12-13-03: Prolific Greens and Custer's Next Stand
The Annual DeathStalker Return
Most authors get
by on a one-novel-per-year schedule. It's like a migration pattern.
Then there are those like Simon R. Green. Here's a guy who has released
wonderful little paperbacks this year in a new series, 'Something
from the Nightside' and the sequel 'Agents
of Light and Darkness'. That
would be more than enough for many a writer. But not for Green. In
fact, the books of his I particularly enjoy, these little supernatural
mystery outings are only a sideline. His mainstay series is 'Deathstalker' & son,
a sort-of 'Star Wars' type shtick with big heroes fighting bigger evil.
You've got spaceships, laser guns, all the usual World War Two and
Medieval implants re-tooled for a "future" that involves
tight trousers and anti-grav cleavage.
Custer's Next Stand
12-11-03: Lethem Makes NYT List
The Fortress of Solitude is selected Editor's Choice of 2003 by the New York Times
As the year winds
up, so too, do the prizes. There are so many prizes that I remotely
care about -- and this is a filtered down list -- that
my spreadsheet hit 150+ rows. I was pretty sure that Jonathan Lethem's
new novel, 'The
Fortress of Solitude' would win something somewhere
-- it's a beautiful, massive, imaginative literary masterpiece. So
here's the first folks to pop the cork for Lethem, the New York Times.
It took me for frickin' ever to find the article on line, and then
I had to go through the odious and ominous "We take your privacy
seriously -- we promise only to sell your information to every spammer
with a shitload of money" registration form; only to find out
the name I chose had already been taken (by me!). So I took a stab
at my password, and lucky me, lo and behold I was right.
12-10-03: Pelevin, Wells & Roth
Biting Satire from Talking Mosquitoes, the Reading Habits of 12 Year-Old Kingsley Amis, Philip Roth's Lost Satire and Indecisive Book-Buyers
It was seven months ago that Ira Sher, author of 'Gentlemen
recommended to me an author named Victor Pelevin. I was looking for
any Pelecanos I could find at Logos books in Santa Cruz, and I stumbled
across this short novel by the author and nabbed it.
But I passed both
of them up, left and then returned. Upon my return, I passed the
R section and there saw something I'd actually been looking for,
a tight, clean first edition of a book I read when I was 14, Philip
Roth's 'Our Gang'. You know, it's the only Roth novel I've ever read.
Yeah, yeah, you'll need to get to the back of a long queue to shoot
me. While you're waiting, enjoy this fine piece of American literature
in it's UK edition. I wonder what those in the UK must have made
of all the fuss surrounding Nixon. I was once a young Republican
who campaigned for Nixon in 1972. I have a distinct memory of one
of my co-workers telling me to play down the Watergate burglary.
The whole deal rather soured me on the politics and the voting process,
and it wasn't until Reagan's second term that I came out of the woodwork
to vote, and then only against him, not particularly for anyone.
And while 'Our Gang' is probably looked upon by Roth's scholars and
fans as one of his lesser books, it had a big impression on me in
terms of the potential for satiric fiction and fictional facts. The
Boy Scout Knife speech still lives in my mind. It just seemed a book
that would fit in thematically with the movie I was about to see,
and I was certainly correct in that assessment.
12-09-03: McMillan, Truluck, Pelecanos & Phillips
Prizes, Prequels, and Paste-Ups
Luck was with me, and Dennis McMillan just sent along images from
his forthcoming limited, beautiful editions of 'Hard Revolution', a
prequel of sorts to the Strange/Quinn trilogy by George Pelecanos and
Scott Phillips 'Cottonwood'. Let's get right to the heart of what's
Without a doubt, the most sought after mystery limited edition of next year is going to be the McMillan edition of George Pelecanos' 'Hard Revolution'. That's because though the story starts with plot points familiar to mystery readers -- small time criminals plan a bank heist -- the background is the weeks before and after the assassination of Martin Luther King.
Dennis McMillan is also a big fan of writer Scott Phillips. Phillips is the author of 'The Ice Harvest' and 'The Walkaway', two noirish novels that have some decent-sounding reviews to their name, as well as McMillan's approbations. With all the turmoil in the publishing world, Phillips isn't exactly getting the Royal Treatment that McMillan feels he deserves, and, as a publisher, McMillan is in a position to do something about this.
So, he's putting
out a most wonderful limited edition of Phillips new novel, 'Cottonwood',
to me like what I would describe as a 'western noir'. According
to McMillan, "It features the great-grandfather of the Willefordian
psychopath Wayne Ogden from THE WALKAWAY, and you can see where
old Wayne got his genetic start on that path of amorality and
12-08-03: Misanthropic Delights, From Abandoned Places to the Boneyard
Readers know that I have an enduring admiration for the artwork of JK Potter. They know this so well that reader Mathew Riley sent me a link to a website that I had to pass on. That's Henk van Rensbergen's 'Abandoned-Places.com' website. I poked around a bit and found a whole lot to like. Van Rensbergen has a wonderful sensibility. As a Misanthropic Youth, I loved wandering about such places, and back in my youth there were plenty of such places to wander about.
will sell you a selection of sizes of the photos
on real photo paper ("no inkjet") for
prices in Euros "(for
USD please convert with the rate of
The prices are reasonable, the images
and Henk's a nice guy. Next lunch hour,
once you've checked
out the news column and the day's reviews,
you can spend some time in Abandoned
ensconced in the
safety of your cubicle.
Boneyard's Sex Crimes
1991, Hart D. Fisher was just another Angry Young
Guy slaving over a drawing board, creating comics
today's young Misanthropes. His grandfather gave him
loan to start a self-publishing venture, and he went
to make a few shekels with comic titles such as 'Dark
Angel' (no relation to the TV series), 'Rectum Errectum'
(the first Russian comic ever printed in America, according
website) and 'Bill the Bull: Burnt Cain'.
Naturally, all these passed me by, and I've got to admit
I'm happy to have missed them, as this sort of thing
is not really my area of interest, though, it would
probably interest one or more of my teenagers. Fisher
really hit it big with a series of comics and books
on Jeffrey Dahmer. Encountering legal opposition from
the families of Dahmer's victims didn't stop him from
publishing 'Jeffrey Dahmer: An Unauthorized Biography
of a Serial Killer', 'The Further Adventures of Young
Jeffy Dahmer', 'Dahmers Zombie Squad', and the
best seller, 'Jeffery Dahmer Vs. Jesus Christ'.
Boneyard is publishing a fiction anthology that does
include some authors we really like. Yes, the call
for submissions for 'Sex Crimes' did say "We're
looking for a few sick fucks", but the selected
responders include David Schow, Christa Faust and
Wayne Allen Sallee. You also get Bernie Wrightson
no additional cost! It's interesting to see the world
of graphic novels and comics spinning towards fiction.
I haven't seen the book itself yet, but the cover
treatment certainly looks….lurid. In general,
I am, as today's Misanthropic Youth would say "down
Alas, I'm certainly long past youth. But not misanthropy.