Saturday, July 05, 2008


The Most Famous Fantastic Blog Post of All Time

Belatedly -- Nathan Rabin over at the Onion AV blog on the curious pleasures of crummy old '70s paperbacks:
As Keith Phipps’ awesome Big Box of Paperbacks feature indelibly conveys, battered old paperbacks are a world onto themselves. The covers generally promise more than any book can possibly deliver but reading W.C Fields & Me I was particularly intoxicated with the ads littering its pages. The back page alerts shills shamelessly for paperback adaptations of Warner hits both famous (Klute) and rightfully obscure (who knew George C. Scott directed and starred in Rage, a “sizzling shocker about a man who attempts to destroy the U.S war machine”?)

Beyond plugs for other Warner paperbacks, the book also beats the drum for Sanka, Black Velvet (a smooth Canadian Whiskey represented by a lissome blonde with a come-hither stare and a backless black velvet dress), True cigarettes and, most tellingly, “Nostalgia Book Club”. Reading W.C Fields & Me I experienced a strange but pleasant form of double-nostalgia, remembering fondly both the golden age of vaudeville and classic comedy Fields embodied and the much different era that spawned this stubbornly old-fashioned paperback.

Speaking of that Box of Paperback series, Phipps recently reviewed The Blind Spot, a 1921 sci-fi novel whose apparent awfulness is only matched by (naturally) the chutzpah of its reprint cover:

Has anyone read this book? I don’t just mean people reading this piece now, I mean anyone, anywhere ever. Maybe even the authors. There are two of them and they don’t seem to be writing the same book. Maybe they skipped each others’ contributions.

Where to start? Let’s start with this: I love to read. I couldn’t do this project if I didn’t. I look forward to my commute each day for the uninterrupted reading time it allows me. And yet, I came to dread it over the course of reading this book, which I was determined to plow through for the sake of being done with it. Seldom has 317 pages felt so long.

And the pitch on its cover?... "The Most Famous Fantastic Novel of All Time"!

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