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Shaverology: A Shaver Mystery Home Companion Paperback – August 29, 2013
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"Toronto follows Shaver and Palmer home from the publisher's office and takes a peek into their private lives." -Timothy Green Beckley, Mr. UFO
"Shaverology is not a biography, but a collection of Shaver goodies; it presupposes a familiarity with the first book, or at least with Shaver's life. There's much in here not only about the "Shaver Mystery," as his stories about the caves came to be known, but on his fan club, his failed publishing company, and his obsession with picture rocks; as well as photos, letters, reprints of rare pamphlets, poetry, artwork, clippings, and much more. " -- Doug Skinner, The Ullage Group
About the Author
In 1972 Richard S. Shaver opened a letter from an inquisitive California kid named Richard Toronto. As the story goes, Shaver’s reply changed Toronto’s life forever. For the next four years until Shaver’s death in 1975, Toronto enrolled in Shaver’s rock book correspondence course, where Shaver encouraged him to photograph rocks and become a writer. A few years after Shaver’s death, Toronto founded Shavertron, a fanzine for Shaver Mystery buffs. In time it gathered a cult following, keeping Shaver’s memory alive for 29 issues from 1979 to 1992 as “The Only Source of Post-Deluge Shaverania.” It took another 35 years before Toronto wrote the book that became Shaver’s first published biography: War Over Lemuria. Since its publication in 2013, Toronto's California-based Shavertron Press has produced several ground-breaking new works on Shaver and the Mystery. ROKFOGO, a two-volume set devoted entirely to Shaver's Outsider Art career of painting and photography, was the first of its kind. The Shavertron collection, Toronto says, is his farewell to Shaver, as he plans to gafiate from the Shaver Mystery in 2014. Toronto attended San Francisco and Sacramento State Universities, graduating in 1994 with a BA in Journalism. He worked in the Arts in Mental Health program at Napa State Hospital in Napa, California, where he taught photography to the criminally insane. He also covered the arts and entertainment beat, among others, as a reporter for a suburban daily newspaper in the San Francisco Bay Area. His first magazine article about Richard S. Shaver appeared in Beyond Reality magazine in 1976. In 2002 he converted Shavertron to an E-zine, where it can be found at www.shavertron.com to this day.
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Producer: Beyond Lemuria - Second Edition
Early in the book, Toronto describes his visit to Palm Springs, California to interview millionaire publisher William L. Hamling, a friend and business associate of both Richard Shaver and Ray Palmer. Hamling's living room, says Toronto, "looked like a set from the original Ocean's Eleven, with Frank, Dean, and Sammy." In other words, it was wonderfully retro, and that encapsulates the vintage essence of this book. I was briefly disappointed that the Hamling interview didn't last longer, but soon realized that Toronto had spread portions of the interview throughout the book, so as to match the subject matter discussed by Hamling with the appropriate chapters.
Toronto includes material from other Shaver aficionados as well. There is Richard Horton, who visited Richard and Dorothy Shaver's farm many times, became well acquainted with them, and spent countless hours listening to Shaver discourse on many subjects. W. G. Bliss talks about Shaver's "rock books," which eventually came to be accepted as impressionist "outsider" art. Jim Pobst essays MECH, Shaver's term for mechanical devices left behind by the "elder race" of aliens who came to Earth in ancient times and lived underground. This book is an egalitarian effort and a labor of love, and it took Richard Toronto to bring it all together.
Toronto quickly followed the publication of Shaverology with the first volume of Shavertron: The Mimeograph Years. These are reprints of all 29 issues of the longest-running Shaver Mystery fanzine, Shavertron, which weird fiction author Don Webb calls, "The coolest mag in the zine revolution days!" Volume 1 contains issues 1 through 11 of Shavertron. You don't necessarily have to read this volume straight through from beginning to end. You can open it up to any page in your spare time and enjoy a few selections. Some will call The Mimeograph Years kitsch or quaint (seminal cyberpunk writer John Shirley called it "delightful"), others see it as a piece of science fiction history (which it is), and still others will look for hidden truths among the miscellany (Which they just might find).
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