Hilgay Haul 2: The Haulening

On Sunday there was another Hilgay Book Sale. They are definitely more regular than annually, but they don’t always put up a sign for it on my route home from work, and Hilgay is rather far to go of a Sunday on the off chance! (Mind you the road up that way is nice. I’d love to do it in a Morgan 3-wheeler, early on a summer’s morn, with no coppers watching!).

Anyway this time I actually saw the posters talking about the prices of the books, 50p for Thin and 90p for Thick! XD. But there wasn’t as many that interested me so I only got a few.

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As well as a couple of Edge books (I’ve only ever read one but have about twenty, time to get crackin’?) I got a Sabre Boys’ Story Annual. This has alternating stories, some are very short (2-3 pages) while others are very long (20-30 pages). The story-paper size of the book makes me wonder if they are reprinted stories from somewhere. One of the stories is by Robert A Heinlein and is very American. It mentions things such as “Teamsters” (a trucker’s union in the US, or so I wiki’d) without further explanation – possibly a reprint from a Pulp?

The book is undated but appears to be from the late 50’s or very early 60’s. It clearly once had a dustjacket which may have contained the date. Oddly despite the probably-reprint nature of most/all of it’s contents all of the illustrations appear to be by the same artist, and so were probably commissioned for the book.

The other book is called Adventure Story Book for Boys. It’s apparently No. 17 in a “Bumper Book Series”. The Friardale website has mention of such a series and says that Number 17 (which it gives no other information about) was published in 1955. It certianly looks 50’s anyway. It’s all text stories which are on the usual lines of boyish adventures, secret agents, pirates, cowboys etc.

The final book is an account of the battle of Singapore – from the Japanese side! My own comic will one day play host to a “Commando”-ish story about a Japanese Navy pilot from 1910 to 1945, so this ought to be useful. It’s written by one of the commanding officers in that campaign who at one point bemoans the number of times he leaves cars parked “hidden” somewhere, only to come back later and find a lucky shell has scored a direct hit on them.

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We haven’t got this one…. yet.

Hilgay Haul

Today i went to a book fair at a village in Norfolk called Hilgay. The village is just off the A10 but the road leading to it is very narrow and bumpy. When i got into the village itself there seemed to be people out and about everywhere, not all just for the book sale but also for various sales of household stuff people had set up in thier front gardens… apparently this was an unrelated event to the book sale, what a community spirit!

Having winded my way down the long narrow road that ran through the village i found a small makeshift car park on a bit of muddy waste ground. Equally old fashioned and wonderful. The sale itself was in the village hall and packed with endless rows of books in plastic boxes on tables with very very narrow walkways between (made the UK Webcomix Thing – of which there will be no more, by the way 🙁 – look like Pyongyang!). It was also very well attended. A lot of the books i bought didn’t have prices on, but i’d taken £100 so wasn’t too worried. Here’s what i bought:

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The total for that little lot? £8!

The big red book is called Fifty Enthralling Stories of the Mysterious East which, I can now report thanks to a helpful comment, dates from 1937. The first story in it is by Sax Rohmer, famous for the Fu Manchu stories. The tales are mainly about Arabs or Chinese, with the odd Indian one (as India was controlled by Britain it was perhaps less ‘mysterious’!).

The Chatterbox annual, still with a similar covers to the first official Chatterbox annuals from the 1870’s (the paper started in 1866) is from 1921 and must have looked very dated by then. The content is pretty Victorian in tone too, with the usual mixture of a long serial story running through the whole volume (and thus a whole year when the papers were published weekly) as well as shorter stories in 1-3 instalments, pictures (no comedy cartoons), informative articles and poems. Chatterbox was aimed at younger readers than the ‘similar’ paper Chums was… and lasted (though by the end only in yearly annual form) right through until 1955! So they must have been doing something right.

There’s also Our Own Schoolboys Annual which is fairly predictable fifties stuff of adventure stories revolving around detectives, sport, boys on scouting trips falling into adventures and mild sci-fi. It’s mainly text stories with lots of line drawings but there’s also a comic strip.

The other thing relevant to the blog is Stories for Boys which dates from 1961 (the first edition anyway, i have a fifth edition from 1967). The inside of the dust jacket promises stories set all over the world from “the stirring days when Englishmen and Spaniards battled for supremacy on the high seas” to “the sky lanes of the future“. (I’ve been to the sky lanes of the future and they’re pretty boring really… and the food is horrible). The back cover promises “many exciting sketches” but there’s really only a few full-page illustrations which aren’t all that good.

The other stuff i got includes a few Edge novels by George G Gilman, these addictive and fun westerns are shot through with black-as-night humour and extreme violence. Apparently there was comics based on them made in Italy… if the “fan subbers” can tear themselves away from Japanese stuff for a minute i’d love to read one of those! Gilman also created a character called Adam Steele but i only got one of those… one thing at a time! There was also at least two Edge Steele books in which the pair teamed up to dispense lead-flavoured justice.

The final item is pretty interesting, it’s a nuclear conspiracy thriller with elements of small boat sailing… a 1990’s Riddle of the Sands? I was reading the foreword which, setting the scene for the story, implied that the striking coal miners, anti nuclear environmental protesters and Middle Eastern oil pipeline saboteurs were all one organised body in the pay of the Soviet Union… i like this guy’s style! (especially as the Mark Trant stories in my own comics will work on a similar idea, though in those the organisers will be British-based socialists).