Monday, December 22, 2014

Books by John D MacDonald

When I was in the process of getting The Trap of Solid Gold back up on its feet last summer I spent lot of time going over everything I had written so far, fixing spelling and grammatical errors, adding and cleaning up artwork for the individual postings, and changing the overall look of the blog to a brighter, more reader-friendly layout. I re-checked the connections to the links I had posted in the righthand column to make sure that they still took the reader to where they were supposed to, and in doing so visited these sites for the first time in years. It made me recall something that had been nagging me: there is no completely accurate listing of John D MacDonald’s books or short stories on the internet.

There are many, many sites that list the books, and even though MacDonald wrote a lot, they are fairly easy to identify and name. None of them, however, list the books in the proper order of publication. The short stories are a different matter, but two of the sites I have links to -- Cal Branche’s JDM Homepage and The Thrilling Detective Website’s JDM entry -- contain fairly comprehensive, but incomplete, listings of the shorter works. I decided that as part of this blog’s relaunch I would add a section on the right containing my own JDM resources, starting with the two lists, but I got wrapped up in the writing and neglected that project for several months. This week I finally got around to part one, The Books, and you should see it now in a box titled The Trap of Solid Gold Resources. Each book’s entry includes the month and year of publication, the publisher, the first-edition format (paperback or hardcover) and a link to my blog entry on a particular novel, assuming I’ve already written one.

Why do I contend that my list is more accurate than others available on the web? A good question, and one that I will be happy to explain.

WARNING: THE FOLLOWING WILL BE OF INTEREST ONLY TO CRAZED BIBLIOGRAPHERS, DEMENTED LIST MAKERS AND OTHER MARGINAL INDIVIDUALS. IT WILL LIKELY CAUSE NARCOLEPSY IN ALL OTHERS.

Most editions of MacDonald’s books contain a listing of his prior works, usually appearing before the title page in the Fawcett editions, and it’s more of an advertisement than a definitive listing of books. (For example: “Other Fawcett Gold Medal Books by John D MacDonald.”) The first organized attempt to create an accurate chronological listing occurred in 1965, when a MacDonald fan named Tony Ellik wrote to the author requesting a list of his books. MacDonald responded in detail. Ellik sent a copy of the list to friend and fellow JDM fan Len Moffatt, who typed it up, mimeographed it and mailed it out to several fellow fans. It turned out to be Issue Number One of The JDM Bibliophile.

That list included a couple of titles absent from the Fawcett listings (Weep for Me and I Could Go On Singing) and included one novel, The Blood Game, which MacDonald had been working on for years but hadn’t yet completed. He would eventually scrap The Blood Game but it still showed up on many early lists of MacDonald’s books.

In 1980 Walter and Jean Shine published their landmark JDM bibliography, ponderously titled A Bibliography of the Published Works of John D MacDonald with Selected Biographical Materials and Critical Essays. Understandably, we JDM bibliophiles referred to it simply as “The Bibliography.” It listed the books chronologically in several sections of the work, and even included the month of the year most titles were published. Unfortunately many of them were wrong.

Then in 1988 the Shines published their most detailed bibliography to date, A MacDonald Potpourri, which carried another long subtitle: “being a miscellany of post-perusal pleasures of the John D MacDonald books for bibliophiles, bibliographers and bibliomaniacs.” For this work Walter had managed to access the records of several of MacDonald’s publishers, including Fawcett (Ballantine), Lippincott, Harper and Row, and Knopf. Others, such as Dell and Popular Library, were either spotty or unavailable. The book contained a series of checklists, the first of which was a chronological list of JDM books. The last section was a series of tables, which listed each and every printing of each and every JDM book, taken directly from publishers’ records. But there was one problem: the chronology didn’t match the tables.

Here is one example. The chronology lists MacDonald’s first three 1958 novels in the following order:

24. The Deceivers
25. Clemmie
26. The Executioners

Yet when one turns to the tables and reads the publishers’ records, it is revealed that The Executioners was published in April, The Deceivers in May and Clemmie in July. There is no explanation for this discrepancy anywhere in the book. And it is not the only example.

In other cases where publisher records were not available, there is guesswork offered in the tables, or simply no month of publication at all. This is where the Shine’s final work comes in handy. Published in 1993, Rave of Rage: The Critics & John D MacDonald, the book was a collection of excerpts from various reviews of MacDonald’s books found in newspapers and magazines throughout the English-speaking world. Using the publication dates of early reviews helps in determining the proper order of works where information is incomplete or where there is a “tie,” i.e. both works published in the same month. Here’s an example.

Ballroom of the Skies was MacDonald’s second science fiction novel and his second first-edition hardcover release. It was one of two JDM novels published in 1952, the other being The Damned. There is no month of release supplied in the Tables for Ballroom, and according to Fawcett The Damned was published in May. The Chronology lists Ballroom before The Damned, yet the first of several reviews of Ballroom didn’t appear until early 1953. So The Damned gains primacy in this argument.

Most of these quibbles occur in the earlier phase of MacDonald’s novel-writing career, when he was churning them out one right after the other. Like many other authors, he had as many as three different works under construction at the same time, so exactly when one was finished and another was still being written is something that will perhaps never be known. Further complicating matters, many of his novels appeared in magazines like Cosmopolitan, Collier’s and Redbook, and often the publication of a novel in book form had to be delayed in order for the magazine version (usually condensed) to appear and then get off the stands. A good example is The Executioners (which I will write about next week) which first appeared as a serialized novel in the October and November issues of Ladies’ Home Journal, the same month The Price of Murder hit the paperback stands and two months before two other 1957 efforts showed up: The Empty Trap and A Man of Affairs. Yet the hardcover version of The Executioners didn’t appear until April, so it comes after all these other titles in all chronologies.

This attempt to correct the proper order of these books is my best effort, and like those before me, I probably made mistakes here and there. If anyone sees anything obvious, please let me know. The list is presented on Google Docs, not because this is the premier presentation vehicle, but because when it comes to doing anything like this on a web page, I am a complete moron.  I wrote my original list on Word, where the management of tabs is fairly easy and straightforward, but when I tried to put it on my Google web page, the tab demarcations disappeared. After hours of pulling my remaining hair out, I finally transferred the document to Google Docs and with a little extra work, managed to get something that doesn’t look terrible. If there’s anyone out there who would like to publish this on a real web page, feel free to do so. All I ask is that you let me know and that I get some attribution.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Point Crisp Road House is for Sale

John and Dorothy MacDonald's old Point Crisp Road house is for sale! For a cool $3.2 million you can own what can truly be called a literary shrine. Here is a great article from a West Coast Florida newssite called Your Observer. There's some interesting stuff here about subsequent owners I hadn't known, along with the revelation that the house, with a few nice additions, is still in pretty much the same shape as it was when the MacDonald's lived there.
 

Home of the Month: The Deep Blue Goodbye
                                   
Date: December 10, 2014

by: Robert Plunket | Contributing Writer                   

               
   
                       
               
           

John D. MacDonald's Siesta Key home was the birthplace of the Florida crime novel.   

               
Florida has its share of literary shrines, the places where its greatest authors created their best work.

There’s the Hemingway House in Key West, Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings’ farmhouse in Cross Creek and the house in St. Pete where Jack Kerouac drank himself to death. But one of the most important is virtually unknown — the rustic beach house on Siesta Key where John D. MacDonald lived from 1952 to 1970. It was here, in a room above the garage, that the legendary Travis McGee was born.

Travis McGee, the knight in slightly tarnished armor, the rescuer of damsels in distress. Six-foot-four, powerfully built, deeply tanned, usually needing a shave. He and his creator pioneered a new kind of novel, one that changed American literature. The hard-boiled Florida crime novel soon came to dominate the bestseller lists and, not so incidentally, gave impetus to the burgeoning environmental movement. It was a cry to action against the corrupt forces that would destroy the delicate ecological balance for their own profit.

One look from the windows of MacDonalds’ second-floor study and workroom and it’s easy to see from where this passion came. The setting is spectacular. The room is modest in size but has full water views to both the north and the south. Birds swoop by, lizards dart here and there — even a few full-size iguanas — and tropical vegetation sways gently in the breeze. The only thing missing is the clacking of the typewriter as Travis begins another adventure.

***

That John and Dorothy MacDonald could afford such a house is a reflection of both Sarasota real estate prices back in the 1950s and MacDonald’s growing success as a writer. A prolific worker, he was a rising star in the genre of tough-guy fiction, with scores of successful novels under his belt. He wrote as many as four a year. The couple had already assumed a routine they would follow decades to come. The house on Siesta Key in the winter, then a trek north to the Adirondacks for a summer at the lake.

MacDonald’s book “The House Guests,” published in 1967, gives an evocative look at life on the Key back in those long ago days. Air conditioning hadn’t taken over; windows were left open and their beloved cats — the houseguests of the title — wandered in and out at will. Neighbors were always dropping by, often with injured wildlife, for they knew the MacDonalds were a soft touch for any wounded creature. Everybody in town knew everybody else and the social life was informal but active, especially for members of the town’s art colony, the writers and painters who originally gave Sarasota the cachet it still enjoys today.

The MacDonald home was also pretty typical of the way people lived back in those days. It was located on Point Crisp, a sandbar that inexplicably juts out into the bay about a mile or so south of the Stickney Point Bridge. Local lore says the home’s original owner, the man who developed Point Crisp residentially, won it in a poker game. It’s tempting to surmise that this inspired Travis McGee’s acquisition of his famous houseboat, the Busted Flush. It also was won in a poker game.

As they became more prosperous the MacDonalds enlarged the home, which stood on about an acre. They added a guesthouse and extended the living room. Dorothy, an accomplished amateur painter, used the former living area as her studio. But John always claimed the upstairs room — reached by a spiral staircase — as his own sanctuary.

The MacDonalds sold the house in 1970 and moved to a larger home that looked out over Big Pass, designed for them by their good friend, architect Tim Siebert. Over the years, the Point Crisp house went on to have a succession of notable owners. One of them, Richard Peterson, became famous for an adventure that seems right out a MacDonald book. A TWA pilot, he was flying a 727 from Rome to Athens, Greece, in April 1986, when a terrorist bomb went off. Four passengers were killed and a large hole was blown in the side of the plane, but Capt. Peterson kept his head and landed the plane safely in Athens. He became the Sully Sullenberger of his day.

Later, Dr. Masood Rehmani, a prominent child psychiatrist who spent 30 years working in Sarasota, treating private patients and developing programs with local hospitals and school boards, bought the Point Crisp home. The doctor’s brother, Qamar, recalls how the home’s gentle tropical atmosphere and many fruit trees — mango and lychee — reminded his brother of his native India. Full circle, in a way — MacDonald’s first published story was entitled “Interlude in India” and dealt with his experiences in New Delhi during World War II.
***

Rehmani died recently and the Point Crisp home has come on the market. Even MacDonald would be realistic enough to accept the fact that, for all its history and charm, whoever buys the place will probably tear it down and replace it with a $10 million mansion — it’s the last beach shack left on Point Crisp, an anomaly next door to its glamorous, almost overpowering neighbors. The price tag certainly reflects the unique location — an eye-popping $3.2 million.

But if his birthplace is disappearing, Travis McGee is getting a second wind. The series is finding a whole new generation of readers thanks to e-books, and 20th Century Fox is planning a film version of “The Deep Blue Good-Bye.” Variety reports that Christian Bale is the leading contender for the role of Travis.

Not bad for a character dreamt up in a room over a garage on Siesta Key more than 50 years ago.

1430 Point Crisp Road is priced at $3.2 million. For more information, call Deborah Beacham (376-2688) or Larry Zeigler (228-2612), both of Michael Saunders & Co.

[This posting was copied from the Your Observer site, which can be accessed here.]

Monday, December 8, 2014

"The Men Women Marry"

“The Men Women Marry” is a John D MacDonald short story that appeared in the June 8, 1956 issue of Collier’s magazine, the author’s eighth and final appearance in the weekly slick that began seven years earlier with “Looie Follows Me.” Between these two titles saw the publication of a five part serialized novel called “My Brother’s Widow” (which MacDonald later rewrote as the paperback original Area of Suspicion); a couple of excellent mysteries: “Who’s the Blonde?” and “Dead on Christmas Street”; a sports story about racing called “Elimination Race”; a three-part serialized novel that should have been redone for publication as a book called “Flight of the Tiger”; and a mainstream family piece called “The Unsuitable Girl.”

Mention Collier’s magazine to anyone under the age of 60 and you’ll probably draw a blank. It’s as obscure a title as other once-big newsstand denizens of a bygone era with names like Woman’s Home Companion, The American Magazine, Today’s Woman and McCall’s. But in its day -- from 1888 to 1957 -- Collier’s was a big deal, a weekly bedsheet-sized combination of “fiction, fact, sensation, wit, humor and news.” In the early years of the last century it published lots of groundbreaking pieces that would today be called “investigative journalism,” but was then known as “muckraking.” A few of the series published were of historical magnitude due to the legislative results of the articles. Upton Sinclair’s April 1905 article titled “Is Chicago Meat Clean?” -- published a full year before his famous expose The Jungle came out -- is credited with the passage of the Meat Inspection Act of 1906. The same year Sinclair’s article was printed, Samuel Hopkins Adams began an eleven-part series exposing the general fraud behind most then-popular patent medicines. Titled “The Great American Fraud,” it let to the passage of the Pure Food and Drug Act the following year.

But mismanagement and a general change in tastes led to a long period of decline during the 1910’s, and in 1919 the magazine was acquired by Joseph Palmer Knapp and his Crowell Publishing Company, who ran the periodical for the rest of its run. Things gradually improved and Collier’s eventually became one of the two major weeklies that contained both news and fiction, the other being, of course, The Saturday Evening Post. By the time the war ended in 1945 Collier’s was the 10th most popular newsstand periodical in terms of circulation, trailing behind other long-gone titles such as McCall’s, Woman’s Home Companion, Look, Life, and The Saturday Evening Post.

In 1948 the magazine hired a new fiction editor, a 26 year old former editor from the Armed Forces weekly Yank, Knox Burger, a man who would go on to become a major player in the John D MacDonald story. It was Burger who purchased “Looie Follows Me,” and MacDonald never forgot him for it, or the experience of receiving his first big check.

I remember where I was when they bombed Pearl Harbor, and where I was when Kennedy was shot, and where I was when I got word of the first four figure sale. One thousand dollars. I was standing in the main post office in Cuernavaca in 1948 and I ripped open an envelope that told me that Knox Burger, then the fiction editor of Collier’s, had paid that amount for a short called “Looie Follows Me.”

In 1951 Burger left Collier’s to edit paperback originals for Dell, and in 1954 MacDonald began having his novels published by Burger’s firm after doing eight novels for Fawcett Gold Medal. When Burger jumped ship to Fawcett in 1960 MacDonald went with him, and from that point forward every JDM paperback was published by Fawcett, even though Burger left in 1970 to form his own literary agency. And it was Burger, of course, who finally got MacDonald to agree to create a series character, who eventually saw print as Travis McGee.

Collier’s was known for the brevity of its articles and fiction, to the point that even world class contributors like Franklin D Roosevelt and Winston Churchill were ordered by editors to shorten their copy. Nowhere else was this mindset more evident than in the magazine’s weekly section called “Collier’s Short Short,” where an entire piece of fiction had to fit onto one or two pages, along with artwork and even advertising. Both “An Unsuitable Girl” and “The Men Women Marry” appeared as Short Shorts, with the latter clocking in at a mere 2.000 words.

“The Men Women Marry” is one of MacDonald’s “family problem” stories, devoid of any crime, mystery or even bad intention, where parents wring their hands over the actions of their children or the relationships their children have fostered. In this respect it is nearly identical to “An Unsuitable Girl” (with a different gender child) and very similar to a This Week story from 1955 titled “Too Young to Marry.” The fact that all three of these stories appeared around the same time (“The Men Women Marry” was published in Collier’s June 8, 1956 issue) may have been connected to the fact that MacDonald’s own child Johnny (now Maynard) was sixteen years old.

Walter Tyler is concerned about his daughter Kath, but wife doesn’t understand his concern. Kath has fallen for a boy by the name of Carl, and things seem to be getting serious enough to start thinking about marriage. Kath’s previous boyfriend was a musician, and while both parents are relieved that that particular relationship has ended, Walter is still worried, but for different reasons this time.

"[Carl is] just -- too darn' plausible. Too perfect. He hangs on my every word. He calls me 'sir.' He keeps hopping up to do this and that. He's got salesman manners... He's selling us, and maybe he sold Kath the same way... I just don't know the guy, and I can't seem to get to know him. I can't seem to get beyond that attentive politeness of his."

This complaint comes over breakfast one morning, and Mrs. Tyler reminds Walter that they are having guests over that evening: Kath and Carl, and Walter’s sister Helen and her bore of a husband, Ralph. (MacDonald’s unfortunate title for this short story was “The Triple-Plated Bore,” mercifully changed by a Collier’s editor.) Walter’s consternation over this recalled duty is only assuaged by the possibility that Carl will become so bored with Ralph that he will head for the hills. Ralph is a classic JDM “type,” an all-too-familiar comic gasbag who is succinctly described in a single paragraph.

Ralph... was a big, meaty man with a big, meaty voice... He had a vast assortment of opinions and stated them in a way that was at once so positive, so heedless of the possibility of disagreement, that the listener felt a compulsion to disbelieve. When Ralph turned his heavy face and his boiled eyes toward you and said, with utmost dogmatism, "The sun will rise tomorrow" -- said it harshly, imperiously -- you found yourself wishing it wouldn't. Ralph had perfected a defense against contradictions. He simply refused to notice them.

Dinner that evening is everything Walter feared it would be: “deadly.” Ralph is his usual obnoxious self and Carl treats him with the same perfect, almost robotic respect that he shows toward Walter, even agreeing and laughing with Ralph. After dinner the men retire to the living room and Ralph continues bloviating his many opinions. At one point Walter eases himself out of the room and heads upstairs to give his ears a rest, leaving Carl alone with Ralph. A few moments later he hears the creak of floorboards and, unobserved, sees Carl heading up the stairs and into the bedroom. Standing in front of a dressing-table mirror, Carl seems an entirely different person, to the point that Walter wonders if his future son-in-law is actually insane…


There’s not much to see here, really, outside of MacDonald’s ability to paint entire worlds within a few well-crafted sentences. The story is negligible and the ending entirely predictable, as glib as any in the JDM cannon. Still, it’s one of ten JDM short stories that have recently become available as eBooks (eShortStories?) from Peril Press. “The Men Women Marry” is the only one bundled with another story, MacDonald’s other Collier’s Short Short, “The Unsuitable Girl.” For only 99-cents you can own both, available from Amazon or Barnes & Noble. The cheesy cover the publishers provide for this set is completely misleading; it’s an illustration of a pulp-cover dame shooting an automatic pistol. It’s kind of hard to blame them, really, as there’s really no action in either tale, and the story art for both of them -- provided with the text of the stories -- wouldn’t sell a book if they were ice water in hell.



Monday, December 1, 2014

Travis McGee Phones Home

From the Utica Observer-Dispatch
July 1, 1973


Truth Stranger
 
Sometimes a fictional character can take on an all-too real life of his own. That's what John D MacDonald found out when he received a bill for $21.42 from the Holiday Inn of [Gaffney, South Carolina]. The bill was for a long distance phone call charged by one Travis McGee.

McGee is, of course, the fictional hero of 14 bestselling Fawcett paperbacks, the newest of which, The Scarlet Ruse, will be published in July.

In his letter to the Holiday Inn disavowing all knowledge of the phone call, Floridian MacDonald said:

"The management of Bahia Mar Marina in Fort Lauderdale gets letters from time to time addressed to Travis McGee by pleasant people who are fans of the books I write about McGee. They forward them to me. This is the first instance of a rip-off.

"I would comment that the unknown person was a risk-taker. I am advised that over 14 million copies of the McGee books have been sold in this country. Assuming two readers per book, his odds were about one in nine that the person or persons at your desk would recognize the fictitious name.

"I feel a bit wistful that no one did. And I must assure you that McGee would never stoop to a fraud so petty.
"

Monday, November 24, 2014

"Like a Keepsake"

The genre of epistolary fiction -- stories told through letters, journal entries and news reports -- dates back to the beginnings of fiction itself, but most scholars date its English language debut to Samuel Richardson’s 1740 novel Pamela, a hugely successful effort that not only spawned scores of imitators of the specific form, but also marked the maturation of the novel itself as an art form. By the end of the 18th century the form had pretty much run its course, but many novels written in the following century used the form, most notably Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, Wilkie Collins’ The Moonstone and that greatest of all epistolary novels (in my opinion), Bram Stoker’s Dracula. (Not that I’ve read even a fraction of the works done in the 18th century.)

It’s usage in the 20th century continued sporadically, with notable titles such as The Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis, Alice Walker’s The Color Purple and Stephen King’s still amazing first novel, Carrie. More contemporary efforts now include communications of the digital age such as emails, text messages and Twitter tweets.

The closest John D MacDonald came to writing an epistolary novel was his 1960 masterpiece The End of the Night, which begins with a long letter and goes on to include a “Death Row Diary” and several official memoranda. But these entries are far too lengthy and detailed to convey the illusion of a real epistle, and one gets the feeling that the author began with the idea of writing the novel in this specific form but his words simply got away from him. A year later he wrote One Monday We Killed Them All, which begins with an excerpt from an official statement, but that is as far as he takes it.

His short fiction contains at least three examples of this form, and there certainly may be more among the stories I haven’t read. His November 1950 science fiction story “Final Mission” employed memos, the minutes of a country club meeting and even excerpts from a play before ending the story with straight prose. “Dear Old Friend,” written in 1970 and one of the last short stories MacDonald would write, used several rough drafts of a letter recorded on a dictaphone before ending with the finished product, an amazing example of concise and perfect short story writing if there ever was one. But his first effort at epistolary storytelling was -- I believe -- back in 1949 with another science fiction tale he titled “Like a Keepsake.”

Made up of six letters, presented in chronological order, “Like a Keepsake” appeared in  the June 1949 issue of Thrilling Wonder Stories, MacDonald’s third of seven stories he would have published in that science fiction pulp. Each letter is written by Bill Wheeland, a welder in his late teens, to a girl named Zell. Bill has just returned from a trip to Venus, where he met and dated Zell, and things ended badly. Believing “that stuff the fellows told me,” he made a pass at Zell on their last date before Bill left for Earth and got his face slapped. Zill left in a huff and Bill wandered around for hours before hitting the sack. He’s writing to a.) apologize for his bad behavior and for thinking that Zell’s name was funny, b.) to confess that he isn’t really a space ship co-pilot, c.) to let her know that he is scheduled to return to her planet in three months, and d.) to tell her she is “the most gorgeous thing” he’s ever seen. At the end of his letter, almost as an afterthought, he mentions something that’s happening on Earth:

The papers are full of some sort of trouble in London. Tonight on the telescreen they gave us a quick look at it. I couldn't make head or tail of it -- a black line that goes right up from a rooftop straight up into the air. The big scientists have given out with a lot of fancy language but nobody seems to know anything about it except that it's growing.

The letter, postmarked “New Mexiport,” is dated 10 September 1998.

Bill’s next letter is written ten days later and he’s now writing from Bristolport in England. Gone, for the most part, are the pleasantries and romance and they are replaced with an explanation as to why he is in England and the “trouble” that is happening there. The black line has grown and it is now two miles thick and its properties baffling. When it was pencil sized, a man walked through it and was cut in half. As it grew scientists tried experimenting on it. Steel bars shoved into it came out with the inserted portions gone. Bathtubs full of water had their ends cut off without any of the water flowing out. They’ve tried flame throwers, electricity, fire hoses, even bombs, and nothing makes a dent in it. And it has begun to attract the crazies.

Lots of crazy people have sneaked by the police lines and jumped into it. They don't even yelp, I hear. Crazy religions have popped up all over and people are yammering about the end of the world... the newspapers are full of fancy talk. One old bug called it a "crack in infinity." Imagine that?

The third letter comes from Parisport, nine days after the second one, and London is gone…


“Like a Keepsake” contains a kind of poignancy that may not be apparent after a single reading, and the events and the ending of the tale may evoke little more than a “so what?” in the reader, but looking more closely one sees how MacDonald slowly unravels background and character through (and despite) this most limiting of fictional forms. Little bits of information thrown out here and there do much to create this future world (well, the future as written in 1949). Like comparing the early size of the “line” to Zill’s “pretty arm,” discussing Earth’s political balance of power by relating it to two military bases -- one British, one Russian -- on Venus, and postulating that Earth’s historic Black Death of the fourteenth century was probably known to Zill by way of Earth’s missionary schools on Venus, all convey a richer fictional world simply by the manner of their indirect inclusion into the storyline. “Like a Keepsake” may not be the best or the most memorable bit of science fiction writing John D MacDonald ever composed (it wasn’t included in his sf anthology Other Times, Other Worlds), but it is a great example of his storytelling skills, his use of economy in writing, and the way he could encourage the imagination of the reader in only five pages of a pulp magazine.

Although the story was never anthologized, it has reappeared an an eBook -- well, really an eStory, via Peril Press, who was also responsible for several other reissued tales, including “What Makes Sammy Laugh?” which I wrote about a few weeks ago. “Like a Keepsake” can be purchased from either of the two big online booksellers for a mere 99 cents, well worth the price to own and read a bit of JDM sf that hasn’t see the light of day, or Venus, in over sixty years.