It began in 1992 when the first computer I bought began to show signs of wear and tear. "You'll never need another computer," said the guy as I handed over £750 to complete the purchase. "That 30 megabyte hard drive will take you a lifetime to fill." Three years later and we were transferring everything on the hard drive to a new computer via what appeared to be a bit of wet string. This new computer had 250 megabyte hard drive and a colour monitor, not the murky green of the old one. The transfer of data took all night and, once completed, we reformatted the hard drive on the old machine. 35% of the drive was marked as "bad sectors". We reformatted it again. This time it was 50%. Rather than passing it on to my family, the computer went to PC heaven.
I'm not sure whether it was that computer or its replacement that exploded. Not like a fireworks display but more subtle. It just ceased to work and, taking a look inside, there was a huge scorch mark across one of those green boards with all the do-dads on it—the computer equivalent of a brain aneurysm.
In more recent years, back in February 2009, I had the double meltdown: two external hard drives went belly-up within days of each other, frying both the back-up and the back-up of the back-up. Thankfully, we managed to rescue the contents off one of the drives, which contained all my music; unfortunately, due to the size of the drives, some material was to be found on only one drive, including all the images for the early Bear Alley cover galleries, and the text and images for the Sci-Fi Art book I did for Ilex.
The hard drive that failed on Wednesday was a 2tb drive I bought in January 2012. It's damned annoying that I'm having to take it out of service after only two and a half years. About six months ago I mentioned that I would need a new hard drive this year due to lack of space on the old ones and I'd rather that was the reason I coughed up for a new drive than being forced to through fear of losing twenty years' worth of work.
Available now from Bear Alley Books
Anyway... that aside the week has been fairly slow as I've been working on tidying up some artwork scans. Also processing orders for the Countdown to TV Action index, which are still trickling in. As I've said before, Bear Alley Books will never trouble the best-sellers list as our sales are measured in tens rather than tens of thousands. But for you chart fans, the Top Ten chart of bestselling books from Bear Alley now looks like this:
1 Lion: King of Picture Story Papers
2 Eagles Over the Western Front volume 1
3 Pages from History: Illustrated by C. L. Doughty
4 Countdown to TV Action
5 Hurricane & Champion
6 Eagles Over the Western Front volume 2
7 Eagles Over the Western Front volume 3
8 Ranger: The National Boys' Magazine
9 London is Stranger Than Fiction
10 Boys' World: Ticket to Adventure
The book has leapt from #9 to #4 and it's not far off taking over the #3 and #2 slots—there's only five copies difference—and forty or so copies away from the top of the chart.
I'm getting some very good feedback on the Countdown index. And however hard we try to make a book perfect, nothing escapes the eagle-eyes of readers. That's why I run a Corrections and Additions page at Bear Alley Books. Here you'll find corrections to captions if they point to the wrong place or updated credits where additional information has come to light.
Random scans. For a change of pace, here are four old Curtis Warren science fiction "epics" from the early 1950s. The first three, Catalyst, The Fatal Law and Biology 'A' are by Denis Hughes and the fourth was by Maurice G. Hugi, published five years after his death in 1947, thanks to William Temple, who acted as executor to Hugi's estate.