Every few months I do a short blog entry on a retailer, publisher, record label etc. that I think may be useful to you. Previous articles have been on Film Score Monthly and Wordsworth Publications. This time around, I want to bring to your attention a great on-line retail store for lovers of science-fiction, horror, crime and fantasy... Fantastic Literature.
When I was a pre-schooler I learnt to read from a not too steady but enthusiastic influx of Superman and Batman comics. This kept me way ahead of the game when it came to reading by the time I got to school and, naturally, when I started to devour proper books instead of the less stimulating and stilted stylings of Janet and John, it wasn’t long before I found quite a few science-fiction and fantasy novels mixing it up with the likes of my Jennings, William and Famous Five books.
Shooting through to my teenage years and the likes of Michael Moorcock, Philip K. Dick, Edgar Rice Burroughs and Kenneth Robeson were my constant companions. Always a book sticking out of my jacket pocket and marking me out as... one of those weird kids who read stuff!
If, like me, you share an affinity with dusty old shops stacked high with yellowing paperbacks with brilliant cover illustrations that really made you want to pick up a book and read it, then you might also have found yourself, like me, kinda starved of late for finding a really good place to get a decent choice of second hand books. Unless you’re living somewhere really book friendly like Hay on Wye or Felixstowe (both of which have some fantastic second hand book emporiums) then you have probably noticed that most second hand bookshops and stalls these days mostly only have books that are less than ten years old. Gone are all those great science fiction treasures of yesteryear... replaced by multiple copies of the latest Dan Brown or Patricia Cornwell pulps.
And this is why you should check out Fantastic Literature. Simon & Laraine Gosden’s Fantastic Literature Limited is the place for you. All those old sci-fi, fantasy, crime and horror writers who you never see on the shelves anymore... one might mention Dennis Wheatley, Maxwell Grant, Robert Sheckley and a whole host of others, are waiting to be reunited with you for a very reasonable price on a user-friendly website which is obviously a labour of love.
In addition to their “sales” side, which will keep you in some happy, virtual browsing for a good while... they also keep you up to date with all the latest genre news via a series of links from both their home page listings and from "Out of the Woodwork", which is a free newsletter which the Gosdens send out regularly to keep you up to date with what’s going on in their wild, mysterious world and also keeps you abreast of their most recent acquisitions for sale (some of them are often quite rare).
In addition to their main site, they also have an ebay store and their regular site will also keep you abreast of their Amazon reseller feedback... just in case you have second thoughts ordering from them. I’ve certainly had no problems with them and they’ve always been very helpful to me.
Ultimately that's probably the thing that comes across most from these people... you can say as much as you like about their professionalism in being a genre bookseller of excellence (which they are) but when it comes down to it they excel in that all important area of customer service... something that seems to be a bit of a dying art these days.
So if you’ve got nothing better to do right now than read this blog, you might want to spend some time browsing Simon and Laraine’s excellent website here at http://www.fantasticliterature.com/ and get yourself reacquainted with some of the great genre writers of both the past, present and quite possibly from the future (they cater for everyone here). Go on... browse your heart out.