Friday, July 29, 2011

FFB: THE COLLECTED STORIES OF CAROL EMSHWILLER; MISTER DA V by Kit Reed; A WITCH'S DOZEN by Janet Fox; JANE QUIET by K.A. Laity and Elena Steier

The issue including Kit Reed's first published short story...and quite an impressive lot else (please see below):

Essentially four books here, though the last listed is also the first issue of a continuing series of comics devoted to a psychic investigator named in honor of Algernon Blackwood's character John Silence.

The Collected Stories, Volume One...publisher Luis Ortiz keeps having one valuable, if not always cash-cow-like, idea after another, and the brilliant Carol Emshwiller, who has written many very important and many very odd stories in what has been a long career, has also long needed a comprehensive collection of her work...volume two might be a bit shorter, when it appears, as it mostly might be made up of stories still in inventory at magazines and more importantly in the contents of anthologies not yet published. Emshwiller, as the contents list below indicates, after a first sale to a (failing) regional magazine in 1954, started publishing mostly in the magazines edited by Robert Lowndes (the crime-fiction magazines and Future, Science Fiction and SF Quarterly), which were low-budget but open to experimental and off-trail writing (James Blish placed "Common Time" in one; William Tenn "The Liberation of Earth" likewise; Edward Hoch was always happy to note that he was first published by Lowndes). Such early Emshwiller stories as "Hunting Machine" did not often offer many variations on traditional narrative storytelling, but as she noted in her introduction, they came, to one degree or another, from what writer, critic, editor and writing instructor Damon Knight referred to as "deep inside"...they have a powerful resonance that sounds throughout the reader's psyche. This, as even Emshwiller (not the most self-promoting of writers) notes, only strengthened as she continued. Such brilliant, playful and influential work as "Sex and/or Mr. Morrison" and "Strangers" would follow, even as the earlier "Pelt" took another tack on the matter of "Hunting Machine" (both prime candidates for any anthology arguing for animal rights). Not reflected in this collection are her novels, such as the historical westerns Ledoyt and its companion Leaping Man Hill or the animal fantasy Carmen Dog and the challenging novel of alien conquest of Earth, The Mount. What is here is a generous sample of the work that has won her two Nebula awards, the Philip Dick award and the Life Achievement award from the World Fantasy Convention in 1995, as well as devoted readers in several different literary communities. (Please also see Ortiz's Emshwiller: Infinity x 2, a dual biography of Carol and her husband, painter/illustrator/filmmaker Ed Emshwiller, a remarkable book about remarkable subjects.) Here, a few examples of the cover paintings for which Ed Emshwiller used Carol and himself as models (click to enlarge):



















Not too different is the CV of Kit Reed, who also writes as Kit Craig (mostly her crime fiction thus); her driver's license presumably tags her Lillian Craig Reed. A decade younger than Emshwiller, she got her professional fiction-writing start half a decade later, in a ridiculously good issue of The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction from late in Anthony Boucher's editorship, for April, 1958...so ridiculous that I'll give the ISFDb listing of its contents:
5 • Guardian Spirit • novelette by Chad Oliver
39 • The Watchers • poem by Anthony Brode
40 • Obstinate Uncle Otis • [Murchison Morks] • (1941) • shortstory by Robert Arthur
48 • The Grantha Sighting • shortstory by Avram Davidson
56 • The Wait • shortstory by Kit Reed
70 • No Evidence • shortstory by Victoria Lincoln
78 • The Death of Each Day • shortstory by Margaret St. Clair [as by Idris Seabright ]
88 • The Witch of Ramoth • (1953) • shortstory by Mark Van Doren
93 • Recommended Reading (F&SF, April 1958) • [Recommended Reading] • essay by Anthony Boucher
93 •   Review: Spaceways Satellite by Charles Eric Maine • review by Anthony Boucher
93 •   Review: Rocket Power and Space Flight by G. Harry Stine • review by Anthony Boucher
94 •   Review: Wasp by Eric Frank Russell • review by Anthony Boucher
94 •   Review: Year 2018! by James Blish • review by Anthony Boucher
94 •   Review: They'd Rather be Right by Mark Clifton and Frank Riley • review by Anthony Boucher
94 •   Review: The Mind Cage by A. E. van Vogt • review by Anthony Boucher
95 •   Review: The Dreamers by Roger Manvell • review by Anthony Boucher
95 •   Review: Earthman's Burden by Poul Anderson and Gordon R. Dickson • review by Anthony Boucher
95 •   Review: Robots and Changelings by Lester del Rey • review by Anthony Boucher
95 •   Review: Those Idiots from Earth by Richard Wilson • review by Anthony Boucher
95 •   Review: Three Times Infinity by Leo Margulies • review by Anthony Boucher
96 • Broken Circuit • shortstory by Arthur Oesterreicher
100 • A Deskful of Girls • [Change War] • novelette by Fritz Leiber
125 • Poor Little Warrior! • shortstory by Brian W. Aldiss

...with that first story, which Reed, as noted below, had entitled "To Be Taken in a Strange Country" and would place it as such as the lead story in her first collection, Mister Da V. and Other Stories. (Among the other things Emshwiller and Reed share is that their first collections came far too late for any sense of justice in publishing...Reed's book was published in England in 1967 and would await its US edition for six years; Emshwiller's first collection, also her first book, Joy in Our Cause, didn't appear till 1974. The Reed collection also notably lacks any introduction, either to the book or the individual stories, a bit of sadness for those of us who love the headnotes and other interstitials provided by the likes of Isaac Asimov and Harlan Ellison in their books.) "Automatic Tiger" might've been the first Reed story to gain a lot of attention in the fantasy community, a heavily metaphoric tale of a young man who gains enormously in life through the purchase of a remarkably lifelike tiger mechanism, and what fate has in store for them both; it was certainly the first Reed story I read. Reed, too, is expert in resonance and playful wit, as she demonstrates throughout this collection, in her further collections and novels since, and in her short fiction that has appeared in fantastic-fiction, contemporary-mimetic and little, and crime-fiction magazines over the years since; happily, Reed is still writing, as Emshwiller, who has been having some health reverses, might not continue to do, though we can hope the latter is not stymied. One thing that connects such writers as these two, and, say, Kate Wilhelm, who got her start neatly between Emshwiller and Reed and has had a not dissimilarly eclectic career since, is that one senses their exploration of character from the "inside", while such colleagues and similarly complete artists as Theodore Sturgeon, Damon Knight and Fritz Leiber often seem to make their observation of character at a greater auctorial distance, not so much objective as simply more divorced from identification with the characters under discussion and on display.

Including the brilliant Arcana story "Demon and Demoiselle"; the Malzberg story is actually a (very funny) collaboration with Bill Pronzini, "Another Burnt-Out Case":
Also true of the younger, later-starting, and now late (as noted here at the time of her death's announcement) Janet Fox, who published the helpful market-guide and general-interest magazine about writers and the small press, Scavenger's Newsletter, for more than a decade; she was the first to buy my creative work, a poem, to be published in a national forum. More importantly, she began publishing her own fiction, with "Materialist"...another Robert Lowndes "discovery," I belatedly remember, for his Magazine of Horror in 1970, and the first in a series of horror stories in which she takes cliches and makes them happily (if usually disturbingly) literal. Perhaps the best of this series, "Screaming to Get Out" (from Weirdbook, the co-publisher Ganley's long-running little magazine of fantasy and horror) is included in this, 2003's A Witch's Dozen, the only collection of Fox's fiction to be published during her lifetime; the only other books she would publish were a series of novels under the pseudonym Alex McDonough. This continues to gnaw at me, given the excellence of these thirteen stories, which includes three of her fantasy series-characters, Scorpia and Arcana and Morrien, with a new story of the last as the book's one original publication. Well-illustrated by Stephen Fabian, it's a volume worth seeking out, and it needs a companion. Even in what little we have of her, she's one of the best sword and sorcery writers and one of the better horror writers we've seen.

A full-color page from the next Jane Quiet adventure (Quiet's future clients pictured rather than she herself; click to enlarge considerably):
And my friend Kate, K. A. Laity, and her friend Elena Steier decided to collaborate on a comic, as noted above, about a psychic investigator named in honor of John Silence; they decided further the challenge along by making this first adventure, at least, one with no dialog whatsoever, allowing Jane Quiet to live up to her name, at least as far as speaking was concerned. Steier's one proviso, as Laity notes in the introduction on the inside front cover, was that the monster be kick-ass...and so it is, as Lovecraftian (though, unlike HPL's, actually visible and seen in detail) as Mike Mignola (Hellboy) could ask for. Quiet and her confederates investigate the events that have killed one teen girl and hospitalized another, seemingly (to the survivor's terrified parents; we the "readers" are less uncertain) involving their daughter and her friend's dabbling in black magic. (Injokes: Quiet's office and probable residence is in a building that also might just house Algernon Blackwood, Charlotte Perkins Gilman, and Edith Wharton, or their ghosts; from some angles and in some panels, Steier draws Quiet to resemble Laity.) Things don't all go the way Quiet and company hope, but the ending, in yet another coincidence I've belatedly realized, rather reverses the situation found in Leiber's "A Deskful of Girls" (the cover story in the ridiculously good issue of F&SF detailed above). This issue, too, is great fun, and worth the procurement effort, if your local comics store is so foolish as to not have it at hand. Laity might be the literary child of Angela Carter and Peter Cook and Italo Calvino, and Steier the artistic child of Trina Robbins and Gahan Wilson and Jules Feiffer, and there's not a little dash of Joan Aiken in both, but none of that estranges them at all from the work of the other women too insufficiently celebrated here...

...and did I happen to mention that I recently picked up a 1955 issue of the Cornell-based little magazine Epoch with some of the very young Joanna Russ's poetry in it? Inasmuch as it also has stories by R. V. Cassil and Lysander Kemp, it could've been an issue of F&SF as easily as Epoch, though the Philip Roth story would nudge it more in the Partisan Review direction (a 1962 issue I bought along with the elder features just two long stories by two young men just getting their legs at the time, Ronald Sukenick and Tom Pynchon, as the latter signs himself...this would also be the magazine which, a few years later, published the career-jump-starter for Joyce Carol Oates, "Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?"). Eh, later.


The Collected Stories of Carol Emshwiller, Volume 1, edited by Luis Ortiz and Carol Emshwiller (Non-Stop Press 2011, cover painting by Ed Emshwiller)
contents courtesy of Non-Stop Press:
Table of Contents:
Foreword by Carol Emshwiller
Built For Pleasure (Long Island Suburban, November 1954)
The Victim (Smashing Detective,Vol. 4, No. 2, September 1955)
This Thing Called Love (Future Science Fiction, no. 28, December 1955)
Love Me Again (Science Fiction Quarterly, Vol. 4, No. 2, February 1956)
The Piece Thing (Science Fiction Quarterly, May 1956)
Bingo And Bongo (Future Science Fiction, #31, Winter 1956-1957)
Nightmare Call (Future Science Fiction, No. 32, Spring 1957)
Murray Is For Murder (Fast Action Detective and Mystery, March 1957)
The Coming (The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, May 1957)
Hunting Machine (Science Fiction Stories, May 1957)
Hands (Double-Action Detective, #7, Summer, 1957)
You’ll Feel Better… (The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, July 1957)
Two-Step For Six Legs (Science Fiction Quarterly, Vol. 5, No. 2, August 1957)
Baby (The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, February 1958)
Idol’s Eye (Future Science Fiction, #35, February 1958)
Pelt (The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, November 1958)
Day At The Beach (The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, August 1959)
Puritan Planet (Science Fiction Stories, January 1960)
But Soft What Light… (The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, April 1966)
Chicken Icarus (Cavalier, October 1966)
Eohippus (Transatlantic Review, 1967)
Sex and/or Mr. Morrison (Dangerous Visions, ed. Harlan Ellison, Doubleday, 1967)
Krashaw (A City Sampler, July 1967)
Lib (Triquarterly, 1968; New Worlds, March 1968)
Animal (Orbit 4, ed. Damon Knight, G.P. Putnam, 1968)
Methapyrilene Hydrochloride Sometimes Helps (New Worlds, July 1968)
White Dove (New Worlds, No. 188, March 1969)
I Love You (Epoch, vol. xix, no. 1, 1969)
The Queen of Sleep (New Directions, Vol. 22; New Worlds, 1970)
Peninsula (The Richmond Review, 1970)
Debut (Orbit 6, ed. D. Knight, G.P. Putnam, 1970)
The Institute (Alchemy and Academe, ed. Anne McCaffrey, Doubleday, 1970)
A Possible Episode In The Picaresque Adventures Of Mr. J.H.B. Monstrosee (Quark/2, Paperback Library, February 1971)
Woman Waiting (Orbit 7, ed. D. Knight, G.P. Putnam, 1970)
Yes, Virginia (Transatlantic Review, 1971)
Al (Orbit 10, ed. D. Knight, G.P. Putnam, 1972)
Strangers (Bad Moon Rising, ed. Thomas Disch, Harper & Row, 1973)
The Childhood of the Human Hero (Showcase, Harper & Row, 1973)
Autobiography (Joy In Our Cause, a Carol Emshwiller collection, Harper & Row, 1974)
Maybe Another Long March Across China 80,000 Strong (Joy In Our Cause, Harper & Row, 1974)
Joy in Our Cause (Joy In Our Cause, Harper & Row, 1974)
Biography of an Uncircumcised Man (Including Interview) (Joy In Our Cause, Harper & Row, 1974)
To the Association (Joy In Our Cause, Harper & Row, 1974)
Destinations, Premonitions and the Nature of Anxiety (Joy In Our Cause, Harper & Row, 1974)
Dog Is Dead (Joy In Our Cause, Harper & Row, 1974)
One Part Of The Self Is Always Tall And Dark (Confrontation No. 14, 1977)
Escape Is No Accident (2076: The American Tricentennial, ed. Edward Bryant, Pyramid Books, 1977)
Thanne Longen Folk To Goen On Pilgrimages (The Little Magazine, vol. 11, no. 2, summer 1977)
Expecting Sunshine and Getting It (Croton Review, Vol. 1, No. 1, summer 1978)
Omens (Edges, ed. Ursula Le Guin and Virginia Kidd, Pocket Books, 1980)
Abominable (Orbit 21, ed. D. Knight, Harper & Row, 1980)
The Start Of The End Of It All (Universe 11, ed. Terry Carr, Doubleday, 1981)
Slowly Bumbling in the Void (New Directions 42, 1981)
Queen Kong (13th Moon, 1982)
The Futility of Fixed Positions (Portland Review, Vol. 28, No. 2, 1982)
Mental Health and Its Alternative (Confrontation, Nos. 25-26, 1983)
Verging on the Pertinent (13th Moon, Vol. vii, Nos. 1-2, 1984)
There Is No God But Bog (Pulpsmith, Summer 1985)
Eclipse (The Little Magazine, vol. 15, no. 2, 1986)
The Circular Library of Stones (Omni, Feb. 1987)
If Not Forever, When? (PsychCritique, vol. 2, no. 2, 1987)
Vilcabamba (Twilight Zone Magazine, August 1987)
Fledged (Omni, December 1988)
The Promise Of Undying Love (Verging on the Pertinent, a Carol Emshwiller collection, Coffee House Press, 1989)
What Every Woman Knows (Verging on the Pertinent, Coffee House Press, 1989)
Not Burning (Verging on the Pertinent, Coffee House Press, 1989)
Being Mysterious Strangers from Distant Shores (The Village Voice Literary Supplement, March 1989)
Clerestory (Croton Review, No. 9)
Living At The Center (Ice River, No. 4, June 1989)
Yukon (Verging on the Pertinent, Coffee House Press, 1989)
As If (Verging on the Pertinent, Coffee House Press, 1989)
Secrets of the Native Tongue (Ascent, vol. 14, no. 3, 1989)
Moon Songs (The Start of the End of it All, a Carol Emshwiller collection, The Women’s Press, 1990)
Acceptance Speech (The Start of the End of It All, The Women’s Press, 1990)
Looking Down (Omni, January 1990)
Peri (Strange Plasma #3 1990)
If The Word Was To The Wise (The Start of the End of It All, Mercury House, 1991)
There Is No Evil Angel But Love (The Start of the End of It All, Mercury House, 1991)
Draculalucard (The Start of the End of It All, Mercury House 1991)
Emissary (The Start of the End of It All, Mercury House 1991)
Mrs. Jones (Omni, August 1993)
Venus Rising (Edgewood Press, 1992, a chapbook)
Modillion (Strange Plasma, no. 8 1994; Green Mountain Review, 1994)
After Shock (Century, no.3, September-October 1995)
The Project (The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, August 2001)
Foster Mother (The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, February 2001)
Creature (The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, Oct./Nov. 2001)
Grandma (The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, March 2002)
Notes On Stories
About The Author
from the Locus Index:
A Witch’s Dozen by Janet Fox (Wildside Press/W. Paul Ganley 1-59224-048-8, Jul 2003, $30.00, 175pp, hc, cover by Stephen E. Fabian) Collection of 13 fantasy and horror stories, one original. This is a print-on-demand edition, co-published by Wildside Press and W. Paul Ganley. Paperback edition also available.

7 · Witches · ss Tales by Moonlight, ed. Jessica Amanda Salmonson, Robert T. Garcia, 1983
19 · Small Magic · ss Amazing Jan ’82
41 · In the Kingdom of the Thorn [Scorpia] · ss Whispers Oct ’83
52 · A Witch in Time [Arcana] · ss Fantastic Sep ’73
68 · Demon and Demoiselle [Arcana] · nv Fantastic Oct ’78
88 · Morrien’s Bitch [Morrien & Riska] · ss Amazons!, ed. Jessica Amanda Salmonson, DAW, 1979
106 · Screaming to Get Out · ss Weirdbook #12 ’77
113 · Valentine · ss Shadows #2, ed. Charles L. Grant, Doubleday, 1979
123 · Taking Care of Bertie · ss Eldritch Tales #11 ’85
130 · The Skins You Love to Touch · ss Shadows #9, ed. Charles L. Grant, Doubleday, 1986
136 · Garage Sale · ss Twilight Zone Aug ’82
142 · Surrogate · ss Fears, ed. Charles L. Grant, Berkley, 1983
149 · Alliances [Morrien & Riska] · nv *

from the Contento index:
Mister Da V. and Other Stories Kit Reed (London: Faber and Faber, 1967, 21/-, 219pp, hc); Also in pb (Berkley Medallion Jul ’73).

11 · To Be Taken in a Strange Country [“The Wait”] · ss F&SF Apr ’58
31 · Devotion · ss F&SF Jun ’58
42 · The Reign of Tarquin the Tall · ss F&SF Jul ’58
59 · Ordeal [“The Quest”] · nv Fantastic Universe Jan ’60
(70) · Judas Bomb · ss F&SF Apr ’61 (in the pb)
95 · Piggy · ss F&SF Aug ’61
113 · Mister Da V. · ss Seventeen May ’62
128 · The New You · ss F&SF Sep ’62
141 · Automatic Tiger · ss F&SF Mar ’64
(136) · I Am Through with Bus Trips · ss *
172 · Golden Acres · nv *
195 · At Central · ss *
209 · Janell Harmon’s Testament · ss *
Script by K. A. Laity; art by Elena Steier; published in 2008 by Steier and Laity; 40pp.

Aside from the images of the review items (from their publishers' sites), images courtesy of Galactic Central or ISFDb and their Visco files.

10 comments:

K. A. Laity said...

But how long... how... long...

Todd Mason said...

Too long. So tired, so busy. (Somewhere a cat mutters, "Paper pirate hat! Snrsk!")

K. A. Laity said...

Um, can I swipe that for a pull quote?! Thanks so much! Wow, nice to get a good review from a notoriously tough critic.

And well done on the others, too: there's so much more I need to read. Like Carter, who thought she was going to make her name as a poet, it's interesting to see how much careers are shaped by ideas about genre that our brains ignore.

Todd Mason said...

Of course, though perhaps a line from the "famously irritable friend of Laity" might not carry even as much weight as a Stephen King blurb does these days.

And, as I hope I made clear (and perhaps even more than Carter herself), all of you have usually cheerfully ignored any notion of "genre restrictions," and that's, of course, as it should be, both for the sake of the artist and of the art...

K. A. Laity said...

Fuck categories. I just let loose the demons from my head.

Richard R. said...

My goodness, Todd, where on earth do you find the time, let alone the brainpower, to write such posts? Seems it's all I can do to throw together two or three paragraphs... Well I enjoyed the hell out of it and do appreciate the effort. I begin to wonder when you're going to publish your authoritative history of F&SF? Fully illustrated, of course. I'll reserve my copy right now.

SteveHL said...

I agree with Richard both about my continuing amazement and pleasure at your posts and about the possibility of you doing a history of F & SF.

Drifting off-topic, I realize that you have nothing to do with the ISFDB entry, but as I recall, I don't think that Leiber's "A Deskful of Girls" has anything to do with the "Change War" stories.

Todd Mason said...

I think there's the most offhand, background reference to the Spiders and Snakes in "Deskful"...but I should go back and reread it.

Meanwhile, you gentlemen are definitely making me blush, or is that merely the head swelling? Rick, it takes me forever to get one like this out...it's a week overdue...and I'd definitely have liked to have taken the time to discuss more of the contents of the collections...

Richard R. said...

Summing Up? Here, there, somewhere?

Todd Mason said...

Rick, the next post up...hope you found it...