Friday, July 4, 2014

at last, another FFB: SUPERNATURAL FICTION WRITERS: CONTEMPORARY FANTASY AND HORROR 2nd Edition, edited by Richard Bleiler (Scribners 2003)

In this ridiculously busy week, after a busy and extremely sad week, I've been considering doing posts on several books (and notable magazine issues) but have been putting them aside for now, so that I could read further and think about them some more...and I've noted that while several libraries share online an awkward table that lists the subjects and contributors to this fine (if very expensive) supplementary second edition to Richard Bleiler's father's 1985 Supernatural Fiction Writers, I've taken the data from that table and made it a bit easier to parse...subjects in italics first, contributors second:

Volume 1 Introductionp. xi
List of Contributorsp. xvii
Peter Ackroyd Paul Kincaidp. 1
Robert Aickman John Clutep. 9
Joan Aiken John Clutep. 21
Poul Anderson Ed McKnightp. 33
Piers Anthony Solomon Davidoffp. 45
Paul Auster Paul Kincaidp. 53
Clive Barker K. A. Laityp. 61
Peter Beagle Darrell Schweitzerp. 71
Michael Bishop Paul Di Filippop. 79
James P. Blaylock Mark Wingenfeldp. 89
Robert Bloch Stefan Dziemianowiczp. 99
Ray Bradbury Willis McNellyp. 115
Scott Bradfield Claude Lalumierep. 123
Marion Zimmer Bradley Paula Johansonp. 129
Poppy Z. Brite Brian Stablefordp. 147
Terry Brooks Nick Andreychukp. 153
Steven Brust Patricia Broganp. 161
Pat Cadigan Don Riggsp. 169
Ramsey Campbell K. A. Laityp. 177
Orson Scott Card Gary Westfahlp. 189
Jonathan Carroll Brian Stablefordp. 201
Angela Carter Gina Wiskerp. 209
Nancy Collins Monica J. O'Rourkep. 221
Storm Constantine Christopher Treagusp. 227
Glen Cook Gary Westfahlp. 233
Susan Cooper  Elizabeth Handp. 239
John Crowley Elizabeth Handp. 245
Avram Davidson Henry Wessellsp. 253
Charles de Lint Christine Mainsp. 267
Samuel R. Delany Brian Stablefordp. 277
Paul di Filippo Claude Lalumierep. 285
Thomas M. Disch Darrell Schweitzerp. 293
Stephen R. Donaldson Walter E. Meyersp. 299
Tananarive Due Mary Anne Mohanrajp. 309
Dave Duncan Martin Morse Woosterp. 315
David Eddings John D. Teehanp. 323
Harlan Ellison Gary K. Wolfep. 331
Steve Erickson Paul Kincaidp. 341
Dennis Etchison Fiona Kelleghanp. 347
Raymond Elias Feist Scott D. Vander Ploegp. 355
Esther M. Friesner Gary Westfahlp. 361
Neil Gaiman Gary K. Wolfep. 369
Alan Garner Brian Atteberyp. 377
Ray Garton Michael T. Huyck, Jr.p. 385
Charles L. Grant  T. Liam McDonaldp. 391
Alasdair Gray Jeff VanderMeerp. 403
Elizabeth Hand Cherie Weinp. 413
M. John Harrison Elizabeth Handp. 419
Mark Helprin Maureen Spellerp. 427
Russell Hoban Brian Stablefordp. 435
Robert Holdstock David Langfordp. 445
Tom Holt Ian Nicholsp. 455
Barry Hughart Jeff VanderMeerp. 461
Rhys Henry Hughes E. F. Bleilerp. 467
Robert Irwin Brian Stablefordp. 473
Shirley Jackson Jack Sullivanp. 479
Diana Wynne Jones Helen H. Thompsonp. 485
Robert Jordan Neal Bakerp. 493
Graham Joyce Brian Stablefordp. 503
Volume 2 
Guy Gavriel Kay Christine Mains
p. 509
Jack Ketchum Fiona Kelleghanp. 517
Stephen King Richard Bleilerp. 525
Kathe Koja Steffen Hantkep. 541
Dean Koontz Greg Beattyp. 551
William Kotzwinkle Bud Websterp. 561
Nancy Kress Maureen Spellerp. 569
Katherine Kurtz Kelly A. O'Connor-Salomonp. 575
Mercedes Lackey Justin Gustainisp. 585
R. A. Lafferty Chris Morganp. 593
Joe R. Lansdale Stefan Dziemianowiczp. 603
Ursula K. Le Guin Elizabeth Cumminsp. 613
Tanith Lee Jessica Reismanp. 633
Fritz Leiber Brian Stablefordp. 643
Thomas Ligotti Darrell Schweitzerp. 653
Bentley Little Keith Neilsonp. 659
George R. R. Martin E. C. McMullen Jr.p. 667
Richard Matheson Keith Neilsonp. 673
William Mayne John Clutep. 685
Anne McCaffrey David Langfordp. 693
Robert McCammon Richard Bleiler and Hunter Goatleyp. 705
Ian McEwan Jack Slay, Jr.p. 715
Patrick McGrath Jay McRoyp. 723
Patricia A. McKillip Jessica Reismanp. 729
Michael Moorcock Rhys Hughesp. 737
James Morrow Brian Stablefordp. 749
Kim Newman Claude Lalumierep. 757
Andre Norton Charlene Brussop. 767
Joyce Carol Oates (and, briefly, Kate Wilhelm) Todd Masonp. 775
Tim Powers Ian Nicholsp. 785
Terry Pratchett David Langfordp. 791
Katherine Ptacek Richard Bleilerp. 803
Philip Pullman Andrew Butlerp. 809
Anne Rice Christopher Treagusp. 817
J. K. Rowling Brian Stablefordp. 825
David J. Schow Darrell Schweitzerp. 833
Michael Shea Brian Stablefordp. 839
Lucius Shepard Graham Sleightp. 845
John Shirley Jeff Prickmanp. 855
Robert Silverberg Arthur Hlavatyp. 863
Dan Simmons  Greg Beattyp. 875
S. P. Somtow Gary Westfahlp. 883
Brian Stableford David Langfordp. 891
Peter Straub John Clutep. 903
Thomas Burnett Swann John Clutep. 915
Lisa Tuttle Janice M. Bogstadp. 923
Sydney J. Van Scyoc Janice M. Bogstadp. 929
Jack Vance Thomas Marcinkop. 935
Jeff VanderMeer Ian Nicholsp. 945
Howard Waldrop  John Clutep. 951
Nancy Willard  Brian Stablefordp. 959
Chet Williamson T. Liam McDonaldp. 967
F. Paul Wilson Justin Gustainisp. 973
Gene Wolfe Robert Borskip. 981
Chelsea Quinn Yarbro Janice M. Bogstadp. 993
Jane Yolen Gary K. Wolfep. 1003
Roger Zelazny Jane Lindskoldp. 1011
Indexp. 1025

That first, 1985, edition, with a much though not totally different "cast"...

The essays in the 2003 set are a mixed bag, with the worst of them offering at least useful pointers and some interesting observations about the writers in question; my own essay is neither the worst nor the best, was written and (more importantly) researched in the time around my often overtime-heavy job among other matters, and manages at least to slip some discussion of Kate Wilhelm into the book, she being more worthy than a few who were selected by editor and contributor Richard Bleiler, probably in negotiation with his editors. (The copy-editors did an excellent job on my essay, by the way...not something one hears often these years, even or perhaps particularly in academic publishing.) And the best of them are excellent surveys of their topics, as one could hope from the assembled scholars (several of these essays are by the most devoted scholars one could imagine undertaking the task, such as Henry Wessells on Avram Davidson...that John Clute doesn't do the Elizabeth Hand essay robs us of a certain perspective that life-partnership can bring, but otherwise is probably a good idea, even as not having Hand do the Hand essay herself, despite a handy potential title "On Hand, by Hand"). The gang here ranges from fellow UConn present and former faculty (such as Kate Laity)(Go Huskies!) to folks spread, rather thinly at some edges, around the Anglophone world (there are no primarily non-English-text writers as subjects in this volume, arguably a flaw, but so many other such surveys would seek Respectability in highlighting self-tagged or [like Mark Helprin] foolishly fantasy-resentful magical realists at the expense of the Robert Blochs, or even the Shirley Jacksons or Angela Carters). Perhaps at this point, S. P. Somtow, who would sign early work as Somtow Sucharitkul, has published a fair amount of fiction also in Siamese; other exceptions might apply.

The writers covered are a mixed bag, as well, most among the key fantasists of our time, some in for being important rather than actually good (Terry Brooks, Stephen Donaldson, Robert Jordan, Piers Anthony most of the time; I would perhaps more controversially also suggest Orson Scott Card, as, say, Brooks's appeal has never been strong to critical readers) and a few in for being more excellent than influential (Pat Cadigan as fantasist probably qualifies thus and Oates almost does--though she's continuing to notably contribute to the fantasticated; R. A. Lafferty almost so, though if there's a single grandfather, rather than nine hundred [labored injoke warning], to the New Weird, he's Lafferty)[engine-searching "Nine Hundred" and Lafferty will answer the question you might now the book is reasonably priced, you should buy it].

This remains the only writing of mine between boards (aside from a high-school yearbook and passages quoted in someone's doctoral thesis, published by a small press) that I'm aware of, but the scope and ambition of the work is most of the reason I can encourage you to Go Look at library copies, unless you're very wealthy and/or very lucky in stumbling across an inexpensive copy...younger Bleiler, with some obstacles in his way, tapped some of our best critics and researchers and sophisticated fans for these essays, and this, particularly collectively, carries the day. 
The proud editor/contributor, Richard Bleiler

For far more prompt FFBs on this holiday (this one either several hours or a week late or both, depending on how you look at it), please see Patti Abbott's blog.


Richard said...

Off topic, Todd - just wanted to say happy Independence Day to you. Oh, and hug them critters.

Todd Mason said...

None of them like to be hugged too much (the tomcat is most tolerant of such ape behavior), but they have all definitely been skritched in their favorite spots (the big she-cat also enjoys a round of light literal patting on the head). Thanks, Rick, and I hope your felines weren't too freaked out by any nearby fireworks noise (the 4th is our cats' least favorite day, by some distance).