Saturday, September 22, 2018

Guy N. Smith Illustrated Bibliography by Shane P.D. Agnew

As a lifelong book collector and avid reader I’ll attest to the importance of bibliographic reference works. They are vital to our understanding of an author’s work, while simultaneously serving as a cultural checkpoint for society’s trends, motifs and habits. For example, I have indulged in collecting bibliographic works relating to actor Errol Flynn, author Zane Grey, and many of the pulp fiction writers from the 30s and 40s. Previously I might have said that Peter Valenti’s Errol Flynn: A Bio-Bibliography was the best one I’d encountered by a single author – until now. Shane Agnew has produced a bibliographic reference work that is breathtaking in its scope, offering a magnificent presentation, and loaded with historical details and insight. This is an awe-inspiring work, profusely illustrated and carefully constructed. The alphabetical listings are broken into sections – novels, children’s novels, omnibus, chapbooks, graphical, anthology, magazines, periodicals, newspapers and more. I was fascinated by the Polish, Russian, Finnish, German and other European editions of Guy’s horror novels. Guy commands a global audience. This section alone about his horror novels has inspired me to dig a little deeper and fill in some gaps. I own 48 of these, and there’s so much more. Guy’s The Wood and The Sucking Pit are among the finest (and scariest) horror novels ever written, and certainly my favorites. I am quite enamored with The Lurkers, Bloodsport, The Slime Beast, Dead End and naturally, the famous Crabs novels. His voluminous chapbooks, magazine and newspaper work is all documented and stands as a testament to Guy’s hard work. Of special interest is his erotic output – or glamour work – which naturally sparked my interest, raised an eyebrow (!) and may yet send me searching e-bay for a few choice items. With cupcake lit like “Gamekeeper’s Delight” from Carnival in 1975, “Sex Witch” from In-Depth in 1974, or “Tan her Buttocks” from Sex Games in 1975, you’ll be happily kept busy checking the dusty secondhand bookstores for copies of these morsels. Equally fascinating is his periodical work for Shooting Times, Gamekeeper and Countryside, Countryman’s Weekly, Country Life, and Scotland’s Magazine, and London’s Mystery Selection to name a few. Of Guy’s non-fiction books, I am fortunate to own Gamekeeping and Shooting for Amateurs, Tobacco Culture, Managing & Shooting Under Ten Acres, and Midland Gun Company- A Short History. There’s obviously much more. What I came away with was a deeper appreciation for Guy N. Smith’s talent, his earnest endeavors and the diversity of his work. In many ways, Guy defies categorization. Although he’s best known as a writer of supernatural thrillers, there’s no subject that he hasn’t attempted and mastered. Shane Agnew has done a magnificent job at collecting this material and compiling it into an easy-to-read accessible format. The fantastic cover picture is by Chris Hall, and as a bonus the book includes a new werewolf story by Guy titled “The Beast in the Cage.” This is a must-have reference guide. Kudos!

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