It is a sad but inescapable fact of the publishing world that most books, regardless of their quality, eventually pass out of print. For every work immortalized in new editions, thousands fade away to the oblivion of used bookstores, remainder tables, and dusty library shelves. It is a pleasure, then, to mark the reappearance in a single volume of two classic investigative works from the 1970s, penned in concert by renowned Fortean authors Jerome Clark and Loren Coleman. Both writers have prospered since their first collaborations, with 50-odd books published between them, but readers anxious to peruse their maiden efforts during recent years have found the search as arduous as any hunt for Sasquatch or the Loch Ness Monster.
But no longer.
The Unidentified (1975) describes the UFO phenomenon and related subjects, including fairies and other mysterious entities, hollow-earth theories, men in black, and religious epiphanies. Dedicated to pioneer anomalist Charles Fort, it follows trails blazed by the master and extends them, granting Clark and Coleman room to spread their wings as researchers and authors.
Creatures of the Outer Edge (1978) focuses more narrowly on unknown animals, but once again--as indicated by its dedication to deceased outré theorist John Keel--it wanders far afield from pure flesh-and-blood cryptozoology. Bigfoot and his fellow "manimals" share space not only with elusive cats, the Mothman, and other monsters, but with alien visitors as well.
A new introduction to the omnibus edition explains that the authors have changed their minds (or, at least, their perspectives) on certain subjects covered in these early volumes, but to their credit, they have left the original texts undisturbed and unredacted.
Readers who missed these books the first time around now have a chance to savor "golden oldies" in their pristine form. Both volumes also rate a second look from readers who enjoyed them in their first editions.