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Studies in the art of rat-catching
Studies in the art of rat-catching
by Henry C Barkley
Edition: Hardcover
3 used & new from $7.00

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Well Written, Humorous, and Entertaining, March 1, 2006
This proports to be a study of rat catching, and a manual of study for those interested in the profession. It is far more than that. Barkley writes with humor and his stories flow with grace. A British man who traveled the world with his work in youth and became an author later in life, Barkley is a very good, overlooked writer of his generation. His five books are very hard to find now but are worth the search.

This one tells how to raise ferrets and train them to chase rats. You put the ferret in the rat hole, he chases the rats out, the dogs catch the rats, you charge 2 pence or whatever price for the rats. Barkley creates several fictitional scenarios and tells you creative yet mostly outdated ways to catch rats. As a youth, he did use the ferret/dog method, but for entertainment with his friends, as he details in his book "My Boyhood." The book unwinds toward the end and he drifts into a narrative about his favorite dogs and how he came to own them. He says a youth could select rat catching as a good profession, not like a lawyer or politician. Good stuff.

Point of interest: Crispin Glover used this book at the basis for his artistic collage book "Rat Catching," which uses some of this text to form a similar yet different story. Check it out, it is the book that turned me on to Henry Barkley.


Rat Catching
Rat Catching
by Crispin H. Glover
Edition: Hardcover
24 used & new from $64.95

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Creative Genius, March 1, 2006
This review is from: Rat Catching (Hardcover)
Glover takes Henry C. Barkley's book "Studies in the Art of Rat Catching" and cuts, pastes, manipulates it into another work in and of itself. The story starts out the same, but morphs into a hilarious and bizarre read that has to be experienced to be appreciated. Words cannot describe it. Glover edits out all references to ferrets, changes the ending substantially. When reading the original version, I found myself missing the crazy pictures, especially those of the Sand Pit Man. This is a must-read, and I would recommend getting the original Barkley book as well for purposes of comparison. It is available now in a reprint edition through Amazon.


Just Before Dark
Just Before Dark
by Jack MacLane
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
19 used & new from $1.94

11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Jack MacLane Novels, March 1, 2006
Jack MacLane wrote 5 horror novels in the 80's/90's. Amazon has only four of them listed. The fifth (and worst) was called "Keeper of the Beast" and featured a kid on the cover imprisoned in a jail made of those letter blocks that kids play with. I barely remember that one, only that it wasn't as good. Bear in mind I read them years ago, when I was in middle school, so I can't speak for the quality of writing.

Except for "Blood Dreams." I forgot to read it "back then," wanted to savor it for later. I read it a couple of years ago and found the writing style to be pretty simplistic. By no means literature, or even great literary genre fiction, it was still a fast paced interesting story about dreams that build up to a strange finale.

"Just Before Dark" was about the best of them. It centered around a junk yard which was actually a front for the mob. Some creepy things started killing people, the mob was killing people... some accountant worked in a trailer in the middle of it all. Strange story.

"Rest In Peace" was a pretty scary book about a house next to a graveyard and the weirdness that surrounds it. Zebra was good about slapping a cover onto a book that had nothing to do with the story, and this was a good example. The cover made it look like a vampire book, but was more like a cross between Jack Ketchum's "Off Season" and Richard Laymon's "The Woods Are Dark." I read this at my grandparents' house and had trouble sleeping.

"Goodnight Moom" was a great horror book for a thirteen/fourteen year old, but I don't know if I'd like it much now. Father beats kid and abuses mother, locks kid in basement, kid turns into a homicidal maniac and goes on a killing spree. The father has to track him down... good fun night time reading.

Jack MacLane is actually the pen name of western writer Bill Crider, and is reportedly a friend of Joe Lansdale. Funny how I discovered him years before Lansdale, who is now my favorite writer. Perhaps MacLane even paved the way to my discovering greats like Lansdale, Ketchum, Laymon, and for that I thank him and will always enjoy the memory of his books. I am, however, afraid to go back and reread them, as I am afraid to go back and rewatch "Howard the Duck."


The Minority Report and Other Stories
The Minority Report and Other Stories
by Philip K. Dick
Edition: Audio CD
16 used & new from $7.98

11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Unabridged Audio Collection..., March 1, 2006
Keir Dullea does a great job narrating this collection of stories by Philip K Dick. Not only does it have five very good stories, FOUR of them are the basis of Dick movies. First off is "The Minority Report." The idea was the same as the movie, but the story was totally different. I definitely didn't see the end coming... it would have made an interesting movie.

Second was "We Can Remember It For You Wholesale," which became the movie "Total Recall." The story was pretty short, shorter than I would have liked, but it was good. The movie was similar, but a lot was changed.

Third was "Paycheck," later made into the movie with Ben Affleck and Uma Thurman. This was actually the most faithful adaptaton. A man wakes up with no memory, finds a bag of clues, and uses them to trace his way back to a secret project. Only the end was different, and of course the movie expanded and added characters, but I liked the story better.

Fourth was "Second Variety" made into the movie "Screamers" starring Peter Weller. Again, the two were much alike. A very good SF story set on a bleak planet where clone robots have wiped out much of civilization and have found a way to manufacture themselves.

The fifth and shortest is "The Eyes Have It," which is a brief, humorous piece where the main character takes the wording from a romance novel literally...

A strong collection and a good recommendation for anyone who wants to compare the stories and movies and wants to get almost all of them in one shot. If only it had contained the story for "Imposter."


Trail to Nowhere (Black Horse Western)
Trail to Nowhere (Black Horse Western)
by Jack Ketchum
Edition: Hardcover
3 used & new from $32.31

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not the "Real" Ketchum, February 28, 2006
Buyer BEWARE! This is NOT the Jack Ketchum who wrote "Off Season," "The Girl Next Door," etc... This is a British author who writes westerns. The guy who sold it to me for a high price swore up and down it was the real Ketchum. I tried to sell it the same way and somebody forwarded me a snippet from Ketchum himself saying it was a British guy writing westerns. I had to sell it honest then, and it was hard to get rid of. It haunted me like a Ketchum novel. Don't let it happen to you.

The book itself is not bad, but not remarkable. It is a standard 200 page western, no real character development and moderate narration. If you're a fan of that Ketchum, you'll probably like it, but I've never read any other books by the man. You can find some on Amazon's UK site, I think. If you're looking for a good western, try Edward Gorman or "The Crossing" by the American Ketchum, or "The Open Range Men" by Lauren Paine.


Ephemera
Ephemera

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Early Poetry by Ketchum, February 28, 2006
This review is from: Ephemera (Paperback)
This is a brief chapbook containing some poems Ketchum wrote when he was in college. Only 200 copies were made and given out with purchase of the hardcover edition of "Cover." There is an introduction by Ketchum detailing the play Marat/Sade he was in, which is the source material for the two poems. After the poems is a page called "GRAFITTI" which has abstract ideas jotted down in free verse. Overall, for the Ketchum completionist. Better and more recent poems by Ketchum can be found in "The Devil's Wine" edited by Tom Picarilli.


Enemy Mine
Enemy Mine
by Barry B. Longyear
Edition: Paperback
27 used & new from $0.29

6 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best SF Books EVER!, February 28, 2006
This review is from: Enemy Mine (Paperback)
I'm a huge fan of "Enemy Mine," and have read every version Longyear has published and every Longyear collection it has been in... "Manifest Destiny" and "The Enemy Papers," to be precise. This is one of the greatest stories of breaking racial barriers and living in peace with people of different cultures ever written. It is just as timely now as ever.

I am hoping that the full length novel version of Enemy Mine that Longyear and David Gerrold (author of "The Man Who Folded Himself" and Star Trek's "Trouble With Tribbles") will be reprinted soon. Longyear is bringing back all of his other books, why not that one? Does the movie studio own the rights? I'm sure Gerrold would like to see it reprinted. It fleshed out the story more, developed the relationship between Shigan and Davidge, and added more Zammis material. The ending was almost the same as the short story only it was expanded and improved. The only version out there is the one with the movie tie-in cover, which is long out-of-print.


The Lone Ranger and Tonto
The Lone Ranger and Tonto
by Joe R Lansdale
Edition: Unknown Binding
9 used & new from $22.50

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Another Classic Lansdale Western, February 27, 2006
This review is from: The Lone Ranger and Tonto
In trying to review any Lansdale classic not yet reviewed, I find it hard to believe this one is so little known. The Truman/Lansdale dream team that created the THREE Jonah Hex miniseries delivers a Lone Ranger/Tonto story that rivals them all. There is even a supernatural edge... You have to read it to get more, I refuse to spoil the surprises. I believe there were three issues combined into this graphic novel. It left me wanting to read more of the Lone Ranger, who I haven't otherwise given thought to since the black and white show...


Steel Valentine
Steel Valentine
by Joe R. Lansdale
Edition: Paperback
18 used & new from $14.00

3 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Love Gone Bad, February 27, 2006
This review is from: Steel Valentine (Paperback)
A nicely done crime-noir lover's revenge Lansdale story... reprinted in "By Bizarre Hands." Get it there for far less... and bring "By Bizarre Hands" back into print!!!


Veil's Visit: A Taste of Hap and Leonard
Veil's Visit: A Taste of Hap and Leonard
by Joe R. Lansdale
Edition: Hardcover

12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars I Wish I'd Known..., February 27, 2006
I wish I'd known when I first owned this short collection that it would someday be selling for such a price!! I'd have bought five copies and retired rich! Vachss and Lansdale collaborated on a few Hap and Leonard short stories... Leonard was finally forced to go to court for burning down the crack house next door (a running joke in some of the Hap and Leonard novels). Vachss, a lawyer in real life, obviously ran with the courtroom proceedings in this humorous venture.

Also included was an excerpt from "Captains Outrageous" and an "interview" with some of the characters from the H & L novels. This was a very short collection, a sideline in the Hap and Leonard series. I would recommend it to fans, but not at such a high price... Where are the reprints? Writers make no royalties from the sales of used books... bring this back into print, please! One of these stories was reprinted in "Mad Dog Summer and Other Stories."


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