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Monday, August 21, 2023

RAW Semantics on 'Horror of Howth Hill'

Brian Dean, aka RAW Semantics, spots something interesting: Two different versions of "The Horror on Howth Hill," a piece reprinted in Email to the Universe. Here are his comments, taken from his X (i.e. Twitter) account:

"I recall hearing that RAW stopped using Flann O'Brien's character 'de Selby' at some point, due to legal caution. 'Professor Timothy Finnegan' then filled that role. What I hadn't heard before (and noticed only yesterday): there exist two very different versions of two very different versions of RAW's 'The Horror on Howth Hill'. The 1990 version (from 'Three-fisted Tales of "Bob"' - a Subgenius anthology edited by Ivan Stang) has de Selby as a main character. The later version contained in New Falcon's 2005 edition of New Falcon's 2005 edition of 'Email to the Universe' (presumably also the Hilaritas edition) has Finnegan replacing de Selby throughout, including in the copious/hilarious footnotes - 'DeSelbyismus und Dummheit (6 vols.)' becomes 'Finneganismus und Dummheit (6 vols.)'etc. And Von Hanfkopf is replaced by Professor Sheissenhosen (except in a few instances where he isn't. There are a few missed replacements of 'de Selby' too, which makes the main story dialogue confusing in a couple of places, in the New Falcon version). Additionally, the 'Three-fisted Tales' version has some fairly substantial footnotes which are missing from the New Falcon version. And there are quite a few other intriguing little differences I noticed, without even getting anywhere near full anorak!"

I just looked, and the Hilaritas version has Finnegan, too. 

As Brian also notes, in a couple of places in the New Falcon/Hilaritas versions, "de Selby" was not replaced by "Finnegan" and the mistakes went through. In the Hilaritas version, "de Selby" is on pages 198 and 204.


Lvx15 said...

The very clever de Selby’s working to avoid being erased. You might want to keep close notes of where his name appears and check back from time to time to observe how that changes.

Rasa said...

There were a lot of corrections Hilaritas Press had to make in republishing the New Falcon books. This one seemed to slip by. Luckily, it is not too hard to fix such things. After doing so, I'll keep an eye out, as per Lvx15's suggestion, to check back to see if de Selby somehow reinserted himself!

Eric Wagner said...

De Selby keeps using that time machine to reinsert himself! Damn those pataphysics!