BEAR ALLEY BOOKS

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Friday, October 18, 2013

Comic Cuts - 18 October 2013

If you discount the grumbling from my stomach—possibly an irritable bowel—it has been a fairly quiet week.The cold snap caught me out and I think I picked up a chill at the weekend. Monday and Tuesday were low-energy days, Wednesday was better and Thursday (today, as I write) has been a lot better.

I've had plans for some time to get more things up on Kindle and, eventually, available on other e-book formats, but I've not had a chance to sit down and put together any material. As it was roughly the sixteen-month anniversary of me putting up a single article (The New Order of Detectives: The Origin of Sexton Blake), which went up in September 2012, I'd spend a week putting up a few more pieces. With Mean Streetmaps out of print, I thought it would be nice to make some of the essays from that available. So I've posted three so far: Zenith: Prince of Chaos is a study of one of Sexton Blake's most formidable enemies and the author behind him; I've expanded it slightly to take in additional information about author Anthony Skene (George Norman Philips); next up is Waiting In Darkness, about the crime novels of W. R. Burnett, whose novels Little Caesar and The Asphalt Jungle are amongst the finest hardboiled novels ever published; and a shorter essay, 'Raffles and Richard Allen', which begins with George Orwell's classic essay 'Raffles and Miss Blandish' and asks whether Orwell would have liked Richard Allen's Skinhead creation Joe Hawkins. These are all priced between a pound and two pounds, so they're dirt cheap. I'm hoping to have more features available over time. The Blake article hasn't exactly set the world on fire—Kindle only pays out when you reach £10 and I've received one payment in sixteen months!

Apart from that I've been working up more chapters in the 'Men Behind Flying Saucer Review' series, which will return short, and starting the research required for the next comic index from Bear Alley Books. It won't be a huge chunk of a book like the last few so hopefully it will be out before Christmas.

Time for a few random scans—yes, I actually managed some this week. I've started picking up some of the Masterworks books published by Gollancz over the past fifteen years. It's no secret that I'm an idiot and I got rid of quite a few of these books about ten years ago when I needed a bit of space and a bit of money. I waved goodbye to around 400 SF books and, like anyone in that position, I've regretted it ever since. Hence the desire to reconstruct my old collection.

The Book of the New Sun is the first volume in what was voted into the top three fantasy series of all time by Locus. The cover is by Jim Burns. Meanwhile, Steve Stone provides an intriguing cover for Michael Moorcock's The Dancers at the End of Time. Fred Gambino provides a startling cover for Brian Aldiss's Non-Stop and Michael Whelan draws Elric for another Michael Moorcock collection.

Next week... hopefully we'll have some more chapters of the 'Men Behind the Flying Saucer Review' plus whatever my grumbling guts allow.

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