East of Constantinople, West of Shanghai

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Other People’s Pulps: That Carruthers chap

… and then they ask you where your ideas come from.
I was looking up M. Y. Halidom last night.
Halidom was the alias of one Alexander Huth, that published a number of supernatural tales and novels in the late 19th and early 20th century.
I learned of his existence when I found out about the three volumes of Tales of the Wonder Club, a collection of “club stories” about a bunch of individuals that meet in a pub (the quaintly-named “Ye Headless Lady”) to trade strange and chilling stories.

A small clique or brotherhood, known as “The Wonder Club,” had been nightly in the habit of assembling here for years, and this served to bring grist to the mill. Some of the eminent men from the neighbouring village, among whom were the doctor, the lawyer, an antiquary, an analytical chemist, and others, had formed among themselves a club, which was to consist only of very choice spirits, like themselves, and if any guest were introduced among them, it was only to be with a letter of introduction and the full consent of all parties. By these strict rules they hoped to keep the club select. A room at the inn was set apart for them, into which no one not belonging to the club ever presumed to enter, unless it was the landlord, who would be called every now and then to[7] replenish the bowl, and whom sometimes the guests of the club would “draw out,” as it was whispered in the village that the landlord of the “Headless Lady” knew a rare lot of stories, he did; also how to tell ’em, too, my word! but these he generally reserved for his more intimate customers. One strict law of the club that we have not yet mentioned was that no guest invited was to be a “business man.”

The set-up is strikingly similar to Ike Asimov’s Black Widowers stories, but here the slant is towards the weird, the horrific and the supernatural. With a bit of humor thrown in for good measure.
And to make things more fun for collectors, Huth that was Halidom published the first book of the series under another alias, Dryasdust.

Interested parties can find an illustrated edition of the three volumes of Tales from the Wonder Club on the Project Gutenberg.
I will probably post on each of the three volumes separately. Continue reading

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Other people’s pulps – The Riddle of the Sands

A few nights back, feeling the need to get my brain some vacation – because you can’t spend days on end either writing or reading to check out facts about what you’re writing – I took two hours off and I watched The Riddle of the Sands, a British 1979 movie starring Michael York (that also had a hand in the production), the always lovely Jenny Agutter and Simon MacCorkindale.


The movie is based on Erskine Childers‘ novel of the same title, which is considered by many the forefather of all modern spy thrillers.
I was talking about it a few days back with some online friends, and decided to check it out. Continue reading