Great Writers But You Never Know Their Names

I just finished a great book called The Night People by Michael Reaves. Then I moved on to Voodoo Child by the same author. How many of you out there know this name?

Michael Reaves was born on September 14, 1950, which makes him about 5 years younger than me. At this time he is dealing with Parkinson’s disease. But Michael Reaves is not complaining at this time, according to my knowledge.

He actually co-wrote many Star Wars books. That should make him famous but when I picked up The Night People I had never heard of him. The Night People is a great book of short stories that are best read on dark gloomy nights with a candle burning in the room to shrivel the spirits that might attack.

His writing is so tight, but easy to read, that you can cruise from story to story but you might have to stop and drink a cup of chamomile tea with honey in between stories just to calm your nerves.

Centipede Press, a small elite publishing company that puts out Limited Editions, Signed & Numbered, beautifully done with art interspersed in the books has just released a 300 book run by Michael Reaves called Code 666 and Other Stories. They have a few left and another elite press called Subterranean Press was allotted 20 of those copies.

At this writing there were still some left but if they sell out, you can crawl around Ebay and pick up a copy for a little more than the original price of $50 that they were selling for. Centipede Press puts out those neat books with ribbons to keep your place and they have many beautiful books to choose from. The same is true with Subterranean Press.

But I’m talking about great authors you never hear of, am I not? One of the way you will find these authors are by dealing with these elite publishing houses that put out Limited Signed & Numbered editions. Michael Reaves book named Code 666 and Other Stories is one of those books filled with short stories that will make you shudder when a branch taps your window in the middle of the night.

Another writer you may not have heard of is William Sloane. He only published two books in his lifetime, that is, two books he wrote. William Sloane is responsible for publishing many authors as he was the Vice-President of Henry Holt and Company and also acted as the manager and editor of their trade department.

I just picked up the only two of his novels. The Edge of Running Water was released in 1945, the same year I was born, and I was lucky enough to get a 1st print of the 1st edition with the number line running from 1 to 10. You might not know this bit of trivia if you are not a book collector but if the line begins at 3 that means it is still the first edition but it is in its third printing. The true collector wants the 1st print of the 1st edition.

I bought this book for about $20, but that was because it was rated only as good but it had no markings and was not a previous library book. I had it covered with Mylar to protect the dust jacket. That’s what some collectors do, especially with such an old book. The pages are well tanned.

His other book was called To Walk The Night and I have a Dell Edition that cost 25 cents new when it was put out. I’m not sure of the year because it is in Roman Numerals but my guess is that it came out in 1947 and is not a first edition because it doesn’t say it is. Both books are relatively hard to find.

The good news is both novels have been re-released by The New York Review of Books, which is a publishing house of modern day. Stephen King wrote the introduction of the book and this fact lets you know what kind of stories William Sloane wrote.

I’m halfway through To Walk The Night in the edition called The Rim Of Morning: Two Tales of Cosmic Horror and I can tell you that William Sloane is a great writer. I’m a writer also and my goal is just to write one good novel. I think I may have done this but it is not mainstream. I’ve had more success with my dark short stories of drug addiction.

But this column isn’t about me. It’s about Michael Reaves, who is 65 years old and not complaining about his Parkinson’s disease. This column is also about William Sloane, the writer of two books, who passed away some years ago. He graduated from Princeton University in 1919.

As Stephen King says, “Both books contain elements of horror. Boy, do they.” In his introduction to William Sloane’s two books King says quite a bit more, but not too much and there are no spoilers.

A few of Michael Reaves books were co-written by Neil Gaiman and they sell. Even Subterranean Press got into the act and published the Interworld series, a couple of books that are signed by both authors and numbered in special Limited Editions.

So, if you are looking for Holiday gifts and your husband or wife is an avid reader who treasures books, Michael Reaves and William Sloane are two authors to consider, especially if the reading tastes of your loved ones tends to drift towards cosmic horror.

You can find or order The Rim of Morning at Harvard Book Store, one of the few remaining independent bookstores because it is a re-issue of William Sloane’s two books. You can roam Ebay for Michael Reaves books or go to Centipede Press or Subterranean Press if your loved one treasures high end books, that is, Limited Signed Editions. I lean that way myself. I have to watch it though. Books are my new addiction. But books are way better than heroin and you can re-sell them if you choose. It’s tough to sell collapsed veins, don’t you know.

There are many great writers, relatively unknown. I’ll name two more, just because I want you to look for them. Dark horror, gothic too. There is C.E. Ward, published by Sarob Press, very difficult to find his books. There’s one on Amazon, Vengeful Ghosts for over $400. I have Seven Ghosts and One Other by C.E. Ward.

Then there is David J. Schow, author of The Shaft, put out by Centipede Press. You can find his books more easily. There are other books out there worth looking for. Schow has a new one coming out early next year through Subterranean Press but it is also up on Amazon. It’s called DJSturbia. Really. These are books and authors that will be enjoyed for all time.