Friday, November 16, 2018

Friday's "Forgotten" Books: Lee Hoffman: TROUBLE VALLEY (Ballantine, 1976)

I don't know about you, but sometimes I read authors in a jag. I read most of Kurt Vonnegut's then-available novels in a string over a couple of months in the latter 1980s, having read only The Sirens of Titan (his best sf novel), Galapagos, and Cat's Cradle and the essay and short story collections beforehand, and it was time to dig in. That's how I know Bluebeard is the best of his contemporary mimetic novels, although Rosewater and the near-past historical Mother Night give it a run. I read about half of Theodore Sturgeon's collections, before the "Sturgeon Project" complete short-fiction reprints began, in the same way, having read most of the rest of Sturgeon's work sporadically over the previous two decades...and Sturgeon and Vonnegut share more than the mutual paternity of Kilgore Trout...a deep and knowing and rarely naive humanism runs through their work. As it does through the work of Ms. Lee Hoffman, RIP in 2007 and not hardly forgotten herself in several circles, but her books, if Amazon can be trusted, are almost all out of print...there's a pricey large-print edition of Wild Riders out, and another title coming soon in a LP edition, and her collection of essays In and Out of Quandry might still be available directly from NESFA Press, some examples of her personal journalism from her groundbreaking 1950s fanzine and elsewhere. But I read the simple majority of her 17 western novels in a jag in 1994, having read her impressive sf short story "Soundless Evening" in Again, Dangerous Visions as a kid, and having known she'd written some other impressive fantastic fiction, but was perhaps best known literarily for her western fiction...her fourth novel to be published, and first hardcover, The Valdez Horses (Doubleday, 1967), had won the Spur Award from the Western Writers of America, and had been (apparently acceptably if unexceptionally) filmed a decade later as a project for Charles Bronson and Jill Ireland. Haven't seen the film, but read the book...in fact, take on all her novels, and note how she starts out as good as anyone could want (she had already been a veteran not only of sf fan publishing, but an assistant editor at her ex Larry Shaw's magazines, and a notable zinester in the folk-music scene), in lighter or darker modes from book to book, but by her mid-1970s novels, of which Trouble Valley is one, she had achieved a practiced grace and a lean manner of slipping in the compassionate detail that helped spoil me for lesser western fiction...the protagonist of this one is not only doing his damnedest to end the conflict with his aggressive neighbors, but to do it as amicably as possible, and Hoffman delivers more tension and less melodrama, more detail to character and realistic description of human interaction than almost anyone else working in the field...this book (and its mates) read like less eccentrically-detailed Joe Lansdale westerns, or Bill Pronzini's without the slightly formal stiffness that can creep into his historical work when he lets it. Ed Gorman and Loren Estleman are in her league, too, which gives you some idea...and at least two other, much better-selling, largely in-print western writers couldn't come close to what she could do. But that shouldn't surprise anyone.

The Lee Hoffman Site:
http://www.gary-ross-hoffman.com/Lee/


Lee Hoffman posts on Sweet Freedom

As always, thanks to Patti Abbott for sustaining the Friday Books lists. Buy Ed Gorman (and MH Greenberg)'s new volume of best of the year crime fiction to get a sense of what she can do. [Not so new as it then was in 2008, when this redux post was first published, and the book managed to not include Patti's story, even though it was on the table of contents, as I recall...Greenberg was going through an even rougher patch than Ed was.]

(Possibly "forgotten" music audited while writing this one: the George Russell Smalltet: Jazz Workshop [1956, RCA]...the album where Bill Evans learned about modal improvising from Russell, so he eventually could teach it to the Miles Davis group, and they did Kind of Blue as a result. Jazz Workshop's better.)

Friday, November 9, 2018

FFB: THE AMERICAN FOLK SCENE ed. David DeTurk & A. Poulin Jr.; BOB DYLAN: DON'T LOOK BACK transcribed & edited by D.J. Pennebaker et al.; DANGEROUSLY FUNNY by David Bianculli

Hoots and Hollers: Folk Music and Its Extensions at Midcentury (...and Up Till Now...)


"Folk music is like country music for people who aren't conservative?" --James Adomian, contemplating the current Billboard folk/acoustic music album chart, on Who Charted?, uploaded February 29, 2012

Three books this time coming at and attempting to explicate and/or contextualize the varying flavors of the popular folk-music movement of the 1950s and '60s, and particularly some of the most popular performers (and lightning rods) of that field and time. The American Folk Scene: Dimensions of the Folksong Revival is, like The Age of Rock reviewed here briefly, a somewhat haphazard collection of magazine essays, from sources ranging from the folk-music "insider" journal Sing Out! to Time, that attempts to give a mildly panoramic view of the folk-music scene as it was not quite dissipating, but instead not just bifurcating but polyfurcating if one might be forgiven a neologism...the pop-folk of the Kingston Trio and Judy Collins and many of their peers not quite riding the top of the charts any longer but still retaining an audience, while a number of the younger musicians were moving into folk-rock or were drawn to the new opportunities in country music, while others yet were remaining more or less traditionalist purists...and not a few would hop from one field to another as mood or the commercial vagaries struck. G. Legman is as dour as always, with his "Folksongs, Fakelore, and Cash" and Nat Hentoff (his name misspelled in the citation of this book in the library database WorldCat [see full citation of the anthology's contents below] and dutifully parroted in the Amazon listing) typically sensible in "The Future of the Folk Renascence" and Richard Fariña briefly represented, writing about his sister-in-law Joan Baez and this Zimmerman kid. The essays are, of course, not all equally valuable, nor does one come away with a particularly complete understanding of the "scene" as it was even at time of assembly...but it's a start. (My copy is buried deep in storage, at the moment.)


The first time I ever heard Bob Dylan sing I knew he would be a success.
He sounded exactly like Woody Guthrie, an earlier folksinger, and I
figured that if he added a few more imitations–-maybe Bette Davis and James
Cagney–-he would have an even funnier routine. --Mike Royko, "Dylan the Great"

Meanwhile, Zims, who started calling himself Dylan rather early in the 1960s, had already started making a serious name for himself by the time CBS, due to John Hammond's endorsement, started recording him in 1962, and D. J. Pennebaker did no disservice to his own reputation by putting together a cinema verite documentary of Dylan's second tour of the UK, eventually released as Bob Dylan: Don't Look Back (and including, in one early performance sequence filmed around a civil rights protest encampment from several years earlier, footage taken by Ed Emshwiller for an unfinished project that Emshwiller gave to Pennebaker). Released in 1967, the film spawned an interesting 1968 book project, which combined transcripts of the lyrics and dialog from the film with stills (this being as close to a take-home version of the film as most fans could afford in those years), not a unique project but still not that common (the Ballantines, who were always ready to innovate, were then still in charge of the publishing house that bore their name), and it's a deft job...Pennebaker warns that it's no substitute for the film, but it does provide a nice supplement to some fleeting or murky dialog...my copy of the book is from the New Video reprint of the Ballantine edition, released in 2006 as part of the "65 Tour Deluxe Edition" of the film on dvd, with a bonus disc of outtakes and related recordings and a little flipbook that allows handheld animation of the promotional film for "Subterranean Homesick Blues"...

Jack Paar: "I like folksingers. I hate hillbillies. What's the difference between hillbillies and folksingers?"

Tom Smothers: "Well...hillbillies sing higher." --Dangerously Funny: The Uncensored Story of the The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour

David Bianculli's book is still in print from a traditional (if megaconglomerate) publisher, as opposed to being a premium in a dvd set, and it shows the signs of being a megaconglomerate book...notably a lack of copy-editing, or of editorial guidance that might've sent Bianculli back to get a little deeper into the background of his subjects. The television reviewer seems to think the Weavers disappeared from the face of the Earth after their first break-up in 1952, for example, rather than having reformed in '54 and helped foster the folk revival the Kingston Trio and other commercial acts sprang from, for the most part...Bianculli even manages to mention Burl Ives and Harry Belafonte repeatedly without tumbling to the fact that Ives and other folksingers and their colleagues in bringing calypso to the US charts were also keeping a presence for pop-folk in the popular consciousness. Even about his subjects at hand, he manages to bobble--while attempting to demonstrate the Smotherses' influence on the next generation, he (rather obsequiously) overpraises Ken Burns and quotes Bill Maher's accurate memory of the song "Mediocre Fred"...without noting that that song was written by Pat Paulsen, a fact which would strengthen Bianculli's point in the passage in question. But DB clearly loves the SmoBros' work, and got some good interview material from them, their sister, and many of the others around them, and I'm not sure he overstates the importance of the Comedy Hour and its spinoffs and the fights with CBS they had. By no means a perfect book, but interesting both for the light it sheds on their early career, and their careers since the firing (and replacement by that other comedy and music series, only in this case much worse comedy and sometimes rather similar music, Hee-Haw...which CBS would high-handedly cancel in turn in its purge of "rural", older-skewing series in favor of the post-All in the Family wave of more "urban/suburban," "hipper" shows...the kind of thing the Smotherses were providing when they were fired).

from WorldCat:

The American folk scene : dimensions of the folksong revival

Author: David A De Turk; A Poulin
Publisher: New York : Dell Pub. Co., 1967.
334 p. ; 18 cm.

Contents:
Pt. 1: Folk and the folk arrival. Folk and the folk arrival / Sandy Paton ; Why folk music? / Pete Seeger ; Who invented the folk? / Stan Steiner ; Why I Detest Folk Music / Robert Reisner ; The folk music interchange: negro and white, / John Cohen ; The singer of folksongs and his conscience / Sam Hinton ; The performance of folksongs on recordings / Robert S. Whitman and Sheldon S. Kagan ; "Hootenanny": the word, its content and continuum / Peter Tamony ; Folk music in the schools of a highly industrialized society / Charles Seeger ; The folksong revival: cult or culture? / B. A. Botkin --

pt. 2: Mine enemy, the folksinger (topical-protest songs). "Mine enemy, the folksinger" / Kenneth Keating ; The position of songs of protest in folk literature / John Greenway ; Songs of our time from the pages of broadside magazine / Gordon Friesen ; P-for-protest / Jon Pankake and Paul Nelson ; Topical songs and folksinging, 1965, A Symposium / Don West, Phil Ochs, Ewan MacColl, Chad Mitchell, John Cohen, Moses Asch, Josh Dunson ; The topical song revolution at midpoint / Irwin Silber ; Sing a song of freedom / Robert Sherman --

pt. 3: Woody and his children: four for our time. Woody Guthrie: the man, the land, the understanding / John Greenway ; The ballad of Pete Seeger / Peter Lyon ; Sibyl with guitar ('Time' magazine) ; Joan Baez, an interview ; Baez and Dylan: a generation singing out / Richard Farina ; Bob Dylan / John Pankake and Paul Nelson ; "Highway 61 revisited" / Irwin Silber and Paul Nelson ; I will show you fear in a handful of songs / David A. De Turk and A. Poulin, Jr. ; Pete's children: the American folksong revival, pro and con / Jon Pankake --

pt. 4: Folk, rock, cash, and the future. Folk rock: thunder without rain / Josh Dunson ; Folk music and the success syndrome / Irwin Silber ; Commercialism and the folksong revival / Ron Radosh ; Is cash killing folk music? / Josh Dunson and Moses Asch ; Folksongs, fakelore, and cash / G. Legman ; The future of the folk renascence / Nat Hentof]f].

A redux post from 2 March 2012. Joni Mitchell's 75th birthday yesterday.

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

Friday, November 2, 2018

FFB: THE WOMEN WHO WALK THROUGH FIRE edited by Susanna J. Sturgis (Crossing Press 1990)

from liberation: a magazine for freedom issue 0/(in*sit) issue 4.5, Summer 1993 (review written in 1990)

An impressive anthology, a sequel to Memories and Visions, reviewed last issue, and like V. 1 mostly new fiction with a few reprints mixed in. At least four stories here are about as good as they can be: the brilliant Rachel Pollack's "The Girl Who Went to the Rich Neighborhood" (a fairy tale in a modern urban setting), J. L. Comeau's hard-edged, violent contemporary horror "Firebird", and two stories which draw on Polynesian and Native American mythology, Eleanor Arnason's "A Ceremony of Discontent" and Carol Severance's "Shark-Killer". Cathy Hinga Haustein's "Earth and Sky Woman" is also very good, but it's realistic, not fantastic, and apparently was included on the strength of being about a scientist. G. K. Sprinkle's "Road Runner", Deborah H. Fruin's "New Age Baby" and Ruth Shigezawa's "Hills of Blue, an Orange Moon" are all well-handled "small" stories, by which I mean they don't invest as much in their subplots or resonances as the best stories here. Good, flawed stories include "The Forbidden Words of Margaret A." by L. Timmel Duchamp (it posits a quarantine on an Angela Davis-analog; fortunately or not, the U.S. takes more subtle measures against most of its dissidents than do most of its puppet satellites, which Duchamp credits with inspiring this story; even as an allegory for the lack of access most U.S. citizens have to dissident views, the story comes off as heavy-handed); Elaine Bergstrom's "Net Songs" (yet another tyranny overthrown by one bold individual, but AIDS-angst well-channeled); Lucy Sussex's "My Lady Tongue" (which [seemed to me at the time] to be afraid to endorse lesbian separatism more out fear of offense than actual conviction); and Phyllis Ann Karr's "Night of the Short Knives", which strikes me as a minor Frostflower and Thorn story [Karr's sword & sorcery series]--likewise Ginger Simpson Curry's "Sahrel Short Swords" has several imaginative touches but is a too-familiar tale. Nonetheless, all of these repay the reader well; less satisfactory, if still readable, are Rosalind Warren's fannish joke "The Inkblot Test", Merrill Mushroom's "Mamugrandae--the Second Tale" (just as overly cute as the author's handle might suggest), and Cleo Kozol's "Picnic Days", which would've fit well into the back pages of the late 1950s Galaxy magazine as an example of heartfelt, playful, but ultimately bootless "comic inferno" satire. This book is definitely worth owning; the best work sings, and the least hums along well enough.

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

from the Locus index of sf:

The Women Who Walk Through Fire: Women’s Fantasy & Science Fiction Vol. 2 ed. Susanna J. Sturgis (The Crossing Press 0-89594-419-7, Sep ’90 [Oct ’90], $9.95, 275pp, tp, cover by Beth Avery) Anthology of 16 sf and fantasy stories by women, ten original, with an introduction by the editor. A hardcover edition (-420-0) was announced, but not seen.

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Underappreciated Music: October Selections (All Hallows Eve, and all that)


The monthly assembly of undervalued and often nearly "lost" music, or simply music the blogger in question wants to remind you readers/listeners of...

Happy All Hallows!

Brian Arnold:  Hallowe'en Tunes!; Happy Hallowe'en 2018!

Jayme Lynn Blaschke: Friday Night Videos

Marybeth Bornio: The DoubleClicks: "Harry Potter Theme"


Paul D. Brazill: A Song for Saturday


Jim Cameron: Bill Henderson: Beautiful Memory: Bill Henderson Live at the Vic

Sean Coleman: The Who: My Generation

Jeff Gemmill: Top 5s; A Song Roundup: "A Rainy Night in Georgia"; Juliana Hatfield: For the Birds


Dana Gould: Wayne Kramer, and typical nonsense that "punk was over by the early '80s"  

Jerry House: Hymn Time; Music from the Past

Xeni Jardin/David Pescovitz: An Indigenous People's Day folk/rock/country playlist


George Kelley: Various Artists: '80s Pop Hits; Steely Dan in concert 2018; Charlie and the Chocolate Factory: The New Musical (stage); Hamilton: An American Musical (Boston production)

Tom Kraemer: Cass Elliot, Joni Mitchell and Mary Travers: "I Shall Be Released"


Kate Laity: Sheena Wellington and Karine Polwart: "Halloween"


Barry Malzberg: The Australian Opera featuring Joan Sutherland (direction of Bonynge/Monsouri): Les Huguenots (Meyerbeer/Scribe & Deschamps)


Todd Mason: Late for Hallowe'en Music Club ('12 post-blizzard): Sinister Jazz

Edward Morris: Alien Sex Fiend: "Katch 22"


Laura Nakatsuka: Blue Heron: "Permanent vierge" (Johannes Ockeghem)


Patricia Nolan-Hall: Diana Lynn with the Paul Weston Orchestra: "Easy to Love"


Andrew Orley: a week:
David Bowie: "Sunday"
God Help the Girl: "Come Monday Night"
Bobbie Gentry: "Hurry Tuesday Child"
Simon and Garfunkel: "Wednesday Morning, 3 AM"
Johnny Mathis: "Sweet Thursday"
Nancy Sinatra: "Friday's Child"
and Louis Jordan and the Tympani Five: "Saturday Night Fish Fry"

and a Nobody's  Listening Hallowe'en Playlist



Charlie Ricci: Nat King Cole Trio: Transcriptions;  Hilary Scott: Don't Call Me Angel; Stephen Stills and Judy Collins: Everybody Knows

Jeff Segal: The Ghastly Ones: Unearthed


A. J. Wright: Birmingham, AL, City Stages Festival 1989

Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers: "Ugetsu"


Philly Joe Jones Sextet: "Blues for Dracula"


The assembly of this list largely done while doling out chocolate bits to the youth of Philadelphia-adjacent New Jersey...and to all, a pleasantly spooky night...

Friday, October 26, 2018

FFB: YESTERDAY'S TOMORROWS edited by Frederik Pohl (Berkley 1982); EDITORS edited by Saul Bellow and Keith Botsford (Toby Press 2001); Lancer Books, Airmont Classics and other "Futurian" editorial projects: Doris Baumgardt, Donald Wollheim, Robert Lowndes, Larry Shaw...and Samuel Delany's DHALGREN, Josephine Herbst's THE STARCHED BLUE SKIES OF SPAIN and Gustave Hasford's THE SHORT-TIMERS, among others...


Keith Botsford (March 29, 1928, in Brussels, Belgium - August 19, 2018, in Battersea, England)

from 14 August 2015:
This wasn't the book I was going to review this week, but it kind of shouldered its way in...it arrived the same day as what was supposed to be Editors, edited by Saul Bellow and Keith Botsford, which was a similar volume with a similar remit...both were meant to cover the previous forty years in their editors' careers as editors of various magazines and often periodical book series. But, instead, the inventory sticker for Editors had been slapped onto a back issue of Granta (and not the cleanest copy I've ever seen), #99, one highlighted by an interview with Richard Ford (I have one of his books hanging fire, waiting for me to read it for this exercise as well). Bellow and Botsford, in their fat volume (1100 pages), pulled items from their various collaborative projects beginning with The Noble Savage (and I have a book in the queue that was mostly invented there) and wrapping up with their last such effort, News From the Republic of Letters; the rather fat Pohl volume (a mere 430 pages) begins with selections from the magazines Pohl began editing when 19 years old, Astonishing Stories and Super Science Stories; from there, the book draws on items from Pohl's first reprint anthologies, then the new-story Ballantine anthology series (and for one issue a magazine) Star Science Fiction; then onto taking over Galaxy and its sibling magazines (most notably If), at first while officially helping out the ailing H. L. Gold, and then in the clear, for more than a decade (ca. 1958 to leaving with the magazines' sale in 1969), editing for several months at the collapsing Ace Books of the early '70s and moving on from there to rather less chaotic times at Bantam Books for most of the decade; the last years are represented by novel excerpts, as Pohl didn't have an anthology series at Bantam: one each from Samuel Delany's Dhalgrenfellow former Futurian Society member David Kyle's completion of the planned but unfinished "Lensman" adventure novels by the late E.E. Smith, and Gustav Hasford's The Short-Timers, which, after this anthology was published, would be adapted for film as Full Metal Jacket, the script a collaboration between Hasford, Michael Kerr and Stanley Kubrick which won them an Oscar
Bantam let Arbor House do the hardcover edition (left), which they packaged atrociously as well.

In the prefatory material running through this utterly functional (and no more than that) physical package, Pohl spells out, in more detail than I've seen elsewhere, the nature of his working life at each of his editorial desks, even if the reprint-anthology selections are a bit out of any sort of chronological or other apparent order.  He can be cagy about certain matters (he mentions in passing that he met his second wife as a colleague at Popular Publications, the artist and writer Dorothy Les Tina, but doesn't mention her name here, even as he never mentioned meeting her at his first editorial job in his book-length memoir The Way the Future Was), but nonetheless is engaging and informative about the day-to-day production and business practices as well as the editorial work itself in each of his gigs.  (It's notable that the Bellow/Botsford is similarly a no-frills physical presentation, featuring memoirs by its editors that include such bits as Bellow's boyhood acquaintance with the first professional writer he knew, a 1930s contributor to Popular's Argosy magazine and Street and Smith's Doc Savage; even as Pohl includes stories he'd gathered for his reprint anthologies, the B men include some of reprinted items they'd run in their magazines, particularly The Noble Savage's front pages, and the editorial offices of their magazines were not free of the odd romantic/emotional entanglement, such as the affair that inspired Bellow's Herzog.)  The Pohl (courtesy the Homeville/William Contento indices):

The first issue of Galaxy "officially" edited by Pohl:


EDITORS  [their introductory memoirs]
Keith Botsford: On the Facts
Saul Bellow: Great and Not so Great Expectations, Noble Savage 3
Saul Bellow: Hidden Within Technology’s Empire, A Republic of Letters, The New York Times
Saul Bellow & Keith Botsford: Dialogue: As seen from the ground, ANON

ARIAS [essentially, editorials from the four magazines, including ANON and Bostonia]
Saul Bellow: Pains and Gains, Noble Savage 1
Stephen Spender: Doctor of Science, Patient of Poetry, Noble Savage 4
Saul Bellow: The 11:59 News, Noble Savage 4
Keith Botsford: Obit on a Witness, Noble Savage 4
Saul Bellow: Mr. Wollix gets an Honorary Degree, ANON
Mark Harris: Nixon and Hayakawa, ANON
Saul Bellow: White House and Artists, Noble Savage 5
Felix Pollak: The Poor Man’s Civil Defense Manual, Noble Savage 5
Philip O’Connor: A few Notes on the Changing World, Noble Savage 5
Saul Bellow: View from Intensive Care, The Republic of Letters 1
Saul Bellow: Graven Images, The Republic of Letters 2
Philip O’Connor: Last Journal, The Republic of Letters 2
James Wood: Real Life, The Republic of Letters 2
Martin Amis: Cars and the Man, The Republic of Letters 3
Julia Copeland: Objective Correlative,The Republic of Letters 7

ARCHIVES [reprints from what they reprinted in their magazines]
Samuel Butler: Ramblings in Cheapside, Noble Savage 1
DH Lawrence: Portrait of Maurice Magnus, Noble Savage 2
Joseph de Maistre: The Executioner, ANON
Victor Hugo: The Interment of Napoleon, The Republic of Letters 4

INVESTIGATIONS
George P. Elliott: Critic and Common Reader, Noble Savage 2
Harold Rosenberg: Seven Numbered Notes, Noble Savage 3
Louis Simpson: On Being a Poet in America, Noble Savage 5
Herbert Blau: The Public Art of Crisis in the Suburbs of Hell, Noble Savage 5
Marjorie Farber: The Romantic Method, Noble Savage 5
Raymond Tallis: A Dark Mirror, The Republic of Letters 2

LIVES
Josephine Herbst: A Year of Disgrace, Noble Savage 3
Antoni Slonimski: Memories of Warsaw, Noble Savage 4
G V Desani: With Malice Aforethought, Noble Savage 5
Rudolf Kassner: Sulla and the Satyr, ANON
Saul Bellow: Mozart, Bostonia, Spring 1992
Saul Bellow: Ralph Ellison in Tivoli, The Republic of Letters 3
Alan Govenar and Leonard St. Clair: Life as a Tattoo Artist, The Republic of Letters 6
Saul Bellow: Saul Steinberg, The Republic of Letters 7

POEMS
Howard Nemerov: Life Cycle of Common Man, Noble Savage 1
Oonagh Lahr: The Advance on the Retreat, Noble Savage 4
Alexander Pushkin: Count Nulin, Noble Savage 4
Anthony Hecht: Message from the City, Noble Savage 5
Cesare Pavese: What an Old Man has Left, ANON
Michael Hulse: Winterreise, The Republic of Letters 7

TEXTS 
Edward Hoagland: Cowboys, Noble Savage 1
Harold Rosenberg: Notes from the Ground Up, Noble Savage 1
Josephine Herbst: The Starched Blue Sky of Spain, Noble Savage 1
Arthur Miller: Please Don’t Kill Anything, Noble Savage 1
Wright Morris: The Scene, Noble Savage 1
Mark Harris: The Self-Made Brain Surgeon, Noble Savage 1
Louis Guilloux: Friendship, Noble Savage 2
Sol Yurick: The Annealing, Noble Savage 2
Dan Wakefield: An American Fiesta, Noble Savage 2
Jara Ribnikar: Copperskin, Noble Savage 3
John Berryman: Thursday Out, Noble Savage 3
Seymour Krim: What’s This Cat’s Story? Noble Savage 3
Thomas Pynchon: Under the Rose, Noble Savage 3
Herbert Gold: Death in Miami Beach, Noble Savage 3
G V Desani: Mephisto’s Daughter, Noble Savage 4
Louis Guilloux: Palante, Noble Savage 4
Louis Gallo: Oedipus-Schmoedipus, Noble Savage 4
Elémire Zolla: An Angelic Visit on Via dei Martiri, Noble Savage 4
Robert [Chapin] Coover: Blackdamp, Noble Savagee 4
John Hawkes: A Little Bit of the Old Slap and Tickle, Noble Savage 5
Nelson Algren: Dad among the Troglodytes, or Show Me a Gypsy and I’ll Show You a Nut, Noble Savage 5
Bette Howland: Aronesti, Noble Savage 5
Anthony Kerrigan: Don Alonso Quixano, Lineal Descendants, Noble Savage 5
Arthur Miller: Glimpse at a Jockey, Noble Savage 5
Sydor Rey: Hitler’s Mother, Noble Savage 5
Leon Rooke: The Line of Fire, Noble Savage 5
Meyer Schapiro: Lichtenberg, Diderot, Galiani , ANON
Christopher Middleton & Cristoph Meckel: Pocket Elephants, ANON
Umberto Saba: A Jewish Savant, Bostonia, November 1989
John Auerbach: Distortions, Bostonia, March 1990
Bette Howland: A Little Learning, Bostonia, May 1990
S J Perelman: Strictly from Hunger, Bostonia, June 1990 (reprint of a classic reprint)
Conall Ryan: Grace Notes, Bostonia, September 1990
Keith Botsford: The Second Life of Gioacchino Rossini, Bostonia, February 1992
Silvio d’Arzo: Two Old People, Bostonia, September 1993
G T de Lampedusa: Lighea, or the Siren, Bostonia, September 1994
Karl Logher: My Father in the Mirror, The Republic of Letters 3
Saul Bellow: All Marbles Accounted For, The Republic of Letters 4
Murray Bail: The Seduction of My Sister, The Republic of Letters 5
S Scibona: Prairie, The Republic of Letters

So, basically, books you can swim around in. A lot of work to be proud of for all three men, and yet also it would've helped had Berkley taken (and perhaps Toby Press to have had the resources to have taken) more care in packaging these bug-crushers so that they might be more pleasing to the eye.  Though whether you're basking in the casual brilliance of R. A. Lafferty ("Slow Tuesday Night" is almost the template for what's best of his short work) or of Thomas Pynchon ("Under the Rose" isn't too far from his correspondent to the Lafferty), or we enjoy the work editorially pointedly solicited from Josephine Herbst and Alice Sheldon (aka "James Tiptree, Jr.") in these largely boys' clubs, you do get a good helping of why the editorial efforts of these writers mattered, and what kept drawing them back to the editorial chair.  (Certainly, I was pleased in small, petty part to be appointed editor-in-chief of Hawaii Review when 18, beating Pohl's appointment to his first professional magazines by some months, but more because I hoped to do a fraction of what he'd done in the decades since...and have done rather a smaller fraction than I'd hoped.) Bellow, too, if more distantly, had also been a spur...I was perhaps a bit too much like Herzog even as a teen, and his "Seize the Day" if anything moved me more profoundly. (It should be noted that striving to mirror either Pohl or Bellow, and even Botsford in comparison, is setting a high bar.)
























But in considering these books for today (while I'm still awaiting the delivery of Editors, I did read another copy some years ago), it occurred to me how much the complex of the former Futurians (including Pohl, Merril, Kyle, Isaac Asimov, Damon Knight and other geniuses) had an outsized influence on my literary life...not only the anthologies edited by Donald Wollheim (including the first story I read by ex-Futurian Richard Wilson, "A Man Spekith", being one of the first adult and rather grimly satirical sf stories I read, in my father's copy of the Wollheim and Terry Carr's World's Best Science Fiction 1970) but also in my wider reading, as the first edition of Dracula I picked up, about age 9, was the Airmont Classic paperback, a series edited and with introductions from ex-Futurian Robert A. W. Lowndes (he was already editing the Magazine of Horror by then, and would publish the first stories by Stephen King and F. Paul Wilson in Startling Mystery Stories not long after publishing his edition of the Stoker); even more importantly, I was collected as many of the Lancer Books Magnum "Easy-Eye" classics paperbacks, going for a quarter apiece at the local W.T. Grant's discount department store, a series edited and with brief introductions by ex-Futurian Larry Shaw (who was briefly married to Lee Hoffman, and had done a lot of interesting if usually underfunded editorial work as well...Lancer's 1960s reprints of Conan stories had done nothing to hurt the popularity of Robert Howard nor sword & sorcery fiction generally)...not solely the Poe collection (the first I'd bought of the Magnum Classics line) or sf such as Wells's The Time Machine and Edward Bellamy's socialist utopian Looking Backward, but also Mark Twain, Rudyard Kipling, Jane Austen, Joseph Conrad, Helen Keller's autobiography (no lack of socialists!), Booker T. Washington's and Benjamin Franklin's, O. Henry, Bret Harte, Edward Everett Hale, Henry James and such other fantasists as Lewis Carroll and Kenneth Grahame. Signet Classics and others were important as well to my early reading, but these editions, which I could obtain by the handful through parental largesse on every trip to that store, had a profound effect.  It wasn't too many years later that I was reading Pohl's and Knight's memoirs, and even given the tough times they faced, decided that even more than a writer what I wanted to be was an editor.  It was through Knight's The Futurians that I first read excerpts from and about Doris Baumgardt, one of the first female members of the Futurians and, in the 1940s photos in the Knight, devastatingly pretty; she and Pohl married, albeit briefly, and she took her first editorial job with the same low-rent entrepreneurs, the Albings, who gave Donald Wollheim his first (barely) professional gig; Pohl and Wollheim
recall that Baumgardt, known to her friends as Doë and professionally and in fandom in those years mostly as "Leslie Perri", wrote most of the content of her no-budget stablemate, Movie Love Stories, to Wollheim's no-budget Cosmic Stories and Stirring Science Stories. I finally read, last night, one of only three short stories Perri apparently published in the sf magazines, and sadly it's probably the least of them, a vignette written in the kind of overstated prose Lovecraft favored, perhaps as an experiment; it and the longest Perri story were both published in magazines Shaw edited at the time, this one in If for September 1953 (which is highlighted by ex-Futurian James Blish's important "A Case of Conscience" as well as stories by Philip Dick and eventual hardboiled crime-fiction specialist James McKimmey), the longer one in an issue of the later Infinity Science Fiction I'm going to need to pick up, given how much interesting unreprinted fiction is contained there. Baumgardt and Richard Wilson eventually were married, a period when they were both primarily employed as newspaper journalists, before their divorce in 1965, and her death from cancer in 1970...not too long after the publication of "A Man Spekith" in 1969, and republication in the 1970 book where I would read it ca. 1973. Life is full of almost closed circles and gossamer connections such as that...for more of today's books, please see Patti Abbott's blog (and her novel and those of several other friends and acquaintances await me in the TBR/Re-Read stack as well).
Albing magazines--better covers than they paid for...






















...whether of Rita Hayworth or by Hannes Bok...





























































































First "official" Pohl issue of If: Vonnegut, Laumer,
the two E. E.s, Jim Harmon, James Schmitz...