Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Great Review for Hollywood Cowboy Detectives from Paul Green, author the Encyclopedia of Weird Westerns

Classic B-western stars ride again     
Alien BansheeSeveral almost-forgotten B-western stars of the past have found work in a new series of historical fiction westerns.

Ken Maynard, Hoot Gibson, Crash Corrigan, William S. Hart, Tom Mix and other film-cowboy heroes from the 20s through the 50s have returned to battle Nazis, saboteurs and old-fashioned bad guys in the Hollywood Cowboy Detectives (HCD) series published by Page Turner’s Buckskin Editions in both Kindle and paperback versions.

Darryle Purcell, a long-time Mohave County, Ariz., resident known for his topical newspaper columns and political cartoons, has reset his editorial sights on historical western fiction.
“I grew up enjoying the B-western movies and serials made during the 1930s through the ’50s,” the former Mohave Valley Daily News managing editor said. “Many of those films were contemporary to the years they were produced. Western heroes such as Col. Tim McCoy would board a train in the metropolitan east of, say, 1936 and arrive in the old west (quite often Arizona) to battle evil doers. We all remember films where the Three Mesquiteers fought the Nazis in the early 1940s.”
Purcell is writing and illustrating the 1930s-contemporary western series, which embraces the adventurous world of pulp publishing while also saluting the great western movie serials of that era. The first publication, Mystery at Movie Ranch, is comprised of 12 cliffhanger chapters set in the San Fernando Valley area of southern California during the filming of the 1934 Mascot Pictures serial, Mystery Mountain, starring Ken Maynard.

“I do a lot of research on what was being filmed, where, by which studio within a specific time frame,” he said. “I then carve a window in the time period where certain people could have joined together to deal with an adventure.”

Sean “Curly” Woods, former Los Angeles Examiner crime beat reporter and current studio flack, is Purcell’s main fictional character who appears in all HCD publications. In Movie Ranch, Woods’ assignment is to write fluff public relations articles about the serial and its stars and keep Maynard out of trouble while looking into the possible sabotage of the Mascot production.

“From a variety of sources, Ken Maynard was a temperamental alcoholic,” Purcell said. “Nobody’s perfect. He was still a skilled rodeo, circus and film cowboy idolized by youth from the 1920s through the ’50s.”

While helping Maynard battle his personal demons, Woods discovers real enemies are not only targeting the western production, but the American way of life. Joined by western movie star and World Champion Rodeo Cowboy Hoot Gibson, Maynard and Woods engage in a series of deadly encounters with an army of anti-American terrorists ruled by a sinister mastermind known only as the Viper. The Hollywood Cowboy Detectives deal with organized crime, a sniper attack, aerial combat against an experimental German flying machine, interrogation by a sadistic enemy scientist in an underground stronghold, an ungodly creature who is the product of evil experiments, and a variety of battles with those who would eliminate all who believe in freedom and justice.

“With this series, I hope to revive the lessons of the straight shooters while introducing a new generation to some of the great cowboy heroes of the past. Besides having served in the First World War, most of them had been working cowboys on ranches, rodeos and wild-west shows before joining the motion picture studio system. Often, their movie careers began as stuntmen for other, less-talented, film stars. The HCD series honors the hard work, amazing action talents and ethical lessons of the B-western film stars of the past,” Purcell said.

Mystery of the Alien Banshee (illustrated) can be found at Amazon's Alien Banshee page.

       --Paul Green, author the Encyclopedia of Weird Westerns

Wednesday, November 11, 2015


(from the Official Jody Scott site)


Hey, kids - how'd you like a free copy of I, Vampire: Book 2 Of The Benaroya Chronicles ... soon to be in print again for the first time in 30 years?

Here's how it works:

From the all correct answers to the question below will be selected one winner at random to receive a free e-book of I, Vampire.

Send your answer to DO NOT post your answer here, that will not count as an entry and it will give away the answer.

Here's the question: (From Passing For Human) the robots on Benaroya's ship Vonderra took their likeness from which "minor twentieth century president?"

Again, send you answer to and also be subscribed to Mary Whealen's personal bi-monthly e-letter about all things Jody Scott: with announcements and exclusive content and more chances to win free goodies!

Contest closes November 30th. So send those entries in today to

Out Now After Almost 40 Years: 
The Surreal Feminist SF Classic, 
By Jody Scott
Out Now on Kindle!

Tuesday, October 13, 2015


(from Ernest Hogan's Mondo Ernesto blog)

Hang onto your nalgas, carnalito/as, my “Chicanonautica Manifesto” is in Aztlán: A Journal of Chicano Studies, Volume 40, Number 2, Fall 2015!

It's part of special section called “Dossier: Latino Speculative Literature, Film and Popular Culture.” They even used some of my drawings to illustrate the introduction.

Along with my manifesto is an essay: “From Code to Codex: Tricksterizing the Digital Divide in Ernest Hogan's Smoking Mirror Blues” by Daoine S. Bachman.

Also discussed are Chicanafuturism, Latino@futurism, Jamie Hernandez's comics, Afro-Latina and Mexican immigrant heroines, Chicana/o cyberpunk, Gloria Andzaldúa's sci-fi roots, speculative rasquashismo, and Chicano@futurist visual art!

Order yours now!


Monday, October 12, 2015

Kicking And Screaming: A Previously Unseen Story By Jody Scott!

(from the estate-authorized Jody Scott site)

\We are tremendously thankful to Mary Whealen for this very special treat: a previously unpublished story by Jody!

Kicking And Screaming
By Jody Scott

Naked we come into this world and handsomely outfitted in a new pinstripe from Big & Tall, complete with a foulard tie, we go out of it.

At any rate that’s what happened to Nettie Polotnik’s husband Phil who had been dead nine years to the very day when our story begins. Philip Hart Polotnik had never been neat while he was alive (Phil died at age fifty-six, his skull broken in a car crash); he drank like a fish, played poker all night long and smelled like the nasty brown cigars he smoked (and those cigars were what killed him, according to Nettie! If it hadn’t been that accident it would have been emphysema like the late Johnny Carson). Nettie herself was the neat one in the family. Their four children, Michael, Tim, Meredith and Polly, now grown-and-gone were about average on the neatness scale, with son Timmy (once a juvenile delinquent, today a world famous oncologist; can you believe such a turn of events?) being the sloppiest of the lot, Nettie was thinking as she hummed somewhat happily while cleaning out the fridge.

Funny how much junk gets collected when a person lives alone. Now why was there an open, moldy (covered with a crawling, green, slimy fuzz; ick! The smell of it—phew! Into the garbage it went)—can of tuna when the only person in this family who even liked tuna was daughter Meredith who lived in New Rochelle and had four children of her own? You’d think—but never mind what you’d think; Nettie didn’t want to dip into that old barrel of pain, regret and sorrow, why should she? She was alive, vibrant and happy, she liked living alone in peace and quiet and most of all you can’t change the past so why bother yourself with it?

“I don’t know about that,” Phil said. “Reality isn’t exactly what we always thought it was, honey.”

Her husband was sitting across the table in his new pinstripe suit, smoking a cigar and drinking coffee which was all wrong because he’d been dead for nearly a decade. . And yet—!

“I’m not going to argue with you so butt the hell out,” Nettie snapped. Feeling tired, she didn’t have time to argue the same foolish old arguments, she had a dental appointment in an hour and had to buy gas on the way (running out of gas was always so embarrassing) and then grocery-shop. But she felt strange, very strange indeed. And there certainly wasn’t any use in snapping at poor dead Phil about it because the poor guy wasn’t even alive for mercy sake!…

Something was happening to Nettie and she had no idea what, except that she was terribly dizzy and before you could say “Poof!” she was sprawled on the floor in her ratty old blue bathrobe that had come untied and was all rucked up under her. There wasn’t much pain, except for a clutching in the chest (it reminded her of Valentine’s Day in school when the kids all exchanged hearts, big shiny paper hearts that said “Be mine!” with a pretty lace banner across the front of them) but this was different, because—

Suddenly Nettie found herself up at the ceiling looking down at her body. She hadn’t realized how filthy it was up here—the entire ceiling could use a good scrubbing but most especially the overhead fixture; there were dead flies in the globe, quite disgusting but that wasn’t the worst of it.

The worst of it was: leaving that funny-looking hunk of clay all sprawled out, its butt showing, right in the middle of her scrubbed kitchen floor for someone else to find which was awful but she couldn’t do anything about it, so—

“What were you saying dear?” she asked Phil but Phil was long gone, so Nettie hurried so she wouldn’t be late—very sorry about the mess on the floor but wasn’t that the way life always ended?—so no use worrying about it. Sad, but true; and with a sigh, Nettie herself was out of there.

Out Now After Almost 40 Years: 
The Surreal Feminist SF Classic, 
By Jody Scott
Out Now on Kindle!

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Back In Print After Almost 40 Years: The Surreal Feminist SF Classic, PASSING FOR HUMAN By Jody Scott

Own it for $2.99!
Free on KindleUnlimited

Considered by i09 as "One Of The 10 Weirdest Science Fiction Novels That You've Never Read" Digital Parchment Services, and the estate of Jody Scott, is thrilled to announce the republication of Passing For Human!

"I liked Passing for Human." –Neil Gaiman

Passing For Human is the beginning of The Benaroya Chronicles trilogy, continued in the soon-to-be-released I, Vampire and concluding with Scott's never-before-published final book in the series!

"A joyously and at times scatologically tangled Satire of the post-industrial Western world from a Feminist point of view that wittily verges on misandry." -The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction

Passing for Human
Who Isn't Afraid Of Virginia Wolf?
A 36-foot
Extraterrestrial "dolphin"
In the role of:
"Brenda Starr"
"Emma Peel"
Mary Worth
And a happy New Guinea hoptoad

With an all-star cast including
Abraham Lincoln
Jennison, the Kansas Jayhawker
Heidi's Grandfather
General George S. Patton
The Los Angeles Police Department
The Prince Of Darkness
The Royal Canadian Mounted Police
Ancient Egypt
The Isle of Capri
Interstellar Station 8
Four billion newly created people
And several hundred Richard Nixons

When a dolphin-like alien comes to Earth disguised in a female human body, it sets the stage for a wild feminist romp that out stranges Stranger in a Strange Land!

"The pace of the story never lets up, yet it finds room for serious contemplation of humanity’s woes. The style is easy, with an edge of noir. The central character is a bit of a tough girl which, mixed with her naivety about humans, makes for an intriguing and likeable character. Especially as she (in common with the other aliens) inhabits bodies she has chosen from Earth culture – Brenda Starr, Emma Peel, and Virginia Woolf. Who could not like that, especially the final scenes in which Virginia Woolf is involved in a running gun battle. The humor, pace, and wry observation make this a rare and wonderful beast – a serious science fiction novel that doesn’t take itself seriously."
– Graeme K Talboys, grumbooks Review

"The novel leaps along with an energy and a disregard for convention that reminds me a little of genre outsiders like Barry Malzberg and possibly Josephine Saxton in that this reads like a romp through the Collective Unconscious. A closer comparison might be with the early novels of Ishmael Reed who shares with Scott a vitriolic contempt for seemingly all and everything, sniping and satirizing hilariously along the way.  Jody Scott’s wild imagination, seemingly scattershot but tightly controlled, makes Passing For Human an absurdly comic romp of unexpected juxtapositions and witty asides. Good examples of what SF can do when it steps out of its comfort zone, and of how women’s SF can challenge the genre assumptions by challenging its tropes and its language. Take a look, see what you think."
– Performative Utterance

This Strange Particle Press release features Barry N. Malzberg's original 1977 introduction, and a special forward by Jody Scott's heir and life partner, Mary Whealen.

Passing for Human (The Benaroya Chronicles) By Jody Scott


FREE on KindleUnlimited for a limited time!

Paperback edition coming September 15th


The estate-authorized Jody Scott site (

Digital Parchment Services (

For information please feel free to contact

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Out Now: TARGET: SOLARA [The Emperor’s Secret Files] by Charles Lee Jackson II

Solara flies again!

The blonde bombshell of the Swashbucklers (and who we first met in, of course, Blonde Bombshells), returns in four exciting adventures from The Emperor’s Secret Files! From nuclear threat and earthquake to disaster from the heavens, Solara is on the job, risking her own life to save innocents. From where does Solara come? Not even her own civilian identity, Helia Laurel, knows her secret. But somehow, in times of danger, the blue-and-gold uniform flashes through the sky. Not a rocket... not a meteorite... but an adventuress whose battle against crime and evil makes her Target: Solara.

Finally set up in a new business, Helia Laurel has even hired her first employees. But an emergency client—the notorious Reverend Rosefeld—will cause trouble, placing Helia in immediate danger and sending the entire planet to the brink of disaster, bringing together “Solara and the Ring of Fire”.

Though it's hardly off the ground, Helia Laurel finds her business in ruins, and discovers that her fellow Venus Project astronauts are all being victimized by a super-powered menace that leads to a clash between “Solara and the Goddess of the Moon.”

Helia Laurel, already being plagued by scandalous accusations from a former colleague, finds herself the target of the daughter of one of Solara’s most dangerous foes from her earliest days in action—ghosts from the past, in “Shades of Solara”.

When mob violence wrecks an experimental gravitational device, a captive asteroid careens unfettered toward the Earth! Solara hurtles to the rescue, but vanishes in the attempt, leaving the planet in the path of onrushing doom. What has happened to the blonde bombshell? What will be the outcome for “Solara and the Gravity Telescope”?

Out Now: The Unauthorized Guide To Trek: The Complete TOS Crew Book By James Van Hise

“A gem of a book...every Trekkie and sci-fi fan needs this on their shelf.” —Goodreads

The classic, complete guide to both the crew of the Starship Enterprise and the actors and actresses who brought them to life.

Written in the 1990s, this acclaimed book covers the all the members of the original crew: Kirk, Spock, McCoy, Uhura, Scotty, Sulu, Chekov and Chapel. It’s filled with profiles of each character, biographies of the stars who played them, as well as in-depth conversations with the actors.

Trek fans will learn things they never knew, and gain new insights into William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy, Nichelle Nichols, DeForest Kelley, James Doohan, George Takei, Majel Barrett, and Walter Koenig.

The Complete TOS Crew Book is written by media journalist James Van Hise, creator of the much-beloved Enterprise Incidents magazine. Van Hise has been hailed by the Star Trek Expanded Universe Wiki as “The eminent Star Trek reference book author.”

You'll also find rare publicity stills and personal photos, taken by the author, of the actors themselves.

Bonus: Brand new caricatures of each crew member, especially commissioned for this book, by the award-winning political cartoonist and Filmation animator, Darryle Purcell. Plus a preface by Mr. Purcell on the role Star Trek played in his life.

Friday, July 24, 2015

Wonderful Picture Of SciFi Fan Favorite Jody Scott!

(from the Jody Scott site)

Here's a wonderful picture of Jody Scott, from the Jody Scott Facebook fan page!

Arthur Byron Cover's Movie-Tie In For The 1980 Flash Gordon Movie!

(from the Arthur Byron Cover site)

Check out this fun pic of Arthur Bryon Cover's movie tie-in book for the 1980 Flash Gordon Film!

William Rotsler Obituary - Excerpt From Locus Magazine, November 1977

(from the William Rotsler site)

William Rotsler, 1926 - 1997

William Rotsler, author, artist, sculptor, photographer, and cartoonist extraordinaire, died suddenly October 18, 1997, at the home of his friend, Paul Turner. He recently had throat cancer surgery. In the last few years, he had a heart attack and bypass surgery, and various other severe illnesses.

Rotsler's cartoons and drawings delighted and amazed friends and fans for 50 years. In 1996, he was given Hugo and Retro-Hugo awards for work 50 years apart. He won his fifth Best Fan Artist Hugo Award just this year. His spare, laconic drawing style masked an ability to look at life, described by Harry Warner in A Wealth of Fable, as "funny on the surface, terrifying a millimeter beneath to anyone whose eye could penetrate."

William Rotsler was born 3 July 1926 in Los Angeles, California. He worked on a ranch in Camarillo as a teenager, and served in the U.S. Army from 1944 to 1945, learning the profession of photographer. He discovered fandom in the mid-'40s and was part of the Los Angeles fan scene for over 50 years. He attended Los Angeles County Art Institute, 1947-50, and worked as a sculptor of mainly outdoor modern work from 1950 to 1959, then gave it up to become a photographer, filmmaker, producer, director of commercials, documentaries, etc. He worked mainly in the "erotic" industries, selling photos to Playboy, writing columns for Knight and other men's magazines, writing, directing, or acting(!) -- or some combination of these -- in such movies as The Agony of Love (1966), Notorious Daughter of Fanny Hill (1966), Shannon's Women (1969), and The Secret Sex Life of Romeo and Juliet (1970). He frequently used fan friends as extras in his movies. This part of his career mostly ended by the '70s. During all this, his prodigious output of cartoons and drawings continued unabated. He was fan Guest of Honor at the World SF Convention in 1973.

He also became a professional writer in the '70s, first producing non-fiction book Contemporary Erotic Cinema (1973) and then his first and best novel, Patron of the Arts (1974). To the Land of the Electric Angels (1976) was also noteworthy. He collaborated with Gregory Benford on Shiva Descending (1980). Most of his books were movie and TV tie-ins or children's fiction such as Tom Swift books with Sharman DiVono under the name of Victor Appleton, Jr. His most recent book was Science Fictionaries (1995), a collection of sayings and quotes from SF writers.

(posted 21 Oct; excerpted from the obituary to appear in Locus Magazine, November 1997)

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Publisher's Weekly On Arthur Byron Cover's Wild Scifi Ride Autumn Angels!

(from the Arthur Byron Cover site)

Here's a real treat: a review of the new edition (from Digital Parchment Service's Strange Particle Press imprint) of Arthur Byron Cover's fantastic scifi novel, Autumn Angels from Publisher's Weekly:

"This strange novel-parable launched Cover’s long SF career in 1975. A repulsive demon, a black-derbyed lawyer, and a white-suited fat man plot to bring morbid depression to their race of godlike men, giving them purpose to master the universe. Their instrument is a pathetic crawling bird, whose heart-aching song of lament at its inability to fly causes listeners to feel anger and disappointment. Out of this quirky start, Cover swirls a phantasmagoric slew of allusions, quasi-references, and escapist "sampling" into something Harlan Ellison’s introduction calls "entertainingly meaningful."
- Publisher's Weekly

Friday, June 12, 2015

See and Hear Ernest Hogan On High Aztech!

(from the Ernest Hogan site)

As part of the celebration of the imminent re-release of Ernest Hogan's incredible Chicano science fiction tale, High Aztech, here's a video interview with Ernest himself, via LATINOPIA WORD!

Jody Scott's Passing For Human: One Of "10 Weirdest Science Fiction Novels That You've Never Read" from iO9

(from the estate-authorized Jody Scott site)

As a pre-re-release of Jody Scott's legendary science fiction fan-favorite novel, Passing For Human (coming from Digital Parchment Service's Strange Particle Press imprint) here's this wonderful book's listing as one Of "10 Weirdest Science Fiction Novels That You've Never Read" from iO9:

7. Passing for Human, by Jody Scott (1977) 
Benaroya is a giant space dolphin who's only interested in pleasure, until she decides to study humans. To do this, she disguises herself as Brenda Starr, the girl reporter from the newspaper comics. As she tells one human, "You might say I try to relate in a meaningful, concerned way to autochthonous bipeds in general." Later, Benaroya disguises herself as Emma Peel (from The Avengers) and author Virginia Woolf. Other members of her species are disguised as Abraham Lincoln and George S. Patton, while their support drones look like Richard Nixon. While disguised as Virginia Woolf, Benaroya gets herself captured by a race of psychopathic aliens who want to destroy the Earth, and you get a weird scene where Virginia Woolf debates whether it's a bad thing to fall in love with the leader of a group of genocidal alien psychopaths.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

The Celebration Of The Re-Release of Bill Rotsler's Golden Age Of Erotic Cinema Was A Hit - and Then Some!

(from the William Charles Rotsler site)

Thanks to the Center For Sex And Culture, the Estate Of William Rotsler, The William Rotsler Virtual Museum, and all the great folks who came out over the last three weeks to check out some great Bill Rotsler's artwork and photographs, enjoy his marvelous adult movies - and help celebrate the re-release, after 40 years, of The Golden Age Of Erotic Cinema!

We'll be posting pictures, videos and a lot more very soon but in the meantime check out these shots - and be sure and pick up a copy of this beautiful new edition of Bill Rotsler's definitely book on The Golden Age Of Erotic Cinema ... out now!

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Classic Dark Knight Avenger Profile "The Story of Batman: The Comics, the Serials, and Beyond" Now in Kindle 99 cents

Born in the mind of a young comicbook and movie fan in 1939, the character Batman went on to take the world by storm. Donning a costume in the shape of a bat to terrify criminals when he came swooping in out of the night, Batman had to rely on extreme physical training and a lightning-fast mind in his battles with criminals, supervillains and others. Batman's dark, implacable and human vulnerabilities were to make him DC Comics' most beloved hero.

Soon newspapers and movie serial makers wanted to capitalize on the Dark Knight's (as Batman came to be called) popularity. The result was a legendary newspaper series and one of the most memorable Saturday matinee cliffhangers of all time. So popular was the serial that it resulted in a sequel, "Batman and Robin".

Screen historian Charles Lee Jackson II tells the whole exciting story of Batman, from the beginning through the unforgettable 1960s television series to the award-winning animated show to the Dark Knight's latest screen portrayals and comicbook adventures. This unique ebook edition features drawings, stills and posters from Batman’s many incarnations

"Charles Lee Jackson's knowledge of film history is encyclopedic" -Forrest J Ackerman.

Revised, updated edition of an article originally appearing in Filmfax.

Friday, May 29, 2015

First Night Celebrating ReRelease of William Rotsler's Golden Age Of Erotic Cinema Was A Hit!

(from the William Charles Rotsler site)

Thanks to all the great folks who came out to the first night of the three week celebration of the rerelease of Bill Rotsler's Golden Age Of Erotic Cinema!  It was a blast and a half!

And if you couldn't make it last week, a special retrospective of Bill's erotic work - plus one or two of his films - will still be shown this Saturday, May 30th ... and there'll be very special concluding event on Saturday, June 6th with guests and door prizes!

For tickets to these fun nights just click here

Check out this fun video of last Saturday's event!

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Batman Profiled by Author Forrest J Ackerman says has "Encyclopedic Knowledge of Filmhistory"

Charles Lee Jackson has revised and updated his legendary Filmfax profile of the Batman phenomenon. 
Now only 99 cents for Kindle at

Born in the mind of a young comicbook and movie fan in 1939, the character Batman went on to take the world by storm. Donning a costume in the shape of a bat to terrify criminals when he came swooping in out of the night, Batman had to rely on extreme physical training and a lightning-fast mind in his battles with criminals, supervillains and others. Batman's dark, implacable and human vulnerabilities were to make him DC Comics' most beloved hero.

Soon newspapers and movie serial makers wanted to capitalize on the Dark Knight's (as Batman came to be called) popularity. The result was a legendary newspaper series and one of the most memorable Saturday matinee cliffhangers of all time. So popular was the serial that it resulted in a sequel, "Batman and Robin".

Screen historian Charles Lee Jackson II tells the whole exciting story of Batman, from the beginning through the unforgettable 1960s television series to the award-winning animated show to the Dark Knight's latest screen portrayals and comicbook adventures. This unique ebook edition features drawings, stills and posters from Batman’s many incarnations

"Charles Lee Jackson's knowledge of film history is encyclopedic" -Forrest J Ackerman.

Revised, updated edition of an article originally appearing in Filmfax.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015


(from Mondo Ernesto)

Here's what they had to say:

Hogan's debut, first published in 1990, introduced the subgenre of Chicano SF to a startled, dazzled American audience. Now, 25 years later, the book's Spanglish prose and freeform plot still amuse. All Pablo Cortez cares about is creating art, whether it's humongous graffiti sprayed across Los Angeles or zero-gravity paint slinging in space. Uncool authorities and timid collaborators can't stop him. When he confronts the alien Sirens of Jupiter, who have zapped the minds of earlier explorers, he takes their overwhelming flood of bizarre images as subject matter for new masterpieces. Hogan keeps Pablo's obsessive rants from becoming too intense by working them into a collage of comments from friends and enemies, along with hefty chunks of Aztec mythology, as he builds a jangling, rambunctious picture of artistic genius. This is tons of fun for freethinking readers who appreciate heroes with cojones. (Mar.)

Monday, April 27, 2015


(from Ernest Hogan's Mondo Ernesto)

They mock the secessionist petitioners in Texas and other states, celebrate the infestation of even the smallest American heartland towns by African, Asian and Aztec cultures . . .

The above is a quote from Vox Day, one of the puppies who has caused the current shitstorm over the Hugo awards. For those of you who have not seen the wide-ranging media coverage this story is getting, a bunch of guys who don't like the trend in diversity in speculative fiction hijacked the nominations of the Hugos, throwing the future of the awards into doubt. Personally, I haven't paid much attention to the Hugos (or the Nebulas) in decades, but this is starting to hit close to home.

Because, Aztecaphobia is alive and well!

They're afraid of Aztecs coming to their hometowns. The Wild West stereotype of the blood-thirsty, half-breed never died. In Arizona, we still hear people talking about rumors of cannibalism and human sacrifice in the barrio. Schoolchildren speaking Spanish can trigger panic attacks.

Or as a little old lady from Phoenix once said, “We don't want downtown smelling like tacos!”

I've always considered the smell of tacos to be a sign of an advanced civilization.

The idea of an Aztec future must be their worst nightmare. I wonder if they've read any of my books or stories?

Dell Harris' cover painting (he called it “Scorpio”) for the self-published High Aztech ebook must put stains in their underwear.

If you want to get that edition, with that cover, you should buy it now, because Digital Parchment Services is working on a new Strange Particle Press edition of High Aztech, that – among other things – will have a new cover, that and incorporated imagery by a famous Communist artist!

Don't listen to the puppies, folks! Dream the dreams you lust after. Create the futures you want, be they African, Asian, Aztec,Texan or Arizonan. We need more visions, not less. Everybody, let your imaginations go wild!

Don't worry if it scares anybody. They may pull dirty tricks and try to shut you down – it's been the story of my life – but it's worth the fight. If they can't face Aztec cultural warriors, they are doomed.

Besides, one persons dystopia is another's utopia. One culture, one civilization, isn't enough. Imagine more. It's what sci-fi is supposed to be all about.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015



A Fascinating Biography
By James Van Hise

"The eminent Star Trek reference book author" –Star Trek Expanded Universe

Gene Roddenberry was both a very human man and a cosmic visionary. Hardheaded, single-minded, a good friend and a bitter enemy, Roddenberry was a creative genius who pursued his dreams single-mindedly. A man who envisioned a future where humankind had outgrown war, he often fought unnecessary battles in his own life. Though his every project was a failure (Star Trek was cancelled after only three seasons), he created the single biggest phenomena in media history and gave the 20th century one of its most universal myths.

Roddenberry is the story of an almost larger-than-life man hose flaws were as outsized as his virtues. Even actors he made world-famous stars and millionaires spoke of him with mixed feelings. Final redemption came with the rebirth of Star Trek on the movie screen and launching of a new television hit, Star Trek: The Next Generation.

In Roddenberry: The Man Who Created Star Trek, journalist James Van Hise reveals Roddenberry's career as never before, in both its triumphs and failures. More importantly, it tells the story of the man behind the public figure.

You'll also find:

· Episode guides to all shows he wrote or produced.
· Roddenberry’s original Star Trek proposal sold to Paramount and CBS.
· Roddenberry’s original press release announcing the Star Trek: The Motion Picture.
· Production stills and other photographs, including a bonus gallery of images.
– Other exciting features.

You will also learn:
· Why Roddenberry became a cop and how it helped start his career as a television writer.
· The integrous stance that cost him a job with the big-budget adventure drama, Riverboat.
· What TV show he created and produced featuring four future Star Trek crew members – and who they were.
· Why he decided to write a science fiction show.
· Why Desilu Productions decided to back Star Trek when everyone else had turned it down.
· The original pre-production shape of the Enterprise hull.
· The name of the controversial movie he produced right after TOS ended.
· The incident that inspired him to give the mutants on Genesis II two navels.
· The strange reason Paramount fought against reviving the Star Trek series for years.
· Why Leonard Nimoy refused to appear in Star Trek: The Motion Picture and what made him change his mind.
· Why, after all his battles with Paramount, Roddenberry agreed to be the producer on Star Trek: The Next Generation.
· Why David Gerrold and D. C. Fontana both quit The Next Generation.
· Why Roddenberry trusted the Next Gen producers to be faithful to his vision after his death.
– And much, much more!

James Van Hise is a media journalist and the author of more than two-dozen books. He was the founder of the early and influential Star Trek ‘zine, Enterprise Incidents. He currently resides in Southern California.

"James Van Hise takes readers behind the scenes ... a useful reference guide for writers and Star Trek fans." –Trekdom

Available now in Kindle at for $6.99
eBook: Available ISBN: 9781615086153
or borrow FREE for KindleUnlimited members!

Paperback Coming: May 1, 2015
ISBN: 978-1511803731

For review copies, ebook only, contact

Strange Particle Press is an imprint of Digital Parchment Services Inc.

Distributed by

Sunday, April 12, 2015

William Rotsler ...Artwork and Tableware

(from the William Charles Rotsler site)

Courtesy of the great William Rotsler site comes these sweet images of William Rotsler's playfulness:   "Rotsler art from the collection of Ken and Aileen Forman. Presented with their permission. These pictures were originally submitted to Michael Bernstein's (Archived on the Wayback Machine)  The plates and cups of hotels hosting conventions were not safe from being drawn on."

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Brand New, Never-Before-Published Story From Nebula Nominee Arthur Byron Cover!

(from the Arthur Byron Cover site)

Here's a spectacular treat: a never-before-published story from Nebula Finalist Arthur Byron Cover (and author of the newly re-released Autumn Angels): "His (Beloved) Revolutionary Sweetheart" up right now on Amazing Stories. 

Here's a taste:

His (Beloved) Revolutionary Sweetheart
Arthur Byron Cover

The assassin strides through a residential neighborhood of mixed sentients. The condition of the houses varies – some are well maintained, while others appear to have rotted from the inside. They tend to be close together and tall, with railed porches and never less than six gables, front, back, or side.

The place isn’t exactly quiet; syrupy music emanates from a window – the music is sanctioned but the assassin could swear the resident inside is wearing headphones, and can easily be listening to something else entirely. Children laugh and a male can be easily heard from an open kitchen window – seems his toast is inappropriately puffed; there is much derision from the rest of the family.

The residents are mostly humanoid, their pigmentation usually dark brown or green. His goose yellow skin stands out slightly, but it’s still common enough in the neighborhood as to not be unusual.

Up ahead, kids play street hockey, while adolescents slack atop a retaining wall. A couple of winged inflator kids bounce across the street, oblivious to traffic. Their mother, with her greater lift, crosses in two efficient bounces and corrals them.

The assassin ignores the police vehicle passing by on patrol. The driver, a reptilian, holds the hot dog he’s eating in his tail.

He arrives at the target’s home, a multi-gabled abode with an unadorned yard and a transparent fence. Early in his career he’d attempted to climb a fence not unlike this one. His efforts attracted the notice of the neighborhood watch and he was nearly lynched.

He finds it ironic that a being whose recklessness had ignited so many fuses would reside in such a humble dwelling, in a typical neighborhood on an average world, smack in the middle of a less important grouping on the edge of the civilized worlds.

In times past, the target had purportedly lived underground, but in truth he’d lived publicly and large. Amours warranted top coverage in the ether. His personal intrigues were scrutinized. His out of control children had been scandals.

The assassin was of the opinion the target deserved to live in a monastery, where he’d pour gas on his conscience and light it up after every meal.

But he wasn’t here to judge. Merely to execute. He has no idea he has already been spotted – by his target no less, from the midway gable.

The target’s name is Edward Everett Laszlo, and for nearly a century he has been either a savior or a toxic influence, depending on who you talked to.

Ed has survived numerous assassin attempts, a dozen accidental overdoses, showers of firebombs, and more STDs than can be obtained during a thousand orgies. He has vacationed in warzones, slummed with degenerates, and, in the opinion of some, deliberately provoked the doubt and resistance that are at the heart of the wave of insurrections currently sweeping the empire.

Ed’s life has been long and fruitful, but right now he’s fracking tired. Exhausted. His mind is going, while his body feels like it’s already got up and went. He views the presence of this latest intrusion on his continued life with resignation. Maybe the time has come to get his ticket punched – let history have its say.

Even so, his favorite soaps start new episodes next week. They just might be enough to live for.


The assassin walks through the gate with the intention of starting with whoever answers. Suddenly the front door slams open with a thunderclap, and through the egress zooms a stooped, emasculated figure, so old he looks mummified. Laszlo. His arms are thrown open as if he was greeting an old friend, but unfortunately so is his bathrobe.

The assassin is not the only one to notice. A few yards down a little girl shrieks. She has blonde pigtails and blue skin. She holds her raggedly doll by the neck, shakes it in Edward’s general direction, and denounces him in terms so profane the assassin fears his ears will burn.

Edward is unperturbed. “Nita, how many times has your mother told you not to play in Timmy’s yard? Go home!”

Nita sticks out a forked tongue. She turns but just before leaving, wiggles her pinky at them.

Damn it!” Edward is horrified and contritely ties his robe. “Sorry, babe, it won’t happen again, I promise you!”

The kid laughs.

Edward takes the assassin by the elbow with inappropriate familiarity and whispers conspiratorially, “The girl has problems. I’ve recommended counseling, but her parents seem to think it’s not necessary. But trust me, that girl’s destined to have her face showcased in the crime section. Who knows? She might be a future customer.

Can I offer you a cup of coffee? I know what you’re here for – a determinedly set jaw doesn’t work with your features, by the way – and I can’t stop you. But why the rush? I got nothing but time and it’s nearing rush hour. I’ve learned from bitter personal experience the species don’t mix well on crowded streetcars. Besides, you’ve got an aura blacker than a cosmic radio source. The empaths are going to look on you like a bonfire in reverse.”

Ed guides the reluctant gentleman through the front door. “So you might as well sit back and relax a spell, till traffic’s not so crowded. Furthermore, you might want to consider how much more pleasant it is chatting with someone than sitting around alone.”

The foyer extends several yards through the center of the house. Sitting and entertainment rooms lay on either side. Plastic plants abound. So do 3Ds – montages of Edward at various stages of his life: Ed receiving an honorary knighthood from a rebel queen; Ed on stage at a massive intra-species festival concert (attendance: half a million); Ed smoking a joint in a war zone (dead bodies lying everywhere); Ed surrounded by a bevy of naked babes, at least three of whom have tails (in a hot tub filled with a suspicious looking liquid).

Let’s talk in the kitchen, which is where the coffee is anyway,” says Ed. “Don’t worry; I’m not going to try anything. I couldn’t whup you in a rigged fight and the last mollusk I saw still moved faster than me. Nor, alas, am I permitted weaponry, be it activated verbally or sonically. The Home Owner’s Association won’t permit it. They actually send people around to inspect the premises for unauthorized weaponry, like we lived in the middle of a civilized cluster, can you believe it?”

Once in the kitchen, Ed, ever the dutiful host, pulls out a chair for his guest. “If you sit here, you’ll always have a good view of what I’m doing. I apologize for the silent ambience. I used to listen to music all the time, but I must have hit a fuddy-duddy stage, because all the modern stuff strikes me as derivative, in a bad way, and all the old stuff has become like time markers. Doesn’t matter. I always have these tunes bubbling up in my head anyway – hot lava in the brain! Know what I mean? Didn’t think so.

Hmm. Come to think of it, that’s tragic. In my experience, it doesn’t matter if you’re a leader or a grunt, a zealot or a drone, you never really discover yourself until you’ve immersed yourself body and soul in a first-rate piece of music. Don’t get me wrong. I’ve discovered myself in plenty of the most pleasurable second-rate ways imaginable, but music is still the best. For one thing, it helps you keep in touch with your emotions without ever having to actually to use them, which right there is something I think would appeal to you.

So sit back. Relax. Take a load off and return with me to those thrilling days of yesteryear.”

The assassin gazes out the window. It’s becoming dark. He sighs and switches on the outdoor lights.

Friday, April 10, 2015


(from Ernest Hogan's blog)

There's a new review of Cortez on Jupiter in theVol. 5 No.2, April 2015 issue of The Cascadia Subduction Zone by Cynthia Ward. You can buy this issue or subscribe here. Meanwhile, here's some quotes:

. . . the novel undermines expectations on practically every front.

Really, Hogan's entire novel is subversive.

The author's most fundamental subversion is in the language itself. It's true that slangy, dense, not-immediately-accessible language, packed with eyeball-kicking neologisms and non-English words, is a cyberpunk specialty. However, loan-words from a First World power like Japan don't begin to pack the seditious punch of the language of America's own disenfranchised, and Hogan doesn't stop with Spanglish.

I could go on and on, trying to capture Cortez on Jupiter in a word.  Revolutionary? Gonzo? Well-written? Nahuatlfuturist? Anarchic? Recombocultural? Satirical? Cutting-edge? All are accurate (yes, even "cutting-edge," though the book was first published 25 years ago).

Read Ernest Hogan's Locus Poll Top Ten Novel Cortez On Jupiter - For Only $3.99

Friday, March 27, 2015

Digital Parchment Services and well-known media journalist James Van Hise have signed an open-ended agreement to bring his now classic journalistic examinations of the Star Trek phenomenon back into print. The first five books in the series will be published throughout 2015.
The entire series will appear under the title "The Unauthorized Guide to Trek".The new edition of Mr. Van Hise's books will feature additional photographs taken by him personally during his three decades chronicling the shows, movies, and the cultural phenomenon Star Trek became.

Beginning in June, DPS will release the following books under the Unauthorized Guide to Trek series title:

Gene Roddenberry: The Man Who Created a Phenomenon

Leonard Nimoy: The Man Who Was Spock

The TOS Years (1966 - 1969)

The Movie Years (1979-1991)

The Complete TOS Crew Book: The Characters and the Actors
The first book issued, fittingly enough, features a look into the private life and public accomplishments of the man responsible for the vision that became Star Trek.
Readers will learn:

  • the childhood circumstances that led to Roddenberry's passion for science fiction;
  • how his early days as a police officer gained him entry, later in his life as a writer, into the newly burgeoning field of television;
  • about the bitter behind-the-scenes battles to keep the Star Trek true to Roddenberry's vision of a diverse and pacifistic future where conflicts were solved more often with brains than weapons;
  • the reasons for the constant scene and plot changes in the movies as they were being shot;
  • which actors loved him—and which...not so much—and why;
  • how Roddenberry trained the next generation of Star Trek television producers to realize his vision after his death, and how that training influenced Star Trek: The Next Generation, Deep Space Nine, Voyager and beyond;
  • and much much more.

Look for more news about The Unauthorized Guide to Trek and Gene Roddenberry: The Man who Created a Phenomenon, coming soon from Digital Parchment Services.

James Van Hise is a well-known journalist specializing in film, television, and comic history. A long-time fan turned media historian, Van Hise’s credentials as both writer and editor are extensive. He was the editor of the pivotal comix zine Rocket Blast Comic Collector (1974-8) and the pioneering Enterprise Incidents: The Magazine for Star Trek Fans (1976-85). In the comic field he has written stories for Dread of Night, Green Hornet, Ray Bradbury Comics, and Real Ghostbusters, among others. As a journalist Van Hise has authored books on Batman, Dune, Conan, Star Wars, The Lone Ranger, Dick Tracy, Stephen King, and Star Trek.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Rave Review for Locus Award Finalist Ernest Hogan's Cortez On Jupiter From Performative Utterance

(from the Ernest Hogan site)

Check out this rave review for Ernest Hogan's wonderful Cortez on Jupiter - out now in a brand new author-authorized edition from Digital Parchment Services/Strange Particle Press - by Digital Parchment Services/Strange Particle Press

Ernest Hogan’s debut novel, published in 1990 as part of Ben Bova’s Discoveries series, is a remarkable piece of original SF that is radical in ways that perhaps haven’t really been acknowledged yet.

Cortez On Jupiter is the story of graffiti artist Pablo Cortez’ career progression from Basquiat-esque guerrilla muralist in 2020s LA via a staggered Bester-like plot to a weightless take on Jackson Pollock on in orbit above the Great Red Spot. Meanwhile a series of attempts to communicate with the alien Sirens of the Jovian atmosphere repeatedly have fatal consequences. Fascinated, Pablo volunteers.

Initially framed as a documentary on Pablo’s career, told in flashback and transcripts, Cortez on Jupiter steers a course that manages to include explicit satire and old-fashioned sensawunda SF tinged with cyberpunk simultaneously.

The Science Fiction Encyclopaedia talks about Hogan’s ‘pleasing gonzo energy’ which most obviously manifests in Pablo’s rapid-fire Spanglish-with-Nahuatl dialogues. Long, free-flowing sentences leap around worldbuilding impressionistically rather than through any attempted simulation of mimesis. Pablo drops Aztec deities into his rambling seemingly allocating new mythic status to everything.

Paint stick in hand like an Aztec priest wielding a flint knife, or that cop swinging his baton on that cool starless night years ago in L.A. that crushed the buckle from my gas mask into my skull, leaving a cute little scarito in my scalp that I wore my hair extra short for months to show off. Or like in that time before time when space wasn’t separate from time or anything was separate from anything else and all was the goddess Coatlicue, She of the Serpent Skirt, but then she was the Cipactli monster: alligatoroid, fished, but more a great, quivering mass swimming in an endless sea that was also a sky, a mass with mucho, mucho hungry mouths that devoured everything, the monster, the sea, the monster, the sea, so the sea was the monster and vice versa — everything all mixed up like Siren zapware feedback — ay! Makes me want to be like the gods Quetzalcoatl and Tezcatlipoca — I wonder which I am, culture giver or trickster? Could I be both? Why not? I know how they felt when they decided, Hey, enough of this formless nadaness! Let’s tear this monster/paint blob apart! (p2-3)

It becomes clear later that Pablo is, as he suspected, both culture giver and trickster. In particular the loner Pablo continually voices the trickster’s absence of respect for society, whether in small groups, through the justice systems, or in the Space Culture Project. In the latter Pablo rails against the Director as “An icon-maker rather than an iconoclast. No wonder we didn’t get along.” (p83)

One of SF’s favourite toys is the neologism, from raygun to cyberspace SF has modified language to tell its story but I struggle to think of any writer who has made language so distinctly his own the way Hogan does. (He even creates the wonderful “nuevofangled cyberpsychoautonomoelectromagneticneuroextrasensorywhatchamacallit.” p210) The Spanglish vocabulary not only gives Pablo cultural depth but contributes in classic trickster fashion to subverting the otherwise standard First Contact story. In his hands the toy is a weapon, reflected by the Picasso quote Pablo has tattooed: “Painting is not done to decorate apartments. It is an instrument of war for attack and defense against the enemy.” (p25)

Writing in SFEye Hogan said of himself:

Growing up as a Chicano, I often found it easier to identify with aliens, mutants and other sci-fi thingies than with the white people who were supposed to be destined to conquer the galaxy.(Greasy Kid Stuff From Outer Space, SFEye 11, December 1992)

That outsider feeling has translated in Pablo into the man who can communicate with the Sirens when they have mentally destroyed others because of the artistic perspective and because of that identification more with the alien than society. In Cortez on Jupiter Ernest Hogan challenges the Heinleinian vision of space conquest, the prevalent Manifest Destiny of Space Exploration that lingers on. The ‘heroic’ first man to lose his mind to the Sirens is Phil Hagen.

a typical nondescript astronaut — not even the fact that he was black and raised in Brazil made him much different from the sterilized whitebread spacemen of the mid-twentieth century. He was all hard-edge haircut and close shave all the way down to the convolutions of his brain. (p27)

That sounds like Starship Troopers‘ John Rico to me, and the last line of that paragraph reads: “I can’t even recall anything he ever said that interested me.”

Cortez On Jupiter takes a conventional mainstream SF idea or two as its plot, hence the SFE suggestion that Hogan isn’t doing anything radically original, but in warping language as Pablo does “I really don’t care what language they’re from — I just use ‘em when they fit.” (p9) Ernest Hogan satirizes swathes of SF that went before. 

Historically, Hernan Cortez defeated the Aztecs in part through his relationship with a woman who interpreted for him. Pablo is a very different Cortez, but his return from the Sirens is facilitated by fellow artist Willa translating his thoughts. Multi-faceted synaesthetic communications assimilate Pablo and the Sirens where the establishment protocols all failed. Hogan convincingly offers SF a new, post-Anglo paradigm. Pablo’s linguistic exuberance and artistic questing highlight and challenge the media obsessions and the cultural establishments of today both real and as more commonly portrayed in SF.

Cortez on Jupiter is a frequently very funny novel but one with a serious heart. His story may be closest to Alfred Bester, but his freewheeling hi-NRG word mashups and sharp wide-ranging satire owe as much to Ishmael Reed. Twenty years on I still know no writer in SF consistently doing what Hogan does with language to document, shape and comment on colliding cultures.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Rave Review of Nebula Award Nominated SF Novel Autumn Angels By Arthur Byron Cover From Revolution SF

(from the Official Arthur Byron Cover site)

Check out this rave (and then some) review for Arthur Byron Cover's brilliant Autumn Angels - out now in a brand new author-author-authorized new edition from Digital Parchment Services/Strange Particle Press - by Ivan Lerner, from Revolution SF

At one point during Autumn Angels, the lawyer, one of the novel's three main characters, says, "In a world where anything can happen, rest assured, it will." This, coupled with his "But what's the use in being alive if you can't mingle with people no good for you?" fundamentally sums up in a metaphorical nutshell this fantastic and unfortunately nearly forgotten work of satirical fantasy.

One of my favorite novels, Arthur Byron Cover's Autumn Angels is one of the wildest and weirdest books to be printed. One critic has referred to Cover as a "rock 'n' roll James Joyce," which is very nice, but an almost left-handed compliment. While definitely one of the "great works of Western Civilization," how many people have actually had the fortitude to finish Joyce's Ulysses, yet alone Finnegans Wake? Autumn Angels is a breeze and a hoot to read, and if you don't catch all of Cover's playful references (and there are many), don't worry. They all exist with a specific purpose in the novel itself; it doesn't matter if you don't know that the godlike man with no name is a allusion to Clint Eastwood's character in Sergio Leone's spaghetti westerns, or that the insidious oriental doctor is Fu Manchu, or the talking blood-drinking flowers from the planet of the Ebony Kings are referring to the human-eating plant from The Little Shop of Horrors. There's even a reference to the old commercials of infamous L.A. car dealer Cal Worthington -- talk about obscure! 
Of course, catching and recognizing these references is loads of fun, but some characters, like the aforementioned Ebony Kings, are solely creations of author Cover's fevered imagination. So I think it is beside the point to simply reducing this witty and marvelous book to the status of "just a game." Autumn Angels is not some joyless post-modern wankfest where the author is showing off his grad school degree and his ability to construct convoluted sentences that only exist to satisfy his perverse desire to torment an unfortunate audience. Autumn Angels is beautiful weirdness that needs to be read, written in a clean and direct style, that tells the almost-existential story of how three godlike miscreants try and re-introduce depression to the race of godlike men.

The following quote is from Harlan Ellison's almost frenzied introduction to the book's 1975 Pyramid Books paperback edition (the novel was the second in Pyramid's "Harlan Ellison Discover Series"). The fab Mr. Ellison wrote this about 26 years ago, but it still directly pinpoints the novel's positives: "It is a great many things, most of them silly and funny and memorable…" 
It takes the materials of everyday entertainments-pulp heroes, movies, comics, detective stories-and transforms them. It melds them into a gestalt that is fresh and different and entirely meaningful… I take Autumn Angels and its brilliant young author very seriously… And despite the seeming silliness of the story, it is a profound and singular examination of some of the basic questions that confound us today: the meaning of our existence, the value of pain, the rationale for the search of individual destiny. And Autumn Angels speaks directly to the value of role-playing in our society; it says something lucid and fresh about the value of persona, the need to be other than what we seem, the need to seem to be other than what we are. 
Nominated for a Nebula upon its initial release ("When I told my father it had been nominated for the best SF novel of the year, he said he'd have to read it again -- he was more a Louis Lamour fan," says Cover), the book takes place eons in the future, at some point long after the bems (who are eventually brought back to earth and the story) have granted godlike powers to the race of "mere man." People no longer identify themselves by name but by character (or persona or archetype, if you will): our three misfit protagonists are the lawyer, the demon and the fat man (who is, according to Ellison, modeled after Sydney Greenstreet's character in The Maltese Falcon).

The demon and the lawyer (who is the book's most fallible and "human" character, and a great audience surrogate) are fed up with the stagnation of the race of godlike man ("the routine of life was rarely broken," writes Cover), and are trying to convince the great mover-and-shaker, the fat man, to help them on their quest:

"Without depression, [asks the demon] what good is happiness? These days happiness is no longer a goal, but merely another state of being. As for myself, I find no joy in seeing other people happy. The race of godlike man has become lazy. The only ambition is for fame and glory. There is no striving for unobtainable goals. There are no adventures. And may I remind you that our very identities come from our past? Why shouldn't they come from our own culture, our own present? And what is our future?"
The fat man rubbed one of his chins. "I do not care for your goals. I, for one, am completely satisfied with things as they are." 
"And for eons," said the lawyer, "you have been concerned with petty intrigues. Why, a man with your skills in the old days would have fought and schemed for a planet, for a solar system, for more! Your skills are wasted on this dreamless planet. With the return of depression will come the return of dreams, of hopes for better times. All godlike men will be searching for something, and then your skills will not be wasted. You will be at the top of a young and worthwhile race." 
The fat man is convinced ("I like the way you two come right to the point," he chortles to his co-conspirators), and becomes the trio's de facto leader. However, even with his great powers (and the assistance of the shadowy gunsel, the fat man's henchman; based on Elisha Cook Jr.'s character in The Maltese Falcon -- remember him?), this crazy troika fails miserably, with an angered godlike mankind stripping them of their collective fame and glory.

Shamed and shunned, the friends eventually realize that this state of disgrace actually can be a boon: being out of the public's eye, now they can really do whatever it takes to bring back depression! Cover writes, "These three possessed a confidence alien to all other godlike men… despite their godlike powers, they resembled mere man in that they would let nothing stop them, even if it meant their doom."

Along the way, among a multiplicity of other oddities, we are treated to a day in the life of the duck (versus the cigar-smoking frogs), a wonderful and exciting basketball game between the lawyer and the fat man before the fuzzy ("yet boring," describes Cover) little balls of Sharkosh, the painful odyssey of the sad crawling bird, and a death duel between the godlike man with no name and the lonely hawkman where the loser ends up in the anti-matter universe. Despite its length (the Pyramid paperback is only 190 pages), Autumn Angels is a fantastically dense book.

Meanwhile, Cover is wonderful at supplying hints and traces of the growing friendship between his three godlike outcasts, especially with the in-jokes and playful teases of one to another. The demon and the fat man become roommates, and delight in teasing the lawyer about his obsession with pigs and his unrequited love for his never-seen girlfriend "Kitty" (which might be a sly jab at most males' pursuit of "pussy"). Soon the reader feels honored to be included in the shenanigans and strange logic of this insular trio, as if you were watching a good Marx Brothers' film.

He plunges us into a unique and original world, and has the faith that we'll keep up. Like one of the better magicians, the author works hard to give the audience the feeling that they're in on the gag, while using delightful sleight-of-hand to keep surprising them. Cover's dialog is witty and sharp, his descriptions are clear and imaginative, and his plotting is masterful. A fantasy for adults (rather than yet another adolescent power trip wish fulfillment testosterone fest), Autumn Angels evokes the smart playfulness of a Rudy Rucker, a Philip Jose Farmer or a Kurt Vonnegut. Fans of the work of comic book author Alan Moore (especially his Watchmen, Top Ten or The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen series) should really express an interest in Cover's work.

If I might appropriate Terry Southern's statement about Tom Wolfe, Arthur Byron Cover needs to be showered with money and other fine things. Attracted by the Pyramid paperback's beautiful Ron Cobb cover, I discovered this book back in the late-1970s in a used bookstore in the basically illiterate section of Brooklyn where I grew up. Since then, I've read Autumn Angels at least five times. I love this book so much that every time I'm in a used bookstore, if I find a copy of it, I buy it. I've found copies in used bookstores in Aspen, Colorado, Chicago and London, England. I'm not sure why I do this (either I'm trying to preserve copies for future generations or else this is one of the few times I'm willing to be transformed into pure collector scum), but I guard my copies jealously, only giving (as opposed to lending) one copy away so far.

The novel initially "began as a short story for an original anthology series that was cancelled," Cover told me recently, "but by then I was wondering what should happen next. I really had no idea how to write a short story, much less a novel, so I was faking it." 
Cover states that the novel got published through "Nepotism. Harlan Ellison had made a deal with his publisher to edit a series of books. I was bothering him a lot in those days and he told me he would look at something. When he did, he figured it was okay and he would edit it. The second time he read it, with an eye toward what editorial work it needed, he thought it was the worst piece of dreck he'd ever suffered through… The charitable way of putting it is that he was unwilling to suspend his disbelief for it. Fortunately for us both, the third time around something clicked and his opinion became somewhat more favorable, which is sort of a quiet thing to call any feeling Harlan might have." (See Ellison's quote above.) 
Unfortunately, critical and financial response to the novel was poor. "Except for a few who really didn't like it, it was pretty much ignored by what passed then for a literary science fiction establishment," says Cover. "The arts are a profoundly Darwinistic enterprise. When you look at what my then-contemporaries were writing, particularly those who have gone on to lucrative careers in writing commercial SF, you should thank Harlan for giving the work the benefit of the doubt when he doubted it the most."
Although a fabulous fantasist, Cover is quite earthbound when it come to the realities of the contemporary publishing industry. "I run a bookstore [Dangerous Visions in Southern California;]. [Ordinary] SF books are a common product. Every literary trend that has ever existed now exists in the cultural matrix in some form or another, and even co-exists with artistic sensibilities once thought to be mutually exclusive. The trends of the past will be the trends of the future, but while the field [remains] dominated by middle-class writers and a middle-class audience (insiders as opposed to those who once believed themselves outsiders, whether or not they actually were), the era of dependable literary conceptual breakthroughs is history. You never know though. For years I've been saying the bottom will drop out of the Stephen King collectible market. Ten or twelve more decades, and I might be right." 
A new print editions can be ordered right here on Amazon. Take a risk, order Autumn Angels today.