Monday, December 03, 2018

PaperBack: “Renegades of Time”

Part of a series honoring the late author and blogger Bill Crider.

Renegades of Time, by Raymond F. Jones (Laser, 19750.
Cover illustration by Kelly Freas.

I can pretty much guarantee that you’re not the only one looking at this latest installment in The Rap Sheet’s “PaperBack” series and wondering, How in the heck did a science-fiction novel manage to worm its way into this mix? I thought the “PaperBack” choices were all from the crime, mystery, and thriller shelves.

The change of pace is provoked by a couple of unfortunate anniversaries occurring this week. First, it was exactly one year ago today—on December 3, 2017—that Texas mystery writer and longtime blogger Bill Crider posted the front and back covers from Raymond F. Jones’ 1977 novel, The River and the Dream (which, I just noticed, he misspelled The River and the Dread). That was the concluding installment in Crider’s own “PaperBack” series, which he’d debuted in his blog back in 2010—and which The Rap Sheet picked up, in his honor, just before the author’s death in February 2018.

I had thought originally to highlight a different book front here today, from the only Jones work I know is in my possession: his 1965 TV tie-in novel, Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea (Whitman). As a boy, I was a huge fan of the 1964-1968 Irwin Allen series on which Jones based that adventure yarn, and have managed to hold onto my copy of the book ever since. However, after digging through the boxes in my basement to find said “authorized edition”—shown on the left (click for an enlargement)—I discovered it was a hardcover book, not a paperback. So I have substituted Renegades of Time, instead.

This week’s second sad occasion falls on Wednesday, December 5, which will mark one year since Crider—then 76 years old and suffering from a very aggressive prostate cancer—announced he was giving up blogging after an impressive decade-and-a-half-long run. He wrote:
Things could change, but I suspect this will be my final post on the blog. I met with some doctors at M.D. Anderson [Cancer Center] today, and they suggested that I enter hospice care. A few weeks, a few months is about all I have left. The blog has been a tremendous source of pleasure to me over the years, and I’ve made a lot of friends here. My only regret is that I have several unreviewed books, including Lawrence Block’s fine new anthology, Alive in Shape and Color, and Max Allan Collins’ latest collaboration with Mickey Spillane, The Last Stand, which is a collection of two novellas, “A Bullet for Satisfaction,” an early Spillane manuscript with an interesting history, and “The Last Stand,” the last thing that Spillane completed. It saddens me to think of all the great books by many writers that I’ll never read. But I’ve had a great life, and my readers have been a big part of it. Much love to you all.
Bill Crider passed away quietly a little over two months later. And there’s probably not a day that has gone by since, when I didn’t read something about a brand-new novel, or hear about a news event involving crocodiles, Nicolas Cage, or the passing of another celebrity, and think, I wonder how Bill would’ve treated that in his blog.

1 comment:

Lee Goldberg said...

I really, really miss Bill today. He was the one who introduced me to Ralph Dennis' HARDMAN series... and got me hooked on them (as he knew I would be). I made it my mission to bring the books back -- even launching a publishing company, Brash Books, to do it. Bill was an enthusiastic supporter in that seemingly quixotic pursuit and, in the mean time, advised me on other out-of-print books we should acquire, But none meant more to him or to me than getting our hands on Hardman. He would have been so thrilled to see the Hardman books back in print today and undoubtedly would have had an essay in the book, too, to go along with his friend Joe Lansdale's introduction. In addition, I acquired all of Ralph's other published and unpublished books...and I know Bill was looking forward to helping me edit the unpublished material, particularly combining the rare DEAD MAN'S GAME with the unpublished sequel.