Dempster; 8.) Maureen Scott Harris; 9.) Steven Humphrey 10.) Sandra Kasturi; 11.) Carol Malyon; 12.) Allan Glenn Rose; 13.) Raymond Souster.

I wrote this over a year ago. In the interim, Bill McCoy has passed away. The contributors have shuffled along and I amended the list above. The title has changed at the suggestion of John Robert Colombo. The finished book is now in my hands. I am emptying Bill’s apartment and preparing a presentation for his memorial service which will be announced in a subsequent post.

Life goes on, and alas! we can all look forward to death and taxes!

Here is a picture that I took of Bill on a cement pod, the weekend before Al Purdy’s statue was installed at Queen’s Park in Toronto. Al is installed across the circle from Victoria College, and St. Michael’s College — now is that irony or serendipity? The two of us then had Dim Sum on Baldwin Street and contemplated life.



Martin Gardner’s Projects for 2008 and 2009

In 2007, I received a letter from Martin Gardner last year complimenting me on the publication of The Compleat Annotated Father Brown in 2002. In the same letter he wondered if I would be interested in publishing a volume of his essays entitle The Fantastic Fiction of Gilbert Chesterton. I called him immediately in Norman, Oklahoma to discuss his project, and I agreed without hesitation to do the project. I suggested that if Martin had any other projects to hand I would be pleased to have a look at them as well. Martin is not computer literate but his son is. The manuscript arrived and below you will find the folded out dustjacket of the publication, along with a table of contents.

About the author: Martin Gardner is a science writer best known for the 25 years that he wrote Scientific American‘s column on recreational mathematics. In literary circles he is most admired for his Annotated Alice, an in depth study of Lewis Carroll’s two Alice books. His other books range over mathematics, science, pseudoscience, philosophy, religion, and literature. He has also written two novels and edited several anthologies of popular poetry. Mr. Gardner describes himself as a “philosophical theist” in the tradition of Plato, Kant, William James, Charles Peirce, and Miguel de Unamuno. Gilbert Chesterton, H.G. Wells, and Lord Dunsany are three of his literary heroes.


Table of Contents

Foreword by John Peterson
Chapter 1: The Napoleon of Notting Hill
Chapter 2: The Club of Queer Trades
Chapter 3: The Man Who Was Thursday
Chapter 4: The Ball and the Cross
Chapter 5: The Innocence of Father Brown
Chapter 6: Did Sherlock Holmes Meet Father Brown?
Chapter 7: Chesterton’s Manalive
Chapter 8: Chesterton’s Flying Inn
Chapter 9: The Poet and the Lunatics
Chapter 10: The Man Who Knew Too Much
Chapter 11: The Trees of Pride and Other Tales
Chapter 12: Tales of the Long Bow
Chapter 13: The Return of Don Quixote
Chapter 14: Four Faultless Felons
Chapter 15: The Paradoxes of Mr. Pond
Afterword by Pasquale Accardo
Appendix A: Illustrations by W. Graham Robertson for The Napoleon of Notting Hill 179
Appendix B: Illustrations by G.K.C. for The Club of Queer Trades 187
Appendix C: “The Man Who Was Thursday” from Famous Fantastic Mysteries (March 1944) 219
Appendix D: Illustrations by Sydney Seymour Lucas for The Innocence of Father Brown 227


Mr. Belloc Objects by H.G. Wells
I. Mr. Belloc’s Arts of Controversy
II. The Theory of Natural Selection Stated
III. Mr. Belloc as a Specimen Critic of Natural Selection
IV. Mr. Belloc’s Adventures among the Sub-Men
Manifest Terror of the Neanderthaler
V. Fixity or Progress

Mr. Belloc Still Objects by Hilaire Belloc
I. Mr. Wells’s General Grievances
II. Mr. Wells as Biologist
III. Mr. Wells’s Ignorance of the Catholic Church
IV. My Errors
V. Mr. Wells Shirks

VI. The Great Rosy Dawn

An Introduction by Martin Gardner

H.G. Wells’s rare little book, Mr. Belloc Objects, is almost totally forgotten today except for Wells collectors. In 1926, when this book was first printed, Wells had hit the jackpot with his Outline of History. It had become a worldwide best seller, and had earned for Wells a considerable fortune.

Histories of the world had been written earlier, but Wells’s Outline differed from them in two ways: Its range was wider, and it opened with a history of prehistoric humanity that assumed the soundness of Darwinian evolution. Hilaire Belloc, a well known British writer and an ultra-conservative Catholic, wrote a series of articles attacking Wells’s Outline, especially his defense of Darwin. Belloc’s articles were widely published in Catholic periodicals, and later issued as a book titled A Companion to Mr. Wells’s Outline of History.

Wells was furious. Not just because evolution was dismissed as bad science, but because Belloc was savage in his personal attacks on Wells. It was the first and last time that Wells was goaded into replying in kind to ad hominem criticism. His little book not only is very funny, it is one of the strongest pieces of rhetoric ever written in defense of evolution against a form of creationism known today as Intelligent Design (ID).

The creationism Belloc defends was not, of course, the crude fundamentalism of Protestant young earthers convinced that God created the entire universe in six literal 24-hour days. Belloc was not a young earther. He accepted evolution in a sense, but insisted that each species was a new creation. In just what way it was a new creation Belloc does not say. Like today’s Iders, Belloc leaves this hopelessly vague. Did God create out of whole cloth the first pigs? Or did he merely guide mutations in such a way that pigs were suddenly born to non-pig parents?

Today’s IDers are equally mute on this point. As attorney Phillip Johnson says over and over again in his books defending ID, it is not necessary for opponents of Darwin to explain exactly how God guided evolution. It is only necessary to make clear the inadequacy of explaining the origin of species by random mutations followed by survival of the fittest. The question becomes especially bothersome with respect to the origin of humans. As Wells so beautifully argues in his last chapter, proponents of ID are haunted by the fossils of Neanderthals. Were they true humans, with immortal souls, or were they merely higher apes?
Exactly how did this monumental transition occur? Surely Belloc did not believe God created Adam out of the dust of the earth, then fabricated Eve from one of Adam’s ribs. But if the Genesis account is mythological, exactly how was the transition made? Were the first humans reared and suckled by a mother who was a beast? Belloc is as silent on this question as are today’s IDers.
At the time Belloc lambasted Wells, the Catholic Church by and large rejected all forms of evolution. Consider the tragic story of St. George Jackson Mivart (1827–1904). He was a much admired British zoologist, author of many books including a massive volume titled The Cat, and a student of the great Thomas Huxley. He was also a devout Catholic, but a Catholic with extreme liberal views. Over and over again, in scholarly journals, and in his book On the Genesis of Species, Mivart defended the evolution of all forms of life, including humans, but by a process governed by God and with the proviso that immortal souls were infused into the first men and women. Repeatedly he warned his Church that by opposing evolution it was making a foolish mistake similar to the mistake it made in persecuting Galileo for claiming the earth went around the sun. In brief, Mivart he1d views on evolution identical with the views of almost all of today’s Catholic philosophers and theologians. Poor Mivart! He was too far ahead of his time. The Church branded him a heretic, excommunicated him, and denied him a Christian burial.

Today almost all liberal Christians, Protestant or Catholic, regard evolution as God’s method of creation, no more requiring miracles along the way than the origin of the solar system required frequent pushes by the Creator , as Newton believed, to keep the planets in orbit.

Almost all of today’s IDers are conservative Christians. Phillip Johnson is an evangelical Presbyterian. David Berlinski is a conservative Baptist. Michael Behe, the most persuasive of the lot, is a Catholic. Berlinski recently teamed up with Ann Coulter to help her write the part of her book Godless in which she bashes Darwin.

How did Belloc react to Wells’s attack? He promptly wrote a book titled Mr. Belloc Still Objects. It is included in the book you hold.
How do things now stand with the Roman Church? I am pleased to report that Pope John Paul II declared evolution to be more than a theory and worthy to be taught in all Catholic schools. The Church is moving slowly and cautiously in a liberal direction — that is, in the direction promoted by such Catholic thinkers as Hans Kung, in Germany, and in the U.S. by Gary Wills, Father Andrew Greeley, and many others. Hopefully it will continue to glide in that direction. If it goes the other way, it will be a sad day for both the Church and the world. — Martin Gardner

An Epilogue by Martin Gardner

Belloc learned nothing from Wells’s attack. His rebuttal continues the same insults, the same below the belt punches. As in his original articles on Wells’s Outline of History, it is not so much what Belloc says that reveals his ignorance of biology and geology, it is what he doesn’t say.
What he doesn’t say is how he thinks the “fixed types” came into being. Did God somehow manipulate the genetic information in sperm and eggs so that mothers gave birth to widely different life forms, or did the Almighty create the first fixed types from nothing, or from, as in Adam’s case, the Earth’s dust? IDers today are similarly tongue tied on this fundamental question.
Belloc seems unable to comprehend that types seem fixed because they are end points on branches of the evolutionary tree. Intermediate forms are all in the past. Fossilization is a rare event. We get only glimpses of extinct missing links. Belloc seems to think that because a horse can’t mate with a cow, the way lions can mate with tigers, horses were always horses and cows were always cows.
I have assumed that Belloc was not a Catholic fundamentalist who took the two Genesis accounts of creation to be literal history, with the word “day” of course meaning a period of many millions, or even billions, of years . Now I’m not so sure. I was startled by a sentence on page 88 where Belloc says the Fall of Man took place 5930 years ago “in the neighborhood of Baghdad.” How Belloc arrived at that date and place beats me. Wells must have guffawed when he read this! Belloc certainly believed the Fall was some sort of event, such as Adam and Eve chewing a forbidden fruit from the tree of knowledge of good and evil. It is hard to believe Belloc could think this, including the roll of a talking snake, but perhaps he did. If not, just what was the Fall?
Belloc generously grants that Wells was right on a few trivial points, and he promises to make corrections on his articles when they soon go into a book. Some of Belloc’s criticisms of Wells are right on target. That Wells was an atheist is undeniable, though this was not always the case. In his younger years he believed in a limited or finite God, a God growing in time as portrayed in the philosophies of such “process theologians” as Samuel Alexander and Charles Hartshorne. Wells defended such a deity in his war novel Mr. Britling Sees it Through, and in a nonfiction work titled God the Invisible King. Later he decided he was really an atheist.
Belloc is also right in accusing Wells of having a low opinion of the Roman Church. He once likened the Church to a huge dinosaur roaming the Earth and refusing to become extinct. Shortly before he died he wrote Crux Ansata, a savage indictment of Roman Catholicism. Belloc even catches Wells in a whopping error, one often made by non-Catholics. He confused the Virgin Birth of Jesus with Mary’s Immaculate Conception!
What about Belloc’s many quotations from scientists expressing doubts about Darwinism? My guess is that most of the men quoted were finding fault with Darwin’s views about the process of evolution, not the fact. Darwin, it must be recalled, knew nothing about mutations. He was a follower of Jean-Baptiste Lamarck, a French biologist who believed that an animal’s striving to improve its survival chances caused favorable genetic changes. For example, a giraffe’s efforts to eat leaves high on trees would somehow be transmitted to sperm and eggs with the result that its descendant’s necks would become a trifle longer. Similarly, disuse of an organ would cause it to weaken and perhaps disappear. In Belloc’s day Lamarckism was being abandoned for lack of evidence. Today the inheritance of acquired traits has been totally discredited.
“Darwinism” of course is a fuzzy term. In a narrow sense, Darwin’s Lamarckism has been so thoroughly discarded that one can say Darwinism indeed expired. But in a broader sense, Darwinism is alive and well. It is a fact, accepted today by all biologists and geologists, with very few exception, that life began on Earth with one-celled forms, then slowly altered by random mutations which were either beneficial or harmful, or neither. Favorable mutations tended to survive. Harmful mutations tended to die off. I suspect that most, perhaps not all, the scientists quoted by Belloc actually were firm believers in evolution but had differences with Darwin over the exact way evolution took place.
Consider the remark by William Bateson, a famous British geneticist, Bateson doesn’t deny evolution. He merely expresses his belief that factors other than natural selection played a dominant rôle in the process. In Bateson’s time there was considerable controversy over the mechanisms of evolution, controversy that persists today. But Bateson never doubted that all life could be graphed by a single tree.
Hans Driesch, a German biologist, was another firm believer in evolution who differed from Darwin only on technical matters. Eberhard Dennert, Belloc’s next expert, was an obvious crank. His 1904 book The Deathbed of Darwinism is described by Stephen Jay Gould in his book The Panda’s Thumb as ranking “right up there with bumblebees can’t fly” and “rockets won’t work in a vacuum.” Dennert predicted evolution’s total demise by 1910!
Belloc annoyingly never gives first names to his experts, so I was unable to learn anything about a man with the last name of Dwight. He sounds like a simple-minded creationist. There are lots of scientists with the last name of Morgan. I don’t know which one Belloc is quoting, but his disagreement with Darwin is clearly over the process, not the fact, of evolution. We are told nothing about a 1909 book by, I assume, F. le Danree, a French biologist , except that it is a “crushing blow” against evolution.
Sitting in my apartment, at an assisted living facility (I’m 94), with only a computer on hand as a research tool, I was unable to learn anything about Edward Dawson Cope, an American paleontologist who is probably the Cope Belloc had in mind. Nor could I find much about Yves Delarge, a French zoologist, or Karl Wilhelm Nägeli, a Swiss botanist. I drew a total blank on any scientist named Korchinsky. Perhaps someone more familiar than I with the early history of evolution can tell us just what the men quoted by Belloc actually believed.
Even today scientists wrangle over the mechanisms of evolution. Gould, for instance, promoted a controversial view called “punctuated equilibrium.” It emphasizes the fact that some species, trilobites for example, remained unaltered for millions of years while others changed radically over a period of a few thousand years. Gould was of course a thoroughgoing Darwinian, yet his opinions have been strongly opposed today by Richard Dawkins and others.
As far as I know, Wells made no effort to reply to Belloc’s Still Objects book. Regardless of his objections, Belloc must still have been haunted by the Neanderthals. Were they ape-like humans or human-like apea? Was there a turning point in history, according to Belloc some six thousand years ago, when the first humans suddenly appeared on old Earth like a magician’s beautiful assistant stepping out of a previously empty container? Maybe some expert on Belloc’s opinions can tell us what Belloc failed to reveal in his forgotten and funny little volume.


About the book

A critical assessment of Mary Baker Eddy and the international movement she spawned is long overdue. Of the hundreds of books written about Mary Baker Eddy and Christian Science, almost all have been by believers. With the notable exception of Mark Twain’s Christian Science, the small number penned by skeptics have long since gone out of print.
Martin Gardner, noted for his work in science, mathematics, philosophy, and literature, had intended to write a short essay about Mrs. Eddy, but became so fascinated by her life and personality that his work grew to book length. Written with humor, insight, and a wealth of fantastic detail, this book will delight skeptics and infuriate true believers.
Learn about the granite replica of the Great Pyramid of Egypt that was erected on the site of Mrs. Eddy’s birthplace, only to be mysteriously dynamited years later. Read about Mrs. Woodbury, who was on her way to becoming Mrs. Eddy’s rival until Woodbury announced her “immaculate conception” of a child, which she named the Prince of Peace. Discover how Mrs. Stetson, once Mrs. Eddy’s beloved pupil, was excommunicated when her Christian Science church in Manhattan began to outshine the Mother Church in Boston.
While Mrs. Eddy foretold the coming of a millennium in which all persons would be Christian Scientists and healthy, Gardner shows her to be a power-hungry individual whose life included spiritualism, a morphine addiction, frequent hysterical rages, and accusations of the use of “malicious animal magnetism” against herself and her followers, as well as litigation against her critics and persecution of those she regarded as disloyal.
Martin Gardner exposes the plagiarism that occurs in the writings of Mary Baker Eddy, including the early editions of Science and Health, which were so filled with errors of grammar, punctuation, and spelling, as well as attacks on fancied enemies, that the church has done everything in its power to prevent reprintings. Later editions were edited and polished by skillful writers, notably James Henry Wiggin, who thought the book was “balderdash.”
Recent scandal, financial woes, the resignation of top officials and editors of church publications, and the tragic deaths of Christian Science children denied medical aid by their parents have all contributed to the rapid decline of church membership.
Mr. Gardner’s final chapter places Christian Science within the context of New Thought, a movement that anticipated all the elements of today’s New Age. He focuses on the life of New Thought poet Ella Wheeler Wilcox, now forgotten but once our nation’s most loved versifier. She was, in Gardner’s opinion, the Shirley MacLaine of her time.
“Laugh and the world laughs with you,” Ella began one of her famous poems, “weep and you weep alone.” While reading Martin Gardner’s eye-opening book, it is hard to know whether to laugh or cry.

Other Books also by Martin Gardner

The Annotated Alice
The Annotated Snark
The Annotated Man Who Was Thursday
The Annotated Ancient Mariner
The Annotated Night Before Christmas
The Flight of Peter Fromm (novel)
The No-Sided Professor (short stories)
The Whys of a Philosophical Scrivener
The New Ambidextrous Universe
The Night is Large
Did Adam and Eve Have Navels?
Are Universes Thicker than Blackberries?
Great Essays in Science (ed)
The Jinn from Hyperspace

The Adventures of Humphrey Huckleberry (short stories, Martin has to visit his storage locker to retrieve a set of originals)

Note: Math and puzzle books, books for small children, books about conjuring, books about pseudoscience, or anthologies of verse are all purposely omitted from this list which was composed by the author. A complete bibliography of Martin Gardner is being compiled by David Morille and he describes this a work in progress, and he sent me a working galley which is 100’s of pages in length.

The Annotated Casey at the Bat (A work in progress — awaiting a new cover)
Visitors from Oz (novel — awaiting a new cover)

Blurbs about Martin Gardner

I read Martin Gardner’s manuscript and really enjoyed doing so. It’s quintessential Gardner, which means it is gracefully written, well-argued, extremely informative, quite convincing, already a classic. He certainly writes in an agreeable fashion. I knew from the first page I was reading an MG book. It is, of course, a collection of columns, chapters, essays, forewords, etc. — John Robert Colombo

Chesterton’s criticism almost always leads the reader to (re)read the subject of the criticism. Gardner’s essays on Chesterton’s fiction do exactly the same. They point out the many virtues of GKC’s fiction and invite a new generation to experience the wonder. — Pasquale Accardo

When the historian of philosophy Étienne Gilson was asked how Chesterton, who had never had any formal training in philosophy, could have written his brilliant study of the medieval philosopher-theologian, Thomas Aquinas, Gilson’s simple answer was that “Chesterton was one of the deepest thinkers who ever existed.” And when Isaac Asimov was asked whom he thought was the most intelligent person on earth, he answered without hesitation, “Martin Gardner.” — John Peterson

“For more than half a century, Martin Gardner has been the single brightest beacon defending rationality and good science against the mysticism and anti-intellectualism that surround us.” — Stephen Jay Gould

“Martin Gardner is a national treasure, and Did Adam and Eve Have Navels? should be compulsory reading in every high school and in Congress. It will no doubt hold back the current tidal wave of lunacy about UFOs, Scientology, Creationism, and the like. —Arthur C. Clarke

Martin Gardner’s contribution to contemporary intellectual culture is unique—in its range, its insight, and its understanding of hard questions that matter. — Noam Chomsky


The first appearance of Solar Pons

The First Appearances of Solar Pons in print

Dragnet Magazine, Volume 2, #1 – February 1929
Eberhart, Mignon: The Black Bag
Leverage, Henry: Flying Crooks
Derleth, August W.: The Adventure of the Black Narcissus
Hook, Joseph F.: Pastures New
Skidmore, Joe W.: Standard Time
Philipson, Owen: The Murder Broker
Phelps, J. Werner: Framed by Fate [Pt.1]
Coons, Maurice: The Morgan Murders [Pt.4]

Volume 3, #1 – June 1929
Good, Janet Z.: The Three Scars
Derleth, August W.:
The Adventure of the Missing Tenants
Leeper, James Walter: Orders Is Orders
Levy, E. Parke: The Ruby of Blood
Pangborn, Arden X.: The Murder of Fat Joe
Gregory, John Miller: The Red Stiletto
Von Linden, Harold: The Lost Payroll

Volume 3, #4 – September 1929
Parkhill, Forbes: Death Leaves
Feldman, Anatole: The Penthouse Murder
Lindsay, C. M.: The Great Sydney Sapphire
Macdowd, Kennie: Concealed Clues
Derleth, August W.:
The Adventure of the Broken Chessman
Leverage, Henry: Red Nose Rogerty [Pt.1]

Volume 4, #1 – October 1929
Sterling, Ward: The Abel Murder Case
Leverage, Henry: Red Nose Rogerty [Pt.2]
Hofflund, Stanley: Broken Hinges
Derleth, August W.: Two Black Buttons
Saunders, Carl M.: Hard
Wells, Hal K.: The House of Hate
Marten, Erik: Beads of Death

Volume 4, #3 – December 1929
Ford, T. W.: Red Hot
Stone, Irving: The Suicide Letter
South, John Winter: Dressed We Kill
Macdowd, Kennie: Kidnapping Killers
Leveque, James Howard: No Evidence
Geary, Lance: Counterfeit Slugs
Compton, Jack: Racketeer Wages
Derleth, August W.: Adventure of the Late Mr. Faversham
Archibald, Joe: Gangster’s Revenge

In the aftermath of the 2008 Windy City Pulp and Paperback Show in Chicago Bob Weinberg and I had dinner together. We discussed many things, in particular, the run of “Rafferty” and “Chang” stories in Detective Story Magazine by A.E. Apple, who I understand to have been a Canadian living in Toronto by the name of A.E. Applebaum, who died by his own hand in 1932. I am presently searching for his next-of-kin, with no luck so far. I had borrowed the run of the magazine from Randy Vanderbeek, and would be returning them to Randy at Pulpcon, in Dayton, Ohio in July 2008. Bob then mentioned that August Derleth’s Solar Pons stories first appeared in Dragnet Magazine, (a predecessor to Detective Story Magazine) in four issues in 1929. Bob then went up to his study and came down with the four pulps. I have reproduced the covers overleaf, and include the Table of Contents of each for the reader’s edification. Please note that none of the four stories warranted mention on the covers. I was confident that Derleth rewrote and perhaps changed the stories when they subsequently appeared, and a cursory perusal of the text would confirm this.

1. “The Adventureof the Black Narcissus” and “The Adventure of the Late Mr. Faversham” in the 1945 appearance of In Re: Sherlock Holmes: The Adventures of Solar Pons.
2. “The Adventure of the Broken Chessman” in the 1951 appearance of The Memoirs of Solar Pons.
3. “The Adventure of the Missing Tenants” in the 1973 appearance of The Chronicles of Solar Pons.
4. “Two Black Buttons” An otherwise uncollected story, and will appear in an upcoming edition of the Newsletter.


Re: Henry St. Clair Whitehead

It was Bob Weinberg’s idea in the first place. I discussed the project with April Derleth since her father had published two volumes of Whitehead’s fiction in the 1940’s — Jumbee and West India Lights. April agreed and I borrowed the Arkham archival copies of the two books in dustjacket. plan to the art work from the two Arkham editions and add a third volume containing other uncollected stories from the pulps. One story “The People of Pan” that was already collected merited a Weird Tales cover, and that story will be published in the third volume.

Right in the middle of this project I learned that Christopher and Barbara Roden of Ash Tree Press were also publishing the same project in three volumes, and the first volume had already been released. The stories were already in the public domain when Derleth published them, so there was no question of infringing any copyrights.

I telephoned Christopher to advise him that I was proceeding with the same project, and continued to collect the stories. The majority were from Weird Tales and many had been published in various anthologies over the past twenty years. I did not want to abandon this project especially since Arkham House had published the two volumes already, and both had been out of print for years

Before I can project I still have to find three of the stories, and one correspondent has advised there may be some more htat don’t have bibliographic data available which makes them even more difficult to locate. I append the list below, if anyone can assist I would be most grateful.

Want List for Whitehead

1. The Gladstone Bag, (ss) Black Mask Sep 1925

2. Gahd Laff!, (ss) Black Mask Jun 1926

3. The Return of Milt Drennan, (ss) Mystery Stories Jan 1929

4. The Great Circle, (ss) Strange Tales of Mystery and Terror Jun 1932; Bizarre Fantasy Tales Fll 1970

5. Ruby the Kid, (ss) Nickel Western Apr 1933

6 Litrachoor, (pm) The Writer; Omniumgathum, ed. Jonathan Bacon & Steve Troyanovich, Stygian Isle Press 1976;
The Writer Etchings & Odysseys #6 1985


A Zeppelin on the Horizon

Many years ago now, I received an e-mail from a gentleman who wanted to reprint the Fantastic Fiction of Philip M. Fisher. I agreed to do the project, and he sent me some of the stories that he had already digitized. There was a lot of other material to find, and I set about the task. The gentleman who first suggested the project grew impatient, and I suspect did not like my approach to the project and sought another publisher, and the project as he perceived it has already been published.

Last year I thought everything was ready to publish and then Rodney Schroeter pointed out after he had completed the proof reading and also scanned an additional novel that I didn’t know about, pointed out to me that there were Fisher short stories listed by Bill Contento that were not in the table of contents of the project.

In the meantime I found a great Zeppelin cover which was adapted from an oil painting by Donald Purdon. Donald had painted it for the late Ann Skein Melvin, and her husband David Skein Melvin arranged with the artist for the necessary permissions.

The project still lacks a small list of short stories which I will enumerate below under the front cover and wrap around Dustjacket illustrations.



The Fisher Want List

The Admiral’s Uniform, (ss) Sunset Magazine May 1924
El Capitan’s Revenge, (ss) Munsey’s Aug 1922
Compass, (ss) Sea Stories Jul 20 1923
Kin Lee, (ss) Munsey’s Oct 1922
Platonic, (ss) Breezy Stories Aug 1920

My colleague Kevin Cook has suggested that these stories are almost impossible to locate — but I’m still going to wait and hope for the best. I will publish what I have in another year or so, and THAT is one sure way that the missing stories surface!


“The Suicide Squad” in the home stretch.

Last weekend, Rodney Schroeter sent me his proofed version and corrected version of the “Suicide Squad” project as an attachment. When I see him again this weekend at the American Club in Kohler, Wisconsin we will exchange the various paperwork and the projects we collaborated and are collaborating on at present.

The next step is to place the various internal and cover illustrations in the text of the stories, and print another set of page proofs with assorted captions.

The series is about 3 F.B.I agents who take on impossible tasks before and during the US entry into WWII and these fellows always rescue the beautiful lady in the red dress. All three and survive the ordeal to fight again in the next issue. This is not great literature but it is entertainment. Especially when you consider the pulps they appeared in are rare and hard to find, and the copies that have survived are either in the hands of serious collectors, or in libraries, with restricted access, and rules which make it very difficult to actually read them. And if this enough trouble, the pulp paper that the magazines are printed on is NOT acid free, and the magazines are slowing self-destructing as I write this.

Here’s a detailed table of contents of the collection. Bob Weinberg had a complete run of this pulp to share with me. I wouldn’t be a bit surprised (but I haven’t checked) that the list you can find on the internet will not be identical. But frankly I don’t want to take the time to double check — it is simple not necessary. I would say that I would like to be wrong on this point.

However, the list in Bob Weinberg’s and Lohr McKinstrey’s Hero Pulp Index is accurate, but incomplete lacking the last entry, and that’s another large project that progresses slowly but relentlessly to a publication conclusion.


1. Mr. Zero and The F.B.I. Suicide Squad (Ace G-Man Stories, May-June 1939)
2. The Suicide Squad Reports for Death (Ace G-Man Stories, July-August 1939)
3. The Suicide Squad’s Last Mile (Ace G-Man Stories, September-October 1939)
4. The Suicide Squad Pays Off (Ace G-Man Stories, November-December 1939)
5. Coffins for the Suicide Squad (Ace G-Man Stories, January-February 1940)
6. The Suicide Squad—Dead or Alive! (Ace G-Man Stories, April 1940)
7. Shells for the Suicide Squad (Ace G-Man Stories, June 1940)
8. Suicide Squad’s Murder Lottery (Ace G-Man Stories, August 1940)
No Story (Ace G-Man Stories, September 1940)
9. The Suicide Squad and the Murder Bund (Ace G-Man Stories, November 1940)
10. The Suicide Squad in Corpse-Town (Ace G-Man Stories, January 1941)
11. The Coffin Barricade (Ace G-Man Stories, March 1941)
12. The Tunnel Death Built (Ace G-Man Stories, May 1941) 201
13. Wanted—In Three Pine Coffins (Ace G-Man Stories, September 1941) 220
14. The Suicide Squad’s Private War (Ace G-Man Stories, December 1941) 236
15. —For Tomorrow We Die! (Ace G-Man Stories, February 1942) 256
16. The Suicide Squad’s Dawn Patrol (Ace G-Man Stories, April 1942) 273
17. The Suicide Squad Meets the Rising Sun (Ace G-Man Stories, June 1942) 288
18. So Sorry, Mr. Hirohito! (Ace G-Man Stories, August 1942)
19. Move Over, Death! (Ace G-Man Stories, October 1942)
20. Targets for the Flaming Arrow (Ace G-Man Stories, December 1942)
21. Blood, Sweat and Bullets (Ace G-Man Stories, February 1943)
22. The Suicide Squad and The Twins of Death (Ace G-Man Stories, August 1943)
23. The Masked Marksman’s Command Performance (Spider Magazine ??)

In the Realm of Mariposa

In the beginning, Stephen Leacock self-published his first book of humour in 1911, and then wrote a book of humour almost every year until he died in 1942. He was employed as a Professor of Economics at McGill University, and lived on Côte de Neiges in Montreal. He spent his summers in Orillia in a home he built and rebuilt in 1928 on The Old Brewery Bay.

Like most other children of my generation I first learned of Leacock as the author of “My Financial Career.”

I enjoyed reading his other writings as an adult and decided to work towards “An Omnibus Edition of his Humour” This project was a very large one in the abstract, but each volume was easy enough to compile along the way.

I invited my friend Jean-Pierre (who I met in a stalled elevator in an apartment building in Manhatten some years ago. We were both rescued by the fire department ) to do some caricatures of Leacock and I append the results below.


by Jean-Pierre Cagnat

John Robert Colombo introduced me to Pete McGarvey, who has a superb radio voice, and a long time inhabitant of Orillia, and the author of some Leacock volumes himself, and his advice and guidance in my quest for Mariposa has been invaluable. Pete invited me to my first Leacock Medal Dinner at the Geneva Conference Centre in June of 2004, and the project continues up until the present.


by Jean-Pierre Cagnat


Lord Tweedsmuir created Richard Hanney

I have always admired the writings of John Buchan, and have watched the Adventures of Richard Hanney in “The Thirty-Nine Steps” more often than I shall admit to, in fact, I’m going to watch it again as I write this blog. Two points, Alfred Hitchcock did the original movie, and secondly the book version differs significantly from the film version, and it is the kind of book that once you start to read it, you won’t put it down. A third point Buchan’s sequel Greenmantle is even better.

John Buchan created a second character, Sir Edward Leithen whose travels and adventures spanned three continents in many novels and some short stories. My friend John Robert Colombo has written an essay to introduce this tomb once it is published. It does require another proof reading before going to press to expunge those testy scanning typos.

John Buchan in his other worldly incarnation was Lord Tweedsmuir and he was appointed by the King as The Governor General of Canada in 1936 and he died in office after a fall in 1941. It was Lord Tweedsmuir who initiated the Governor General’s Literary awards in 1937.

Stephen Leacock won this award for My Discovery of the West. There is a file folder in the Yosef Karsh fonds at National Archives labelled something to the effect “1937-Tweedsmuir-Leacock” which is unfortunately empty. I suspect Mr. Karsh was the photographer who immortalized Lord Tweedsmuir presenting Stephen Leacock with this award, but lacking the photographic evidence, I cannot prove it.There is a chapter on Alberta which describes in some detail a “have-not province” before the discovery of black gold at Leduc which I can recommend to you.

I continue to work on an omnibus edition of both Buchan and Leacock, but the problem is that so many other worthy projects are getting in the way.

I append below are two “Gallic” interpretations of Lord Tweedsmuir by Jean-Pierre Cagnat. I don’t think the author would have been fond of them, but J-P has an eye for detail which readers of Le Monde will already be familiar.



Introducing Norgil The Magician …

This morning I completed a set of photocopies of the 23 short stories by Walter Gibson featuring Norgil, a Magician Detective. The Mysterious Press completed 2/3 of the series back in the 1970’s with two volumes. I had a list of all 23 cases and borrowed a set of the original pulps from Randy Vanderbeek, a member of The Sacred Six (The Editorial Board of The Battered Silicon Dispatch Box). Ordinarily this procedure would not be worthy of commentary in a blog — but the list I obtained somewhere on the internet was seriously flawed. Three of the titles had been (I suspect) purposely altered. However the list below is accurate to the best of my ability, and I post it here! and invite comments!

The Compleat Portfolio of Norgil the Magician

by Walter Gibson as Maxwell Grant

1. Norgil (Crime Busters, November 1937)
2. Ring of Death (Crime Busters, January 1938)
3. Murderer’s Throne (Crime Busters, February 1938)
4. The Second Double (Crime Busters, March 1938)
5. Drinks on the House (Crime Busters, April 1938)
6. Chinaman’s Chance (Crime Busters, May 1938)
7. The Glass Box (Crime Busters, June 1938)
8. The Mad Magician (Crime Busters, July 1938)
9. The Ghost That Came Back (Crime Busters, August 1938)
10. The Silver Venus (Crime Busters, September 1938)
11. Double Barrelled Magic (Crime Busters, November 1938)
12. Magician’s Choice (Crime Busters, December 1938)
13. Old Crime Week (Crime Busters, February 1939)
14. Murder in Wax (Crime Busters, April 1939)
15. The Mystery of Moloch (Crime Busters, June 1939)
16. $5,000 Reward! (Crime Busters, July 1939)
17. A Chest of Ching Ling Foo (Crime Busters, September 1939)
18. The Blue Pearls (Mystery Magazine, December 1939)
19. The Lady and the Lion (Mystery Magazine, January 1940)
20. Crime in the Crystal (Mystery Magazine, March 1940)
21. Too Many Ghosts (Mystery Magazine, May 1940)
22. Battle of Magic (Mystery Magazine, July 1940)
23. Tank-Town Tour (Mystery Magazine, November 1940)


Not the right time of day for pictures

Well I went down to the dock this afternoon, and clicked a couple of pictures into the western sun, but I tried to take them in the shade, and thus I ended up with a certain blue tint. I post them here anyway, and will try and replace them with the sun in the east tomorrow.

Left: looking north from the front lawn of the cottage.
Right: Looking east from the dock showing the three sections, with no windows in the basement of the rear two sections.

While I was walking down to the dock to take these snapshots, I was thinking of reprinting Ritualia Musgraviensia a latin translation of “The Adventure of the Musgrave Ritual” by Arthur Conan Doyle which first appeared in The Strand Magazine in May 1893. This translation was completed by Paul Churchill and Dale K. Fewell and was first published in 1998. Paul Churchill passed away last year and he will be missed my all who knew him. The reprint of this monograph will be distributed at the annual dinner of The Speckled Band of Boston at The Tavern Club in Boston on May 8th, 2009 as my token “In Memoriam.” I will append a cover illustration of “Sherlock in Toga” and the Preface below:


Preface by Paul Churchill

The sixty Sherlock Holmes stories – four novels and fifty-six short adventures – written by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle from 1887 to 1927 have captured the hearts of generations of young people the world over. They have never been out-of-print and continue to entertain and inspire new readers. Countless pastiches have been written by other authors using the characters brought to life by Doyle, and the characters in turn have continued to live even as we hover at the verge of the 21st Century. The stories have been translated into French, Spanish, Latvian, Russian, Norwegian, Danish, Dutch, Japanese, and dozens of modern languages, but never into Latin. This little work marks the first appearance of a complete Sherlock Holmes story in Latin. Why Latin? Why not Latin? There is a precedent in the rendering of other literature into that ancient tongue, notably Winnie Ille Pooh, Alicia In Terra Mirabili, and Tela Charlottæ since the 1960’s. There has been a resurgence of interest in the Classics since the 1980’s with Latin enrollment having doubled and even tripled in school districts from California to Texas to Washington D.C. Within the past few years, books like Latin For All Occasions and its sequel, More Latin For All Occasions, have proven to be very popular. It is past time for a rendering of a classic work into a Classic language, a work which has an appeal to adults as well as students.
The story chosen is “The Adventure of the Musgrave Ritual.” It is one of the most recognized stores and is the only published tale which shows Sherlock Holmes at work as a professional before he met his friend and biographer, Dr. John H. Watson. It has all the ingredients of a fine mystery: an old manuscript whose secrets must be extracted by a practiced reasoner, a missing young woman with a fiery temperament, a centuries old relic, an old English manor house, and (read no farther if you wish to be surprised) The butler did it!

In translating this story into Latin certain compromises had to be made. First, the name “Sherlock” contains two letter combinations which did not exist in Classical Latin, namely the “sh” and the “ck.” The translators have rendered the “sh” as “sc” to fit the convention in Church Lain of pronouncing “sc” as “sh.” For “ck” they have chosen the more common letter combination “ch.” Sherlock therefore becomes Scerlochius, a second declension noun. Holmes is pronounced as two syllables, the “e” being short and the word becoming a third declension noun. For “Watson” another compromise had to be made since the letter “w” is a recent addition to our alphabet and did not exist in Classical Latin. Here we enter an area of linguistics that will be of interest only to linguists and the reader may feel quite comfortable in skipping to the story. For those of you who have decided to remain with the Preface, an explanation is due. Rather than rendering the name as “son of Wat” the translators have decided to treat the whole name. There are several English words starting with “w” which have corresponding equivalents in English, French, or Latin using the letter “g” or the letters “gu.” As examples consider the words “ward” and the protector of a ward, the “guardian,” the person in authority in a prison, the “warden” or the “guards,” the “warranty” or “guarantee” one gets with a purchase, the name “William” which is “Guillaume” in French or “Guglielmo” in Italian, or “Gulielmus” in Late Latin, and the seemingly unrelated words “war” in English and “guerre” in French. There being a pattern, the translators have rendered “Watson” as “Guatsonus,” a second declension noun. In addition to the conventions noted above, the translators were faced with the difficulty of translating words like “hair-trigger” and “bullet” and “sleeve” where no exact equivalent existed in Classical Latin. Rather than making a “bullet” into a “glans,” the word for the stone used in a slingshot, or “pistol” into the word for “catapult,” the translators have chosen the Neo-Latin equivalents found in other works published in this century by modern scholars. The word order is, for the most part, what would have sounded natural to a Cicero or a Cæsar. The punctuation is completely modern. The reader will find it most comfortable to have at hand any of the modern English versions to help make it through the tough spots. Enjoy the process as well as the result. Remember, this is not baby-Latin, this is the stuff you might not have gotten to in Latin II in high school. But for the steadfast, there are all the ablatives absolute, indirect discourse, gerundives, ut clauses and jussive subjunctives you came to know and love at school. Bona fortuna.