Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Paperbacks from Hell is Here

Today is the day that Paperbacks from Hell hits bookstore shelves everywhere! My and Grady Hendrix's trade paperback from Quirk Books, it's a loving tribute to the 1970s and '80s horror paperbacks we all know and love. Crammed full of terrifying cover art, novel synopses, author and artist bios, as well as an in-depth look at the trends and themes and behind-the-scenes intrigue that kept drugstore racks spinning and bookstore clerks groaning at having to shelve all those books, it's a coffee-table-sized glossy-paged masterpiece if I do say so myself. I also contributed an Afterword of Recommended Reading.

Stellar reviews are pouring in from all over! The New York Times, Publishers Weekly, EsquireThe AV Club, Bloody Disgusting, Pulp Curry, Forces of Geek, Horror Fiction Review, and Syfy. More, even. Amazon has us at #1 in 20th Century Literary Criticism. Listen to Grady and me talking about the book on last week's Know Fear podcast. It's thrilling!Beyond my expectations! If you're in the Portland, Oregon area, come see us:


All readers of TMHF should avail themselves of Paperbacks from Hell posthaste. You will love your time in Hell.


18 comments:

John said...

Good luck with the book, gents. My copy is on the way from Amazon!

Adam said...

Thanks a ton guys, my copy will be here tonight and I can't wait!

Thalia the Muse said...

I got mine yesterday via Amazon pre-order and IT IS GLORIOUS. A wonderful smorgasbord of horror publishing history, short profiles of illustrators, snarky plot summaries, and (of course) tons and tons of beautiful cover reproductions.

I'm kind of in shock that this retails for well under $20. At that price, I wasn't expecting it to be so thick or so lavishly produced.

Thank you for making this book happen! I feel like Halloween came early this year.

Jack Tripper said...

Digging the hell out of this so far. I've been waiting for a book like this for years, so thank you (and Grady) for putting in the time and effort. My only negative is that a lot of these books are probably going to become much harder for me to find now that everyone's to-read list is growing!

MBoccardo said...

My copy arrived yesterday...it's stunning! Much larger than I expected, which is a bonus. Going to hell will be fun!

Unknown said...

I can't believe how great it looks/feels. Nice thick paper, good binding so it won't fall apart from repeated reads, and that's just the physical aspect of it. I stayed up waaaay past my bedtime last night reading it, and it's fabulous.

You guys should be proud - you did a HELL of a job.

Adam said...

Maybe Grady threw in one too many Whitney Houston jokes?
I do feel like the "Splatterpunk" section was written in a kind of despairing tone that didn't really communicate why THIS is too much and why something like The Little People gets a pass as bizarre entertainment. Covering major titles from that era in a kind of passive aggressive manner seems a bit jarring to me. Perhaps an intro detailing the thought process behind the inclusions would've made it a bit clearer. One paragraph on Lansdale, hardly denoting what he really brought to the table seemed like a missed opportunity. A dismissive section on The Kill Riff hardly illuminates how, in short story form, Schow was probably the closest "Splat" ever got to having a Richard Matheson. I appreciated the shout-out to Silver Screen from yourself, however. Kudos.
Truly, if I had any beef, it's perhaps that personal taste perhaps feels as though it got in the way of REALLY covering all the relevant titles and creators; seemingly not too big of a fan of good old fashioned monsters, nor the aforementioned late 80's to early 90's cycle of horror beyond the "elevated" standards.

What can I say? I do truly love the book and since I work in a used bookstore I'll be using this as a reference for some of the other employees, so there's certainly no harm done and I'm proud to own it and can't believe someone finally produced a book like this...but, it all being so near-and-dear to my heart, I'm sure you can understand why somethings feel slighted. All personal taste. In the meantime, I'm going to be re-reading and re-evaluating and, generally, just lavishing in a fantastic book well done.

Sincerely guys, thanks!

Adam said...

And I didn't even mention the lack of Laymon coverage that, in a book like this, love him or hate him, dude's got a spot between those covers. Oy!

Steven W. Bentley said...

Hey, man, my copy came in today! I wanted to let you know that the link to the Know Fear Podcast doesn't seem to be working, but I'm going to see if I can find it myself, as I would love to hear what you both have to say about the book.

Will Errickson said...

Thanks everyone! I fixed the podcast link.

As for titles/authors that were left out or the "tone" of some of the book, you're right, it was just personal taste. Grady and I talked long and hard about what and how we wanted to present the books. I think there's a good balance, altho I understand the "near and dear" to one's heart aspect. He's not a splat fan, really, and I also wish there was mention of Schow's short stories, which I generally love. I haven't read LITTLE PEOPLE so I have no comment on that. As for writers left out, I will tell you I scanned all the Laymon, McCammon, and King I have and only one McCammon was used; I had no idea which covers would be chosen. I would've loved to have seen the early Signet King covers that didn't include his name, or Rowena Morrill's McCammon covers, and yes, even a Laymon cover or two (wait, is RESURRECTION DREAMS not in there?! We talked about that cover!). There may have been rights issues, which was dealt with between Grady and the publisher, not me. There is so much more that's out there, and we just didn't have room! I'd love another volume, that's for sure!

But thank you all for buying the book and for your comments. This book was a labor of love as I'm sure you're all aware. It feels so great to have our little cult exposed to a wider audience, to have some vindication and some appreciation. If any of you are in the Portland area, remember, Thursday October 12 Grady and I will be at the Powell's Books in Beaverton, 7pm. I have no idea what kind of crowd if any we will get, but so far Grady has had terrific responses on the East Coast. Fingers crossed!

Adam said...

Thanks for that response that I'm sure I didn't even deserve. I'd assumed that, especially with such a broad swath of content to smoosh between two covers, it would have to come down to a number of factors as to what got included. Even if I didn't sound like it, I'd much prefer a personal opinion than a canned overview.

Oh yeah, Resurrection Dreams made it in. How could that cover not get in there? But it's true, most Laymon covers aren't nearly interesting enough so, in a book that is as much concerned with cover art as it is content, yeah, it makes sense.

I'm burning through T. Chris Martindale's Where the Chill Waits right now so the entry on Nightblood has me kicking myself at how many times I've passed that one up over the years.

I mentioned to my girlfriend that the "funniest" thing about the book to me is just how MANY of these books I've passed by and taken note of over the last twenty or so years. Just this year, I passed on Ehly's The Obelisk for months at my local. Now it's gone.

And don't even get me started on that HC copy of The Little People in Denton, TX for $30 that I passed on a couple of years ago...argh.

Again, love the book to pieces guys. Thank you so much for doing something we've all been waiting for. Here's to another volume, I'll certainly be buying it!

Unknown said...

Volume 2? Yes! We want volume two! We want volume two! :D

665+1 said...

Absolutely adored the book! Devoured it in one sitting. Congratulations! You guys knocked it out of the park, and I'm glad that this, the greatest of all blogs, will be getting even more exposure! !!!

Zwolf said...

Got my copy in yesterday. Haven't read too deep in yet, but o' course I cheated and looked at all the pictures! Excellent and thorough, and I was surprised at some of the obscurities ya'll dug up... I didn't think anyone had heard of those books but me! Beautiful piece of work and it's way past due that someone did an exploration of those old paperbacks. If you make future volumes you can count me as a dead-sure lock to buy 'em all! Kudos!

Lincoln Brown said...

Mine made it all the way to Australia this week...great stuff, I can't stop picking it up and flicking through it. Well done!

John Seavey said...

I'm almost to the end, and I'm really enjoying it, but...King is really conspicuous by his absence. The book has a double-page spread on VC Andrews, another on Anne Rice, it covers Jaws and the Exorcist and the Omen...but no King. Given that most of the 80s horror boom was an attempt to invent the next Stephen King, it feels like reading a book on marine biology that fails to explain what a fish is. :)

Other than that quibble, though, it's gorgeous, fun, snarky, with beautiful art and really great respectful treatment of the contributions to horror made by a wide variety of people. It's exactly what I hoped it would be, a distillation of my favorite aspects of your blog into a single book. And it's taught me that once I'm dead, my skeleton will be able to achieve anything.

Robert Kirby said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Robert Kirby said...

Such a great book, lotta great memories. It was esp fun when Hendrix would call out wonderful books like When Darkness Loves Us by Elizabeth Engstrom and The Cipher by Kathe Koja. The production values are just fab - I think we have a new classic on our hands! But there wasn't nearly enough from you, Will - your presence should expand in the next volume (I assume there will be a next volume because why shouldn't there be).