Friday, January 19, 2024

Comic Cuts - 19 January 2024

The release of Beyond the Void creeps closer. I felt I should delay getting a final proof until I had sorted out the problems with the previous printing errors. The copy corrected has now landed and I'm doing a quick stock take to make sure the latest proof benefits from the shared postage, as the various proofs have so far cost me about £70 in printing and postage. Obviously I want to get everything just so before I offer it to paying customers, but it has been a rather frustrating time as I had hoped to have the book out already.

Still, I'm very pleased with it and the delays have meants I've been able to add a couple of things that I've come across in the past week or two -- some additional books added to one of the bibliographies, for instance. The research for all of my books is ongoing and I stumble upon information all the time. It's usually quite minor, adding the name of an artist or a date. Then, once in a while, I come across some information that means revising an old piece quite heavily.

That happened to me this week with one of the essays for the next Forgotten Authors volume. I wrote a little biographical sketch of James Skipp Borlase back in 2009 or thereabouts that I gave a once-over when I included it in the reprint of On the Queen's Service, published early last year.

I thought Borlase was the perfect author for for the Forgotten Authors series, but I didn't want to do a straight reprint of something already available. So I did some digging and managed to open up a bit of a can of worms. Borlase was a prolific writer of newspaper serials and they included a lot of "by the author of" credits which I had never really followed up due, originally, to a lack of resources, and, last year, a lack of time... and, I might add, I wasn't expecting to learn anything more as the title chains I had seen repeated many of the same serial titles.

But for this revision I wanted to chase up all those titles and see if I could put dates to the serials... and there were some big surprises. I turned up three or four pen-names that he used, one in Australian newspapers and a couple used in British boys' story papers, and also found that he had written a boys' serial prior to the story I had thought his first.

I have to say that making discoveries like that are what I live for!

However, most of the work I have been doing has been tinkering around the edges of essays. There are a couple that were written a couple of years ago for fun (and, I admit, with an eye to putting together another FA volume) where I'd been very careful to note sources, most of which were newspapers and magazines, but what I hadn't done was note the page numbers on which information was taken. So I spent the whole of Wednesday retracing my every step that I'd taken to write an essay about Alfred Duggan, which has 90 footnotes. I'm probably going to spend all of Friday doing the same to other essays.

That said, I'm about 45,000 words into what is likely to be a 70,000 word book. So I'm getting there.

I don't have much else to say; the Forgotten Authors book has kept me busy to the point that I'm doing nothing else. So our illustrations this week are a few random scans (older readers might remember them from the pre-pandemic years when I was scouring the charity shops a little more regularly).

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