Way back in 1984 the postman delivered a large envelope containing articles by John (Nic) Howard – items on, about and by August Derleth. Also in that package was a short piece by Ramsey Campbell and many, many illustrations by Allen Koszowski. This was my first foray into small press publication.
Soon the contents were combined into a booklet and published by the British Fantasy Society as Masters of Fantasy 2: August Derleth. It was a time-consuming, yet an interesting, educational and rewarding, experience: typing it out on an electric typewriter, correcting the typos, using sheets of Letraset to prepare the titles, and cow gum to paste it together. The booklet contained the following :
- “Ramsey Campbell’s “Derleth As I Knew Him”, the introduction, was excerpted from a longer piece.
- “Derleth: An American Life in Literature” by John Howard
- “Dark Glory: Derleth’s Achievements” by John Howard
- Foreword, notes and bibliographical information by John Howard
The booklet was 24 pages in length (plus covers) and looks rather quaint when compared with today’s proliferation of small press publications. Masters of Fantasy 2 was the seventh in the BFS Booklet series. Its cover price was a mere 50p (around $1.50 back then).
Nowadays, can you buy anything worthy for a miserly fifty pence?