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BEAR ALLEY BOOKS
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Friday, August 21, 2009

Comic Cuts

Very little to add to Monday's post. This is why I'm not on Twitter... my life is incredibly dull! I've spent the week pounding out more reviews for this book on Cult Novels, although some titles seem more mainstream than cult. Having written heading on for 50 of the buggers I'm finding it hard to make them all sound individual, interesting and different to the previous four dozen. I have huge amounts of sympathy for the lass who is writing the bulk of the book who has so far written 260! I'd fear for my sanity if I had to write that many.

I was thinking this might be a good way to take a break from cleaning up artwork. Next week, I might have to go back to be cleaning up artwork as a way of taking a break from reviewing. There's no pleasing me.

I've mentioned that I do bits of work for various bibliographical projects and occasionally I'm asked exactly what I do. Well, you can see the kind of thing we (there's a group of people, not just me) do to update the Crime Fiction Bibliography as Steve Lewis (of Mystery*File) posts updated listings regularly. We've just finished update #34. To some it might appear to be a boring list; to others it's a lot of blood, sweat and toil trying to locate authentic information on a few thousand writers of crime novels. The actual Crime Fiction Bibliography is available on CD: it's now on its fourth edition under the editorship of Allen J. Hubin and a newly revised version, to include all the latest updates, should be available in the near future.

Just received the latest issue of Paperback Fanatic through the post and I'm pleased to join the ranks of writers, although it's actually a reprint of an interview originally published in my fanzine PBO back in 1997. Peter Leslie, now sadly deceased, was a very gracious, innocuous, elderly gentleman when I met him in the spring of 1996. He had travelled over from France to visit friends and I was able to meet him at the London flat he stayed in on such occasions. Armed with a huge pile of his books, I chatted with him for a couple of hours—even condensed down the resulting interview ran to something like 9,000 words. It's one of my favourite interviews and I'm very pleased to see it back in print and reaching a far larger circulation than it ever did with PBO.

The interviews are generally my favourite bits of Paperback Fanatic, and it doesn't disappoint this time round: a chat with Mark Howell about his days at New English Library is fascinating, as is the interview with artist Ian Miller. And you can't go wrong with a feature on the writings of Jim Moffatt and part two of a feature on biker novels. Add a lively letters page and a cover gallery of SF artwork by W. Francis Phillipps and you've another excellent issue.

If you want to chase down a copy, you can find all the details at the Paperback Fanatic website.

(* Our column header is a bit of random artwork—I was scanning some covers and this was to hand. No idea who the artist was but it's a nice, expressive and colourful interpretation of a Chinese dragon unlike any other dragon illustration that appeared on Anne McCaffrey's novels.)

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