Friday, November 20, 2015

Karl Edward Wagner and Book Collecting

Karl Edward Wagner's lists of best horror novels which appeared in The Twilight Zone Magazine in 1983 have been a favourite of book collectors and KEW fans alike.  Browsing through some issues of fan magazines from the late 1970s throws some light on how his lists germinated.

Wagner wrote a column "On Fantasy" in Fantasy Newsletter for a number of years along with Fritz Leiber, and in the September 1980 issue he wrote a fascinating article about a visit to the United Kingdom.  He speaks about visiting friends like Steve Jones, Jo Fletcher, Carl Hines, and Ramsey Campbell amongst others, but also mentions bookhunting visits to book dealers such as John Eggeling's Phantasmagoria Books, Ted Ball and Dave Gibson's Fantasy Centre, the acclaimed Martin Stone, former lead guitarist for Savoy Brown, George Locke's Ferret Fantasy.  He also mentions in-print bookshops Dark They Were and Golden Eyes and Forbidden Planet and he visits collectors such as John Hale and "the infamous" Charles Peltz.

Also revealing is this wants list from the June 1978 issue of the late, great Xenophile, which shows Wagner is looking to acquire R.R. Ryan and Mark Hansom books, some of which which eventually appeared in his favourites lists in 1983.


  1. If I was "infamous" then, gawd knows what I'm like now!

  2. I'm sure you wear your infamy well! Curiosity got the better of me and I sent you a letter last week - didn't realise you were online.

    1. Looking forward to receiving it, James!

  3. Took me thirty years to read all the books on his list and now they're popping up everywhere.