Here's the obit he wrote for himself, as he could see the end, with bladder cancer:
Thursday, September 16, 2021
Wednesday, September 15, 2021
short stories by Eudora Welty, Robert M. Coates, James Still, and Edita Morris, from THE WORLD WITHIN: FICTION ILLUMINATING NEUROSES OF OUR TIME edited by Mary Louise Aswell (with commentary by Frederic Wertham[!]) (Whittlesey House/McGraw-Hill 1947): Short Story Wednesday
Foreword: The Wing of Madness / Mary Louise Aswell
Introduction: The Dreams that Heal / Frederic Wertham
The Story of Serapion / E.T.A. Hoffman (translation uncredited)
Notes from the Underground (excerpt) / Feodor Dostoevsky (translated by Constance Garnett) White Nights and Other Stories Macmillan 1918
The Black Monk / Anton Chekhov (translated by Constance Garnett) Lady with a Dog Macmillan 1917
The Beast in the Jungle / Henry James The Better Sort Scribners 1903
The Orchid and the Bee (excerpt from Cities of the Plain) / Marcel Proust (translated by C. K. Scott Moncrieff) Random House 1936
Metamorphosis / Franz Kafka (translation uncredited)
Silent Snow, Secret Snow / Conrad Aiken The Virginia Quarterly Review October 1932
The Door / E.B. White The New Yorker March 25, 1939
I Am Lazarus / Anna Kavan I Am Lazarus Jonathan Cape 1945
The Headless Hawk / Truman Capote Harper's Bazaar October 1945
Caput mortuum / Edita Morris Harper’s Bazaar June 1941
The Fury / Robert M. Coates The New Yorker August 15 1936
Mrs. Razor / James Still The Atlantic Monthly July 1945 (reprinted in The Pocket Atlantic edited by Edward Weeks, Pocket Books 1946)
Why I Live at the P.O. / Eudora Welty A Curtain of Green Doubleday 1941
Percy Grimm (an excerpt from Light in August)/ William Faulkner Random House 1932
Mary Louise Aswell, fiction editor of Harper's Bazaar and editor of It's A Woman's World, the anthology of fiction from HB a few years earlier (and the subject of an SSW piece a few weeks ago) continued to do some interesting things in anthologies in the coming years, including after leaving the magazine. This theme anthology counts as one of those, mixing as it does various horror and suspense stories with slightly more mundane sorts of psychodrama, with commentary appended, including probably the most famous single short story by Eudora Welty, "Why I Live at the P.O." Revered as an essentially comic piece, Aswell and, of all people, Frederic Wertham take it as indicative of disordered minds at liberty, as opposed to a not too-exaggerated lampoon of how things go in far too many families, albeit this one living in Mississippi and speaking in the patois associated with that state in midcentury. (If one doesn't recall Wertham, he was perhaps among the most consequential of pop-culture psychiatrists in the '50s, most famous for his attack on comic books Seduction of the Innocent, but also one to take the opportunity to add his not always perceptive commentary to a variety of pop-culture and more tightly-focused expression.) James Still's "Mrs. Razor" is even more like a folk-tale, though also even more steeped in the relatively straightforward details of family life in rural Kentucky at the time, wherein an imaginative, perhaps obsessive little girl imagines herself the bereft wife of a man named Razor, and her parents choose to let her play out the bit of tragedy to get it out of her system. Robert Coates's "The Fury" deals relatively straightforwardly with a man who finds himself tempted by the "wanton" women and particularly girls he encounters on a particular day in his walking through the streets of Manhattan...and how this particular set of encounters is resolved, after some of the local adults take note of his behavior. While Edita Morris's "Caput Mortuum" takes the form of a reverie between father and daughters, and is somewhat less sinister, but not lacking in sorrow, as he recounts the happier (through the haze) days of the past between a then clearly alcoholic man and his similarly-afflicted wife and his daughters' mother...this story is closest to taking the form of a fable to make its point.
As one might note from the balance of the contents, in large part a mix of chestnuts and landmarks of literature, probably for the most part at least as familiar to readers now as they were 3/4 of a century ago, along with work now relatively obscure. It's a book swinging for the fences, and while rather over-earnest while striving for its goal, does manage to gather an impressive mix of fiction in doing so.
For more of this week's Short Story Wednesday entries, please see Patti Abbott's blog.
Wednesday, September 8, 2021
stories by Kurt Vonnegut, Robert Bloch, Fritz Leiber, Avram Davidson, Rosel George Brown, Fredric Brown, Frederik Pohl & C. M. Kornbluth, Eric Frank Russell, et al; columns by Asimov, Bester, Moskowitz: FANTASTIC August 1960, edited by Cele Goldsmith Lalli; THE MAGAZINE OF FANTASY AND SCIENCE FICTION October 1961, edited by Robert P. Mills: Short Story Wednesday
Off the shelf--from six decades ago, and featuring some of the more-admired stories of Vonnegut and Bloch, and "rare" stories by similarly notable writers...
- 5 · Editorial · Norman Lobsenz · ed
- 6 · The World-Timer · Robert Bloch · nv
- 33 · Rats of Limbo · Fritz Leiber · vi
- 36 · Shiel and Heard: The Neglected Thinkers of SF · Sam Moskowitz · bg [Ref. M. P. Shiel & H. F. Heard]
- 52 · This One’s on Me · Eric Frank Russell · ss Nebula Science Fiction #4, Autumn 1953
- 59 · The Crime of Mr. Sauer · Arthur Porges · ss
- 65 · The House · Fredric Brown · vi
- 68 · The Crispin Affair [Part 2 of 2] · Jack Sharkey · n.
- 114 · Impressionist · Robert F. Young · ss
- 119 · According to You... · the Readers · letter column (in this issue including letters from Ed Meskys, Jerry/Gerald W. Page, Bill Plott and Al Lewis [not the actor])
- 4 · In This Issue.../Coming Soon... · Robert P. Mills ed/house ad
- 5 · Harrison Bergeron · Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. · ss
- 11 · The Ultimate Sin · Rosel George Brown · ss
- 25 · The Captivity · Charles G. Finney · ss
- 33 · Robert E. Lee at Moscow · Evelyn E. Smith · ss
- 45 · The World of Myrion Flowers · Frederik Pohl & C. M. Kornbluth · ss
- 51 · The Machine That Won the War · Isaac Asimov · ss
- 56 · The Other Hand · George Langelaan · ss
- 70 · Science: That’s About the Size of It · Isaac Asimov · cl
- 80 • Books (F&SF, October 1961) • [Books (F&SF)] • essay by Alfred Bester
- 80 • Review: The Synthetic Man by Theodore Sturgeon • review by Alfred Bester
- 80 • Review: Not Without Sorcery by Theodore Sturgeon • review by Alfred Bester
- 80 • Review: Bypass to Otherness by Henry Kuttner • review by Alfred Bester
- 81 • Review: Triangle by Isaac Asimov • review by Alfred Bester
- 81 • Review: The Lovers by Philip José Farmer • review by Alfred Bester
- 81 • Review: The Big Time by Fritz Leiber • review by Alfred Bester
- 81 • Review: The Mind Spider and Other Stories by Fritz Leiber • review by Alfred Bester
- 82 • Review: Slan by A. E. van Vogt • review by Alfred Bester
- 82 • Review: Trouble with Lichen by John Wyndham • review by Alfred Bester
- 82 • Review: The Edge of Tomorrow by Howard Fast • review by Alfred Bester
- 82 • Review: So Close to Home by James Blish • review by Alfred Bester
- 83 • Review: Skyport by Curt Siodmak • review by Alfred Bester
- 83 • Review: He Owned the World by Charles Eric Maine • review by Alfred Bester
- 83 • Review: The Green Rain by Paul Tabori • review by Alfred Bester
- 83 • Review: Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea by Theodore Sturgeon • review by Alfred Bester
- 84 · The Vat · Avram Davidson · vi
- 87 · Through Time and Space with Ferdinand Feghoot: XLIV · Grendel Briarton · vi
- 88 · Naked to the Stars [Part 1 of 2] · Gordon R. Dickson · na
Wednesday, September 1, 2021
Stephen Gallagher: "The Governess: A Professor Challenger Story as told by Mr. Edward Malone..." (2020 chapbook) Brooligan Press: a Short Story Wednesday review
Stephen Gallagher is a deft hand in at least two media, prose and scriptwriting (primarily for television drama), and his Brooligan Press has republished his own work and offered volumes by others, including fiction-writer and film critic Anne Billson, whose novel The Ex had only previously been self-published through CreateSpace (other novels by her had been published by actual publishing houses), as well as having offered some original chapbooks, such as this one. Among his most popular work in both forms has been related to the literary creations and extra-literary career of Arthur Conan Doyle, perhaps most famously The Kingdom of Bones, both as a novel and an episode of Murder Rooms, the British anthology series; this, as the careful annotation above suggests, is a pastiche of Doyle's Professor Challenger and Malone stories, one which doesn't require having read much of the original Challenger stories (I've read perhaps two, and those probably 45 years ago) for enjoyment, though I suspect the enjoyment will be deepened.
Malone approaches Challenger, after Malone's divorce from the older man's daughter, that divorce inspired by Malone's dalliance with another woman that had resulted in a son (Gallagher has Challenger refer to the "illegitimate" child as a "b----" [Gallagher's self-censorship], in the Proper argot of Doyle's early career). Unfortunately, the child has died, and Malone has begun to be haunted...perhaps Challenger can be persuaded to help, for the child's spirit's sake. Thus some dealings with an unsavory mystic (as distinct from the mediums Challenger is more comfortable with) and a rather Dante-esque and cosmic discovery awaits them all, including a meeting with the titular force.
It's great fun, and perches cheerfully at the borders of horror and fantasy, as well as being expert historical pastiche.
The Governess has "repurposed" illustrations appropriate to "its era" by Walter S. Stacy (1846-1929) and, as one admirer noted in an even briefer review, even provides its ads for other Gallagher volumes in the Edwardian style.
For more of this week's short stories, please see Patti Abbott's blog.