Asimov & Kersh

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Jennie
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Asimov & Kersh

Postby Jennie » Fri Sep 22, 2006 7:01 pm

Last weekend, I was in San Diego, and I stopped in an antique store in Solana Beach. I saw some old TV Guides from the mid-70s on sale, and I picked up a couple. You may not expect much from TV Guide, but at least back then (and probably up until the mid-90s), you could read actual J*O*U*R*N*A*L*I*S*M. Such as in the Dec. 24, 1977 issue in which Issac Asimov described what makes great science fiction (hint: the writer should know at least some science).

Now, if you look up "Asimov" at any online bookseller, you will find as many titles as there are H.E. stories :D But I am looking for a book (or books) of Asimov essays, especially the one he wrote for Newsweek in January 21, 1980 (and which Harlan cites in the "An Edge in my Voice" book) about the "cult of ignorance" in the U.S. Does anyone know which titles I should be looking for?

Also, I have heard (from a reputable source!) that Harlan's favorite author is Gerald Kersh. I have no Kersh books in my to-be-read pile (I looked), and he also has a long publishing history. Which work do you most recommend for someone new to Kersh?

Thanks!

Tony Rabig
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Postby Tony Rabig » Fri Sep 22, 2006 10:24 pm

Don't recall that the Asimov piece was ever collected. If you've not read it, you can probably find it at your local library; if they don't have it on hand, they'll be able to get it for you through interlibrary loan.

Re: Kersh -- place to start is probably with the short fiction. The collection that Harlan edited, NIGHTSHADES AND DAMNATIONS, is an ideal intro; so is MEN WITHOUT BONES. If you can't locate copies of these, again, hit your local library. If they have none of Kersh's books, check out the anthologies of mystery & suspense stories edited by Alfred Hitchcock and the Year's Best SF anthologies edited by Judith Merril; Kersh's short stories were frequently selected for these.

If memory serves, an anthology done by Frederik Pohl, STAR OF STARS, included one of Kersh's best, "Whatever Happened to Corporal Cuckoo?" If your library doesn't have that one, look there for other Pohl Star collections -- they may have the one where it first appeared.

Bests,
--tr

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Chuck Messer
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Postby Chuck Messer » Sat Sep 23, 2006 10:40 pm

Actually, you can probably snag a copy of Kersh's Night and the City on Amazon.com, since it was reprinted a few years ago. Helluva good read, that one.

Also, there was a movie made of that book, although I'm not sure where you might be able to find a copy.


Chuck
Some people are wedded to their ideology the way nuns are wed to God.

Gwyneth M905
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Postby Gwyneth M905 » Sun Sep 24, 2006 12:42 am

Hi, Jennie,
I'm not sure if this is what you want, but a quick look in the dreaded Wikipedia turned up:

The Roving Mind (1983) (collection of essays). New edition published by Prometheus Books, 1997, ISBN 1-57392-181-5

Could this be the book that you are looking for?

Cheers,
Gwyneth

P.S. Definitely check out the eBay auction for the Kersh books. They also have them on the UK sites :)

Tony Rabig
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Night and the City, 2 short stories

Postby Tony Rabig » Sun Sep 24, 2006 4:49 am

Night and the City is also available as an ebook for a little over $6 from www.ereader.com

Also available at SciFi.com's fiction archives are "Men Without Bones" and "The Queen of Pig Island." URLs are:

http://www.scifi.com/scifiction/classic ... ive/kersh/

http://www.scifi.com/scifiction/classic ... ve/kersh2/

Night and the City was filmed twice; the earlier version with Richard Widmark was released by Criterion and should still be available; you may be able to turn up a copy of the later version with Robert DeNiro in your local rental shop.


Bests,

--tr
--tr

Jennie
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Thanks everyone...

Postby Jennie » Sun Sep 24, 2006 10:10 am

I will go on a book search ASAP.

The reason why I took so long in getting back is that a VSP (Very Special Person) in my life had a birthday yesterday, and I cooked him both pancakes and a chocolate double layer cake from scratch. (You don't know what work is until you bake without boxes! :shock:

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David Loftus
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Re: Thanks everyone...

Postby David Loftus » Tue Sep 26, 2006 5:20 pm

You may read my brief summaries of a handful of Kersh books that I was able to track down at my local library and bookstores, here:

http://www.allreaders.com/Topics/Topic_904.asp


Frankly, I've been a little puzzled by Ellison's championing of Kersh. He's a good writer, but not -- in my judgment -- a great one. A better handler of the language than Ellison, but not necessarily a better storyteller.

So I sometimes think there's some personal identification going on there: Ellison saw in Kersh someone who had worked long and hard at his craft, only to end up unknown and forgotten, and mostly out of print. Ellison communicated with Kersh by letter and phone in order to bring a little of his material back into print -- the collection Nightshade and Damnations -- but never met him in person.

I think Ellison may see in Kersh his worst fears about what, despite his best efforts, could happen to himself and his work someday.
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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Robert Morales
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Postby Robert Morales » Tue Sep 26, 2006 9:35 pm

The novel to get is Kersh's masterpiece, Fowlers End - it's staggeringly funny and tarted up with Cockney rhyming slang (like Night and the City, glossary included). Harlan and Mike Moorcock hipped me to it years ago as one of their all-time favorite books; I believe it was recently reprinted in the UK, but I'm sure you can track down an old hardcover through eBay or Bookfinder.com. It's well worth it.

Jennie
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Postby Jennie » Fri Sep 29, 2006 10:51 pm

Robert Morales wrote:The novel to get is Kersh's masterpiece, Fowlers End - it's staggeringly funny and tarted up with Cockney rhyming slang (like Night and the City, glossary included). Harlan and Mike Moorcock hipped me to it years ago as one of their all-time favorite books.


Robert, I like the way you used the term "hipped me to it" -- it reminds me of "The Glass Teat" 8)

I did buy "The Roving Mind" from Amazon.com; it should get to me any day now. I copied and pasted the Kersh stories for the SciFi channel website into my word processing program, but I may need to buy more ink before I print (isn't it funny how printers are ink vampires?)


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