The Abominations Of Yondo And A Huge Thanks

I’ve been a WordPress blogger for almost two years now and unsubscribedblog is my one and only endeavour on the web. I ran a previous blog covering new music releases on a rival site which, over the course of a year became inexplicably huge to the point where my hits per week where sometimes upwards of five figures. I was eventually contacted by a ‘proper’ online music site who wanted to ‘subsume my demographic’ and offered me a paid tenure with their grubby organ which I turned down due to unreasonably restrictive T&Cs. I told them it was about passion not money, they said they understood completely… and offered me a bigger retainer fee. I’d had enough of blogging at that point, it felt grubby and lonely – a faceless world of voiceless readers swimming in a sea of my words. I got out and vowed to stay out, but…

I have no idea why I jumped ship to WordPress and started another blog, especially one with such a  ridiculously narrow premise (not to mention unsearchable name) as this; Pictures of hoary old science fiction paperback covers and the odd quip about what music I’d been listening to. It hardly smelt of success. But it wasn’t success I craved, I needed an outlet for some of my slightly disturbing obsessions and a little community spirit within which to share it. I told myself that if I got only one hit per day then I’d carry on writing because at least there was someone reading and connecting somewhere. Thankfully I get a lot more than one person visiting the blog each day but what I do get that I never really developed whilst running an infinitely more ‘successful’ site (in terms of statistics) is interaction. Readers of the old blog were selfish, they consumed and moved on like digital predators but here people often like to stop and take the time to click on a button that says ‘Like’ or ‘Follow’. Sometimes they even hang around long enough to write a few words in a comments box about a post they’ve just read or a cool book cover that caught their eye. That’s my measure of success and not a load of charts, graphs, tag clouds and trend-lines.

There’s a reason for me coming over all confessionally gooey like this today. I’m not feeling too well. my health has been very poor these past few months and I’m struggling a bit to be honest. I’ve just been in hospital and am currently on ward leave so I can spend some time at home relaxing. It’s all been a bit of an ordeal. I’m not looking for sympathy here and we’ll say no more about the subject but on the morning I went into hospital a book arrived through the post for me, a very special book indeed.

At the start of this month I published a post about the esteemed author, poet, sculptor, painter and friend of H. P. Lovecraft – Mr Clark Ashton Smith. After my introductory preamble I presented six cover photographs of books which represented my incomplete collection of 1970s Panther reprints, the seventh still being as elusive as it ever was. A few days later, I received a comment from a person under the name of ‘franzwesten’ who just happened to mention that he had a spare copy of Yondo which he would gladly send to me free of charge. We hurriedly swapped details and the following day an email arrived from a chap called Mr Read with photos of the book to see if it met my exacting standards. I was absolutely thrilled and delighted that not only had someone read the article I had prepared but cared enough to comment on it and ultimately share his spare copy of a book I have literally spent years looking for.

I’ve long since been a huge fan of blogging, the community spirit that exists and sheer torrent of ideas, imagination, inspiration and knowledge is astounding. This however is something altogether above and beyond the idea of that digital community, sharing actual physical objects with complete strangers just because you have a shared interest in a particular topic on the internet is very special.

I obviously haven’t had time before now but today I photographed the book and then updated the original article (which is here if you haven’t already seen it). I’ve now decided to write this which I suppose is an open letter of thanks to Mr Read for his kindness and generosity in selflessly sharing a rare book which has completed a collection, therefore making me a very happy man.

It’s probably courteous to note here that Mr Read runs his own very well produced and extremely erudite website/blog called Lankhmar – The Fritz Leiber Homepage which can be accessed here.

We should all make sure that we keep on writing, reading, liking, commenting and sharing via our many and disparate blogs as it truly does engender a sense of community. Also, you wouldn’t believe the difference that producing or reading these humble little blogs make to some people’s lives.

Finally, here’s a cover shot of that special book in question;

The Abominations Of Yondo by Clark Ashton Smith
This version was published in 1974 by Panther Books
The cover artist is uncredited although it was probably painted by Bruce Pennington given the fact that all of the books covered in the article linked to above are completed in his style and were issued during the same period.

The Abominations Of Yondo

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11 thoughts on “The Abominations Of Yondo And A Huge Thanks

  1. johncnash 30/11/2014 / 1:59 am

    What a wonderful post! As a newcomer to the whole blogging thing I’d just like to say how inspirational I find your blog. It’s great to find someone else out there who shares this odd passion for dusty old books and their peculiar covers and contents. It’s really good to hear that you completed your Clark Ashton Smith collection too, and in such a heartwarming way!

    Wishing you well my friend,
    John.

    Liked by 1 person

    • unsubscriber 30/11/2014 / 8:46 am

      Thank you for those warm words Mr Nash, It was a big step starting off a blog like this which is so intimately niche that I doubted anyone would ever read a single word. It’s always inspirational to find others doing similar things – I really dig your blog too!

      Finishing that CAS collection was something I never thought I’d achieve but franzwesten made it all possible with his kind gesture, I couldn’t help being moved sufficiently to write a few words. He’s the truly inspirational one here and a great example to us all.

      I’ve got the Horror book triple bill finished now and pencilled in for the first three posts in January. The pressure’s on now!

      Best wishes coming back at you John.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Bernie 30/11/2014 / 2:47 am

    I agree 100% with John. It’s a lovely story, thanks for sharing it with us, and well done to franzwestern, what a nice person you are.

    Unsubscriber, I’m happy you’re home for a few days, I hope it lasts longer, and very happy for you that the gift meant so much to you, things like that make you realise the world’s maybe not such a bad place after all.

    Take good care of yourself, Bernie xxx

    Liked by 1 person

    • unsubscriber 30/11/2014 / 8:57 am

      Thanks to you for reading and enjoying this tale of generosity Bernie, I just had to share franzwesten’s kind gesture with my readers. After the past few years I’ve lost almost all my trust in people yet someone I’ve never met sends me a book I’ve been after for years at their own expense, that’s pretty special. He really is a very nice person indeed – we could do with a few more like him around the place.

      I was going to drop you a very quick line to let you know I was at home on leave and to be discharged soon – next week I hope! – but I’ve been either buzzing around the place or resting up properly. Thanks for letting me back in so soon.

      Hope you and yours are well Bernie, very best wishes xx

      Like

  3. lcmt 01/12/2014 / 12:40 am

    This is a lovely post. Today I am starting my christmas season early, listening to carols, and this seems to fit seamlessly into the sense of gentle joy and wonder. Thank you so much for the link to Lankhmar, I have such fond memories of reading the Fafhrd and Gray Mouser Series.

    Liked by 1 person

    • unsubscriber 01/12/2014 / 1:32 am

      I’m glad you enjoyed reading this one, it was written in one straight take with no overdubs because that’s how I was feeling it at the time. Sometimes, the smallest acts of kindness and generosity are actually the most powerful and we’re all guilty of losing our perspective in life at one time or another.

      Unsubscriber is a committed and devout disbeliever and therefore opts out of such seasonal celebrations but is no less pleased that my humble words brought you a little joy and happiness no matter what the occasion.

      I hope you enjoy yourself in the coming weeks, I wish you nothing but the very best for 2015. I shall of course be looking forward to basking in the fruits of your labour. Best wishes as always.

      Liked by 1 person

      • lcmt 03/12/2014 / 1:03 am

        I am an unbeliever myself, and I practiced atheism for many years, but for me atheism was something of a dead end. I am still an agnostic and a skeptic. I am comfortable with saying “I don’t know.”

        I like the Christmas myths. A lot of the magic of the holidays has disappeared with growing older, but Christmas music still retains its mysterious power to move me.

        Sometimes I think of myself as a mythologist, and I appreciate the depictions of the universe found in human spiritual culture. My creative life is inescapably entwined with myth. And then I have the emotional benefits of strong connections tied to a childhood immersed in a common spirituality. At the same time, I am more likely to worship at the altar of science. With what we have learned of the universe in my short life time… it makes physics miraculous.

        Liked by 1 person

      • unsubscriber 03/12/2014 / 2:59 pm

        That’s a very well explained position to be in, I would agree with you completely on the mythology aspects it’s just that I believe these myths which ended up becoming subsumed by the major religions are older than we realise. You’re definitely safer with science on the other hand. Whatever you choose to do over the coming weeks though I hope you have an enjoyable time. Very best wishes.

        Like

  4. franzwesten 02/12/2014 / 10:36 am

    I am glad the book has found a happy home! Sorry you have been feeling unwell, and I do hope you are on the mend. I still maintain tremendous hope about people in general, I am an eternal optimist.

    The care and attention (both with your words and your meticulous cover wraps) you pour into this blog is an inspiration and spurred me onto adding a few more blog posts to my site (which is primarily an information store I guess). What it has also done is reignite the pleasure of book art for me.

    I love having a kindle, my train journeys have been vastly improved by it, but I have found myself revisiting my book collection, adding to it (lovely new Ramsey Campbell HB), I really had forgotten the pleasure of examining a new book (or rather new to you ) and noticing all the details both tactile and visual.

    So for that, I think I am STILL in debt to you!

    With regards to gifting a book, I remember a long time ago, in the mid nineties, (when the internet was a far simpler place) my Fritz site had been running a couple of yours and a chap form America got in touch to say his father had passed away and he was disposing of his vast library / collection. He had dozens of copies of Fantastic, Galaxy etc, and did I want them, he had sorted all the Fritz ones out, there were about 50. He was contacting other people with relevant books for their authors.

    I said this was fantastic, but I couldn’t afford 50 pulp magazines but I would happily put a page up onto the website so he could offer them for sale.

    I then got an email back saying, I had misunderstood, he just wanted the books to go go where they would be enjoyed by others. A few days later I had this huge box of pulps arrive, along with a lovely letter.

    Astonishing, and so kind. Looking back, what I found particularly nice was the way (he admitted he was not a fan of the genre, so was unsure) he had used the internet to reach out to people who would get the most from these books, I understand he contacted several author fan sites.

    Liked by 2 people

    • unsubscriber 02/12/2014 / 10:58 am

      I’m so pleased that you read this post and replied franzwesten, as you can see it’s had a fair bit of positive feedback from people. You fully deserve the praise you got, there is no debt to repay in the least believe me.

      I’m pleased too that you see my work as an inspiration for your own, it’s good to know that you’re touching other people’s lives when you put a post together and all the effort that requires.

      I went digital musically as soon as I could, ripping CDs and cassettes etc like crazy over a two year period but never quite caught on to the ebook thing. I like the tactility, artwork and smell of old paper far too much to go down that route.

      Your gesture was honest and innocently proffered which definitely made an impact on me and my lack of faith in people’s motives. I will always look on that book as a token of friendship and kindness rather than just a pile of pages.

      Your pulp story was pretty heartwarming too, I’ve just had a similar experience with an eBay seller who I’ve got to know better through email. He mentioned he’d found a stash of Digit paperbacks but couldn’t but instead of sorting and listing them on eBay, he offered me the lot for free because of my passion for this particular publisher.

      It’s a great feeling to share with others selfless and without fanfare but I really did want to say a hug public ‘thank you’ for Yondo as I’ve been looking for it so damn long AND it completed a collection I thought would always remain unfinished.

      Thanks for commenting and keep up your good work, I’ve plenty more covers to display here too…

      Best wishes.

      Like

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