Article by Markup on 11/29/2000.
After the Cold War, medical waste, Michael Jackson, New Coke, and President Clinton's affair(s), I've come to think of myself as pretty jaded. I mean, if aliens were to land tomorrow and declare Jerry Lewis as the leader of the entire universe, I'd probably just shrug and keep watching cable. But there IS something that, in recent history, HAS bothered me: Paladin Press. These book merchants are, in my opinion, one of the most warped companies I have ever seen. But why do I have a less-than-solid opinion of them? Read on to find out!
First, a bit of history: Paladin Press was the book publisher formed when Peder Lund and Robert Brown (formerly of Panther Publications) joined forces in 1970. Though Brown would leave and start Soldier of Fortune Magazine in 1975, the business would continue (through the date this article was posted) with Lund at the wheel. Now, however, they are more than just publishers; Paladin Press edits, prints, distributes, and sells its own books, and also distributes and sells the books of other small publishers as well. According to their website, they currently have 20 full-time employees.. making them a small (yet infamous) publishing house.
The Complete Bladesmith, The Master Bladesmith, and The Pattern-Welded Blade are three obscure but extremely useful books available from Paladin Press.
Before we delve into some of Paladin Press' more "negative" titles, we should acknowledge that they do sell some books the general public will find valuable. Interested in forging your own swords? Jim Hrisoulas' trilogy on bladesmithing (The Complete Bladesmith, The Master Bladesmith, and The Pattern-Welded Blade) are considered some of the best books out there on the subject, and they are available through Paladin Press! Want to learn how to USE that blade you just forged? Again, Paladin Press provides you with books such as Medieval and Renaissance Swordsmanship that teach you EXACTLY what you need to know. Heck, you can complete your Dark Age fantasy when you purchase Techniques of Medieval Armour Reproduction and hammer out your OWN suit of armor. What lady in our modern society WOULDN'T be impressed with a man that goes around in 50 lbs. of armor and hits people with a sharp piece of metal? Er.. no, don't answer that...
There are more modern titles, of course: PI, for instance, reveals all the basics you need to know in order to become a private investigator. Be just like Magnum, P.I.! And what about Pawnbroker's Handbook, which will lead you into an obvious vocational direction? If that's not enough, Paladin Press reprints numerous military manuals so that you can KNOW what the Armed Forces require BEFORE signing up. See? There's something for everyone! Why would anyone ever want to sue them for millions of dollars...
Black Medicine, Scams from the Great Beyond, and The Complete Guide to Lock Picking are three books you should be concerned about.. especially if you catch someone you know reading them!
Maybe this is why: Paladin Press has taken it upon itself to be THE center of "Higher Learning" for the criminal underground. Prospective Cat Burglars, Loan Sharks, and ASSASSINS can find the information they need to be successful in their careers from the wide variety of titles this publisher has to offer - most of which are labeled "For Entertainment Purposes Only" in order for Paladin Press to deny any legal responsibility. Of course, that didn't save them from the lawsuits their how-to manual HITMAN (directions for how to kill someone and get away with it) generated, but then, they don't publish that title any more. Here are a few titles they STILL publish, and why I find them disturbing:
Black Medicine I: The Dark Art of Death. Holy $&@#! This title alone is enough to make most little kids never, EVER want to go to the doctor again! Reading the description, however, we learn that this book "illustrates more than 150 parts of the human body where a minimum amount of force will produce a maximum impact on a person's ability to fight." That's the NEW "after the lawsuit" description. The old one was probably. "Over 150 different ways to make someone's eyes pop out of their skull after you've ripped their still-beating hearts from their bodies." Be afraid if you ever see any little kids reading THIS book.
Scams From the Great Beyond. The second part of the title is, "How to Make Easy Money Off of ESP, Astrology, UFOs, Crop Circles, Cattle Mutilations, Alien Abductions, Atlantis, Channelings, and Other New Age Nonsense." I hear that in the new edition, they'll be adding "voting from the grave" at the request of the various political parties, but we'll just have to wait and see!
The Art and Science of Money Laundering. Again, I'll let the book's description in the Paladin Press catalog speak for itself. The book "shows you how the world's best money movers - drug traffickers - evade the most sophisticated detection measures." Apparently, this is designed not only for the usual "mafia-type" money launders, but also for the newer drug traffickers. It is also useful for those of you that are trying to make that eBay auction money disappear.
The Complete Guide to Lock Picking. Written by "Eddie the Wire," this little book explains in-depth how to pick almost every kind of lock ever made (and yes, I bought this book after a friend showed me that the dead-bolt on my door could be picked in under 30 seconds). "But don't you need lockpicks in order to pick a lock?" you ask. Yes! And that's why Eddie wrote Home Workshop Professional Lock Tools - so that you could make your own without leaving an unsightly credit-card trail or witnesses. Now, don't you feel safe with such books as these covered under our first amendment?
Home Workshop Silencers I. We'll let the disclaimer on their web page say it all, "The manufacture or possession of firearm silencers is illegal without prior licensing with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms (BATF)." We'll also point out that there are over two pages of books on silencers. Heh.
Eddie Murphy read Black Medicine, and look where it got him. Click on the image to hear Eddie demonstrate one of the techniques from the book.
..and the Ugly.
Get Even: The Complete Book of Dirty Tricks, Do-It-Yourself Medicine, and Contingency Cannibalism make up the Unholy Trinity of the written word.
Alas, I have saved the "best" for last. The following three books are so disturbing that it bothers me someone had the knowledge to write them, let alone that others are interested enough to purchase them. Laugh at the descriptions, but PLEASE don't ever buy!
Get Even: The Complete Book of Dirty Tricks. Starting in the early 1980's, these sort of "revenge" books became very popular. Get Even is probably the most well-known, but there are a number of others that contain similar information. These books will teach you how to get the IRS to go after your enemies, what laxatives can best be slipped into drinks without others noticing, and how to rig your friend's so it won't start but isn't "damaged." Any time I see this book at someone's house, I just leave. Why? Because it will only be a matter of time before I'm the target of one of these jokes, and I have better things to do with my life than drinking laxative-tainted 7-Up.
Do-It-Yourself Medicine. AAAHHHHH!!!! Wake up, you freaks! Performing medical procedures on yourself and dosing out your own prescription drugs is a Bad Thing (TM). To make matters worse, a lot of the drugs talked about are easily obtainable.. AND USED ON FARM ANIMALS! NO NO NO NO NO NO NO!!!!!
Contingency Cannibalism. AKA "I'm OK, You Taste Like Chicken." If you never, EVER want someone to come over for dinner again, place this book on your kitchen counter after cooking some unidentifiable meat dish (meatloaf works). Then casually get them to go into the kitchen on some other pretense ("Hey, guy, can you get me a beer?") and watch them flee from your house in 60 seconds or less after they see what book you are using to "cook" with. That's the ONLY valid use for this book. Those of you interested in the more humorous side of cannibalism might like THIS book, or might enjoy viewing THIS link.
..and NO, I'm not joking about these books really existing. As you may have already figured out, you can click on the book titles to find EXACTLY where they are sold (usually from amazon.com). Some things are just too warped for even ME to make up, and this is one of them. Let the reader beware!