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Here’s a story by a man known for chilling horror stories, but also for wacky humorous fantasy yarns, in particular the Lefty Feep stories. Both sides of Robert Bloch’s authorial personality are in evidence in this unsettling and sardonic tale of a very unusual orphan with a very unusual talent. . . .

Robert Bloch (1917-1994) was, of course, author of the novel Psycho, which became the basis for the Alfred Hitchcock movie, but before that he had written many horror classics for Weird Tales (there’s that magazine again) and other pulps, such as “Yours Truly, Jack the Ripper,” and “The Cloak.” On one memorable occasion, he and his friend H.P. Lovecraft wrote a story apiece for WT’s pages in which each killed the other off. (After all, what else are friends for?) While he didn’t write the screenplay for Psycho, its success led to his writing many scripts for movies and TV, a considerable improvement over the one cent per word or less that the pulps paid. Still, he never forgot his early days in SF fandom where he was known for humorous pieces in fanzines. And he felt that he shouldn’t be judged harshly by his horror stories. “I have the heart of a small boy,” he once said. “I keep it in a jar on my desk.”

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