Let's start one of these shits for Mr James. Any favourites?
I've only just scratched the surface, but thus far, I have greatly enjoyed the 'James Darke' 'Witches' series, the two Crow novels I've read (first and last), 'The City' by Richard Haigh (ludicrous farce, broad Python-esque comedy, the two existential old guys on the stall who are straight out of a Beckett play, narrator speaking directly to reader, i.e. "Remember what happened before?"...very clever authorial distancing there...anyway...mixed with some really nasty incongruous sadism with sexual edge...whoa!!), 'Apache 4: Death Train', and the Herne the Hunter's that I've read...I've got a couple of 'Deathlands' that I haven't read yet. Really want to get hold of the biker books and the notorious 'Cut'. He apparently wrote this with John Harvey but it didn't get published in the UK as it was about snuff movies and too explicit? Has anyone read this, or know anything more about it? How much do I want to read that book! hehe...
I'm a fan of Laurence James' SIMON RACK series. For those unfamiliar ( as I was) - it's a science fiction pulp series. It's awhile since I read the first book in the series EARTH LIES SLEEPING - but behind a lurid red cover is a no pretensions sci-fi knockabout. I guess it's a space opera equivalent of the Piccadilly cowboys stuff and the type of book a non hardcore science fiction fan might get something out of.
Other books in the series are :
STARCROSS BACKFLASH NEW LIFE FOR OLD PLANET OF THE BLIND
In the preface to the first book it says about LJ - His likes include Alf Tupper , Wilson and Braddock , as well as old films, old comics and rock 'n' roll. Among many other things , he dislikes suits , gherkins and earwigs...
My dad used to be regularly visited by various old codgers who'd often swap bags of tatty old paperbacks. As we got older, he gave my brother and I first dibs on a new bag. It's hard to underestimate the impact of finding copies of Edge No 2 : Ten Thousand Dollars American and Angel Challenge in one. 'Mick Norman' is still my favourite LJ incarnation, but almost everything he wrote can be fascinating, looking for those film, music, Piccadilly Cowboy and paperback world references.
lots of stuff on the old board about Laurence, but just to re-iterate a few things. Yep, Simon Rack is very under-rated, and a fine homage to classic pulp with the first appearances of those in-jokes. It was the second series, I believe, and followed hot on the heel of the Angels.
Edge was cooked up by Laurence and Terry Harknett over a long lunch, and it was the success of the series and the fact that terry could go home after long lunches while LJ had to go back to work that persuaded him to give writing a go. He always credited Terry with 99% of Edge, by the way, although I suspect there may have been more input in terms of direction and tone than he let on in the early days.
Yes, he was very much a product of underground literature, in the sense that he loved the Beats, and in fact the book he was most proud of as an editor was 'Electric Underground', a City Lights anthology he put together around the same time he was behind Target, a boys mag that introduced me to Hammer-type movies via its pages! (and I read EU years before meeting him - the man is ubiquitous!)
The refernces were there mostly to cheer himself up when he was struggling with the days work - at least, that was his excuse.
The DC Thompson stuff is also influential - as well as listing those characters, he also collected a lot of old DCT story papers, and tried to get the rights for an anthology while at NEL.
A few interesting NEL finds of late, and this posting mentioning LJ's fondness for the beats coincides very nicely.
'New English Library Underground Classic' series from 1972, during LJ's peak. Plain black covers with coloured borders and the book title in the centre.
Titles I've picked up are- Big Sur by Jack Kerouac, Been Down So Long It Looks Like Up To Me by Richard Farina and Jail Notes by Timothy Leary.
I'm aware of further entries to the series- a reprint of Junkie by WIlliam Burroughs which NEL had first published in the 1960s, Opium by Jean Cocteau, and at least one Henry Miller title. Despite being grouped as underground classics and sharing the same cover design, none of the sister titles are listed inside. Any additions guys?
Post by franklinmarsh on Oct 26, 2008 11:02:21 GMT
Blimey, where's Ade's War! What Is It Good For? thread. Not time for a proper write up, but lovely RCD cover, odd German authors name as this series is concerned with the Allies in WWII, relatively sensitive handling of the massacre at Lidice, especially as chapter one is a piece of classic LJ gratuity. Plus a Nolan, a Tanner. and the exiled Czech Government being holed up in 134 Piccadilly, not
As one of the founders of Piccadilly Publishing, I can announce that the SIMON RACK series by Laurence James is being reissued in eBook format, complete will newly commisisioned covers and bonus material of one of Laurence's short stories for each of the five books. EARTH LIES SLEEPING contains The Only Man on Earth.