Saturday, October 24, 2009

Harlan Ellison Wins Again

Harlan Ellison bests CBS Paramount over 42 year-old Star Trek episode - TV Squad: "You have to admire the tenacity of writer Harlan Ellison. He filed a lawsuit against CBS Paramount accusing the company of not paying him for all the ancillary income the company earned from the episode of Star Trek he wrote in 1967, 'City on the Edge of Forever.' Yesterday, Ellison announced on his web site that he had settled with CBS Paramount and he was very, very pleased. He didn't reveal how much money he made, but he probably did quite well."

12 Unfinished SF Novels We Wish We Could Read

12 Unfinished SF Novels We Wish We Could Read - Books - io9

I suggest that George Kelly complete the one begun by Henry James.

New Story at BEAT to a PULP

BEAT to a PULP :: Hunter's Moon :: Charles Gramlich

Great Movie Title: Paris Hilton and the Reform School Girls

Teen gang busted in celeb burglaries: "A celebrity-obsessed group of rich reform-school girls allegedly waged a yearlong, A-list crime spree through the Hollywood Hills -- ripping off millions in cash and jewels from mansions of such stars as Paris Hilton and Lindsay Lohan, it was revealed yesterday.

The teens had a simple strategy. They allegedly looked up their celebrity targets' addresses, property images and schedules on the Internet to plot their heists, according to People magazine.

The jobs include a $2 million jewelry heist at Hilton's sprawling home last December. The heir-head had left the front door wide open."

Parnell Hall "Sings"

Blame Graham Powell for this.

And You'd Better Keep off His Lawn, Too!

Trader will shock drunks who use shop front as an outdoor toilet - The Daily Record: "A FURIOUS trader will give drunken revellers the shock of their lives if they continue urinating against his shop front.

Businessman John O'Connor said he could no longer put up with his premises being used as an outdoor toilet by late-night partygoers.

The 46-year-old will now tackle the anti-social behaviour by wiring up an electric current on the pavement outside his music shop in County Clare, in the Irish Republic."

The Savage Breed -- Randy Denmon

It's been ten years since Chase McAlister and Travis Ross fought in the war for Texas independence. They have a little ranch, but Travis is bored and drinks too much while Chase tries to keep him on task. One day someone from their past shows up and asks if they want to enlist to fight in the Mexican-American War. Well, what do you think they do?

Chase has a score to settle with Chief Little Face, a half-Apache who tortured and killed Chase's parents, and sure enough, he's involved in the war. Travis still longs for Mercedes Rayo, the Mexican beauty he loved and lost. So the next thing you know the guys are involved in battles, gun-play, and all kinds of action.

You don't see a lot of new western writers coming along these days, and Denmon's a good one. If you're in the mood for a fast-moving, intense story, check this one out.

Once Again, Texas Leads the Way

Crocodile Rug and Mastodon Tusk Among 850 Taxidermy Mounts at Fort Worth Big Game Trophy & Western Auction: "A 13-foot Crocodile rug with open jaws and a 164 pound tusk of an extinct Mastodon are among 850 exotic and unusual taxidermy mounts and artifacts being liquidated at auction in Fort Worth, Texas. The hunting trophies, animal rugs, fish and bird mounts being offered to the general public at the World Class Big Game Trophy & Western Auction are from private collections of renowned big game hunters and natural history museums."

Photo of rug at the link.

Roller Boogie

Friday, October 23, 2009

Once Again, Texas Leads the Way

Dallas police chief: Dozens of tickets issued for not speaking English | News for Dallas, Texas | Dallas Morning News | Latest News: "Dallas Police Chief David Kunkle said this afternoon that his officers have written at least 39 citations to people over the past three years for not speaking English.

Apologizing publicly to the city's Spanish-speaking community, the chief said all officers and supervisors involved will be investigated for dereliction of duty. All pending citations will be dismissed, and people who paid fines will be reimbursed."

Once Again, Texas Leads the Way

Austin: If you happen to live in Northeast Austin, specifically near Rogge Lane and Manor Road, keep your eyes out for a 6-foot lizard.

The owner of Rosti, a black-throat monitor lizard, said he lost the reptile on Saturday and has not seen it since, police said. The reptile lives in the 3300 block of Wellington Drive and was last seen going into the creek near Manor Road and Rogge Lane.

Gators Don't Speak English? Who Knew?

Mystery Scene Update

The ad reservation deadline for Mystery Scene's Holiday Issue has been extended to October 31. Please let me know if you'd like us to save space for you.
We'd need the finished ad by November 5th. Design services are available for $75.
The Holiday Issue #112 publishes November 15th and stays on the newsstands until February 15th, 2010.
1. Lawrence Block's new column of literary reminisces, "The Murders in Memory Lane," debuts in this issue. Block is, of course, a New York Times bestselling author, an influence on several generations of writers, and one heck of a raconteur. This new feature is destined to be a reader favorite.
2. The monthly MS Newsletter is up and running. Sign up at our website!
There is still 4-color ad space available in the upcoming Holiday Issue, but it's going fast!
Full page $1,500; two-thirds page $1,200; half-page $850.

- Sara Paretsky, the pioneering female private eye writer, will discuss her VI Warshawski novels in our cover profile.
- "Book Collecting Terms," the third installment in our new Building Your Book Collection series.
- A round-up of current legal mysteries and legal thrillers by Jon L. Breen.
- The popular annual Mystery Scene Gift Guide will offer an array of diabolically fun gifts.
- Articles about THE MENTALIST (CBS), Ed Gorman's conversation with xxx, Lawrence Block's new column, and Mystery Scene's expert assessments of books, reference works, film, TV and audiobooks.
The attached media kit has demographics, specs, and an insertion order form. And just let me know if you'd like to see a current issue.

These Are Pretty Clever

TheChive � Blog Archive � Movies, one letter off (18 Photos)

25 Years Later

25 Years Later: 1984, The Year that Changed Television Bro-gramming - BroBible - Every Bro Has a Story: "Nineteen eighty-four was a great year for guy-friendly movies and an even better year for guy-friendly television broadcasts. Twenty-five years ago, much changed on television, with networks offering more sports programming, more sitcoms centering around guys, and more shows appealing to a guy's visual and auditory senses. The shows that began 25 years ago paved the way for the shows of today and left a lasting impact on bro pop culture."

Leslie Nielsen's Greatest Fear

Exclusive: Leslie Nielsen and Director Bo Zenga on ‘Stan Helsing' - FEARNet: "Nielsen: I really don't like crocodiles. I've been taking a crocodile course, learning how to talk to a crocodile. It's not easy. You can't see their lips move. [Laughs.]

Zenga: You live in Florida, have you ever encountered a crocodile?

Nielsen: Yeah. That's a real fear. I've met a lot of them now, coming out of the woodwork!"

Nielsen and Bo Zenga are working on Zeng's new movie, Stan Helsing. You can guess from that and the poster what it's about. A classic in the making, I'm sure.

Yes, I Have a Story in the Book

I'm listed on the cover under my oft-used pseudonym, "And More." The story is "Crossroads," which appeared in the final issue of Dave Zeltserman's on-line zine, Hardluck Stories.

It's Friday!

Bang On The Drum All Day - Todd Rundgren

Halloween Draws Closer

Gallery - The Best Pumpkins Ever

Hmmmmmm -- News Release: ", Inc. (NASDAQ: AMZN) today announced 'Kindle for PC,' the free application that lets readers around the world enjoy Kindle books on their personal computers (PC). The U.S. Kindle Store ( currently offers over 360,000 books, including New Releases and 101 of 112 New York Times Bestsellers, which are typically $9.99 or less. The Kindle Store is the only place to find some of the most popular books of today in digital format. Kindle books can now be read on the Kindle, Kindle DX, iPhone, iPod touch, and PC."

Forgotten Books: AMONG THE GENTLY MAD -- Nicholas Basbanes

Nicholas Basbanes' A Gentle Madness is one of the best books about book collecting ever written. If you haven't read it, you should just stop reading this, find Basbanes' book, and read it right now.

Among the Gently Mad isn't a sequel, but a complementary volume. It appears to be out of print, which amazed me and which I think qualifies it for the Forgotten Books post. Like all Basbanes' books, it's wonderful.

As you might be able to see in the photo on the left, the subtitle is "Perspectives and Strategies for the Book Hunter of the Twenty-First Century." And that's what it is. Every bit of advice in the book seems to me first-rate. Basbanes is not fond of on-line selling, and he's even less fond of eBay, but he loves Google's search engine, and he's fond of any number of my own favorite Internet sites, like

But the book has a lot more than just good advice to offer. One thing I particularly liked was the phrase "a gathering of books." It sounds so much better than "an accumulation." There are wonderful descriptions of book collections Basbanes has seen and of his own collections. There are great book-finding stories. Stories about the collecting habits of many famous and lesser-known book lovers. I found something to like on every single page of this book, and on almost every page felt the shock of recognition.

If you love books, you just can't pass this one up. My highest recommendation.

Soupy Sales, R. I. P.

Detroit entertainer Soupy Sales is dead at age 83 | Detroit Free Press | "Soupy Sales, the rubber-faced comedian who made an art form out of taking a pie in the face and delighted a generation of Detroiters with his loopy TV show on Channel 7 in the 1950s, died Thursday night in New York."

Batman and Robin

So Long, Hulu

Hulu to Charge Users in 2010 : TVBizwire : TVWeek - Television Industry news, TV ratings, analysis, celebrity event photos: "Chase Carey, the deputy chairman of News. Corp -- which co-owns Hulu -- says the popular online destination that carries TV programming, will start charging users, probably as soon as 2010, B&C reports."

Please Be Sure Your Tray Table is in a Locked and Upright Position

BBC NEWS | Americas | 'Distracted' pilots fail to land: "An inquiry has begun after a US plane heading from San Diego to Minneapolis missed the airport it was meant to land at by 150 miles (240km).

Contact with the Northwest Airlines plane was lost for an hour as it flew at 37,000ft, sparking hijack fears.

The crew said they had been distracted by a 'heated discussion' but officials will check if they had fallen asleep."

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Once Again, Texas Leads the Way

J.R. and Sue Ellen may be coming back to Dallas | Television | - Houston Chronicle: "Dallas stars Linda Gray and Larry Hagman have confirmed they've been approached to reprise their Sue Ellen and J.R. Ewing characters for a remake of the classic 1980s soap.

TV executives at Warner Bros. are reportedly considering bringing back Dallas and focusing the new show on the TV couple's son, John Ross, and his cousin, Christopher, the adoptive son of J.R.'s brother Bobby and sister-in-law Pamela."

Chocolate Skulls

A delicious seasonal favorite.

Collin Wilcox, R. I. P.

Collin Wilcox, Actress in ‘To Kill a Mockingbird,’ Dies at 74 - Obituary (Obit) - "Collin Wilcox, a ubiquitous actress whose face was familiar to television viewers in the 1960s and afterward for her guest appearances on shows like “The Untouchables,” “The Twilight Zone,” “The Defenders” and “Gunsmoke,” died on Oct. 14 at her home in Highlands, N.C. She was 74."

Thanks to Jeff Meyerson for the link.

Once Again, Texas Leads the Way

The Associated Press: Store clerk accused of stealing $1M lottery prize: "AUSTIN, Texas — A 25-year-old convenience store clerk pocketed a customer's $1 million winning lottery ticket, claimed the prize and skipped town, possibly back to his native Nepal, authorities said."

Hat tip to Jeff Meyerson.

Minnesota Leads the Way

Minn. man admits driving drunk in his custom La-Z-Boy | "The operator of a La-Z-Boy chair converted into a motorized vehicle -- complete with a stereo and cup holders -- has admitted that he crashed the piece of furniture after leaving a bar in Proctor, Minn., extremely drunk.
[. . . .]
Deputy Police Chief Troy Foucault said today that the chair is 'quite decked out.' Along with the stereo and cup holders, it is powered by a converted gasoline-powered lawnmower, a steering wheel, headlights and a power antenna."

Gator Update ("It's the Stupid Economy" Edition)

La. gator farmers scaling back operations - "The long sheds on the Vermilion Gator Farm today teem with warm pools full of young alligators.

By this time next year, the sheds could be empty if more people don't soon start buying designer purses and luxury watches.

The economic recession and a sharp slump in sales of luxury goods has led to one of the worst seasons in history for Louisiana gator farmers, which provide the majority of American alligator skins to purse, watch and belt makers around the world."

Happy Birthday, Annette Funicello!

Annette Funicello - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia: "Annette Joanne Funicello (born October 22, 1942) is an American singer and actress. She was Walt Disney's most popular main cast member of The Mickey Mouse Club,[1] and went on to appear in a series of beach party films."

I'm Not the One, Darn It

The Facts: "Texas Lottery Commission officials are waiting on a phone call from someone who won $76 million from Wednesday night’s drawing.

Someone bought a ticket at the store with the winning numbers 9-20-27-42-51-53.

The ticket bought in Alvin was the only one with the winning numbers, said lottery spokesman Robert Heith."

All Righty, Then

FTC Attorney Says Guidelines Not Aimed at Individual Bloggers - 10/19/2009 2:17:00 PM - Publishers Weekly: "The Federal Trade Commission, which set the blogging world aflame two weeks ago with new guidelines governing truth-in-cyberspace advertising, “never intended to patrol the blogosphere,” said Mary Engle, an FTC lawyer who addressed KidlitCon 09, a conference of kids’ book bloggers held last weekend in Alexandria, Va. “We couldn’t do it if we wanted to and we don’t want to.”"

Once Again, Texas Leads the Way

Beauty website: El Paso No. 1 for ugly men - El Paso Times: "Don't look in the mirror, El Paso men.

Total claims you are the ugliest dudes in the country."

Halloween and Horror Books Every Fan Should Own

Halloween and Horror Books Every Fan Should Own | Horror Movie, DVD, & Book Reviews, News, Interviews at Dread Central: "Horror fans love this time of the year. For those of us not living in LA, there's the chill in the air, the colorful leaves, pumpkins everywhere, dead cornfields to explore … if you dare. So, in honor of OUR official holiday, I have come up with a list of books and some movies every horror fan should at least take a look at, if not outright add to your book or DVD library."

Hat tip to Jeff Segal.


I've been watching Glee all season, though I missed an episode while we were at Bouchercon. I hadn't quite decided whether I could commit to it for the long haul, but I might have been won over last night. I mean, any show that uses Neil Diamond's "Sweet Caroline" is okay in my book. Yes, that's right. I said it, and I'm glad. I'm a Neil Diamond fan! So there.

An Alligator Named Daisy

I got a couple of e-mails alerting me to this movie's appearance on TCM last night, so I couldn't resist taking a look. It's pretty bad, but no movie that features Technicolor, an alligator, and a Diana Dors bubble bath scene can be all bad.

Donald Sniden plays a musician who gets his suitcase mixed up with one containing the titular gator. Complications ensue, but they aren't particularly amusing in spite of all the famous faces (Stanley Holloway, Stephen Boyd, Margaret Rutherford, etc.) involved. The musical numbers are uninspired, and there's really no question of whether Sniden will wind up with the blonde Dors or the redheaded Jeannie Carson.

Still, if you're a gator fan, you have to watch. Daisy is a fine (and amazingly docile) performer, though the occasional rubber substitute is one of the worst fakes in movie history.


Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Here's the Plot of Your Story for Damn Near Dead 2

Father accused of abducting man he believes killed his daughter - Times Online: "A retired accountant whose daughter was killed 27 years ago was facing charges last night over the alleged abduction of the man he always blamed for her death. The man was left bound, gagged and injured outside a French courtroom.

Andr�Bamberski, 72, is suspected of taking justice into his own hands over the German authorities’ failure to act against Dieter Krombach, a German cardiologist, after a French court convicted him of manslaughter in his absence."

Dagger Awards

The Rap Sheet: Down Come the Daggers

Once Again, Texas Leads the Way

Police find 1.5 tons of pot on truck in Patton Village | Houston & Texas News | - Houston Chronicle: "A drug-sniffing dog located about 3,000 pounds of marijuana in the back of an 18-wheeler at a truck stop in Patton Village on Tuesday night, officials said.

Authorities from Montgomery County and the Drug Enforcement Administration used a forklift to move tons of watermelons and lemons to get to several bales of marijuana in the truck."

The Story with No Name (Part 12)

Charlie's Tokyo West Blog: Story with no name -- 21-10-09

They Should Have Kept off His Damn Lawn!

Cops: Man grabs football, bites neighbor on mouth - Yahoo! News: "Police say a Detroit-area man bit through a neighbor's lips after he picked up a football that accidentally had been tossed onto his lawn by some teenagers."

Yet Another Reason to Subscribe to Mystery Scene

The November Holiday Issue #112
is just around the corner and Mystery Scene is pleased to announce "The Murders in Memory Lane," a new column of literary reminisces by award-winning author Lawrence Block.

The Gift of Murder, a Toys for Tots Fund-Raiser

Read Street: The Gift of Murder, a Toys for Tots fund-raiser - A blog for a community of readers, in Baltimore and beyond. - "We're happy to note that Read Street regular Gail Farrelly is among the contributors to a 'The Gift of Murder,' a new short story anthology that benefits Toys for Tots. She wrote a guest post about her story 'The Kindle Did It,' which, you'll see, was partially inspired by Read Street."

I have a story in this one. Buy a copy and help out the kids!

Also Coming in 2010

You'll want this one, too.

Coming in August 2010

Start saving now.

Stormy Weather

Weather Channel to air movies for first time �| accessAtlanta: "'The Perfect Storm' begins a four-week period in which The Weather Channel will try some Friday night movies.

The films areeither weather-themed or have plots in which weather plays a key role, Darby said. Meteorologist Jennifer Carfagno will host movie night and offer commentary.

Other movies include the documentary 'March of the Penguins,' the thriller 'Deep Blue Sea' and 'Misery,' for which Kathy Bates won an Academy Award."

Poirot Loses a Client

Even Agatha Christie's novels got the sex treatment.

Nebraska Leads the Way

Man wanted in Europe found working at Tecumseh prison: "The electronic wanted poster for Preclik, 32, went up on Interpol's Web site a year before his arrest, and the poster is near the top of a list of links that appears when his name is Googled.

'This is just unbelievable that the state of Nebraska is hiring international criminals,' said state Sen. Heath Mello of Omaha. 'Who's minding the store?'"

The Crime Girl

Bayou City History: "The Roving Mike": All about "the crime girl": "'You know the song: 'A woman goes from man to man like a silver dollar goes from hand to hand.' I've been that kind of woman. I've gone from man to man, lower and lower every time.'

That's how young Lynnda Clark -- a jailed Houston carhop -- described her downward spiral in an August 1951 interview with the Houston Press."

A great title, and if you go to the link, you'll see a photo that looks like the cover of an old paperback. It's great. Trust me.

This site was recommended by the astute John Duke.

Invasion U. S. A.

When Peroxide is Banned . . .

. . . only terrorists will have peroxide.

Senator Calls For Tighter Restrictions on Peroxide - ABC News: "With the case of alleged bomb maker Najibullah Zazi fresh on the public's mind, Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) has called for a nationwide 'awareness' program of sales of peroxide, a chemical widely used in over-the-counter hair dye formulas and swimming pool cleaning supplies but also sought after by terrorists to make homemade bombs."

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

10 Vintage Lunchboxes

YesButNoButYes: 10 Vintage Lunchboxes

Some of you whippersnappers might have carried one of these, not that you'd admit it.

It's a Good Thing His Son Wasn't Drumming

Man Stabs Son with Corkscrew over Toilet Dispute - KTLA: "A Vermont man found himself behind bars after police say he stabbed his son in the stomach with a corkscrew during a dispute over a clogged toilet."

Joseph Wiseman, R. I. P.

Joseph Wiseman, James Bond’s Dr. No, Dies at 91 - Obituary (Obit) - "Joseph Wiseman, a longtime stage and screen actor most widely known for playing the villainous title character in “Dr. No,” the first feature film about James Bond, died on Monday at his home in Manhattan. He was 91."

Thanks to Jeff Meyerson for the link.

No Wonder I'm So Brilliant

UCLA study finds that searching the Internet increases brain function / UCLA Newsroom: "UCLA scientists have found that for computer-savvy middle-aged and older adults, searching the Internet triggers key centers in the brain that control decision-making and complex reasoning. The findings demonstrate that Web search activity may help stimulate and possibly improve brain function."

Watch Out

BBC NEWS | Entertainment | Arts & Culture | Painting features 'oldest watch': "Art experts think they may have found the world's oldest painting to feature an image of a watch.

The Science Museum is investigating the 450-year-old portrait, thought to be of Cosimo I de Medici, Duke of Florence, holding a golden timepiece."

Paris Hilton Update

Paris Hilton demands lobster as part of contract for movie "The Other Guys": "Paris Hilton has landed her next big movie role -- and she's said to have demanded live lobsters as part of her contract.

Hilton will appear alongside Will Ferrell, Mark Wahlberg, Samuel L. Jackson and Eva Mendes in the cop-action comedy 'The Other Guys,' now shooting in New York."

Strong Poison

Mystery novels had misleading covers, too, if not quite as misleading as the SF covers I've put up. I wonder of Sayers would get the point.

The Top 100 Movie Posters -- The 100 Best Movie Posters of All Time

Terror from the Year 5000

Vic Mizzy, R. I. P.

Vic Mizzy, who wrote 'Addams Family' theme, dies - Yahoo! News: "Vic Mizzy, a songwriter who composed the catchy themes for the 1960s sit-coms 'The Addams Family' and 'Green Acres,' has died. He was 93.

Mizzy died Saturday at his home in Bel Air, his manager Jonathan Wolfson said. He said he didn't know the cause of death.

He wrote songs that were recorded by Dean Martin, Doris Day, Perry Como and Billie Holiday in the '40s and '50s. His hits included 'Pretty Kitty Blue Eyes,' 'My Dreams are Getting Better All the Time,' and 'With a Hey and a Hi and a Ho-Ho-Ho.'"

Monday, October 19, 2009

Once Again, Texas Leads the Way

Father opens fire after son’s drumming | WOAI.COM: San Antonio News: "A man is in custody after shooting his son over some drums. San Antonio police tell News 4 WOAI the 80-year-old man and his 50-year-old son live in a home on Naylor St., south of Downtown.

Around 1 a.m. Friday, the father reportedly got so upset with his son for playing the drums that he fired one shot through the bedroom door."

Thanks to Jeff Meyerson for the link.

If This Had Been Texas Chili Sauce, the Guy Would Get the Chair

German police investigate kebab sauce after attack - Yahoo! News: "German police are investigating a chilli sauce to determine whether it was so spicy that it was capable of causing grievous bodily harm when used in an attack.

Police took a sample of the sauce from a kebab stand in Bremen's central train station after a kebab salesman threw it into the eyes of a customer during a fight over napkins."

Hat tip to Jeff Meyerson.

This is Hilarious

Shouts & Murmurs: Subject: Our Marketing Plan : The New Yorker: "Hi, Ellis—

Let me introduce myself. My name is Gineen Klein, and I’ve been brought on as an intern to replace the promotion department here at Propensity Books. First, let me say that I absolutely love “Clancy the Doofus Beagle: A Love Story” and have some excellent ideas for promotion."

Read it all at the link.

New Story at BEAT to a PULP

BEAT to a PULP :: Another Carrot :: David Fleming

Back Home Again (and Not In Indiana)

Judy and I hit the ground in Houston about three hours ago, and now we're trying to do some catching up with all the laundry, all the mail, all the books, and, well, you know. We had a great time, and though we didn't know for sure we'd get to make the trip until a day or so before, we're both glad we did. Things went just fine. I didn't have my little video camera, but apparently I didn't need it, since Jim Winter had one and posted some videos at The Rap Sheet. Next time, I'll be sure to take mine.

The weather in Indianapolis wasn't anything the tourist bureau would like to discuss, I'm sure. Wet, cold, and windy most of the time, so we pretty much stayed inside the hotel except for venturing out to eat. Often at the Weber Grill.

We've made our reservations for San Francisco in 2010. See you there!

The TOON Treasury of Classic Children's Comics -- Edited by Art Spiegleman & Françoise Mouly

FTC Disclaimer: Although I'm a powerful and respected blogger, no one sent me this book to review. So I had to buy it with my own money. But because I'm a rich mystery writer, I could afford it. I'm glad I could because it's a wonderful book, full of full-size reproductions of some of the most famous comics by some of the most famous artists and writers from about 1940 to the early '60s.

I was a kid in the late '40s, and once I discovered comic books (we all called them funny books), I was hooked. I was such an addict that my aunt once gave me a small can of dimes for my birthday. She taped a little note to the can that said, "Strictly for funny books." I can still see that note as plain as day. And here's a little confession: All funny books were the same to me. Sure, I liked some better than others, but I read anything I could get my hands on. Superheroes, funny animals, it didn't matter. Give me a comic book, and I was happy. So I'm familiar with a lot of the characters in these pages. The Fox and the Crow. Little Lulu. Captain Marvel. Donald Duck. Uncle Scrooge. Uncle Wiggly. When I was a kid, I didn't know or care about the artists' names, but now I recognize nearly all of them. Walt Kelly. Harvey Kurtzman. Basil Wolverton. Carl Barks. Over 350 colorful pages! What more can I say? I love this book.

The Vampire Affair -- Livia Reasoner

Dear Blog Readers (and Mr. FTC Guy): I got this book for free. Also, I've known the author for many years. True, I've seen her only once, but she's married to James Reasoner, whom I've known and seen a lot more more often and whom I consider a friend. So now you know.

As you can plainly see by the cover to the left there, this is supposedly a romance novel in the Silhouette Nocturne series. Vampires, as anyone can tell you are a hot item these days in romance. But I'll bet this book isn't what you're thinking it is. The vampires here aren't the romantic leads. They're the bad guys. The very bad guys.

Maybe you've read John Steakley's
Vampire$. Or seen the John Carpenter movie based on it. Bad-ass vampire hunters after bad-ass vampires, right? Okay, now imagine that as a romance novel. You say you can't? Well, Livia Reasoner pulls it off. Lots of action, big explosions, plenty of vampire killing, and, of course romance. I don't know if there are sequels in the Nocturne line, but there's plenty of room for one, and I hope it gets written. I'll read it even if I don't get a free copy.

The Mating Cry

Another interesting marketing ploy. I don't know what Galaxy prize this novel won, but this doesn't look a lot like a typical science fiction cover. In case you can't read the cut-line at the top, it says, "I've come to pay my debt -- in the way I discovered men prefer."

The Night the World Ended

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Edgar Allan Poe Got there First

The UnMuseum - The Great Balloon Hoax - Edgar Allan Poe

I Want to Believe!

John Strausbaugh: Fortress Moon: "I agree that the Apollo moon landings were a hoax. But not the way the Moon Hoax people think they were. The hoax is not that we ever landed on the moon. The hoax is that we ever stopped going.

We all know that the NASA space program was a civilian figleaf (and only nominally civilian at that) for a parallel black ops military space program. While NASA has been distracting us with Mercury, Gemini, Apollo and shuttle missions, secret military missions have been going up and back the whole time. While NASA had the whole world gazing at the Sea of Tranquility, the military's astronauts were landing over on the far side, digging in, fortifying it."

Anna Nicole Smith Update

Anna Nicole's last days: Drinking from baby bottle - "For the first time, many of the tragic details of Smith's final hours are being revealed in court. The first witnesses took the stand this week in Los Angeles to determine whether Howard K. Stern, 40, Khristine Eroshevich, 61, and Sandeep Kapoor, 41, should stand trial on felony charges of conspiring to give dangerous drugs to an addict through fraudulent means, such as by using fake names.

Powerful, tragic testimony

The hearing, which follows a two-year investigation into Smith's death, began with a bang. Maurice Brighthaupt, Smith's security guard, described watching Smith slurp from a baby bottle of the powerful sedative chloral hydrate -- cited by a coroner as a primary cause of Smith's fatal overdose -- as if it were a Pepsi."

Hard Case Crime Update from Charles Ardai

In the 1940s and 50s, one of the most popular private eyes toiling in the pages of hardboiled crime novels was Michael Shayne. The creation of Brett Halliday (real name: Davis Dresser), Shayne appeared in more than 50 novels, a dozen movies, a radio drama, a TV series, comic books, and more. He even had a magazine named after him -- MIKE SHAYNE MYSTERY MAGAZINE -- which was published for 30 years. When Shane Black, the creator of the "Lethal Weapon" movies, wrote the script for the first movie he directed himself, "Kiss Kiss Bang Bang" (starring Robert Downey, Jr. and Val's a very good movie, one you should see if you haven't already), it was two of Halliday's Mike Shayne novels that inspired him.

Strangely, though, the Shayne novels have all been out of print for many years. And next year we're going to correct that when we bring out a new edition of MURDER IS MY BUSINESS -- featuring a brand new cover painting by Brett Halliday's long-time illustrator, the legendary Robert McGinnis.

Want to see it? It's up, along with a sample chapter from the book, at (Just look for "MURDER IS MY BUSINESS" in our list of titles.) It's a gorgeous piece of art and we're thrilled to be reuniting this classic author/artist team for the first time in decades.

In other news, Max Allan Collins' new novel about the hitman Quarry, QUARRY IN THE MIDDLE, is about to hit bookstores everywhere. It's part of the same series as THE LAST QUARRY and THE FIRST QUARRY, but you don't have to have read those to enjoy this one. (It's not a continuing story. In fact, the first book is set last, the second is set first, and the new one...well, the new one is set in the middle.) Everyone who's read this book has raved about it, and I think you're going to like it, too.

And a month from now we have our big December titles on the way: our new edition of Arthur Conan Doyle's final Sherlock Holmes novel, THE VALLEY OF FEAR, and burlesque star Jonny Porkpie's first novel, THE CORPSE WORE PASTIES. You can already pre-order those online, or from your favorite local bookstore.

And speaking of THE CORPSE WORE would you enjoy seeing the author, the book's two cover models, and a bevy of other burlesque performers in a live stage show based on the book? Well, if you're going to be in New York City on Saturday, November 21 or Saturday, November 28 (the Saturdays on either end of the book's publication date), you can. The show is called "LURID PULP," and it tells the story of how the burlesque world reacts when they discover that Jonny Porkpie has written a novel featuring thinly veiled portraits of some of the field's most famous performers. I'll give you a hint: Porkpie ends up murdered. And it's up to his partner in crime-solving, the gorgeous Nasty Canasta, to uncover the killer! (And I do mean "uncover.")

The show will be performed for two nights only -- 11/21 and 11/28 -- at the Bleecker Street Theater (45 Bleecker Street in New York), at 8PM. Copies of the book will be available there, too, and of course the cast and author will be there and glad to sign your copy if you want (some of his co-stars might as well). We'd love it if you'd come. To buy tickets, go to It's just $20 for the show, $25 if you want a copy of the book thrown in as well -- a better deal can't be had anywhere on Broadway.

So: a new Mike Shayne edition with a new McGinnis cover painting, a new Quarry novel, and a live burlesque show in tribute to a Hard Case Crime novel -- what could be better?

Enjoy 'em all,
Charles Ardai
Editor, Hard Case Crime

P.S. Many thanks to all of you who participated in our Twitter contest, and congratulations to the winners of advance copies of QUARRY IN THE MIDDLE (Brandon, Cheryl, Marty, Bill, Andrew, Cherie, Julia, Ward, Rob, Matt, Chad and Stephen) and THE CORPSE WORE PASTIES (Mary, Sean, Andrew, Vince, Kristopher, Donna, Matthew, Ty, Adrian, William, David, and Taylor).

Atlantis Found?

Lost Greek city that may have inspired Atlantis myth gives up secrets | Science | The Guardian: "The secrets of a lost city that may have inspired one of the world's most enduring myths – the fable of Atlantis – have been brought to light from beneath the waters off southern Greece.

Explored by an Anglo-Greek team of archaeologists and marine geologists and known as Pavlopetri, the sunken settlement dates back some 5,000 years to the time of Homer's heroes and in terms of size and wealth of detail is unprecedented, experts say."

Odd John

One of my personal favorite "strategically placed tree branches" covers. You have to wonder what readers attracted by the cover thought of the contents. Olaf Stapledon's prose isn't the kind usually found in a Beacon book, even one published as a Galaxy Novel.

The Colossus of New York