RIP Ardath Mayhar (1930-2012)

Jayme Lynn Blaschke has reported via Joe Lansdale that Ardath Mayhar has passed away.

Born in Timpson, Texas, in 1930, she initially entered the literary world as a poet at the age of nineteen. Her initial novel-length works of fiction included both Westerns and Historical novels written under the pen names of Frank Cannon, John Killdeer, and Sarah MacWilliams.

Her first science fiction tale appeared in 1973, a short story called “The Cat with the Sapphire Eyes.” She wrote or co-wrote over sixty books, including The World Ends in Hickory Hollow, a post-nuclear novel set in Texas, and the Kyrannon Shar-Nuhn cycle. She also wrote novels that appeared as part of the BattleTech and Fuzzy franchises.

In 2008 she was named Author Emeritus by the Science Fiction Writers of America.

As Lansdale himself said, she wrote “damn fine books!” She will be missed.

For further information:

The Internet Speculative Database has a comprehensive listing of her books and publications with some related links of interest.

Cushing has a collection of some of her papers, particularly her post-1980 work which is predominantly SF. The finding guide is available here. A small collection of her work is also housed at the University of Southern Mississippi.

A memorial service is pending, but more information can be found here.


Happy New Year!

Cushing is open again and I’ve been back and hard at work. First, some major news: Mark your calendars for March 22, 2013! We’re going to open a major exhibit devoted to the work of George R. R. Martin with Martin himself in attendance for a brief talk, Q&A session, and book signing. More details will be forthcoming as things develop, I promise. (Like, a title. A good title is vital. Also, the catalog. And the promos. And — Right, focusing.)

I’ve been spending the interim working on the processing backlog. Of interest to many of you will be The Hyborian Age Archives, a collection of manuscripts and correspondence from the Robert E. Howard files of John D. Clark. Curious as to how the Conan the Barbarian franchise essentially evolved in the 1950s, almost twenty years after Howard’s death? The items in this collection will tell you, including how the Gnome Press volumes were organized and those stories that were liberally rewritten by L. Sprague de Camp when they actually ran out of Howard’s material. Go check out the finding guide here.

(What the archive won’t tell you? How this:

became this:

And we do love you, Khal Drogo Jason Mamoa, but really.)

I’ll also have a student helping me finish processing the fanzine collection we got in 2010. (Look it was 150 boxes and they were all stuffed to the gills, these things take time, ok??) Stay tuned as I expect we’ll find some shiny items to share there as well.

Anyhow, from all of us to all of you, have a very Happy New Year! I can’t wait to see what adventures we’ll all get into!

You Can Tell It’s Noir!

I’m spotlighting this recent collection purchase because it’s actually a bit of a mystery and I need to do some more research on it. We acquired this pulp novel and its original cover artwork back in August:

 I wasn’t intentionally going for noirish photography, I promise. The window was just the best lighting I could get to take a photo by.

The book is Jean Murelli’s La Nuit des Trespasses, a novel in which a brave French journalist discovers that an odious American businessman is kidnapping beautiful women and, Stepford Wives-like, building robots in their image and doing away with the real women themselves. He is of course determined to bring the fiend to justice! The volume is one of three held in libraries across the world. It was published as part of a series of Fleuves Noir, a 1960s French pulp series dealing with the morbid and the fantastical. As near as I can tell, this was also Murelli’s only book, though I suspect it’s likely it was a pseudonym for another author as was often the case during this period.

Here’s a close-up of the oil and gauche painting:

 Remember, ladies, to always coordinate your heels with your feathers!

I have a fun idea in mind, if it could be managed, to track down other volumes in the series and try to build a collection of French pulp SF. I’m sure there were some similar lines in other countries. Anyone know of any?

So Hey, It’s Fall

You know what I like about Fall? It’s the zombies. A new school semester always starts with zombies running across campus, at war with the humans. Well, that’s how it is here anyway, and that’s the way I like it.

So what has your friendly neighborhood scifi curator been up to? Well, mostly up to her ears in stuff.

I feel like I should note that this is just what I’ve gotten in since MONDAY. I’d been perfectly up to date before then, I assure you. Well, mostly. So let’s look at some of our new toys.

Rory Harper’s novel Petrogypsies was re-issued with art by Brad Foster! Sweet!

These mint pulps all have the first publications of some of Andre Norton’s short stories in them.

This is a Game of Thrones promo bag distributed by HBO and containing a boxed crystal Iron Throne distributed to the members of the cast and crew of the show.

Annnnnd I have a load more goodies but that’s what I’ve unpacked thus far. Oh, I’m also teaching my seminar on Fan Studies again this semester and I have some firecracker students! We’re having a special screening of Ringers: Lord of the Fans! next week which should be most excellent!

Congrats, Brad Foster!!

The 2011 Hugo Awards were announced this weekend and Brad W. Foster won Best Fan Artist! Huzzahs!!!!! This is his eighth Hugo, because everything’s bigger in Texas, including the awards. >_>

I asked him for permission to post a piece of his work and he very kindly sent the Reno 2011 logo he had designed:

If you want to learn more about Brad and his press, Jabberwocky Graphix, please head over to his site. (As a curator with OCD, I am a particular fan of his helpful sitemap flow-chart, cleverly designed so as to minimize time in locating cat pictures.)

Alright, truefen, time to spill your Hugo thoughts in comments. How bitter are you that “Fuck Me, Ray Bradbury” lost to Doctor Who for Best Dramatic Presentation, Short Form? (Because I’m pretty bitter!) What about how awesome it is Connie Willis getting the Best Novel? Geek away!