Saturday, August 12, 2006

Jorkens Compleat

Lord Dunsany: The Collected Jorkens, Volume One (Night Shade Press).

I had, on occasion, run across Lord Dunsany's Tales of Jorkens. There are a few scattered in the Dunsany volumes of Ballantine Books famous Adult Fantasy Series of the 1960's and early 1970's. And there are a number of references and homages to the series scattered all through science fiction: Clarke's Tales of the White Hart, Niven's stories of Draco's Tavern and much, much more. So it was with loud cries of joy that I discovered that Night Shade Books had come out with a three-volume collection (in faux leather hardcover editions) of the Jorkens tales.

The stories are all rather short and generally follow the same format. Jorkens is the member of a gentleman's or adventurer's club in London. The scene usually is of one of a member proclaiming loudly about an adventure he had. Jorkens stirs, rumbles, and somebody hands him a whisky-and-soda to keep his throat moist. And we're off! Sometimes to Africa (where we encounter close cousins to men, or a huge diamond, or see a showman captured by ape-like creatures to be put on a show for other ape-like creatures). Sometimes we go to Mars. Sometimes we border on science fiction, sometimes we border on fantasy or horror. Always we get a wonderful tall tale and, like the members of the club, wonder how much of what Jorkens has told us is the truth and how much is fabricated.

All the Jorkens stories are relatively short. You'll have no trouble getting through a half-dozen or more at one sitting and you'll be constantly amused and amazed that you'll have to force yourself to stop before you read them all! Good stuff!

Made up of: Preface (Edward Plunkett, Lord Dunsany); Foreword (Sir Arthur C. Clarke); Introduction (S.T. Joshi); Bibliographical Notes; The Travel Tales of Mr. Joseph Jorkens (Preface; The Tale of the Abu Laheeb; The King of Sarahb; How Jembu Played for Cambridge; The Charm Against Thirst; Our Distant Cousins; A Large Diamond; A Queer Island; The Electric King; A Drink at a Running Stream; A Daughter of Rameses; The Showman; Mrs. Jorkens; The Witch of the Willows); Jorkens Remembers Africa (Preface; The Lost Romance; The Curse of the Witch; The Pearly Beach; The Walk to Lingham; The Escape from the Valley; One August in the Red Sea; The Bare Truth; What Jorkens Has to Put Up With; Ozymandias; At the End of the Universe; The Black Mamba; In the Garden of Memories; The Slugly Beast; Earth's Secret; The Persian Spell; Stranger Than Fiction; The Golden Gods; The Correct Kit; How Ryan Got Out of Russia; The Club Secretary; A Mystery of the East).

(Counts as 39 entries for the 2006 short story project.)

Lord Dunsany: The Collected Jorkens, Volume Two (Night Shade Press).

Made up of: Preface (Edward Plunkett, Lord Dunsany); Foreword (T.E.D. Klein); Introduction (S.T. Joshi); Biographical Notes; Jorkens Has a Large Whiskey (containing Preface; Jorkens' Revenge; Jorkens Retires from Business; Jorkens Handles a Big Property; The Invention of Dr. Caber; The Grecian Singer; The Jorkens Family Emeralds; A Fishing Story; Jorkens in High Finance; The Sign; The Angelic Shepherd; The Neapolitan Ice; The Development of the Rillswood Estate; The Fancy Man; The Lion and the Unicorn; A Doubtful Story; Jorkens Looks Forward; Jorkens Among the Ghosts; Elephant Shooting; African Magic; Jorkens Consults a Prophet; A Matter of Business; The Invention of the Age; The Sultan, the Monkey and the Banana; Pundleton's Audience; The Fight in the Drawing Room; The Ivory Poacher); The Fourth Book of Jorkens (containing Making Fine Weather; Mgamu; The Haunting of Halahanstown; The Pale-Green Image; Jorkens Leaves Prison; The Warning; The Sacred City of Krakovlitz; Jorkens Practices Medicine and Magic; Jarton's Disease; On the Other Side of the Sun; The Rebuff; Jorkens' Ride; The Secret of the Sphinx; The Khamseen; The Expulsion; The Welcome; By Command of Pharaoh; A Cricket Problem; A Life's Work; The Ingratiating Smile; The Last Bull; The Strange Drug of Dr. Caber; A Deal with the Devil; Strategy at the Billards Club; Jorkens in Witch Wood; Lost; The English Magnifico; The Cleverness of Dr. Caber; Fairy Gold; A Royal Dinner; A Fight with Knives; Out West; In a Dim Room); Appendix (containing After Many a Summer; Jorkens' Problem).

(Counts as 65 entries for the 2006 short story project.)

Lord Dunsany: The Collected Jorkens, Volume Three (Night Shade Press).

Made up of: Preface (Edward Plunkett, Lord Dunsany); Foreword (Michael Dirda); Introduction (S.T. Joshi); Bibliographical Note; Jorkens Borrows Another Whiskey (containing Preface; The Two-Way War; A Nice Lot of Diamonds; Letting Bygones be Bygones; The Lost Invention; On Other Paths; The Partner; Poulet a la Richelieu; A Walk in the Night; One Summer's Evening; A Friend of the Family; An Eccentricity of Genius; Influenza; The Unrecorded Test Match; Idle Tears; Among the Neutrals; An Idyll of the Sahara; The Devil Among the Willows; A Spanish Castle; The New Moon; The Gods of Clay; A Rash Remark; The Story of Jorkens' Watch; The Track Through the Wood; Snow Water; The Greatest Invention; The Verdict; A Conversation in Bond Street; The Reward; Which Way?; A Desperado in Surrey; Misadventure; A Long Memory; An Absentminded Professor; Greek Meets Greek); The Last Book of Jorkens (containing A Fatal Mistake; A Prophet Without Honor; A Big Bang; Jorkens' Regret; The Two Scientists; The Lost Charm; Bringing Things Up to Date; A Snake Story; The Deal; In the Mojave; A Modern Conqueror; The Little Light; Across the Colour Bar; A Bit of Counter-Espionage; A Wonderful Day; Not Guilty; The Explanation; A Deal with a Witch; Jorkens' Dilemma; A Plaything of Our Betters; The Visitor; On Wings of Song); Uncollected Tales (containing The Two Jenets; A Meeting of Spirits; The Ultimate Goal).

Counts as 64 entries in the 2007 Short Story Project.

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