March 19, 2014:
Back in 1991, a self-help guru named Richard Sutphen decided he wanted to expand his New Age publishing empire into horror. He created an imprint, Spine-Tingling Press, and wrote a few stories and novels.
He recorded at least some of them as books on tape, and distributed one to the membership of HWA, presumably in hopes of recruiting writers and maybe garnering a Stoker.
I never got around to listening to it until today, when I copied “Bone Thrower” to MP3.
It’s an okay story — novelet length, I guess. Very violent, almost verging on splatterpunk. There are some viewpoint issues, and the opening flashback is clearly there entirely to be a grabber opening; it is not the logical place to start the story. The ending is a bit cliched. And looking at this and the only other Sutphen story I’m familiar with (“Snake Dance,” which I think I mentioned here), I think Sutphen’s got a thing about snakes.
I was surprised to discover the last nine minutes of the tape are taken up with a preview of another story, “Freaklink.”
The transfer went smoothly, the never-before-played tape was flawless.
I am not surprised that Spine-Tingling Press only lasted a couple of years.
March 20, 2014:
Next up: “A Leader of Cheeseheads,” by Jay Rath’s Old Time Radio Pirates. Not quite forty minutes of political satire from 1991, six skits about then-governor of Wisconsin, Tommy Thompson.
I’d only ever played this once. It’s still in perfect condition. It copied easily, first try.
The humor’s only so-so, I’m afraid. It’s not that it’s badly dated, it just wasn’t that great to begin with.
Jay Rath’s Old Time Radio Pirates shortened their name to the Radio Pirates after this, as seen on a couple of preceding tapes. This is another of the samples Scott Dikkers sent me when he was negotiating for the rights to “The Drifter.”
March 21, 2014:
Started one that’s going to take awhile…
March 25, 2014:
Done. “The Best Fantasy of the Year 1989,” edited by Orson Scott Card and Martin H. Greenberg, with introductions by Orson Scott Card, from Dercum Audio, is now in my MP3 collection.
Which I have because one of the ten stories therein is my own “Windwagon Smith and the Martians.”
It’s an odd assortment, really. I don’t much like the Benford (“We Could Do Worse”), for example.
There were a few crashes along the way, one of which fortunately wiped out a recording that was kind of fuzzy; it came out better on the second take.
I have two more audio anthologies, but I’m going to leave them for later; this was hugely time-consuming, though not difficult. For now it’s back to single-tape stuff, be it music or con panels or letters or whatever.
March 26, 2014:
Today I was either out or busy most of the day, so I only did a very short tape — “They Came for the Candy,” by the Radio Pirates. It’s a parody of the 1938 Mercury Theatre “War of the Worlds” — in this version the Martians aren’t invading so much as trick-or-treating.
It’s fun. Only about half an hour in all. Not fall-on-the-floor funny, but amusing.
No problems with the conversion to MP3.
March 27, 2014:
Half a tape today. At some point in the last twenty-five years, someone sent me a tape entitled “Indigo Girls Sampler.” It’s a few tracks apiece from four Indigo Girls albums.
I did the first side, with five songs from “Indigo Girls” and five songs from “Rites of Passage,” today. No problems at all; everything came out very well.
I’d heard a few Indigo Girls pieces before, but I never had any of their albums, just one or two tracks I’d picked up somewhere. It’s good to have a larger sampling.
Yes, I’ve had this for ages, but I never actually played all of it; I got halfway through the first side, then got interrupted and never went back to it.
Which brings me to an observation: On “Indigo Girls,” they weren’t very varied. It all sounded much alike to me when I first heard it, which is why I never went back to it.
“Rites of Passage,” which I didn’t get to, is better and more eclectic.
March 28, 2014:
And today I finished it up. Side 2 had selected tracks from “Strange Fire” and “Nomads Indians Saints.” It’s pretty good stuff.
There is a glitch at the start of “Left Me A Fool,” though — it sounds as if maybe a stray guitar arpeggio (maybe at the end of a track that’s not included) got attached at the start of the file. Presumably this was a glitch on the original cassette tape.
I wonder where I got it?
And that, friends, brings us up to date. There are twenty-eight cassette tapes left to copy, and then I have a stack of old reel-to-reel. I intend to continue to post here about my progress. From the lack of comments, I take it that either no one’s reading, or you don’t give a crap, but you know what? I care. I’m much more interested in this project than in most of the other stuff I’m doing these days.