Monday, June 28, 2010

What Do H.P. Lovecraft And The Grateful Dead Have In Common?

Not too much. The only things I can come up with are (1) they are both the names of American psychedelic rock bands formed in the 1960s, and (2) they're the subject matter of the two items I have shipping from! (Yes, my life is officially so boring that the best thing I can come up with for a blog post is something about items I'm getting from Amazon. Look for Art's next post, in which he enumerates his favorite breakfast cereals!) Specifically, I'm getting copies of An H.P. Lovecraft Encyclopedia by S.T. Joshi and David E. Schultz and Live/Dead by the Grateful Dead. (I'm actually listening to the Live/Dead version of "Dark Star" on Rhapsody as I write this.)

I actually had a fairly tough time deciding what to get. The Lovecraft encyclopedia was a gimme, 'cause I use the (incomplete) online version of it at Google Books all the time. (This brings me to important (albeit discursive) point I wanted to make. To wit: ATTENTION PUBLISHERS/ AUTHORS/ EVERYONE AT GOOGLE BOOKS: Having your books available on Google Books is an excellent marketing tool. Even if I can read your book online, if I find it useful and/or entertaining, I still want to own a copy of it. I don't really like reading books on a computer, so if there is a book that I find online that I use all the time or that I am pretty sure I will read in its entirety, I will probably end up purchasing it. I am sure there are lots and lots of other people that feel the same way I do.) The Dead CD was a little harder - I had another 7+ bucks to play with 'cause I decided I wanted to be eligible for Super Saver Shipping, so it was between the Dead CD and A Game Of Thrones (the first book in George R.R. Martin's A Song of Ice And Fire series, which a friend described as "turning the fantasy genre upside-down"), as they were each a little over 7 bills. I finally decided on the Dead CD simply because although I'm a long-time fan (saw my 1st show back in '87), I really don't have a lot of the band's stuff on CD and I've wanted Live/Dead in particular for a very long time.

Ah, the joys and agonies of capitalism. Did I make the right decision? I'll have a better handle on that once I actually obtain said items, but, in the meantime, what do you think?

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Heroes In The Wind - Robert E. Howard

I was just looking at the Wikipedia entry for Heroes in the Wind: From Kull to Conan by Robert E.Howard, which I see is being put out under the Penguin Modern Classics imprint. Wow - the guys that my D & D-playing friends and I used to read in high school sure have moved up in the world. First Tolkien gets a multiple Academy Award-winning film made based on his work, then Lovecraft gets a volume of his fiction published by the Library of America, and now Howard has his own Penguin Modern Classics volume. I guess it really is respectable to be a geek these days.

Anyway, here's the book's table of contents, according to Wikipedia (the notes in brackets are mine).

Introduction (John Clute)

"Recompense" [poem]

I Black Dawn
"The Shadow Kingdom" [a Kull story]
"The Mirrors of Tuzun Thune" [Kull]
"Kings of the Night" [Bran Mak Morn]
"Worms of the Earth" [Bran Mak Morn]
"The Dark Man" [Turlogh Dubh O'Brien/Bran Mak Morn]

II Dark Interlude
"The Footfalls Within" [Solomon Kane]
"Pigeons from Hell" [a Weird West story]
"Graveyard Rats" [a Steve Harrison story]
"Vultures of Wahpeton" [Western fiction]

III High Noon [all the stories in this section are Conan tales]
"The Tower of the Elephant"
"Queen of the Black Coast"
"A Witch Shall Be Born"
"Red Nails"