Thursday, October 08, 2009

Cult Magazines: A to Z

This is another recent release from Nonstop Press, the publisher of the Robert Silverberg book I posted about earlier in the week. It’s equally as entertaining, too, if more awkward in its size.

Don’t expect me to define what a cult magazine is or why some magazines were included in this book and others weren’t. One of the editors, Luis Ortiz, covers that in his introduction. The other editor is the legendary Earl Kemp, and the authors who contributed essays on various titles include pulp experts Mike Ashley and Will Murray.

As the title indicates, CULT MAGAZINES: A TO Z is set up like an encyclopedia, an alphabetic listing of scores of magazines, each one with an essay discussing its history and contents. Some essays are fairly short while others are long and comprehensive. There are also hundreds and hundreds of cover reproductions ranging from strange to beautiful.

Admittedly, there are a lot of magazines covered in this volume in which I have no interest at all. But I thoroughly enjoyed reading all the essays on the pulps, the mystery and science fiction digests, the humor magazines, the men’s magazines, and titles that you might not think I’d like, such as MECHANICS ILLUSTRATED, which my buddy Doug Keyes and I read faithfully when we were in seventh grade. I also found myself reading about magazines that I’d only vaguely heard of, like FATE. (What can I say? I just never saw it around here when I was growing up.)

There’s also a lot of information I didn’t know, such as the identities behind some of the pseudonyms used in the Spicy pulps. (“Robert A. Garron” was really Howard Wandrei? Who’d a thunk it!) You might find a typo or a little factual error here and there, but really, how could anybody produce a book of this size and scope without a few such things creeping in? Overall, the writing and production values are outstanding. This is a beautiful book, and I’m sure I’ll be dipping into it again and again.

Finally, to satisfy the FTC, these are not review copies. I shelled out my own hard-earned pazoors for them. Nor do I have any connection with anybody at Nonstop Press other than being in the same Yahoo groups with some of them, which is where I found out about this book and the Silverberg volume. Both are highly recommended, and I’m looking forward to seeing what Nonstop Press comes up with in the future.


Bill Crider said...

This is winging its way to me from Amazon even now. I'm looking forward to it.

Laurie Powers said...

I've been hearing about this book in my groups and plan to get it. I hear it's a winner. P.S. Love your disclaimer at the end.

Evan Lewis said...

Looks like my kind of book. Thanks, James.

Charles Gramlich said...

I have a book about Men's adventure mags that seems to have some overlap with this.