Introduction to Another Green World

Permit me to introduce the bookish Mr. Wessells. I do not characterize him so because he works in the rare book trade. Nor because one year after learning of the existence of Avram Davidson, he published the definitive annotated bibliography of that great writer's myriad and far-scattered works. Though that is impressive. No, I do so because the formal qualities of books hold a particular fascination for him. Above and beyond, I mean, that held by other, equally serious writers. Note the fabulations that throng this volume, the critical fictions, fragmentary journals, the fictive authors, the narrator who may be Henry himself. That isn't the sole point of the work, mind you. But, oh boy, is it there.

So what is he like? Well, in occult circles, each Art has its exoteric and esoteric aspects, its outer and inner faces. So too with people. The exoteric Henry Wessells is earnest, friendly (I always picture him smiling), and open. The esoteric HW is ... well, as he presents himself here. Which is not to say that the outer self is unimportant. Chemistry, after all, began as the exoteric face of alchemy. But the secret self is the more rarely encountered and thus its appearance is to be celebrated.

A story, as John Gardner was fond of reminding us, aspires to the state of a waking dream. And Henry Wessells is, as he himself says of (perhaps) someone else in quite a different context, "a dealer in rare and antiquarian dreams." Which dreams have been preserved herein for connoisseurs of the strange and carefully wrought. Now they will be dropped like a bottle into the ocean of story. A hundred years hence, somebody very much like Henry will, in the course of his literary beach-combing, pick up this book and read these pages. And all the time in between will vanish into thin air. Because nothing is as real as a book. Nothing is as lasting as a dream.

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