Thursday 29 August 2013

Black Mask - recent reprints

 Recently, I've been seeing an increasing number of reprints from Black Mask, the hard-boiled crime fiction magazine magazine. Black Mask was the magazine that first published authors like Raymond Chandler and Dashiell Hammett, the creators of the American private eye story. Otto Penzler, the editor of the Black Mask series of reprints, talks about it in this video.

Today, issues of Black Mask at it's peak routinely sell above 100$, putting it out of reach for most people. Thankfully, the reprints aren't priced so high and they're pulling out the best stories from Black Mask.

The first two books are recent reprints, and the third is _the_ definitive collection of stories from Black Mask.


Ebook only

Friday 23 August 2013

Origin stories: Hashknife Hartley by W.C. Tuttle

[This is a slightly modified excerpt from an article in the The Pittsburgh Press of Jul 23, 1950.]


W.C. Tuttle, author of the “Hashknife Hartley” stories, admits that the idea for the “Hashknife Hartley” Western adventures was born of a blister but the character is the composite of two men Tuttle knew some forty years ago.

Tuttle wrote his first “Hashknife” story, titled A Whizzer on Willer Creek (Adventure, August 3, 1920), in Los Angeles —while mad at the blister on his: foot caused by pounding the streets seeking a hotel room. The plot for the story was in his mind, but he had no hero— until he remembered his two old friends.

So “Hashknife” was evolved from the personality of one, and the physique of the other. Prior to this story Tuttle had written humorous westerns, without the highlighted adventure themes!

Monday 19 August 2013

Altus Press have just released a bunch of ebooks


Altus Press' first release of James B. Hendryx's Black John books

Kindle Ebook version Kindle Ebook version Kindle Ebook version

Altus Press has released three Halfaday Creek books by James B. Hendryx. The stories are set in Halfaday Creek at the time of the Yukon gold rush. Halfaday Creek is a refuge for outlaws on the run from the law, and is located conveniently near the border so that they can slip across whenever necessary to avoid the lawman that comes after them. One of the customs of Halfaday Creek is that everyone who comes there picks up a new name from a supply on the bar. This is to avoid confusion with too many John Smiths turning up there.

While the residents are outlaws, Black John, a prospector, and Cushing, the saloon keeper, run Halfaday Creek and ensure that crime is dealt with so that the law does not pay too much attention to Halfaday Creek.  

Justice among these outlaws is rough and ready, and some of the funniest scenes are the trials with miners as the jury and audience and Black John as prosecutor and judge rolled into one. Most of the time Black John manages to help the law in his own unique way, as often as not profiting from the transaction.

If you want to sample before buying, you can do that

These stories are hard to get, and this reprint collection is one of the best pieces of work there is. I’ve gotten the ebooks and the hardcovers. You can get them here. (If you don't see the links, please turn off your ad-blockers (at least for this site))

Kindle Ebook version Kindle Ebook version Kindle Ebook version

Friday 16 August 2013

Pulp magazine statistics from a publisher

This is an excerpt from a letter written by A.A. Wyn in defence of the pulp magazines. It appeared in the New York Times, 04 Sep 1935, and was written in response to a snooty editorial that put down the fiction published in the pulps.
For your information, here are some facts about the pulps.
There are approximately 125 pulp magazines published every month, buying upward of 35,000 tons of paper a year at a cost of approximately $1,500,000.
More than 2,000,000 worth of printing a year.
Approximately $250,000 worth of art work, and another $250,000 of photo engraving a year.
More than 100,000,000 words a year at a cost of more than $1,500,000.
The pulp industry contributes to the support of:
  1. The United States Post Office (of the manuscripts that come In, approximately 1 per cent are usable, so that some 10,000,000,000 words of manuscript make a round trip, and manuscript postage runs high!).
  2. Typewriter and typewriter ribbon industries; ink manufacturers; the glue and wire industry (both of them latter are used in binding magazines).
  3. Mail-order advertisers.
  4. Railroads—2,000 carloads of magazines go out every year and 2,000 car loads of paper come in every year. And it takes approximately five carloads of raw materials to make one carload of paper.
  5. National -distributers, wholesalers and dealers of magazines.
  6. Second-hand magazine stores, the Salvation Army, which collects and sells old Issues; waste paper dealers.
  7. Writer's magazines, literary agents and services.
“The story’s the thing”—so must the prehistoric savages in their caves have told some glib story-teller relating his adventures with man and beast in the wilderness when his ingenuity ran dry.
Today, “the story’s the thing” in the pulp magazines, and 30,000,000 Americans can’t be wrong.

Wednesday 14 August 2013

Magazine recirculation - life after the newsstand

From the New York Times, Mar 22, 1936:
FOR many an old magazine the wastebasket is not, by any means, the end of the trail. Janitors and waste-paper dealers conspire to salvage an amazing proportion of all printed matter not given directly to welfare organizations.

Once reclaimed, periodicals are classified and sold at a price that runs from 35 cents to $4 a hundred pounds; or, by the piece, at 15 cents for the deluxe type and about a quarter of a cent for most of the others.

In the second-hand market pulp magazines make up for the earlier stepchild phase of their existence by taking ascendancy, in at least one respect, over quality-group and popular-group publications. They are the real nomads of the print world; one dealer annually ships a vast quantity to England, whence they journey to the various British colonies.

Next to them in demand are the quality magazines. The popular group rates third and the weeklies a bad fourth.

Sunday 4 August 2013

S.B.H. Hurst - Sailor, Traveller and Writer

[S. B. H. Hurst wrote stories set in India and the Orient as well as sea-stories. He wrote from personal experience as a sailor. His stories appeared in Adventure, Short Stories, Sea Stories Magazine as well as slicks like Collier’s.]

S. B. H. Hurst c. 1922
S. B. H. Hurst c. 1922