Saturday, February 25, 2023

Reading Rumble Round 6

The grandmaster of ghost stories, the wiseman of the weird, Algernon Blackwood straightens his bowtie and enters the ring. Bibliography

Ancient Sorceries by Algernon Blackwood
John Silence, Physician Extraordinary, 1908

An Englishman is drawn to a sleepy French village, where he becomes obsessed with a young maid and witnesses a Satanic cult of werecats. Which is possibly debunked by Dr. Silence with the much more plausible explanation of past life regression.

The Crown Derby Plate by Marjorie Bowen
The Last Bouquet: Some Twilight Tales, 1933

Turns out that ghost in the haunted house was a ghost.

Available in The Bishop of Hell and Other Stories from Amazon

Black Thirst by C.L. Moore
Weird Tales April 1934

Interplanetary outlaw Northwest Smith is recruited by a Venusian harem-mate seeking help against her inhuman captive. Like Shambleau it involves his will being sapped by an alien creature, and like Black God's Kiss the story was mostly walking through corridors and repetitive descriptions.

At the Mouth of Time by Joe R. Lansdale
Originally in Fantasy Tales v6 n11, Winter 1982

Sword and Sorcery this time, from being hired in a tavern to fighting a sorcerer, with some horny schtick from the hero.

Collected in in this 45th Anniversary Tribute, from Amazon

The Sixth Sense of Frau Bernhauer by John Kobler
Detective Fiction Weekly v104 n03, 8/15/36

"True" story about a blind landlady who finds the clue that jails a bluebeard tenant. More artistic license than usual to create a narrative, and not the most interesting case to begin with.

Lansdale cleans house, knocking Kobler, Moore, and Brown over the ropes, Blackwood barely holding on.

Friday, February 17, 2023

Reading Rumble Round 5

Early 20th century gothic author Marjorie Bowen returns to the TFC ring.


Collections in print from Amazon

The Fair Hair of Ambrosine by Marjorie Bowen
The Last Bouquet: Some Twilight Tales, 1933

A clerk in Revolutionary era France is haunted by a murdered former lover. Telegraphed ending, but atmospheric enough.

Available in The Bishop of Hell and Other Stories, from Amazon

The Events Concerning a Nude Fold-Out Found in a Harlequin Romance by Joe R. Lansdale

Dark at Heart 1992 - available from AbeBooks

Amateur detectives get intrigued by a vandalized page of a porn mag stuck in a Harlequin romance sold to a used bookstore by a disgraced circus dog trainer.

Science Challenges Crime Part 5: Rough on Rats by John Kobler
Black Mask October 1938

Dry history of toxicology. The highlight is an early technique - having doctors taste the vomit of a dead child and then taste various poisons to see what matched.  Science!

Black God's Kiss by C.L. Moore
Weird Tales October 1934

Conquered warrior Jirel travels to the pits of hell for a weapon to claim revenge on the man who defeated and forced a kiss on her. Beautifully descriptive, thought there's only so many times you can use "dark" and "cold".

Collected in Jirel of Joiry, available from Amazon

Kobler's pushed against the ropes, but rallies back to the center of the ring. All four authors stay in the ring.

Monday, February 13, 2023

Reading Rumble Round 4

From Weird Tales to 77 Sunset Strip, C.L. Moore spent much of her career writing with her husband Henry Kuttner, though we'll be focusing on her individual, unique style. ISFDB

Daemon by C.L. Moore
Famous Fantastic Mysteries, October 1946

A shanghaied simpleton sees daemons, colored spiritual beings like living auras, among the ship's crew.

Bar Talk by Joe R. Lansdale
New Blood #7, 1990

Flash monologue about a barfly Martian vampire.

Collected in A Little Green Book of Monster Stories available from Amazon

History's Gallery of Monsters No. 7: William Stewart, The Monster of the Mary Russell by John Kobler
Dime Mystery Magazine April 1938

True story of a sea captain slaughtering seven of his crew, most with a crowbar, in a fit of paranoia.

All authors stay in the fight.

Wednesday, February 8, 2023

Reading Rumble Round 3

Lin Carter was best known as a fantasy editor, but was also a prolific name in the pulp revival scene of the late 60s through the 70s. Much of his work is in print as ebooks, available at Amazon 

Bibliography at ISFDB  

The Devious Lady by John Kobler
Detective Fiction Weekly v106 n03 11/7/1936

True crime story of a spinster who falls in love with a doctor, tries to kill his wife with poison candy, then contrives to poison the stock of the confectioners to cover it up.

The Madness Out of Time by Lin Carter
Crypt of Cthulhu #39, 1986

Written from the perspective of Abdul Alhazred, the mad Arab author of the Necronomicon. Not sure if this is supposed to be a story or what was happening, just a lot of old timey talk name checking every Lovecraft proper noun with an apostrophe.

Huitzilopochtli by Joe R. Lansdale
Skullduggery June 1980

A couple in a cabin and a tale about human sacrifice to an ancient idol.

Collected in A Little Green Book of Monster Stories available from Amazon 

Lin doesn't even make it through the ropes, but Lansdale and Kobler stay in the ring.

Saturday, February 4, 2023

Reading Rumble: Round 1 and 2

Our first entrant is Joe R. Lansdale. From detectives to splatterpunk to westerns to sword & planet, Uncle Joe covers a lot of ground, and is the master of East Texas noir. Get his stuff on Amazon 

Limited bibliography at Galactic Central and ISFDB 

He is shortly joined by our second author, John Kobler.

Before moving up to the slicks, John Kobler spent three years writing for the pulps, mainly Dime Detective. In addition to gory historical true crime features he introduced a couple of defective detectives. One of the more over the top pulp writers and you could feel that he was having fun. Good bibliography of this period here.

The Princess by Joe R. Lansdale
First published in Mummy! A Chrestomathy of Cryptology, ed Bill Pronzini, 1980, available from Amazon

An ancient preserved body dug up from a bog in Denmark possesses a woman.

The Merchant of Damnation by John Kobler
Dime Mystery v18n03 October 1938

Defective detective Peter Quest is going blind and has a death wish, hoping he dies in action before the lights go out. He keeps news clippings of his exploits, and although the cases were successful, he writes "failure" across them, because he failed to get himself killed. Peter Quest is little dramatic. In this case, wealthy old men disappear to turn up murdered and stricken with leprosy.

Friday, February 3, 2023

Reading Rumble Opener

Thirty authors enter the ring, one by one. Each round every story I like stays in the ring. Any misfire and it's over the ropes.

After all thirty authors have entered things get more competitive. If all the stories in a round are good, the one I like the least gets eliminated.

Depending on performance, we could see from 30 to 59 rounds, and from 30 to over 900 stories. Buckle in, we're going for a ride.

Wednesday, February 1, 2023

Reading Rumble

Six champions defend their titles.

David Sodergren and Ray Garton face off in the steel cage for the Intercontinental Title and a shot at the World Title belt.

Thirty short stories authors enter the ring one at a time. Last author standing is the our first Cruiserweight Champion.

Twelve novels and potentially hundreds of short stories.

Take a look. It's in a book. A Reading Rumble.