Yesterday I visited Classicon, the annual pulp/paperback show coordinated by the Mid-Michigan Antiquarian Book Dealers Association (MMABDA) and the inestimably excellent Curious Book Shop. I took so many pictures that I have no recourse but to split them between a few separate posts. This is the first of three, titled to elicit maximum prurient interest and, ultimately, maximum disappointment. Enjoy!
Antiquarian book shows are the stuff of dreams–provided your dreams feature genre fiction, decades-old erotica, and at least one weird dude hitting on a widow by telling her about the time he pooped himself in class. (I think it was poop. It might have been barf. It was something that came out of his body, at any rate. By the way, he followed the anecdote up with: “Anyway, what’s your name?” which impressed me, because I wager most people would have done the introductions before the poop story. It takes a special kind of visionary to do it the other way around.)
(Jeez, where was I?)
Right, so. The show was great. Here are a few of the things I saw there.
There’s a real dearth of proper men’s mags these days. We can probably blame the Internet for that, as well as the recent fad of trying not to be such a drooling, slack-jawed ass-banana. Fortunately, fans of obviously fake war stories and the problematic fetishization of foreign women can still get their fix.
As fun as it is to picture a bunch of topless women stampeding through the jungle, flinging their poo and calling to perspective mates with distinctive pant-hoots, I suspect the term “sexual rampage” more aptly describes what invading armies do to the people they invade, not the other way around. I do like how this magazine included a story about people attacking cars for spare parts just because they could work the word “strippers” into the title. Bravo!
It says something about our society that I can’t tell if the army is rescuing women from rape, or rescuing them by raping them. Either way, I’m sure it’s a harrowing and not-at-all-made-up story. And hey–at least they’re doing it “with safety.”
Pulp erotica isn’t rare. Pulp erotica that actually delivers, however…“The fourth floor can’t be all that torrid if they’re doing it under the covers,” you say. Well, hypothetical pervert, you’re exactly right–there’s not that much sex in this book. In fact, having flipped through a number of similar tomes, I can reliably state that there’s not much sex in any of them. Perhaps the authors need to review the definition of a tease…
That said, I did find one book that actually delivers more than it promises.
Then there are the bits and bobs that can’t be otherwise categorized. For example, here’s all the proof you need that I am a twelve-year-old boy in a twenty-seven-year-old woman’s body.
Yes, yes, I know what “dick” means in this context, but the part of my brain that regulates laughing at things for ten minutes straight simply doesn’t care. Anyway, look at that detective casually punching that dude in the chin. That’s definitely something the other kind of “dick” would do.
At this point in the proceedings, the owner of the Curious Book Shop, who had seen me perusing several weird fiction publications, asked me if was a Lovecraft fan. I said that I was. (The truth is slightly more complicated: I love most of Lovecraft’s fiction, funny purple prose and all, but am really grossed out by his personal beliefs. Dude once wrote a story wherein the twist wasn’t that the love interest had Medusa hair, but that she was part black. Cthulhu give me strength… -_-)
Anyway, as it turned out, the book shop owner was a Lovecraft collector in his younger years, and he showed me some of the really special stuff he had in a paper sack behind the counter. Stuff like this:
That, friends, is a book from Lovecraft’s personal library at his home in Providence, Rhode Island. The sticker on the inside cover, which you can’t read because my cell phone camera isn’t that great, says “Ex Libris Howard Phillips Lovecraft.” Stuffed in the book is a real photograph of H.P. and his muppety face, as well as an original clipping from a Rhode Island newspaper announcing a second collection of stories by their native son. I was pretty darn excited about this, though I thought I kept it in check. Only later did my husband inform me that most people reserve that kind of squealing and frothing for a One Direction concert.
What is wrong with me?