When you’re dead, the amount of things you haven’t seen or watched will far exceed the number of things you have. Every hour, 30,000 hours worth of content are uploaded to YouTube, for example, so even if it was your fondest desire to watch it all, it would rapidly become impossible to do so. Quick googling tells me there’s between 500,000 and 1,000,000 books published per year, and that number grows very dramatically if you begin including self-published works. Figuring out how to get you to part with your time and money to watch, listen to, or read something is a gigantic fucking industry. And even then, it fails.
Like, 16 year old me should have bought this:
It’s got it all! It’s kind of gross, it mentions necromancy, supernatural mayhem, and bloody terror. What I actually remember, though is this:
This book seemed to be everywhere for a time in my life. Memory being what it is, I remember this being around before it actually existed. I would have been 18 when this version was released, and I believe this was the first mass market paperback edition. It was a constant in the horror section of bookstores, and I swear I remember seeing it in places like grocery stores and other places where paperbacks were common. The notion of a book not being sold in a bookstore is now fairly ancient, as am I, and honestly, I do not know if my memory is playing tricks on me.
Writing a little bit about ‘Paperbacks from Hell’ (specifically “Stage Fright”) put me in mind of these. The Paperbacks from Hell series feature the original cover art in all of it’s 80’s glory. It put me in mind of that skull with a tongue cover, and I further remembered seeing some of them over time:
Particularly “Vamphyri!”, which has both cover art and a title that are memorably campy. I never read a single one of them. Until now, when, for reasons I cannot discern, I started the first one in the series.
There are twenty of these books. That’s a lot. I try not to read too many reviews or summaries before I undertake a thing so I go in without pre-formed opinions, but from what I can tell, it’s a set of related series with a common world, not a twenty book story. The first five books are the “original” series, and the others form their own various series within the world built in the first five. Maybe. I’m not sure, and while there’s likely some hidden corner of the internet where someone has obsessively created a timeline for this stuff, I did not come across it (nor did I look that hard).
As for why 18 year old me didn’t buy it? I don’t know. I was making the transition between “reading is fun!” and “I only read artsy shit”, but it wasn’t always that clear, and I read ‘trash’ even then. Maybe my prejudice against book series was in full swing. Even today, getting me to start reading an incomplete series is difficult. I want the story to be complete before I pick up the first book; even when I read the Expanse series, I only started it *because* I mistakenly thought it was concluded.
I haven’t finished the first book, and I may or may not write about it when I am. Right now it’s a goofy melange of gore, spy shit, and a hidden world narrative.
As of now, I am reading:
“Necroscope”— gee, I feel like I have mentioned this. Possibly above.
“Fight Like Hell”— Kim Kelly’s excellent history of unions; this is well outside my perceived scope for this blog, so I don’t think there will be a longer entry on it, but I will recommend it. It’s well written, and a view into a part of American history that’s not often covered.
“theMystery.doc”— I’ve kind of stalled on this one, but plan to pick it back up shortly. I more or less need to figure out where in my reading time to slot it.