Drive-Thru Life by John Galardi

der W 04Drive-Thru Life: The Story of John Galardi, Founder of Wienerschnitzel, by John Galadriel, Galadriel Group 2018 ebook

Ever since I was a tad, I’ve loved hot dogs. These days, naturally, everyone says they’re unhealthy, or full of bad stuff or whatever else to discourage a person from eating such a thing, but I still love ’em and I still eat ’em.

Sometime when I was in high school, I came across a Der Wienerschnitzel A-frame, red roofed, and found that for 15¢ (the same price, at the time, of a burger at McDonald’s) I could get a chili dog, with mustard and onions. Boy! There was many a time when, in college in Tucson, a buck in my pocket got me three chili dogs and a soda with change left over. There was a Der Wienerschnitzel in Santa Ana, not far from my home in Tustin, CA and I visited every couple of weeks, or sometimes weekly. There are no franchises here in Oregon, and I miss Der Wienerschnitzel a lot. Yes, I have a T-shirt.

der W 02I got this free ebook from the Der Wienerschnitzel website. It tells the story of Galardi deciding to start a fast food business, learning the ropes by working in a Taco Bell, then launching his first, and many successive stores. Pretty interesting.

I wish I had one of those chili dogs right now.

Posted in Books & Reading | 17 Comments

Forgotten: Swordsmen From the Stars by Poul Anderson

Swordsmen From the Stars by Poul Anderson, DMR Books 2020 Kindle ebook, 172 pages, cover art by Allen Anderson.

swordsmen from the stars01Three early fantasy-adventure novelettes by Anderson, showing off his ability to write in the pulp fantasy-adventure vein, better than most.

 “Witch of the Demon Seas” originally appeared in the January 1951 issue of Planet Stories. Sorcery and greed for power result in captured pirate leader Corun and a band of mercenaries under the leadership of the sorcerer Shorzon sailing dark seas to meet with the feared water-reptile race once of the Xanthi, the Sea Demons in hopes of a treaty of conquest. The sorcerers’ beautiful daughter is the Witch. This made me think of the early Conan tales of Robert E. Howard.

“The Virgin of Valkarion” originally appeared in the July 1951 issue of Planet Stories. An ancient prophesy tells of an outlander from the north riding into the city on the night the King dies, and ending the planet02Thirty-Ninth Dynasty when the “Mating of the Moons” occurs overhead, but the leaders of The Temple are sure they can assassinate the stranger first. Reading this, I kept thinking of Fritz Leiber’s Lankmar stories.

planet 01“Swordsman of Lost Terra” originally appearedm in the November 1951 issue of Planet Stories. Proud Kery of Broina felt like a ghost himself; shade of a madman flitting hopelessly to the citadel of Earth’s disinherited to recapture the fierce, resonant Pipes of Killorn—weapon of the gods—before they blared out the dirge of the world! A hint of Burroughs, in this one.

So, I’ve mentioned Robert Howard, Fritz Leiber and Edgar Rice Burroughs in describing these stories. I don’t think that’s reaching. If you like fantasy adventure, these are for you.

note: Poul Anderson is a favorite author of mine, so take that into account.

Posted in Books & Reading | 17 Comments

Article Worth Reading

I get the Tor.com e-newsletter, among dozens of others, so I came to this article, which I thought I’d share, as it can be applied to mystery genre reading just as well as SFF.

Stop Feeling Guilty About the Books You Haven’t Read Yet.   Enjoy.

Posted in Books & Reading | 6 Comments

Short Stories Read – The Fantastic Universe Omnibus part 2

I finished reading this one (see last week for the first part) a few days ago.

The Fantastic Universe Omnibus edited by Hans Stefan Santesson, Prentice-Hall 1960 hardcover, science-fantasy short story anthology, 19 stories, 270 pages, introduction by Lester del Rey

“A Way of Life” (1956) by Robert Bloch

“In Lonely Lands” (1959) by Harlan Ellison

“Fall of Knight” (1958) by A. Bertram Chandler

“Sit by the Fire” (1958) by Sasha Miller [as by Myrle Benedict]

“A Thing of Custom” (1957) by L. Sprague de Camp

“Exile from Space” (1956) by Judith Merril

“Mex” (1957) by Laurence M. Janifer [as by Larry M. Harris]

“The Amazing Mrs. Mimms” (1958) by David C. Knight

“My Father, the Cat” (1957) by Henry Slesar

“Title Fight” (1956) by William Campbell Gault

“The Golden Pyramid” (1956) by Sam Moskowitz

“The Robot Who Wanted to Know” (1958) by Harry Harrison [as by Felix Boyd]

“Road to Nightfall” (1958) by Robert Silverberg

“The Velvet Glove” (1956) by Harry Harrison

“The Day Will Come… (1956) by Hans Stefan Santesson [as by Vithaldas H. O’Quinn]

As are all anthologies, this is a mixed bag, and there are a lot of stories involving robots, which I didn’t expect, having never seen an issue of the digest. Overall, I enjoyed most of the stories though I disliked or skipped three of them, but that’s not a bad average. An interesting anthology of it’s time.

As an addition, I found out about this anthology through the Black Gate blog, in particular this article: The Art of Things To Come Part II in which it was featured. Things to Come was the pamphlet sent by the Science Fiction Book Club to members every other month showing upcoming club selections. Here’s the page for this one:

The Fantastic Universe Omnibus, featured in the
September-October 1960 issue of Things to Come. Art by Virgil Finlay

Posted in Books & Reading | 15 Comments

04-28 Short Stories Read: sf

Reading from a 1960 an anthology this week, and in the weeks to come.

The Fantastic Universe Omnibus edited by Hans Stefan Santesson, Prentice-Hall 1960 hardcover, science-fantasy short story anthology, 19 stories, 270 pages, introduction by Lester del Rey. Here’s the first half I read. The rest will be next week.

Introduction (The Fantastic Universe Omnibus) (1960) essay by Lester del Rey

Introduction (The Fantastic Universe Omnibus)  (1960)  essay by Hans Stefan Santesson

“First Law” (1956) by Isaac Asimov

“She Only Goes Out at Night” (1956) by William Tenn

“The Pacifist”  [Tales from the White Hart] (1956) by Arthur C. Clarke

“The Bounty Hunter” (1958) by Avram Davidson

“The Muted Horn” (1957) by Dorothy Salisbury Davis

As an addition, I found out about this anthology through the Black Gate blog, in particular this article: The Art of Things To Come Part II in which it was featured. Things to Come was the pamphlet sent by the Science Fiction Book Club to members every other month showing upcoming club selections. Here’s the page for this one:

The Fantastic Universe Omnibus, featured in the
September-October 1960 issue of Things to Come. Art by Virgil Finlay

Posted in Books & Reading | 15 Comments

Happy Birthday, Barbara!

Today is Barbara’s mumble-mumble-th birthday. She says she doesn’t feel older than yesterday. Her plan is to stay inside on this blustery day and read a book by David Baldacci she just got from the library. We have no special plans, other than a nice home meal followed by her favorite from Nothing Bundt Cakes, which was picked up yesterday.

Posted in Books & Reading | 10 Comments

Earth Day

Happy Earth Day to everyone!

earth day logoI hope your day is filled with trees, shrubs, and plants of all kinds on this day. Here in Portland, Oregon it’s sunny with a high of 72°. Here are some pictures from our garden. Click on each to enlarge.

Posted in Books & Reading | 10 Comments

Short Stories Read: Apr 21

Six stories this week, the remainder of the stories in this anthology:

Continiuum 1 cvr“Shaka!” by Chad Oliver
“The Armagedon Tapes, Tape 1” by Thomas Scortia
“Prelude To A Crystal Song” by Anne McCaffrey
“The Dark of the June” by Gene Wolfe
“The Children’s Crusade” by Edgar Pangborn
“The Night of the Storm” by Dean R. Koontz

Of these, the McCaffrey and Koontz are the best. The former is the beginning of the authors’ Crystal Singer novel, which I read a long time ago and have on the shelf. I may reread it now.

The Koontz story, with robot protagonists, is new to me and I enjoyed it. I’m not sure if it was turned into a longer work than the four parts in this and the other three anthologies in this Continuum anthology series.

Overall I’d rate this set of 8 stories at just above average, with four of them quite good, two (the Scortia and Pangborn) below average and the remaining two average. The concept of a four volume continuing anthology series like this is unique, I think.

Posted in Books & Reading | 14 Comments

Reading Tintin

Sometime in the Seventies I went into the Brentano’s book store in South Coast Plaza to browse. [Brentano’s was an American bookstore chain owned by Macmillan in the 1970s and early 1980s with numerous locations in the United States, including three stores in Southern California: in Westwood Village, Beverly Hills, and Costa Mesa’s South Coast Plaza.]

Among the things I bought that day were several of the Tintin books. The Adventures of Tintin is a series of 24 (23 completed and 1 unfinished) graphic albums created by Belgian cartoonist Georges Remi, who wrote under the pen name Hergé. (his initials spelled backwards as pronounced in French). The series was one of the most popular European comics of the 20th century.

tintin the complete companionI read them, really enjoyed them, and bought the remaining books (23 in all) and read and reread them many times over the years. During late 2020 and in January and February 2021, I decided to reread the series again, since the stories are simple fun and the artwork very good.

When I went to the shelf to pull the first couple of books, I realized I also have companion volumes, and decided to read those along with the stories. The first one I read was Tintin The Complete Companion by Michael Farr. In addition to a biographical chapter on Hergé himself, it contains a chapter on each book with extensive background on the plot and inspiration for various elements of the story.

The next reference book I read, actually skimming as a lot of the information was already in the first one, was Tintin and the World of Hergé by Benoit Peeters, which added much additional information.

I’m a fan of companion books like these, which add a lot of information about the author of a series, as well as insights into the characters, publishing history, plots and subsidiary information.

Naturally, along with these I read several of the books themselves, here are just four of them:

The entire series of softcover Adventures of Tintin is available as a boxed set.

These are wonderful books.

Posted in Books & Reading | 20 Comments

Short Stories Read Apr. 14

Two stories this week:
“Stations of the Nightmare, part 1” by Phillip José Farmer
“My Own, My Native Land” by Poul Anderson

Continiuum 1 cvrBoth of these, the first two stories in the book, came from Continuum 1 edited by Roger Elwood, Berkley Medallion Books 1974 mass market paperback science fiction anthology, first of four. The concept here is that there would be four anthologies, numbered 1-4, with the same authors each writing four standalone but connected stories over the four volumes.

“Stations of the Nightmare, part 1” by Phillip José Farmer is about a man who, out hunting in wooded farming country, sees and shoots at something that explodes in yellow powderish globules, which he inhales. He is dramatically changed.

“My Own, My Native Land” by Poul Anderson is about a boy of fifteen and an experienced adult explorer who attempt to salvage items from a crashed airship on the planet Eridani. This story, I’m told, is the first of six to be gathered in Anderson’s New America, an Anderson novel with which I am unfamiliar but I have ordered a copy.

Unfortunately, I don’t have the other three volumes, and while I could find them, I have too much else to read to bother. These were good, though, and I’ll finish reading the rest of the anthology (see next week).

Posted in Books & Reading | 8 Comments