Thursday, December 4, 2014
BIBLIO-CURIOSA - Unusual writers/Strange books
Biblio-Curiosa is a new zine devoted to “unusual writers and strange books”. Chris Mikul, the editor, kindly sent me the first four issues, and they certainly live up to the journal’s aims. They feature some distinctly eccentric and peculiar titles and plots, chiefly in the field of popular thrillers, occult romances and the fantastic, with striking colour illustrations of the often equally bizarre book covers and dustwrappers.
The first issue, for example, features The Fangs of Suet Pudding (1944) by Adams Farr, set during the German invasion of France: Chris calls it “idiosyncratic and strangely endearing”. But two other titles he covers, The Pepsi-Cola Addict, and Hodgson’s Tales of Medical Students, are not far behind in the somewhat unusual category, while a longer essay on the life and work of Hanns Heinz Ewers covers more recognised literary ground.
Amongst the mysterious but fairly recently rediscovered authors surveyed in Biblio-Curiosa are Todd Robbins (issue 3) and Mark Hansom (issue 4), and this last issue also offers an excellent study of what is arguably Richard Marsh’s second greatest novel, The Joss. Connoisseurs of the truly recondite and outré, however, will also enjoy reading of Zalma by T. Mullet Ellis (issue 2) and in particular The Ferocious Fern (1943) (issue 3) by C.B. Pulman, a book of stories with a Triffid-esque theme.
Biblio-Curiosa is available from Chris Mikul at P O Box K546, Haymarket, NSW 1240, Australia, or via cathob[at]zip[dot]com[dot]au.