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This Just In....News from The Agony Column

05-31-03: Beauteous New Stephen King Editions, The Texas Chainsaw Car Sale

Dark Tower Comes Home Again

You know, he doesn't look all that different.

Who is this guy who grew up so much? And has he grown up? Let's hope not!


Dig this beautiful new image. I'll have more on this next week.

I'll have a lot more news about this next week in a column I hope to have out on Monday.

The Texas Chainsaw Car Sale

Better listen.

Celebrity autograph collectors beware!

"This just in" from Wayne Allen Sallee, who also tells me that his "latest story, "The Shank of The Night," will be in SEX CRIMES this fall."

LEATHERFACE sells his car on ebay, you heard it here first, Gunnar Hansen is auctioning off his personal vehicle with an offer to sign it with a chainsaw and have lunch with the buyer if they pick it up. Here's the link:

Oh the places you'll go!


05-29-03: A Closer Look at 'The Price of the Ticket' versus The World's Oldest Book

S. Clay Wilson's Art & Book Design for Dennis McMillan's Printing of 'The Price of the Ticket'

Yeah, the scan's a little crooked -- the book is a lot crooked.

Book reviewer Terry D'Auray insisted that I post the front and back covers of the new Jim Nisbet, and I can see why. Famed underground comic artist S. Clay Wilson's work is reminiscent of some of the art of Joe Coleman.

"You call that a book review?!"

Of course, there's the old San Francisco school of underground art seen here and, to my perpetually adolescent mind a bit of 'Mad' magazine.


Looky here -- somebody finally found a good use for foil! It helps to have those lovely garish illustrations in the margins of the DJ, though.

Apparently, if you're looking for a quality publisher, you need look no farther than Dennis McMillan, whose 'The Price of the Ticket', by Jim Nisbet is, well, worth the price of the ticket. The illustration and design by S. Clay Wilson is fairly stunning, if it doesn't as Terry D'Auray says, send you "screaming from the store". What's more (and better) is that the book apparently reflects the good qualities of the DJ. Take a look at the website for Dennis Macmillan Publications and prepare to be impressed. The books are all by top-rate authors and even include 'Silent' by A. A. Attanasio, who long ago wrote a science fiction novel that rocked my world titled 'Radix'. Terry got her copy of 'The Price of the Ticket' from M is for Mystery bookstore, where I saw both Jasper Fforde and Dan Simmons. Order the books from the publisher, visit the store and see what else they recommend -- fill up your inbox with some decent great reading and books that have a handmade feel. It's always a pleasure to discover another small-press publisher, and McMillan's work is top-rate.

World's Oldest Book Found (for now)

The world's oldest multi-page book. Not found in Victorville used bookstore.

From the Ffortean list and the BBC comes this news that's worth thinking about -- the world's oldest multi-page book.
Unique book goes on display

The world's oldest multiple-page book - in the lost Etruscan language - has gone on display in Bulgaria's National History Museum in Sofia.

It contains six bound sheets of 24 carat gold, with illustrations of a horse-rider, a mermaid, a harp and soldiers.

The book dates back to 600BC

The small manuscript, which is more than two-and-a-half millennia old, was discovered 60 years ago in a tomb uncovered during digging for a canal along the Strouma river in south-western Bulgaria.

It has now been donated to the museum by its finder, on condition of anonymity.

Reports say the unidentified donor is now 87 years old and lives in Macedonia.

The authenticity of the book has been confirmed by two experts in Sofia and London, museum director Bojidar Dimitrov said quoted by AFP.

The six sheets are believed to be the oldest comprehensive work involving multiple pages, said Elka Penkova, who heads the museum's archaeological department.

There are around 30 similar pages known in the world, Ms Penkova said, "but they are not linked together in a book".

The Etruscans - one of Europe's most mysterious ancient peoples - are believed to have migrated from Lydia, in modern western Turkey, settling in northern and central Italy nearly 3,000 years ago.

They were wiped out by the conquering Romans in the fourth century BC, leaving few written records.

05-27-03: Exclusive Previews of Coming Attractions, Phil Rickman's Exclusive Preview of Reality

Dear Diary....

This is the actual cover, not just a stitch-up.

Chuck Palahniuk is ready to rock the world of horror fiction.

The answer to last week's question is now apparent; my wife guessed that this was the cover of the new Chip Kidd's new novel (it's not, nor is the cover by Chip Kidd). Distinctive design conquers all. As we can see, it's the cover of Chuck Palahniuk's new novel, and it's lighting up my inbox. In my interview with him, Palahniuk promised last year to revive horror and his bid to do so has arrived. It will be part of my first Fall Preview later this week in the Agony Column.

Welcome to the Fortress

Jonathan Lethem takes on race relations, super-heroes and New York City.

No, the young Dylan in Jonathan Lethem's new novel is not the young Bob Dylan I had assumed when I first found a bit about this on the web. I had presumed that we might be having a fictionalized version of some of the events early on in David Hajdu's wonderful 'Positively Fourth Street', but that's not the case at all. I have this novel in my inbox, and it's positively on fire. I'll be offering a bit more of a preview of it later this week in my (for the time being) weekly Agony Column. This is a meaty 470 page novel that looks quite a bit the Great American Novel a la Lethem.

Reality Imitates Phil Rickman

Phil Rickman's latest novel spotlights a controversy sweeping the UK.

One of the more intriguing plot points of Phil Rickman's latest novel proves to have been rather prescient. In 'The Lamp of the Wicked', Merrily find herself confronted with fiscal reality as she ponders the problems of allowing a cell phone mast within her parish church spire. If customers are given to downloading porn over the Internet, is the Church broadcasting porn? Not surprisingly, that turns up to be a problem in reality, as this article in the Electronic Telegraph explains.

Porn ban for phone masts on churches

By Jonathan Petre, Religion Correspondent

(Filed: 26/05/2003)

A mobile telephone company has been ordered to restrict the transmission of pornography if it wants to place masts on two Yorkshire churches.

In a legal ruling, Vodafone has been told it must do all that technology allows to bar offensive or obscene material.

The decision follows concern that many churches could soon be unwittingly beaming pornography from their steeples and towers.

Many parishes have cashed in on the mobile phone boom by charging telecom companies thousands a year to put antennae on their buildings.

Some companies have discussed deals to supply pornography direct to individual handsets using new technology.

Judge Simon Grenfell, Chancellor of the Diocese of Ripon and Leeds, approved at the weekend the installation of Vodaphone masts on two churches despite local objections.

Vodafone said that it was studying the judgment. "We won't do anything that jeopardises that ruling."

If you haven't picked up 'The Lamp of the Wicked' yet, you should. It's bargain-priced in the UK (£10.00/First/HC). If you haven't picked up on Rickman's Merrily Watkins Mysteries, start back at 'The Wine of Angels' and consider yourself lucky; you have a lot of great reading ahead. I'm currently rationing them out to my wife, who would charge through the whole series in a week.