25 August 2007

A Golden Age

At The Valve, John Holbo just posted this cover from the June 1953 issue of Famous Fantastic Mysteries:
Yes, indeed -- Ayn Rand and Franz Kafka in one pulp magazine together! But it's better than that. Here's the entire table of contents:
Worms of the Earth by Robert E. Howard
Pendulum by Ray Bradbury and Henry Hasse
Bernie Goes to Hell by Arthur Dekker Savage
Find the Happy Children by Benjamin Ferris
The Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka
Haunted Hostel by Emma L'Hommedieu Frost
Dirge (Aztec) by Louis M. Hobbs
Anthem by Ayn Rand
Yes, Robert E. Howard, Ray Bradbury, Ayn Rand, and Franz Kafka all in one issue! (All reprints -- I would love to know what went through Mary Gnaedinger's mind as she put it together...) As noted at The Valve, this was the final issue of FFM, "after which the magazine evidently died of confusion."

This is apparently a particularly rare issue -- the least expensive copy I could find on the internet is going for $61, and it usually sells for around $100 or more. If anybody out there has bucks to burn and wants to send me a gift, though, I wouldn't complain... (It's the mix that's appealing; even in high school I thought Anthem was badly written, and I've never had much of a taste for Robert E. Howard, but that contents page is enough to cause the covetous consumerist impulses to stir in even the most mild mannered of us.)

2 comments:

  1. But Matt, "Worms of the Earth" is one of the classic Howard stories. Sure he turned out of a lot of dubious stuff, but this is one that Howard fans tend to enthuse about. Which makes that magazine even better.

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  2. Oh, I don't mean to discount that story in Howard's oeuvre, since I'm not at all a Howard aficionado and will fully admit to being incapable of telling good from bad among his tales. And I'd be happy to read every word he ever wrote rather than ever again reading anything by Rand, for whom I desperately attempted to develop a passion during high school, because I had friends who truly wouldn't go anywhere without one of her books in hand. I'm just saying what I find so amazing, and even exciting, about that issue is its eclecticism.

    And I would *love* to see the illustrations for "The Metamorphosis".

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