Rob Price
Gutbrain Records
rob + = email

2020 June 19 • Friday

Just in time for Father's Day, here's the June 1955 issue of Bluebook magazine.

There's a lot of great content in here. For instance, there's a short story called "The Rumble" by Frederic Sinclair in which an ex-con who's got a nice honest life going as a husband and father and professional crop-duster gets forced into a bank heist by rough customers he knows from prison.

What ends up happening involves a helicopter, a school bus full of children, lots of Molotov cocktails and lots of guns.

There's a whimsical story about professional wrestling by Charles Einstein and an intriguing feature on tennis, in which Jack Kramer, Frank Sedgman, Maureen Connolly, Don Budge and Lloyd Budge all give detailed advice on very specific shots and strategies.

There's also an excellent John D. MacDonald short story, "Virus H".

It's a simple enough premise, one that might have already occurred to you, and a few elements might remind you of Arrival or Annihilation, but MacDonald's precise and seemingly effortless prose makes this an example of near perfect writing.

It's also a bleak and doom-laden story, diverting but devastating.

And speaking of bleak, the novel included in this magazine, Francis Irby Gwaltney's The Day the Century Ended, is a gruesome and harrowing World War 2 saga, about a perfect life that a young man gives up to ship out to the Pacific.

He encounters so much trauma and violence and disgustingly cruel behavior, sometimes stupid, sometimes evil, that he starts to break apart piece by piece, mentally and emotionally at first but by the end of his story, with permanent physical damage as well.

This is not some Greatest Generation celebration, this is a true horror tale about all kinds of pain and misery.

So Happy Father's Day!