Wu Man with the Kronos Quartet: "Mehbooba Mehbooba" (Rahul Dev Buhrman) The Eroica Trio: "Trio No. 1" (Joaquin Turina) at the Tango Evolution concert The Han Piano Trio: "Oblivion" (Astor Piazzolla) The Turtle Island Sting Quartet: "All Along the Watchtower" (Robert Zimmerman) The Modern Jazz Quartet and the Beaux Arts Trio: "Sketch" (John Lewis) The Max Roach Double Quartet (The Max Roach Quartet and the Uptown String Quartet): "Bright Moments" (Max Roach) The Dave Grisman Quintet: "Dawg's Rag" (Dave Grisman) Wu Man with the Kronos Quartet: "Nursery" (Terry Riley)
Monad, Damon Knight's last editorial project, produced three issues or volumes (1990-1993), depending how you looked at the hardcover and paperback editions published by the busy, and soon overextended, small house (Pulphouse Publishing briefly attempted, amid all their other projects, to publish their eponymous fiction magazine weekly). But it was a good and useful series of books (or issues)...from perhaps the last great decade for publishing non-academic critical magazines in a non-virtual format, on paper rather than on the web. And Monad was as spare and lean (with no illustration and a single column of easy-to-read typography on the pages) as most of the other major magazine productions of that era were busy, whether we looked to The Armchair Detective or Science Fiction Eye (soon SF Eye, to be less exclusive) or The Scream Factory...even the similarly no-nonsense Necrofile, like TSF about horror fiction and related matter, didn't have the bare bones elegance of Monad...nor would bare*bones, the more crime-fiction-oriented successor to TSF, and the direct ancestor of the blog of that title. Knight had begun writing criticism along with his earliest published fiction (and cartoons and illustration), in the 1940s, the critical writing sparked by the example of Frederik Pohl's reviews, and Knight's mostly published in the better examples of the more "sercon" (serious and constructive, which could be taken at face value or imply an earnest dullness) fanzines of the day, as well as in Knight's own fanzine, Snide. In the 1950s, Knight and Lester del Rey co-edited and published two issues of Science Fiction Forum, as a more purely critical little magazine/fanzine, but apparently did no more till Knight revived the title Forum as that of the house organ of the Science Fiction Writers of America, of which he was a primary founder and its first president. While some projects like this one ran indefinitely (Inside Science Fiction became Riverside Quarterly, and lasted forty years in all), many more have been mayflies (Harry Harrison and Brian Aldiss's SF Horizons managed two similarly impressive issues in the mid-'60s). Others, such as the titles mentioned above, had intermediate-length runs, and made names for themselves at least in certain circles...anyone who suffered through my squibs on this blog knows that I'm tempted to try to trace as many of those as possible, but I will desist for a moment (noting only, for example, that SF Eye had roots in Bruce Sterling's one-sheet zine Cheap Truth as well as editor/publisher Stephen Brown's work on such earlier, more conventional critical magazines as Douglas Fratz's Thrust). Index of the contents courtesy ISFDb:
The contributions to the first Monad are suitably impressive, and, as often the case with Knight's works, begin with a matter of some controversy, as Knight notes that his original announcement of the series called for essays from writers of fantasticated fiction, rather than from fans or academic students of any tenure or "anecdotalists" (such as, one suspects, Sam Moskowitz); Knight prints Tom Whitmore's letter objecting to this policy, and in his editorial Knight notes that it's not so much a ukase as a flexible statement of intent. But, he continues, only the writers of speculative fiction are working from the inside of the art. The balance of the book is laden with anecdote, but not solely the anecdotal. Ursula Le Guin's essay is driven in large part by her recent completion of a fourth volume, Tehanu, in what had been for some years the Earthsea trilogy, and how over the course of writing the component novels, each in its turn, the very fact that she was a woman writing about outsiders in the heroic tradition (a dark-complected man, a woman, children) hit home, and slowly a critique of hierarchy and authority developed as her feminism and anarchism coalesced through her resolution and exploration of these tensions. Even as she credits particularly T. H. White and Tolkien for expanding the idiom before her, it's difficult to see how most of the more ambitious epic fantasy since her contribution would've been written without the example of her work (and that of Fritz Leiber and Jack Vance, among a small number of other most influential folks--I shall have to return to Le Guin's other critical writing to see how much her predecessors such as C. L. Moore, Leigh Brackett and Sylvia Townsend Warner, to say nothing of Woolf and her Orlando, nudged and influenced her).
The Aldiss is an excerpt from his then-just-published book-length memoir, Bury My Heart at W. H. Smith's (the British bookstore); Aldiss had served as literary editor for the Oxford Mail newspaper from early on in his career, and had had some commercial and artistic success with his contemporary-mimetic fiction along with his fantaticated thoughout his career. The Disch is a poem, apparently originally in his1972 limited-edition chapbook The Right Way to Figure Plumbing; "An All-Day Poem" is, in part, how art helps the artist cope with the great ugliness, and small reverses, life hands us (Disch's mother is losing her fight with cancer as he writes). Bruce Sterling takes a somewhat bemused pass through the realms of modern literary theory, the post-Structuralist, post-Derrida and Bakhtin era (and this inspired an answer essay for the second Monad by John Barnes). And Knight rounds us out with a fine short essay that limns his early childhood first experiences with injustice (and the other Large Things mentioned in the title) and how he found them recapitulated in the crotchets of fellow editors and similar folk in his professional career as an artist. Knight was one of the pioneering critics of note in fantastic-fiction circles, and remains controversial to this day (he would not stay his hand when he felt an affront to the art was being perpetrated, and Ed Gorman hasn't forgiven him for that yet). And yet Monad's three issues/volumes are a nice core-sampling of the most influential and serious critical writers active in its years (with some exceptions, such as Knight's great students AlgisBudrys and BarryMalzberg, and JoannaRuss, who was already scaling back her critical writing in the face of health matters). Knight, like most of the more ambitious writer/editor/publishers in the field of the popular critical magazine, would tend to move online for much of what he wrote in this wise after Monad...as much as he continued with this kind of activity, as opposed to his writing instruction activities, as reflected by his Creating Short Fiction. For more of today's books, please see Patti Abbott's blog. I will be gathering the links next week. ("Be there. Aloha.")
Happy Xmas, Xians (and all those of other persuasions, such as myself)! Rather tardily, but 'tis a day off and I'm feeling lazy, here are the links to today's list of a/v reviews and citations (both often leading to online streaming of the items under discussion), with a few in for their festive colors (such as green), when the blogger in question has taken a break for the holiday. May your day continue to be merry and bright, and all your Xmases multicolored (or in fine, crisp b&w).
One of the most insane things I remember seeing on television in my early adolescence was a random catch of this busted pilot, from the same Daystar Productions that were responsible for the original series of The Outer Limits, the latter-day western Stoney Burke, and still the only Esperanto-dialog feature film, the horror flick Incubus (starring William Shatner, doing his best with the manufactured language, a year or so before moving onto a series that would spawn at least one more popular Intentional language). The series was meant to be named Stryker, after Richard Egan's character John Stryker, who is so damned important to the world that his car has special not really licence plates, not vanity plates, that simply read "JS"...and why not, since Stryker is an amalgam of Batman (sans costume), Sherlock Holmes and James Bond, while also now a major industrialist who sees his responsibility as to provide as many jobs as possible...and that's the least improbable aspect of this childish creation. Embittered by the US government's unwillingness to see that the greatest threat to the US is not the large Leninist powers, but that all are equally threatened by the shadow organization led by the descendant of Genghis Khan (who is played by Telly Savalas, of course, in perhaps his first Yul Brynner sub role), Stryker has left government service...till the President pleads with Stryker to come back to find a literally mad scientist, Burgess Meredith, who holds the tech specs of All, every one, of the US's most top-secret military weapons in his mind...but these days more or less fantasizes that he is trumpeter Al Hirt. To tell much more is to needlessly spoil the joy of this ineptly-written, reasonably to very well-acted, beautifully shot (thanks mostly to Conrad Hall) telefilm, which you really should see (even as the running time has been padded a bit by inclusion of all the footage taken of airplanes taking off and landing)...as I failed to remember that I've put it in a 2011 entry in this series: Television films have had a tendency to be bland, even when promising to revel in salacious material (hitting all the stops in notoriety from The War Game through Born Innocent to Mother May I Sleep with Danger? and Little Ladies of the Night), and shallow; only occasionally do we encounter the truly lunatic film-for-television, but some can stand proudly in this "alternative" (in the sense that Bill Pronzini applies this adjective to Harry Stephen Keeler's fiction, and others') field...and one such item is Fanfare for a Death Scene, co-written and directed by The Outer Limits creator Leslie Stevens, and one of the most joyously ridiculous crime/espionage dramas one can hope to encounter, straight out of the same well of creativity that led Stevens to also produce the only feature-length horror film in Esperanto, Incubus. Somehow, Stevens managed to get a script approved for the Kraft Suspense Theater [actually, dusted off for play in that series, presumably]which involves a disinterested Richard Egan seeking out a defecting scientist amidst a swirl that includes a crazed Burgess Meredith mistaking himself for Al Hirt, with the rest of the cast filled in by such stalwarts as Ed Asner, Tina Louise, Telly Savalas, Khigh Dhiegh (born Kenneth Dickerson, after The Manchurian Candidate but before Hawaii Five-0) and Viveca Lindfors. The climax is hilarious [and very abrupt, as if the budget was utterly spent; Stephen Bowie notes in his first post on the film that the original cut includes footage of Savalas chortling and promising this won't be the end of his perfidy, to set him up as the Fu Manchu/Wo Fat of this series]]; the entirety of the episode/telefilm, as the [then] only commenter on IMDb notes correctly, is surreal. It's genuinely fascinating in the way that a Stevens production gone wrong, as with several Outer Limits episodes and Incubus, can be...and you probably won't be wishing you were watching something else while it plays...and I'm happy to report that I've just discovered that Netflix is streaming this alternative classic, so that gray-market discs don't have to be relied upon. I shall have to reacquaint myself. [...as I have since done, via Amazon streaming, where it's free.]
from Who Fears the Devil? (aka The Legend of Hillbilly John): "The Devil" by Hoyt Axton
from the television series Legacy(which used it as opening theme), "The Mummer's Dance" by Loreena McKennitt (longer edit/"album cut" with best audio) "Walk On Boy" (Doc Watson's recording is the soundtrack for the short film starting at 4:17)
The Dillards and Maggie Peterson: "There Is a Time" (from The Andy Griffith Show):
"Chove Chuva" performed by Miriam Makeba, Sivuca, Leopoldo Fleming, Jr. and William Salter...perhaps cheating a bit since this from a concert for Swedish television, but I think I'll forgive myself...
"Unsquare Dance" by the Brubeck Quartet featuring Joe Morello (used as the opening theme to Emma Thompson's series Thompson as well as providing the soundtrack to this number taken from an Australian concert program, The Craven Filter Special):
Charles Mingus in Mingus: Charles Mingus 1968 (a documentary)
This book has been addressed previously, in one or another of its various editions, in the "Forgotten" Books roundelay by at least two reviewers, but I haven't taken my informal but discrete swipe at this wonderful book, yet, which among other things includes one of the three stories I first think of when I think of Christmas horror fiction...the other two being, unsurprisingly, A Christmas Carol and Donald Westlake's "Nackles"...but "On the Hills and Everywhere" might be even more triumphal than the Dickens...as well as as much rooted in folklore and as seamlessly integrating its original elements as the "Curt Clark" short story.
· Then I Wasn’t Alone · vi F&SF Mar ’62; Wonder as I Wander, gp
· Shiver in the Pines · ss F&SF Feb ’55
· You Know the Tale of Hoph · vi F&SF Mar ’62; Wonder as I Wander, gp
· Old Devlins Was A-Waiting · ss F&SF Feb ’57
· Find the Place Yourself · vi F&SF Mar ’62; Wonder as I Wander, gp
· The Desrick on Yandro · ss F&SF Jun ’52
· The Stars Down There · vi F&SF Mar ’62; Wonder as I Wander, gp
· Vandy, Vandy · ss F&SF Mar ’53
· Blue Monkey · vi F&SF Mar ’62; Wonder as I Wander, gp
· Dumb Supper [“Call Me from the Valley”] · ss F&SF Mar ’54
· I Can’t Claim That · vi F&SF Mar ’62; Wonder as I Wander, gp
· The Little Black Train · ss F&SF Aug ’54
· Who Else Could I Count On · vi F&SF Mar ’62; Wonder as I Wander, gp
· Walk Like a Mountain · ss F&SF Jun ’55
· None Wiser for the Trip · vi *
· On the Hills and Everywhere · ss F&SF Jan ’56
· Nary Spell · vi *
· Nine Yards of Other Cloth · ss F&SF Nov ’58
Lee Brown Coye's cover for the Arkham House 1st edition
John, or John the Balladeer, or Silver John, a wandering collector of folk songs (and as such, a deft recasting of the minstrels of the past and various sorts of historical fiction) in Appalachia, also spends more than a little of his time and effort in confronting supernatural (and some natural) evils and injustices, and helping the people he meets, in the mountain communities he passes through, vanquish, when possible, these troubles. The stories thus cast John, whose surname is never given, as a sort of psychic detective and troubleshooter, a knight errant as well as minstrel, in the often isolated communities of the mid-century present day in which the stories were set and written...albeit communities where not too much has changed since, say, West Virginia separated from the Old Dominion during the Civil War, to stay with the union and Not make common cause with the would-be aristocrats of the eastern and southern counties. The magical properties of silver, as in the strings of his guitar, play no small part in many of the stories collected here.
John was not the first series character of his sort Wellman wrote about...to Weird Tales (and its short-lived competitor Strange Stories), Wellman had contributed fiction about the not too dissimilar Judge Pursuivant and John Thunstone, and when Wellman toward the end of his career began writing short novels about John the Balladeer (five were published), he also wrote two about Thunstone. But it was John, who began his adventures in the pages of the then-new The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction (after two sort-of proto-John stories for Weird Tales, which the "Planet Stories" edition includes), wherein Wellman was most elegantly able to bring together his passion for history, folklore (and particularly that dealing with the supernatural), music and the culture of his adopted homeland of North Carolina (albeit he was a fixture of Chapel Hill, not, on balance, the most Appalachian of NC cities). I haven't read all his work (I particularly look forward to some of his folklore-collection and historical nonfiction), but these are masterpieces among his contributions, which also included further fantasy (folkloric and otherwise), historical fiction (western and otherwise) and science fiction.
As demonstrated here, there have been a number of editions of this volume (many augmented by the addition of later or earlier stories or related matter), after its initial publication by Arkham House in 1963. The first paperback, Ballantine's, ludicrously plasters "science fiction" across the cover, in the hope in those days before the consistent popularity of Tolkien and Stephen King that some readers might take a flier on a collection of horror and dark fantasy stories. That's the first edition I picked up, as well, in the late '70s, since even though the amateurish if well-intentioned film Who Fears the Devil? (aka The Legend of Hillbilly John) had been (barely) released in the early '70s, the book had not yet been given the relatively consistent in-print status it has achieved since. The shortlived Dell Fantasy line got it out not too long after I picked up my copy, and Karl Edward Wagner, who became a great friend and editor/publisher of Wellman, wrote the introduction to the first "augmented" edition (newer stories added), from Baen Books, John the Balladeer.
Owls Hoot in the Daytime and Other Omens (Night Shade, 2003) was the final book in John Pelan's five-volume selected short fiction set of Wellman's work, published after his death and furthering what Wagner and his fellow Wellman acolyte David Drake had done with their 1973 Carcosa House omnibus of Wellman short fiction, Worse Things Waiting and, in 1981, Carcosa following that with Lonely Vigils, which collected stories of Pursuivant, Thunstone and one about another such explorer, Nathan Enderby. Owls is the volume devoted to the stories of John, and includes Karl Wagner's introduction and an afterword by Wagner's predecessor as editor of The Year's Best Horror Stories, Gerald W. Page.
In the comments after George Kelley's FFB entry for this edition, Paizo Press editor Pierce Watters notes that this volume of the "Planet Stories" series of reprints (named after, and using the last logo from, the important sf adventure magazine of the 1940s and '50s), this was his favorite...of course, it was also the one with the least to do with that magazine or its legacy, as well, though Wellman did write some space opera and other sfnal adventure fiction during his career; his most famous sf work being the novella "Twice in Time". Wagner's introduction to John the Balladeer is reprinted here, with a new intro by Mike Resnick.
And...Syndicated to public stations, beginning Saturday, 3pm ET:
One week after the devastation at Sandy Hook Elementary School, numerous
questions remain regarding the events that led up to this unthinkable
catastrophe. Many of the issues have become all too familiar, and the
questions seem to be asked after every similar national tragedy.
television will address community issues and concerns and seek out
answers by further delving into key topics stemming from recent events
with What Next After Newtown: What Our Country and Communities Can Do,
airing Saturday, December 22, 2012 at 3:00 p.m. (Check local listings.)
The three-hour special, from WLIW/WNET,
provides an in-depth analysis of issues featuring a variety of
perspectives in an effort to spark a nationwide conversation about
The event will be offered to public television stations by WLIW/WNET.
"This is a profoundly difficult topic that has hit our community very close to home," says WNET
President and CEO Neal Shapiro. "We felt we could play a valuable role
in advancing a thoughtful discussion about healing and changing by
taking an in-depth look at some of the key issues being discussed in
this tragedy's aftermath."
Expanding on the discussions brought forth from the PBS
special After Newtown airing on Friday, December 20, What Next After
Newtown fully investigates the vital concerns raised by the recent
tragedies via six half-hour segments. The segments, which will include
an optional local insert produced by the individual stations that choose
to run the special, address a range of important topics that weigh
heavily on the country and look deeply into the individual issues,
exploring what they mean for the nation, for families, schools, and
communities. (Stations have the flexibility to air all or part of the
The segment topics include:
Accessibility of weapons
Violence in the media
Talking to children and finding a path to healing
Public policy and mental illness
The mind of troubled shooters
to Know co-hosts Jeff Greenfield and Maria Hinojosa, and Nightly
Business Report co-anchor Susie Gharib will serve as co-anchors for the
special event with other prominent newscasters to be announced.
The program will be live-streamed to national audiences at PBS.org/afternewtown and will be available after broadcast. Viewers can learn more about the issues discussed on PBS programs at the website and are also encouraged to join the national conversation by using the Twitter hashtag #AfterNewtown.
Neal Shapiro. Senior Executive Producer: Diane Masciale. Executive
Producers: Mary Lockhart and Sally Garner.
What Next After Newtown: What Our Country and Communities Can Do is a production of WLIW/ WNET in New York.
The World network (usually on the secondary or tertiary digital broadcast feeds of your local PBS station group) has announced Thursday their schedule for running both programs:
The 60 min. special AFTER NEWTOWN
will air on WORLD on Sat, 12/22 at the times listed below. Please also see
notes about eliminated breaks in italics.
Sat, 12/22/12 06:00:00-07:00:00 EST AFTER NEWTOWN (Replaces INSIDE
WASHINGTON #2436 and WASHINGTON WEEK #5225)
Sat, 12/22/12 14:00:00-15:00:00 EST AFTER NEWTOWN (Replaces NEED
TO KNOW #267 and INSIDE WASHINGTON #2436)
Sat, 12/22/12 20:00:00-21:00:00 EST AFTER NEWTOWN
(Replaces WASHINGTON WEEK #5225 and MCLAUGHLIN GROUP #3052)
3-hour special WHAT NEXT AFTER NEWTOWN: WHAT OUR COUNTRY AND COMMUNITIES CAN DO
will air on WORLD on Sat, 12/22 at the times listed below.
Sat, 12/22/12 21:00:00-24:00:00 EST WHAT NEXT AFTER NEWTOWN:
WHAT OUR COUNTRY AND COMMUNITIES CAN DO (Replaces NEED TO KNOW
#267, INSIDE WASHINGTON #2436 and PARIS THE LUMINOUS YEARS)
Sat, 12/22/12 26:00:00-29:00:00 EST WHAT NEXT AFTER NEWTOWN:
WHAT OUR COUNTRY AND COMMUNITIES CAN DO (aka 12/23 @ 02:00 EST)
(Replaces MCLAUGHLIN GROUP #3052, NEED TO KNOW #267 and PARIS
THE LUMINOUS YEARS)