Thursday, January 05, 2012

Into Whose Hands


Yesterday I received a copy of Whispers IV, a horror anthology from 1983 edited by Stuart David Schiff. This is my first volume of the series and I know little about Schiff, other than he published a small press magazine called Whispers and presumably many of the stories in this book originally appeared in the magazine. (A quick look at the indicia shows this to be the case, though a few of the stories came from other sources and some are original to the book.)
What makes this copy of particular interest to me though is that this book was the property of Karl Edward Wagner. This was his personal copy and there's a letter from Schiff and some Xeroxed reviews of the book that Schiff enclosed included with the book. I got the book from a bookshop in Wagner's home town of Chapel Hill NC. The shop has several items from the estates of Wagner and Manly Wade Wellman.
It's a little odd to think that the book used to sit in Wagner's home and now it's in mine. The letter from Schiff is addressed to Karl and his then wife Barbara and it's a chatty missive discussing conventions and such. Schiff mentions he hopes Wagner will appear in Whispers V.
Fittingly enough,Wagner's contribution to Whispers IV is the story 'Into Whose Hands'.
Anyway, the book has gone from Wagner's library to mine. I'll take good care of it.

12 comments:

Paul R. McNamee said...

That's great!

Keith said...

The Whispers series was great, in my opinion some of the best dark fantasy written in the 70s or any other time. I wish we had a market like it now. Some of the markets come close, but none match up completely.

Kudos on getting Wagner's copy. The closest thing like it I have is the copy of Far Lands, Other Days by E. Hoffman Price that's inscribed to L. Sprague de Camp.

Charles R. Rutledge said...

Paul, it's pretty great, yeah. Made my day.

Keith, the inscribed Price book sounds very cool. I've yet to pick up copies of the Carcosa Price or Cave books, though I've read both. I have the two Wellman volumes of course.

Keith said...

The Price book was pure luck. Half Price Books in Dallas got a lot of the de Camp library after his death, and one of the employees missed that it was inscribed, or it would have been much more expensive and behind a locked glass case. I didn't realize it was inscribed until I got it home. I've got the Cave and Lonely Vigils, but I'm missing the other Wellman from Carcosa (the name escapes me).

Charles R. Rutledge said...

Worse Things Waiting is the other Wellman volume, and well worth having.

Brian Murphy said...

Wow, terrific find. I can only imagine that sights that volume must have seen... KEW could party pretty hard, from everything I've read of him.

I'll vouch for the quality of the stories in the Whispers anthologies. I've got a couple of them, including the first, which includes David Drake's must-have story "The Barrow Troll."

Anonymous said...

Whispers is the closest we ever got to a second coming of the classic era of Weird Tales.

The collections are uniformly excellent, but not easy to find.

Congrats on the KEW copy. That's history.

John Hocking

Charles R. Rutledge said...

The Barrow Troll is indeed a great story, Brian. And yes, I bet that book could tell some tales.

John, you're gonna make me hunt those books down. Not that I mind. heh!

Will Errickson said...

I recently picked up all six volumes of WHISPERS in paperback, and am finishing up the first volume now. Good classic stuff, can't wait to read them all! And I also recall finding books that had once belonged to KEW, both in Raleigh used bookstores and in Chapel Hill, back in the mid '90s, probably not long after he died.

Charles R. Rutledge said...

I didn't even know they'd been released in paperback, Will. Very cool.

Will Errickson said...

Charles, I just read and reviewed the first volume (I found yr blog Googling Schiff & WHISPERS), and you can see the paperback editions too:

http://toomuchhorrorfiction.blogspot.com/2012/04/whispers-edited-by-stuart-david-schiff.html

Charles R. Rutledge said...

Great post, and cool to see the paperback covers. Thanks for the link!