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Category Archives: Fantastic Fiction

Jack Koblas Has Two New Titles

I first met John “Jack” Koblas in the Tripp Museum in Prairie du Sac two years ago now. We were both visiting a display of Jim Kirchstein’s hand puppets and marionettes all created by Ken Vogel on the weekend in October celebrating The Walden West Festival by The August Derleth Society. The following year Jack was the Guest Speaker at Walden West Festival. We sat together and discussed books at the Sunday evening dinner at Green Acres after the Walden West weekend.

In the month that followed Jack assembled an impressive list of titles for publication:

1. Ghost Stories and Other Dark Tales. This collection of stories is illustrated by John Stevens, and John also designed the cover. Many of these stories were written many years ago now, and a couple of them were rejected for publication by August Derleth when Jack submitted them for consideration when he was a teenager.

2. The Lovecraft Circle and Others as I Knew Them This is non-fiction book, and includes Jack memories of many of the admirers of H.P. Lovecraft. Two of the high points are Mary Elizabeth Counselman and Donald Wandrei.

3. Abe Lincoln’s Graveyard Ghouls. This is the history of what happened to the body of the President after his assassination at the end of the Civil War. Lincoln’s body was disinterred twice and finally came to rest in Illinois in 1905.

4. The Portage Experiment. this is the History of Zona Gale, Margery Latimer, Jean Toomer and Gurdjieff movement in Portage Wisconsin in the 1930s. It is a bizarre one including standing in trees without cloths, and communal and group sex, and master Gurdjieff doing short arm inspections on the men, before festivities began, presumably to avoid the spread of Venereal Disease.

5. The Invasions of America (1941-1945). This recounts the various and frequent invasions of both The United States of America and Canada by air and by sea during and before the commencement of WWII.

6. Jesse James and Jack Chinn: A Shadow over Northfield. This is Jack’s controversial thesis that Chinn had a serious hand in the robbery at Northfield Minnesota.

* * * * * * *

Jack Koblas is one of the most dynamic, interesting and prolific writers you’ll find in print today. Many of his readers are aware that when it comes to the outlaw genre, Jack is the foremost authority on the James-Younger Gang’s exploits in Minnesota. With over 70 books to his credit, his name is recognized in many fields—Western nonfiction as well as fiction, with other titles on Ma Barker and the gangster era, the U. S.-Dakota War, American Civil War, literary figures, politicians, nature, poetry, and many more.

Others know him through his work as a consultant and script writer for various television documentaries including Discovery Channel, History Channel, PBS American Experience, as well as independent film companies. One of his own books, Jesse James Northfield Raid: Confessions of the Ninth Man, was made into a documentary film.

Still others hail him for his musical skills as founder of The Magpies— one of the first doo wop groups to bring rock music to the Twin Cities in the 1950s. His vocals and keyboards are still heard today on many oldies recordings, and in 2007, he and The Magpies were inducted into the Minnesota Rock & Country Hall of Fame.
But how many people remember his works in the horror/fantasy field when he cofounded Etchings & Odysseys and learned to write from authors such as Donald Wandrei, Carl Jacobi, and Charles DeVet? Here are 47 horror stories penned by Jack Koblas, some of which we hope may jog your memory. May we have the lights, please?

* * * * * * *

John Stevens graduated from Daytona State College with a Graphic Arts and Advertising Design degree. His career in illustration blossomed as he won a prestigious award from L. Ron Hubbard Illustrators Of The Future contest, an international competition for science fiction illustrators. His professional talent came to the attention of Dell Magazine where he illustrated stories for Asimov’s Science Fiction Magazine, Analog Science Fiction and Fact Magazine, Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine, Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine and many others. This talented artist’s work has been noted in Bride Publication, North Star Press and National Examiner as well as in several books.

John Stevens has worked with companies such as Ladies Professional Golf Association, Wacky World Studios, International Speedway Corporation Publications, Hot Action Sportswear, Jiloty Communications Incorporated advertising agency and many others. He has produced illustration for Art Against Aids, a non-profit organization established to raise funds for children living with aids. John also took time to teach portrait drawing for ArtQuest School Of Art & Design of Florida.

John Stevens’ work adorns the collections of Florida’s U.S. Senator Bob Graham, Louise M. Kleba (Systems Engineer at McDonnell Douglas Aerospace), Lee Aperson (Mr America), Debbie Kruck (MS Fitness USA), Kim Hartt of the Nevada Hot Dice RollerJam TV series, Barbara Leigh (actress) and many others.
To see more of John Stevens art visit his website at http://www.imagesofwonder.com and http://www.johnstevensart.com

* * * * * * *

During one of our late night talk session, Donald Wandrei told me he sold his first story, “The Red Brain,” to Weird Tales magazine in 1927. Although it was rejected the first time by Farnsworth Wright, the editor of Weird Tales, fellow pulp author H. P. Lovecraft had advised the younger writer to wait five or six months and submit it again. HPL added Wright’s memory was poor, probably from the Parkinson’s that plagued him, and a second submission would probably do the trick. Wright apparently did not remember the initial attempt, and upon reading this submission was so impressed, he published the story.

“Tomorrow, Tao Fa [E. Hoffmann Price] hits town,” Mary Elizabeth Counselman wrote me 40 years ago. Ed Price made several what he called “safaris,” to visit fellow pulp authors all over the U. S. and I was always lucky to be included by visits from both these masters of the macabre. MEC (Miss Counselman) continued her epistle: “I’m following his progress from New Orleans by sound—women screaming, or squealing as the case may be: men yelling and cursing and firing shotguns… Will let you know about his visit, unless my husband gets him first!”

I was fortunate to have known so many of the “pulpsters” and each through unusual channels: Robert Bloch because Wandrei called him every week and made me play “Rhapsody in Blue” on the piano for him; Carl Jacobi whom I first met while tricks or treating at his house on a long ago Halloween night; August Derleth because he rejected my story and called it “the worst story I’ve ever read (I was 15);” and Charles DeVet because Andy Decker and I found a geographical error in one of his novels. And most of the pulpsters followed because of similar reasons over a long period of time.

Come share these memories with me. The subjects are some of the finest people I’ve ever met.—Jack Koblas

* * * * * * *

“Anyway here it is. As I told [Jack Koblas] over the phone I got a laugh out of THE CASE OF CHARLES DEXTER WEIRD and thought it nicely written to boot.” —Carl Jacobi

* * * * *

“When it comes to twentieth-century pulp writers, especially those connected with H. P. Lovecraft, Jack (“Count”) Koblas has “been there and done that.” From an alligator chase in the environs of R. H. Barlow’s erstwhile Florida home to the sighting of an albino squirrel in Don Wandrei’s backyard, Jack tells all in The Lovecraft Circle. His accounts of writers like Bloch, Counselman, Wandrei, Brackett and many others range from the informative, to the moving, to the simply amazing. No one interested in twentieth-century pulp fiction, and the Lovecraft Circle in particular, will want to be without Jack’s book.”
— Ken Faig, Jr., editor, The Fossil

* * * * *

“John Koblas’s hallmark has always been exhaustive research. Koblas is a bulldog of a researcher.” —Dave Wood, former books editor, Minneapolis Star Tribune;
former vice president, National Books Critics Circle

* * * * *

John “Jack” Koblas has met the Great Old Ones and survived to tell the tale. Fortunately, these Antient Beings were authors and artists associated with the luridly enjoyable pulp magazines. Here are reminiscences and research to fill many a dark and stormy night for casual or dedicated fan. I was present during some of the meetings described in this entertaining volume and can only regret that my misspent life did not include more of these fascinating discussions.
Scott F. Wyatt
Northern Representative Fedogan & Bremer (Publishers)

* * * * *

The “Old Ones” of fantasy stories and of the Lovecraft Circle inspired the ghostly path for these haunting tales, a feat that would surely please them all. The circles under my eyes and my night light blazing are proof of Koblas’s awesome skill in keeping you up all night. Compelling, gripping and most of all fun, don’t miss this interesting journey.
— Kay Price, Sauk City, Wisconsin

* * * * *

Jack Koblas was my point of entry into the literary world of Donald Wandrei and Carl Jacobi. I’m certain that both old masters would be proud to see their young acolyte following so successfully in their foot-steps. — Dwayne Olson, Minneapolis, Minnesota

 

The Real John Wyndham

In the cupboard at The Place of Hawks there was also a manuscript with accompanying correspondence titled TIME TO REST by John Beynon. I have to admit I didn’t know what I was looking at but after consulting Sixty Years of Arkham House, here’s the scoop: John Beynon Harris of 22 Bedford Place. London, W.C.1– MUSeum 2161 submitted this story to August Derelth on September 3, 1948. It was accepted and was subsequently published in The Arkham Sampler Volume 2, No. 1 Winter 1949. The manuscript was bound in blue card with dark blue ribbon and consisted of 24 typed pages. The manuscript and correspondence is reproduced below. The author — John Beynon Harris (note his signature) is better known in fiction by his pseudonym JOHN WYNDHAM. Interesting historical footnote to The Arkham Sampler!

 

 

A Trio of Manuscripts by Lady Cynthia Asquith

There was a number of interesting items in the pile of comic strips. There were three manuscripts sent to The Place of Hawks by Lady Cynthia Asquith which were subseuwntly published in This Mortal Coil (Arkham House, 1947). The first one is “God Grant that She Lye Stille” 50 typed pages contained in red card cover with green ribbon; the second “The Corner Shop” 24 typed pages contained in a tan card cover with green ribbon;  and third “The First Night” 14 legal sized pages bound by stick pin at upper left. All three manuscript have inked emendations by the author, and pencil annotations by presumably Dereleth in preparing the stories for press. Lady Asquith’s address is given as — Sullington Court, Storrington, Sussex. It would be intereting to note if this address has been retained, rebuilt, destroyed or renovated. The Arkham book itself is quite collectible. Another question — would Arkham House fans today like to see another collection by Asquith? I don’t think so, but what say you?

 
 

The Last Case of Dr. Jules de G.

 My colleague Christopher Worthington sent me this story. It first appeared in Fantastic Adventures in April 1943. It was an interesting read, a sympathetic parody of the team of detectives that investigated the supernatural in Weird Tales in 93 episodes between the 1920s and the 1950s all composed by Seabury Quinn. Having read it, I didn’t know quite what to do with it, so decided it will eventually appear in The Arkham Archives, which is a proposed periodic publication to disseminate all items related to Arkham publications. The Phantom Fighter (1966) by Seabury Quinn was published with an M&M logo

                                                                                 The Last Case of JdeG

 

Twelve Ghostly Tales by Estrid Balslev

 

Early in 2010, I received a manuscript of ghost stories in Danish from an enthusiastic member of The August Derleth Society, one Estrid Balslev. Although I couldn’t understand a work of it, I suggested to the author in an e-mail, that if she translated it into English, I would submit to the editorial board — The Sacred Six for consideration. The English translation arrived a couple of weeks ago as an E-mail attachment. John Robert Colombo has reviewed the manuscript for esl’s (English as Second Language) and this process is now complete. Estrid’s colleage Neils Reiter has send along a proposed cover illustration and here it is. Patricia Visneskie has almost completed the cover, and the text is ready to go to press. I am waiting for CIP data from Ottawa.

Twelve Ghostly Tales

by Estrid Balslev. Cover photographs by Neils Reiter. Trade Paperback 136 pp. ISBN 978-1-55246-948-4 @ $20.00
 

Lost Treasures from the Pulps in 2011

There are many projects underway, and many have been delayed because of the amount of effort involved in Arkham House projects. I get many inquiries about these projects, and each one of them requires an explanation which is time consuming, and so this post should address all questions simultaneously. I can also update it as time goes by. Many of these projects are far advanced, and on the verge of going to press.

The Compleat Adventures of Luther McGavock and Others

 by Merle Constiner. Page count not fixed. Hard Cover Folio 462+pp. ISBN 978-1-55246-794-7 @ $75.00

This is a project that has been on the list for almost six years now. There is one earlier collection of Constiner featuring the Adventures of “The Dean.” There are a total of 12 stories in Black Mask and 11 that feature Luther McGavock. These stories will be published with the permission of Keith Alan Deutsch. When compiled this was a slim volume, and so a decision was taken to include Constiner tales from other Pulpmagazines and amend the title accordingly. I am still looking for a couple of these additional stories, and the remainder are now included and with the proof reader. The volume is now substantial and I can only say the delay will eventually well reward the reader’s wait. All the illustrations and covers that accompany the stories have been scanned. The Dustjacker is approved.

The Compleat Adventures of the Suicide Squad

by Emile Tepperman. Hard Cover Folio 400+ pp. ISBN 978-1-55246-752-7 @ $75.00.

This volume collectes the 23 stories, some serialized in Ace G-Man Stories. The text is complete and proof read. All the illustrations and covers that accompany the stories have been scanned. The Dustjacker is approved. The delay has been the integration of the text and illustrations; and simply requires a weekend’s work when there is nothing more pressing to do. Perhaps it will get done in March, in Florida?

The Tong of Terror: The Adventures of Jimmy Wentworth

by Sidney Herschel Small. Hard Cover 400+ pp. ISBN 978-1-55246-775-6 @ $75.00

This volumes collects 30 stories featuring Jimmy Wentworth, a police officer born in China who battles the Chinese Tongs in San Farancisco. Some stories are serialized and there are a total of 75 pulps episodes in the series. The text is complete and the illustrations are scanned and ready for integration. The volume has been proof read. The dustjacket has been designed. I note that I still have to apply for a CIP data, and this will follow shortly. The project still requires a couple more weekenda, with nothing else on deck.

The Compleat Adventures of Donald Everhard

by Gordon Young, with an Introduction by Richard Bleiler. HC 2V 1012 pp. ISBN 978-1-55246-784-8 @ $150.00

This set of two volumes was originally suggested by Richard Bleiler, and has received significant contributions from many sources. The last page of the last story arrived in February 2011. All but one story appeared in Adventure Magazine. All the stories are scanned and appear chronologically by date of publication. There are two covers which will be used on the Dust Jacket. This will be a 2 volume collection with alot of content — 957,500 words actually. There are 27 stories, many are serialzied with 6 parts.

The Compleat Zambra the Detective

by Headon Hill with an Introduction by Bob Adey) Hard Cover Folio 500+ pp. ISBN 978-1-55246-626-1 @ $75.00

This series was suggested by Bob Adey, and he has provided all the content from obscure British magazines from the beginning of the 20th century. Some short stories, and Novellas and at least one Novel. The text has been scnned, but needs another proof reading. (I am an imperfect proof reader, as well as an imperfect webmaster.) The work contines, and this project is unlikely to appear in 2011, but we will try.

Strange Ocean Vistas of Philip M. Fisher

Philip M. Fisher, with an Introduction by Rodney Schroeder, and comprehensive commentary byGary G. Garner. Hard Cover Folio 500pp. ISBN 978-1-55246-530-1 @ $90.00

This project commenced back in 1998 at the suggestion of Gary Garner. The dustjacket has been completed, and features a great oil painting of a Zeppelin. Completing this project is currently not in my hands to do, but I am optimistic that work will proceed again shortly. The project so far received has been proof read.

The Satan Hall Omnibus

by John Carroll Daly. Hard Cover 482+ pp. ISBN 978-1-55246-754-1 @ $90.00

This volume collects 24 stories from Detective Fiction Weekly (some serials) and 2 stories from Black Mask. A couple of the tales proofed to be very elusive, but all are now scanned and proof read. There are many pulp covers to include on the Dust Jacket. All the internal illustrations are scanned and need to be integrated into the text. (437.000 words)

Mr. Chang and Rafferty

by E.A. Apple, writing as A.E. Apple. Hard Cover Folio 4 Volumes ISBN 978-1-55246-829-6 @ $350.00

This project collects all the adventures of Mr. Chang (2-1/2 volumes) and Mr. Rafferty (1-1/2 volumes). The text has now been assembled, and the proof reading is almost complete. There are many pulp covers to include from Detective Story Magazine. The author’s family still lives in Canada, and is looking forward to the publication with enthusiasm. Mr. Chang is Canada’s version of Fu Manchu; and Rafferty is Apple’s incarnation of Raffles. There are a total of 1,286,735 words.

Introducing Mr. Chang . . . 

by E.A. Apple. TPB 290 pp. ISBN 978-1-55246-943-9 @ $28.00

This is a small volume, designed as an introudction to the four volume set above. It features novelized, expnaded version of two of the stories contained in the project above, namey Mr. Chang and Scotland Yard and Mr. Chang’s Crime Ray. The book is set up like an Ace Double with the back story inverted and essentially two cover pages and one ISBN

The Otis Adelbert Kline Omnibus

by Otis adelber Kline 2 perhaps 3 Volumes ISBN 978-1-55246-834-0 @ $price not set

This is another very ambitious project which has been stalled. I set the project aside altogether when I was unable to reach I felt was a reasonable agreement with Kline’s estate representative. Since the author passed away in 1996. It is my clear understanding that alll his published writing is out-of-copyright in Canada in 1997. I shall proceed on this understanding without the involvement of the estate. The problem is to find the time, and in the meantime an excellent project languishes in my In-Basket. I would estimate that is over 50% acomplete, and needs another proof reading.

The Adventures of Philip Strange

by Donald H. Kehoe. 4 Volumes ISBN 978-1-55246-837-1 @ $300.00

This is another huge project which is now essentially complete. There are a total of 64 stories, all contained in a single isse. One story proved elusive, but is now scanned and all of them have been proof read. The final step is scanning the illustrations which is problematic since most all the first page illos scan two pages. The pulp covers are all interesting but bear little revelance to the covers. This is but one character series contain in Flying Aces by Kehoe, but it is the one he is most remembered for. The set of 4 DJ’s has been designed and they are ready to fly. There are a total of 1,110,561 words

An Adventure Trilogy

by Arthur Douglas Howden Smith 3 vol. Set ISBN 978-1-55246-817-3 @ $60.00

This project contains 3 prequel novels which were serialized in Adventure Magazine to Treasure Island. They are; The Doom Trail Beyond the Sunset and Porto Bello Gold. Treasure Island is my childhood favourite, so to learn how the gold got there in the first place is de rigeur. The books have been scanned and partially proof read. Still looking for some original Dustjackets for the book editions to illustrate. This book will not be published in 2011.

The Yellow Menace

by Louis Tracyand introduced by John D. Squires, Trade Paperback 221pp. ISBN 978-1-55246-872-2 @ $30.00.

This is a pet project of John Squires and I started to work with him in 2003. It is a novel which was originally serialized in the newspapers, and was syndicated to accompany the appearance of the silent movie which is now lost in the sands of time, although many photos still remain. It is presently with the proof reader, and I must integrate the photos, taken from a French translation into the reconstructed text. There are 80,000 words and an excellent commentary with much additional ephemeral illustated material collected by Squires.

The Schemes of Dr. Nikola

by Guy Boothby, with an introduction by Rick Lai and Aislise Bulfin. HC 400+pp. ISBN 978-1-55246-883-8 @ $75.00

This is a collection of five novels featuring a Moriarty type villain-hero.  The five are: A Bid for Fortune — Doctor Nikola Returns — The Lust of Hate — Dr. Nikola’s Experiment — Farewell, Nikola. I am still waiting for the original magazine illustration to accompany the text. Aislise is assembling them in Ireland. Otherwise the project is ready to go, but could use another proof reading. There are 380,147 in the project.

The Compleat Adventures of Robert Lauriston Jones and Others 

by Charles B. Stilson,  Hard Cover 504 pp. ISBN 978-1-55246-885-2 @ $60.00

This project was originally suggested by Kevin Cook, and scanned by Brian Earl Jones of Detroit. It consists of two serialized novels from the pages of All-Star WeeklyA Man Named Jones and Land of the Shadow People as well as 8 unrelated short stories. The project is complete, and the dustjacket is presently being created by Patricia Visneskie. It will be a big book and contains 200, 000 words.

The Compleat Adventures of Gillian Hazeltine

by George F. Worts, Hard Cover Folio, 3 Volume 1000+pp. ISBN 978-1-55246-916-3 @ Price not set as yet

This is an ambitious project, by the author of an earlier lost treasure — Peter the Brazen. It collects 25 Novels, Novellas and Short stories. It collects the adventures of a lawyer who always wins his seemingly hopeless cases and drives the District Attorney mad in the process. The stories originally appeared in Argosy Magazine, and they were difficult but not impossible to assemble with the help of Randy Vanderbeek who has a lengendary collection of pulp magazines. There are 858, 399. The project has been proof read, but the illustrations must all be scanned and integrated. There are many pulp covers to select for the Dustjackets.

The Illusions of Norgil The Magician

by Walter Gibson. Hard cover 500pp. ISBN 978-1-55246-921-7 @ Price not set as yet.

Norgil is a Magician Detective who solves 23 cases in this collection. The stories first appeared in Crime-Busters and Mystery Magazine. They are still under copyright, and I have to track down the Walter Gibson estate representative. 2/3 of the stories were collected by Otto Penzler when the author was still alive, but volume 3 never appeared.

The Adventurers: The Wings of Danger

by Arthur A. Nelson,  HC 400pp. ISBN 978-1-55246-889-0.

this project was originally suggested by Kevin Cook, and I’m still waiting for the photocopies to scan. The story has already been published as an inexpensive trade paperback, and may well be abnadoned altogether. This happens.

The Nictzin Dyalhis Portfolio

by Nictzin Dyalhis.  Hard Cover 350pp. ISBN 978-1-55246-887-6 @ Price not set as yet

This volume collects the serialized novels from Weird Tales and short fiction from elsewhere. I am still looking for one story — “The Whirling Machete” from Underworld. I always appreciate help! the rest is scnned but could use another proof reading.

Inspector West Goes to War

by John Creasey, introduced by Francis M. Nevins. Hard Cover Folio 500+pp. ISBN 978-1-55246-946-0 @ $75.00

This volume collects all five Inspector West Novels that Creasey wrote during WWII. They are elusive now, and I obtained all five copies on loan from the collection of Robert Briney. The five novels are: Inspector West Takes Charge — Inspector West Leaves Town — Inspector West at Home — Inspector West Regrets — Holiday for Inspector West. The cover illustrations were made to order by Laurie Fraser Manifold, and are delightful. Mike Nevins introduction is comprehensive and compelling. There are 409,270 words to digest.

The Crime Magnet

by Sax Rohmer, with an introduction by Gene Christie, and an essay by John Robert Colombo) Trade Paperback 221+pp. ISBN 978-1-55246-950-7 @ $30.00

This is an uncollected series of stories that appeared in This Week. They are now out-of copyright in Canada, NOT in the USA. The magazine is elusive, and copies were obtained from The Library of Congress microfilm. The magazine is oversized and difficult if not impossible to scan. The stories are being transcribed by JRC; and Larry Knapp has agreed to supply as many of the original illustrations as possible. This is indeed a work in progress. Stay tuned.

The Compleat “Needle Mike” 

by William E. Barrett.  Hard Cover 400+ pp. ISBN 978-1-55246-949-1 @ $60.00

This is a series of 16 short stories from the pages of Dime Detective, featuring a detective who crated tattooes. I obtained all the pulps from Randy Vanderbeek, and they are scanned and in the pile to go to Florida for layout and proofing in March 2011.

 

Musing on Bookmarks and Bookplates

It has always been a source of irritation for me, that large retailers of books, purchase large quantities of books, undercut your established retail price, and then request return privileges for the unsold books in 180 days for full credit, that is if they have actually paid for them. Frequently they have not paid in the first place. Is it any wonder then that I have declined the opportunity of enjoying their business in the past. Imagine my surprise and displeasure then when I learned that a large US retailer of books was advertising on line the opportunity of pre-ordering a book that I had just approved to go to press not 24 hours before — at a substantial discount which also included shipping. I imagine, but do not know, it was on the basis of a starred review that had appeared in Publishers Weekly. With the basic premise that all resellers have to be treated the same — what to do? Well there is a tipped in page signed by the author or the illustrator. There’s a limited edition bookplate and or perhaps a creative bookmark. I decided on the latter two, and here is the result of my musing. The two interpretive paintings of Lovecraft and Conan Doyle are by Victor Molev. The Lovecraft will also be used on a cover of a volume of Poetry that August Derleth originally compiled in 1947 entitled Dark of the Moon in 2013; The Conan Doyle will also be used on a package cover for an electronic edition of an ACD Bibliography originally compiled in 1981 by Richard Lancelyn GReen and John Michael Gibson, and revised and updated by Philip Bergem. This project is in the final stage, and shold appear early in 2011.

Arkham House Bookmarks

BSI Bookplate 6 — Trade Edition