Episode 148: Playing for time

As any regular listener knows all too well, hotel wifi is an unreliable friend. With Gary away in Seattle at the Locus Awards weekend, we recorded this “safety” episode to make sure you’d have your weekly Coode Street fix, It was recorded on June 23, and amongst other things we discuss the very sad recent deaths of Iain M. Banks, Jack Vance, and Parke Godwin, all of whom made significant contributions to our field As always, we hope you enjoy this latest ramble.

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3 thoughts on “Episode 148: Playing for time”

  1. Iain M. Banks: Regarding the M.

    From http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/obituaries/culture-obituaries/books-obituaries/10108884/Iain-Banks.html

    “Though an only child, Iain had a close-knit and large extended family; their name had originally been Banks Menzies, but Iain’s paternal grandfather, a miner and trade union activist, had reversed the surnames after drawing the attention of the police during the General Strike of 1926.

    Although registered at birth as plain Iain Banks, he used Menzies as his middle name from childhood. The decision to add “M” for his first science fiction book, Consider Phlebas (the fourth of his novels), was prompted by the disapproval of his uncles and cousins when the initial had been dropped from his previous books — after an editor raised the remarkably unlikely prospect of confusion with Rosie M Banks, the fictional author of slushy romantic novels in PG Wodehouse’s stories.”

  2. I too want to play “author-who-is-known-for-only-one work-but-should-be-known-for-more-of-their-output”.

    Keith Roberts. PAVANE is the famous / most reprinted work. But “The Chalk Giants” and the award winning Gráinne and Molly Zero should be better known.

    p.s. Not only have I read Moby Dick but I’ve read all but two of Melville’s other novels (those two are the sucky ones post MD). And I have reall ALL of Proust in just under 21 days (not much you can do during a slow run from Honolulu to Kobe).

  3. I just listened to this today, and a few points, mostly about Vance.

    First. there was a period in the late 1980s where the only Jack Vance work that was available in trade editions was fantasy–the various DYING EARTH books and the LYONESSE series. Scattered sf novels were available–I know Tor had an edition of THE LANGUAGES OF PAO around that time–but not many. Vance of course was canonized as one of the greats of fantasy as part of Gygax’s famous “Appendix N” in the AD&D DUNGEONMASTER’S GUIDE, so that help preserve the audience for the fantasy novels. It wasn’t until the mid-1990s, with the Orb omnibus editions of THE DEMON PRINCES, PLANET OF ADVENTURE and ALASTOR, that he really re-entered the market as an sf figure.

    Of course, some of the shorter sf works were around in landmark anthologies–notably “The Last Castle” and “The Dragon Masters” in THE HUGO WINNERS and “The Moon Moth” in THE SCIENCE FICTION HALL OF FAME–but it’s hard for an author to find an audience if he’s not in print, especially back in the day when we actually read books on paper rather than having them bloom directly in our minds via infotechture.

    Vance was strongly influenced by Clark Ashton Smith, particularly “The Tale of Satampra Zeiros” and “The Theft of the Thirty-Nine Girdles”.

    There was a complete, unified edition of John Crowley’s AEgypt, from Overlook press, using a version of Fumiani’s “The Martyrdom and Apotheosis of St Pantalon” as the cover. (This is the cover described for Frank Walker Barr’s TIME’S BODY within the novel.) Unfortunately, ENDLESS THINGS is already out of print, and I don’t know if it will come back.

    L. Sprague de Camp is in danger of becoming remembered only for the Harold Shea (“Incompleat Enchanter”) stories, which is a shame. Dunsany, if remembered at all in the US, is only known for THE KING OF ELFLAND’S DAUGHTER. And speaking of Dunsany, it may seem odd to complain that Lovecraft is only being remembered for “one thing” considering how ubiquitous the Mythos is in geek culture now, but his Dreamlands stories have real virtue.

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