Hello, all! I hope life has been good to everyone and your reading has also been rewarding. Ah, the pleasures of a book! I know e-readers are becoming more and more popular, and that’s well and good, but still…you just can’t capture the smell of a book with an e-reader! I realize this sounds funny, but when I was a kid I bought the novelization of “The Brides of Dracula” through the mail and when it arrived it smelled as if someone had doused the book in a strange, potent and very appealing perfume that I can recall to this day.
Likewise, when I was a kid on vacation in Florida one summer the motel we were staying at actually had a vending machine (!!!) from which you could buy paperbacks. I started buying the Nick Carter series there and found they too had an appealing, almost gunmetal-like aroma. My copies of the Hardy Boys series smell like oatmeal and high school letter jackets, wool and leather. My copy of the 10,000 Drinks recipe book smells like the newly-polished sheen of an upscale bar somewhere amid the twinkling lights of Manhattan. My copy of Cowboys Full, The Story of Poker, smells like the green felt of a gaming table.
Imagination? Possibly so, but this is what I get from books as well as the reading experience. E-books are grand and great, but…I just like the aroma that comes out of that paper, and that’s just me.
My own books smell to me like blood, sweat and tears. Ha. Not really. Well…kinda not.
This is a roundabout way of talking about the book I’m working on now, and…no…it is not going to be done in Smell-O-Type. (Though when I was about twelve I did go see a movie that was in Smell-O-Vision. The first scene showed a man peeling an orange, and you could smell the orange. Honest. Following scenes included, as I recall, a Chinese market in which you could smell the smoke of cooking fires. Really. How that was done I have no idea, but it was a pretty cool thing that had absolutely no future.)
Anyway…I’ve been smelling a lot of books lately. Particularly vital to my olfactory system are the old science-fiction magazines I’m reading right now. They have the titles of Amazing, Fantastic, Galaxy, Worlds of If, Analog and The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction. I have quite a collection of these, dating back to the 50s, and also some pulp magazines dating back to the 30s. Science fiction was my first love—the rocketships, the strange aliens and the stranger worlds, the stories of mankind dealing with life in the future and all that those visionary writers could imagine. What appealed to me about the first science fiction story I ever read, called “Descent Into The Maelstrom”, was that I simply could not understand it. It was a tale of telepaths communicating with each other, and their communicated sentences had asterisks instead of quotation marks. That caused me to start thinking “outside the box”, I guess.
Well, mine is an old story…when I went to college my grandmother threw out all my science fiction magazines along with my Batman comic collection. When I found out what she’d done, I hit her over the head with an axe and buried her body in the basement, but please don’t tell anyone about that.
So…jump forward quite a few years to when I discover Ebay and find that ALL my old science fiction buds are waiting for me to reclaim them. Not so the Batman comics…the ones from the 1950s are now more than worth their weight in gold, so out of spite I dug up my grandmother’s bones and fed them to the furnace.
Ahem. (Or should that be Amen?)
But I have all those science fiction magazines—and more—back again. Which brings me to the fact that I am working on a science fiction/horror novel that I began last year but had to put aside because I was not ready to do it yet.
This does happen. You think you’re ready, but you’re not. You need to put some more pieces together, you need a character to introduce himself or herself and take charge of the show, you need some kind of revelation to make the light bulb burn. I didn’t have it then, but I think—I hope—I have it now. I can’t say the title—you might know it already, I think I’ve probably talked about it before—because the title gives away part of the story, but I’m ready to go where my first literary heroes went—into the realm of mind-stretching fiction that strides among the stars, between worlds of if and fantastic amazing galaxies and puts our own beloved Earth in jeopardy of being torn to pieces.
What will that book smell like, you might ask?
I hope it will smell like the fire of imagination, the same fire of imagination that began my own burning and yearning many years ago. I have a ways to go on this one, but if it’s what I want it to be I think it’ll be pretty good.
So…rockets away! And wish me a good trip and a happy landing! In the meantime, you’ll have the next Matthew Corbett book, The River of Souls, in which Matthew joins a mob pursuing a murder suspect up a haunted river into a dangerous swamp, where something more dangerous begins to pursue the mob. Ya got alligators, snakes, quicksand…and the reappearance of three characters from Matthew’s past. I hope you enjoy this one.
From the past to the present and into the future…
Once again, as always, thank you for reading my work and thank you for your Facebook comments. Happy reading to you…and please, if you have a chance, take a moment to relax and smell the pages.