Invasion of the Fractals.
The Fractal Universe.
The sword is mightier than the pen, but only when it's wielded by men. In God's right hand, the sword is righteousness, honor and courage and never strikes an innocent man down. For true power is not the power to destroy, but the power to lift up and heal. --- Merlin the White Dragonfire.
History is strewn with bodies of the weak and the strong; the high and the mighty; and the weak and the lost. History is much like death it only marks the passing of time, not the creation of it. True time lifts its locks of silver, its caress of gold, its touch of the moment and like the mighty serpent of Creation that winds through all worlds and places, it shelters all beneath its shadow. --- Boggle the Clown.
A better adjective for the old school building portable should have been the Barn, for it smelled more and more like that as the hot days continued to ply at our minds and bodies in the midst of an air conditioning disaster.
I could have let in a fractal breeze to cool off the building, but I was afraid of revealing my power here now because of the recent attack. Maybe Gerald was smarter than I had thought when he said I wasn't giving myself enough credit. He was actually telling me I was being stupid and arrogant...just like Patti...for ignoring the fact that what I did was having a ripple effect in time and space and in the Fractal Universe.
A new law was forming in the back of my mind. What goes up must come down, or in the Fractal Universe, what side steps in and out, will also open paths in and out.
I first became aware of this anomaly about three years ago, but had no name or description for it at the time.
It was shortly after I had performed my first side step into the Fractal Universe. I was so full of myself for the vision of reality I had unleashed and experienced I had ignored the shadow movements about me. True, they weren't exactly hobbling up to me, poking their prickly heads in my face and saying "boo!" but they were there on the edges of my consciousness. I just pretended it was just a side effect, a temporary thing, but something as major as damage to the sidelines between our universes.
I remember reading in the newspaper the next day about a local drug store, a Walgreen's I think, that had a break in, but had set off no alarms, and no cash had been taken, nor any merchandise disturbed, except for in the aisle of balloons. All the balloons were missing.
Only a freaking child would break into a ten million dollar store to steal balloons! I had thought at the time, laughed, then turned off my TV and gone to work, the incident bothering the back of my mind, but relegated to the dustbins of further insight somewhere in some kind of hoary future, cobwebbed with time.
But the two that Senator Murphy had sent to attack me, it turned out where not from him. The bodies of two men, who looked exactly like those two had been found several days later in the field outside the school, rotting there, crows having a time of their life pecking their flesh off. It was by accident they had discovered. A couple of the kids had tossed a Frisbee and it had overshot the back fence. They had climbed over to retrieve it and found the bodies.
They would have bragging rights for weeks about the discovery, but nightmares for much longer.
The FBI and Homeland Security both sent teams to investigate, and shortly after that they came to our school and began interrogating teachers and students. That was when the Tall Man pulled out his deck of cards and laid down a joker.
They vanished as quickly as their investigation had begun. The news media shut down and retractions were announced, saying it was all a hoax. Both boys woke up the next day with memories of the incident wiped from their minds, if not their dreams. There was nothing the Tall Man could do about that without possibly hurting them permanently.
"Chesterton, this is serious business." He told me over a box of doughnuts and coffee. I had been retrieved from school during my second period class to meet with him. Patti covered for me while I side stepped from there to here, where I presently sat.
"Tell me about it." I said between bites of a cinnamon roll and sips of coffee.
He nodded, as if I had just expounded the most profound words of all time, then set his half eaten chocolate doughnut down, wiped his hands, then touched the folder between us. It was labeled: INVASION. In very, very big letters. Bold and black.
He flipped it open.
Gerald Butler stood in the doorway of my room, searching it with his eyes.
"Before you go side stepping out of here in anger because we've been watching you, look at what's behind him."
"Mind Reader." I snapped at him, side stepping back into my chair just moments after slipping away. I took the photo in my hands and eyed it closely. I brought it closer to my eyes. It couldn't be. And then memories came flooding back. Memories that I had buried in the hoary cobwebbed depths of my mind for future reference. Well, the future was here and now.
I set it down, my face hot and flushed. "I hate people watching me! It makes me feel like Big Brother is alive and well and seated in my backyard."
"He is. But it's not him you got to worry about." He tapped the blurry forms behind Gerald. "The fact that he didn't even notice makes me even more nervous. Neither one of you spotted these things."
"Well, you wouldn't have either without this..."
"Camera. Nano camera. It's embedded in the ceiling of your room. A special spray paint that we can activate at any given time and can provide any angle we desire."
"Tech that advanced?"
"Watching my kids?"
"No. You, Chesterton."
"Although we have a great deal of insights into what you do, we still don't know how yet. We need to know how."
I sighed. I had let them in. My lighthearted soul had just got rung out and hung up to dry. If Patti had been there at that moment, she would have smacked me on the side of t he head and kissed me at the same time. At least that's my vision of what might occur. Probably not the reality. I don't want you to start thinking I'm a masochist, or she's sadistic. Quite the contrary. I am hard headed and stubborn at times, but usually for a good reason. She's just straightforward enough to see through my prima donna moments and quick to correct them. How lucky can a guy get?
"So how do we stop this?"
I gave him a surprised look. "You're the Tall Man. The guy beneath the President. Literally." And he was. This office was buried deep beneath the White House so the President had instant access to its resources at his disposal, as well as the safest place on the planet to bail out to, should such a thing become necessary.
Suddenly, my cinnamon roll was looking pretty bleak and tasteless. I felt like my favorite peak had somehow managed to bite my ass and feed it to me for breakfast.
He reached across the table and patted my hand. "It's not that bad, Chesterton."
"Yes. It is." I disagreed.
"Yes. You're right." He agreed, which just sent me deeper into the craphouse of my regrets.
I looked up. "We need friends in high places."
"We have them."
I brightened. "You do?"
He didn't reply. His eyes never left mine.
I boggled for a moment, and then recovered my senses. "Patti's gonna hate me."
This brings us back to my present plight, a portable school building that even a horse would be disgusted with and an angry mob of forty adolescents who yearned for happier times. I sent out for the tenth round of A & W frosted mugs and fries and when done, I side stepped them to the front door, and knocked on it.
Morris opened it, glanced around. "Mister K, no one's there."
"How about our drinks and fries, Morris?"
He looked down. "Uh, sure, they're here."
"Please bring them in."
He did so.
We spent the next ten minutes luxuriating in the greasy depths of salty potatoes and frosty mugs of root beer...not actually mugs, really just cartons heaped with shaved ice, but who's complaining?
Finally, the last bell of the day rang and the kids plowed out of the room, leaving cartons and containers littering the room. And surprises only Shondel and Morris remained.
Morris gave me a shy look. "I'd like to help, Mister K."
He gave Shondel a sweet smile. She gave him one back. Who could have seen this coming?
In ten minutes my room smelled like an angelic barn once more, and the two kids departed, each absorbed in the other's talk as they stepped outside and left.
I sat down behind my desk and considered the small miracle that had happened. Every once in awhile all the hard work actually pays off and a kid or two will rise above the herd mentality and become more than they can be. Real human beings. Likable and lovable. A teacher's only reward, besides the low paychecks and long, long sweaty hours is having a child or two actually get it. Actually understand there's more to life than "Me!" When that happens, it's a time to celebrate, kick up the heels and relax. But only for a few moments, because next we have to start filling out all the administrative paperwork, replying to all the parents... (Maybe two or three if we're lucky)...who want to help, and get prepared for the next day's round of Herculean labors.
It was at that zenith of expectations that my door opened unexpectedly and Gerald stepped inside. "So soon?"
"Always too soon and too late." He replied sadly, and then flung the door open.
Across the school grounds, which were becoming shrouded in shadow from the setting sun. It was late, almost seven. Wow! Time flies when you're having fun. But across that expanse of ground was rushing a horde of demonic fractals, horned and four legged, with mean looking teeth and eyeballs to match.
I stood up, and brushed my hands off.
"You sure know how to get a guy's attention."
He grinned. "Yeah. Just like a first date, ain't it?"
I gave him a shocked look. "Hey! Let's keep this strictly personal between us."
He laughed and I stepped outside with him, reaching into side space for the nearest weapon I kept there, a huge blade with smaller blades that roared like miniature buzz saws, because they were and he and I rushed the oncoming horde, like Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid rushing to their death.
Except I had no desire whatsoever to die here and now. Least not before I had another Sweetkins Fried Chicken Breast.
We both roared at the top of our lungs, ran like proud knights, which we were and began slicing and pounding into the horde.
Will Chesterton K and his new found friend, Gerald Butler be able to hack and slash and pound their way through the horde of fractal monsters? Will Chesterton get to finish his cinnamon role? Will Gerald still be alive to insult his new friend yet again?
Come back on November 20th to find out.
I am now reverting to posting just once a month now to free up time to do more publishing and writing. Thanks for your reads and visits so far. Looking forward to more of same in the future.
Meanwhile, side step into happiness!
Jungle Book Preview. Rudyard Kipling would be proud of this new version. Lovely, just like the prior ones, but with fantastic effects.
I have to admit a strong fancy for Jungle Book and I love this piece that director John Favreau posted.
Rudyard Kipling, along with Edgar Rice Burroughs, Tolkien and Lewis remain some of my strongest influences when it comes to portraying another world and lifestyle.
You'll find traces of all of them in my Baker Street Universe adventures starring Sherlock Holmes and Doctor Watson, along with the Jungle Lord, The Invisible Man, Count Dracula, Conan Doyle, Professor Challenger, Harry Houdini, Nicolas Tesla, Albert Einstein, Jules Verne, H.G. Wells, Thomas Edison, Madame Curie and other delightful fictional and non-fictional personalities.
Book Trailer. Journey to the Center of the Earth. A world waits in anguish for a Special Forces Team to stop the perpetrators of the most hideous crime of all time.
Journey to the Center of the Earth
Available now at Amazon
A war has been started with mankind.
Millions have died in a massive earthquake.
San Francisco, New York City, Los Angeles, London, Paris, Moscow, Beijin have all fallen!
Who attacked the world and why?
A Special Forces mission is directed on an incredible mission to the Center of the Earth to find the perpetrator of the largest sneak attack in the world's history.
Will they stop the enemy before they can strike again?
Will humanity be able to survive?
Journey to the Center of the Earth.
Available now at Amazon
Over hour hundred pages.
Hours of heart throbbing reading, passion, excitement, and fear as the team collides with forces both physical and unknown that try to stop them from reaching their goal.
Available now at Amazon
Don't wait to read one of the most exciting journeys in modern times!
The world has almost been destroyed by the use of Dark Matter.
Will the Special Forces reach the enemy in time to stop the next attack?
For those who prefer their text on the screen. Here is the written version of the classic story.
Happy Holidays everyone!
The buying of orchids always has in it a certain speculative flavour. You have before you the brown shrivelled lump of tissue, and for the rest you must trust your judgment, or the auctioneer, or your good-luck, as your taste may incline. The plant may be moribund or dead, or it may be just a respectable purchase, fair value for your money, or perhaps - for the thing has happened again and again - there slowly unfolds before the delighted eyes of the happy purchaser, day after day, some new variety, some novel richness, a strange twist of the labellum, or some subtler coloration or unexpected mimicry.
Pride, beauty, and profit blossom together on one delicate green spike, and it may be, even immortality. For the new miracle of Nature may stand in need of a new specific name, and what so convenient as that of its discoverer? "Johnsmithia!" There have been worse names.
It was perhaps the hope of some such happy discovery that made Winter-Wedderburn such a frequent attendant at these sales - that hope, and also, maybe, the fact that he had nothing else of the slightest interest to do in the world. He was a shy, lonely, rather ineffectual man, provided with just enough income to keep off the spur of necessity, and not enough nervous energy to make him seek any exacting employments. He might have collected stamps or coins, or translated Horace, or bound books, or invented new species of diatoms. But, as it happened, he grew orchids, and had one ambitious little hothouse.
"I have a fancy," he said over his coffee, "that something is going to happen to me today."
He spoke - as he moved and thought - slowly.
"Oh, don't say THAT!" said his housekeeper, who was also his remote cousin. For "something happening" was a euphemism that meant only one thing to her.
"You misunderstand me. I mean nothing unpleasant...though what I do mean I scarcely know."
"Today," he continued, after a pause, "Peters' are going to sell a batch of plants from the Andamans and the Indies. I shall go up and see what they have. It may be I shall buy something good, unawares. That may be it."
He passed his cup for his second cupful of coffee.
"Are these the things collected by that poor young fellow you told me of the other day?" asked his cousin as she filled his cup.
"Yes," he said, and became meditative over a piece of toast.
"Nothing ever does happen to me," he remarked presently, beginning to think aloud. "I wonder why? Things enough happen to other people. There is Harvey. Only the other week, on Monday he picked up sixpence, on Wednesday his chicks all had the staggers, on Friday his cousin came home from Australia, and on Saturday he broke his ankle. What a whirl of excitement - compared to me."
"I think I would rather be without so much excitement," said his housekeeper. "It can't be good for you."
"I suppose it's troublesome. Still...you see, nothing ever happens to me. When I was a little boy I never had accidents. I never fell in love as I grew up. Never married...I wonder how it feels to have something happen to you, something really remarkable."
"That orchid-collector was only thirty-six-twenty years younger than myself when he died. And he had been married twice, and divorced once; he had had malarial fever four times, and once he broke his thigh. He killed a Malay once, and once he was wounded by a poisoned dart. And in the end he was killed by jungle-leeches. It must have all been very troublesome, but then it must have been very interesting, you know, except, perhaps, the leeches."
"I am sure it was not good for him," said the lady, with conviction.
"Perhaps not." And then Wedderburn looked at his watch. "Twenty-three minutes past eight. I am going up by the quarter to twelve train, so that there is plenty of time. I think I shall wear my alpaca jacket - it is quite warm enough - and my grey felt hat and brown shoes. I suppose---"
He glanced out of the window at the serene sky and sunlit garden, and then nervously at his cousin's face.
"I think you had better take an umbrella if you are going to London," she said, in a voice that admitted of no denial. "There's all between here and the station coming back."
When he returned he was in a state of mild excitement. He had made a purchase. It was rarely that he could make up his mind quickly enough to buy, but this time he had done so.
"There are Vandas," he said, "and a Dendrobe and some Palaeonophis." He surveyed his purchases lovingly as he consumed his soup. They were laid out on the spotless tablecloth before him, and he was telling his cousin all about them as he slowly meandered through his dinner. It was his custom to live all his visits to London over again in the evening for her and his own entertainment.
"I knew something would happen today. And I have bought all these. Some of them - some of them - I feel sure, do you know, that some of them will be remarkable. I don't know how it is, but I feel just as sure as if someone had told me that some of these will turn out remarkable."
"That one" - he pointed to a shrivelled rhizome - "was not identified. It may be a Palaeonophis - or it may not. It may be a new species, or even a new genus. And it was the last that poor Batten ever collected."
"I don't like the look of it," said his housekeeper. "It`s such an ugly shape."
"To me it scarcely seems to have a shape."
"I don't like those things that stick out," said his housekeeper.
"It shall be put away in a pot tomorrow."
"It looks," said the housekeeper, "like a spider shamming dead."
Wedderburn smiled and surveyed the root with his head on one side. "It is certainly not a pretty lump of stuff. But you can never judge of these things from their dry appearance. It may turn out to be a very beautiful orchid indeed. How busy I shall be tomorrow! I must see tonight just exactly what to do with these things, and tomorrow I shall set to work.
They found poor Batten lying dead, or dying, in a mangrove swamp - I forget which," he began again presently, "with one of these very orchids crushed up under his body. He had been unwell for some days with some kind of native fever, and I suppose he fainted. These mangrove swamps are very unwholesome. Every drop of blood, they say, was taken out of him by the jungle-leeches. It may be that very plant that cost him his life to obtain."
"I think none the better of it for that."
"Men must work though women may weep," said Wedderburn, with profound gravity.
"Fancy dying away from every comfort in a nasty swamp! Fancy being ill of fever with nothing to take but chlorodyne and quinine - if men were left to themselves they would live on chlorodyne and quinine - and no one round you but horrible natives! They say the Andaman islanders are most disgusting wretches - and, anyhow, they can scarcely make good nurses, not having the necessary training. And just for people in England to have orchids!"
"I don't suppose it was comfortable, but some men seem to enjoy that kind of thing," said Wedderburn. "Anyhow, the natives of his party were sufficiently civilized to take care of all his collection until his colleague, who was an ornithologist, came back again from the interior; though they could not tell the species of the orchid and had let it wither. And it makes these things more interesting."
"It makes them disgusting. I should be afraid of some of the malaria clinging to them. And just think, there has been a dead body lying across that ugly thing! I never thought of that before. There! I declare I cannot eat another mouthful of dinner!"
"I will take them off the table if you like, and put them in the windowseat. I can see them just as well there."
The next few days he was indeed singularly busy in his steamy little hot-house, fussing about with charcoal, lumps of teak, moss, and all the other mysteries of the orchid cultivator. He considered he was having a wonderfully eventful time. In the evening he would talk about these new orchids to his friends, and over and over again he reverted to his expectation of something strange.
Several of the Vandas and the Dendrobium died under his care, but presently the strange orchid began to show signs of life. He was delighted and took his housekeeper right away from jam-making to see it at once, directly he made the discovery.
"That is a bud," he said, "and presently there will be a lot of leaves there, and those little things coming out here are aerial rootlets."
"They look to me like little white fingers poking out of the brown," said his housekeeper. "I don't like them."
"I don't know. They look like fingers trying to get at you. I can't help my likes and dislikes."
"I don't know for certain, but I don't THINK there are any orchids I know that have aerial rootlets quite like that. It may be my fancy, of course. You see they are a little flattened at the ends."
"I don't like 'em," said his housekeeper, suddenly shivering and turning away. "I know it's very silly of me - and I'm very sorry, particularly as you like the thing so much. But I can't help thinking of that corpse."
"But it may not be that particular plant. That was merely a guess of mine."
His housekeeper shrugged her shoulders. "Anyhow I don't like it," she said.
Wedderburn felt a little hurt at her dislike to the plant. But that did not prevent his talking to her about orchids generally, and this orchid in particular, whenever he felt inclined.
"There are such queer things about orchids," he said one day; "such possibilities of surprises. You know, Darwin studied their fertilisation, and showed that the whole structure of an ordinary orchid flower was contrived in order that moths might carry the pollen from plant to plant. Well, it seems that there are lots of orchids known the flower of which cannot possibly be used for fertilisation in that way. Some of the Cypripediums, for instance; there are no insects known that can possibly fertilise them, and some of them have never been found with seed."
"But how do they form new plants?"
"By runners and tubers, and that kind of outgrowth. That is easily explained. The puzzle is, what are the flowers for?"
"Very likely," he added, "MY orchid may be something extraordinary in that way. If so, I shall study it. I have often thought of making researches as Darwin did. But hitherto I have not found the time, or something else has happened to prevent it. The leaves are beginning to unfold now. I do wish you would come and see them!"
But she said that the orchid-house was so hot it gave her the headache. She had seen the plant once again, and the aerial rootlets, which were now some of them more than a foot long, had unfortunately reminded her of tentacles reaching out after something; and they got into her dreams, growing after her with incredible rapidity. So that she had settled to her entire satisfaction that she would not see that plant again, and Wedderburn had to admire its leaves alone. They were of the ordinary broad form, and deep, glossy green, with splashes and dots of deep red towards the base. He knew of no other leaves quite like them.
The plant was placed on a low bench near the thermometer, and close by was a simple arrangement by which a tap dripped on the hot-water pipes and kept the air steamy. And he spent his afternoons now with some regularity meditating on the approaching flowering of this strange plant.
And at last the great thing happened. Directly he entered the little glass house he knew that the spike had burst out, although his great Palaeonophis Lowii hid the corner where his new darling stood There was a new odour in the air - a rich, intensely sweet scent, that overpowered every other in that crowded, steaming little greenhouse.
Directly he noticed this he hurried down to the strange orchid. And, behold! the trailing green spikes bore now three great splashes of blossom, from which this overpowering sweetness proceeded. He stopped before them in an ecstasy of admiration.
The flowers were white, with streaks of golden orange upon the petals; the heavy labellum was coiled into an intricate projection, and a wonderful bluish purple mingled there with the gold. He could see at once that the genus was altogether a new one. And the insufferable scent! How hot the place was! The blossoms swam before his eyes.
He would see if the temperature was right. He made a step towards the thermometer. Suddenly everything appeared unsteady. The bricks on the floor were dancing up and down. Then the white blossoms, the green leaves behind them, the whole green house, seemed to sweep sideways, and then in a curve upward.
* * * * * * * * * * *
At half-past four his cousin made the tea, according to their invariable custom But Wedderburn did not come in for his tea.
"He is worshipping that horrid orchid," she told herself, and waited ten minutes. "His watch must have stopped. I will go and call him."
She went straight to the hothouse, and, opening the door, called his name. There was no reply. She noticed that the air was very close, and loaded with an intense perfume. Then she saw something lying on the bricks between the hotwater pipes.
For a minute, perhaps, she stood motionless.
He was lying, face upward, at the foot of the strange orchid. The tentacle-like aerial rootlets no longer swayed freely in the air, but were crowded together, a tangle of grey ropes, and stretched tight, with their ends closely applied to his chin and neck and hands.
She did not understand. Then she saw from one of the exultant tentacles upon his cheek there trickled a little thread of blood.
With an inarticulate cry she ran towards him, and tried to pull him away from the leech-like suckers. She snapped two of these tentacles, and their sap dripped red.
Then the overpowering scent of the blossom began to make her head reel. How they clung to him! She tore at the tough ropes, and he and the white inflorescence swam about her. She felt she was fainting, knew she must not. She left him and hastily opened the nearest door, and, after she had panted for a moment in the fresh air, she had a brilliant inspiration. She caught up a flower-pot and smashed in the windows at the end of the greenhouse. Then she re-entered. She tugged now with renewed strength at Wedderburn's motionless body, and brought the strange orchid crashing to the floor. It still clung with the grimmest tenacity to its victim. In a frenzy, she lugged it and him into the open air.
Then she thought of tearing through the sucker rootlets one by one, and in another minute she had released him and was dragging him away from the horror.
He was white and bleeding from a dozen circular patches.
The odd-job man was coming up the garden, amazed at the smashing of glass, and saw her emerge, hauling the inanimate body with red-stained hands. For a moment he thought impossible things.
"Bring some water!" she cried, and her voice dispelled his fancies. When, with unnatural alacrity, he returned with the water, he found her weeping with excitement, and with Wedderburn's head upon her knee, wiping the blood from his face.
"What's the matter?" said Wedderburn, opening his eyes feebly, and closing them again at once.
"Go and tell Annie to come out here to me, and then go for Dr. Haddon at once," she said to the odd-job man so soon as he had brought the water, and added, seeing he hesitated: "I will tell you all about it when you come back."
Presently, Wedderburn opened his eyes again, and, seeing that he was troubled by the puzzle of his position, she explained to him: "You fainted in the hothouse."
"And the orchid?"
"I will see to that," she said.
Wedderburn had lost a good deal of blood, but beyond that he had suffered no very great injury. They gave him brandy mixed with some pink extract of meat, and carried him upstairs to bed. His housekeeper told her incredible story in fragments to Dr. Haddon. "Come to the orchid-house and see," she said.
The cold outer air was blowing in through the open door, and the sickly perfume was almost dispelled. Most of the torn aerial rootlets lay already withered amidst a number of dark stains upon the bricks. The stem of the inflorescence was broken by the fall of the plant, and the flowers were growing limp and brown at the edges of the petals. The doctor stooped towards it, then saw that one of the aerial rootlets still stirred feebly, and hesitated.
The next morning the strange orchid still lay there, black now and putrescent. The door banged intermittently in the morning breeze, and all the array of Wedderburn's orchids
At last it's ready and available. My first big book production with great art and a great story. Journey to the Center of the Earth!
Journey to the Center of the Earth. Millions died. Now millions more may. Who will save them? Buy now at Amazon Books now for $2.99
Einstein's Swivel Chair
"A Jules and Wells Story"
By John Pirillo
Wells first noticed the aberration when he was working on an upgrade to the onboard flight navigator. He and Jules had come up with this very simple device that they could feed numbers into in a series of binary codes that would then turn the code into a visible interface. From that they had, with the help of their good friends Tesla and Einstein, as well as Edison, come up with lightware...another form of binary code that could be read by the device and seen as a kind of book to read, complete with instructions how to use it.
Of course, the device had to be miniaturized to be of use within the cockpit, as it had very little spare space, but they managed to fit it under the bombing station, which had a spare foot in it.
"That should do it." Tesla had decided after hooking up the string engine to the small device.
"Do what?" Watson had asked. They were giving him a tour of their work. Sherlock had declined because he was supposedly off on vacation in the Scots, but they knew better. He never took vacations and he was never a person to relax for long. He was up to something that they were sure out sooner than later, and more than likely...once more...would require the entire Baker Street team to chip in with their skills to solve, squash, or destroy it. Such was life for the people associated with him.
"Do exactly what it needs to do." Einstein said from his perch on the pilot's chair. He swiveled in it like a child, enjoying the freedom of it.
"I really must get one of these for my office."
Wells, poking his head in from back, grinned. "Done. When would you like one?"
He and Jules, who was in the co-pilot's chair exchanged grins. "Oh, I think that could be arranged."
Einstein laughed. "You two make a mockery of my Universal Field Theory."
Watson glanced at Einstein. "That dratted thing makes a mockery of a man's intellect."
They all laughed, except for Watson, who was serious.
Jules quickly diverted to another topic. "So you think our machine..."
"You should call it a putter." Watson ventured. "It makes this tiny put put sound."
"That's the energy conversion going on." Tesla pointed out. "When the energy gets converted from the String universe to ours, there's a kind of dimensional boom."
Jules brightened. "The Wright Brothers claim that one day planes will break that dimension and the atmosphere will shatter with an explosion."
"A kind of sonic boom, hey?" Watson asked.
Einstein tapped Watson on his arm. "You're brighter than you look, Doctor."
At first Watson took that as a compliment and blushed, and then he caught on and glared at Einstein, who giggled like a school girl, got up and squeezed through his friends to exit. "Good luck with the flight, boys. Let me know how it all turns out."
He looks back and winks. "After you've dropped off that...uh...revolving chair."
Watson turned also. "Enough of this. My head's starting to hurt. It's bad enough to put up with Holmes and his outrageous theories, without busting my brain cells over this...bing...theory."
"String." Jules and Tesla spoke at the same time.
"Yes, that thing." Watson agreed, and then also exited.
Tesla patted the box he had installed the lines to. "I think putter is not a bad name at all."
Wells nodded. "Then putter it is."
Jules frowned. "Perhaps we should make sure out little device is protected from intellectual thieves."
Tesla gave him a look that asked a million questions.
Jules smiled. "In the future people will steal ideas if you don't protect them."
"Whatever for, my dear man." Tesla said. "There's so many out there."
"Some are just lazy." Wells responded.
"Or stupid." Jules added. "With greed."
"Oh yes, there's that." Tesla agreed. "Well boys, I'm off to. Got to help the old man solve his next momentous equation."
"You two have been working a lot together lately." Wells said.
"True enough. Edison has been off to the India Isles, working on some kind of device that harnesses prana."
"Prana?" Wells asked with a frown. "Not air?"
"Indeed. Air." Tesla said with a grin. "But air that's been revitalized through yogic means."
Jules shook his head. "Next thing you know someone's going to be telling us we need to meditate to help our hearts and bodies."
Wells laughed. "We'll be long dead before that happens, Jules."
"Mon Frere, I pray that is so."
Tesla shook their hands, and then also exited.
Jules tapped the pilot's chair.
Wells eyed it with eyebrows raised. "So soon, old chap?"
"Never too soon, Mon Frere."
"I see." Wells said, positioning himself at the controls. "You are eager to get into more mischief then."
"Always. I have never enough of it at home."
Wells barked with laughter. "Your children are enough mischief for a dozen men."
Jules brightened. "That is because they take after me."
They both laughed.
The Master of the World's String engines warmed up rapidly. Jules nursed them through the stages: entrance, magnetize indraw and energize. The four states of String energy. The first caused it to enter our dimension, the second to feed the engines, the third to phase it between both dimemsions and the last to direct the engines where ever in time and space they desired.
Wells looked to Jules, who nodded. He started to cause the Master of the World to rise on beams of bright String fields, when Jules suddenly barked out. "Wait!"
Wells settled the ship down and waited as Jules dashed from the cockpit through the lengthy middle and to the door, which he opened, allowing the ramp to fall down quickly. He plumetted down the ramp, not even breathing hard and dashed into a side room, where a brand new swivel chair stood.
He grinned, then hefted it easily and ran back outside, through the warehouse, up the ramp, which Wells activated from the cockpit. Before he had even stepped into the safety of the passenger compartment, the ship was sealed and lifting. He set the chair down, and then hurried back to the cockpit, where he strapped himself in.
"So what now?" Wells asked, fully knowing what Jules would ask next.
Wells set the co-ordinates and Jules gave the engines their needed juice.
The Master of the World lifted up from the warehouse for a moment, and then was surrounded by a bright penumbra, which promptly vanished. It lowered back into the warehouse. Jules unstrapped, went into the passenger compartment and exited, just as Einstein leading John Watson and Tesla entered the warehouse, all talking excitedly.
Jules went to Einstein with the chair in his arms and offered it to him.
"A little something from the future."
Einstein gave Jules a puzzled look, but when Jules set it down, sat upon it and spun. Einstein began laughing like a small girl. It's absolutely marvelous. For me? Really?"
Jules stood up and made way for Einstein, who sat upon it, then began spinning it around.
Inside the Master of the World Wells watched with a set of binoculars, his face wide with a smile.
"Sometimes time travel is not such a bad thing."
The Hound From Hell
"A Sherlock Holmes Story"
By John Pirillo
"Hickory, Dickory Doc, the Mouse Ran up the Clock. Now, come on Charlie, surely that's a contradiction of gravity as well as very bad colloquialism." Holmes said amiably to his friend, and partner in crime, Charlie Dickens, an up and coming author with no qualms about bragging about his writing prowess or insight into humanity.
Charlie, who lay on the crest of grass besides Holmes, resighted his binoculars on the second story window of the home they were going to break into. "I find it neither restrictive, nor worrisome, dear Holmes. A man may interpret the world as he likes, as long as he compromises no souls, nor enslaves or murders any."
"I admire your long views." Holmes replied, taking the binoculars from his friend, and sighting it on the first floor window. "But truly it is madness to allow just anyone to interpret the world as they like. Why criminals might come to think they could rule the world!"
Charlie turned to admire his friend, who was on the adventure with him. "Perhaps, but then we would have to find a way to stop them, wouldn't we. Imagine this, Charles Dickens and Sherlock Holmes, Crime Stoppers Extraordinaire!"
Holmes laughed. "I'd rather smoke a bloody pipe, than partner with my worst enemy."
Charlie barked with laughter. "I beat you once at chess, and now I'm your worst enemy?"
"You are until you write an apology." Holmes replied tersely.
"So what's the strategy, my good man?" Charlie asked, flipping his reddish hair aside, to reveal a freckled face with wide eyes, a thick nose, and a grin that would scare a lion.
Holmes laid down the binoculars, then steepled his hands in what was fast becoming a signature gesture for him over the years as he developed into full manhood. "I suspect the midnight approach would be best. These manners of people tend to go to sleep early."
"How can you tell they are that type? We've only been observing them for ten minutes?"
Holmes took the challenge. He pointed to the yard. "First, their laundry hangs on the lines still."
"Does not most laundry lie that way?"
"No, not of a night watchman. He usually brings them inside prior to dark. The fact that they are still wet, tells me that they allow them to dry over night, while at work."
"Then you are assuming there is no lady of the house?"
"Not at all." Again, Holmes pointed to the laundry line. "You will observe the thick trousers, the heavy suspenders, the woolen shirts and underwear with the boots drying beside them."
"Yes. That is all I see."
"Precisely." Holmes agreed. "Were there a woman of the house, she would never let him put the shorts next to the shoes on the line, for fear of them becoming discolored."
"Remarkable. What else do you see?"
"The man stands at least six feet tall. Weighs about 200 pounds, is barrel-chested, and carries quite a large belly."
Charlie shook the binoculars free of the grass, and took another look. "I see clothing, not sizes and heights."
"The clothesline is hung at approximately six feet off the ground. A shorter person could not reach it comfortably, and certainly not to place the pinches on the clothing to hold them there."
"I'll give you that. But what about the sizes?"
"See the waist of the pants and the shirt next to it?"
"The shirt is almost three times as wide as the waist, telling me that he has a large chest."
"But the belly?"
"Observe the bottom of the shirt."
"Yes, by the extra fat in the folds of his flesh when he's working."
"Quite remarkable, Holmes. My hat is off to you."
"Your hat is nowhere near you."
"Matter of speaking."
Holmes gave Charlie an amused glance. "Now as to our attack. You shall fetch the ladder we built from the spare lumber below and place it to the rear of the cottage. I shall enter via the lower window in the kitchen."
"Why that way? If he's as big as you say, he probably lives in the kitchen."
Holmes laughs. "True enough, but when he eats so much, it draws the blood from his brain and starves his body for oxygen. He grows more tired, and compounded with his loss of sleep as a night watchmen, he goes to bed early and sleeps generally from about noon to ten, when he arises to face his new night of work."
"Why those particular hours? How can you tell that by looking at his clothing or the house?"
"Because night watchmen always begin their pursuit when the second bell before midnight chimes, and before the last bell from nine finishes. It is an old tradition in this part of the country."
"It is believed that demons come out at midnight, and that angels protect men who start their work before nine, but not after ten oh one."
Holmes faces Charlie with a frown. "The demons or the tradition?"
"You tell me, since you're the criminologist."
"Very well. Demons can't survive the daylight, or the early part of night because of the moon's light...."
"But what when it's gone, hey old man?"
"The light is still there, but it is not as visible. It is reflected by the earth's atmosphere."
"I see. And the tradition?"
"Begun when London was still a rundown series of quickly built huts near the Thames."
"So you admit that the tradition could be flawed!"
"Not at all, Charlie. Traditions always have their roots in a truth, even if it is fantastical."
The sound of a bell ringing began from the distance.
Holmes rolled over and cupped his hands beneath his head, then closed his eyes.
"What are you doing now?"
"Getting some sleep. The night watchmen will rise just after ten, secure his clothing, then return inside to eat and leave for his job. We will break in shortly after that, but not at midnight, or after."
"Practical. Good night, Mister Dickens!"
"Goodnight, Mister Holmes."
Charlie rolled over and relaxed as well, but could not sleep, because of all the avenues of pursuit his mind was traversing at that time. What if the guard did not leave at the appropriate time? Their bet had been to secure the item before Midnight and return it by dawn before he returned. The challenge was amusing at best, but worried him anyway, as most challenges they had received so far had cost them both many hours of slavish studies by their professor, who hated it when they made their adventures and came back with naught to share.
"One thing bothers me, Holmes."
"If the night watchman leaves his clothing out to dry all night while he works, why would he come outside to retrieve them then?"
"Another tradition." Holmes yawned. "One never leaves one private wears for thieves to discover and take."
"But he can't watch them all the time!" Charlie insisted.
"Did you not observe the long stretches of brown near the poles for the clothing?"
Charlie stiffened. "Dear lord, we're going to break into a home with a hound?"
Holmes began to snore.
Charlie lay there, pondering all the imponderables, and then fell asleep quite by accident. When he awoke, Holmes was up already and rubbing his hands together vigorously to warm them. The moon was high overhead.
"Ready, my good man?"
"Rather, but the hound?"
"How so, if it is a guard dog?"
Holmes smiled, and revealed a small vial which he uncapped to allow Charlie to smell it. Charlie did so, making a face. "You devil you!"
"Compliments will get you nowhere."
"Then lets at it!"
They both shrugged back into their proper cloaks, and then crept down the rise to the cottage.
When they returned to the campus the next morning to reveal the item they had captured from their adventure, the Professor gave them both a huge smile. "And everything went perfectly?"
"Yes, except the part where the hound tore the bottom of my britches off." Charlie said angrily, giving Holmes a scowl.
The Professor eyed Holmes questioningly. "It's really quite elementary. Mister Dickens here made a common mistake."
"To eat that horrible cheese that smells like rotting corpses."
"I do not!" Charlie protested, and then he simmered down. "Well, maybe a little."
"Hounds have a superlative sense of smell, and once Charlie had descended into the home from the second floor, even though he was as quiet as a mouse, his odor preceded him."
"Then why didn't you tell me I smelled so?" Charlie protested angrily, his face turning crimson red.
The Professor laughed, and then put a hand on Charlie's shoulder to calm him down. "You see, I've played a bit of a trick on you, Mister Dickens. My father has trained his dog to hate that odor, and when I persuaded you to eat that sandwich I had made of it, I knew full well you would be caught."
"I could have lost more than my britches!" Charlie protested.
"Not at all." A very large man said, entering the classroom from the Professor's office. "I was watching the entire time."
Charlie glared at Holmes. "You knew this was going to happen?"
"The item we were sent to steal was an apple from the kitchen table, but the item I was sent to retrieve was your pride."
Charlie's face reddened. "I should challenge you to a duel for this insult to my honor!"
Holmes shrugged. "You would lose."
"I am a crack shot."
"But you forget one thing."
"And that is?"
"Without this night, you would have no material for your thesis, which I might add, is long overdue." The Professor jumped in.
Charlie sighed. "I can't win this battle."
"Nor should you." Holmes told him with a smile. "If we are to become partners in crime, then we must also be able to take our lumps, as well as our prizes."
Charlie nodded, but his mind was elsewhere. He suddenly had this great idea for a story. About a man who gives up everything, his kingdom, his way of life, even his wife, to learn what a poor man must experience.
Charlie brightened. "I just had this brilliant idea for a novel. I shall call it the Hound of the Baskervilles. About a man who gives up everything, and then is murdered."
"Sounds like a tale of horror." The Professor said with a grin.
"It shall be a hound from hell like the one that nipped my behind."
The Professor's father laughed, and then clapped his hand. A dog barked and came running from the office. It was the hound. Its ears shot straight up as Charlie backed away.
The Professor glanced at Holmes. "You put the cheese in his pocket?"
Holmes said nothing.
Charlie screamed like a madman and ran for his life as the hound bounded after him.
"He shall never forgive you for this." The Professor told Holmes.
"Perhaps, but now he shall have an even better story to tell."
"How to avoid being eaten by a hunting hound."
They both broke into laughter.
Holmes nodded to the Professor's father. "I'd better catch the two of them, before the hound does put an end to his life."
"Don't worry, lad." The father said. "That hound couldn't harm a fly!"
"HOLMES!" Charlie's word of terror shot into the room.
All the men ran outside and saw Charlie on the grass, and the hound licking his face vigorously, while fellow students laughed and laughed.
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
"The Spider" redirects here. For the 29th sura of the Qur'an, see Al-Ankabut. For the British comic character, see Spider (British comics). For Quality Comics and DC Comics characters, see Spider (DC Comics). For other uses, see Spider (disambiguation).This article includes a list of references, but its sources remain unclear because it has insufficient inline citations. Please help toimprove this article by introducing more precise citations. (March 2012)‹ The template Infobox pulps character is being considered for deletion. ›The SpiderCover of the first issue (October 1933), featuring the story "The Spider Strikes"PublisherPopular PublicationsFirst appearanceThe Spider, vol. 1, #1 ("The Spider Strikes") (October1933)Created byHarry SteegerIn story informationReal nameRichard WentworthSupporting charactersNita Van Sloan
Stanley KirkpatrickSpider (pulp fiction)PublisherPopular PublicationsScheduleMonthly (until March 1943)
Bi-monthly (until final issue)GenreHero pulpPublication dateOctober 1933 – December 1943Number of issues118Creative teamWriter(s)Norvell W. Page
Reginald Thomas Maitland Scott
"Grant Stockbridge"Editor(s)Rogers Terrill (1933–1942)
Robert Turner & Ryerson Johnson (1943)Films or serialsThe Spider’s WebColumbia Pictures
Portrayed by: Warren HullThe Spider ReturnsColumbia Pictures
Portrayed by: Warren HullComics and graphic novelsThe SpiderEclipse Comics
1991The Spider: Judgement KnightMoonstone Books
2009The Spider is an American pulp-magazine hero of the 1930s and 1940s.
Wentworth was easily identified as The Spider by his enemies in a number of earlier novels and was arrested by the police but quickly escaped, adopting a hunchback disguise under the name of Tito Caliepi, donning make-up, a wig of lank hair, a black cape and slouch hat. Later in the pulp series, vampire-like makeup appeared and then a face mask with grizzled hair; a hunchback was then added to terrorize the criminal underworld with The Spider's brand of violent vigilante justice. (Actor and comedian Harold Lloyd previously had used a similar mask, lank hair wig and hunchback in the 1922 comedy film Dr. Jack). Caliepi sometimes begged, utilizing Wentworth's talent with a violin.
At times, Wentworth also ventured into the underworld disguised as small-time hood Blinky McQuade in order to gain needed information. To Scotland Yard, Wentworth was known as Rupert Barton and held a badge of Inspector for services rendered; by the fifth novel he also held the rank of Lieutenant in the FBI.
Wentworth himself, according to the fifth story, was 5'11" tall and had grey eyes and an old battle scar on his head that would flare-up at times of great stress. He was an accomplished musician with violin and piano, and he drove a Lancia. He could speak fluent Hindustani and so talk with Ram Singh in his own language with little fear anyone else would understand.
The stories often involved a bizarre menace to the country and a criminal conspiracy and were often extremely violent, with the villains engaging in wanton slaughter of thousands as part of sometimes nationwide crime sprees with the master criminal being unmasked only in the last few pages. The first two novels were written by Reginald Thomas Maitland Scott, but they were slow paced, so another author was brought in with later stories being published under the house name, Grant Stockbridge; most of the Spider novels were written byNorvell Page. Other authors of the Spider novels included Emile C. Tepperman, Wayne Rogers, Prentice Winchell, and Donald C. Cormack. The cover artists for the Spider magazine were Walter M. Baumhofer for the debut issue, followed by John Newton Howittand Rafael De Soto. The Spider was published monthly and ran for 118 issues from 1933 to 1943. A 119th Spider novel manuscript had been completed but was not published until decades later, then as a rewritten mass-market paperback with retitled characters (see paperback novels section, below).
Supporting charactersRichard Wentworth was aided by his longtime fiancé, Nita Van Sloan. Though they were as close as man and wife, they knew that they could never marry and have a family, as Wentworth believed that he would eventually be unmasked or killed as The Spider, and his wife and family would then pay the price; in issue #100, Wentworth expected to die in a story called Death and The Spider. Nita disguised herself as The Spider a few times, covering for Wentworth when he had been seriously injured.
Ram Singh, a Sikh (originally Hindu), was Wenthworth's fanatically loyal manservant; he was a deadly knife thrower and usually carried several knives with him, including the deadly Kukri. Ram Singh never saw his position as a servant demeaning or having a negative impact on his self-respect, feeling that he served a man totally above other men. Ronald Jackson was Wentworth's chauffeur. Sergeant Jackson had served under Wentworth in World War I and often referred to him as "the Major". Harold Jenkyns was Wentworth's butler, an elderly man who had been in the Wentworth family's service for a long time. Wentworth's main ally/antagonist was Police Commissioner Stanley Kirkpatrick or simply "Kirk", who strongly suspected Wentworth was The Spider but could never prove it. An old war colleague and inventor named Professor Ezra Brownlee featured heavily in the early Spider novels before being killed in the July 1935 issue Dragon Lord of the Underworld. Brownlee's son made some appearances afterwards, taking over from his late father.
EnemiesDespite The Spider's tendency to kill his enemies, he encountered several foes more than once, such as The Fly and MUNRO, a master of disguise. Some storylines featuring a struggle against a single villain lasted for several consecutive issues, such as The Spider's four-part battle against The Living Pharaoh and his three-part battle against The Master and his Black Police. Among the enemies he encountered just once were predecessors of the costumed super villains of comic books, such as The Red Mandarin, The Brain, The Bloody Serpent, The Wreck, Red Feather, The Silencer, Judge Torture, and The Emperor of Vermin. The names of two Spider villains, The Bat Man and The Iron Man, would later be adopted for DC and Marvel comic book superheroes.
The Spider's seal and weaponsOne distinguishing feature of The Spider was his "calling card." Wentworth often left a red-ink "spider" image (like a drop of blood) on the foreheads of the criminals he killed so others would not be blamed. In the sixth novel (1934), the Spider imprints his red sign on a gold ring so that any who need his help can use it by taking it to Kirkpatrick (where Wentworth will find out about it). During the same time period, in the same benign fashion and perhaps inspired by the Spider's calling card, Lee Falk's long-running 1936 syndicated comic strip hero, The Phantom, left a distinct skull mark in the faces of those enemies he fought, made by the ring he wore. The Spider's seal, however, was concealed in the base of his platinum cigarette lighter and was invented by Professor Brownlee. The Spider also carried a thin silken line (his "web") which had a tensile strength of several hundred pounds.
Brownlee also invented the lethal and almost silent air pistol the Spider used for 'quiet' kills. He acted as a sort of on-call technical wizard for Wentworth, whom he looked upon as being close to a son. Wentworth also had a gun in one of his shoes in the early issues, which he used twice is issue 5.
Wentworth was a master of disguise; in the small steel case of burglar tools he carried under his arm, he also had his make-up kit (and in the early novels) The Spider's eye mask.
In Timothy Truman's 1990s comic book adaptation, Brownlee created the "Web-Lee," a non-lethal 'stun' pistol that fired projectiles that erupted into a spiderweb-like mass, inundated with microscopic barbs of frozen curare.
Like The Shadow, The Spider's usual weapons of choice were a pair of Browning .45 caliber M1911 automatic pistols; he was a crack shot and normally shot to kill. However, he would not shoot anyone in law enforcement, whereas they frequently were under orders to shoot to kill him on sight.
Master of MenThe Spider's by-name was "Master of Men", indicating that he had a voice commanding enough to get many people to do his bidding. Wentworth could also imitate other people's voices. When he imitated Kirkpatrick's voice, he could give orders to lesser policemen during a stake-out, even during one intended to capture The Spider, so he could himself escape. Wentworth was not above disguising himself as a cop to escape when surrounded by policemen.
Movie serialsThere were two Columbia Pictures Spider movie serials produced; both are 15-chapter cliffhangers starring Warren Hull as Richard Wentworth. The first is 1938's The Spider’s Web, the first to be made from a popular pulp magazine series character. In this serial The Spider battles The Octopus and his henchmen who attempt to disrupt all commercial and passenger transportation systems and later all U. S. industry; Spider pulp magazine novelist Norvell Page was one of the writer's that worked on the serial's screenplay.
The second serial was 1941's The Spider Returns, which has The Spider battling the mysterious crime lord The Gargoyle and his henchmen, who threaten the world with acts of sabotage and wholesale murder in an effort to wreck the U. S. national defense.
Both serials feature a dramatic wardrobe enhancement to the Spider's magazine appearance: his black cape and head mask are over-printed with a white spider's web pattern and then matched with his usual plain black fedora. This striking addition gave the silver screen Spider an appearance more like that of a traditional superhero, like other pulp and comics heroes being adapted for the era's movie serials; it also made the serial Spider look less like the very popular Street and Smith pulp hero The Shadow, which also had been produced by Columbia and starred Victor Jory.
Novel reprintsMany of the original 119 Spider pulp magazine novels have been reprinted over the years in both mass-market paperback and trade paperback editions.
Berkley Books (then Berkley/Medallion) first reprinted the Spider in 1969 and 1970, intending to reprint all 118 novels in order, hoping to tap into the reprint phenomenon of the Doc Savage novels being published by Bantam Books. But these first paperback reissues met with poor sales after only four volumes, and the planned series was canceled.
In the mid-1970s, Pocket Books reprinted four Spider novels, this time featuring "modern" pulp artwork on their covers: Each featured a non-costumed, heavily armed Spider depicted as a muscular blonde hero holding a gorgeous woman. These paperbacks also failed to find an audience and the series was canceled. It seems likely that these four novels were edited and modernized reprints, one of several reasons why they may have never caught on with their intended audience. In one, Death and the Spider, with an original publishing date of 1940, Nita Van Sloan is shown driving an Jaguar E-type X-KE, a sportscar not created and on the streets until 1961, some nineteen years later.
At roughly the same time in England, Mews Books/New American Library reprinted four Spider novels sporting new cover artwork, each being different in style and execution from those used by Pocket Books. This Spider mass-market series also ended after only four titles had been published.
Then, three years later, in 1979, an unusual Spider publishing event happened right out of the "blue." Python Publishing put into print the never-before-published last original Spider novel,Slaughter, Inc., originally to have been published as Spider pulp magazine #119. Python published it as a one-shot mass-market paperback. For copyright reasons all character names were changed and the novel was retitled Blue Steel ("The Ultimate Answer To Evil"). In it The Spider was recast as the title character Blue Steel. As with Pocket Book's Spider editions, this paperback sported a "modern" pulp cover painting featuring a very similar, non-costumed, but heavily armed blonde hero (that cover appears to be an unused cover painting by artist George Gross, finished but never used for a Freeway Press reprint of the pulp magazine character Operator #5).
A year later, in 1980, Dimedia, Inc. reprinted three Spider pulp novels in the larger trade paperback format. Then beginning four years later, they continued with three mass-market Spider novel reprints, one in 1984 and two in 1985. These last three sported new cover paintings of the original costumed Spider by fantasy artist Ken Kelly.
In the early 1990s, Carroll & Graf Publishers began issuing a series of eight mass-market Spider paperbacks, each one in a double-novel format. All used original Spider pulp magazine artwork for their covers. These 16 novels became the longest running Spider reprint series done for the mass-market paperback book market.
After Carol and Graf, several specialized small press pulp reprint houses tried a complete reprinting of the Spider series before finally stopping. Bold Venture Press started this multiple small press revival during the mid-1990s with a series of affordable Spider trade paperback reprints. Others soon joined in with Spider reprintings. In later years, the prolific Wildside Pressstarted offering Spider reprints. But Girasol Collectibles has been the most dogged of them all. It has reissued the novels as both a series of single pulp novel facsimile editions, as well as re-typeset stories in 'pulp double' trade paperbacks. Both series use Spider pulp magazine artwork for their covers. More than eight dozen Spider novels have been put back into print as part of Girasol's ambitious program, which still continues.
New York science fiction publisher Baen Books published in 2007 a single trade paperback featuring three Spider novel reprints. Then in 2008 they released a second companion trade paperback of Spider reprints. Baen then issued both volumes as mass-market paperbacks. One of the three novels in that second omnibus stars another Popular Publications pulp character, the Octopus. The Baen editions sported new Spider cover paintings by noted graphic designer and comics artist Jim Steranko. Steranko had illustrated 27 of the 28 covers [Mobsmen On The Spot used a George Rozen cover from the original pulp run] for the 23 1970s mass-market reprint volumes of [he did 2nd covers for 5 of the titles 2nd printings] rival pulp hero The Shadow, published by Pyramid Books and HBJ/Jove Books.
In late 2009, Doubleday's Science Fiction Book Club reprinted in hardcover Baen's second Spider three-in-one volume from the previous year. This became the first Spider hardcover edition ever published.
In August 2009, Age of Aces reprinted the Spider's "Black Police" novel trilogy in a single volume. Moonstone Books also published an original anthology of brand new Spider short stories entitled The Spider Chronicles the same year.
The Vintage Library has thirty-four licensed Spider novel reprints available in the PDF format. For a small fee, each one can be downloaded from their website.
Facsimile Spider novels continue to appear in print from other publishers; they have also been issued in the Kindle e-book format and are available for download from radioarchive.com, Amazon.com, and others.
Spider comics and graphic novelsIn the early 1990s, the Spider and its characters were reinterpreted in comic book form by Timothy Truman for Eclipse Comics. As noted in Comics Scene #19, Truman set his version of The Spider in the "1990s as seen by the 1930s". Elements of this version of The Spider's milieu included airships as common transportation, the survival of the League of Nations into the near past (Wentworth meets Ram Singh during an intervention into India/Pakistan), and World War II, if it ever happened, taking place differently. This series featured an African-American Commissioner Kirkpatrick.
Moonstone Books started a new Spider graphic novel series, which are structured more like illustrated prose stories than traditional panel-by-panel comics. In March 2011 the same publisher offered the first issue of a more traditional Spider comic book, with art by veteran creator Pablo Marcos.
In August 2011 Dynamite Entertainment announced that they were going to produce a brand new, updated Spider comic book series, written by novelist David Liss; the first issue was released in May 2012. The Spider's costume in this series is based on the one worn by actor Warren Hull in Columbia's 1940s Spider movie serials, but the black costume's web lines are rendered in blood red instead of white. This comics series depicts The Spider and his allies fighting crime in a modern day U. S. In 2013 Dynamite announced that issue #18 of The Spider would be its last.
In December 2012 Dynamite released the first issue of Masks, an 8-issue comic book miniseries that teams The Spider with Dynamite's other pulp hero-based comic book characters; these include The Shadow, The Green Hornet and Kato, and a 1930s Zorro, among others. Together, they fight a powerful criminal syndicate, who, along with their gangster henchmen, secretly controls New York City through the corrupt and powerful Justice Party, which has seized complete control over the city and its citizens. This miniseries, set in the Depression Era 1930s, is not in the same universe/story continuity as Dynamite's main Spider comic book series. The completed Masks miniseries was then gathered by Dynamite into a single volume graphic novel.
Or am I?
But don't be surprised. Things can happen when you least expect it in the Baker Street Universe. And from the direction you would least expect it.
The biggest, baddest villain ever is on the way. And that's for sure.