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Obscurities Corner

As I mentioned in the Broken Backlist section, Guy is a highly prolific writer. You might think that a hundred plus books might be enough to qualify for that epithet, but there's more... a lot more!

As an avid GNS collector back in the eighties, I managed to be in the right place at the right time to buy a lot of wild obscurities, often in manuscript form, and I plan to share some of them here.

Contents

Here are some quick links to the pages. If you don't know what they are, scroll down for more details.

Adventure Strip Weekly
Caerlaverock
Elizabeth M. Weale
Frighteners
Original Art
Proof Covers
Russian Editions
Sexy Confessions
Synopses
Unpublished Books

Adventure Strip Weekly

Guy's often talked about his influences, which stem primarily from the boys papers of the fifties. He was also influenced by pulps and comics, though, and even produced one issue of his own comic, Adventure Strip Weekly back in 1976, the year he'd become a household name with Night of the Crabs

It was a photocopied black and white A4 affair with Guy writing the stories, each a two page beginning to a bigger effort, and Peter Knifton contributing the artwork. What's most interesting about it is that it includes many characters that have meaning in Guy's wider career.

Here's a scanned copy of Adventure Strip Weekly with commentary.


Caerlaverock

Most of us are aware of Guy's sideline as a book dealer and some of us were subscribing to his Black Hill Collector listings back in the days before the internet made that stuff so easy. Before that, though, he had another list, called Caerlaverock, which is notable because it also included a host of short stories (most but not all by Guy) and even a long serial, written in collaboration with his mother, Elizabeth M. Weale.

Here's an article I wrote on Caerlaverock, which appears to have lost its ending and contains images far too small to be useful. Clearly I need to fix and expand.

Elizabeth M. Weale

Guy has often stated in interviews that his start in writing came early in part through the consistent encouragement of his mother, who had written three novels that had been published before the war. She was published as Elizabeth M. Weale, though she went by Margaret, at least in later life. I met her on a number of occasions at Guy's house, where she lived from 1996 until her death in 1999.

In Elizabeth M. Weale, I look at what she wrote and published and how it impacted Guy's own work.

Frighteners

Guy's name has been there at every major point in modern horror fiction in the UK. He was there in 1974 when James Herbert's The Rats found itself launching a new movement, because he published Werewolf by Moonlight that year. He was there as the seventies became the eighties, writing for Hamlyn as they pioneered the 'nasty novel'. And he was there a decade later when horror fiction found its way into newsagents.

Frighteners was an all-fiction spin-off from Fear magazine in July 1991 and Guy's story The Executioner was the lead in the third and final issue in September. Frighteners, along with Fear and the whole of Newsfield Publications, went into liquidation, mostly because a customer had complained about Eric the Pie, the notably controversial lead story by Graham Masterton in issue 1 that had prompted the magazine to be withdrawn from shelves.

Original Art

The art for paperbacks comes from a variety of sources. The more reputable publishing companies commission it from artists, usually ones with whom they have an ongoing relationship. Others, especially when it comes to foreign editions, may just borrow existing art, whether with permission or not.

Here are some of Guy's covers compared to their Original Art.

Proof Covers

Authors rarely have any say in the covers that end up on their books, which may or may not have anything to do with their contents! Sometimes they're sent proof covers which do at least let them know what their books will look like before they hit shelves.

In some instances, like Snowdrop, changes were made after the proof cover was sent. In this instance, the title was changed with an associated change to the front cover, but not to the spine, of the first edition.

In others, like The Knighton Vampires, the projected paperback wasn't published, because the company went bankrupt, and so the proof is for an edition that never existed.

Here are some of Guy's Proof Covers.

Russian Editions

Guy N. Smith collectors are generally aware of his history in Poland, when the former Soviet bloc discovered the existence of modern horror fiction and lapped it up. Phantom Press, based in Gdańsk, published a whole slew of Guy's books in 1991 and 1992, flooding the market with short, universally accessible horror novels and making Guy the year's best selling author in Poland.

Less well known is the fact that Phantom Press also published books in Russia and followed up their Polish editions of Guy's works with some Russian ones too.

Here's where you can explore the Russian Editions, including what looks like the most luxurious Guy N. Smith book yet, even in a samizdat edition!

Sexy Confessions

At some point, every Guy N Smith collector discovers the fact that the Great Scribbler wrote porn. A lot of it. No, he didn't start out writing porn, as some sites have suggested; he was first published in a local weekly newspaper called The Tettenhall Observer at the age of twelve, for whom he racked up over fifty short stories before he turned eighteen. However, a decade and a half later, he churned out stories and reams of readers letters for top shelf magazines like Sexpert, In Depth or New Direction.

He also wrote a set of porn 'novels', which can't have been very substantial because they were digests that ran a mere 60 pages with photos. Guy admits to seven of these, all published in 1975 by Tabor without his name on them. One is anonymous and the other six all carry pseudonyms.

Sexy Confessions is my look at this series of books and the reasoning why Guy may have written eight not seven.



Synopses

Especially in the early days, when Guy was most prolific, he pitched a lot of novel ideas to publishers that weren't accepted (or were in altered ways). Some tied to the series we know and love, while others were standalone novels or pitches for different series entirely. Typescripts of such potential novels have long done the rounds on the collector's circuit and they're a fascinating glimpse into what could have been.

Here are the Synopses that I'm aware of.

Unpublished Books

Many authors don't get to see their first novels in print and Guy is no exception. There are a number of books that he wrote but which have not yet seen print, from early novels through short story collections to mysterious entries in his bibliography that aren't yet confirmed.

Here's a look at Guy's Unpublished Books.


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