I know I promised part two of the bookscouting trip, and it’s coming, but the ugly truth is that we had the Olympia Zine festival last week and though it was great fun, as is usual, Julie and I caught a miserable case of convention crud. As is also usual.
But I didn’t want to miss another week. I hated even missing the one, it’s the first time in twelve years that I just plain blew a column deadline. But one of the minor pleasures of being a co-founder is that no one yells at you, and my colleagues here have all been doing good stuff, so I don’t worry about the Junk Shop being neglected.
Nevertheless, I wanted to put up SOMETHING, and as it happens various cool things have crossed my path the last few weeks. Here they are, in no particular order.
This article about Lou Feck, one of my favorite paperback cover artists, and how he crossed paths with Conan the barbarian, is fascinating reading.
My friend Anne has a new blog, and a book deal. Her rationale for writing about Westerns may amuse you. I wasn’t going to out her, but since she mentioned it herself, yes, she absolutely is the inspiration for the character in The Silver Riders, coming soon….
Scott Tracy Griffin sent along the new Tarzan novel and it’s really terrific.
The interesting thing about it is that it’s not a Burroughs pastiche, but a continuation. With this book, Ralph Laughlin and Ann Johnson have taken what Burroughs did and not just echoed it, but actually built something new that still feels like a traditional Tarzan story. This takes place in the 1980s and it’s about the grandson of Tarzan coming into conflict with the heirs of one of the great Burroughs villains, and incidentally solves the murder of Dian Fossey. I really dug it; lots of continuity and Easter eggs for Burroughs fans, but not to the point where a new reader would be left out. It’s a great adventure in its own right.
And it’s illustrated by the mighty Mike Grell!
Finally, speaking of Wold Newton-style trivia and new additions to established canon, I have a new Sherlock Holmes out.
It’s the latest in Airship 27’s Consulting Detective series. My entry in this anthology is “The Adventure of the Irregular’s Innocence,” in which Holmes is tasked with clearing Wiggins of the Irregulars, now a young man, of a murder. It develops into an espionage plot that brings Sherlock Holmes into conflict with both his brother Mycroft and the British government, as well as with the newly-formed organization the Technological Hierarchy. Growing from the ashes of the Moriarty criminal empire, you might know this sinister organization by its full name: The Technological Hierarchy for the Removal of Undesirables and the Subjugation of Humanity. THRUSH, for short; the bane of the Man from UNCLE, second only to James Bond’s nemesis SPECTRE for evil nastiness.
This notion of THRUSH originating with Professor Moriarty’s crew isn’t mine — David McDaniel posited it in his wonderful book The Dagger Affair, still my favorite of the UNCLE novels. But it’s been irresistible to me, and it’s my second swing at it. (The first, “The Adventure of the Infernal Inheritance,” is a return match with Colonel Sebastian Moran and can be found in Consulting Detective volume six.) My feeling is that Sherlock Holmes carried on a sort of Cold War with THRUSH all through his later career, culminating in the year-long stint he spent in America undercover as “Altamont” to take down Von Bork’s spy ring, as Conan Doyle chronicled in “His Last Bow.” In my mind, Von Bork was THRUSH, no question.
But anyway. I’m very pleased with how the story turned out, and the other guys did good stuff too. If you are short of funds and don’t mind an e-book version, you can get the PDF here for a measly three bucks. I hope you’ll check us out.
So there you go. Back next week with the bookscouting conclusion, I promise.