The Miracle of Interlibrary Loan
Just for fun, here are my three most recent Interlibrary requests: THE MARX BROTHERS: A BIO-BIBLIOGRAPHY GLENDA FARRELL: HOLLYWOOD'S HARDBOILED DAME and THE CRIME FILMS OF ANTHONY MANN. Eclectic mix, huh?
Correction: a scene not dissimilar TO many in the EC comics.
The Interloan library system is a fantastic program. I've obtained scores of hard to find and obscure books through Interloans. My library scours public and university libraries all over the country until they find a copy of the book I want. That's how I managed to finally read Fredric Wertham's infamous tome, SEDUCTION OF THE INNOCENT (though it was one of the copies lacking the index which the publisher sliced out of many editions with a razor -- a scene not dissimilar for many in the EC Comics the doctor so disapproved of).
Over the last fifteen years, I've obtained hundreds of the most obscure books imaginable from Interlibrary Loan.. It reached a point where the head of the department asked to meet me. When he asked me if I was writing a book, I replied, "No, I just like to read."
The single most obscure: PSYCHO IN THE SHOWER. Someone actually wrote an entire book about the shower scene in PSYCHO. It's not bad, either!
Penultimate sentence should read "Fission power likely will become our main source of electricity, at least if what I was recently told by a disgusted research physicist back from working on ITER in France is correct."
Beckett; Nason; Ezra
BECKETT: Interlibrary loans? Like the Yellow Pages, those had slipped from my memory. Thanks for the excellent suggestion.
NASON: My hunch is that digital technology will, in a paradoxical way, make analog books more precious to us. Oh, people will read most works on electronic devices such as Kindles, as is the case with me. Once I've read, say, a detective story or a work of science fiction, I seldom want to have the thing lingering around. But actual physical books will be the sort that are valued for their aesthetic characteristics, objects that are meant to be touched and smelled and proudly displayed. Fewer books and therefore much fancier and more lavishly illustrated books, perhaps. Probably they will be a marker of social class as well.
(I am fairly certain that something similar will happen to the ability to write in cursive, but that is another subject.)
EZRA: A now-forgotten science fiction writer by the name of Arsen Darney once came out with a novel dealing with the topic of a so-called "atomic priesthood" to guard radioactive waste over the millennia. From what little I know of his book, it does not sound at all like anything I would care to read, but perhaps I do the author an injustice.
The notion of designer religions is certainly an interesting one, though. Frank Herbert, as usual, had a fascinating take on the topic, and if memory serves Nietzsche believed that Christianity was created by Paul to undermine the Roman Empire. To be sure, creating new religions for whatever reason--usually for access to money and women--is not that hard to do.
In any case, what we now think of as radioactive waste will probably be regarded by future generations as buried treasure to be reprocessed into fuel and other useful substances. Fission power likely will become our main source of electricity, at least if what I was recently told by a disgusted research physicist back from working on ITER in France. He contends that the scientists in charge of that highly touted Tokomak project know that the damned thing can't possibly work under any circumstances but simply view it as a cash cow to be milked.
fellow tightwad, Mr. Stevens
Regarding Robert Nason's recent essays. Might I suggest -- if this is feasible -- utilizing the Interlibrary Loan department of your local library. They should be able to acquire a copy of the essay, for you, with a proper citation.
Kenneth -- Thanks for showing interest in my work. No fear about being a tightwad, I'm one myself, by necessity, alas. The City Journal is gradually making the articles from the Summer issue accessible online, and by the time of the Fall issue all of them will be available. The Mailer Review allows some of the articles from the journal to be accessed online, but they're fairly selective about which ones and I can't guarantee that mine will be among the chosen. But I'll definitely let you know if and when both pieces are clickable.
Speaking of clicks, it's really a kick to write a piece and see it live a double life, in print and on the internet. I love words printed on paper, but the internet guarantees a minor immortality. Unless the website is discontinued or the World Wide Web is destroyed in a digital War of the Worlds and we're all forced to go back to talking to one another in person.
Robert Nason; Simon says
NASON: I very much look forward to reading your CITY JOURNAL (I recognized several of your co-contributors there, including Tierney and Dalrymple, and see that you are in worthy company) and MAILER REVIEW pieces, but I am too much of a tightwad to bring myself to subscribe to the publications in question. Perhaps there is a Scotsman in the woodpile.
Please be sure to post the relevant links once your work is available online.
"Aldous Bradbury"is Simon. I know the signs.
Ok "This is a dark time in cookie history" gets my vote for the best line of the month. I guess I've never lived because I've never had a Hydrox. So I can just walk into a Giant grocery store hereabouts (DC) and pick up a pack of these now? Is there a website where I can go and spend hours reading arguments over whether they are as good as the originals?
One thing though. I am so sick of food companies touting the fact they don't rely on GMOs. There have over 2000 double blind studies capped by a definitive study by the University of California-Davis in 2014 showing absolutely no ill effects on animals or humans due to the use of GMOs. The science is in. Why pander to people's ignorance? Oh wait, I'm sorry, I forgot for a second there I'm living in the USA. My bad.
Wow current events suck. And no matter what you do they won't go away. I'm forced to the conclusion that many Americans are not entirely reasonable.
Some serendipitous discoveries on this here internet are too good not to share. (Unless of course I was the only one not to know about it.) I suppose you can file this under: Seemed reasonable at the time but in retrospect appears batshit crazy.
In 1984 the Department of Energy created a task force to investigate the problems connected with the disposition of filled nuclear waste repositories. Specifically, "how to devise a method of warning future generations not to mine or drill at that site unless they are aware of the consequences of their actions". And these folks were thinking loooong term! The report is entitled "Communications Measures to Bridge Ten Millenia". It was written by Thomas Sebeok a rather famous expert in the field of Linguistics and Semiotics.
I won't spoil this for you. You should read the entire report. (The section explaining semiotics to government bureaucrats is actually very interesting.) But if you find your eyes glazing over at the semiotics and want to skip to the punchline go to Page 28 in the PDF (page 22 of the manuscript) Chapter 7 - Recommendations, which is so science fictionally wacky that you can't help thinking Prof Sebeok was enjoying spending the tax payers money. This entire document could be a J G Ballard or Stanislaw Lem story.
From the Ellison Preservation Project
As You Wish, Mr. Messer
Chuck, my mistake. I thought bringing up the fact that the current President and his administration are linked to White Nationalists -- as are, by their silence, the majority of Republican politicians and conservative pundits and that sort -- might be an important point of discussion and rumination. Especially on a site devoted to a man who is arguably one of the most important fiction writers and essayists -- not to mention activists -- of the Civil Rights era.
Mind you, the subjects I broached aren't politics as usual.
But, as I said, my mistake.
To quote the Dread Pirate Roberts: As you wish.
Looking for a Harlan Quote
I'm looking for a quote from Harlan Ellison. I saw it in a video (I just re-watched the documentary, Dreams With Sharp Teeth hoping it was there, but it wasn't) where Ellison talks about storytelling. He likens a story to breakfast cereal (I think) but at one point he talks about the "moral" of the story. He describes it as the "fiber" inserted into a story among all the sugary stuff.
I can't remember the exact quote and damned if I can't find the video in which he says it online.
Does anyone know the quotation that I'm talking about? I'm writing a long piece for DARK WORLDS QUARTERLY and I really would like to include that quote in the piece if I can only find it.
Aldous, Jim: Please take it somewhere else.
"Unite the Right" rally
Unite the Right -- as in conservative, or Republican, or...White Nationalist.
It's hard to deny modern progressivism and classical fascism shared the same intellectual roots.
The sad history of Hydrox cookies:
By any other name
Neo-Republicans and Neo-conservatives: fascists by any other name.
Batman vs. Two-Face trailer debut
No, it has not been 24 hours; however, the trailer has dropped for the animated Batman vs. Two-Face movie. Based on my read of the trailer, this is not based on Ellison's treatment but tells its own original story with a new take on the origin of Two-Face.
Patton Oswalt on Wait! Wait! Don't Tell Me!
For you National Public Radio fans, Harlan's friend Patton Oswalt, is not only on the revival of Mystery Science Theater 3000 (Netflix), he is also a guest on the NPR Comedy news show. He is, of course, hilarious.
Le, I am very happy you got a chance to see the Butler exhibit!
Late, but heartfelt sympathies and prayers to the Barber family.
- Brian Phillips
More on the animated movie
Sorry for the second post, but looking back at my IMDb Update History, I see that I did actually originate that trivia entry.
By the way, can anyone here confirm with any authority whether Batman vs. Two-Face is based on Harlan's treatment?
Batman vs. Two-Face animated movie
It is worth noting that the trivia entry at IMDb does NOT state that the movie is based on Harlan Ellison's treatment. It was written in anticipation of later confirmation, which has not come yet. I don't remember if I wrote the original entry, but I did edit the current version of it.
"Writer Harlan Ellison wrote a treatment for an unproduced episode of the 1966 Batman television series. The treatment was adapted as a comic book in 2015, Batman '66 - The Lost Episode, by writer Len Wein, pencils by Jose Luis Garcia-Lopez, inks by Joe Prado, colors by Alex Sinclair, and lettered by Wes Abbott. The story title was 'The Two-Way Crimes of Two-Face'."
I'm still looking for confirmation of the writing credits for the direct-to-video animated film.
Harlan and Batman continued
Sorry for the second post, but IMDB says the Batman vs. Two-Face is actually based on a Harlan treatment, not a script. I don't know if this will end up in a 'story by' credit or not:
But this article says it was originally a one-episode script that would have to be lengthened for a feature:
Don't know who's right. But the WGA should protect Harlan, in any case.
Ellison has no writing credit on that Batman movie:
Looks like Harlan's Batman vs. Two-Face script has been produced and is coming out in October: