RARA-AVIS: eminence grisen formula

From: abc@wt.net
Date: 04 Jan 2000

I've always wanted to be an eminence grise, but surely there are a few raras who are griser than I. I was in high school in the 1950s, but I'd discovered SF even earlier and gotten hooked on John Carter of Mars and other stuff.
 Later I found one of those massive Groff Conklin anthologies, which led me to the SF magazines. The magazines were located right next to those great old rotating paperback racks, so naturally I discovered the wonderful world of Gold Medal books, which in turn led me to the masters like Hammett and Chandler. I didn't discover Jim Thompson until around 1966, or whenever it was that Gold Medal reprinted THE KILLER INSIDE ME, after which I went out and bought every Thompson I could find in the used-book stores. (And which is why I have most of those old paperbacks in their original printings and paid only a quarter or so for them, but why go into that?) When I went to college in 1959, my mother (here comes that familiar story) made me get rid of all my paperbacks, comics, 3-D movie magazines, etc. (I kept the baseball cards, though!) I gave the books and magazines to a friend, who happens to be the president of the college where I now teach.
 Now and then he invites me over to his office to visit my former possessions, like my first volume of Galaxy magazine, or my copy of Phil Farmer's A WOMAN A DAY. His mother was much more understanding than mine. Sigh.

Bill Crider

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