Thursday, August 18, 2011

Transition: Bob Girard - Arcturus Books

I overheard a line of dialogue on television a few nights ago. It went something like "we've reached the age when life starts taking things away from us, instead of giving us things." My apologies to the original source for the poor paraphrasing, but this is exactly how I felt when I received word from Monica Girard that her husband Bob, "bookseller to ufology", had passed away.

INEXPLICATA owes a deep debt of gratitude to Bob Girard.

Many moons ago, Joan Jeffers, another departed UFO researcher, advised us that the best way to promote our fledgling newsletter at the time was selling through Arcturus Books. She brought up Bob Girard, and I suddenly recalled that Monica's artwork had been featured on the cover of my translation of Salvador Freixedo's Visionaries, Mystics and Contactees, published by IllumiNet Press. I phoned Bob and before long, Samizdat (as we were called then) graced the pages of the Arcturus Books catalogue with glowing reviews by Bob, and welcomed by his subscribers.

He was full of advice for someone starting out in the UFO field, separating the sheep from the goats, reminding me of people I should contact, and the do's and don'ts of the publishing world. "Don't forget, mystics are always broke," he say wryly one day - a piece of advice that made me laugh and seemed to sum up the financial realities of the weird and wonderful.

I also discovered in Bob a fellow enthusiast of ancient history, and purchased many fascinating tomes of works having to do nothing with ufology. He went out of his way to secure me a copy of W.W. Tarn's Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire since the age of 12, he set me up with a complete six volume set of Gibbon's masterpiece from 1856.

If it's true that the afterlife is what we make of it, all I can wish for Bob is a gigantic library -- as vast as the Imperial Library in Asimov's Foundation Trilogy, filled with wonders to peruse. Farewell, my friend. And heartfelt thanks.