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Julian Karswell
10-25-2009, 09:44 PM
[Apologies for the possibly contentious nature of this post.]

As I've recently been maligned elsewhere on the internet by people who eagerly scan the TLO for information on me and the Ex Occ Press in general (I wouldn't dream of mentioning Mike Plowman or John Pelan by name), it reminded me that I was going to post a warning about a dishonest small press horror publisher who has quietly set up a new website:

http://www.darkmidhouse.com/

Like many others, I'm aware that the proprietor has left a trail of unpaid writers & contributors in his wake, to say nothing of customers who paid for but never received books. I would therefore strongly advise potential customers to buy books from this party through a reputable third party dealer rather than purchase direct.

As Pelan is now allying himself with ignoramuses who know nothing about the horror genre but who have gleefully poured scorn on both myself and the Ex Occidente Press (even accusing Dan G of being a Nazi sympathiser who supports eugenics), while stalking the TLO forum like the swine creatures from William Hope Hodgson's 'The House On The Borderland', I thought it reasonable to post a timely reminder that no matter how cosy it may be in here, there are many bitter, chill winds blowing outside.

I appreciate that this post may reference long-running personal feuds which have occured elsewhere, but in mitigation, both the TLO and Ex Occ Press have been directly / indirectly referenced, and I really do want to urge fellow posters on this board about the downright fraudulent behaviour of Darkside Press / Midnight House / John Pelan.

To put it bluntly, I couldn't care a less what these envious and bitter malcontents say about me, but I object when they start trying to hurl mud at Dan Ghetu, and by association people who work with him or buy from him, to say nothing of their referencing discussions in the TLO.

Of course, if any of you are Nazi sympathisers who advocate genocide by way of purifying the human gene pool, then I apologise humbly for disrespecting your.......hey, no I don't! Anyone who believes in such evil nonsense deserves to burn in hell for eternity whilst listening to George Bush reading 'Coronation Street' scripts aloud.

JK

starrysothoth
10-25-2009, 10:07 PM
I noticed that a button on the website for Dark Midhouse contains a section called "Silver Salamander." Just out of curiosity, is this in any way related to the old outfit by the same name that published Thomas Ligotti's The Agonizing Resurrection of Victor Frankenstein and Other Gothic Tales?

Julian Karswell
10-25-2009, 10:55 PM
I noticed that a button on the website for Dark Midhouse contains a section called "Silver Salamander." Just out of curiosity, is this in any way related to the old outfit by the same name that published Thomas Ligotti's The Agonizing Resurrection of Victor Frankenstein and Other Gothic Tales?

I don't know. If TL was unfortunate enough to have sent even a compliment slip to Pelan, it would have surely ended up on Ebay. The proofs and any correspondence will certainly already have been touted to the highest bidder.

Of course, people's fortunes vary, and Pelan may have operated more professionally 15 years ago. But judging by recent developments, he is currently floundering badly on all fronts, whether it be work, publishing or writing (which may explain his allying himself with ignorant and unpleasant third parties).

Obviously, it must be apparent that I wish the man ill will, but I could very easily ignore the obnoxious little worm if it wasn't for the TLO and Ex Occ slights.

JK

Ascrobius
10-25-2009, 11:05 PM
There were controversial "issues" with manuscripts/correspondences of Tom's early works being sold on Ebay several years ago. I won't get into the details, but there were, umm, issues.

Julian Karswell
10-25-2009, 11:18 PM
Apologies to all. I shouldn't let these sad and bitter malcontents get under my skin. It doesn't matter what they say about me or anyone else.

To quote that fine old saying:

"Sticks and stones will break my bones but words will never hurt them."

JK

Julian Karswell
10-25-2009, 11:33 PM
There were controversial "issues" with manuscripts/correspondences of Tom's early works being sold on Ebay several years ago. I won't get into the details, but there were, umm, issues.

{Sigh.}

I wasn't aware of that but it doesn't surprise me. I've seen numerous original manuscripts / authorial correspondence being touted on Ebay by a party already mentioned. The same party who failed to pay printers for producing books which he then failed to send to many customers.

It beggars belief that this same person was a Trustee in the Horror Writers Association. Mind you, having worked in the leisure industry, vetting employees who want to work with children and other vulnerable people, I'm aware that some people are drawn like magnets towards positions of trust so as to camoflage their nefarious activities. Being a Trustee of an organisation provides the perfect cover for fraudulent activity. Indeed, I well remember a colleague who was a fraud investigator, an individual who was notorious for prying into the lives of poverty-stricken single parents, who was caught stealing two years worth of union subs (she had volunteered to be the Treasurer of said union). Unlike the mums she chased into greater poverty, her theft was quietly covered up, and converted into an interest free loan so as to spare the union's blushes.

Damn! I just said I wasn't going to comment on these people anymore.

JK

Julian Karswell
10-26-2009, 05:25 PM
And this doesn't look good:

http://www.newmexicoandsouthwestcolorado.bbb.org/Business-Report/Darkside-Press-99125576

"We strongly question the company’s reliability for reasons such as that they have failed to respond to complaints, their advertising is grossly misleading, they are not in compliance with the law’s licensing or registration requirements, their complaints contain especially serious allegations, or the company’s industry is known for its fraudulent business practices. "

JK

njhorror
10-26-2009, 06:37 PM
Does that bbb report indicate only one complaint?


I don't know the situation very well, so I'll just mind my own business.

Julian Karswell
10-26-2009, 09:11 PM
No idea. I've never heard of the company before. Are they a private outfit or a govt agency?

All I know is that I heard rumours from another US small press publisher that printers were chasing Pelan for unpaid debts. Then I heard and saw for myself that unhappy customers had resorted to tracking Pelan down on message boards because he wasn't answering emails and had had his Ebay seller account terminated. Finally I heard in the TLO and in Shocklines that Pelan hadn't even paid some of the writers whose work he'd used in anthologies.

Of course, it could just have been a cash flow thing rather than a cynical attempt to defraud (though the hints about author manuscripts turning up on Ebay might suggest the latter). Either way, my advice would be to NOT purchase anything direct from him, and instead go through a reputable dealer, who presumably has the goods in stock and will fulfill any orders placed.

I know there is 'bad blood' between Pelan and me, but that doesn't mean I shouldn't warn TLO members about the apparent relaunch of his small press interests.

I wonder.........why don't any of the official horror writers organisations keep performance indicator data about small presses? It would be an invaluable resource. For example, they could advise who owned what small press; what titles they had published; customer feedback & reviews of both prose and book production quality; along with praise and criticism.

I buy far less than I might because I don't have access to such data, and because I'm anxious about entrusting my credit card details to unknown small presses. If I could visit one site, and see both customer reviews and a reliability rating for the publisher, it would be immensely reassuring. What's more, if a small press knew it was being rated by a respected and impartial genre body, then it would focus better on customer service. Perhaps the small presses could even donate to the org by way of an insurance bond, so that should any small press publisher go bust owing money, customers could be reimbursed.

As things stand people have to scour the internet for nuggets of information, and then make a decision whether or not to trust a small press publisher. It doesn't seem to be a very efficient way of managing things bearing in mind we all share a broadly common interest.

JK

njhorror
10-26-2009, 11:01 PM
You make some good points there, Julian.


The better business bureau is, I believe , some sort of consumer protection agency that operates above board, to the best of my knowledge.

Joel
10-27-2009, 05:20 AM
Going back to your original point about Ex Occidente Press, Julian, I'm sure we'd all agree that all malicious blogs or messages based on Internet rumours, without direct experience or clear proof, are to be deplored. It's no way to carry on.

Julian Karswell
10-27-2009, 08:20 AM
Going back to your original point about Ex Occidente Press, Julian, I'm sure we'd all agree that all malicious blogs or messages based on Internet rumours, without direct experience or clear proof, are to be deplored. It's no way to carry on.

Well, in relation to Ex Occ Press, some clowns have previously suggested that the proprietor DG is the same DG who is apparently currently in jail for a financial scam investigated by the CIA or FBI, or that he "must" be a neo-fascist simply because as a reporter, he interviewed some people with extreme right wing views. I've even had it hurled in my face that as the parent of disabled children, I should be condemned for working with someone who supports eugenics, which is as ludicrous as it is offensive.

I don't mind people poking a little mischievous fun at me or indeed anyone else, but this is quite heavy, nasty stuff. As we've seen from the whole Nick Griffin thing, being associated even by suggestion with extreme right wing views can quickly lead to demonisation and vilification. [It's odd that few people commented on the Labour party's historical links with communism, which I always associate with left-wing dictatorships, but that's a tangental issue.]

This is what bothers me about criticism of DG. Such is the hatred certain parties feel for me - based, presumably, upon my habit of criticising & opposing the 'establishment' - that people will now say anything to try and spite or smear me, no matter what the repercussions for others. In this case, DG has been accused of being an unprofessional amateur with neo-fascist sympathies, and his writers of harbouring similar views (me directly, others like yourself by association).

I know it's all silly, envious nonsense, but mud sometimes sticks. Or do you think I've misinterpreted the situation, or that I've over-stated the case?

I've heard second-hand accounts that DG at Ex Occ Press has been on the receiving end of unjust criticism in a Yahoo discussion group owned by a rival small press. This sort of thing sickens me and is the reason why I stopped publishing myself. The same people proposed to sabotage a Times ghost-story competition simply because they disagreed with judge Susan Hill's historical view of ghost stories. It's pathetic, and is the reason why I'm turning my back on the genre after my own Ex Occ book appears. I've worked in the civil service and local government - I've even been an independent local councillor myself - and I've yet to discover a dirtier, more heavily manipulated environment than the horror genre. It's distinctly medieval and feudalistic. In fact, the TLO is one of the few pure springs of hope in an otherwise unhealthy wilderness.

There has to be a reason why so few truly high profile horror and fantasy figures have nothing to do with the genre. It seems to be dominated by conniving politician types who like to be the biggest fish in a forgotten oxbow lake. Has Susan Hill, J K Rowling, Alan Moore or Terry Pratchett ever been the Guest of Honour at (for example) a BFS convention? No, and nor will they. Between them, they've won fewer BFS awards than.....well, certain people I could mention.

JK

PS. I envy your ability to remain calm or ambivalent to such injustices. On your side, you probably think I'm overstating the case too strongly.

Evans
10-27-2009, 08:39 AM
Has John Pelan actually said that about Dan Ghetu? I know about the whole alt.tv war thing but I wouldn't have thought Pelan would have made such a libellous comment about a third party. It would be highly unwise.

I think that Midnight House website may have been around for a while though. I was hoping Midnight would start selling again and reprint those Leiber collections but no luck. (actually I think there was a fourth that never reached production. Adepts & Arkham possibly)

If people from any unrelated group decide to randomly turn up and troll this forum I can't think of much good it will do them.

Julian Karswell
10-27-2009, 09:23 AM
Has John Pelan actually said that about Dan Ghetu? I know about the whole alt.tv war thing but I wouldn't have thought Pelan would have made such a libellous comment about a third party. It would be highly unwise.

I think that Midnight House website may have been around for a while though. I was hoping Midnight would start selling again and reprint those Leiber collections but no luck. (actually I think there was a fourth that never reached production. Adepts & Arkham possibly)

If people from any unrelated group decide to randomly turn up and troll this forum I can't think of much good it will do them.

Pelan has suddenly turned up in a forum dedicated to British television to join forces with people who have said such things about DG and myself.

Of course, if you pay social visits to Osama Bin Laden, it doesn't necessarily follow that you support or endorse his views on terrorism, but it could be viewed as poor judgement. Given that DG has taken a bashing in a certain Yahoo forum - owned by friends of Pelan - then it does tend to be suggestive of a dirty-tricks campaign, albeit a ragged one rather than a concerted effort.

Anyway, I'm sick of talking about Pelan; he doesn't deserve the attention. I simply want to flag up the concern that potential Midnight House customers should purchase via a third party given his past history, and to sound an alarm bell about unjust attacks on Ex Occ Press and their writers (many of whom frequent this forum).

TTFN,

JK

PS. I acknowledge that I am a tad prickly about the issue of people stalking me here to gossip about me elsewhere, but in mitigation, I do have first-hand experience of someone threatening / joking to stalk me to my home (which they did; I recognised the person from a photo on their blog). After I complained to this person's employer (the individual concerned had been rash enough to discuss this stalking on a horror forum whilst at work), I experienced five burst tyres on my car in 18 months, one at high speed with the kids in the car, and all caused by screws, nails or similar driven into the tyre edge. It was only when I reported the matter to the Police and advertised the fact on my own blog that we stopped experiencing problems. Indeed, I've been driving for over fifteen years, and have only had five burst tyres, and they all occurred in quick succession as stated. Of course, it's easy to accuse me of being paranoid, and perhaps I am, but as any police officer will tell you, there are strange people out there who will go to quite nasty, sneaky lengths to avenge themselves for a perceived slight.

Joel
10-27-2009, 10:09 AM
Julian, I don't think it's necessarily simple to invite blockbuster authors like Terry Pratchett to be GoH at a small convention. They probably require colossal fees. Or they may decline such invitations automatically. For example, do you really think Stephen King hasn't been GoH at Fantasycon since the 1970s because the BFS don't want him? One of your previous postings showed that you're unaware that it's the norm for a GoH's expenses to be paid by the convention. If those expenses include 'opportunity costs' for a commercial giant, they could be huge.

Joel
10-27-2009, 10:23 AM
Regarding Dan Ghetu, as I've observed elsewhere, the great French crime writer Georges Simenon interviewed fascists and interviewed Leon Trotsky. That's what journalists do.

My comment about malicious blogging was meant both broadly and seriously, as referring to a widespread and ugly practice. The way you feel about the present-day weird fiction community, Julian, I feel about the Internet.

Joel
10-27-2009, 10:30 AM
P.S. I do feel quite at home in the weird fiction community, though not on the Internet. I think that results from two things: I've been involved with weird fiction fandom for thirty years and knew it long before the Internet existed, and I don't expect anything from it other than that it continue to provide me with a few great books to read every year. Which it does.

That's all from me for a couple of days, as I'll be snowed under with work and other stuff for the rest of this week. Take it easy!

Julian Karswell
10-27-2009, 11:04 AM
The way you feel about the present-day weird fiction community, Julian, I feel about the Internet.

I think you're spot on, Joel. The internet can easily bring out the worst in people. For several months I've been thinking what you've probably known for a few years.

The internet initially promised unbridled liberty and unfettered social networking, but just as the exhuberance of 1960s flower-power turned ugly as the decade drew to a close (the Stones at Altamount being a case in point), a darker side has emerged to overshadow many aspects of this new freedom.

The internet has given us the right to say what we want.....in private. If you say it publicly, then arguments ensue, arguments which habitually overstep the line of courtesy and reason.

Rats, I'm meant to be somewhere else.

[Exits quickly, pursued by bear.]

JK

rhysaurus
10-27-2009, 02:01 PM
I'm not aware of anyone insulting Dan Ghetu, but anyone who does insult him clearly needs to be clobbered, for the simple reason that Dan is a man of honour and a knight of decency.

Not only that but he's doing something that no other weird press is doing, namely going far far beyond M.R. James, Poe and Lovecraft into realms of the true imagination... He's intending to publish tribute volumes to Meyrink, Bulgakov, Buzzati and Junger! This alone qualifies him for hero status, in my view.

But apart from that, he's a good soul.

Julian Karswell
10-27-2009, 04:29 PM
I'm not aware of anyone insulting Dan Ghetu, but anyone who does insult him clearly needs to be clobbered, for the simple reason that Dan is a man of honour and a knight of decency.

Not only that but he's doing something that no other weird press is doing, namely going far far beyond M.R. James, Poe and Lovecraft into realms of the true imagination... He's intending to publish tribute volumes to Meyrink, Bulgakov, Buzzati and Junger! This alone qualifies him for hero status, in my view.

But apart from that, he's a good soul.

I agree, and not just because I'm being published by him. I'd say it anyway. For example, I only know David Tibet very distantly, but have always raved enthusiastically about his books.

The people who have said these things know practically nothing about the genre. They trawled the internet trying to dig up dirt against him, selectively distorted what they did find, and then sounded off to the effect that he was.....well, it's already been mentioned elsewhere in this thread. But as Joel points out, just because a journalist interviews someone, it doesn't mean they support their views. Good grief, Louis Theroux has made a decent career out of interviewing deeply unpleasant people, purely in the interests of getting their side of the story.

In allying himself with such people, John Pelan isn't doing himself any favours. Not only is he isolating himself from the liberal intellectuals in the horror world, but he's endorsing speculative prejudice by the ignorant, and this is very unfair on DG, who, as you quite rightly say, is to be highly commended on many fronts.

JK

Joel
11-05-2009, 05:06 PM
Hmm. When this thread went quiet I decided to let it fade away, but think I should maybe add a couple of points for the record.

John Pelan's reputation as an editor rests on a fair number of creditable projects, especially the Silver Salamander Press line in the 1990s, which included several great books – Wayne Allen Sallee's With Wounds Still Wet being an outstanding one for me.

While I can't comment on anyone's alleged experience of not getting paid for stories – I have no relevant evidence – I know that Mark Samuels has said he has encountered no problems in that regard. Neither have I.

None of which in itself disproves the allegations raised – and regarding any recent comments on Ex Occidente Press, I have no idea what may or may not have been said. But if a reputation is the sum total of different people's experiences, it's worth including different experiences and perspectives to get the whole picture.

Julian Karswell
11-06-2009, 06:47 AM
Hmm. When this thread went quiet I decided to let it fade away, but think I should maybe add a couple of points for the record.

John Pelan's reputation as an editor rests on a fair number of creditable projects, especially the Silver Salamander Press line in the 1990s, which included several great books – Wayne Allen Sallee's With Wounds Still Wet being an outstanding one for me.

While I can't comment on anyone's alleged experience of not getting paid for stories – I have no relevant evidence – I know that Mark Samuels has said he has encountered no problems in that regard. Neither have I.

None of which in itself disproves the allegations raised – and regarding any recent comments on Ex Occidente Press, I have no idea what may or may not have been said. But if a reputation is the sum total of different people's experiences, it's worth including different experiences and perspectives to get the whole picture.

Sorry Joel, it's inexcusable to say "I can't comment on anyone's alleged experience....etc" and then go on defend him for having published your work in his anthologies. Proof exists in forums you frequent - this, and Shocklines - in which people who have worked with John Pelan have complained about his antics. In one case that has involved TL himself in another, Edward Lee, Pelan's one-time co-author. Then there's the fact that a simple Ebay search on the user 'jpelan' will reveal that the account was terminated after customers complained about the non-receipt of goods. What's more, his selling history proves that he was in the habit of selling-off author letters and manuscripts, a practise which even Stephen Jones condemns on his own website (though he does so in reference to another individual, not Pelan).

You can't cherry-pick whether or not to believe evidence of this nature. It exists, it is there in the public domain. If you chose to ignore it then to a certain degree you are sticking your head in the sand. I can understand that - you've worked with Pelan, he has paid you, and he doesn't go around stalking you online - but it doesn't mean it isn't happening.

I freely acknowledge that tales of his having cheated Ebay buyers on book descriptions, or leaving a trail of unpaid printer in his wake, qualify as hearsay, so thus cannot be proven. All I can is that in my experience I have heard this often discussed, but people are scared to go on record, partly because Pelan might bully them (and whatever you might think, he does have a nasty reputation for attempting to bully and intimidate his critics), and partly because he might queer their pitch with regard publishing and anthologies. In fact I was once told that Pelan was hovering on the edge of bankruptcy by one of his closest publishing colleagues, and after I alluded to the fact in a forum such as this (by way of warning potential customers to be cautious about parting with their money), Pelan correctly surmised who it was, because said person sent me a very anxious email saying he had been subjected to an angry tirade for having revealed sensitive personal information.

Anyway, all I'm saying is that general customers should order Darkside Press / Midnight House / Silver Salamander books through an established third party bookseller rather than buy direct. Given the known facts (and yes, they are publicly known facts), this is just prudent advice. I suspect that Pelan will only publish a book once he has enough advance payments to fund the project - a form of print-on-demand publishing I personally deplore - or that he will go bust before anyone sees their book(s).

There are lots of people I dislike in the genre (well, I am a misanthrope), but Pelan is the only one about whom I have raised financial concerns, and that's only after seeing and hearing independent evidence and proofs.

You might remember that the Rodens publicly condemned me for delivering copies of my journal Weirdly Supernatural a few months later than promised; they openly accused me of fraud, as did Pelan. [You remained very silent on the issue; possibly you weren't even aware of it, although it did dominate discussion in certain forums for quite some time.] Yet the journal did appear, it was merely a little late.

Compare that to the current delays in publication of All Hallows. And while you're at it, compare it my own behaviour. I have not been leaping about in anger, accusing the Rodens of fraud; I have merely pointed out that I have been warning about the dangers of allowing self-appointed individuals to run a society rather than an elected committee for several years now.

TTFN,

JK

Joel
11-06-2009, 01:53 PM
Julian, when Weirdly Supernatural was published I don't think I even had a computer – I certainly didn't have Internet access. So no, that particular online debate was well before my time.

Restricting my comments to my own experience instead of researching a subject online doesn't qualify me as an expert, but I did say that I was speaking only from my own experience. A reputation is the sum of different people's experiences and impressions.

Nemonymous
11-06-2009, 02:21 PM
What counts are the tangible books on one's shelves, whatever the soon-to-be-forgotten history of publication behind them.

Everyone reading this thread is the outcome of a patchwork of motives, deceptions, truths, honesty, falsehood, chance luck, deserving fortune... of Toynbeean challenge-and-response.

I think this fits in with Joel's observation about adding one's own experience to that melting-pot of history. All is a sum of such experiences.

The books are what count. The people behind them sink back eventually into nemonymity or rise up to fame, whether deserved or not. They just do. The books remain.

Julian Karswell
11-06-2009, 04:35 PM
Julian, when Weirdly Supernatural was published I don't think I even had a computer – I certainly didn't have Internet access. So no, that particular online debate was well before my time.

Restricting my comments to my own experience instead of researching a subject online doesn't qualify me as an expert, but I did say that I was speaking only from my own experience. A reputation is the sum of different people's experiences and impressions.

Putting the Pelan issue aside, upon which we clearly don't agree, a reputation can only be the sum of those things if there is a collective and visible pooling of opinion, which arrives at something approximating a consensus.

Reputations are often flawed, subjective and vulnerable to manipulation. They can also fluctuate according to perception i.e. nostalgia, revisionism.

We all know of cases where someone has been wrongly maligned or falsely praised. It happens all the time.

Personally, I mistrust reputations. They make me cautious and suspicious. Like policemen, I only trust my own senses, and the senses of people I trust. I don't believe things until I see proof and evidence with my own eyes, and that goes for reputations too.

A further complication is of course that people act differently towards different people. We've all done it; we've all been rude to some people, and pleasant to others, often for the strangest of reasons. Given that - and given that perceptions can be tinkered with - how on earth can we place any stock in reputations?

At best they are a useful guide for those who don't have the time to investigate things in more detail; at worst, they are dark glasses which heavily distort the truth.

How often have we heard about this popular celebrity or that highly respected scoutmaster being outed as a lifelong sex abuser? Yet prior to the outing to the person's reputation was sky-high. Indeed, in some cases an important secret is never revealed, so we never have access to a valid reputational assessment.

JK

Julian Karswell
11-06-2009, 04:47 PM
What counts are the tangible books on one's shelves, whatever the soon-to-be-forgotten history of publication behind them.

Everyone reading this thread is the outcome of a patchwork of motives, deceptions, truths, honesty, falsehood, chance luck, deserving fortune... of Toynbeean challenge-and-response.

I think this fits in with Joel's observation about adding one's own experience to that melting-pot of history. All is a sum of such experiences.

The books are what count. The people behind them sink back eventually into nemonymity or rise up to fame, whether deserved or not. They just do. The books remain.

Agreed, but it's always useful knowing whether a company is solvent and reliable. All I'm saying is that people should buy Pelan's books from a reputable third party bookseller rather than from the man himself.

I buy a lot of things online, including furniture, DVDs, trampolines, clothes etc etc. I usually check out the retailer first and am always grateful to find feedback and reviews which help me decide whether it's safe to entrust my credit card details to the third party.

If none of us knew Pelan this wouldn't be an issue. People would just say 'thanks for the warning' and move on.

rhysaurus
11-10-2009, 07:16 AM
> You might remember that the Rodens publicly condemned me for delivering copies of my journal Weirdly Supernatural a few months later than promised; they openly accused me of fraud...

Well, the Rodens would accuse anyone of anything if they thought it would further their cause by even the slightest micrometre. The Rodens are a pair of slimy twits. Thick crumbly slimy twits. In twenty years of writing and submitting fiction they are certainly the worst editors I have ever dealt with. They lack every trace of the quality that I was asked to define today in aid of Remembrance Day...

...here (http://www.wordia.com/wotd/2009/11/10)

As for Pelan: he might be a rascal, he might not be. I did have a fondness for him based purely on self-interest -- he was the first reviewer ever to call me a "genius" (I don't count my own reviews of my own work under pseudonyms where I used that term). Also he sent me the three books of E.R. Eddison's Zimiamvia Trilogy as a present, just because I casually mentioned on some messageboard that I was looking for them. They arrived unasked for, out of the blue, in a box one day. And he wanted nothing in return.

That was back in 1999. Pelan remained my ally for about one more year before he was seduced away by Tim Lebbon's more conventional style and slick lack of ideas. So whether I'm still fond of him or not is a question I'll have to raise with myself at my next meeting with myself.