What’s the point of reviewing a book which is way outdated? Good question.
It all falls nicely into place(s). I’ve found this book mentioned in an old issue of Psychotronic Video magazine (which, in turn, I’ve found thanks to my before-unknown interest in not-so-mainstream movies) and because I am keen reader of catalogues, especially book catalogues, it goes without saying I’ve simply needed to check this book.
And what it promises on the cover it also delivers. It’s a sourcebook. Short reviews of stuff accompanied with other useful mentions in the categories plus addresses of the publishers/distributors you can get the stuff from. Or you could years ago.
But the content, oh, the content!!! Some books are still valid and interesting even today, some things are so hopelessly outdated, but still, fucking awesome to read about, it’s like a digging up a time capsule and read about stuff from 20+ years ago.
The book’s content is divided into several categories.
First, the Books. And nicely divided into the subsections of Fiction, Crime, Drugs, Politics, History, Place, Science, Sexuality and Art + book sources.
Personally, I’d read just a few titles from Kadrey’s selection here, but what’s more interesting it’s the variety of topics people can write and read about. Amazing selection by all means.
The second category is Zines. As I love zines (and I am a former ziner myself), that’s my favourite section, although most of those are probably out of print anyway. Still worth of checking, especially for the counter-culture and fringe culture folks.
Now Music category speaks timelessly. Who gives a damn if some stuff here is 20 or so years old? If it’s good, it’s good and this category, subdivided into Independent Music, New Music (new as of 1997 or so), World Music, Music Books, Music Zines and Music Sources, will help any readers to find something new for themselves.
Now with Video section, we’re getting down the memory lane with a fine nostalgia. Subdivided into Videos, Kungu Fu & Beyond, Music Videos, Video Books, Video Zines and Video Sources, my favourite is – beyond a doubt – Kung Fu section, although it consists of just reviews of martial arts magazines and some then-active VHS tape sellers. Another good section is Video Zines – if you are into weird movies, this one is for you.
The final category is Tools for Living, itself subdivided into Body Modification, Bones, Braintuners, Fan Clubs and SIGs, Fashion, FringeWare, Sex Tools, Smart Drugs, Software, Software II, Surveillance & Countersurveillance, Videophones, Virtual Reality, Wearable Computers and Miscellaneous Tools.
That’s just bananas! It’s fucking hilarious to check what people were thinking/selling not so long ago! Wearable Computers? Wow! Videophones? I can see youngsters looking at us reading about it like we’re from different dimension. But still, some great reading there!
Outdated or not, the strength of books like this one lies in their ability to provide information. With second-hand book dealers, eBay and similar online vendors it’s possible to get your hands on most of the stuff mentioned here – and I have learnt and found some great publishers I’d never heard about before.
So, if you’re open-minded and don’t easily put off by old books, or you crave nostalgia like I do, check your favourite second-hand bookseller, you might find something nice for you in these pages.