Monday, February 28, 2011

"I really don't mind the scars." --a vignette

1: [another might follow later, or not. TM]

"But your breasts are fine...I mean, I wouldn't say they're your best feature, but..." he fumbled, flustered, not knowing how to press the case.
She didn't exactly shake him off, but replied matter-of-factly, "If I'm going make any kind of career, either in Hollywood or in the Valley, augmentation will only help."

#

Ludmilla, all six feet of her, reclined against the chair across the table from him. Her face betrayed nothing but mild amusement, but he knew that this was not all she felt...this was her default expression, carefully cultivated though probably also indicative of her assessment of life.
"Gino is a good man," she began. "I would not have married him, nor certainly had our Irena with him, if he was not. But he has a temper, and if anything was to happen to Irena or to myself, you realize that he will," she paused so very briefly here, "kill you, no matter at what cost to himself. But he is a good man, and that would be the end of it."
He waited, suspecting what was to come but having no answer to it yet. "However, I am not a good woman," Ludmilla continued. "If anything should happen to Gino, I will not stop at killing you. I will not stop at killing your wife, or your children. I will leave no living trace of you. And if anything was to happen to Irena, and I survive...it is best not to contemplate such matters at the dinner table."
She took a sip from her glass, her eyes never leaving his face. "I want you to understand this. It would be best for all concerned if you would put all thoughts of damage to my family aside, and indeed to do your best to ensure our continued prosperity. Or perhaps you should, if you must, make your move here, now."

#

"I want to look like Lady Gaga."
She rolled her eyes. "And how might you do that?"
"Practice, practice, practice," he said, only half joking.
"I'm glad you didn't claim you were Born that way..."

#

"I know you're afraid to go forward with this...it's only natural...but I can think of nothing in the world I want more than to have a child with you." She hoped she didn't sound as irrational as she felt.
His pause before replying was pregnant, she thought...not the sort of pregnancy she was hoping for. "You know what the doctors say." He nuzzled the back of her head as he spoke, her hair only slightly obscuring his words. She turned in his embrace and gave him a long kiss. Then: "I know I'm asking a lot...given the probable complications, and what might happen...but you remember what they also said...a Cesarean would in this case cut most of those risks considerably."
Not all the risks, she knew he was thinking. But there were no guarantees in this life...not a one.

#

They'd pulled her off the street two days before, at least she thought it was two days. Time wasn't passing as it did in the real world here, in this hell. The female officer sat impassively across the room; she wondered if the other woman was here simply as a sort of courtesy, some sort of pro forma attempt to conform to human rules of decency. Or if she was there simply as a trainee...she'd done nothing to meliorate the litany of torture. Perhaps she was there to keep her actual interrogator from simply repeatedly raping her and leaving matters at that. The waterboarding, the simple beating, the other procedures had not yet gotten her to name her supposed co-conspirators...the fake names she gave at one point were apparently insufficient. He was now explaining how he'd needed to search around for a smaller alligator clip to attach the auto battery to her clit, smaller than the ones he used to attach to her supposed comrades' scrotal sacs. He actually looked over at the woman officer at this point, as if offering her the honor of applying the device, then turned back to her, bound in her chair. "You realize," he said, with what could only be described as an attempt at solicitousness, "what a wreck we will leave of you." She summoned what saliva she could, and ineffectually spat, most of the spittle never quite leaving her lips.

#

The fannish tweet to the increasingly famous actress read exactly:
Olivia: My ["Wilde"]s for you, as does every other part of me. Surely you can't leave me in such a consumptive state. Think of the damage you do me.

#

The next line, in each case, in continuation or response, was:
"I really don't mind the scars."

The next line, in response, after, was, in some cases here,
"Very well."
In the others, it was,
"It's too bad that I do."

[the other vignettes in response to Patti Abbott's challenge to write one with the line "I really don't mind the scars" can be found indexed or hosted at her blog, Pattinase.]

Friday, February 25, 2011

Friday's "Forgotten" Books: Robert Arthur, editor: ALFRED HITCHCOCK'S MONSTER MUSEUM revisited, among some other matters...


From the Contento Index:
Alfred Hitchcock’s Monster Museum [ghost-edited by Robert Arthur] ed. Anon. (Random House, 1965, $3.95, 207pp, hc); all illustrations by Earl E. Mayan.

* · Introduction: A Variety of Monsters · [attributed to] Alfred Hitchcock · in
* 1 · The Day of the Dragon · Guy Endore · nv Blue Book Jun ’34
* 29 · The King of the Cats · Stephen Vincent Benét · ss Harper’s Bazaar Feb ’29
* 46 · Slime · Joseph Payne Brennan · nv Weird Tales Mar ’53
* 73 · The Man Who Sold Rope to the Gnoles · Idris Seabright (Margaret St. Clair) · ss F&SF Oct ’51
* 79 · Henry Martindale, Great Dane · Miriam Allen deFord · ss Beyond Fantasy Fiction Mar ’54
* 95 · The Microscopic Giants · Paul Ernst · ss Thrilling Wonder Stories Oct ’36
* 114 · The Young One · Jerome Bixby · nv Fantastic Apr ’54
* 144 · Doomsday Deferred · Will F. Jenkins · ss The Saturday Evening Post Sep 24 ’49
* 162 · Shadow, Shadow, on the Wall · Theodore Sturgeon · ss Imagination Feb ’51
* 174 · The Desrick on Yandro [John] · Manly Wade Wellman · ss F&SF Jun ’52
* 188 · The Wheelbarrow Boy · Richard Parker · ss Lilliput Oct ’50 (reprinted in F&SF, 1953)
* 193 · Homecoming · Ray Bradbury · ss Mademoiselle Oct ’46

As I'm slowly gathering up decent reading copies of all the "Hitchcock" anthologies, I just received my new copy of this, the first of the hardcover YA anthologies I've purchased (I had only read library copies and infrequently read one or two of the rather pointlessly abridged paperback copies previously), and so revisit this one after two years for FFB purposes. First off, what a fine book this is, with the generally handsome (and appropriately sinister) Earl Mayan illustrations and design running throughout, and a judicious selection of magazine fiction...if I hadn't been primed to love fiction magazines by early experience of them directly, anthologies such as this one might've done the trick by themselves.

Excellent choices by geniuses such as Benet and Wellman (one of the most resonant of his John the Balladeer stories), Bradbury and his mentor Sturgeon, and St. Clair...Miriam Allen deFord and Benet both represented by stories wherein there's some confusion as between human and dog and human and cat, but in such various means...and you simply, neither now nor in 1965, see too many reprints of Paul Ernst's work, a man who wrote solid, memorable stories such as this (about small humanoid creatures so dense they walk through the matter of the Earth as we might walk through water), even as questionable as the physics involved might be (it was in a 1936 issue of Thrilling Wonder Stories rather than the somewhat more rigorous pages of a 1943 Astounding or even Sam Merwin's TWS of 1949)...Ernst wrote a lot of shudder pulp after and probably along with this story, and probably is remembered now, when at all, mostly for that (late bulletin: a little engine-searching turns up the datum that he might well be best-remembered for writing the lead novels for the hero pulp The Avenger). (One of the stories, along with the Endore, bumped from the paperback reprint...did the paperback editor see it as dated--it refers as a 1936 story to "the Great War," when it is set? Too grisly? "I've never heard of Ernst"?).

Altogether a delightful volume, as good to pick up now as when I was nine. Among the several more adult "Hitchcock" volumes I've picked up along with this one over the last week, my first hardcover copy of AH Presents: My Favorites in Suspense (1959), which reminds me that Patricia O'Connell ghost-edited at least this volume in the series, and which volume concludes with the Elisabeth Sanxay Holding novel The Blank Wall...I hope to be able to further Ed Gorman's cause on behalf of a Holding revival some more in the near future.


And, as I'm gathering also all the Avram Davidson volumes I didn't already own, so as to have the stray story or variant and prefatory matter, I've finally looked at the 1971 Doubleday edition of his collection Strange Seas and Shores...which has an introduction by Ray Bradbury. Which fact is not mentioned anywhere on the clumsily illustrated cover, even in the dustjacket flap copy, nor is the Bradbury authorship mentioned on the title page nor Even in the table of contents nor credited in the copyright acknowledgments page...the marketing genius juggernaut that was Doubleday in the '70s retains its luster. Because what you want to do, if you go out of your way to have a Bradbury introduction to a 1971 story collection, is hide it as much as possible.

For more of today's "forgotten" books, please see Patti Abbott's blog for the links roll and more. Your servant, from the land of upper respiratory distress...

Thursday, February 24, 2011

February's Forgotten Music: THE WEAVERS: REUNION AT CARNEGIE HALL 1963























In 1963, to mark their 15th anniversary as a performing unit, nearly all the Weavers (and all seven who'd recorded together...one Jackie Gibson had apparently tapped out almost immediately after formation in 1948) came onstage at Carnegie Hall for a second series of concerts, the first after a 1955 reunion concert to spit in the face of a McCarthyite blacklist of the diversely leftist band...after being the biggest hitmakers in the history of pop-folk music from 1948 to 1952, the unabashed Communist affiliation of Pete Seeger and Fred Hellerman was a very useful means of chasing them out of their Decca Records contract, off the charts and off the scene. But reform they did, and began recording for Vanguard Records, to their mutual benefit, both live and studio albums, and then Pete Seeger decided he wanted to leave the band, strike out on his own again...leading to his first replacement, the relatively slick but also rather dull Erik Darling, who would soon leave to be a solo act, then form The Rooftop Singers (their one hit being the bowdlerized "Walk Right In"), then the rather more congenial Frank Hamilton, and then for the final year of band's run, young Bernie Krause came in. The 1963 concert is thus almost the end of the band as a regular working unit as well as We're All Together Again for the First Time, and a fine set of songs it is, except for Darling's fairly dull solo "Train Time" (the man had chops on his instrument, but not a whole lot of charisma nor apparently much sense of the importance of the band he joined...to be fair, to be the New Seeger in the band was probably a bit more daunting than being, say, the New Pete Best). Despite such impressive predecessors as the Almanac Singers (which had included Seeger and Hays at times, along with Woody Guthrie and others), the Weavers basically created the commercial space for folk music in the marketplace, and the folk "revival" and efflorescence of the 1950s and later owes at least some debt at every level to what the Weavers did...

The Weavers in the first flush of their commercial success: the "Around the World" suite:


Also, no film or video footage exists of the 1963 concerts (as far as I know), but one of their best gospel numbers throughout their career is this:


Meanwhile, Pete Seeger, seeing that his old songwriting partner (and occasional Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine contributor) Lee Hays was going into a final spiral, gathered the original four together again for another reunion concert, an album and film, Wasn't That a Time, which will also be popping up again on PBS stations in early March in the US as a pledge-drive incentive:



Meanwhile, you can do worse than to gather these albums, and the documentary footage...few people, certainly few bands, have had such an epochal influence on those who followed.

For more of this month's "forgotten" music choices, please see Scott Parker's blog.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

HIS GIRL FRIDAY


I've just heard, for the first time (on the archived link of The Big Broadcast from this Sunday), the 1940 Lux Radio Theater abridgement of His Girl Friday, and despite Claudette Colbert's fine subbing for Rosalind Russell as Hildy Johnson (with Fred MacMurray in the Cary Grant role, and Jack Carter sounding a Whole Lot like Ralph Bellamy as Bruce Baldwin), it inspires nothing so much as the desire to hear or watch the actual film.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Links: Tuesday's Overlooked Films (and/or Other A/V): 22 February


This week's entries (so far as I'm aware) in the Tuesday's Overlooked roundelay:

Bill Crider: Boxcar Bertha

Chuck Esola: Memories of Matsuko
Dan Stumpf (recommended by Steve Lewis): Frantic (1958); also Walter Albert: King of Burlesque and Bill Pronzini in passing: Out of the Past
Eric Peterson: O.C. and Stiggs
Evan Lewis: The Tower of the Elephant
George Kelley: Restrepo
James Reasoner: Spoilers of the Plains
Juri Nummelin: Anima Persa (and Training Day and Dark Blue)
Patti Abbott: That Certain Summer
Randy Johnson: Marty
Todd Mason: Seeing Things; Wholphin


of related interest:
Lee Goldberg: The Bold Ones (opening credits)
Ed Gorman/Peter Bogdanovich: Kiss Me Deadly
Marc Heuck: The Sound of Fury and David Fincher music videos
...possibly more to come, and if I've overlooked yours or another's Overlooked Film/AV entry, please let me know...and thanks for reading. You are welcome to join in here!

Tuesday's Overlooked Films (and/or Other A/V): SEEING THINGS, Your 2 Favorite Films, WHOLPHIN among the short-film showcases...

Seeing Things was a 1981-1987 CBC dramatic series about a mildly hapless, somewhat neurotic newspaper reporter in Toronto, hung up on his ex-wife, coping as best he can with his courts beat, and cursed/blessed with an odd sort of extra-sensory perception. Louis del Grande co-created, co-produced and starred as Louis Ciccone (del Grande's career has mostly been in Canadian productions, though he did have a role in the film Atlantic City), with his wife Martha Gibson in the role of ex-wife Marge Ciccone; Janet Laine-Green played his best friend in the courts, Crown's Attorney Heather Redfern. The series was widely exported, and rather surprisingly played in the DC area on commercial television for a season or so in the mid 1980s, only to vanish and reappear on public stations a year or so later (with the last episodes now available...there were only 43 in all over the six-year run in Canada). However, as far as I know, the rather charming series, relaxedly playing with crime-drama, fantasy and relationship-hassle tropes, has never been released on home video, and might well've flown under the radar of most viewers in the U.S. Somehow, it struck me as the Canadian Magnum, P.I., only it was able to keep its initial high standard intact much better than the Yank series (and didn't drag itself out far too long...even if, obviously, the muddling-through middle class folks in Toronto wouldn't seem to have much in common with the mostly-toned hangers-on around the Kahala estate of a wealthy writer). Here's the first segment of a fairly typical episode (and, I should warn you, Seeing Things had one of the worst, if rather explicatory, theme songs in the history of all things televisionary):


Unfair question time:
Which two films, however incongruous, would make up your two-favorite-film double-feature?

The answers so far:
Alice Chang: Bound and Persona (the latter after a brief flirtation with Eternal Sunshine...).
Camilla Mason (nee Rocchi) (pondering briefly): Easter Parade and Gone with the Wind.
J. Eric Mason: Heathers and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.
Paula Mason (nee Skoe): Dune (the cinematic film) and Stardust.
Robert Mason: 2001: A Space Odyssey and Picnic.
"Ellen Canby": everyday film-viewing: Die Hard and Die Hard with a Vengeance (and when she's in certain moods, Queen Margot and Enchanted April)
Rick Robinson: The Wild Bunch and Apolcalypse Now
Kate Laity: (winnowing down from her suggestions and our conversations over the years): Suspiria and Bedazzled (though I suspect His Girl Friday might easily bump the first)

Selma Blair, facing "The Big Empty"

Dave Eggers is a consistently bad writer, who nevertheless has not only achieved popularity with his bad writing but put at least some of the profits from that to often interesting, frequently beneficial ends. His projects to further literacy and provide interesting activities for bright kids in the SF Bay area and elsewhere are highly laudable; his magazine McSweeney's is not consistently good (a bad writer is not likely to be a reliable editor) though at times very good indeed (certainly the guest-edited Michael Chabon issues have been impressive); his Houghton Mifflin annual (apparently assembled with kids from his project), The Best American Nonrequired Reading, is consistently engaging enough, even if it can't quite make up for the quick disappearance of the Beacon Best annual (not that it was trying to, but it did appear shortly after that other fine project published its second and last volume). A launch off to the side of McSweeney's has been the video magazine Wholphin, the initial issue of which was offered wrapped up with the then-current issues of the literary magazine. That first issue was also an interestingly mixed bag, though the charmingly loopy "The Big Empty" with Selma Blair, an adaptation of Alison Smith's "The Specialist," a short story published in McSweeney's #11, and Miranda July's "Are You the Favorite Person of Anybody?" were for me the most memorable segments, with many of the others, particularly Patton Oswalt's brief bit of comic performance art with David Byrne, being at least pleasant and interesting enough. They have gone on to produce a number of issues since, as one of the more in-hand sources of short-film aggregation one can find of late...as opposed to, say, My Damn Channel or Funny or Die...or the various short-film showcases on PBS and independent public stations, and IFC and Sundance, too many of which seem to be slipping away...does anyone else remember the PBS weekly series, The International Festival of Animation, nimbly hosted by Jean Marsh?

Friday, February 18, 2011

FFB: FFSS: Stories Which Helped Shape My Thinking; FFM: Further Along with 4 Fantasy Magazines from 1952-54

I thought I'd name five short stories which helped shape my worldview (unsurprisingly, they tend to be encountered when one is young), but came up with far more, of course, albeit I could cut it down to a Tight Five:

"The Second Coming" by Joe Gores...I've mentioned elsewhere, including in my obituary/book review here recently, how much this story, about a pair of goofy young men who think they've scored a great opportunity for a macabre lark by managing to qualify as witnesses to a legal execution at a penitentiary, got me to thinking as a kid about all the reasons I opposed the death penalty. I've not been persuaded that there's a good argument for it since.

"Pacifist" by Mack Reynolds...similarly, this story, about an operative who is engaged in an attempt to use violent means in a very "retail" manner to ensure the larger peace, is one of the several thoughtful, key stories contributed by Reynolds, the son of Verne Reynolds, once the presidential candidate of the very doctrinaire US Marxist organization the Socialist Labor Party (Daniel De Leon, the party's founder, denounced Marx himself for the latter's own deviations; the SLP is the oldest of the US's leftist parties, albeit it's never been large). A wry, satirical (but not bluntly so) story that is perhaps part of why I found the recent film Wanted so dire, as the latter is an empty-headed, pseudo-mystical and machismic attempt to deal with similar matters.

"The Genius" by Donald Barthelme...a very funny story about the quotidian details in the life of a man recognized for his mental prowess, and his attempts to do something worthwhile beyond what he's already achieved. One incident: his successful call for a conclave of geniuses unfortunately results, inevitably, in hundreds of geniuses in one room...an experience which on several levels depresses him. It was a helpful suggestion that being, shall we put it as very bright, would not solve every problem one would face, and that was not in and of itself a failing.

"The Meeting" by Frederik Pohl and C. M. Kornbluth...Pohl and Kornbluth were friends, collaborators, had a period of estrangement, came up together in the remarkable group of young writers et alia known as the Futurians...and both had children with learning disabilities, Kornbluth's apparently very severe. Kornbluth died young, from the hypertension that had been brought on by his exertive experiences as an infantryman in World War II, and left a number of fragments that Pohl went about completing and publishing in the late 1960s and early 1970s...and while Kornbluth, even before he was dealt some really very unfortunate hands in his adult life, was drawn to an incisive and grim view of the world, and Pohl, both in other "posthumous collaborations" with Kornbluth around this time such as "Mute Inglorious Tam" and his solo work such as "Shaffery Among the Immortals" (quite aside from his similar earlier work) was quite willing to take the same acidic approach, "The Meeting" is something a bit different, a much more stripped-down and mimetic matter of coping with monstrous decisions and fighting one's way through them. It was both a warning about what life could be like and advice on how to cope with that.

5+:
There are so many that might dislodge any one of the above at another time...Joanna Russ wrote several, though one of the least likely in this context might be "Useful Phrases for the Tourist," which was one of my first utterly non-narrative stories that still was utterly clearly a story, as well as a hilarious jape. Carol Emshwiller ("Sex and/or Mr. Morrison") and Kate Wilhelm ("The Funeral"), likewise...which reminds me of R. A. Lafferty's "Fog in My Throat," with its remarkable take on how we all experience death.

And then there are stories that might not actually nudge one's thoughts so much as simply grip one, shake one up, offer fresh perspective...as, say, Fritz Leiber and Jorge Luis Borges were always good for that for me, Patricia Highsmith, Damon Knight and Muriel Spark usually, Avram Davidson, Ursula Le Guin and Tillie Olsen frequently, John Cheever sometimes. As are these two examples (two I hope you've encountered before):

"Rachel in Love" by Pat Murphy
"Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?" by Joyce Carol Oates

Were there any short stories, particularly that helped change your perspectives on life, in specific or more sweeping ways?

I started reading these four issues of the four most important US fantasy-fiction magazines to come into their own the 1950s (how many modifiers is that?...you know, to rule out the dying Weird Tales and Famous Fantastic Mysteries, the Fantastic Adventures merged with Fantastic, the several shortlived magazines essentially called just Fantasy, the remarkably uneven Imagination and Imaginative Tales) in May, and what with working and cataracts (since dealt with) and other demands on my time, I still haven't gotten too much further than my initial read through Algis Budrys's lead novella in the Beyond issue...but I have read at least some of each of the others...so...a progress report:

***In the F&SF: H. B. Fyfe's "Ransom" is a solid example of what Christopher Anvil and Randall Garrett and Eric Frank Russell (at low ebb) later would do worse, repeatedly, for Astounding, and Analog after the 1960 retitling: the aliens who think they're much smarter than the humans they are tackling. Fyfe, one of the underappreciated writers in the field several decades after his suicide, takes more pains to make the aliens here, if too anthropomorphic (and certainly a bit too Medici-esque), at least reasonably sharp and dangerous, rather more of a challenge for their human adversaries than the later yard goods would offer. From previous reading, Ray Bradbury's "The Pedestrian" is a relatively famous, slight and overdirected vignette about over-regulation, comic inferno that doesn't gain too much from being sparked by an actual incident of being asked by cop why he, Bradbury was walking in LA rather than driving (some stereotypes have long roots); Thurber's "If Grant Had Been Drinking at Appomattox" remains punchy and genuinely funny, if now even more widely-familiar than it surely was in 1952...

Indices from ISFDb:

The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, February 1952
3 • Ransom • shortstory by H. B. Fyfe
10 • The Rape of the Lock • [Gavagan's Bar] • shortstory by L. Sprague de Camp and Fletcher Pratt
18 • Report from the Editors • essay by The Editors
19 • Ugly Sister • (1935) • shortstory by Jan Struther
25 • The Hunting of the Slan • (1849) • essay by Edgar Allan Poe
26 • Flood • shortstory by L. Major Reynolds
32 • Mrs. Poppledore's Id • novelette by Reginald Bretnor [as by R. Bretnor ]
52 • Minister Without Portfolio • shortstory by Mildred Clingerman
59 • The Good Life • shortstory by John R. Pierce [as by J. J. Coupling ]
68 • The 8:29 • shortstory by Edward S. Sullivan
74 • Jizzle • (1949) • shortstory by John Wyndham
84 • The Giant Finn MacCool • (1951) • shortstory by William Bernard Ready [as by W. B. Ready ]
89 • The Pedestrian • (1951) • shortstory by Ray Bradbury
93 • The Two Magicians • (1678) • shortstory by Nathaniel Wanley
94 • The Lonely Worm • shortstory by Kenneth H. Cassens
105 • Recommended Reading (F&SF, February 1952) • [Recommended Reading] • essay by The Editors
105 •   Review: The Day After Tomorrow by Robert A. Heinlein • review by The Editors
105 •   Review: The Green Hills of Earth by Robert A. Heinlein • review by The Editors
105 •   Review: The Puppet Masters by Robert A. Heinlein • review by The Editors
106 •   Review: The House of Many Worlds by Sam Merwin, Jr. • review by The Editors
106 •   Review: Loneliest Girl in the World by Kenneth Fearing • review by The Editors
106 •   Review: World of Wonder by Fletcher Pratt • review by The Editors
106 •   Review: New Tales of Space and Time by Raymond J. Healy • review by The Editors
106 •   Review: Space on My Hands by Fredric Brown • review by The Editors
106 •   Review: Bullard of the Space Patrol by Malcolm Jameson • review by The Editors
106 •   Review: The Great Disciple and Other Stories by W. B. Ready • review by The Editors
107 •   Review: Rockets, Jets, Guided Missiles and Spaceships by Jack Coggins and Fletcher Pratt • review by The Editors
107 •   Review: Space Medicine: The Human Factor in Flights Beyond the Earth by John P. Marbarger • review by The Editors
107 •   Review: Index to the Science-Fiction Magazines (1926-1950) by Donald B. Day • review by The Editors
108 • Worlds of If • essay by The Editors
109 • Hands Off • (1881) • shortstory by Edward Everett Hale
119 • If Grant Had Been Drinking at Appomattox • (1930) • shortstory by James Thurber
119 •   Review: If, or History Rewritten by J. C. Squire • review by The Editors
122 • The Hole in the Moon • shortstory by Margaret St. Clair [as by Idris Seabright]

***In the Fantastic, B. Traven's novelet is at least twice as long as it might be if Traven wasn't milking it for every nickel per word he was likely to get out of the magazine...and yet still making the story charming and engaging, even when the repetition was not disguised at all. A Mexican peasant strikes a canny bargain with Death, and faces the relatively ambiguous consequences. It won't make you forget the work Traven is more famous for (The Treasure of the Sierra Madre, most obviously), but some of the grit and qualified empathy one finds there is here, too. "The Delicate Dinosaur" is almost definitive "slick" fantasy, of the sort Fantastic was always happy to have, in the sense of a smoothly-written, relatively unsurprising, mildly diverting romp that tries to make a not terribly shocking point about collective self-delusion. Howard Browne did love his ambiguous endings. William Altman was one of the relatively large number of CBS network folks who wrote fiction on the side, often for fantasy magazines (Reid Collins comes to mind, the CBS News guy of the '70s; somewhat more mimetic-fiction-oriented was CBS Morning News anchor Hughes Rudd). I can't find an image of the whole wraparound cover for this issue, with another panel of unusual Richard Powers quasi-realism, and the banner for Shirley Jackson's story, so I might need to scan my copy...


Fantastic, March-April 1953
fep • They Write... • essay by Shirley Jackson
fep • They Write... • essay by Billy Rose
fep • They Write... • essay by B. Traven
4 • The Third Guest • novelette by B. Traven
4 • The Third Guest • interior artwork by Tom O'Sullivan
37 • The Delicate Dinosaur • shortstory by William Markham Altman
37 • The Delicate Dinosaur • interior artwork by J. Bryan
55 • Cartoon: "Don't look like they're coming." • interior artwork by Mendoza
56 • The Cold Green Eye • shortstory by Jack Williamson
56 • The Cold Green Eye • interior artwork by Ernie Barth
66 • Something for the Woman • shortstory by Randall Garrett [as by Ivar Jorgensen]
66 • Something for the Woman • interior artwork by Emsh
74 • The Sword of Yung Lo • shortstory by Maurice Walsh
74 • The Sword of Yung Lo • interior artwork by Bill Ashman
88 • Cartoon: "Anything wild?" • interior artwork by Frosty
90 • Stop on the Red • shortstory by Franklin Gregory
90 • Stop on the Red • interior artwork by Charles Berger
102 • Escape Me Never • novelette by J. T. McIntosh [as by J. T. M'Intosh]
102 • Escape Me Never • interior artwork by Emsh
121 • Cartoon: "Now That's enough, John. Our guests aren't interested in your old voodoo hobby." • interior artwork by Ray Dillon
124 • Root of Evil • shortstory by Shirley Jackson
124 • Root of Evil • interior artwork by Virgil Finlay
130 • A Star Falls on Broadway • shortstory by Harry Walton [as by Harry Fletcher]
130 • A Star Falls on Broadway • interior artwork by Leo Summers [as by L. R. Summers]
132 • Three Wishes • shortstory by Poul Anderson
133 • Three Wishes • interior artwork by Dick Francis
136 • Cartoon: "Go Where?" • interior artwork by Ray Dillon
139 • The Devil George and Rosie • (1934) • shortstory by John Collier (aka The Devil, George, and Rosie)
139 • The Devil George and Rosie • interior artwork by David Stone
159 • The Tourists • (1949) • shortstory by Billy Rose
159 • The Tourists • interior artwork by Emsh [as by Harry Garo]

***The Beyond's next story, by Richard Deming, is a somewhat disappointing fantasy from someone who would focus his efforts on usually better straightforward crime fiction in the coming years. But it is somewhat amusing as an example of the Prodigal Adult Child returning to a slightly more sad and sinister than usual nest of his youth. Slight enough that I've forgotten the mild twist ending already.


Beyond Fantasy Fiction, November 1953
2 • The Real People • novella by Algis Budrys
2 • The Real People • interior artwork by Ashman
57 • The Helpful Haunt • shortstory by Richard Deming
57 • The Helpful Haunt • interior artwork by Kossin
70 • Hush! • shortstory by Zenna Henderson
70 • Hush! • interior artwork by Don Rico
80 • House . . . Wife • novelette by Lyle G. Boyd and William C. Boyd [as by Boyd Ellanby ]
80 • House . . . Wife • interior artwork by Sale
109 • Just Imagine • shortstory by Ted Reynolds
109 • Just Imagine • interior artwork by Vidmer
113 • The Big Breeze • shortstory by Franklin Gregory
113 • The Big Breeze • interior artwork by Sale
128 • Sorry, Right Number • shortstory by Richard Matheson
128 • Sorry, Right Number • interior artwork by Sussman
140 • My Darling Hecate • novelette by Wyman Guin
140 • My Darling Hecate • interior artwork by Emsh
159 • Prediction (Beyond Fantasy Fiction, November 1953) • essay by uncredited

***This Fantastic Universe offers another long lead story by Algis Budrys, who was from the beginning of his career as fascinated by labyrinthine political manipulation and intellectual power-brokers as the child of spies turned diplomats might be. Another well-thought-out if still obviously too human alien species here, with humans (relentlessly "Earthmen") and another alien species as the problems to be juggled. Haven't finished this one yet, so am not sure if the rather arbitrary frame, where the alien protagonist is bitterly regretful that he didn't take the opportunity he could've to confer with his successor in command, will have some fleshing out of the actual reasons for that noncommunication other than plot convenience ("If only I hadn't forgotten to impart this over the years!"--happily, not a quotation from the story).

Fantastic Universe, November 1954
fep • The Story Behind the Cover (Fantastic Universe, November 1954) • essay by Frank Belknap Long
4 • Shadow on the Stars • novelette by Algis Budrys
29 • Miss Katy Three • shortstory by Robert F. Young
38 • Subject for Today • shortstory by Henry Hasse
45 • The Killing Winds of Churgenon • shortstory by Evelyn Goldstein
54 • The Briscoe Bolt • shortstory by Len Guttridge
59 • Mr. Hoskin's Blasting Rod • novelette by Theodore R. Cogswell
79 • Minority Group • shortstory by Robert Sheckley
87 • Man of Distinction • shortstory by Frank Belknap Long
94 • An Old, Old Friend • shortstory by David Eynon [as by David Lewis Eynon ]
100 • The Tormented Ones • shortstory by Richard R. Smith
110 • Give a Man a Chair He Can Lick • shortstory by Hal K. Wells
122 • A Lion in Your Lap • shortstory by Frank Belknap Long [as by Frank Doty ]
126 • Universe in Books (Fantastic Universe, November 1954) • [Universe in Books (Fantastic Universe)] • essay by Robert Frazier (active 1954-1955)
126 •   Review: The Explorers by C. M. Kornbluth • review by Robert Frazier (active 1954-1955)
126 •   Review: The Forgotten Planet by Murray Leinster • review by Robert Frazier (active 1954-1955)
127 •   Review: The Science-Fiction Subtreasury by Wilson Tucker • review by Robert Frazier (active 1954-1955)
127 •   Review: Giant Anthology of Science Fiction by Leo Margulies and Oscar J. Friend • review by Robert Frazier (active 1954-1955)
128 •   Review: The Immortal Storm: A History of Science Fiction Fandom by Sam Moskowitz • review by Robert Frazier (active 1954-1955)

Please see Patti Abbott's blog (and welcome home) for more of today's "Forgotten" Books selections and recommendations...this, clearly, is what happens when I skip a week...

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Links: Tuesday's Overlooked Films (and/or Other A/V): 15 February 2011


The links (that I've seen so far...please let me know if I've missed yours, or anyone else's, for this week):


Bill Crider: The Last of Sheila
Brian Arnold: Cops and Robbers
Chuck Esola: Drive
Dan Stumpf: Strange Illusion (offered by Steve Lewis, from his Mystery*File)
Evan Lewis: "Red Hot Riding Hood" and "Little Rural Riding Hood" and "Swing Shift Cinderella"
James Reasoner: The Walking Hills
Jerry House: Thriller episode "The Return of Andrew Bentley"
K. A. Laity: The Punch and Judy Man
Pearce Duncan: Investigation of a Citizen Above Suspicion
Randy Johnson: False Faces
Scott Cupp: Nabonga Gorilla
Todd Mason: Maria Bamford, et al.: Comedy Central Presents; Jackie Kashian, Animation and The Dork Forest; The Big Broadcast




of related interest:

Allan Mott: Can't Stop the Music
Frederik Pohl (and blog crew): "St. James Infirmary" (Betty Boop, and suitably hallucinogenic)
Gary Dobbs/Jack Martin: Flesh and Blood: The Hammer Heritage of Horror (with a possibly NSFW headline and rather moreso the last photo included)
How Did This Get Made?: The Last Airbender
Lawrence Person: The Fantastic Journey
Stephen Gallagher: TV, SF
Vince Keenan: Angel Face and The Hunted

Thanks, as always, to all participants and readers! (If you're among the latter, would you like to be among the former?)

Tuesday's Overlooked A/V: BAMFORD/HANDLER/KIGHTLINGER/KOPLITZ/NOTARO (CC Picks #4); Jackie Kashian: animation and THE DORK FOREST; THE BIG BROADCAST

For some reason, even though the links post was actually produced later, it's not appearing as the most recent post on most other blogrolls...please see the other links to Overlooked Films/A/V here.

So, you're probably aware of Comedy Central, the cable channel that has flourished since the merger of the struggling Comedy Channel (which had Allen Havey's Night after Night and Mystery Science Theater 3000 and a lot of rather free-form clip shows) and Ha! (which had mostly sitcom repeats and a few original productions such as the gameshow Clash...the post-merger entity did much better with Win Ben Stein's Money, to say nothing of The Daily Show and its offshoots, and such surprises to the brass as Chapelle's Show); among the more durable showcases for comedians on CC has been Comedy Central Presents:, wherein a single comedian does a set for somewhere between 45 minutes and an hour and the Rick Mill Productions folks trim that down to about 22 minutes, so as to fit in the commercials and wraparound credits. The various corporate entities make these episodes available, via on-demand from cable companies and far more readily from online dealers such as Amazon; and they offer DVD-Rs of multiple episodes, such as this one first offered in 2008, the only one so far devoted to women comedians, which included two of my favorites before purchase (Maria Bamford and Laura Kightlinger), one I was barely familiar with (Tig Notaro, dubbing herself solely "Tig" for this segment, and a cast member of The Sarah Silverman Program), and two I liked well enough (Handler and Koplitz). It's an interesting set of choices, made perhaps because all five had some television exposure/steady gigs at the time (Bamford's were often in voiceover work on cartoons, such as PBS's charming-enough Wordgirl, though she had also been on The Comedians of Comedy series CC ran and abruptly cancelled, as well as in the two accompanying longform features/DVDs released from that tour), or just because they were seen as potentially the most commercially "hot" women comics in inventory (that all are conventionally attractive surely had no bearing on the selection, pardon me while I try to get my coughing fit under control). Bamford's set is charming, and a decent representation of what she does on stage or in her albums and one-woman shows (such as the fine Plan B or her web series The Maria Bamford Show, both available on DVD); Handler's presentation is bit more hostile than actually funny, though not too far from her sets I've heard of similar vintage (she seems more assured, and is probably a lot more secure, after having become the biggest draw on the E! cable channel). Kightlinger's set is challenging and definitely goes into the ultraviolet, or X-ray spectrum (quite literally when she prominently displays an image of her skull for a series of jokes), and she lets us know what she thinks of the posing she's asked to do for the bumpers by wearing a bondage mask. Koplitz's set is fairly typical of her approach as an apparent ditz who nonetheless isn't easily fooled; Notaro is her usual sly, very low-key self as she digs in and provides a nice mixture of one-liners and developed variations on several themes. CC and Rick Mill have done nothing here to provide the raw footage the episodes were cut from, and the language "blanking" (rather unnecessary for basic cable, but CC enjoys running these half-hours at all times of day) can be annoying, as are some of the edits. Nonetheless, I thoroughly enjoyed this disc...if not as much as the unmeliorated products from particularly Bamford, Kightlinger, and Notaro.

I've also sought out the Jackie Kashian CC Presents from on-demand, and thoroughly enjoyed that, as well (though it definitely suffers from the editing imposed on the set)...and her website has a nice bit of original animation prominently displayed, accompanying a bit Kashian has called simply "Funny Animal Joke"...you also will not suffer if you check out her podcast, recommended here previously and also prominently linked, The Dork Forest.

Meanwhile, another source of regular audio entertainment for me is WAMU-FM, the American University in DC's station's The Big Broadcast, an umbrella for vintage radio drama and comedy/variety that has been running weekly since 1964, and rules (in ratings) its four-hour timeslot on Sunday nights. Hosted for the last twenty-some years by DC radio institution Ed Walker, it regularly leads off with Yours Truly, Johnny Dollar, the radio version of Dragnet, and the radio Gunsmoke, then gets a little less predictable as to which series or specials will be represented. They stream the program live and archive the package for the following week in several formats...currently they are in pledge, but one of the advantages of the archives is that you can easily skip over anything you're not interested in (and the quality of the recordings used here is rather better than many one might hear at Archive.org or even in some of the commercial recordings issued on cd and in other formats). And if you're of a mind to, letting your national Congressional representatives know that you like public radio (and broadcasting) if you do, might help the various entities out in the current climate...

Friday, February 11, 2011

FFB: guest Richard Lupoff on Day Keene & Leonard Pruyn's WORLD WITHOUT WOMEN; TM on Barry Malzberg & Mike Resnick: THE BUSINESS OF SCIENCE FICTION


















The current issue:

Richard Lupoff probably needs no introduction for most of the readers of this blog, but as a fiction writer, editor, publisher, historian, and critic he has moved from strength to strength for over half a century...with wife Pat Lupoff, Dick was the co-editor and -publisher of the highly influential fanzine Xero, among much else one of the birthplaces of organized comics fandom, and one of the relative few 'zines, particularly of its era (1960-62), to have a recent Best-Of published from its contents.... (Contributors to this volume range from Avram Davidson to Donald Westlake [bitterly "quitting" sf] through James Blish to Harlan Ellison [reviewing the film Psycho] to a young Ed Gorman and the rather bad doggerel of a similarly young Roger Ebert, who provides a new introduction). Lupoff was the editor of a series of Edgar Rice Burroughs reissues for the small Canaveral Press in the 1960s; published the pioneering All In Color for a Dime (with fellow comics 'zine pioneer Don Thompson), and began publishing his own fiction in the 1960s, including parodies, more broadly satirical work, sophisticated adventure fiction, and crime fiction and detailed alternate-historical fiction. His most recent books are the novel The Emerald Cat Killer and the crime-fiction collection Killer's Dozen (with an introduction by Gorman). He has reviewed books for Pacifica Radio, among others, over the decades, though (sadly) only infrequently drops by his old show, Bookwaves on KPFA, these years. Happily, he's using at least some of that saved time for more fiction. I told him about FFB, and while protesting that he had too many commitments to do anything too formal, did send along this brief review of a work he'd just read:


But here's a forgotten book for you: World Without Women by Day Keene and Leonard Pruyn. A global plague strikes. It may be caused by atmospheric pollution due to atomic weapons testing. (This was a 1960 publication.) Ninety percent of women die. The book was obviously written hastily and carelessly. Sometimes the surviving ten percent are all sterile. Other times ten percent of the surviving ten percent (i.e., one percent of all the women in the world) remain fertile.

The main plot gimmick is much too obvious, much too soon. Odd pacing problems, too. At one point one of the surviving women decides to bake a cake. We're treated to two pages about how to do this. First gather ingredients, then stir batter, add flour, bake for so-many minutes at 350 degrees. Is this padding? What does the bear do in the woods?

Actually, it's more funny than annoying, except you find yourself laughing where the authors were not trying to be funny. That's very bad news.

Still, a fascinating and very readable book. Day Keene of course was an immensely prolific pulper and paperbacker, did a couple of hardboiled novels, wrote for radio and movies. Largely forgotten for several decades, he seems to be enjoying quite a renaissance thanks to Stark House, Ramble House and John Pelan's Dancing Tuatara Press.

Leonard Pruyn on the other hand seems to be something of a mystery character. What few details are known can be had from the great Bill Crider! [Not here, mind you, though Bill is discussing Keene in an archived page at Steve Lewis's Mystery*File. TM]

World Without Women was a Fawcett Gold Medal original. I've also seen an English-language reprint by a company in Israel. There may have been other editions, but I've seen only the two. --Richard Lupoff



OK, for me to attempt to label this book "forgotten" is more than a bit of a cheat...not only was it published last year, even if by the relatively small but industrious (and never inexpensive) McFarland, but (unlike Malzberg's two brilliant collections of historical and critical essays, one an expansion of the previous one, and both unusually published by a major commercial publisher rather than a small or university press), it's still in print...and the only book I'm aware of that Amazon has offered to buy back from me (for a pittance, to be sure), presumably so that they could meet sudden demand. These are somewhat achronic essays on the state of the sf marketplace, somewhat divorced from time as presented here undated despite all coming from publication in the last decade in the Science Fiction (and Fantasy) Writers of America Bulletin, where the two columnists, who have taken on essentially every possible task in sf and closely-related writing, editing and publishing between them, conduct a regular dialog mostly about a given germane topic in every issue: foreign sales, myths and fallacies, the slow appearance of royalties when at all; the death of fiction magazines (and how well webzines pay in comparison, which has since become very dated, sadly, as Resnick's own editorial gig at Jim Baen's Universe has vanished along with that publication, the last so far of the very lucrative [for contributors], non-peripheral sf/fantasy webzine markets). It is both a how-to book on conducting one's literary career (and not solely in sf) and a casual history of the publishing industry (also not restricted to sf publishing). Barry is by nature more than a little pessimistic, Resnick certainly more the optimistic booster, though neither is terribly starry-eyed about the current state of publishing, as would befit two professionals who both began publishing in fantastic fiction, among much other work, in the mid 1960s; Malzberg suggests repeatedly in the columns collected here that he speaks with the Authority of Failure, and Resnick, one of the most consistently in-print and popular of the non-bestselling sf/f writers, with the Authority of Success...something that Resnick often tries to shrug off while moving onto another bit of practical advice, and (infrequently) misunderstanding Barry's usually quite sensible warnings as something rather darker. It's an excellent and useful book to read, and one could wish it was a more comprehensive selection of the well over forty columns the duo has published so far. I foresee this book falling out of print, though perhaps I misjudge McFarland, and being informative and entertaining long after its more immediate sorts of career advice are outdated. --Todd Mason

Please see George Kelley's blog for the round-up of links to others' "forgotten" books this week; roundelay originator Patti Abbott is scheduled to host the links again next Friday, after her return from a working vacation.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Links: Tuesday's Overlooked Films (and/or Other A/V): 8 February


This week's selections that I'm aware of so far:





Bill Crider: Destination Moon
Brian Arnold: Eerie, Indiana
Chuck Esola: Skidoo
Eric Peterson: Plain Clothes
Evan Lewis: "Frankenstein's Cat" and "Wolf! Wolf!"
James Reasoner: The New Adventures of Tarzan
Jerry House: Alice in Wonderland (1903)
Juri Nummelin: A Force of One
K. A. Laity: Impromptu
Patti Abbott: Go Tell the Spartans
Randy Johnson: The Moonshine War
Scott Cupp: Hogfather
Todd Mason: Jazz is My Native Language: A Portrait of Toshiko Akiyoshi







Of related interest:
David Vineyard: The Gambler from Natchez
Ed Gorman: Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea
Elizabeth Foxwell: Foreign Correspondent and Perry Mason
Frederik Pohl: Gustav Hasford and The Short-Timers (adapted for Full Metal Jacket)
George Kelley and Rick Robinson: Howard Shore's scoring for The Lord of the Rings
Ivan Shreve: The Petrified Forest
K. A. Laity: Magus
Marty McKee: Dirty Harry novels
Paul Bishop: The Quiet Village Podcast (John Barry and the Music of 007)
Rod Lott: Sanctum
Ron Scheer: Will Penny
Sara Gran: The Naked City


...and possibly more to come...

Overlooked Films (and/or Other A/V): Jazz Is My Native Language (1983/84)


Jazz is My Native Language: A Portrait of Toshiko Akiyoshi (1984) is an hourlong documentary about Toshiko Akiyoshi, the jazz pianist and bandleader and composer/arranger, and her family (her husband, featured soloist Lew Tabackin, and her daughter, Michiru Mariano, from her first marriage to another saxophonist, Charles Mariano), as they cope with a move from Los Angeles, where Akiyoshi is abandoning her beloved Toshiko Akiyoshi/Lew Tababckin Big Band, to New York City, where Tabackin feels he's more likely to be stimulated, and Akiyoshi will soon establish her Toshiko Akiyoshi Orchestra.

As I wrote it up some years ago for IMDb:
This documentary, often seen on US public television stations in the mid-1980s [initially as part of the brief, loose series of Asian-American-experience documentaries, Silk Screen], documents both the last days of the Toshiko Akiyoshi-Lew Tabackin Big Band (largely made up of jazz musicians making their rent money in the likes of The Tonight Show orchestra and movie session work, and working part-time on Akiyoshi's challenging and groundbreaking innovations in orchestral jazz), and the married couple's move from LA to NYC (where the Toshiko Akiyoshi Jazz Orchestra has done impressive work, but not quite to the level the first Big Band was able to achieve). Akiyoshi comes off well, if unsurprisingly harried at the prospect of moving; Tabackin, who refuses to drive a car (in LA) and otherwise must be catered to, comes off rather badly (it is apparently he who wants to move to New York much more than his wife) when not demonstrating his brilliance as a woodwinds player (on saxophone and flute). Akiyoshi's daughter, Michiru Mariano (later to professionally dub herself Michiru Akiyoshi, and the product of her mother's previous marriage to saxophonist Charles Mariano), also has some input. Some excellent music, and a lovely introduction to Akiyoshi's work and life.


from the Newport Jazz Festival, 1956...NHK coverage, with some work by Akiyoshi's band featured in a spliced film/radio segment (or, at least, the sound folks kept recording even when the camera folks didn't):


from a French television performance in 1965:


From concert recordings:


And a 2000 performance by the later ensemble (definitely not in the film):


Akiyoshi seems willing to put up with Tabackin's intransigence without much complaint, but it is telling how morose she seems about the prospect of moving; this present-day (1981, I think) footage is interspersed with accounts of Akiyoshi's birth and childhood in Manchuria, in the Manchukuo days of the Imperial Japanese occupation, her early passion for jazz which leads her in her early adulthood to emigrate to the US, where she meets and marries Mariano and appears on What's My Line? (wearing a kimono and signing in on the chalkboard in kanji, she stumped the panel); even after their 1965 divorce, Akiyoshi and Charlie Mariano would occasionally play together, as Akiyoshi established herself as an engaging soloist and composer for small groups, and eventually in the early '70s with her new husband at the head of probably the most innovative of 1970s jazz orchestras. (Mariano died in 2009.) Michiru Mariano is a little frustrated, as a young woman on the verge of adulthood, with the family dynamic, but also can be seen playing a flute duet with her stepfather, as brilliant a flautist as he is a saxophonist. Michiru went on to her own musical and acting career, and is known professionally as Monday Michiru; a year older than I am, she inspired a bit of crush on my first viewing of the film. But, then again, Akiyoshi inspired a bit of a crush from my purchase of the first album I heard from the Big Band, Insights, wherein Michiru makes her singing debut.

I'm not sure if director Renee Cho, who seems to have no other a/v credits I can find, is the currently active environmental journalist by that name, but shall attempt to find out. The 58-minute film was offered on VHS, but has since appparently vanished, at least as a personal-use video (one can get institutional copies via the Center for Asian-American Media website, or *Update* they will sell copies for personal use for $24.95...but you have to email or call them, they don't offer that purchasing option on the website).

Monday Michiru in her adult career:

Monday, February 7, 2011

The gift of British Invasion...




Over the weekend, I picked up (virtually) a gift for Alice...she'd decided, after years of being a voluble Beatles-hater, that she'd like the "complete" Stereo Box. As we were discussing this, I played for her some Kinks songs, and came to realize that the only Brit rock bands she had any recordings of were those made up of Yanks with local talent "behind" them: The Jimi Hendrix Experience and the Pretenders.

So that inspired me to take some initiative to give her some context (and spurred by the fact that she mildly liked to fondly recalled the Kinks songs I'd played) and augmented the Black Box with samplers and/or key albums from:
The Kinks
The Springfields (she's a solid Dusty Springfield fan, and they were the first skiffle/pop band from the UK to make it onto the US charts, in 1962, with their smashing cover of "Silver Threads and Golden Needles")
The Animals
The Zombies
The Yardbirds
The Who
The Rolling Stones
Fairport Convention
The Hollies
and a sampler, to get in a flavor, at least, of the likes of Donovan to the Mindbenders to the Troggs to the Small Faces...sadly, the best I could find that wasn't exorbitantly out of print was the Shout Factory/PBS-pledger-related The British Beat...which does slip in Tom Jones and a few other questionable (if amusing) items (and the Australian Easybeats--why not Joni Mitchell or the Crescendos of Singapore?), but at least doesn't spend any time on Freddie and the Dreamers (even if it also doesn't give us Them or the tolerable Herman's Hermits songs, one of them a Kinks cover, either).

So, have you ever attempted a Quick Introductory Course in a Box, or in this case a small stream of packages, and how did it turn out for you or your beneficiary (or were you the beneficiary, and to what extent?).

And while pondering such education, please consider a textual contribution to Tuesday's Overlooked Films (and/or Other A/V), the links I'm aware of to be posted on this blog tomorrow morning...and thanks.

And thanks to Naomi Johnson, whose thoughtful review of Patti Abbott and Steve Weddle's e-anthology of vignettes Discount Noir also too-kindly cites my own contribution as particularly praiseworthy, happily among others.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Friday's Forgotten Books: The Links



One of the less-inept covers for this magazine, which began life as a mildly interesting sf magazine and ended its run as a mid-'60s revival of "shudder pulp" (sadistic "Scooby-Doo"-style pseudo-horror fiction)...but in these years was the bottom-of-the-market for crime fiction. Note C. B. Gilford and H. A. De Rosso as two of its actually good contributors, slumming.

Here are the entries (that I've seen--please let me know if I've missed yours or someone else's) in this week's Friday's Forgotten Books...hosted this week here, and next week by George Kelley's blog, then Patti Abbott's triumphal return to ice-riddled Detroit and to hosting the links on her blog.

Bill Crider: Backfire by Dan J. Marlowe
B. V. Lawson: Monkey Puzzle by Paula Gosling
Craig Clarke: Terrible Thrills by C. Dennis Moore
Ed Gorman: Wild Night by L. J. Washburn
Eric Peterson: King of the Wood by John Maddox Roberts
Evan Lewis: Skull-Face by Robert E. Howard
George Kelley: The Best of Larry Niven
James Reasoner: Ki-Gor, King of the Jungle by "John Peter Drummond" (John Murray Reynolds)
Jerry House: The Illustrious Dunderheads compiled by Rex Stout
John F. Norris: Mystery at Friar's Pardon by "Martin Porlock" (Philip MacDonald)
Juri Nummelin: (read in translation in Finnish, *and with probably NSFW covers*) Swap Motel by Gerald Kramer and Operation: Sex by "Kimberly Kemp" (Gilbert Fox)
Kerrie Smith: Reader, I Murdered Him edited by Jen Green
Martin Edwards: Murder in Black and White by "Evelyn Elder" (Milward Kennedy)
Paul Bishop: The Canvas Prison by Gordon DeMarco
Phil Abbott: The Time It Never Rained by Elmer Kelton
Randy Johnson: Fly Paper by Max Allan Collins
Richard L. Pangburn: Mike Dime by Barry Fantoni
Scott Cupp: Sojan the Swordsman by Michael Moorcock and Under the Warrior Star by Joe R. Lansdale

Of related interest:
Curt J. Evans: Poison for Teacher and Death Goes on Skis by Nancy Spain
James Reasoner: The Snake Den by Chuck Tyrell (Charles T. Whipple)
Juri Nummelin: Tower by Ken Bruen and Reed Farrel Coleman
Mickey Z.: Love in the Time of Dinosaurs by Kirsten Alene
Peter Enfantino: A story-by-story guide to the deservedly forgotten Web Detective Stories magazine
Rick Robinson: What I Read, 1975-1994
Robert Napier: Wild Night by L. J. Washburn
Ron Scheer: Skins by Adrian Louis
And, possibly, more links to come!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

The Week's Links: Tuesday's Overlooked Films (and/or Other A/V): 1 Feb


Thanks as always to all who participate, as reviewer and/or reader! If you're the latter, would you enjoy also being the former? Please let me know (and certainly let me know if I've missed your post this week). TM

Bill Crider: Ishtar
Brian Arnold: The Goodies
Cullen Gallagher: "The Other Fritz Lang: Cowboys, Swashbucklers, and Guerrillas in the Noir Master's Non-Noir Films"
Evan Lewis: The Great Train Robbery (1903)
James Reasoner: The Long Voyage Home
Jerry House: Daughter of the Dragon
Juri Nummelin: Dreams That Money Can Buy
K. A. Laity: Old Acquaintance
Paul D. Brazill: Grace of My Heart
Scott Cupp: Seven Footprints to Satan
Todd Mason: Look Around You

And links of related interest:
Brent McKee: US Television 1970-74
Dan Stumpf: The Scoundrel (at the Mystery*File blog)
Ed Gorman: The Alaskans and The Window
Elizabeth Foxwell: G.K. Chesterton stories on BBC Radio7
George Kelley: Pioneers of Television
Ivan Shreve: Buck Privates
Megan Abbott (on Family Affair) and Sara Gran (on overused iconography and dramatic business) at Abbott/Gran
Patti Abbott: Another Year
Pearce Duncan: Horror Movie Reviews
Stephen Gallagher on Chiller and Murder Rooms
Vince Keenan: Sharky's Machine

Tuesday's Overlooked Movies (and/or Other A/V): LOOK AROUND YOU

We'll have some lists of other participants' entries in this roundelay tomorrow morning, but my own suggestion for you this week is a BBC parody series, modeled on the 1970s UK equivalents of 3-2-1-Contact! and Mr. Wizard, but particularly the hold-over science instruction programs that were part of the backbone of National Educational Television in the pre-PBS days here, and were similarly seen on BBC2 there.

The first season was relatively limited in format and ambition, but still quite charming (and its opening displays about as much fluency as I ever achieved in BASIC):



But the latter episodes, in 2005, expanded the concept somewhat, with a retained 1970s focus but a cast of recurring presenter characters, and simply an expanded cast:


--and running time, particular in this season-ending episode--sadly available at the moment online only with brief but repetitive ad breaks from Adult Swim, but worth wading through these.

My favorite of the British imports in the "edgy" Adult Swim British block, though I am fond of The Mighty Boosh as well.