12-18-03: A Prime Tyrant
Michael Cisco's New Novel from Prime Books
the joy of getting some books is hard to convey in writing. Yesterday,
my copy of Michael Cisco's 'The Tyrant' arrived from Prime.
It's almost too beautiful to be believed. Readers know that I've been
a fan of Harry Morris since I first saw the Morris/Potter illustrations
in the iconic Scream/Press edition of 'Books of Blood I-III'. It holds
a prize place on my shelves. Morris followed this up with his work
for John Shirley's collection
for Scream/Press, 'Heatseeker'.
12-17-03: Come What May, Heirs of Earth, Your Cheese is MINE!
Julian May Conquers Again
Even though many
might be inclined to think that the thrust of this website and column
is science fiction, there are lots of revered authors
of whom I have no knowledge simply becaue I never manage to fit their
books in a schedule over-filled with books I know I'll enjoy. Julian
May is in the forefront of this group. 'The Many-Colored Land'
its follow-ups are widely regarded as a masterwork and one of the best
all-time novels of science fiction. It came out during that era when
science fiction was anathema to me, and it's never made it into my
reading queue, mostly by virtue of the fact that time is finite while
books are not. You might have thought it was the other way around.
That's not the case.
When you get two
guys writing novels, apparently, you can put them out twice as fast.
'Heirs of Earth' by Sean Williams and Shane Dix is the third in a
series that's been slowly getting more and more interesting to me.
Every single damn one of these books -- and this is the third
by the sound of it is going to be more than trilogy -- sounds better
and better. You get yourself here an Earth blowed-up because humanity
didn't know how to use the toys given to it by Alien benefactors known
as the Spinners.
12-15-03: Corbett's NYT Notable Novel, Shirley Expands Hell on Earth, Simon & Pelecanos Walk 'The Wire'
'Done for a Dime' selected as an NYT Notable Novel
|Corbett's next award-winning novel.|
For reasons both utterly obvious and rather beyond
me, the NYT holds the publishing world in a grip tight
enough to be illegal in some states. That being true,
it is nice to see them recognize some authors that I
enjoy. But enjoyment is only the beginning of the spectrum
for David Corbett's work. We all enjoy great reading
but there's an additional charge you get when you can
sense classics in the making. Corbett first novel, 'The
Devil's Redhead' was up for all sorts of awards -- an
influence which we'll be discussing later this week
-- and his second novel, 'Done
for a Dime' was chosen
for a New York Times Notable Book of the year commendation.
Here's what the NYT had to say:
" DONE FOR A DIME. By David Corbett. (Ballantine) The death of an old jazz musician, the axman for legends like Bobby Blue Bland and King Curtis, sounds the blue note of this dazzling novel, narrated in the blunt and vigorous idiom of California noir but full of compassion for marginal people whose rights are trampled upon by power brokers."
" Blunt and vigorous," says Corbett himself. "That's me all over."
It's really great to see the behemoth get all cozy as regards genre fiction. Clearly, they read Chabon's introduction to mumblemumble"Thrilling Tales"mumblemumble? (Sorry, I can't read all the small type on the spine from here.) It's now OK to like genre fiction. It's all better. Not all literature is required to focus on the contemplatory moment of personal revelation. In fact, and this is shocking -- you might even find such a moment in genre fiction! But I'm glad to see that the NYT is full of compassion for marginal genres whose rights have been trampled on by power brokers. Really!
Since there's a chance you may not have bought this book yet, let me suggest you take a moment to listen to David Corbett's interview, in MP3 or RealAudio format. He is so smart and so interesting, I suspect that most readers will be ordering his books online before they've finished listening to the interview. As the book vendors say, one to watch.
Shirley Expands Hell on Earth
|Del Rey's expanded version of John Shirley's 'Demons'.|
Simon & Pelecanos Walk 'The Wire'
|Make sure this gets in your collection.|
Friday night, I watched my first episode of an HBO series called 'The
Wire'. While I'm not usually one to recommend such material, 'The Wire'
has a literary heritage that makes of particular interest to my readers.
The series is executive produced by David Simon, whose book 'Homicide'
became the basis for a (to my mind) botched TV series. Be that as it may,
the book itself is without doubt a classic work of true crime writing,
and should be required reading for all mystery readers and writers. David
Corbett mentioned it prominently in his interview, and I'll be providing
a review of the book later today.
First published in 1991, it won an Edgar award. A very good condition first edition will set you back anywhere between $28 and $85. There's a mass market paperback available as well. Here's the setup: in 1988, David Simon spent a year as a "fly on the wall" of Baltimore's homicide unit. He manages to rope his experience into 600 page book that reads like a novel. There's no doubt that this is an essential books for those who ready mystery fiction, and also for those (like author Douglas Coupland -- check out his interview in MP3 or RealAudio format), who are addicted to "the Law & Order channel." It will make a perfect holiday gift for someone who wants to spend the new year on the killing streets.
|HBO's 'The Wire' features writing by writers.|