Saturday, June 30, 2012

Saturday Music Club: natal anniversary

Lambert, Hendricks and Ross:






Joan Armatrading:






Nina Simone:


The Police:




Joni Mitchell:






and an L.H & R coda:


and:

Friday, June 29, 2012

Friday's "Forgotten" Books: The Links

As always, the links below bring you to the reviews and citations of the books noted here...a few of the regulars are missing, but presumably will be back next week when Patti Abbott is again gathering the reviews.

Sergio Angelini: Face to Face by "Ellery Queen" (possibly with Jack Vance)

Yvette Banek: The Hard Way by Carol Lea Benjamin

Brian Busby: International Detective Cases magazine (that wasn't)

Bill Crider: The Blue Dahlia by Raymond Chandler

Scott Cupp: Red Moon and Black Mountain by Joy Chant

William Deeck: Slay the Murderer and Another Man’s Poison by Hugh Holman

Martin Edwards: The Missing Partners by Henry Wade

Curt Evans: The Vultures Gather by Anne Hocking

Elisabeth Grace Foley: Kathleen by Christopher Morley

Ed Gorman: American Cinema by Andrew Sarris

Monte Herridge: Hugo Oakes short stories by J. Lane Linklater

Jerry House: Journal of the Gun Years by Richard Matheson

Allen J. Hubin: Dead Reckoning by Sam Llewellyn

Randy Johnson: Violence In Velvet by Michael Avallone

Nick Jones: Mr. Majestyk by Elmore Leonard

George Kelley: The Tall Dolores by Michael Avallone

Marvin Lachman: Brazilian Sleigh Ride by Robert L. Fish

Evan Lewis: Secret Agent X-9 by Dashiell Hammett and Alex Raymond (dramatization in progress on BBC Radio 4 Extra)

Steve Nester: Cut Numbers by Nick Tosches

John F. Norris: Be Silent, Love by Fan Nichols

Juri Nummelin: Blood Marks by Bill Crider

James Reasoner: White Heather Weather by John Frederick (Frederick Faust)

Karyn Reeves: Now East, Now West by Susan Ertz

Richard Robinson: The Bookman by Lavie Tidhar

Gerard Saylor: The Uncertainty Principle by Mark Kraushaar

Ron Scheer: Casa Grande by Charles Duff Stuart

Bill Selnes: When Corruption was King by Robert Cooley with Hillel Levin

Kerrie Smith: War Crimes by Peter Carey

Kevin Tipple: Old Silver by Carl Brookins

Prashant Trikannad: Beyond This Place by A.J. Cronin, Fort Everglades by Frank G. Slaughter, Cup of Gold by John Steinbeck, Magnificent Obsession by Lloyd C. Douglas, Beyond the Black Stump by Nevil Shute, Love among the Chickens by P.G. Wodehouse

"TomCat": The Dead Ringer by Fredric Brown

Thursday, June 28, 2012

June's Underappreciated Music: the links



Patti Abbott: First Position; Lalo Schifrin; Tom Waits

Brian Arnold: Anti-Beatles Songs; The Rise and Fall of Easy Listening/"Beautiful Music" radio formats

Sean Coleman: Rush: Fly by Night; Neil Young: Time Fades Away; Something Else by the Kinks

Bill Crider: The Kingston Trio (current incarnation): Born at the Right Time

Lee Hartsfeld: Kiddie au Go-Go; Weatherford Quartet: Come On, Let's Sing

Jerry House: Jack Williams; The Blind Boys of Alabama; Harry Belafonte

Randy Johnson: Albert King and Stevie Ray Vaughn: In Session (1983, re-edited to allow for complete song performances 2010)

George Kelley: Heart: Strange Euphoria

Kate Laity: The Dixie Cups

Charlie Ricci: Funky Kings: Funky Kings; The Pretenders: Learning to Crawl; Chris Brubeck's Triple Play: Live At Arthur Zankel Music Center

Tuesday's Overlooked Films And/Or Other A/V: yet more links


There are likely to be a few additional links over the course of the day, and perhaps even my own backlog of reviews promised but not yet written (the republic will stand, I suspect). Please let me know if I've missed your or someone else's review for today in comments, and please do leave comments as they strike you at the participator's blogs...or let me know if you'd like to participate...thanks!

Antti Alanen: Meghe dhaka tara (aka The Cloud-Capped Star)

Bill Crider: The Thing with Two Heads [trailer]

Brent McKee: The Glass House (ABC, 2012)

Brian Arnold: The 20-Minute Workout

Ed Gorman: Gun Crazy and the other films of Joseph Lewis

Evan Lewis: Hop-a-long Cassidy (aka Hopalong Cassidy Enters) (1935)

Elisabeth Grace Foley: The Waltons

Elizabeth Foxwell: The New Victorians

Iba Dawson: Wet Hot American Summer; Little Darlings

Ivan G. Shreve, Jr.: William Wyler blogathon, Radio Spirits etc.

Jackie Kashian: Stitcher's 4 Women Comedian Podcasts

Jake Hinkson: Hombre

James Reasoner: Midway (1976)

Jeff Flugel: Phase IV

Jerry House: "The Temp" (2003 short film)

John Charles: Behind Locked Doors (aka Human Gorilla); Strange Impersonation

John Harvey: Mickey One

Juri Nummelin: The Saint of Fort Washington

Kate Laity: Dead Men Don't Wear Plaid

Lawrence Person and Howard Waldrop: Monsters (2010 film) [theme music/clips]

Marty McKee: B.A.D. Cats

Mike Tooney: Gunsmoke: "The Fourth Victim" (1974)

Patti Abbott: Alice Adams (1935)

Prashant Trikannad: Operation: Daybreak

Randy Johnson: Picture Mommy Dead

Rod Lott: Shock Corridor

Ron Scheer: Riding Shotgun

Scott Cupp: Zotz!

Sergio Angelini: Rollercoaster

Stacia Jones: Freebie and the Bean

Yvette Banek: Lady on a Train

Zybahn: Keyword searches

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Saturday Music Club: some more all-women rock bands

Girlschool: "Demolition Boys"


The Runaways: "Blackmail"


Go-Go's: "We're Here Now"


Tant Strul: "Hjärtan Slå"

(with thanks to Anders Engwall)

Bangles: "Outside Chance"


The Raincoats: "No One's Little Girl"


Kleenex: "Nice"


Klymaxx: "Meeting in the Ladies Room"


Salt'n'Pepa: "You Showed Me"

(it's a Byrds/Turtles cover, among other things)

Shonen Knife: "Sheena is a Punk Rocker"


Womyn of Destruction/Estrojet: "Booty" (another, better-recorded example of their work is heard in an episode of Homicide: Life in the Street, where Reed Diamond's character is hooking up with a member of the band, but I haven't isolated which episode it is again since seeing it years ago)


L7: "Pretend We're Dead"

And this link is to a nice live version, albeit it gets a little Not Safe for Work by the end.

Tribe 8: "Wrong Bathroom"


Autoclave: "I'll Take You Down"


Slant 6: "What Kind of Monster Are You?"


Spitboy: "Fences"


The Neptunas: "Chicken of the Sea"


The 5,6.7,8s: "I Walk Like Jayne Mansfield"


FLiP: "-ふつつか少女"

And this, for "Nagai Kiss," is still the best video I've seen for their music.

Pussy Riot: "Putin's Glamor"


The Roches: "Everyone is Good"


The first post in this sequence...at this link.

Friday, June 22, 2012

FFB: THE GOLDEN HELIX Theodore Sturgeon, THE ZANZIBAR CAT Joanna Russ, ERASMUS MAGISTER Charles Sheffield, THE DARK COUNTRY Dennis Etchison, THE GO-AWAY BIRD Muriel Spark











Another Cook's tour of some of the most influential reading I'd come across in my youth...tables of contents, except the last, from the Contento indices.






Some guys hanging out...Clive Barker, Dennis Etchison, Karl Edward Wagner, and Charles Grant in 1986.

The Sturgeon Project has almost made finding Sturgeon's collected short fiction too easy...though not too easy enough for nearly enough people to have yet attempted to seek out the often brilliant, almost always compulsively readable yet challenging shorter work by this chief model for Ray Bradbury (whose work was never better than when most like that of the slightly older artist), the terrifying bad example to Kurt Vonnegut of how genius can consistently dash itself upon the shoals of pragmatism, the guy who could get a check for a story any time from all sorts of editors, for example Howard Browne at Ziff-Davis, who let Sturgeon know that Browne didn't need to read the story to be confident about buying it and Sturgeon should know as much, to others who might have to wait a bit longer for work purchased in advance. Vonnegut and Heinlein and Ellison and any number of others had and have all sorts of Sturgeon anecdotes to impart, and Asimov once wrote about how paltry his own work looked to him after he read a good Sturgeon story.

And what the 1979 collection, first published by the Science Fiction Book Club with an ugly cover and a $2.49 price tag (excluded shipping), mostly offers is good and great stories, with a few mildly amusing ones thrown in. Dell did the paperback edition I bought, the next year, after I'd read several of the stories earlier in other books and their original magazine appearances. It took me a while to catch up with the other Dell collections published at about the same time...meanwhile, The Golden Helix was the collection which wouldn't die, seeing no fewer than four U.S. editions, including those from Bluejay Books (1985) and Carroll and Graf (1989).

"The Man Who Lost the Sea" was the story that Martha Foley took for that year's Best American Short Stories, "...and my fear is great..." was the best as well as first story in the first issue of Beyond Fantasy Fiction, and established that H. L. Gold's shortlived magazine was going to leave a legacy of stories that not only tilled the same sort of ground as Unknown Fantasy Fiction had before it, but do so while being willing to delve into uncomfortable emotional territory; "And Now the News..." might be a better story than either, one of the best studies of psychopathology in fiction I've read, and a deftly, deceptively "light" and witty approach to the subject. "The Skills of Xanadu" is a fine argument for anarchy and against regimentation and self-repression, and bitterly funny. The two Unknown stories, from the beginning of Sturgeon's career, helped establish tropes that fantasists are still mining, albeit the solipsism of "The Ultimate Egoist" perhaps has since become a bit more played out than the exploration of perception that "Yesterday was Monday" presents, which can be seen as going down a path that might lead to Groundhog Day among other better-known fantasies. This isn't Sturgeon's best early work (I'd still plump for "It" and "Shottle Bop" and "A Way of Thinking" and "Bianca's Hands"--the latter two had to wait some years to be published), nor is "I Say...Earnest..." his best later work, but they entertain and they are all art, some of the highest grade.

The Golden Helix Theodore Sturgeon (Nelson Doubledaay/SFBC, Nov ’79, hc)
· Introduction · in
· The Golden Helix · na Thrilling Wonder Stories Sum ’54
· The Man Who Lost the Sea · ss The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction (or F&SF) Oct ’59
· And Now the News... · ss F&SF Dec ’56
· The Clinic · ss Star Science Fiction Stories #2, ed. Frederik Pohl, Ballantine, 1953
· ...and my fear is great... · na Beyond Fantasy Fiction Jul ’53
· The Ultimate Egoist · nv Unknown Feb ’41
· The Skills of Xanadu · nv Galaxy Jul ’56
· The Dark Room · nv Fantastic Jul/Aug ’53
· Yesterday Was Monday · ss Unknown Jun ’41
· “I Say...Ernest...” · ss The Los Angeles Weekly News Aug 10 ’73

Joanna Russ was similarly playful, and similarly challenging. As with Sturgeon, she was not shy about offering her opinion, and hers could well be rather more astringent, but, then, people were even more likely to be rude to her. She didn't bank the flames of her passions, nor her brilliance. Chronic health problems plagued her, not least back trouble that not too far along in her career required that she write while standing, something which the other problems didn't make any easier. In the end, we've seen only four collections of her short fiction so far, including that which brings together her swashbuckling heroine Alyx's several tales. The Zanzibar Cat was the second collection of her work, first published in 1983 (rather late!) by Arkham House, rather appropriate given Russ's start as primarily a horror writer (though Arkham was certainly branching out in various directions by that time). I have the Baen edition. Those early horrors are represented here by "My Dear Emily," the first story to get her much attention, and "There Is Another Shore, You Know, Upon the Other Side" (a great title selection, I've felt, quoting Rev. Dodgson). "When It Changed," among other things the roots of her magnum opus The Female Man, is here, with the even more playfully witty "Useful Phrases for the Tourist." Such yearning fantasies as "My Boat" (you can squint very hard and consider it a Lovecraftian story, as ISFDb does) and "How Amelie Bertrand Kept Away the Spring" are here. Two short stories from the little magazine Epoch, which much earlier published her first poems alongside the first published short fiction of Philip Roth, are here, and we sorely miss the nonexistent collections of her contemporary-mimetic fiction, and her poetry. (Her sly story from the Silverberg and Elwood anthology Epoch is in another of her collections.) This book, and all her books, should be in print.

The Zanzibar Cat Joanna Russ (Arkham House 0-87054-097-1, Oct ’83, $13.95, xii+244pp, hc)
· Drawings · Dennis Neal Smith · il
vii · Foreword · Marge Piercy · fw
3 · When It Changed · ss Again, Dangerous Visions, ed. Harlan Ellison, Garden City, NY: Doubleday, 1972
12 · The Extraordinary Voyages of Amélie Bertrand · ss F&SF Sep ’79
28 · The Soul of a Servant · ss Showcase, ed. Roger Elwood, Harper & Row, 1973
46 · Gleepsite · ss Orbit 9, ed. Damon Knight, G.P. Putnam’s, 1971
52 · Nobody’s Home · ss New Dimensions II, ed. Robert Silverberg, Doubleday, 1972
70 · My Dear Emily · nv F&SF Jul ’62
95 · The New Men · ss F&SF Feb ’66
105 · My Boat · ss F&SF Jan ’76
125 · Useful Phrases for the Tourist · ss Universe 2, ed. Terry Carr, Ace, 1972
131 · Corruption · ss Aurora: Beyond Equality, ed. Vonda McIntyre & Susan Anderson, Fawcett, 1976
143 · There Is Another Shore, You Know, Upon the Other Side · ss F&SF Sep ’63
159 · A Game of Vlet · ss F&SF Feb ’74
173 · How Dorothy Kept Away the Spring · ss F&SF Feb ’77
183 · Poor Man, Beggar Man · nv Universe 1, ed. Terry Carr, Ace, 1971
209 · Old Thoughts, Old Presences · gp; The Autobiography of My Mother, ss Epoch Fll ’75; Daddy’s Girl, ss Epoch Spr ’75
234 · The Zanzibar Cat · ss Quark #3, ed. Samuel R. Delany & Marilyn Hacker, Paperback Library, 1971

Too quickly, since time is slipping away, as it will:
For some reason, I want to think Charles Sheffield had a brief career as a writer of sf and fantasy, but he was rather steadily at the job for a good quarter century, before he was cut short in 2002. Perhaps because his Erasmus Darwin historical fantasies were my favorites among his work, and he wrote so relatively few of them; as with Russ's Alyx stories or Ron Goulart's Max Kearney, it takes only one not too bulky volume to contain them all. However, Erasmus Magister contains only the first three published, which I was happy to read in Fantastic, Alfred Hitchcock's Mystery Magazine (somewhat unexpectedly, but Fantastic was folding) and F&SF; I still haven't picked up The Amazing Dr. Darwin (2002, the year of Sheffield's death), which gathers two more Darwin stories I haven't read and another unrelated fantasy, though misses the last Darwin story published in Hitchcock's, a year later. Playfulness, and a certain mildly jaundiced view of humanity, emerge from these pages (Darwin becomes Sheffield's own Sherlock)...a certain trend, not too uncommon among fiction writers it must be admitted, seems to be arising.

Erasmus Magister Charles Sheffield (Ace 0-441-21526-2, Jun ’82, $2.50, 217pp, pb) [Erasmus Darwin]
· Introduction · in
1 · The Devil of Malkirk · na F&SF Jun ’82
80 · The Treasure of Odirex · na Fantastic Jul ’78
152 · The Lambeth Immortal · na AHMM Jun ’79
210 · Appendix- Erasmus Magister: Fact and Fiction · ar *

The problem with Dennis Etchison is simply that he writes too little, at least under his own name, and I wonder how he keeps body and soul together (Wikipedia's entry suggests a fair amount of unproduced scripts, along with a number of produced ones, in the Hollywood mill). One of the knot of brilliant horror- and suspense-fiction writers to break into the field as kids in the early '60s (Ramsey Campbell and Joanna Russ, not quite a kid but still very young and just a tad earlier with her first relevant fiction in '59, being prominent among the others), and The Dark Country was his first (and rather late) collection. Scream/Press did the original hardcover, of which I have a battered ex-library copy, and Babbage Press did a reasonably handsome print-on-demand edition I was happy to pick up from them, some years later. Such viciously funny stories as "The Dead Line" and "The Late Shift" aren't likely to leave the reader's memory soon, and the latter certainly is one of the earlier stories to pick up George Romero's zombie-ish ball and run with it; while "The Pitch" is even more intense and not even beginning to joke around.

The Dark Country Dennis Etchison (Scream/Press, Oct ’82, hc)
xi · Introduction · Ramsey Campbell · in
1 · It Only Comes Out at Night · ss Frights, ed. Kirby McCauley, St. Martins, 1976
13 · Sitting in the Corner, Whimpering Quietly · vi Whispers Dec ’76
17 · The Walking Man · ss Mystery Monthly Nov ’76
29 · We Have All Been Here Before · ss Whispers II, ed. Stuart David Schiff, Garden City, NY: Doubleday, 1979
41 · Daughter of the Golden West [“A Feast for Cathy”] · ss Cavalier, 1973
53 · The Pitch · ss Whispers Oct ’78
63 · You Can Go Now · ss Mike Shayne Mystery Magazine Sep ’80
75 · Today’s Special · ss Cavalier, 1972
81 · The Machine Demands a Sacrifice · ss Cavalier, 1972
93 · Calling All Monsters · ss F&SF Jun ’73
99 · The Dead Line · ss Whispers Oct ’79
111 · The Late Shift · ss Dark Forces, ed. Kirby McCauley, Viking, 1980
127 · The Nighthawk · ss Shadows #1, ed. Charles L. Grant, Doubleday, 1978
145 · It Will Be Here Soon [Jack Martin] · ss Weirdbook #14 ’79
161 · Deathtracks · ss Death, ed. Stuart David Schiff, Playboy Press, 1982
173 · The Dark Country [Jack Martin] · ss Fantasy Tales #8 ’81

And yet another first collection rounds out this assembly of great memories. This book (particularly in the 1960 Lippincott edition I first read) seems a little scarce on the ground (though there was a fairly recent paperback), but the contents have been mixed in with Spark's other humane but skeptical, witty and distanced but not altogether unsympathetic short stories in two different Complete collections, of which I own a copy of the All the Stories volume. This might also be the most fantasticated of her collections, featuring the no-argument classic horror "The Portobello Road" and other occasionally literally and always figuratively haunted stories, including the title long story and such other delightful bits of creepiness as "The Twins" and their indulgent family. The cover reproduced here is of the first, UK edition...I'd really like to see the Lippincott illustration again, faded as it was on the library copy I borrowed all those years ago...although I'd heard of The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie, it was in one of Judith Merril's anthologies that I first read Spark...index from WorldCat:

The Go-Away Bird, with Other Stories,
Author: Muriel Spark
Publisher: London, Macmillan, 1958.
Description: 215 p. 20 cm.
Contents:
The black madonna.-
The pawnbroker's wife.-
The twins.-
Miss Pinkerton's Apocalypse.-
A sad tale's best for winter.-
The go-away bird.-
Daisy overend.-
You should have seen the mess.-
Come along, Marjorie.-
The seraph and the zambesi.-
The Portobello road.



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

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Tuesday's Overlooked Films And/Or Other A/V: at long last, the links


Terribly sorry about the long delay in getting the links out...a sudden minor crisis interrupted yesterday morning's links-listing, then work precluded finishing up till after hours...thanks to all the patient contributors of reviews and citations to this weekly effort, and to you readers as well.

Bill Crider: The Liquidator (1965) [the trailer]

Brian Arnold: Explorers (1985)

Dan Stumpf: Day of the Evil Gun

Ed Gorman: Crime Wave (1954) (aka The City Is Dark in the UK)

Evan Lewis: The Overindulged Knight: Batman (1989) and Batman Returns

George Kelley: Léon (aka Léon: The Professional; The Professional)

Iba Dawson: All Through the Night (1941/42)

Ivan G. Shreve, Jr.: Checklist: Me-TV's summer schedule, DVDs and more...

Jack Seabrook: Robert Bloch on TV: "Off Season" (based on a story by Edward D. Hoch, directed by William Friedkin; the final episode of The Alfred Hitchcock Hour)


Jake Hinkson: Chicago Syndicate

James Reasoner: Battleground (1948)

Jeff Flugel: The Giant of Marathon (aka La battaglia di Maratona)

Jerry House: Inner Sanctum (1948 film...among other "Inner Sanctum" items)

John Charles: Komodo; Octopus (2000)

Marty McKee: Cyborg 2087; Dimension 5

Michael Shonk: Harry O: "Gertrude"

Mike Doran: Alias the Champ

Patti Abbott: "Bernice Bobs Her Hair" (The American Short Story series)

Paul Brazill: Out of the Gutter Online

Prashant Trikannad: Mind Your Language

Randy Johnson: Dirigible

Rod Lott: Hangman's Curse

Ron Scheer: Hack, season 1 (2002-03)

Scott Cupp: The Valley of Gwangi

Sergio Angelini: The Taking of Pelham 1-2-3 (1974)

Stacia Jones: The Large Association of Movie Blogs

Stephen Gallagher: How Do I Get My Script Read?

Todd Mason: New web-series: the brilliant "reality"-show parody Burning Love and the somewhat soapy but interesting Wigs

Walker Martin: Drive-In Theaters

"Zybahn": The 4400: "As Fate Would Have It"

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Saturday Music Club: some all-women rock bands

Goldie and the Gingerbreads: "Can't You Hear My Heartbeat?"


The Daughters of Eve: "Help Me, Boy"


The Pleasure Seekers: "What a Way to Die"


The Pleasure Seekers (on their way to becoming Cradle): "White Pig Power"


The Bombshells: "Treat You Right" (among the band names in the slideshow, I think "The Freudian Slips" win)


The Heart Beats: "Little Latin Lupe Lu"


Fanny: "You're the One" and "Special Care"


Fanny: "Badge"


Mo-Dettes: "Paint It Black" and "Bitta Truth"


Mo-Dettes: "White Mice"


The Slits: "Wedding Song"


The Slits: "A Boring Life"


Bush Tetras: "Things That Go Boom in the Night"


The Pandoras: "That's Your Way Out"

Friday, June 15, 2012

FFB: Robert Bloch: COLD CHILLS; Alfred Bester: STARLIGHT; Fritz Leiber: SHIP OF SHADOWS


Cold Chills, Starlight, and the contents rather than an actual copy of Ship of Shadows all found me at pretty much the same time...in 1978...and as the most recent collections (at least of recent work) by each of the past masters in question, they meant a lot to me, both as appreciations of their authors' work and as encouragement to continue engaging with the fields they were so integral to.

The Bloch, for example, despite the awful Leisure Books package (the original Doubleday hardcover was little better than functional, but at least was more presentable), gathers some of his most important short fiction (such as the gentle fantasy "The Movie People" and the vicious suspense story "The Animal Fair" and the straight-up, if heavily metaphorical, science fiction I gather Bloch was most proud of among his efforts in that mode, "The Learning Maze"--though certainly "How Like a God" is comparable work) along with solid entertainments (such as the joke-story with some heft to it, "The Gods Are Not Mocked"...Bloch on bumper-sticker culture might well be extended to retweets, or the horror story "Double Whammy" which might remind you of the film Drag Me to Hell done better and more succinctly as well as decades earlier). Bloch himself seems a bit uncomfortable with the final story, "The Model," an unusually sexually graphic, for Bloch, sfnal horror story..."The Girl from Mars" made more explicit (and I wonder if the unmentioned echo of that earlier story might've bothered him at least as much as being so uncharacteristically on the, um, nose).

Alfred Bester's Starlight was a Science Fiction Book Club omnibus which quite sensibly combined two slender Berkley/Putnam collections, and under a less tired title than either of the original volumes. More a career retrospective (and the only one published during Bester's lifetime) than today's other books, this collection included examples of Bester as nonfiction writer (including a version of his highly engaging autobiographical essay) as well as such brilliant, affecting short fiction as "5,271,009" and "They Don't Make Life Like They Used To" (as well as his most famous short story, "Fondly Fahrenheit"...as with his first two sf novels, I rank this a notch below his best short fiction, but mine is definitely a minority opinion there). From his earliest fiction, we get the also brilliant-in-concept "Adam and No Eve" and the similarly promising and breakneck-paced, if a bit goofier, "Hell is Forever"; from his late work, such a fine example as "The Four-Hour Fugue" (two notches ahead of even his best late novels).


The Leiber is perhaps an unfair comparison, here...it's one brilliant story after another, with no simply good or interesting examples mixed in, but this is hardly Leiber's fault, nor any disservice to the reader (as the hardcover's subtitle notes, "The Award-Winning Stories of Fritz Leiber"--in this case, the Hugo and Nebula awards for sf and fantasy). Reaching back as far as his novella The Big Time, really a play in prose form as such critics as Algis Budrys were quick to note (with a punning title harkening to vaudeville as much as time travel and destiny), and otherwise gathering much of the best of his shorter work over the previous decade (or certainly his most widely-hailed shorter work...most with strong autobiographical aspects, and none moreso than the Fafhrd and Gray Mouser story which is in part a memorial to his recently-late wife, Jonquil, though the title-story also deals with the alcoholic spiral her death occasioned for him), the book simply is as good an introduction to Leiber as one could ask for...something also true of the Bester, for the most part, and not quite true of the Bloch, but one could do worse. So...a core sampling of the late career for Bloch, a measure of the range of short work by Bester, and the popular as well as artistic cream of Leiber (reduction of Leiber?) in that period. One could do a lot worse than any of these.

The Contento indices:
Cold Chills Robert Bloch (Doubleday, 1977, hc); Also in pb (Leisure).
· Introduction · in
· The Gods Are Not Mocked · ss Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine Aug ’68
· How Like a God · ss Galaxy Apr ’69
· The Movie People · ss The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction (or F&SF) Oct ’69
· Double Whammy · ss Fantastic Feb ’70
· In the Cards · ss Worlds of Fantasy Win ’70
· The Animal Fair · ss Playboy May ’71
· The Oracle · ss Penthouse May ’71
· The Play’s the Thing · ss Alfred Hitchcock's Mystery Magazine May ’71
· Ego Trip · ss Penthouse Mar ’72
· Forever and Amen · ss And Walk Now Gently Through the Fire, ed. Roger Elwood, Chilton, 1972
· See How They Run · ss EQMM Apr ’73
· Space-Born · nv Children of Infinity, ed. Roger Elwood, Watts, 1973
· The Learning Maze · ss The Learning Maze, ed. Roger Elwood, Messner, 1974
· The Model · ss Gallery Nov ’75


Starlight Alfred Bester (Nelson Doubleday, 1976, hc)
· The Light Fantastic · ed. Alfred Bester · co Berkley/Putnam, 1976
· 5,271,009 · nv F&SF Mar ’54
· Ms. Found in a Champagne Bottle · ss Status, 1968
· Fondly Fahrenheit · nv F&SF Aug ’54
· Comment on “Fondly Fahrenheit” · ar
· The Four-Hour Fugue · ss Analog Jun ’74
· The Men Who Murdered Mohammed · ss F&SF Oct ’58
· Disappearing Act · ss Star Science Fiction Stories #2, ed. Frederik Pohl, Ballantine, 1953
· Hell Is Forever · na Unknown Aug ’42
· Star Light, Star Bright · ed. Alfred Bester · co Berkley/Putnam, 1976
· Adam and No Eve · ss Astounding Sep ’41
· Time Is the Traitor · nv F&SF Sep ’53
· Oddy and Id [“The Devil’s Invention”] · ss Astounding Aug ’50
· Hobson’s Choice · ss F&SF Aug ’52
· Star Light, Star Bright · ss F&SF Jul ’53
· They Don’t Make Life Like They Used To · nv F&SF Oct ’63
· Of Time and Third Avenue · ss F&SF Oct ’51
· Isaac Asimov · iv Publishers Weekly Apr 17 ’72 [Isaac Asimov]
· The Pi Man · ss Star Light, Star Bright, Berkley/Putnam, 1976; revised from F&SF Oct ’59.
· Something Up There Likes Me · nv Astounding, ed. Harry Harrison, Random House, 1973
· My Affair with Science Fiction · ar Nova 4, ed. Harry Harrison, Walker, 1975

Ship of Shadows Fritz Leiber (Gollancz, 1979, hc)
· Ship of Shadows · na F&SF Jul ’69
· Catch That Zeppelin! · nv F&SF Mar ’75
· Gonna Roll the Bones · nv Dangerous Visions, ed. Harlan Ellison, Garden City, NY: Doubleday, 1967
· Ill Met in Lankhmar [Fafhrd & Gray Mouser] · na F&SF Apr ’70
· Belsen Express · ss The Second Book of Fritz Leiber, DAW Books, 1975
· The Big Time [Change War] · n. Galaxy Mar ’58 (+1); New York: Ace Books, 1961

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

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Saturday Music Club: Ska documentaries

History of Jamaican Music: From Ska to Reggae to Dancehall Music (Part 1)

(Part 2)

(Part 3)

(Part 4)

The whole thing in one, but blurrier, piece.

This Is Ska! (1964)
Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4

Friday, June 8, 2012

FFB: THE BEST AMERICAN EROTICA 1993 edited by Susie Bright (Simon and Schuster)


Contents, courtesy William Contento's Miscellaneous Anthologies site:
The Best American Erotica 1993 ed. Susan Bright (Simon & Schuster, 1993; S&S's paperback reprint: Touchstone Books 0-684-84514-8, Apr ’97, $17.95, 244pp, tp); (Contents from www.susiebright.com)

· I Have Something for You · Blake C. Aarens · ss

· from Vox · Nicholson Baker · ex New York: Random House, 1992

· Horny · Greg Boyd · ss

· Belonging · Pat Califia · ss

· from “Citre et Trans” · Samuel R. Delany · ex Driftglass/Starshards, Grafton, 1993

· Milk · Michael Dorsey · ss

· Why · Bob Flanagan · ss

· Ninety-Three Million Miles Away · Barbara Gowdy · ss

· Serenade for Female with Fantasies · Ann Marie Mardith · ss

· Five Dimes · Melissa [Anita Melissa Mashman] · ss

· Rubenesque · Magenta Michaels · ss

· Needless to Say · Lisa Palac · ss

· Golden Boy · Carol Queen · ss

· from The Tale of the Body Thief · Anne Rice · ex New York: Knopf, 1992

· Brian’s Bedroom · Leigh Rutledge · ss

· Two at Once · Robert Silverberg · ss Penthouse Letters, 1992

· The Flood · Ronald Sukenick · ss

· Me and the Boys · Trish Thomas · ss

· Ellen, from Chicago · Pat Williams · ss

· Griffs, on a Rainy Sunday in L.A. · Carter Wilson · ss

This was the first of sexual-matters commentator and On Our Backs magazine all-but-co-founder Susie Bright's annual series, which would see fourteen more volumes before wrapping up with the 2008 volume (having skipped a year), the last volume both a best of its previous year and a survey of the best of the previous volumes. [***Not quite, as my late-night memory played me false...as Bright notes in comments, below, the non-series-retrospective fiction in the last volume was original to the anthology...a tack taken by a number of the other "best-of" annuals, particularly but not exclusively in the erotica field.] (And On Our Backs was the first skin/sexuality magazine, or at least the first sustained one, to be aimed squarely at the lesbian reader, taking its title in gentle mockery of the DC-based feminist newspaper Off Our Backs.) The flood of annual and vaguely/possibly annual best-of volumes in the erotica field since 1993 owes something to the entry of Bright and S&S into virgin territory.

And this was a solid first go. The Anne Rice excerpt was about as unimpressive as all the Rice fiction I'd ever sampled (or have since), but the variety and grace (or its antithesis when desired) of the rest of the contents made for a memorable read, even with such stories as the Silverberg, an account of a not quite successful multipartner tryst, being wry or otherwise amusing even when not at all arousing...Bright was seeking a broad-spectrum approach, figuring the strength of her contributors' work would make for good reading even when the sexual exploration of a given piece might not do much for a given reader's libido...and that readers might be surprised to respond to a work where the passion in the telling transcended the lack of lust inspired by the type of sexual encounter described. I was already familiar with the work of Silverberg, Delany, Rice, and Sukenick as fiction-writers, and had heard of but not read Baker thus; Lisa Palac and Pat Califia I knew better for various sorts of nonfiction (Palac mostly from MaximumRocknRoll magazine), and Bob Flanagan as the subject of others' nonfiction (a man in constant pain from cystic fibrosis, he embraced and magnified his pain, became mildly famous as a "super-masochist" and explorer of the limits of that kind of lifestyle). The others were completely new to me; Gowdy and "Melissa" certainly made an impression, even if their work here wasn't up to the very best Bright would highlight in future volumes, such as William Harrison's gentle yet fervent "Two Cars in a Cornfield" (he of "Roller Ball Murder", the Esquire short story that is vastly better than either film made from it) or Clean Sheets and Slow Trains editor Susannah Indigo's several contributions. A. M. Homes and Dagoberto Gilb, Marge Piercy and Zane, Poppy Brite and Jerry Stahl, Chuck Palahniuk and Vaginal Cream Davis and Dorothy Allison and Cecelia Tan would appear in future volumes, and now Bright is back in the game, after a few years' interregnum, with her old friend Rachel Kramer Bussel, editing the Best Sex Writing annual. All to the good, because even the fine work of Bussel on her own or of Maxim Jakubowski, who edits both crime-fiction and erotica annuals for Robinson in the UK and (after the collapse of Carroll and Graf) Running Press in the US haven't lessened my feeling the absence the foremother of all the plethora of randy children (such annuals as the Best Women's Erotica, Best Lesbian Erotica, Best Gay Erotica, etc.) in the best-of series arena, which might or might not catch another inflow of intrigued readers in the afterglow of the most recent erotic-fiction bestsellers.

For more of today's book selections, please see Patti Abbott's blog.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

more new links, including a Bradbury biofilm: Tuesday's Overlooked Films And/Or Other A/V: the links



Thanks as always to those who have written the reviews and citations below, and to you readers; as frequently, we'll probably have some late entries to add over the course of the day. Please let me know in comments if I've missed your or someone else's Overlooked presentation...

Bill Crider: Fandango (1985) [trailer]

Brian Arnold: Wizard World Philadelphia Comic Con 2012; D.A.R.Y.L.

Damien Broderick: The transit of Venus

Dan Stumpf: Bolero (1934)

Ed Gorman: Derailed; Family Plot

Evan Lewis: The Sea Hawk (1924)

George Kelley: Wild Target

Iba Dawson: Things to Look Out For in June; Quizzing the Readers About the Overlooked

Ivan G. Shreve, Jr.: Stella Maris

Jack Seabrook: Robert Bloch on Television: "The Second Wife" (The Alfred Hitchcock Hour)

James Reasoner: The Longest Day

Jeff Segal: Buffyfest at the Philadelphia Wizard World Convention

John Charles: Django; Django Strikes Again; 2011: The Year in Movies

Juri Nummelin: The Friends of Eddie Coyle

Michael Shonk: Dear Detective

Michael Stamm: Ray Bradbury: The Story of a Writer (1963 David Wolper production)

Patti Abbott: Obsession (1976)

Prashant Trikannad: Ruthless People

Randy Johnson: Gun Belt

Rod Lott: The Queens (1966)

Ron Scheer: Hearts of the West

Scott Cupp: Invasion of the Bee Girls

Sergio Angelini: Dangerous Crossing (1953)

Stacia Jones: Secrets (1933)

Yvette Banek: Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman

"Zybhan": Harper's Island


Friday, June 1, 2012

FFB: Margaret Millar week...books in progress...reviewer in retrograde...


This is Margaret Millar Friday in our weekly readathon, yet it has also been a week wracked with dental misadventure, attempts to work around and ahead of minor surgery that has yet to fully happen, and generally the kind of week where I've been taking massive doses of ibuprofen and sleeping accordingly (not only my best analgesic but my best sleep aid...the supposedly stronger stuff I've also been prescribed as usual is less effective at controlling pain, but does have an unpleasantly distorting effect on my dream sleep, something a work colleague has noted with her own recent experience with the similar opiates after scratching her corneas; at least I'm not as sensitive as my father, who can go off into waking hallucination with relatively low doses of poppy-stuff...something inattentive hospital staff keep rediscovering for him on occasion, despite instruction in advance, when he's needed some not so minor surgery of his own).

It's also been a week where we've lost some impressive people, not least of course the singer and guitar pioneer Doc Watson...the reading (by James Earl Jones) and presentation (with limited animation and music) of Why Mosquitos Buzz in People's Ears: A West African Tale (Dial Press, 1975), a 1976 Caldecott winner for reteller Verna Aardema and the brilliant illustrators Diane and the late Leo Dillon, is eminently worth seeing and hearing.

So, books that have not yet been finished, despite attempts to get them in on time:

Margaret Millar, The Listening Walls (Random House, 1959). The Millars I had already were all, it turns out, in storage...and I hadn't yet read this, not one of her more obscure titles (and James Reasoner has reviewed it today; Juri Nummelin did so a while back). I've still barely begun it...despite the proprietor at The Title Page noting that it terrified her as a college student upon first reading it.

Sharon Jarvis, editor, Inside Outer Space (Frederick Ungar 1985). An anthology of (then-)new essays by writers and editors about the art and business of science fiction and fantasy writing...one which almost unaccountably got by me in the mid-'80s (or at least I have no memory of seeing it nor seeing it reviewed)...including a sadly informed (the hardest way) essay by the late George Alec Effinger about his gathering troubles with health, medical bills and the IRS and how to hope to avoid such, and a range of interesting folks represented (from Ron Goulart through Stuart David Schiff to Marion Zimmer Bradley and Jarvis herself) who haven't often been tapped for this kind of volume, at least when put together, as several important ones were, by R. Bretnor.

Brenda Knight, Women of the Beat Generation (Conart Press, 1996) is similarly a survey of people who mostly haven't had the attention they deserve, particularly when compared even to the minor male Beat writers and hangers-on. Diane di Prima and Jane Bowles and just maybe Hettie Jones are in relatively little danger of being forgotten by at least some of the larger audience of their kind of art, but entirely too many other folks, certainly the writers, had their only work in print a decade and a half ago in this small-press volume...itself, despite picking up the then-dwindling American Book Award in 1997, not too robustly in print now.

Stephen Jones, editor, The Monster Book of Zombies (a 2009 rebranded instant-remainder edition of the Robinson/Carroll & Graf 1993 The Mammoth Book of Zombies) features some of the best work dealing with the creatures who are just beginning to commercially cool on the book market, even as the cooling or warmly-rotting undead ghouls themselves are being supplemented by a recent rash of too-similar true-crime stories over the last week or so. This volume, unlike such even earlier anthologies as Bill Pronzini's Voodoo! (please see below), is largely comprised of fiction newly-published in the 1993 edition, by the brilliant likes of Kim Newman and Nicholas Royle, alongside chestnuts (Poe's "The Facts in the Case of M. Valdemar") and otherwise largely inaccessible work (Robert Bloch's fine novella "The Dead Don't Die!", which should always be reprinted with Virgil Finlay's illustrations from its original publication in Fantastic Adventures, which cast Bloch himself in the role of the protagonist).


(I see I am quoted, probably from the librarian-heavy discussion list Fiction-L, without credit along with others at one YALSA database:

"I would point him toward John Skipp and Craig Spector's anthology BOOK OF THE DEAD, which is one of the initial tributes to George Romero-style zombie apocalypses in literature, featuring most of the best writers drawn to that sort of thing...many if not most of those stories were reprinted in the first three anthologies I mention, but BOOK OF THE DEAD and its sequel anthology STILL DEAD are among the best work I've encountered that fits the bill you lay out. The collected works of Karl Edward Wagner would be useful for your patron to investigate, as well, I suspect (and perhaps David Drake's, as well)...and he might be suprised how much he likes Fritz Leiber's CONJURE WIFE...and Robert Bloch's "The Dead Don't Die!" among the other stories collected in Stephen Jones's THE MAMMOTH BOOK OF ZOMBIES...which doesn't overlap completely with Bill Pronzini's anthology VOODOO! (also included in the omnibus editions THE ARBOR HOUSE NECROPOLIS and THE BOOK OF THE DEAD--the latter reprinted by an instant remainder house).
THE ARBOR HOUSE NECROPOLIS and THE BOOK OF THE DEAD (two forms of the same omnibus) were also edited by Bill Pronzini...VOODOO! was collected in them (with two other similar anthologies), as well as being published initially on its own.
CONJURE WIFE by Fritz Leiber is inarguably horror, but not science fiction in any meaningful way. It's even been published, by the opportunistic paperback house Award Books at the height of supermarket gothic craze in the latest '60s/early '70s, as a gothic.
David Drake's historical fantasies are also not science-fictional, but much of his Vietnam War-inspired anti-war HAMMER'S SLAMMERS series are indeed sf. I was thinking of the former more than the latter, particularly his zombie stories set in the Vietnam War era.
Octavia Butler's first novel, KINDRED, is almost inarguably horror/fantasy (a time-travel novel with no rational explanation attempted to explain the involuntary time travel/personality swaps), but most of her other work is indeed science-fictional. I haven't yet read CLAY'S ARK, but I suspect that one would be better in the sf column.")

So...I offer this in lieu of my Millar review, for now...with apologies. Please see Patti Abbott's blog for the list of people who actually got their books read.