May 5th, 2007

Have another, deah?

Maine native Gary Lawless, owner of Gulf of Maine Books, wrote this morning to tell me he'd have the Allen's Coffee Brandy – rural Maine's drink of choice — on hand this afternoon for my reading.  Preferred serving method in some parts is to pour it into a gallon milk jug, half milk and haf coffee brandy, then slug it.  To a casual onlooker you're drinking milk.  A lot of milk.  Must be some happy cows out there (happier than the ones in Fast Food Nation, anyway).

So then I glanced at tomorrow's NYTBR —

— and there's a review of Barbara Harris's The Joy of Drinking, which notes, among other things, that on the eve of completing their work in 1787, the 55 delegates to our Consitutuional Convention

“adjourned to a tavern for some rest, and according to the bill they drank 54 bottles of Madeira, 60 bottles of claret, 8 of whiskey, 22 of port, 8 of hard cider and 7 bowls of punch so large that, it was said, ducks could swim around in them. Then they went back to work and finished founding the new Republic.”

Do you think the edtiors of today's New Republic work this way?

Get Your Nerd On

Yesterday's NY Times Escapes section had a refreshingly uncondescending (for the most part) feature by Dave Itzkoff on MidSouthCon and sf cons in general.

Itzkoff gets flack for his genre coverage, but I have a lot of sympathy for him — it's gotta be a tough job, explaining David Marusek to NYTBR readers — and while I may not always agree with his assessments, I think he takes genre writing seriously (for the most part) and shows an obvious affection for writers and readers alike.  I don't think the F word — fandom — was mentioned anywhere in the Times piece, but it captured the warmth and convivality of cons and provided a helpful listing of upcoming conventions for interested Times readers.  So if that contingent of attorneys and paralegals from Payson, Sims, and Finley shows up at Dragoncon, we'll know who sent them.

Tomorrow's Sunday Times also has a long piece by Charles McGrath on the little-known, completely undiscovered sf writer, Philip K. Dick.  Maybe if the rest of us adopt the Dog Food Diet someone will take notice of the fact that there or two or three other, living science fiction novelists worth reading.

Meanwhile, over at Ansible, Philip Reeve cops to being an sf writer:

`Well, for a long time I avoided it, but I've started to embrace it because I'm quite proud to be considered a sci fi author as it's so unfashionable.  I think it's time to stand out and be counted.'

Say it out and say it loud, folks!  And please watch your heads as the other members of the Inferior 4 drag Margaret "Galadriel" Atwood and John "I Am Not Spock" Updike onstage for the Nebula closing ceremonies.
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Sixties Novels, Part 10

THE FAVORITE GAME, Leonard Cohen, Secker and Warburg, 1963

BEAUTIFUL LOSERS, Leonard Cohen, McClelland and Stewart, 1966

(I've picked these reprint editions as illos because they happen to be the very paperbacks I'm currently holding in my lap!)

What's there really left to say about Leonard Cohen?

Love him or hate him, fifty years down the road from his first book of poetry, forty years down the road from his first ablum, he's a famous known quantity. Certainly he and his career stand out for their contributions to the Sixties--although of course Cohen and his accomplishments continued on either side of that decade.

I do think it worth commenting on that Cohen is perhaps the only person to have gone on from a writerly existence to a pop star existence. Oh, sure the border between those art forms is porous, with people crossing over all the time, people like John Shirley, Greg Kihn and Mick Farren on the SF side, and musician-writers like Dylan and Nick Cave and Jewel (bet you never thought you'd see those three names in the same sentence!) on the more mainstream side.

But has there ever been another case of someone so determinedly "literary" at the outset of his or her career becoming known primarily for music?

Oh, yeah: maybe Jim Carroll:
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Sixties Novels, Parts 1-10 Index