Meeting Donald Wandrei, as he did in 1976, helped provide Rahman with the impetus to join the publishing racket--something he'd actually dreamed of for as long as he'd been a reader. It also threw quite a monkey wrench into his personal space/time continuum. Rahman was a newcomer at an intimate horror fan get-together in St. Paul when his host asked if he knew who Donald Wandrei was. When Rahman answered in the affirmative, the fellow replied, "He's coming over in a while, if you feel like sticking around."
"I was shocked," Rahman recalls, chuckling. "I had always associated Wandrei with H.P. Lovecraft (the master of tentacle-heavy supernatural horror who died in 1937), and just assumed that he'd been dead for years. It was as though someone had told me that I was just about to meet Edgar Allan Poe."
"First rule of running a small press--Don't quit your day job": Fedogan and Bremer mastermind Philip Rahman in his second office, Jimmy's; recently published stories by Howard Wandrei
The two became friends, and three years after Wandrei's death in 1986, Fedogan and Bremer hit the shelves with its first title, The Colossus, a collection of Wandrei's science-fiction stories. Twenty-odd books later, and it was Rahman who was holding court--at 1998's World Fantasy Convention--an event that found the publisher kissing actor Christopher Lee's wife in plain view at Lee's own birthday party! (Rahman claims he thought she was actress Barbara Steele.) And he picked up a World Fantasy Award, anyway!
Chalk it up to Rahman's good fortune--or perhaps to the persuasive powers of a foot-long two-dollar caduceus. Could Rahman have uncovered the same powers employed on hapless Quirey from The Eerie Mr. Murphy? You see, after Muriel dazzles the sozzled Quirey with a quick session of lovemaking, Atlantean style, she recovers the utensil. Naturally, it turns out to be the Small Sceptre of the Atlantean Kings, and soon she directs its charm on him. "The Persuader" ends with the wily bombshell making the acquiescent Quirey slit his own throat.
I wonder if I should have acted on that strange urge to pick up Rahman's check.