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Reading for pleasure Issue 3

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Reading for pleasure
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* R E A D I N G F O R P L E A S U R E *
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* Issue #3 *
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* July 1989 *
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* Editor: Cindy Bartorillo *
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CONTACT US AT: Reading For Pleasure, c/o Cindy Bartorillo, 1819 Millstream Drive, Frederick, MD 21701; or on CompuServe leave a message to 74766,1206; or on GEnie leave mail to C.BARTORILLO; or call our BBS, the BAUDLINE II at 301-694-7108, 1200/2400 8N1.

NOTICE: Reading For Pleasure is not copyrighted, but excerpts from copyrighted material are contained within. When copying or otherwise reproducing any part herein, please give appropriate credit, whether it be to Shakespeare or Reading For Pleasure.

TABLE OF CONTENTS

  • Editorial
  • What's News
  • Good Reading Periodically
  • Books About Books:
    • Two-Bit Culture
    • Christopher Morley
    • Fiction Into Film: 84 Charing Cross Road
    • Assorted References
    • Bibliomysteries

  • Received:
    • DEEP QUARRY
    • July Birthdays

  • Featured Author:
    • Harlan Ellison
    • Number One Fan
    • Trivia Quiz
    • Trivia Answers

CONTRIBUTIONS: We're just ecstatic when we get contributions. Of course we can't pay, but if you'd like to send us a paragraph or two (or even an article), we'd be delighted. Any book-related ideas or opinions are suitable. See masthead for addresses.

Send books for review to Reading For Pleasure, c/o Cindy Bartorillo, 1819 Millstream Drive, Frederick, MD 21701

It is a writer's obligation to his craft to go to bed angry, and to rise up angrier the next day. To fight for the words because, at final moments, that's all a writer has to prove his right to exist as a spokesman for his times.

--Harlan Ellison, "Somehow, I Don't Think We're In Kansas, Toto" (STALKING THE NIGHTMARE)

EDITORIAL

It's one thing to like to read, but when you're obsessive enough to like to read Books About Books, you're beyond all help. Like me. Fortunately, we're not alone, and this month we take a look at a few of the nice people who are feeding our addiction. May you enjoy reading this issue as much as we enjoyed putting it together. Oh, yes, one other point...

The big news this month is the print version of Reading For Pleasure. We've been playing around with some desktop publishing software and have managed to produce a rather nice printed copy of this issue, which is being given out at The Little Shop of Books here in Frederick, MD.

If you'd like to get a copy of the print edition, just write (see masthead for addresses) and tell us your name and address. Copies will be distributed, free of charge, to the limits of our bank balance. We appreciate your appreciation.

Hope you find a lot of good reading in this issue, and a lot of titles to add to your reading list. See you next month.

*-Cindy

A beautifully designed book catalog, chock-full of good reading, can be had from Cahill & Company, 950 North Shore Drive, Lake Bluff, IL 60044. Fascinating selections for Readers, and also good for gift giving.

TRIVIA QUIZ

  1. Christopher Morley founded a group dedicated to studying a some mysteries from England. What was (is) the name of the group?
  2. Harlan Ellison filed suit (and won) to get credit (and money) for the original concept of what hit movie?
  3. What was the first American novel to sell 1,000,000 copies?
  4. Who said: "To be, or not to be"?
  5. When Harlan Ellison feels his screenplay has been corrupted, what pseudonym does he use in the screen credits?
  6. Who was the boy who didn't want to grow up?
  7. King Arthur was notable for, among other things, having a sword that actually had a name. What was the sword's name?
  8. Who wrote MEIN KAMPF?
  9. Harlan Ellison has publicly admitted to one, and only one, phobia. What is he afraid of?
  10. The real-life adventures of Alexander Selkirk became what classic novel?

If you don't know about QPBC (Quality Paperback Book Club), you certainly should. This is one fantastic club for Readers. Their selections strike a wonderful middle ground between the Judith Krantz-types of the Doubleday Bargain Book Club and the pretentious Book-of-the-Month Club. QPBC simply has great taste in books, and the blurbs in their monthly mailing are mouth- watering. They manage to find the unusual; the book that is worth your attention but that you've probably never heard of before. One of my first purchases was AFTER THE FACT: The Art of Historical Detection by James West Davidson and Mark Hamilton Lytle. I'd never heard of this book, but the description just sounded good, and it turned out to be one of the best books I'd read all year. Since then QPBC has introduced me to many books I would otherwise have missed. There are no negatives with this company: the books are good-quality editions, the service is the absolute best, and the prices are great. You'll find their ads in a lot of the better magazines, and if you're in the market for a book club, you can't do better than QPBC.


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Let us know if you have a copy of THE QUEST FOR THE WHITE DUCK by Lionel Fenn that you'd be willing to sell.

Have a particular book that you're looking to buy? Let us list it here, along with your name and address.

WHAT'S NEWS

  • The latest word I've gotten is that the elusive unexpurgated version of Stephen King's THE STAND is due "sometime next year" from Doubleday. You see, this book was published back when SK still had to listen to editors, and they "edited" a significant portion of his book right out. Now he's got the clout to have the thing published in the original author-intended form, so that's what we're gonna get.
  • I just heard about The 1989 Australian SF Achievement Awards. Best International Fiction: SEVENTH SON by Orson Scott Card; Australian Long Fiction: STRIPED HOLES by Damien Broderick; Australian Short Fiction: "My Lady Tongue" by Lucy Sussex; Fanzine: GET STUFFED edited by Jacob Blake; Fan Writer: Bruce Gillespie; Fan Artist: Ian Gunn; William Atheling Award: Russell Blackford (for articles in Australian SF Review).
  • The latest SATANIC VERSES story: A French magazine, L'Idiot International, wanted to distribute a copy of the book with their next issue, so they printed up 50,000 copies. This was very disturbing to Christian Bourgois, the publisher who holds the French rights to the novel, who complained and got the 50,000 volumes confiscated.
  • Bob Hope, along with coauthor Melville Shavelson (who wrote for Hope on radio), has signed a seven-figure deal for the hard/soft rights with Putnam/Berkley for BOB HOPE'S COMEDY HISTORY OF THE UNITED STATES.
  • Reviews have been just great for THE LODESTAR by Pamela Belle. This is a novel about Richard III, set against the backdrop of the Wars of the Roses (whose reputation for dullness is totally undeserved). This book should appeal to Historical fans, Richard III fanatics (Ms. Belle is pro-Richard), as well as bringing in readers from outside the genre who simply like good fiction. Due out this month ($19.95) from St. Martin's.
  • In case you've forgotten, Martin Cruz Smith's sequel to GORKY PARK comes out this month from Random House. It's $19.95 and it's called POLAR STAR. Publisher's Weekly says it's "mesmerizing, the work of a hugely gifted writer". It'll be out in paperback eventually, of course, and $19.95 is a lot of money, but this one is going to be tough to pass up this month.
  • The World Fantasy Convention, held every year during the last weekend of October, will be at the Sheraton Hotel & Towers in Seattle this year. Guests will be Ursula K. LeGuin, S.P. Somtow, Robert R. McCammon, and Avram Davidson. Toastmaster will be Ginjer Buchanan. The convention address is Box 31815, Seattle, WA 98103.
  • Who got to the North Pole first: Robert Peary or Frederick Cook? Did either of them EVER get to the North Pole? If you've been following the controversy in the last few years you might want to read Wally Herbert's THE NOOSE OF LAURELS: Robert E. Peary and the Race to the North Pole (this month, $24.95 from Atheneum).
  • The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction has got a big 40th anniversary issue coming us with over 200 pages, and new stories by Disch, Ballard, Silverberg, Wolfe, Aldiss, Shepard, Malzberg, Kim Stanley Robinson, Benford, Budrys, Pohl, and others. Publication date is August 29.
  • Novelist Robert B. Parker and his wife, Joan Parker, paid $1 to Stephen King for nonexclusive dramatic rights to RAGE, his short novel published under the pseudonym Richard Bachman. They turned it into a play which was to have its premiere in Gloucester, MA, in early March.
  • A book you might want to check out is JOURNEY INTO SPACE: The First Three Decades of Space Exploration by Bruce Murray, the former head of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory. I've heard that the book tells a dramatic story of the exhilaration of the early days, followed by the frustrating descent that ended with the Challenger disaster. It seems that Murray blames NASA for a great deal, and he has very definite ideas about where to go from here. Sounds like good reading for space exploration enthusiasts. Out this month for $19.95 from Norton.
  • You may recall the news item in RFP about a horror anthology being put together by Thomas F. Monteleone (called BORDERLANDS). I wrote to him asking when he expected publication (including an SASE, of course), and received a form letter reply that said: "Please do me and yourself a favor and re-read my market listing/ announcement in Scavengers, Locus, SF Chronicle, or the upcoming HWA Newsletter. I think it's quite clear that BORDERLANDS is an anthology (that is, a book), and therefore not a magazine. Hence, there are no 'sample issues,' okay." Mr. Monteleone must be working too hard.

Therefore, in a fit of pique I won't mention that his new book FANTASMA has been published by Tor for $3.95, and I certainly won't mention that he's a wonderful writer that deserves a wider audience.

  • Remember those four new books Stephen King sold the U.S. hardcover and paperback backs rights to (to Viking/NAL) for around $36 million? Well, I bet you forgot about book club rights, but luckily SK didn't -- they went to Book-of-the-Month Club for around $5 million.
  • The SF Poetry Association has given out the 1988 Rhysling Awards, as follows: Long Poem: "White Trains" by Lucius Shepard; Short Poem: "Rocky Road to Hoe" by Suzette Haden Elgin tied with "The Nightmare Collector" by Bruce Boston. Membership in the SF Poetry Association is $8 a year from 2012 Pyle Road, Schenectady, NY 12303.
  • Edward Abbey, author of THE MONKEY WRENCH GANG and THE BRAVE COWBOY (the book from which the movie LONELY ARE THE BRAVE was made), died March 14 at his home in Oracle, Arizona at the age of 62.
  • In case you missed it, Donald Westlake had a story in the May issue of Playboy Magazine called "Starship Hopeful: Here's Looking at You". I haven't had time to read it yet, but thought you might want to know. By the way, Westlake wrote the screenplay to a terrific non-supernatural horror movie called THE STEPFATHER. You really should see it; literate horror is rare.
  • Little, Brown will soon be publishing a book called THE PESSIMIST'S JOURNAL OF VERY, VERY BAD DAYS by Jess Brallier & Richard McDonough. In keeping with the tone of the book, the authors expect THE PESSIMIST'S JOURNAL to bomb. Further, they expect "printing problems, binding problems, shipping problems, returns higher than sales, lawsuits and a general loss of standing in the community." Little, Brown is "planning Pessimist Dozen pre-packs of 11 copies, a large first printing, promotion to the trade and a 'Have a Bad Day' point-of-sale display."

What I'm telling you is that the bookseller is a public servant. He ought to be pensioned by the state.

--Christopher Morley, THE HAUNTED BOOKSHOP

See a mistake? Please let us know.

GOOD READING PERIODICALLY

INSIDE BOOKS is rather like PEOPLE magazine for readers. The pages are slick and so is the writing. There are lots of pictures and the paragraphs are short. The up side is that there is a lot of good information presented in a easily consumable style and format. Let's face it, we don't want to read THE AMERICAN SCHOLAR all the time. Sometimes superficial is just right.

Take, for instance, the author interviews. They're short, shallow, and usually manage to bring out a few intriguing facts about the author or the author's recent book. That's their job, you know -- selling books (that's why the publishers and author play ball with them). But if the material is interesting, why should we care? And, in fact, the writing in INSIDE BOOKS occasionally sparkles. The May issue called Douglas Adams (HITCHHIKER'S GUIDE TO THE GALAXY, etc.) "hideously rich", which I think is a lovely way to express the idea.

INSIDE BOOKS is $2.50 per monthly issue, or $19.95 for one year's subscription, $35.95 for two years. Call 305-759-5500 or write INSIDE BOOKS, P.O. Box 370773, Miami, FL 33137. Or just get an issue at the newsstand and use one of the 36 subscription blow-in cards that almost all magazines use nowadays.

If you send $9.95 to PAPERBACK PREVIEWS, P.O. Box 8368, Albuquerque, NM 87198, they'll send you one year of their monthly newspaper. Each issue contains a list of, I believe, ALL of the paperback releases for that month. Each listing (except for the numbered romances) has a good-sized blurb about the plot to help you make informed decisions. You can order any book listed, but they don't twist your arm. It's perfectly OK to simply pay your $9.95 each year for PAPERBACK PREVIEWS and never order a thing, as we do. This is a great source of information for paperback people.

Amateur Writers: We are soliciting short fiction and poetry for a first Reading For Pleasure Anthology. No pay, but your words will travel coast to coast.

TWO-BIT CULTURE: The Paperbacking of America

by Kenneth C. Davis
(Houghton Mifflin, 1984)


This is a wonderful 400-page read, full of drama, pathos, and not a little humor. As I mentioned somewhere in the last issue, the paperback has significantly changed reading. Now we can have literature, of any sort we like, right in our pocket, carrying our happiness around with us. Now here's TWO-BIT CULTURE to explain just how this revolution happened.

Contained within are the stories of the major publishing houses as well as those of the people behind them. What reader could resist this trip down memory lane? Remember Dr. Spock? Remember Grace Metalious? Mr. Davis also gives attention to "The Great Contradiction" -- meaning his title. You see, the unwashed masses don't want, wouldn't know what to do with, culture. What's the point of putting good literature into an affordable format when all the public wants is garbage? Isn't, therefore, anything published in paperback by definition garbage? If you're over 30, you know this song by heart. Since you're still a reader, you've obviously matured enough to know that good literature DOES sell (or should I say CAN sell) and that good is good no matter what package it comes in. Cover art is also discussed, with numerous full-page black and white reproductions of old paperback covers.

One more thing. In the back of the book is a list that Mr. Davis calls "Fifty Paperbacks that Changed America". Actually there are 50 in the main list with 35 Honorable Mentions. Together, these books would make an excellent education in Modern Western Civilization, a superb reading list for anyone who wants to know how we got where we are today. I can heartily recommend TWO-BIT CULTURE, a good tale well-told.

Send conventional mail to: Reading For Pleasure, c/o Cindy Bartorillo, 1819 Millstream Drive, Frederick, MD 21701

JAMES THURBER: Even when old and blind he stuck to his habits.

He had an affair with a NEW YORKER secretary, but his blindness made for tactical problems. He had to rely on one of the magazine's office boys to lead him about; as his run of bad luck would have it, the office boy assigned to him was eighteen-year-old Truman Capote. "I worked as a boy in the Art Department then," Capote recalled, "and one of my jobs was to take Thurber to his girlfriend's apartment. She was as ugly as sin, so it served him right. I would have to wait for him at the apartment till he was finished, and then I'd dress him. He could undress by himself but he couldn't dress by himself, couldn't even cross the street by himself. Now since Helen Thurber would dress him in the morning, she knew how he looked. Well, one time I put his socks on the wrong side out, and when he got home, I gather Helen asked him a lot of questions. The next day, Thurber was furious at me--he said I did it on purpose..."

--Burton Bernstein, THURBER, 1975

(This is an excerpt from THE OXFORD BOOK OF AMERICAN LITERARY ANECDOTES edited by Donald Hall, Oxford University Press, 1981)

PARNASSUS ON WHEELS and THE HAUNTED BOOKSHOP

by Christopher Morley


Real bibliophiles are rare, which makes Christopher Morley a name you should know. In his PARNASSUS ON WHEELS and THE HAUNTED BOOKSHOP you can spend some time with Roger Mifflin, probably a not-very-well-disguised version of Christopher Morley himself, a man who knows all about the love of literature. In the first book, published in 1917, Roger Mifflin meets Helen McGill when he sells her his used-book-store-on-wheels that he calls Parnassus. You needn't head for the dictionary: a Parnassus is a center of poetic or artistic activity. At the end of the story they marry.

In THE HAUNTED BOOKSHOP Roger and Helen have retired Parnassus and are the proprietors of a more conventional bookstore in Brooklyn, haunted, as the title says, by the ghosts of great literature. The story takes place in 1918, shortly after the end of World War I, which figures prominently in the plot. The best parts of this volume are, once again, the pages where Roger Miflin holds forth on his relationship with books and bookselling.

Both books are gentle stories, reminders of a day long gone. The Mifflin's traveling Parnassus is, after all, drawn by a horse, not horsepower; and at one point in THE HAUNTED BOOKSHOP, Roger places a long distance call from Philadelphia to Brooklyn and must wait 25 minutes to get a connection. Yes, 1918 was a very long time ago, when life was lived at a slower pace and there was time for the enjoyment of literature. Nowadays reading time can be difficult to come by.

Christopher Morley was an obvious candidate for discoursing on, as he calls it, "the delights of bookishness". He was born in Pennsylvania and studied at Oxford as a Rhodes Scholar. He was one of the founders of The Saturday Review of Literature and an expert on Sherlock Holmes. And, even though he wrote over fifty books, he is best remembered today for only two: THUNDER ON THE LEFT (1925) and KITTY FOYLE (1939); and if you don't remember even those two you're in good company. The two Mifflin novels, from his early period, are unjustly forgotten.

Morley sprinkles literary allusions throughout his stories, as well as direct quotations from all kinds of literature, so he's a real education in what was considered significant in the early years of this century. I've been wondering if Roger Mifflin was any relation to Houghton Mifflin. You'll also learn a few new words if you keep an open mind, like librocubicularist (one who reads in bed).

Both of these books are out of print, so you'll have to haunt the used-book stores for them, but then that's the way Roger Mifflin would have wanted it.

"Common sense?" he repeated. "Good Lord, ma'am, sense is the most uncommon thing in the world."

--PARNASSUS ON WHEELS


Talkers never write. They go on talking.

--PARNASSUS ON WHEELS


I have always suffered from the feeling that it's better to read a good book than to write a poor one...

--PARNASSUS ON WHEELS


It's a good thing to turn your mind upside down now and then, like an hour-glass, to let the particles run the other way.

--from THE HAUNTED BOOKSHOP

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I genuinely love writing. I consider myself one of the most blessed persons I know: I'm doing just what I want to do, just what all my good and bad karma got stored up for me to do.

--Harlan Ellison, STRANGE WINE

FICTION INTO FILM: 84, CHARING CROSS ROAD

by Helene Hanff
(that's hel-LAIN HANF)


This is just a small collection of letters. That's all. Letters between Helene Hanff and the staff of Marks & Co., Antiquarian Booksellers (in London), from 1949 when Miss Hanff saw their ad in the Saturday Review of Literature (see also the article on Christopher Morley, elsewhere in this issue) to 1969.

Miss Hanff was a TV screenwriter with a taste for old books and the reasonably rare ability to project her personality into a letter. The story that emerges from her correspondence with Frank Doel (DOH-el) and his family and the staff of the bookstore, it's, well, I'm afraid I'm going to have to say -- heartwarming.

Nowadays, of course, if you wrote to a bookstore, it would probably be a chain store and you'd get a computer-generated response that began "Dear Sir or Madam". That's if they responded at all. No, times have changed, and Miss Hanff's book is our last chance to share in a transcontinental friendship built upon the love of good literature. Don't miss it.

The movie is another matter. It's kind of like going to a Broadway theater to have someone sit on the stage and read to you. Very nice, but you wonder why you didn't stay home and read the book yourself. Not that it can't be well done, it just seems unnecesary. 84 CHARING CROSS ROAD, The Movie, IS a nice movie, competently bringing out the sentimental story at the core of the letters.

Anne Bancroft plays Helene Hanff, and does a terrific job. She's almost exactly the woman I knew in the letters. Maybe her voice was a bit more New York than I'd imagined and maybe she was about 40% better looking than I'd pictured, but both of those are pleasant changes (Changes from what I'd imagined, you understand; I don't know what Miss Hanff was really like.).

If there's any real excuse for the movie, it's Anthony Hopkins' portrayal of Frank Doel, because his personality isn't fully revealed in the letters. And the addition of a 3-dimensional Frank Doel changes the story somewhat. The look on his face when he reads that Miss Hanff must pay for dental work with her trip-to-England money -- I hadn't imagined that at all. Also, the movie may be the first time you hear the name Pepys (the guy with the diary) pronounced properly (it's PEEPS).

GONE WITH THE WIND it's not, but if you loved the letters as much as I did, 84 CHARING CROSS ROAD, The Movie, will be a very pleasant two hours.

When you sell a man a book you don't sell him just twelve ounces of paper and ink and glue -- you sell him a whole new life.

--Christopher Morley, PARNASSUS ON WHEELS

ASSORTED REFERENCES

Here are fifteen books to consider for your reference shelf. They'll fill in those gaps in your education and give you a lifetime's worth of reading ideas. They're also great for browsing.

FANTASY: THE 100 BEST BOOKS by James Cawthorn & Michael Moorcock (1988) -- One hundred short essays on significant fantastical works of fiction, ranging from 1726 to 1987. First-rate.

CRIME & MYSTERY: THE 100 BEST BOOKS by H.R.F. Keating (1987) -- Short essays on each of the 100 selections, all written by Keating. This makes for a coherent volume, but is limited by being one man's point of view. Many would argue with his selections, but he justifies them admirably.

HORROR: 100 BEST BOOKS edited by Stephen Jones & Kim Newman (1988) -- Each contributing writer (I believe there are fully 100) contributed a short essay on one significant work of horror, making for a varied and interesting collection.

SCIENCE FICTION: THE 100 BEST NOVELS by David Pringle (1985) -- Another single-viewpoint selection limited to SF from 1949 to 1984, but excellent even with its limitations.

GOOD READING: A Guide for Serious Readers, edited by J. Sherwood Weber (1978) -- The best handbook for the self-educated. Small, easy-to-digest bits on all the great classical and academically- approved modern literature, all sensibly arranged.

MURDER INK / MURDERESS INK both perpetrated by Dilys Winn -- These are for mystery lovers; large collections of articles ranging from serious coverage of a tangential topic to humor to trivia. Both are rather short on hard information, particularly considering their size, but they're fun reading for the mystery buff.

ENCYCLOPEDIA OF MYSTERY & DETECTION by Christ Steinbrunner & Otto Penzler (1976) -- It's now out of date, but for pre-1976 stuff, this is THE mystery reference volume. Covers the authors, the books, the sleuths, movies, TV, everything.

GOOD BOOKS: A Book Lover's Companion by Steven Gilbar (1982) -- What a splendid idea! Oodles of books, all arranged by subject. Decide what you're in the mood for (say, a book about Missouri), then look up a few titles, each with a two- or three-sentence description. Absolute best browsing book ever.

HOW TO READ A BOOK by Mortimer J. Adler & Charles Van Doren (1972) -- First published in 1940, this is an absorbing book for the serious reader. The approach to literature is an old- fashioned academic one, but the ideas are sound; and both authors are fascinating to listen to (or read) when they get on the subject of reading. Apt to be of most help to you with nonfiction.

BENET'S READER'S ENCYCLOPEDIA (1987) -- This is the one big all- around reference to have. Covers terms and famous characters as well as authors and titles. You don't have to know everything as long as you've got your Benet's nearby.

VICTORIAN LIFE AND VICTORIAN FICTION by Jo McMurtry (1979) -- Everything you've ever needed to know to read Victorian fiction. How much is a shilling? What does it mean to be high church? When do you call someone Lord and when do you call them Sir? Every- thing that the contemporary reader was expected to know, and therefore isn't explained in the text. All in readable prose (no, really!). This book fills a genuine need.

THE PENGUIN ENCYCLOPEDIA OF HORROR AND THE SUPERNATURAL edited by Jack Sullivan (1986) -- This is a beautiful volume covering all aspects of the horror field (I particularly liked the pieces on horror music). The coverage is opinionated, but full of good information and reading ideas.

STEPHEN KING: THE ART OF DARKNESS by Douglas E. Winter (updated regularly) -- Yes, I know that the field of Stephen King scholarship is overcrowded, but if you stick to books and essays written by Mr. Winter, you can't go wrong. He is the foremost expert on Stephen King, and is one of the most literate and insightful writers on any aspect of horror fiction.

STEPHEN KING'S DANSE MACABRE (1981) -- Stephen King tells us all about horror; the books, the movies, the radio, the TV, the comics, etc. This is, typically, more like conversation than lecturing. Mr. King is simply one of the most charming writers of our time, and this is an enormously enjoyable volume.

You see, it's like this. I'm a writer. That's not just what I DO, it's what I AM.

--Harlan Ellison, THE GLASS TEAT (16 May 69)

Like Reading For Pleasure? Let us know. We shamelessly solicit all compliments.

MYSTERY DEPARTMENT: BIBLIOMYSTERIES

In keeping with our theme, here is a list of mysteries with a particularly bookish setting. Just a small list to get you started -- Bibliomysteries is a popular sub-genre and there are many, many more.

AuthorTitle
Asimov, IsaacMURDER AT THE ABA
Barnard, RobertTHE CASE OF THE MISSING BRONTE
DEATH OF A LITERARY WIDOW
DEATH OF A MYSTERY WRITER
Beck, CharltonDEATH BY CLUE
Bell, JosephineTREACHERY IN TYPE
Berckman, EvelynTHE HOVERING DARKNESS
Blackburn, JohnBOUND TO KILL
Blake, NicholasEND OF A CHAPTER
Block, LawrenceTHE BURGLAR WHO LIKED TO QUOTE KIPLING
Boucher, AnthonyTHE CASE OF THE BAKER STREET IRREGULARS
Boyd, MarionMURDER IN THE STACKS
Breen, Jon L.THE GATHERING PLACE
Bristow & ManningTHE GUTTENBERG MURDERS
Campbell, R.T.BODIES IN A BOOKSHOP
Candy, EdwardWORDS FOR MURDER, PERHAPS
Carr, John DicksonTHE DEAD MAN'S KNOCK
Clarke, AnnaLAST JUDGMENT
PLOT COUNTER PLOT
THIS DOWNHILL PATH
Collins, Max AlanKILL YOUR DARLINGS
Cross, Amandamany titles
Daly, ElizabethMURDERS IN VOLUME 2
NOTHING CAN RESCUE ME
NIGHT WALK
DeCaire, EdwinDEATH AMONG THE WRITERS
Delving, MichaelSMILING, THE BOY FELL DEAD
Dewey, Thomas B.DRAW THE CURTAIN CLOSE
Dickinson, PeterHINDSIGHT
Dutton, Charles J.MURDER IN A LIBRARY
Dwight, OliviaCLOSE HIS EYES
Eustis, HelenTHE HORIZONTAL MAN
Ferrars, E.X.BREATH OF SUSPENSE
Fisher, David E.KATIE'S TERROR
Forrest, NormanDEATH TOOK A PUBLISHER
Fraser, AntoniaA SPLASH OF RED
Goodrum, Charles A.DEWEY DECIMATED
Goulart, RonA GRAVEYARD OF MY OWN
Grierson, EdwardA CRIME OF ONE'S OWN
Hansen, JosephDEATH CLAIMS
Harriss, WillTHE BAY PSALM BOOK MURDER
Hoch, Edward D.THE SHATTERED RAVEN
Innes, MichaelTHE LONG FAREWELL
THE PAPER THUNDERBOLT
James, P.D.Unnatural Causes
Keeler, Harry S.THE GREEN JADE HAND
Kenney, Susanseveral titles
Kyd, ThomasCOVER HIS FACE
Langton, JaneTHE TRANSCENDENTAL MURDER
Lemarchand, ElizabethSTEP IN THE DARK
Lewis, Roy Harleymany titles
Lockridge, F & RMURDER WITHIN MURDER
Lupoff, RichardTHE COMIC BOOK KILLER
Magoon, CareyI SMELL THE DEVIL
Masur, Harold Q.SEND ANOTHER HEARSE
McCloy, HelenTWO-THIRDS OF A GHOST
McIver, N.J.COME BACK, ALICE SMYTHEREENE!
Monteilhet, HubertMURDER AT THE FRANKFURT BOOK FAIR
Morley, ChristopherTHE HAUNTED BOOKSHOP
Muller & PronziniCHAPTER AND HEARSE
Nash, SimonUNHALLOWED MURDER
Nelson, Hugh LawrenceTHE TITLE IS MURDER
Page, MarcoFAST COMPANY
Papazoglou, OraniaSWEET, SAVAGE DEATH (about romance)
WICKED, LOVING MURDER (writers)
Parker, Robert B.THE GODWULF MANUSCRIPT
LOOKING FOR RACHEL WALLACE
Patterson, Richard N.ESCAPE THE NIGHT
Peters, ElizabethDIE FOR LOVE
THE MURDERS OF RICHARD III
Potts, JeanDEATH OF A STRAY CAT
Purtill, RichardMURDERCON
Quentin, PatrickMY SON THE MURDERER
Rhode, JohnDEATH OF AN AUTHOR
Robinson, RobertLANDSCAPE WITH DEAD DONS
Ross, BarnabyDRURY LANE'S LAST CASE
Sharp, DavidI, THE CRIMINAL
Sims, GeorgeSLEEP NO MORE
Stone, HamptonTHE FUNNIEST KILLER IN TOWN
Stout, RexPLOT IT YOURSELF
MURDER BY THE BOOK
AND BE A VILLAIN
Strong, L.A.G.ALL FALL DOWN
Sutton, HenryTHE SACRIFICE
Symons, JulianTHE COLOR OF MURDER
Taylor, AndrewCAROLINE MINISCULE
Tilton, AliceBEGINNING WITH A BASH
Valin, JonathanFINAL NOTICE
Wells, CarolynMURDER IN THE BOOKSHOP
Wiltz, ChrisTHE KILLING CIRCLE

A Parody by Mary Ann Madden

Judith Krantz's
MY FIRST DAY AT SCHOOL


April Rane shuddered into the clinging Pucci and turned to appraise herself in the full length mirror. "Perfect," she thought, "the body of a twenty-year old." She held the large gold hoops to her ears. "Too much," she decided. No sense diverting attention from the sleek chestnut hair caressing her shoulders. Once more she twirled before the mirror--a flick of mascara--and smiled at her reflection. April tiptoed across the bedroom (Brick was still asleep), picked up her pencil box, and with a soft click the door closed upon summer. "P.S. 501 look out," she breathed, "here comes April Rane."

(This is an excerpt from LITERATURE IN BRIEFS: Great Writers Indecently Exposed edited by William Zaranka, illustrated by Dave Werner, Apple-wood Books, 1983)

Wish List: Tell us what book, or type of book, you'd most like to get for Christmas.

The world has been printing books for 450 years, and yet gunpowder still has a wider circulation. Never mind! Printer's ink is the greater explosive: it will win.

--Christopher Morley, THE HAUNTED BOOKSHOP

RECEIVED: DEEP QUARRY

by John E. Stith


I knew the day was improving when the mailman gave me a book (I love that). Better still, it was an SF Mystery, and you know how rare those are. They're rare, of course, because they're difficult. Isaac Asimov explained it somewhere far better than I could, but it's got to do with possibilities. As Sherlock Holmes said, once you've eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, no matter how improbable, must be true. Trouble is, in SF the author monkeys around with what's possible, making most SF Mysteries what mystery fans call "unfair".

The only thing to do is what John E. Stith has done: avoid the 1930s puzzle mystery and go for a mystery of characterization and plot. It's like this: Ben "Bug Eye" Takent is a private investigator on the planet Tankur, where one side of the planet faces the sun all the time, making for a hot, dusty city. While waiting for the heat exchanger repair people to show up, he takes the case of Kate Dunlet, an archaeologist who's been losing artifacts from a high-security dig. Ben knows two things about Ms. Dunlet immediately: she's beautiful and she's lying.

One aspect of this novel that particularly impressed me was the unobtrusive use of exposition. An author of realistic fiction doesn't have to explain things like what houses look like or how normal people dress. It's assumed that you know that stuff. But the author of any type of fantasy must explain a great deal. This adds an enormous load of exposition, and exposition has the unfortunate characteristic of being frequently boring. It can also sound darned awkward when you have to stop and explain that the three noses on that guy is the way his race is supposed to look because he's from the planet Whatever....etc.

Anyway, what I started to say 15 minutes ago was that the expository portions of DEEP QUARRY are sprinkled in small bits throughout the story, never leaving you in any great confusion, but never boring your either. Very nicely done.

The problem here is, you're going to have to move quick on this book. It was a February 1989 paperback release from Ace, and paperbacks have a habit of not being available for too long. So see your bookseller Real Soon Now, and you too can read all about Bug Eye Takent, Private Defective (no, that's not a typo).

By the way, DEEP QUARRY is also educational. Have you always wanted to know what a non sequitur is? Turn to page 46 and read along with me: "I think the rain in Tripoli is tighter than a dozen hamsters." THAT's a non sequitur.

I like my writing to be a little like a good roller coaster ride. You get on it for the thrill, expecting to be deposited safely back where you came from. Writing a negative book, where petty crime or fate overcome the protagonist is a little like coming back into the station only to find they've removed the rails for the last fifty feet.

--John E. Stith (author of DEEP QUARRY)

JULY BIRTHDAYS AND OTHER IMPORTANT DATES

  • 01 1804 George Sand, French writer
  • 01 1892 James M. Cain, American novelist
  • 02 1877 Hermann Hesse, German/Swiss novelist and poet
  • 02 1961 Ernest Hemingway committed suicide with a shotgun
  • 03 1883 Franz Kafka, Austrian novelist
  • 03 1906 Francis Steegmuller, American writer
  • 03 1937 Tom Stoppard, British dramatist
  • 04 1804 Nathaniel Hawthorne, American writer
  • 04 1845 Thoreau moves into his shack on Walden Pond
  • 04 1905 Lionel Trilling, American literary critic
  • 04 1918 Ann Landers, American columnist
  • 04 1927 Neil Simon, American dramatist
  • 05 1889 Jean Cocteau, French writer, artist, film maker
  • 06 1866 Beatrix Potter, English writer and illustrator
  • 07 1907 Robert Heinlein, American SF writer
  • 09 1764 Ann Radcliffe, English writer
  • 10 1867 Finley Peter Dunne, American journalist and humorist who created Mr. Dooley
  • 10 1871 Marcel Proust, French novelist
  • 10 1915 Saul Bellow, American novelist
  • 11 1754 Thomas Bowdler, self-appointed literary censor
  • 11 1899 E.B. White, American humorist and essayist
  • 12 1817 Henry David Thoreau, American essayist, naturalist, poet
  • 12 1895 Buckminster Fuller, U.S. engineer, architect, philosopher, author, invented the geodesic dome
  • 12 1904 Pablo Neruda, Chilean poet
  • 13 1793 Jean-Paul Marat assassinated by Charlotte Corday
  • 13 1865 Horace Greeley advises his readers to "Go west".
  • 13 1894 Isaak Babel, Russian short-story writer and dramatist
  • 13 1934 Wole Soyinka, Nigerian dramatist
  • 14 1869 Owen Wister, American writer
  • 14 1895 F.R. Leavis, British literary critic
  • 14 1903 Irving Stone, American writer
  • 14 1904 Isaac Bashevis Singer, Polish/American novelist
  • 14 1918 Arthur Laurents, playwright; New York City
  • 15 1779 Clement Moore, who wrote "A Visit From St. Nicholas"
  • 15 1796 Thomas Bulfinch, American writer and teacher
  • 15 1919 Iris Murdoch, British novelist and philosopher
  • 17 1889 Erle Stanley Gardner, American detective-story writer
  • 17 1902 Christina Stead, Australian novelist
  • 18 1811 William Makepeace Thackeray, English novelist
  • 18 1906 Clifford Odets, American dramatist
  • 18 1933 Yevgeny Yevtushenko, Soviet poet
  • 19 1893 Vladimir Mayakovsky, Russian poet
  • 19 1896 A.J. Cronin, Scottish novelist and physician
  • 20 1304 Petrarch, Italian poet and scholar
  • 20 1924 Thomas Berger, American novelist
  • 21 1898 Ernest Hemingway, American novelist
  • 21 1899 Hart Crane, American poet
  • 21 1933 John Gardner, American novelist and medievalist
  • 22 1844 Rev. William Archibald Spooner, invented 'spoonerisms'
  • 22 1849 Emma Lazarus, American poet
  • 22 1898 Stephen Vincent Bent, American writer
  • 23 1888 Raymond Chandler, American detective-story writer
  • 24 1802 Alexandre Dumas, pre, French novelist and dramatist
  • 24 1842 Ambrose Bierce, American writer
  • 24 1878 Lord Dunsany, Irish dramatist and poet
  • 24 1895 Robert Graves, British poet
  • 25 1905 Elias Canetti, Bulgarian/British novelist and essayist
  • 26 1856 George Bernard Shaw, Irish dramatist and critic
  • 26 1892 Pearl S. Buck, American novelist
  • 26 1894 Aldous Huxley, British writer
  • 27 1824 Alexandre Dumas, fils, French dramatist
  • 27 1870 Hilaire Belloc, French/British writer
  • 28 1844 Gerard Manley Hopkins, British poet
  • 28 1909 Malcolm Lowry, British novelist, poet, essayist
  • 29 1805 Count Alexis de Tocqueville, French historian
  • 29 1869 Booth Tarkington, American novelist and dramatist
  • 30 1818 Emily Bron, English novelist
  • 30 1857 Thorstein Veblen, American economist, wrote THE THEORY OF THE LEISURE CLASS (1899)

People need books, but they don't know they need them. Generally they are not aware that the books they need are in existence.

--Christopher Morley, THE HAUNTED BOOKSHOP

FEATURED AUTHOR: HARLAN ELLISON

(hereinafter referred to as HE)


HE was born in 1934 and is an essayist, a screenwriter, and a prolific short-story writer; and has won more awards than any other science fiction writer. So much for the Who's Who.
Read enough HE (and can anyone ever REALLY read enough HE?) and you'll find out more about writing, from the inside, than you ever expected to know. About screenwriting. About TV. About the SFWA. About being on a talk show. HE sees all, feels all, and tells all. That makes a mighty hard life for him, but it makes terrific reading for us.

The problem with analyzing HE through his writing is that he's such a magician with words. So manipulative. When you see the shadow of the author in the story, as you ALWAYS do in HE's work, you wonder if that is the actual shadow of HE, or only the dummy shadow he's allowed us to see? We'll probably never know.

He's one of the most controversial people on this planet; his writing is never boring. That's a guarantee. Beyond this I'm going to give you the supreme joy of finding out about Ellison yourself. To start you out, here's what some other people have had to say about Ellison:

Robert Bloch: "I am not about to do a biographical sketch of the man: surely he wouldn't need me for that. Ellison has told the story of his life so many times, you'd think he'd know it by now."

Michael Crichton: "He seems to be a kind of energy focus and no one who brushes against him comes away with an indifferent response. His advocates are every bit as vehement as his critics. Other writers have readers; Ellison has fans who will get into fistfights with anyone who says a word against him."

Brian Aldiss: "Harlan Ellison is more a master of the hammer than the keyboard."

Robert Bloch: "No matter what the apparent grammatical form may be, one is conscious that Ellison is really always writing in first person."

Michael Crichton: "He moves restlessly, talks non-stop, jumping from books to television to politics to sex to movies, taking up each new subject with considerable humor and aggressive enthusiasm."

Tom Snyder: "He fights battles most of us haven't even thought of, much less cared about. ... He fights the wars that aren't even worth fighting, and delights in our frustrations when we finally figure it out."

Stephen King: "Harlan is the sort of guy who makes an ordinary writer feel like a dilettante, and an ordinary liver (i.e., one who lives, not a bodily organ which will develop cirrhosis is you pour too much booze over it) feel like a spinster librarian who once got kissed on the Fourth of July."

Michael Crichton: "He is not an easy man. His opinions are strongly held and his feelings strongly felt; he is not tolerant of compromise where it affects his life and his work. In someone else, this obstinacy might appear petty or fanatical, but in Harlan it is natural and attractive. It is simply the way he is."

Robert Bloch: "...he is the only living organism I know whose natural habitat is hot water."

Stephen King: "He has quite deliberately provoked a storm of controversy over his own work--one writer in the field whom I know considers him to be a modern incarnation of Jonathan Swift, and another regularly refers to him as 'that no-talent son of a bitch.' It is a storm that Ellison lives in quite contentedly."

Michael Crichton: "He doesn't write like anybody else. The same paradoxes and odd juxtapositions which appear in his house and in his casual speech, are present in all of his writing. What emerges is a surprising, eclectic, almost protean series of visions, often disturbing, always strongly felt."


ELLISON: THE SCREENPLAYS

HE has written more screenplays than I've been able to count, many of which never made it into viewable form. But if you want to hold up your end of an Ellison conversation, you must know about two of them. "Demon With the Glass Hand" was, according to most fans of THE OUTER LIMITS, the finest episode of that series. And "The City on the Edge of Forever" is well-known to any Trekkie as at least ONE of the finest STAR TREK episodes ever.


ELLISON: THE STORIES

If you can possibly afford it, the very best collection is the recent THE ESSENTIAL ELLISON. Not only is it a great, big, fat book, but the controversial Ellison, whose prose is often "edited", is here presented in its author-approved form. Why waste your time with watered-down stories?

If you really need something cheaper, STALKING THE NIGHTMARE is a good choice, or maybe SHATTERDAY, or ANGRY CANDY, or STRANGE WINE. But for first-timers, STALKING is the best Ellison sampler.

Personal favorites: "Jeffty Is Five", "The Hour That Stretches", "Paladin of the Lost Hour", "All The Lies That Are My Life", and "Shatterday".


ELLISON: THE ESSAYS

Sorry to say it, but the absolute best collection of Ellison essays is SLEEPLESS NIGHTS IN THE PROCRUSTEAN BED. I'm sorry because this could be a tough volume to come up with. If your bookseller can't get it, try writing to the publisher, The Borgo Press, P.O. Box 2845, San Bernardino, CA 92406. If they give you a choice, get a paperbound edition rather than hardcover. Borgo publishes some great prose, but their hardcover bindings are the pits. In any case, the trouble you might have getting this volume will be certainly be worth it -- these are Ellison's finest essays. And that's SAYING something.

If you want more essays, STALKING THE NIGHTMARE has a few great ones. His other essay-only collections are: THE GLASS TEAT, THE OTHER GLASS TEAT, AN EDGE IN MY VOICE, and HARLAN ELLISON'S WATCHING (assuming it is released finally). Pick any of these.

Personal favorites: Other than everything in SLEEPLESS NIGHTS, there's "The 3 Most Important Things In Life", the funniest piece of prose I think I've ever read. In particular, the tale of his 4-hour career at Disney Studio is hilarious, with a great punch line that is, unfortunately, not printable here.


ELLISON: THE CHRONOLOGY

(This is an attempt, probably not successful, to be complete.)

  • WEB OF THE CITY (1958)
  • THE DEADLY STREETS (1958)
  • THE SOUND OF A SCYTHE (1960)
  • A TOUCH OF INFINITY (1960)
  • CHILDREN OF THE STREETS (1961)
  • GENTLEMAN JUNKIE AND OTHER STORIES OF THE HUNG-UP GENERATION (1961)
  • MEMOS FROM PURGATORY (1961)
  • SPIDER KISS (1961)
  • ELLISON WONDERLAND (1962)
  • PAINGOD, AND OTHER DELUSIONS (1965)
  • I HAVE NO MOUTH & I MUST SCREAM (1967)
  • DOOMSMAN (1967)
  • DANGEROUS VISIONS (editor) (1967)
  • FROM THE LAND OF FEAR (1967)
  • NIGHTSHADE & DAMNATIONS: THE FINEST STORIES OF GERALD KERSH (editor) (1968)
  • LOVE AIN'T NOTHING BUT SEX MISSPELLED (1968)
  • THE BEAST THAT SHOUTED LOVE AT THE HEART OF THE WORLD (1969)
  • THE GLASS TEAT: ESSAYS OF OPINION ON TELEVISION (1970)
  • OVER THE EDGE (1970)
  • PARTNERS IN WONDER: SF COLLABORATIONS WITH 14 OTHER WILD TALENTS (1971)
  • ALONE AGAINST TOMORROW: STORIES OF ALIENATION IN SPECULATIVE FICTION (1971)
  • AGAIN, DANGEROUS VISIONS (editor) (1972)
  • APPROACHING OBLIVION (1974)
  • THE STARLOST #1: PHOENIX WITHOUT ASHES (w/Edward Bryant) (1975)
  • DEATHBIRD STORIES (1975)
  • THE OTHER GLASS TEAT: FURTHER ESSAYS OF OPINION ON TELEVISION (1975)
  • NO DOORS, NO WINDOWS (1975)
  • STRANGE WINE (1978)
  • THE BOOK OF ELLISON (edited by Andrew Porter) (1978)
  • THE ILLUSTRATED HARLAN ELLISON (edited by Byron Preiss) (1978)
  • THE FANTASIES OF HARLAN ELLISON (1979)
  • ALL THE LIES THAT ARE MY LIFE (1980)
  • SHATTERDAY (1980)
  • STALKING THE NIGHTMARE (1982) - short stories and essays
  • SLEEPLESS NIGHTS IN THE PROCRUSTEAN BED (1984)
  • AN EDGE IN MY VOICE (1985)
  • MEDEA: HARLAN'S WORLD (editor) (1985)
  • THE ESSENTIAL ELLISON (1987)
  • ANGRY CANDY (1988)
  • HARLAN ELLISON'S WATCHING (any minute, we hope)
  • THE LAST DANGEROUS VISIONS (who knows?)

ELLISON: THE SAMPLES

The delusion that genius and madness are but opposing faces of the same rare coin is one to which most writers subscribe, as a cop-out. It allows them to be erratic, beat their wives, demand fresh coffee at six ayem, come in late with manuscripts, default on their obligations, laze around reading paperback novels on the pretext that they are "researching," pick up stakes and move when things get too regimented, snarl and snap at fans, be tendentious or supercilious. It is safe for all of us to goof off as long as we can bilk the Average Man into believing it is necessary for the creative process.

--DANGEROUS VISIONS


Nonetheless, having become something of an ingroup cult figure among those with a high death-wish profile and a taste for cheap thrills, I am often asked, "What's the big secret, Ellison?"...I try to explain that Life is Real, Life is Earnest. In my own toe-scuffling fashion I attempt to encapsulate in three or four apocryphal phrases the Ethical Structure of the Universe.

--"The 3 Most Important Things in Life"


The truth is simply that the entire concept of modern television is corrupt....They want to sell you, and they don't give a damn what it takes on either side of that commercial to do it.

--"Down the Rabbit-Hole to TV-Land" (SLEEPLESS NIGHTS)


Toulouse-Lautrec once said, "One should never meet a man whose work one admires. The man is always so much less than the work." Painfully, almost always this is true. The great novelist turns out to be a whiner. The penetrator of the foibles of man picks his nose in public. The authority on South Africa has never been beyond Levittown. The writer of swashbuckling adventures is a pathetic little homosexual who still lives with his invalid mother. Oh, Henri the Mad, you were so right.

--DANGEROUS VISIONS


A fifteen- year-old student summarily rejected the reading of books because it "wasn't real". Because it was your imagination, and your imagination isn't real. So Shelley asked her what was "real" and the student responded instantly, "Television".

--"Revealed At Last! What Killed the Dinosaurs! And You Don't Look So Terrific Yourself" (SLEEPLESS NIGHTS)


...the interesting aspect of their watching the show emerged when a student responded to Shelley's comparison of watching something that "wasn't real" with a living event that "was real". The student contended that it WAS real, he had seen it. No, Shelley insisted, it wasn't real, it was just a show. Hell no, the kid kept saying, it WAS real: he had SEEN it....Though he was seventeen years old, the student was incapable of perceiving, UNAIDED, the difference between a dramatization and real life.

--"Revealed At Last! What Killed the Dinosaurs! And You Don't Look So Terrific Yourself" (SLEEPLESS NIGHTS)


But don't ever fool yourselves. Not even those of you who make your living from literary analyses. Don't for a second fool yourselves into thinking you've got our number.

--"You Don't Know Me, I Don't Know You" (SLEEPLESS NIGHTS)


There in the place where all lost things returned, the young man sat on the cold ground, rocking the body of his friend. And he was in no hurry to leave. There was time.

--"Paladin of the Lost Hour" (ANGRY CANDY)


They've taken the most incredibly potent medium of imparting information the world has ever known, and they've turned it against you. To burn out your brains. To lull you with pretty pictures. To convince you nothing's going on out there, nothing really important. To convince you throwing garbage in the river after your picnic is okay, as long as the factories can do it, too. To convince you all those bearded, longhair freaks are murderers and dumb Communist dupes. To convince you that Viet Nam is more a "struggle for Democracy" than a necessity for selling American goods. To convince you that certain things should not be said because it will warp the minds of the young. To convince you that this country is still locked into a 1901-Midwestern stasis, and anyone who tries to propel us beyond that chauvinism and bigotry is a criminal.

--THE GLASS TEAT (4 October 68)


I was riding down Beverly Glen with Arthur Byron Cover. I said to Arthur, "You know, one of the things that always bothered me about those fantasies in which some dude comes across a magic shop that sells real magic, or three wishes, or genuine love potions, or whatever, is they never told you what kind of life was lived by the proprietor. I mean, where did he get his stock? In what sort of coin could you pay someone for things that valuable? When the dude leaves the shop it always vanishes; where does it go? What happened to the poor schmuck who ran the joint? Huh, answer me that!"

Arthur looked at me seriously and said, "You know, you're a very weird person."

--SHATTERDAY


...there have been essays and monographs and even treatises published in learned journals about the rampant symbolism in my stories, my preoccupation with the Machine As God, the deeply religious anti-religiousness in DEATHBIRD STORIES, obvious uses of the Jungian archetypes, the crucifixion and resurrection symbology peppered through my stories, and the frequency of the use of the word "ka-ka".

--SHATTERDAY


This story ["Alive and Well and on a Friendless Voyage"] was written in direct response to the killing pain of my last wife taking off with another guy. The pain lasted at least twelve minutes, which is the actually recorded duration of genuine pain. Everything OVER twelve minutes is self-indulgence and pointless attempts to make the first twelve minutes seem more important.

--SHATTERDAY


I'll be DAMNED if I can make any sense out of life. It gets more complex the longer I keep breathing. And everything I thought I knew for sure keeps coming up for grabs, keeps changing and shifting like one of those oil-seep toys you can buy that change color and shape from moment to moment depending on how you hold it. Most of the time it seems to be an insane universe, filled with pain. Then, every once in a bit, some moment of joy or love or true friendship presents itself, and you get the strength to maintain, to go on a little longer.

--STRANGE WINE


The sixty-one personal essays that make up this book are my proud statement of enmity toward the people. Not just to people like Patukas and "Rosetta" and the pinheads at HEAVY METAL whose dreary little lives move them to such ignoble attacks of foaming idiocy against their betters, but enmity toward the censors and the pro-gun lobbyists and the filmmakers who brutalize women in the name of "art" and the smoothyguts politicians who secure their futures with arms manufacturers by stealing money from the schools and the lousy writers who monopolize the spinner racks and their venal publishers who have destroyed the mid-list in search of bestsellers and the bible-thumpers who want prayer in the schools as long as we pray to THEIR God and to the gray little bookkeepers who know their dancing decimal points cheat honest men and women out of their annuities and the garage mechanics who lie and tell you they can't repair that thingamajig unless you buy a new whatzit for seventy-five bucks and the headless snakes that are the multi national corporations that remove products you like from the supermarkets because cheaper items move more units per capita and the terrorists and the zealots and the true believers and the insensitive and the dull-witted and the self-righteous. All of whom are parts of "the people".

--AN EDGE IN MY VOICE


My car has a bumper sticker that says A CLEAN CAR IS A SIGN OF A SICK MIND. It's not a crusade with me; it's just my belief that if God, or Whoever's-In-Charge, had wanted my car to be clean, God, or Whoever's-In-Charge, wouldn't have filled the world with dirt.

--AN EDGE IN MY VOICE


For a brief time I was here; and for a brief time I mattered.

--THE ESSENTIAL ELLISON

-* Amen *-

Harlan Ellison once received a letter from a man who said, "You are always using midgets in your stories as heavies. They are always evil and terrible people. Well, I am three feet tall, and I want you to know we don't like being called MIDGETS! We want to be called LITTLE PEOPLE!" Harlan responded: "Dear Sir: I am five foot five. I am a little person. YOU, sir, are a midget."


:=:=:=:=:


Harlan Ellison parodied his own car commercials in a skit at the Writers Guild of America's televised awards banquet, "selling his collected works and stressing his enormous output and matching ego," according to a favorable review in the Los Angeles Times.

NUMBER ONE FAN

by Annie Wilkes


Have you ever considered how pleasurable an activity reading is, and how little nuts-and-bolts consideration it's given? Like, for instance, what motivates most of your reading?

  1. To get through a boring period (waiting for something, etc.)
  2. To help you get to sleep.
  3. To learn something specific.
  4. To read.

I've talked to some people who seem to have a difficulty with admitting that they're going to sit down right now and, no apologies to anyone, READ. They seem to feel they should be "accomplishing" something, not "just" reading. How sad.

Where do you do most of your reading? Are you a reading-in-bed type? Or maybe your have one of those Alistair Cooke, Masterpiece Theater kind of chairs that's good for sitting in the Library of your mansion and reading Dante. Or are you a hedonist with a chaise lounge? Or the impish sort who read on the ground, propped up on elbows? Or the hi-tech sort with a paperback hidden under your computer keyboard? Or even the Romantic kind, outside with your back against a broad oak?

Do you normally read in brief ten-minute bursts? Or are you prone to all-weekend binges? When someone accosts you with an asinine question while you're reading, can you be pleasant to them despite the fact that they were obviously raised by wolves?

Do you ever get a funny look when you say you spent yesterday evening reading instead of watching TV? Do you worry about having to explain to the landlord that you didn't drink the rent money, you spent it at the bookstore? Are you now, or have you ever been a partner in a Mixed Marriage (Reader and Non-Reader)? Do you ever wonder about the mental capacity of the Buyer at your local library? Have you ever considered that the joys of reading, like the joys of smoking, don't show from the outside and are therefore mostly invisible to others?

You see, you and I aren't like the Others. For one thing ours is a solitary preoccupation. We occasionally glare at each other suspiciously at the bookstore (Is that the kind of moronic trash you always read?), or push in front of each other at the library (If you think you're getting the only copy of that Rushdie you're out of your mind, fella). So, next time we meet (I'll be the one with the worn Nicholas Nickleby), just pretend you don't see me.


:=:=:=:=:


We'd like to know where you get Reading For Pleasure to help us distribute efficiently.

TRIVIA ANSWERS

  1. The Baker Street Irregulars
  2. The Terminator
  3. UNCLE TOM'S CABIN by Harriet Beecher Stowe
  4. Hamlet
  5. Cordwainer Bird
  6. Peter Pan
  7. Excalibur
  8. Adolf Hitler
  9. Contact lenses
  10. ROBINSON CRUSOE

COMING NEXT MONTH:

Next month Reading For Pleasure goes Hollywood -- read about Tinseltown along with us. And the Featured Author will be Fredric Brown. Keep those cards and letters coming!

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