Tuesday, December 10, 2013

ODDITIES: Department of Uncollectable Collectibles

I get a lot of book catalogs in my email and I peruse them mostly for my select interests: Victorian sensation fiction and obscure detective, supernatural and adventure fiction. Every now and then pulp magazines strike my fancy. While looking over the pulps offered by Michael John Thompson, a bookseller in British Columbia, I came across one of the most absurd catalog listings ever. It's reproduced below (with some typos fixed) along with the illustration that accompanies the listing.

I'd file this under "Why Bother?" Seems it was included in the catalog only for the amusement of the bookseller and his customers. He's right about that artwork. It's a real nightmare.


"THE NIGHT LAND" by WILLIAM HOPE HODGSON - CLASSICS OF SCIENCE - FANTASY FICTION. The cover artwork for CANADIAN FANDOM 17. September, 1951 issue.

HODGSON, William Hope [marginal interest].
$30.00 CAD

First edition. Quarto, original pictorial wrappers, stapled at spine. A fanzine, issued in an edition of 104 numbered copies, this being copy #56. 17 pp. Contains Editorials and Convention reports, no fiction. Most notably, it bears perhaps the singularly worst drawing ever to illustrate a Hodgson story, the cover artwork, which is by Bill Grant. The editor prints a long report on the convention, an SF con; and reproduces the signatures of the likes of Bok, Leiber, Williamson et al., but it is of little interest. In fact, there really is nothing of interest in this fanzine at all except for the atrocious cover artwork. It's not like anybody needs to buy this thing - it's hideous. A very good copy in original wrappers, if that matters.

You can click to enlarge this, but be prepared for a real horror show.

8 comments:

  1. I know Michael Thompson -- he's an extremely knowledgeable bookseller in my part of the world. I agree the artwork is ghastly, mawkish and unskilled. The publication is important to Canadian science fiction fandom, which isn't very important in the greater scheme of science fiction fandom, to be sure. But doesn't it have a certain horrible fascination? This is awful artwork at a step above -- or below -- anything I've ever seen in amateur publishing. I think CanFan ceased publication shortly thereafter, and I don't think any of us will wonder why. ;-)

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  2. Oh he will, I'm sure of it. In fact, I thought he'd be the first to comment.

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  3. I didn't see it until late last night, John… then was rendered speechless, then had a bad dream. It's certainly not a joy forever, but surely carries some sort of value for the reason Noah lays out. Not at all important, but important to us. Not that there's a sale in me. Not that I won't be trying to forget that I ever saw it.

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  4. Interesting post and comments, John, many thanks.

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  5. Irrespective of the item in question, the title of your post will be a joy forever John!

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  6. I could see it inspiring some interest in the outsider art circles, actually.

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