Apparently, this 1999 book is out of print and now a like-new copy can sell for over $200.00. ("Former owner only used once"...?)
Luckily (?), the author has begin to put much of its contents on a website.
Yesterday, Saturday April 6, I was privileged to interview Bill Griffith, longtime weirdo and creator of Zippy the Pinhead (along with so many other great comics) at the MOCCA Fest in NYC. Here's Bill at the Fantagraphics table at MOCCA, showing off the newest Zippy collection, now available thru the link at the sidebar here.
And here we are onstage. (Photo by Phil Merkel.)
Or, from the looks of it, how to use the book itself as a weapon. Prices on Amazon
for this 1944 publication range from $24 to $80. So it may be useful info, but it ain't cheap.
Bruce Clayton's survivalist masterpiece, Life After Doomsday
, certainly belongs in any collection of weird non-fiction. It comes from a time, not so long ago, when the general consensus was that we were all going to be blown to smithereens in a nuclear war, and Clayton offered detailed instructions on how to stay alive should you survive the actual bombs. Below is the 1981 Newsweek
review of the book, as well as Clayton's diagram of how to turn your home into a fortified bunker. And hey, why not read it together with Paul's After the Collapse
to get a real apocalypse vibe going!
Bruce Clayton's fantasy derives from the myths of frontier America: we have only to draw our wagons into a circle to survive a nuclear war. The war won't be as bad as you have heard. Assuming the Russians know what they are doing, 90 per cent of America will be fallout free. Clayton is interesting because virtually every point he makes will not have been considered by most of his readers: what about sex in the fallout shelter? he asks, or "How many members of your family are you willing to regard as acceptable losses?"
His point is, you must do something: "The question of which assault rifle you should buy isn't nearly as important as the fact that you must get one" — to mow down ghetto refugees or your neighbors in search of your food supply. In fact, refugees won't be much of a threat because the roads will be blown up along with the cities, but as for your friend next door — well, the Heckler and Koch HK91 heavy-assault rifle firing a 7.62 NATO cartridge works very well. If you're on your roof hosing down the fallout, a Colt Commander .45 autopistol modified for combat is easier to carry. He shows us, too, how to convert our houses into efficient fire zones, and suggests we store away five years' supply of wheat, milk, sugar and salt. A wheat stew in every pot and an Armalite AR-180 in every loophole will see us through, as long as we've ordered our gas masks (Clayton tells us where).
Eagle-eyed WU-vies will have spotted the new sidebar, installed by Alex this weekend, where we will recommend books of sufficient weirdness, we hope, to deserve your attention.
The reason for picking most of the titles should be obvious, at least upon visiting their page. But if we want to expand on our reason for selecting a book, we'll do a separate post on the main blog.
We hope this new feature brings you lots of pleasant--and weird--reading!
PS: if you want to bring something worthy of dissemination to our notice, please do so!
While he was attending physician at the Illinois State Hospital for the Insane, Dr. Charles Mayos collected poems that were written by his patients. Of course, all poets are a bit insane, but the ones that interested him were actually locked up and labeled psychotic. Eventually, in 1933, he published a collection of this verse in a book he titled Poetry of the Insane
. [St. Petersburg Times
The publisher mustn't have thought there was a large market for such a book, because only 300 copies of it were printed , which now makes it quite rare — and valuable. Copies fetch up to $200.
I've never got my hands on a copy of the book. (Not willing to pay that much for it.) Below is the only poem from it I can find online
. I've read much worse
poetry from people who are supposedly sane.
|The hue of sorrow everywhere|
The jagged rocks seem marble tombs,
Yet through the barren waste way over there,
A lily blooms.
As up the rugged heights revealed,
I creep, and deem the world as wrong;
A singer trills above the love unsealed,
His mating song.
I pierce the gloom with purer eyes,
For here I know that Heaven is —
I yield my empty self and realize
These are all His.
This looks like an interesting book. [Amazon Link
]. Nat Geo has an interview
with the author, David Waltner-Toews
, that includes details such as, "in the slums of Nairobi, human poop powers hot showers and other services. In California, dog doo-doo keeps a dog park electrified."
The author offers this summary of his book: "as soon as you have life, you have essentially poop. As life developed, the waste for one animal became food for another animal. We depend on a web of recycling of nutrients, and poop is an important part of that. People get sqeaumish but they shouldn’t be. If you don’t think of it as poop, but instead think of it as recycling nutrients, this is a really interesting and sustainable way to produce food."
Back in 1987, the financial firm E.F. Hutton had just suffered some bad years that included scandals and major losses. So the senior executives came up with what they thought was a great idea. They'd boost the morale of all their 18,500 employees by sending everyone a coloring book (with crayons) that laid out the problems faced by the company in grade-school language. The book included "cute drawings of houses, racing cars and children" while warning employees that they all had to work harder because "we're no longer the nicest house on the block." The gesture was received by the Hutton employees about as well as you might think it would be. [google news archive
Those coloring books are now collector's item. The going price on eBay
Original ad here.
Gather around, children, and you shall learn of an ancient time, before the internet. A day of paper fanzines and weird information obtained only via books delivered by snailmail.
The main purveyor of such good stuff was the Loompanics catalog. Alas, they were driven out of business
in 2006. The current website
using their domain name is a shell and a scam by cybersquatters.
Over one hundred Loompanics books have been tagged as a Goodreads collection.
You can get a small sense of what they were all about there.
Vintage paperbacks are the best!
All original content in posts is Copyright © 2008 by the author of the post, either Alex Boese ("Alex"), Paul Di Filippo ("Paul"), or Chuck Shepherd ("Chuck"). All rights reserved. The banner illustration at the top of this page is Copyright © 2008 by Rick Altergott.