Thursday, June 26, 2008

"Post No. 515"

Preceeding the modern paperback book, there were these magazines, roughly the width and height of a comic book, filled with a couple hundred pages of text, and printed on very cheap paper, and they usually had lurid and colorful covers. They were called: pulp magazines.

And, as with paperbacks and comic books, pulp magazines had various themes; western, romance, detective, adventure, heroic, etc., etc., and, of course, science-fiction and fantasy.

In the pages of one such title in the 1930's, in a pulp titled, Weird Tales, there appeared some horror stories written by one H. P. Lovecraft, whose main theme consisted of tales regarding "elder gods" and the old magics and the like. In his various stories he refered to an archane tome of magic spells and enchantments which he called The Necronomicon. The problem was ... Lovecraft was so good and convincing a writer, that people started hunting for a copy of said book supposingly written by the mad arab, although it actually didn't exist. Lovecraft had just made it up to make his stories more interesting.

But with demand, comes supply, so other writers decided that if there was indeed no such book, that one should be created. Thus over the years we've seen various incarnations.

As I recall, in the 1970's, the scifi publication, Heavy Metal, even offered a limited hardcover of this for sale, illustrated by the great H. R. Giger (of "Aliens" design fame, as well as many l.p. jackets). And thus, in the year of 1977, so did Avon Books publish their own version in paperback format.

218 pages in length and originally priced at $3.50, this paperback contained what was supposed to be ancient magical symbols and spells and the testimony of the mad arab himself, cashing in on the growing trend of the time of those poor, pitiful, low self-extemed souls who believed in such (mostly I would assume that by reading it, it'd give them some power and abilities far beyond those of mortal men and control over those who made their lives miserable) who had turned to black magic or escaping reality into The New Age Movement.

"Whatever"... there were those who did believe in such things and still some that very heavily believe in such nonsense to this date much to the joy and fattening on the pocketbooks of publishers who want the general public to except such hogwash as something real.

This book should be placed in the fiction catagory, and would make a good companion book to your collection of fiction by Lovecraft. Or use it to impress your friends that you own such a book of terrible power!(*heh*)

And when they ask, "You mean such a thing full of archane knowledge is available to ANYONE in a widely distributed paperback volume??!!", simply reply, "Well, sure. They sell paperback volumes of The Holy Bible, don't they?"


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