Dear reader, life is too short for crap books.
Monday, September 24, 2007
Meta Before Meta Was Cool
Written on the inside cover of the copy of Allan Quatermain, Being an Account of His Further Adventures and Discoveries in Company with Sir Henry Curtis, BART., Commander John Good, R.N., and one Umslopogaas that I found in a used bookstore this weekend:
"1907 - My Time. I have seen some of this Africa, the [illegible] the Kaffir. I am glad to be able to know and realize the truth of many of these Stories. Today I say that it is thought of as just another tall tale. But most of it is true. Very Very True. And I am glad to have seen some of it. -- Does it matter who"
Well, maybe it doesn't matter. But I am, nevertheless, rabidly curious now. (This is, I assume, what whoever wrote it was going for.) Either somebody was messing with their grandkid, or they have introduced me to what is going to be my new hobby: leaving cryptic messages scrawled inside of very old books about the fantastic in order to tantalize readers of the future, and in hopes that they might fall for it.
This has the added bonus of being how the plots of 70% of these kinds of books get going, when Percival Witherforth or whomever finds a note tucked into their dead cousin's notebook - one of the only items salvaged from the carnage of that doomed Safari - and sets off for the Colonies, or the Interior, or the fleshpots of Egypt, or some such.
Now if you'll excuse me, I have to go find an ancient edition of King Solomon's Mines and start leaving clues as to their real location.