Friday, October 29, 2010

Quoting Barry Malzberg


from an interview posted 13 October at Locus Online

I did a body of work which represented my best possibility, and some of that could not have been done by anyone else. [Critic, fiction-writer, editor and writing teacher Algis] Budrys could have done [critical volume] Breakfast in the Ruins better, but he didn’t do it at all. Phil Klass [who wrote most of his usually sharply satiric sf as "William Tenn"] could have done Herovit’s World better, but he didn’t. And I think it had to be done.

FFBonus: Citation of the reissue of 4 Thomas Disch novels


I come to this late, but in August, University of Minnesota Press reprinted four of the late Thomas Disch's straightforward horror novels, and you can do worse than any of them...or any of the other books Disch wrote.

And a reminder of why I want a complete file of Cele Goldsmith/Lalli's Fantastic:

CONTENTS for Fantastic Jan 1964 Vol 13 No 1

5 • Editorial (Fantastic, January 1964) • essay by uncredited (Noman Lobsenz, usually, the editorial director)

6 • The Lords of Quarmall (Part 1 of 2) • [Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser] • serial by Fritz Leiber and Harry Fischer

52 • Minnesota Gothic • short story by Thomas M. Disch [as by Dobbin Thorpe]

66 • The Word of Unbinding • [Earthsea Cycle] • short story by Ursula K. Le Guin

74 • Last Order • novelette by George Locke [as by Gordon Walters]

114 • A Thesis on Social Forms and Social Controls in the U.S.A. • short story by Thomas M. Disch

27 • Fantasy Books (Fantastic, January 1964)  • essay by S. E. Cotts:
127 •   Review: The Sundial by Shirley Jackson • book review by S. E. Cotts
128 •   Review: Stranger Than Life by R. DeWitt Miller • book review by S. E. Cotts

The "Emsh" cover illustrating Fritz Leiber and Harry Fischer's
The Lords of Quarmall part 1 of 2 (not, on balance, one of Emshwiller's best)

FFB: "New" Movements This Morning: THE NEW MYSTERY (Charyn), THE NEW GOTHIC (Morrow and McGrath), THE NEW WEIRD (the VanderMeers), et al....

(Thanks to Ed Gorman for reminding me of the "alternate" title, for some reason, pasted onto later US editions of this anthology)


















(The Italian edition, as no pictures of the English-language edition are poachable!)




















The James Blish anthology New Dreams This Morning, an excellent candidate for a forgotten book piece, instead supplies the less than (or post-)gustatory title pun for this quick rumination...things are happening here, what it is ain't exactly clear (well, it's clear enough, actually, just not enough free time at the moment to get them down properly).

What shouldn't be taken away from that weak joke is that I'm mocking the quality of the fiction being gathered under these banners (and such others as steampunk and slipstream and neo-noir, splatterpunk and quiet horror, cyberpunk and humanist sf, surfiction and The New Fiction)...not by a long shot, even if the mediocre and sometimes utter trash is often nestling with the good and great. What's more likely to be noxious is the wind broken over why these are New And Distinct Movements And Much Different From What You've Already Been Reading, Or Not And You've Just Been Too Dense To Note The Shape of The Movement, Haven't You, Mis-Ter Jones?...given how many Mister Joneses of the literary world we have, of all ages and genders, this isn't altogether an incomprehensible approach, and it's certainly helped with marketing and convention and classroom arguments, if not too much else. Each of these would-be movements, and the books and magazines that have fomented them or attempted to capture their essence, or both, are amusingly examples, loudly and accurately proclaiming, of why the Old Boxes and Labels are outdated and inutile, but mistakening insisting instead that the new boxes being built from their smashed walls are less restraining or more accurate, whether or not one carries over smug notions of why something is Generic vs. Literary, or other distortions that should've been seen as useless, at best, decades back. The eclecticism that people such as Judith Merrill and Nelson Algren brought to their anthologies, that I've dealt with in previous entries in this series, is simply furthered by these folks here, and such others ranging from Joe David Bellamy to Neil Gaiman and Al Sarrantonio to George Plimpton to Michael Chabon to Peter Straub to Ellen Datlow, among so many others, who have said, Hey, Look...this is art, this is art in fields and with approaches you may not've considered, c'mon, catch up, catch on. Take a look and think about it. No, it's not Just Good For That Sort of Thing, nor is it An Amusing Fusion of High And Low Art. It's living work among other living work. You should realize that.

Which, again, doesn't begin to excuse the work of William Vollmann. But he's but one among his betters, in the stories and approaches collected in these books, one expanded out of a magazine issue, two of them out of print despite their connected and respectable editors, and one from an industrious but still small press. New Mystery Magazine tried to steal some luster from the Charyn, and had it been published competently, might've sustained itself, as that wasn't the worst idea. Ann VanderMeer is New Weirding Weird Tales these days. Conjunctions still publishes.

The New Gothic:
CONJUNCTIONS:14
FALL 1989
Edited by Bradford Morrow; Guest Edited by Patrick McGrath

Salman Rushdie, An Interview by Catherine
Bush
Walter Abish, Reading Kafka in German
Charles Bernstein, Common Stock
Marjorie Welish, Two Poems
Martine Bellen, Deception
Barbara Guest, Three Poems
Jacques Roubaud, From Some Thing Black
(translated from the French by Rosmarie
Waldrop

THE NEW GOTHIC, guest edited by
Patrick McGrath
Hillary Johnson, From Physical Culture
William T. Vollmann, The Grave of Lost
Stories
John Hawkes, Regulus and Maximus
Jamaica Kincaid, Ovando
Peter Straub, From Mrs. God
Bradford Morrow, From The Almanac
Branch
Robert Coover, Night of the Assassins
John Edgar Wideman, Fever
Clegg & Guttmann, Nine Portraits
Kathy Acker, The Beginnings of the Life of
Rimbaud
Gary Indiana, Dreams Involving Water
Robert Kelly, Carville
Lynne Tillmann, The Trouble With Beauty
Mary Caponegro, The Sound
Sylvia Kelly, Colors
Paul West, A Whore's Agincourt
Afterword by Patrick McGrath

D.E. Steward, March
Mei-mei Berssenbrugge, Irises
Robert Creeley, Four Poems from Helsinki
John Taggart, Vaguely Harmless
Diane Williams, Five Stories

READINGS: Reviews and Criticism
Paul West on Juan Goytisolo
Paul Metcalf on Lucia Berlin
Peter Cole on Edmond Jabès
Ann Lauterbach on Leslie Scalapino
Robert Kelly on Pierre Klossowski
Tom Clark on David Markson

...and the expanded anthology:
The New Gothic ed. Bradford Morrow & Patrick McGrath (Random House 0-394-58767-7, Oct ’91, $22.00, 336pp, hc, cover by Albert Pinkham Ryder) Anthology of 16 contemporary literary gothic stories and five novel excerpts. 12 of the stories seem to be originals, and three of the excerpts are from works in progress. There is an introduction by the editors.
xi · Introduction · Bradford Morrow & Patrick McGrath · in
1 · Ovando · Jamaica Kincaid · ss Conjunctions #14 ’89
15 · Horrorday [from London Fields] · Martin Amis · ex London: Cape, 1989
37 · Newton · Jeanette Winterson · ss *
51 · Banquo and the Black Banana: The Fierceness of the Delight of the Horror · Paul West · ss *
71 · Freniere [from Interview with the Vampire] · Anne Rice · ex New York: Knopf, 1976
85 · Blood · Janice Galloway · ex Blood, Secker & Warburg, 1991
95 · Didn’t She Know · Scott Bradfield · ss *
113 · Regulus and Maximus [from Monks in Shadow] · John Hawkes · ex Conjunctions #14 ’89
129 · The Fish Keeper · Yannick Murphy · ss *
135 · A Dead Summer · Lynne Tillman · ss *
147 · Why Don’t You Come Live with Me It’s Time · Joyce Carol Oates · ss Tikkun Jul/Aug ’90
165 · The Dead Queen · Robert Coover · ss Quarterly Review of Literature #18 ’73
179 · The Merchant of Shadows · Angela Carter · nv The London Review of Books Oct 26 ’89
201 · The Road to Nadeja · Bradford Morrow · ss *
217 · For Dear Life [from King Solomon’s Carpet] · Ruth Rendell · ex *
231 · Rigor Beach · Emma Tennant · ss Bananas #1 ’75
239 · The Smell · Patrick McGrath · ss *
249 · The Kingdom of Heaven [from Throat] · Peter Straub · ex *
267 · Fever · John Edgar Wideman · nv Conjunctions #14 ’89
301 · J · Kathy Acker · ss *
311 · The Grave of Lost Stories · William T. Vollmann · nv Conjunctions #14 ’89


The New Mystery, edited by Jerome Charyn
Dutton, New York, 1993.
Babel, Isaac,
--The King, 1955.
Barthelme, Donald, (1931-1989)
--Captain Blood, 1987.
Bayer, William,
--Mirror Girl, 1993.
Biermann, Pieke,
--The Law of the Eye, 1990.
Block, Lawrence, (1938- )
--The Merciful Angel of Death, 1993. Shamus
Borges, Jorge Luis, (1899-1986)
--Death and the Compass, 1964. (reprint)
Calvino, Italo, (1923-1985)
--Cities & the Dead, 1974.
Carter, Angela,
--The Werewolf, 1979.
Carver, Raymond, (1939-1988)
--Cathedral, 1983.
Chesbro, George C.,
--Imagine This, 1993.
Daeninckx, Didier,
--Goldfish, 1993.
DeLillo, Don,
--In the Bronx, 1988.
Ellison, Harlan, (1934- )
--Soft Monkey, 1987. Mystery Scene Reader #1, 1987.) Edgar
Ellroy, James,
--Gravy Train, 1990.
Friedman, Mickey,
--No Radio, 1993.
García Márquez, Gabriel, (1928- )
--The Last Voyage of the Ghost Ship, 1972.
Gold, Herbert,
--Nicholas in Exile, 1993.
Gordimer, Nadine, (1923- )
--The Moment Before the Gun Went Off, 1991.
Gores, Joe,
--Ishamel, 1993.
Grafton, Sue, (1940- )
--The Parker Shotgun, 1986. (reprint)
Greene, Graham,
--I Spy, 1947. (reprint)
Grimaldi, Laura,
--Fathers and Daughters, 1993.
Highsmith, Patricia, (1921-1995)
--The Snail Watcher, 1964. (reprint)
Hillerman, Tony, (1925- )
--Chee's Witch, 1986. (reprint)
James, P. D., (1920- )
--Devices and Desires, 1990
Kaminsky, Stuart M., (1934- )
--The Man Who Hated Books, 1993.
Lispector, Clarice,
--Pig Latin, 1974.
Mishima, Yukio,
--Martyrdom, 1900
Montalbán, Manuel Vásquez,
--A Boy and His Dog, 1988.
Mosley, Walter, (1952- )
--The Watts Lions, 1993.
Oates, Joyce Carol, (1938- )
--How I Contemplated the World from the Detroit House of Correction and Began My Life Over Again, 1970.
O'Connor, Flannery,
--A Good Man Is Hard to Find, 1953.
Paretsky, Sara, (1947- )
--Dealer's Choice, 1988.
Sciascia, Leonardo,
--Mafia Western, 1983.
Semionov, Julian,
--The Summer of '37, 1993.
Simon, Rober L.,
--Just Say No, 1993.
Taibo, Paco Ignacio, II,
--Manufacture of a Legend, 1993.
Thomas, Ross,
--Missionary Stew, 1983.
Vachss, Andrew, (1942- )
--Cain, 1992.
Westlake, Donald E., (1933- )
--The Ultimate Caper, 1975.
Wright, Eric,
--The Casebook of Dr. Billingsgate, 1993.

The New Weird edited by Ann and Jeff VanderMeer (Tachyon, 2008)
New Weird : The Luck in the Head - M. John Harrison
New Weird : Crossing into Cambodia - Michael Moorcock
New Weird : In the Cities the Hills - Clive Barker
New Weird : The Braining of Mother Lamprey - Simon D. Ings
New Weird : The Neglected Garden - Kathe Koja
New Weird : A Soft Voice Whispers Nothing - Thomas Ligotti
New Weird : Jack - China Miéville
New Weird : Immolation - Jeffrey Thomas
New Weird : The Lizard of Ooze - Jay Lake
New Weird : Watson's Boy - Brian Evenson
New Weird : The Art of Dying - K. J. Bishop
New Weird : At Reparata - Jeffrey Ford
New Weird : Letters from Tainaron - Leena Krohn
New Weird : The Ride of the Gabbleratchet - Steph Swainston
New Weird : The Gutter Sees the Light That Never Shines - Alistair Rennie
New Weird : Death in a Dirty Dhoti - Paul Di Filippo
New Weird : Cornflowers Beside the Unuttered - Cat Rambo
New Weird : All God's Chillun Got Wings - Sarah Monette
New Weird : Locust-Mind - Daniel Abraham
New Weird : Constable Chalch and the Ten Thousand Heroes - Felix Gilman
New Weird : Golden Lads All Must - Hal Duncan
New Weird : Forfend the Heavens' Rending - Conrad Williams

For more forgotten books, please see Patti Abbott's blog.

(Finally, the qp, and inferior, cover for the US edition.)

Thursday, October 28, 2010

October's "Forgotten" Music: Louisville Symphony First Edtiion/VMM Music from Six Continents Records



The Louisville Symphony Orchestra came up with a wonderful win-win idea, particularly for a professional orchestra in a small city in the 1950s...let's commission new works in the "classical" tradition, and release them on our own label, First Edition Records. And certainly every public library with a decent record collection had to have them (as they were an impressive series, well-reviewed and selling reasonably well, in a subscription series to many). That's where I found them, and through them the work of Lou Harrison, Alan Hovanhess, and a raft of others, many relatively unrecorded by others even yet. They, up through the '70s, had uniform white covers, since they felt that what record-store sales they'd get would be furthered more by being part of the series than by the utter novelty of their content, but for the cd reissues and repackages they've spiffed up the covers a bit...in fact, First Edition was rather slow in moving over to cd issues, and I'm not sure to what extent they are taking advantage of MP3 sales, but I'm glad to find at least a somewhat representative selection available on Amazon, for example.





Vienna Modern Masters, headed up by composer Nancy Van de Vate, has been reaching for an intenationalist variation on the First Edition formula since getting going in the 1980s, and their Music from Six Continents series (cruelly snubbing Antarctica, unless of course one faces the fact that Eurasia is one continent) has helped introduce me, at least, to another wide array of composers and impressive performances...I'm particulary prone to return to their Penderecki recordings, and Van de Vate has ensured that she herself is well-represented here...which is fine, as she's not too shabby, herself. (I suspect that it is almost as much a budget as self-promotion measure...she might well be waiving her own royalties, in these tough times.) They were formerly distributed in the US by the fine small label Albany Records, which also distributed the New Albion release of the suite inspired by Rudy Rucker's autobiographical novel All the Visions, Like a Passing River (a partial concert performance of the title song can be heard starting just before the twelth minute of this video), and released on its own ticket at least one opera based on Ray Bradbury's Mexico stories, The Lifework of Juan Diaz...but now seem to be working on their own in US distribution (given the lack of brick and mortar retail outlets, not too surprising...Borders and B&N are probably the biggest surviving record-store chains in the US now). Happily, all the initial VMM discs are still in print, and the latter-day selections I haven't yet picked up look interesting and worth the listen.

For more "forgotten" music, please see Scott Parker's blog.

Friday, October 22, 2010

F(uture) Forgotten Books: Drunk Stoned Brilliant Dead: The Writers and Artists Who Made the National Lampoon Insanely Great, edited by Rick Meyerowitz



So, I looked at this, an example of long-term art-book publisher Abrams's newish program of moving solidly into publishing books about and collecting comics materials (a trend I applaud, as I suspect do their accountants), and it powerfully reminded me of how much I enjoyed, even when I was mildly disgusted by, the National Lampoon in the '73-'76 period when I first became aware of it and was able to gain somewhat inconsistent access to it (I was, after all, ages 8-12). My mother angrily brought me and one issue I bought back to the drugstore where I'd purchased it, for example (the same place I'd ride my banana-seat bike down to buy my "mainstream" comics, and where I'd seen my first Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, and where I'd buy my father a copy of Harry Harrison's anthology Nova 4 in its Mentor Books edition for his birthday...if Mentor and Charlton Comics were mobbed up, there was a certain logic to them being easily available in my Hazardville [Hammett fans take note] neighborhood). But what strikes me as particularly interesting is how much of this book, concentrating on the consensus-best years of the magazine, is familiar to me from those years...I think Meyerowitz, perhaps intentionally, missed the comic dinosaur spread that I recall enjoying enormously. Meyerowitz makes some not necessarily popular editorial judgement (he makes a Large Point of reprinting the splash-page illustrations for John Hughes's "My Vagina" and "My Penis" while refusing to reprint the short stories themselves, which he considers jejune and trite and examples of how NatLamp went wrong in the Animal House years and later). And there's the rub, here...much of this stuff doesn't hold up well for me at all...jejune and trite and self-conscious naughtiness are all over the place, but most of the wit is simply epater Mom & Pop and Teacher. Even Mad, and Plop!, and infrequently Cracked in the same years would dig a little deeper at times, not having quite the recourse to the sexual themes and skin-magazine imagery that so angered my mother. So, this is a tribute to an era of the magazine when it was part of the wedge that would also include the Lampoon's radio series, stage shows, budding film career (and such proto-NL projects as The Groove Tube) and, most sustainedly, Saturday Night Live. But, what it's not, particularly when compared to such other inputs of the time that I was experiencing as the Ballantine reprints of the first years of Mad then still widely in print, The Mad Reader and more, is brilliant work that will live forever, even when done by such often brilliant people as Anne Beatts, Gahan Wilson, and Tony Hendra. Oddly enough, even Mr. Mike O'Donoghue often did better when someone might tell him, No, do it again and differently.

For more of this week's books, please see Patti Abbott's blog.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Mario Taboada, 1957-2010


Published in the (Charlottesville) Daily Progress on September 24, 2010

Mario Taboada, 53, died Sunday, September 12, 2010, at his home in Charlottesville, Virginia, of a heart attack.

Mario was born in Montevideo, Uruguay. He received his Ph.D. in Mathematics from the University of Minnesota in 1989, was a Post Doctoral Fellow at Cornell University, and a professor at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles. He moved with his family to Charlottesville in 1997 and ran Orbis Language, a translation company.

Mario is survived by his wife, Jane Gregg; his sons, Julian Taboada and Aaron Taboada, all of Charlottesville; his parents, Antonio Taboada and Emilia Fraiz; and his brother, Luis Taboada, all of Montevideo, Uruguay, as well as family members in Galicia, Spain.

The family welcomes donations in his memory made to Tandem Friends School in Charlottesville, Virginia.

Funeral services will be private.


For the last year and change, Mario and I have been co-moderating the Rara Avis discussion list, a YahooGroup these days for the discussion of hardboiled and noirish crime fiction and related matters. We'd been among a small group who'd been quizzed by founder and long-term moderator Bill Denton if we'd take it over, as he had other matters demanding his attention. We two felt we could, and did so, with Mario continuing to be a lively presence on the list, a passionate man who loved to turn a joke at any reasonable and a few unreasonable opportunities, and with a deep love of the literature. I was more likely to take care of the behind the scenes matters of running the list, particularly as my life had been hectic, to say the least...while still keeping a hand in on the list discussion.

And then in September, not for the first time but certainly for the first time for so long and without explanation, Mario wasn't replying to email nor participating in the list discussion...I assumed he was tied up with other matters. Turns out I was incorrect. A member of RA who was also a member of a classical music list with Mario passed along the obituary information to our list today.

53. Much too young.

Monday, October 18, 2010

REALMS OF FANTASY folds (again)



Realms of Fantasy, the second-most-popular of fantasy-fiction magazines in English over the last sixteen years, has been folded after a year's run as the product of Warren Lapine's Tir Na Nog Press, after fifteen years as a Sovereign Media publication, the staff announced today. It's up for sale for those who might want to take it on. (Lapine also incorrectly groups the still-extant Weird Tales in among the dead magazines he used to publish, but he's also shuttering his wife's romantic/horror-fiction magazine Dreams of Decadence.)

As its only editor, Shawna McCarthy, notes in part in her farewell message:

Back in 1993 (I think—it was so long ago), I wrote a letter to Carl Gnam, publisher of Science Fiction Age. I pointed out to him that fantasy outsold SF by a factor of three to one, and that he should really consider starting a sister fantasy magazine for SFA. I, of course, volunteered to helm it for him. I’d been missing my days at Asimov’s pretty much since the day I left, and I was eager to edit short fiction again. After several meetings, and dummy issues and draft direct mail letters, we finally launched Realms of Fantasy. Not the most inventive title, but as I’ve always said, I’m not great with titles, and I figured the more straightforward, the better. (The workers at my local Post Office were certain that it was an entirely different kind of fantasy magazine, but never mind that….)

(Oddly enough, I called Gnam, local in the DC area, to pitch him another magazine idea not too long after the founding of ROF...he assumed I was a creditor when he called back, which I took as a less than hopeful sign.)

It's a pity, given that Realms has always been at least a good magazine, and the longest sustained presence on the newsstands since the folding of Fantastic in 1980 of a magazine, along with The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction,, making no bones about being a fantasy-fiction magazine. It had its share, and more, of awful covers (Gnam's magazines were given to them, these being among the better covers, particularly among the media-driven ones, but having Julianna Margulies on your cover makes actual ugliness difficult), but with often excellent portfolios of fantasy art within (Karen Haber did an excellent job of annotating and presumably organizing these over most of the magazine's run). A loss, and while I hope someone takes Lapine up on his offer to sell the magazine for a buck to anyone who wished to continue it, I'm not hopeful.


The last issue likely to be seen on newsstands, the current October 2010 issue...a PDF of the December issue's contents has been promised to subscribers.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Vegetarian notes: Gardein brand vegetarian entrees and Collingswood, NJ's best vegetarian restaurant

Gardein brand vegetarian entrees are pretty tasty, but are the most annoyingly packaged food products I have encountered...the soy and wheat Tofurkey-like stuffed globes and any acompanying sauces and rice beds are all in plastic pouches that can only be sloppily opened, with scissors or knife...you will, to at least some small degree, be wearing your foodstuffs, which makes their utility as office lunches rather more limited than it needs to be.

The all-vegetarian The Green House in Collingswood, NJ, is currently my favorite Chinese vegetarian place in the area, and that's facing some stiff competition in Philly proper. It's also next to a fine Thai restaurant, the Thai Basil, if you or your party Must have some meat along with...they share an outer door. Excellent food, good service (if anything, too hospitable, but not in an intrusive way), and the only downside is the slightly repetitive AORish music piped in (not too loud). (856) 854-0896, and a nicely varied menu. They will refer to bok choi as greens.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

The Rick Robinson Meme: Literary Acquisitions

In the past week:

Magazines:
Alfred Hitchcock's Mystery Magazine
The American Scholar
Asimov's Science Fiction
Black Clock
Boulevard
Bust
Downbeat
Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine
Esquire
JazzTimes
Locus
Mystery Scene
The Nation
The Paris Review
Sight and Sound
World Literature Today
Z Magazine
Zoetrope All-Story


Books:
Bernheimer (ed.): My Mother She Killed Me, My Father He Ate Me: Forty New Fairy Tales
Conlon (ed.): He Is Legend: An Anthology Celebrating Richard Matheson
Cramer & Hartwell (ed.): Year's Best SF 15
Eggers, et al. (ed.): The Best American Nonrequired Reading 2010
Gorman: Stranglehold
Lansdale: Dread Island
Malzberg & Resnick: The Business of Science Fiction
Penzler & Ellroy (ed.): The Best American Noir of the Century
Penzler & Child (ed.): The Best American Mystery Stories 2010
Pitlor & Russo (ed.): The Best American Short Stories 2010
Sturgeon (edited by Sturgeon fils): Case and the Dreamer: Volume XIII: The Complete Stories of Theodore Sturgeon

Audio:
Black: Stark Raving Black

Friday, October 15, 2010

Friday's (Not) Forgotten Books: Wise & Fraser: GREAT TALES OF TERROR AND THE SUPERNATURAL (1943); Healy & McComas: ADVENTURES IN TIME AND SPACE (1946)





contents, courtesy of British Horror Anthology Hell...I don't believe the UK edition was different in content from the US original. See also this CyberSpace Spinner page for a partial accounting of original publication sources.

Great Tales of Terror & the Supernatural ed Herbert A. Wise & Phyllis Fraser
Tales of Terror
Honore de Balzac - La Grande Breteche
Edgar Allan Poe - The Black Cat
Edgar Allan Poe - The Facts in the Case of M. Valdemar
Wilkie Collins - A Terribly Strange Bed
Ambrose Bierce - The Boarded Window
Thomas Hardy - The Three Strangers
W. W. Jacobs - The Interruption
H. G. Wells - Pollock and the Porroh Man
H.G. Wells - The Sea Raiders
Saki - Sredni Vashtar
Alexander Woollcott - Moonlight Sonata
Conrad Aiken - Silent Snow, Secret Snow
Dorothy L. Sayers - Suspicion
Richard Connell - The Most Dangerous Game
Carl Stephenson - Leiningen versus the Ants
Michael Arlen - The Gentleman from America
William Faulkner - A Rose for Emily
Ernest Hemingway - The Killers
John Collier - Back for Christmas
Geoffrey Household - Taboo
Tales of the Supernatural
Edward Bulwer-Lytton - The Haunted and the Haunters
Nathaniel Hawthorne - Rappaccini's Daughter
Charles Collins & Charles Dickens - The Trial for Murder
Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu - Green Tea
Fitz-James O'Brien - What Was It?
Henry James - Sir Edmund Orme
Guy de Maupassant - The Horla
Guy de Maupassant - Was It a Dream?
F. Marion Crawford - The Screaming Skull
O. Henry - The Furnished Room
M. R. James - Casting the Runes
M.R. James - Oh, Whistle and I'll Come to You, My Lad
Edith Wharton - Afterward
W. W. Jacobs - The Monkey's Paw
Arthur Machen - The Great God Pan
Robert Hichens - How Love Came to Professor Guildea
Rudyard Kipling - The Return of Imray
Rudyard Kipling - "They"
Edward Lucas White - Lukundoo
E. F. Benson - Caterpillars
E. F. Benson - Mrs. Amworth
Algernon Blackwood - Ancient Sorceries
Algernon Blackwood - Confession
Saki - The Open Window
Oliver Onions - The Beckoning Fair One
Walter de la Mare - Out of the Deep
A. E. Coppard - Adam and Eve and Pinch Me
E. M. Forster - The Celestial Omnibus
Richard Middleton - The Ghost Ship
Karen Blixen - The Sailor-Boy's Tale
H. P. Lovecraft - The Rats in the Walls
H. P. Lovecraft - The Dunwich Horror






The Contento/Locus index:

Adventures in Time and Space ed. Raymond J. Healy & J. Francis McComas (Random House, Aug ’46, $3.00, 997pp, hc); Second Edition, 1953, omits last five stories, also as Famous Science-Fiction Stories. Derivative Anthology More Adventures in Time and Space.
xi · Introduction · Raymond J. Healy & J. Francis McComas · in
3 · Requiem [D.D. Harriman] · Robert A. Heinlein · ss Astounding Jan ’40
20 · Forgetfulness · Don A. Stuart · nv Astounding Jun ’37
46 · Nerves · Lester del Rey · na Astounding Sep ’42
115 · The Sands of Time · P. Schuyler Miller · na Astounding Apr ’37
144 · The Proud Robot [Gallegher] · Lewis Padgett · nv Astounding Oct ’43
177 · Black Destroyer [Beagle] · A. E. van Vogt · nv Astounding Jul ’39
207 · Symbiotica [Jay Score] · Eric Frank Russell · nv Astounding Oct ’43
249 · Seeds of the Dusk · Raymond Z. Gallun · nv Astounding Jun ’38
276 · Heavy Planet [with Frederik Pohl] · Lee Gregor · ss Astounding Aug ’39
286 · Time Locker [Gallegher] · Lewis Padgett · nv Astounding Jan ’43
308 · The Link · Cleve Cartmill · ss Astounding Aug ’42
320 · Mechanical Mice [ghost written by Eric Frank Russell] · Maurice G. Hugi · nv Astounding Jan ’41; given as by Maurice A. Hugi.
344 · V-2: Rocket Cargo Ship · Willy Ley · ar Astounding May ’45
365 · Adam and No Eve · Alfred Bester · ss Astounding Sep ’41
378 · Nightfall · Isaac Asimov · nv Astounding Sep ’41
412 · A Matter of Size · Harry Bates · na Astounding Apr ’34
460 · As Never Was · P. Schuyler Miller · ss Astounding Jan ’44
476 · Q.U.R. [as by H. H. Holmes] · Anthony Boucher · ss Astounding Mar ’43
497 · Who Goes There? · Don A. Stuart · na Astounding Aug ’38
551 · The Roads Must Roll · Robert A. Heinlein · nv Astounding Jun ’40
588 · Asylum [William Leigh] · A. E. van Vogt · nv Astounding May ’42
641 · Quietus · Ross Rocklynne · ss Astounding Sep ’40
655 · The Twonky · Lewis Padgett · nv Astounding Sep ’42
676 · Time-Travel Happens! · A. M. Phillips · ar Unknown Dec ’39
687 · Robots Return · Robert Moore Williams · ss Astounding Sep ’38
698 · The Blue Giraffe · L. Sprague de Camp · nv Astounding Aug ’39
721 · Flight Into Darkness · Webb Marlowe · nv Astounding Feb ’43
741 · The Weapon Shop [Isher] · A. E. van Vogt · nv Astounding Dec ’42
779 · Farewell to the Master · Harry Bates · nv Astounding Oct ’40
816 · Within the Pyramid · R. DeWitt Miller · ss Astounding Mar ’37
825 · He Who Shrank · Henry Hasse · na Amazing Aug ’36
882 · By His Bootstraps · Anson MacDonald · na Astounding Oct ’41
933 · The Star Mouse [Mitkey] · Fredric Brown · ss Planet Stories Spr ’42
953 · Correspondence Course · Raymond F. Jones · ss Astounding Apr ’45
972 · Brain · S. Fowler Wright · ss The New Gods Lead, Jarrolds, 1932

So, here are two anthologies Random House offered during the '40s, which helped establish canons in their respective fields, in part because both anthologies were kept in print consistently as part of the Modern Library.

As I've been checking through a number of the major anthologies of suspense fiction over the decades, I didn’t till being reminded of it the other day recall how much of the Fraser & Wise volume is devoted to non-supernatural tales of menace, mostly though not entirely in the “Tales of Terror” grouping. It’s remarkable how many of these have become chestnuts…essentially all of them…and I have to wonder how many were already common coin in anthologies by the time this one was first issued in 1943. However, along with August Derleth and Donald Wandrei’s efforts at Arkham House, this book was probably the first great exposure H. P. Lovecraft received, as far as the larger reading public is concerned, and was almost certainly the first time Lovecraft and Hemingway were anthologized together (though Dashiell Hammett came close with his horror anthology Creeps by Night [1931]). Also notable, at least in the latter-day British TOC offered here, is the “outing” of Karen Blixen rather than credit of her story to her pseudonym, Isak Dinesen. Even by the time I read this anthology, in a library-sale copy of a 1970s Modern Library edition (with the tamest cover it would get, I suspect), most of the stories were familiar from other anthologies, but not all…to carry another W. W. Jacobs story, aside from “The Monkey’s Paw,” is a small gift in and of itself. Happily, the Modern Library still has this one in print, in the US.

The Healy & McComas wasn’t the first sf anthology from a major publisher in the US, what with Donald Wollheim’s and, just barely, Groff Conklin’s efforts preceding it, along with such mixed selections as Philip Strong’s, but Adventures was one of the most prominent and widely influential, again not least because Random House and eventually the Modern Library imprint were behind it, and Ballantine when purchased by the RH folks did paperback editions with overblown blurbs. As the annotated TOC suggests, John W. Campbell’s Astounding Science Fiction was almost ridiculously overrepresented, even given how much good material it had published and how important that magazine under that editor had been in the development of magazine sf in the late 1930s and ‘40s…however, one (1) story each from Planet Stories and Amazing and none from any other magazine (the Unknown essay reprint was the kind of borderline crackpottery that Campbell would pollute Astounding with in the 1950s onward, rather than a story, and very out of place here), and only one entry not from the magazines, don’t make this a particularly representative anthology of the time…and the absence of Theodore Sturgeon, Leigh Brackett, Hal Clement, Clifford Simak, and C. L. Moore (except to the extent that she had input on “The Twonky”) are all telling (and most might wonder where’s the Bradbury?), in a book that makes room for the Phillips article. But, nevertheless, as with Lovecraft in the other volume, this was among the first exposure many of these writers and much of this fiction had for the larger reading public, and much of it holds up well. Unfortunately, this volume hasn’t been reprinted in its Modern Library edition since the ‘80s.

For more of today's selections, please see Patti Abbott's blog. Bill Crider's FFB item this week, in honor of Bouchercon in part, is a memorial volume edited by J. Francis McComas's widow Annette Peltz McComas, collecting from and documenting the birth of McComas's most lasting legacy, co-founding The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction with Anthony Boucher...a very good book all but orphaned by its publisher at birth.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Friday's "Forgotten" Books: Katha Pollitt: LEARNING TO DRIVE (2007); Erica Jong: SEDUCING THE DEMON (2006)





So...two memoirs by two of our poets...one better known for her political essays, the other for her sexually liberationist novels. One a collection of essays, the other a unitary memoir that began as a writing manual. Both, despite a bit of furor over the Pollitt and the supposed "bestselling" status of the Jong, are already out of print, at least by the measure of primary Amazon availability...

The hassle over the Pollitt came mostly from such quarters as the dancer and repressed-anger sexual submissive Toni Bentley (whose most famous recent work is a fussily-written account of a no-strings/fetishistically all-anal-sex affair and how that helped her find her spiritual self) who was shocked, shocked that Pollitt would be such a man-hater as to “cyberstalk” (actually, just engine-search and read about) her ex-boyfriend. Bentley was accorded considerable space in the New York Times Book Review to expound on this thesis and the other obvious sins of Pollitt, who seems an oddly unembitteredly heterosexual target for such a backhanded slap at feminism. Pollitt’s book is actually a rather cheerful, for the most part, collection of essays about her life at various times, including accounts of good and bad affairs, her early life and her parents’ marriage, her literary career and particularly her early gig as an editor for a soft-core porn novel publisher in the 1970s, a decent source of pay for a young poet and rather eye-opening in several ways. Also, she learns, rather late in life, how to drive a car…happily, this is not employed in any distended way as a metaphor. Those who have read Pollitt’s essays in The Nation and elsewhere can expect a rather similar mix of down to Earth sensibility and incisive observation. It’s typical of our most overrated paper, and certainly of its ridiculous literary desk, that they so eccentrically hoped to sink it…and perhaps they helped.

Jong’s book is less sharply-written than Pollitt’s, as is perhaps not too surprising…poets, and particularly poets who have found greater success with prose, often are relatively lax in the “looser” form, one which less obviously demands (though it still demands, for artistic success, for the craft) concision or at least a sense of when concision can be temporarily forgotten. Jong’s still has a bit of the writer’s guide about it, while mostly being a series of anecdotes about her affairs and passage through the literary world, writing erotica rather than editing it but otherwise not treading too terribly different a path in many ways than Pollitt…just, perhaps, a somewhat more public life, and certainly one which saw an early infusion of cash and attention. I couldn’t shake the sense that Jong is a bit less happy than Pollitt, who seems to have found a rather comfortable place for herself emotionally by her narratives’ end, but both books provide a useful and entertaining opportunity to know a bit of the lives of two of our more engaging feminist literary lions.

(Pollitt’s most recent Nation column on the stands deals with the debate over Jonathan Franzen and Gary Shteyngart’s publicists arranging for their work to suck up all the Literary Hype Opportunities of late; she’s kind enough to refer to Franzen as a good writer, though the current Atlantic features B. R. Myers's review of Franzen’s Freedom that rather forcefully states something akin to my own perception of the man’s work as second-rate, at best, ersatz Philip Roth with a few hints of Robert Coover tossed in.) Jong's book was rather negatively reviewed in the NYT as well, as she notes in this reflection on her life after its publication...

For more of today’s selection of “Forgotten” books, please see Patti Abbott’s blog.

October 1st's "Forgotten" Books:
Paul Bishop: This Girl For Hire by G.G. Fickling
Bill Crider: The Gone Man by Brad Solomon
Scott Cupp: Dread Island by Joe R. Lansdale
Ed Gorman: The Dead Beat by Robert Bloch
Randy Johnson: Enchanted Night by Steven Millhauser
George Kelley: Four Color Fear edited by Gregg Sadowski
Todd Mason: The Final Solution by Michael Chabon
Richard Robinson: 12 Worlds of Alan E. Nourse by Alan E. Nourse

Friday, October 1, 2010

Friday's Rapidly Vanishing Books: THE FINAL SOLUTION by Michael Chabon (THE PARIS REVIEW, 2003)



Michael Chabon, who among other things has guest-edited two of the best issues of the eclectic fiction magazine McSweeney's (and those issues subsequently republished as anthologies, covers below), also has written my favorite bit of Sherlockiana..."The Final Solution," a novella first published in The Paris Review in 2003 and published in a surprisingly unpopular chapbook (cover at left) the next year, involves the very elderly but still game Holmes (who is never named in the story) trying to plumb the mystery surrounding a child refugee from the Nazi pogroms, and his pet parrot. Thus Chabon's chief obsessions, from the systematic attack on Europe's Jews to pop-culture heroes (particularly in a fantasticated crime-fiction context), are mostly if not all exercised, and in fine and charming prose, with ready wit and only a late slip into the entirely fantasticated that I think slightly weakens the story, but the critic and novelist John Clute has argued with me that that little bit actually sums and reinforces the very point of the story...you probably won't be sorry to see which of us you agree with more, if you're game and can find a copy afoot (unlike most of my FFBs, this one is still readily in print, I believe...just not nearly as readily available as nearly every other Chabon book).


Patti Abbott's taking the week off, so look to her eventual listing, and perhaps I'll put one together when for a breath I tarry...these are the Chabon McSweeney's issues in their book form:


















October 1st's "Forgotten" Books:

Paul Bishop: This Girl For Hire by G.G. Fickling

Bill Crider: The Gone Man by Brad Solomon

Scott Cupp: Dread Island by Joe R. Lansdale

Ed Gorman: The Dead Beat by Robert Bloch

Randy Johnson: Enchanted Night by Steven Millhauser

George Kelley: Four Color Fear edited by Gregg Sadowski

Richard Robinson: 12 Worlds of Alan E. Nourse by Alan E. Nourse