Scoring many points with Harlan by invoking Mr. E. Martin

General discussions of interest to readers and fans of Harlan Ellison.

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Jan
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Postby Jan » Thu May 25, 2006 6:07 am

I have a wonderful book by David Pringle called Science Fiction: The 100 Best Novels. Of course, this is more than a list, it's a collection of reviews. It gives you a good idea what those novels are like and that you wouldn't touch some of them with a ten feet pole.

Lists are, like David says, of doubtful use, except if we know something about that person's tastes (like we know Harlan's). However, often we will know certain items on a list and are able to derive from them how seriously we can take it.

There are some interesting lists on amazon, as most of you may have discovered. You can always go and check out the reader reviews as well. (I don't buy anything from them, though.)

Interesting that Gerald Kersh was absent from all our lists here. Harlan did say he's his favorite writer, didn't he? I tried two of his collections a few years ago and it eludes me why he's so polular with Harlan. Has anyone had a similar experience?

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markabaddon
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Lovecraft Homages

Postby markabaddon » Thu May 25, 2006 8:01 am

Rudiger, you have some excellent choices on that list, including a few from one of my favorite Lovecraft homage collections, Cthulhu 2000. That also included a wonderful story by Thomas Ligotti (Last Feat of the Harlequin )and The Barrens by F Paul Wilson.

Barrens might be my favorite story in the collection, as you do not often see Lovecraft stories set in New Jersey. However, as anyone from the area can tell you, NJ is one freaking weird place, especially the area known as the Pine Barrens.

Another collection I enjoyed was The Children of Cthulhu, edited by John Pelan. I loaned the book to a buddy some time ago, and he has yet to return it, but I remember enjoying the stories by China Mieville and Caitlin Kiernan. This collection was not as strong as Cthulhu 2000, but did have a number of more unusual and inventive Lovecraftian stories

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Postby Eric Martin » Thu May 25, 2006 10:16 am

>Interesting that Gerald Kersh was absent from all our lists here. Harlan did say he's his favorite writer, didn't he?<

He did, although I wonder if that's still true. Picking a favorite writer is challenging...it's like picking your favorite movie. There are so many good ones.

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David Loftus
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Postby David Loftus » Thu May 25, 2006 10:17 am

Eric Martin wrote:>Kindly indicate where I have been participating in any of the recent stupid dogpiles <

Well, you started a whole thread calling Frank a blowhard, and reveling in his slap-down by Harlan. That was a bit of a dogpile, Dave.


If one person does it, it ain't a dogpile. It doesn't become a dogpile unless other people join in. It's the joining in, not the initiation that's annoying, in itself.

If anything, Harlan was dogpiling with me, though not intentionally. I've been trying to get Frank to see things about the style of his posts, and sometimes the content, which strike me as counterproductive, and he just never gets it. Which is also part of the problem: he doesn't bother to read other people's posts carefully enough to respond to them accurately, which I take as a sign of disrespect.

I've said this over and over. I've given up trying.

It was just great to see it rubbed Harlan the wrong way too.



Eric Martin wrote:I think you may have jumped in the "don't advise Harlan" fray as well, after Mr. Goldberg told us that all those folk at Weenie-con were afraid to come here.


Ah. That again, I would regard as something different from a dogpile. I believe I was expressing my opinion on a topic, as distinguished from attacking a given person in particular.
War is, at first, the hope that one will be better off; next, the expectation that the other fellow will be worse off; then, the satisfaction that he isn't any better off; and, finally, the surprise at everyone's being worse off. - Karl Kraus

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David Loftus
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Postby David Loftus » Thu May 25, 2006 10:26 am

Jan wrote:Interesting that Gerald Kersh was absent from all our lists here. Harlan did say he's his favorite writer, didn't he? I tried two of his collections a few years ago and it eludes me why he's so polular with Harlan. Has anyone had a similar experience?



Well, for one thing, his books are pretty damn hard to find -- much harder than Ellison's.

I've read . . . let's see, about seven now. You can find my summaries of most of them here:

http://www.allreaders.com/Topics/Topic_4890.asp

(For some reason, the Web site owner rejected my summary/review of the one about the Czechoslovakian town massacred by Nazis, which is certainly one of the better ones.)

I can't say any of them really knocked me out. They were interesting, respectable, even admirable . . . but not as memorable -- to me -- as many other writers, including Ellison.

I'd say Ellison identifies with Kersh, not only in the vividness of his characters and offbeat plots, his "slice of life" approach to telling a story, and so on, but I think he also is drawn to Kersh BECAUSE his books are largely forgotten, and this is what Ellison fears most for his own work, that it WON'T last. Part of the reason he plumps Kersh is a sort of displaced attempt to keep his own work alive: if Kersh survives, then Ellison will too.
War is, at first, the hope that one will be better off; next, the expectation that the other fellow will be worse off; then, the satisfaction that he isn't any better off; and, finally, the surprise at everyone's being worse off. - Karl Kraus

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Postby Eric Martin » Thu May 25, 2006 10:35 am

David, if you haven't considered a career in politics, you should. That was a masterpiece of redefinition.

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David Loftus
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Postby David Loftus » Thu May 25, 2006 11:42 am

Barber wrote:Loftus wrote: "or posting any "best of" lists. Precisely the sort of behavior that I've found an immense drag on both the Pavilion and the Board."

Then accept my profound apologies. I felt the subject was presented in a spirit of fun, and I have entirely too much else to do to spend much time being a drag to anyone...

SB



Oh, gosh -- no apology expected or necessary!

I was just expressing my taste or opinion, and explaining why I tend not to participate in such discussions. But now that someone has privately communicated interest in my list, I may post one after all. Posting in response to someone's expressed interest is different from just throwing it out there in the hopes that someone will respond.
War is, at first, the hope that one will be better off; next, the expectation that the other fellow will be worse off; then, the satisfaction that he isn't any better off; and, finally, the surprise at everyone's being worse off. - Karl Kraus

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Jan
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Postby Jan » Thu May 25, 2006 1:28 pm

David, I always suspected that there's a great deal more to Ellison loving Kersh than your psychological explanation, though I don't know what. Of course it would be useful to look at the Kersh book Harlan edited, but I wasn't able to locate an affordable copy back when I looked.

I have ON AN ODD NOTE, I also found a greatest hits collection in the library (some of his books were released in Germany), and I have the film version of NIGHT AND THE CITY. A lot of it seems dated in terms of style and content - the world and the audience have changed. One thing I noticed, though, is that Harlan feels a close connection to stories set in or writers living in New York (for obviuous reasons). To me, NY and its particularities are not very exciting, it's been completely overused in books/film/tv.

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Rudiger Treehorn
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Postby Rudiger Treehorn » Fri May 26, 2006 5:59 am

Ah, "The Barrens" -- usually populated only by The Jersey Devil. I think the opening section of "Sticks" is set in New Jersey as well.

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Rick Keeney
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Barrens

Postby Rick Keeney » Fri May 26, 2006 2:01 pm

the ubiquitous John McPhee has written about this place. JM can make just about anything seem interesting.

Rick

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Re: Barrens

Postby Moderator » Fri May 26, 2006 3:10 pm

Rick Keeney wrote:the ubiquitous John McPhee has written about this place. JM can make just about anything seem interesting.

Rick


Webderland? Or the Barrens?

(Not that there's a huge difference some days...)
- I love to find adventure. All I need is a change of clothes, my Nikon, an open mind and a strong cup of coffee.

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Rick Keeney
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things lacking

Postby Rick Keeney » Fri May 26, 2006 4:06 pm

webderland lacks a pygmy pine forest.

and the pine barrens have no portraits of the barber man.

rick

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FrankChurch
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Postby FrankChurch » Wed May 31, 2006 4:55 pm

David seems to have an automatic disdain for radical politics, no matter how you frame them, so it's my cross to bare.

David, my love, my everthing--my alpha, my omega--what political writers and magazines and books do you subscribe that I partake of?

Your mind fascinates me. Wink.

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robochrist
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Postby robochrist » Wed May 31, 2006 5:45 pm

"Do either of you have ANYTHING better to talk about?"

Eric...dear, sweet, loving Eric...the ONGOING question is...do YOU have anything better to talk about? I mean - like, ya know - EVER? I really don't recall ANYTHING substantive from you here in all the time you've graced this board. No TOPICS of any passion or depth. 95% of the time it's about YOU or how so few here measure up to your standards of personal judgment (your most long-winded "motif" is how we all supposedly kiss up to Harlan like robotic sycophants). Even now, as you designate those here as droning pussies with nothing better to talk about, you're the one mainly going on and on with this dumb-ass thread...eh?

Let's face it: you talk more narcissist bullshit than anyone else here.

What do you do for a living? Go door-to-door selling Oils of Adonis?

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FrankChurch
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Postby FrankChurch » Wed May 31, 2006 7:45 pm

Rob, you're not exactly a breath of babies bottom yourself.


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