Mon 2 Nov 2009
ALLEN J. HUBIN
Editor, reviewer, anthologist, bibliographer, and crime fiction scholar extraordinaire, Allen Hubin’s extensive contribution to the field began over forty-years ago. In 1967, working out of his basement, he founded the legendary fanzine, The Armchair Detective (TAD).
Then, with just one review under his belt, Hubin was asked to review for the New York Times Book Review, taking over for Anthony Boucher. In his column, “Criminals at Large,” Hubin reviewed six books a week for almost three years. He hadn’t given anthologies a thought until Dutton called and asked if he’d carry on for Anthony Boucher and edit the Best Detective Stories of the Year.
Hubin’s involvement in crime fiction bibliography began innocently enough, as well. He was asked to write the introduction to the world’s first crime fiction bibliography compiled by North Dakota librarian Ordean Hagen: Who Done It, (published by Bowker in 1969). During the compilation, Hubin opened his home and extensive library to Hagen and offered to help with the research. Unfortunately, Hagen passed away before the book was released.
When corrections and additions to Hagen’s published work began to accumulate, Hubin decided to publish them in the pages of TAD, but they were rather extensive and a bit too random, and he had some ideas on how the information could be better organized. So, with the six-book-a-week reviews having wound down, he decided he could manage a “little” bibliographic work.
That work mushroomed into a massive and seemingly never-ending project laboriously begun during the typewriter era, and in 1979, The Bibliography of Crime Fiction, 1740-1975 was published. Hubin could have left it at that, but he had in mind to add another five years of coverage and a new feature or two. Crime Fiction, 1749-1980: A Comprehensive Bibliography appeared in 1984.
And that was not the end. Others followed, and by the year 2000, the end of the 20th century seemed to Hubin a more fitting climax to what would be more than thirty years of bibliographic effort, bringing him to the current Crime Fiction IV: A Comprehensive Bibliography 1749-2000! This impressive work contains author and title indexes to over 106,000 books, the contents of more than 6,600 collections, and identification of over 4,500 movies.
A 2008 revised edition of the bibliography has been published on CDROM (by Locus Press). In addition, given that hundred of pages of new/corrected material has since accumulated, a 2009 edition (still with the 12/31/2000 cutoff date for new publications) is contemplated (again on CDROM by Locus Press). Much of this material for the 2009 edition can be found (with linkages and enhancements that won’t appear in the CDROM) at www.crimefictioniv.com.
[UPDATE / EDITORIAL COMMENT]. 11-02-09. Bouchercon 2009 has come and gone. I’d have loved to have been there, but the closest I got was my annual Columbus Day weekend trip to see my brother and sister back in Michigan something close to the same time.
I certainly don’t know who deserved the award more. If you look at Al’s resume and all of those numbers, his accomplishments are staggering. (And all the more so when you consider that he began when typewriters were all the rage.)
The updated version of the Revised Crime Fiction IV is now available on CD-Rom from Locus Press. I don’t have my copy yet, but it was on sale at Bouchercon. It incorporates all of the online Addenda included through Part 34. I uploaded Part 35 this morning, and I have some material to send Al later today that will appear in Part 36.