Rediscovered: Further “Fungus” Fisher

Yet another Autograph Hound Super-Sunday! Jeez, what have I got lying around in all the stacks of stuff?

Remember when Brian Leno provided a John Hancock for Philip M. Fisher Jr, probably best known today for his short story “Fungus Isle,” which appeared in Argosy All-Story Weekly October 27, 1923?

That story carries its fame because it seems to be heavily influenced by the William Hope Hodgson masterpiece “A Voice in the Night” — and it’s good. Maybe not as good as Hodgson at his peak, but what is?

Brian didn’t have a signed cheque for “Fungus Isle” in his collection, so he used the one he does have, noting “Fisher is a rare autograph and, to me, desirable, for his Hodgson connection. It’s the only example I’ve ever seen — and I’ve looked.”

And then what happens but that the noted pulp and book collector Kevin Cook sends in a copy of the original cheque for “Fungus Isle” from his collection!

I’m thinking that between them Brian and Kevin must have every autograph ever scribbled.

Kevin says, “Dave Saunders tells me that the Argosy All-Story Weekly illustration for ‘Fungus Isle’ was by John R. Neill.

“An idea I had regarding Fisher was to point out that his service as a Naval Officer could have brought him into contact with the same stories and legends that William Hope Hodgson used as the basis for his own stories, and that ‘Fungus Isle’ and ‘The Ship of Silent Men’ were not necessarily inspired by or ‘stolen’ from Hodgson.

“Of course, the reverse argument is that his travels at sea might have brought him in contact with British magazines containing Hodgson stories. It should be asked, though, was there any circulation of books and/or magazines between the US and UK during the first World War? We would need more information including Fisher’s exact years of service and where the vessels he traveled on went to — probably more work than required for a small blog post.”

Yeah. Someone get on that.

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