Monthly Archives: December 2015

A Brief Recap of 2015 and a Look Ahead to 2016

Normally I do a long post discussing my favorite books and publishers of the year, but I’m going to pass on that.  Besides the thought of writing that kind of post simply making me tired, there were too many things I missed.  I’ll mention a few favorites, but that’s all I’m going to do.  Mostly this will be a recap of the year’s highlights and set some goals for next year. Continue reading

Guest Post at Frontier Partisans

Tales From The Otherverse webJim Cornelius runs the excellent blog Frontier Partisans.  It’s become one of my “go to” blogs that I always read.  I don’t always comment, but I read every post.

Earlier this year, in June, Jim posted about an attempt early in the 20th century to import hippos as a food source.  I was struggling to come up with an idea for a story to contribute to Tales From the Otherverse, and Jim’s post kicked off the train of thought that led to “The Assassination of President Broussard”.

Jim was kind enough to ask me to write a guest post about how I wrote the story.  So if any of you are interested in my thought processes in constructing this story, you can check them out here.

And make sure you read Frontier Partisans.  Jim writes about some fascinating stuff.


Blogging Kuttner: A Gnome There Was

A Gnome There WasA Gnome There Was
Lewis Padgett (Henry Kuttner and C. L. Moore)
Simon & Schuster, hardcover, 276 pg., $2.50
Cover drawing by Ed Cartier

I’ve got about half a dozen posts I need to write, including one for another blog, but with the blizzard, we’ve been cooped up in the house.  That means between my wife watching TV with the volume up too loud and my son monopolizing the laptop everytime I have to do something responsible, I’ve not gotten much done as far as reading, blogging, or writing is concerned.  I’m typing this after everyone else has gone to bed.

I started A Gnome There Was just before Thanksgiving.  I tracked down a copy some years ago simply because I was trying to find a copy of the short story “Jesting Pilot”, and this was the easiest way.  Turns out there is another story in it that I discovered last night has never been reprinted since this book was published.  At the time I thought “Jesting Pilot” was the only story I hadn’t read.

Anyway, I was getting tired of some of the stuff I was being sent to review, something I’ll discuss in my year end post in a day or so.  I decided to revisit some of my favorite Kuttner stories (something like literary comfort food).  Since many of them are in this book, that’s the one I chose.   Continue reading

Blogging Brackett: “The Woman From Altair”

Best of Brackett paperback“The Woman From Altair”
The Best of Leigh Brackett
Del Rey, 1977, 423, $1.95
Originally published in Startling Stories, July 1951

I was asked in the comments of a previous post what I thought of this story. I had only read it once when I first read The Best of Leigh Brackett, back in the fall of [redacted].  I liked all the stories, but this one didn’t have much of an impact on the 14 year-old me who read it, unlike some of the other selections in the book.

So I reread the story the other day.  Here are  my thoughts, spoilers included: Continue reading

RIP, George Clayton Johnson (1929-2015)

George Clayton JohnsonGeorge Clayton Johnson passed away yesterday, Christmas Day, of cancer at the age of 86.  While Mr. Johnson’s name may not be familiar to some of you, his work almost certainly is.  He wrote eight episodes of The Twilight Zone (plus one unproduced episode) and the first episode of the original Star Trek series to air, “The Man Trap”.  He also coauthored Logan’s Run with William F. Nolan.  His other credits include scripts for Alfred Hitchcock Presents, Honey West, and Kung Fu.

Johnson was a member of the group of writers known as the California school which included (in addition to Nolan) such writers as Ray Bradbury, Richard Matheson, and Charles Beaumont.  He was known for his openness and willingness to assist authors trying to break into the field.

Rest well, sir.

Blogging Leigh Brackett: “The Vanishing Venusians”

imagesThis was the second Leigh Brackett story I ever read.  How do I remember that detail?  Easy, it’s the second story in The Best of Leigh Brackett, which was the first Brackett book I ever read (in the SFBC edition you see there).  And in those days, I read anthologies and collections in order.  This was still a few years before I went through my read-anthologies-backwards phase.

I found the story to be powerful, with the image of snow capped mountains in the distance to be a powerful one.  I still find the story powerful today.

Note:  there will be spoilers after the “Read More” break. Continue reading

Checking In

No, I haven’t forgotten I said I was going to do more posts on Leigh Brackett, starting with “The Vanishing Venusians”.  Things have been total chaos.  My son has had multiple band concerts, I’ve had the crud, there was a funeral to attend, a student disciplinary hearing on a Title IX case, a night at a hotel due to a plumbing issue (that required more than one visit from the plumber), and various other things to deal with.  I’ve been a bit distracted.

I’ll be back to posting in the next day or so.  I’ve got several titles to discuss across more than one blog.

Just so you know.

Happy Birthday, Margaret Brundage

Brundage WT Bat GirlMargaret Brundage was born on this date in 1900.  Brundage gain fame, some would say infamy, illustrating covers for Weird Tales in the 1930s.  She was born Margaret Hedda Johnson and was married briefly married to “Slim” Brundage, a painter with radical politics.  The had one son.  I guess that means the rumor I heard that she used her daughters for models isn’t true.

The best way to honor Brundage is to show examples of her work.  Since the illustrations won’t be to everyone’s taste, and some folks get offended waayy too easily these days, the illustrations will be after the “Continue Reading” break.  What follows may not be approriate for youonger readers and the uptight.  There’s a reason she’s been called “Margaret Bondage.” Continue reading

Happy 100th Birthday, Leigh Brackett

Leigh BrackettSo today is the centennial of Leigh Brackett’s birth.  If you’ve paid any attention to this blog in the last few weeks, you know that I’ve been making a big deal of that and will continue to do so.

Some of you good people might be wondering:  So just who was this Leigh Brackett person and why was she so important?

I’m glad you asked. Continue reading