Thursday, July 26, 2012

Zine Review: Biblio-Curiosa #2

Who are F. Gwynplaine MacIntyre and T. Mullet Ellis? Chris Mikul not only knows who they are, but has read their exceedingly obscure books.

Chris recently published Biblio-Curiosa #2, a zine where he delves into the murky world of oddball books and mostly forgotten authors. I imagine Chris as the kind of bibliographic detective who shuffles through stacks of crumbling, dilapidated books in the attics of eccentric aunts, or rummaging beneath dusty trinket tables at inauspicious flea markets sleuthing for unusual titles wearing vintage Holmesian attire. The reality of course is probably much different, yet this is the image conjured in my mind’s eye by his tempered discoveries.

In the digital age, anyone can self publish anything rather than enduring the whims and mercies of traditional publishing houses. Back in the day (read pre Y2K) getting a book published was a lot of work. Some people read these books with unflinching pleasure when they were originally published. In Biblio-Curiosa #2, Chris relates what is known (or guessed) about the life of novelist, poet and short story writer F. Gynplaine MacIntyre, am imposing and gregarious figure who may unfortunately be remembered for his exit from life rather than his literary output. Chris then unearths a mystery about pulp paperback The Yellow Yasmak by Gina Dewall (or is it Murder in Mid Air by Dexter Dayle? Or perhaps written by neither pseudonym?). Moving forward unscathed, Chris delves headfirst into a potboiler of an intricately plotted novel titled Zalma by T. Mullett Ellis.

The writers chronicled in Biblio-Curiosa were passionate about the printed word, overflowing with imagination, and struck a chord with adventurous readers. This ardent literature should not be languishing in the cellars of history, and Chris Mikul does yeomen’s work as biblio-archeologist bringing these titles back into the prospective reader’s consciousness.

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