Yes. I think I was. Right now I'm reading the next book in that series, Greed & Stuff. The conceit is that the main character is a washed-up child actor turned gumshoe who brushes up against supernatural forces. So we get a combination of a Hollywood noir with a story of the occult. And the guy writes in a kind of jokey Robert Sheckley style.
― James Redd and the Blecchs, Sunday, 8 June 2008 23:57 (thirteen years ago) link
― Elvis Telecom, Monday, 10 August 2009 22:50 (twelve years ago) link
How did I miss this thread before? Anyway, down with ILX Balkanization, up with "Site New Answers"
― Elvis Telecom, Monday, 10 August 2009 22:52 (twelve years ago) link
Also, FWIW I'm currently in the middle of Empire Falls after a string of non-fiction (Refried Elvis, The Ten-Cent Plague, Rats, Architecture Of Diplomacy)
― Elvis Telecom, Monday, 10 August 2009 23:43 (twelve years ago) link
Did you ever read any of those Jay Russell Marty Burns books or just Brown Harvest?
― Horace Silver Machine (James Redd and the Blecchs), Tuesday, 11 August 2009 16:35 (twelve years ago) link
Reviving because I just started started Jake Arnott's The House Of Rumor. It was this section in the LA Review of Books review that sold me
The House of Rumour is a fictional take on Parsons’s crazed story, chronicling the lifestyles of the nerdy and perverted who made up the fringe-science/SF scene in 1940s Southern California. But its ambitions are even wider, offering a vastly complex alternative history in which Parsons and his SoCal circle of mystics, tech nerds, and pulp aficionados come to represent the twinned utopian and dystopian impulses that have inspired and deformed the postwar world. The ingenious, infernally complicated plot — which spurns linear chronology, dizzyingly mixing real personages with fictional characters — is impossible to summarize, but suffice it to say that it features all the major dramatis personae from Pendle’s book, interweaving them with numerous subplots that are mostly drawn from historical events. The story is sparked when British intelligence agent (and future spy novelist) Ian Fleming recruits Crowley to assist in persuading Hitler’s chief lieutenant, Rudolf Hess, to defect to England; by the time the author is done, however, he has roped in everything from the Bloomsbury Group to the 1970s punk scene, from the Apollo 11 moon landing to the People’s Temple mass suicide, from UFOs to the Mariel boatlift to Afrofuturist music, and much more. The twenty-one chapters enact incidents loosely linked to the trump cards in Crowley’s Thoth tarot deck, with these major arcana providing an array of potent images that shadow and thematically amplify the plot. The result is an entertaining farrago whose invention never flags, even when the story threatens to collapse under the weight of its wild ambition and density of allusion.
Haven't read anything by Arnott before, but so far I'm getting a strong DeLillo vibe.
― Elvis Telecom, Friday, 16 August 2013 23:39 (eight years ago) link
Cool, thanks. Will check it out. That book references Dr. Cyclops which reminds me to ask, are you familiar with Stars Screaming or The Dead Circus by John Kaye?
― The O RLY of Everything (James Redd and the Blecchs), Saturday, 17 August 2013 01:39 (eight years ago) link
I'm not. *goes look* ummm I think I should be all over this...
― Elvis Telecom, Friday, 23 August 2013 03:53 (eight years ago) link
Guy goes to Robert Heinlein's (non-tesseract) house in the first, well, zeroth, chapter, how cool is that?
― The O RLY of Everything (James Redd and the Blecchs), Friday, 23 August 2013 21:05 (eight years ago) link
In any case, come on over to the rolling sf thread and read the Apollo Quartet with me and James M.
― The O RLY of Everything (James Redd and the Blecchs), Saturday, 24 August 2013 19:20 (eight years ago) link
i'm just always gonna think that i started this thread when i see it. there's no way around it. hey, what book DID i want him to read? oh, right...
― scott seward, Saturday, 24 August 2013 20:09 (eight years ago) link
btw, have you read that recent heinlein bio, vol 1? Seems to be in your wheelhouse.
― I Am the Cosimo Code (James Redd and the Blecchs), Sunday, 8 September 2013 16:30 (eight years ago) link
I did and it's maddening because the book stops in 1948 - just as the "Future History" and the kid novels are starting up. I read everything I could get hold of when I was growing up in the 70s but outside of re-reading Stranger In A Strange Land a couple of years ago I haven't felt compelled to revisit any of his books. I'm content hanging onto the memories of reading them and reading the bio feels like flipping through an old photo album. Plenty of "oh yeah, I remember that story" moments and lots of details on what it was like to be a writer in the 30s and 40s.
I still would love to see a book compiling the letters between him and John Campbell. (Campbell's letters have been compiled into several books - worth checking out, even the crazy ones.)
― Elvis Telecom, Sunday, 8 September 2013 20:02 (eight years ago) link
What's Millennium got that isn't already in "Air Raid," apart from cute chapter titles?
― I Forgot More Than You'll Ever POLL (James Redd and the Blecchs), Friday, 14 March 2014 20:31 (seven years ago) link
I actually haven't read "Air Raid." More to the point, I've always been rather meh about Varley. Punched out of the trilogy somewhere in the middle of Wizard. I think I had the feeling that deep down Varley was a space opera guy and I wasn't going to have any of that. Millennium sure felt like it.
― Elvis Telecom, Tuesday, 18 March 2014 08:40 (seven years ago) link
Truth be told, decades ago was a fan of his entertaining fast-moving, familiar folksy style then ultimately ended up finding it a bit slick and glib. Reread some stuff a few years and liked it again for the same reason but then started to have the same misgivings. Come to think of it had the same experience with his hero, RAH.
― I Forgot More Than You'll Ever POLL (James Redd and the Blecchs), Wednesday, 19 March 2014 00:08 (seven years ago) link
Agreed. We all probably went through a RAH phase until you get to that WTF point that makes you question everything you just read.
― Elvis Telecom, Wednesday, 19 March 2014 07:59 (seven years ago) link
BTW, just finished Kaye's Stars Screaming. I mostly dug it, but wanted to like it more. Good for that paranoiac haze that collected around LA middle-aged burnout culture back then, but vaguely dissatisfied by the resolutions.
How's his other book?
― Elvis Telecom, Wednesday, 19 March 2014 08:06 (seven years ago) link
Haven't got around to finishing but it had a similar vibe. Good stuff about Bobby Fuller.
― I Forgot More Than You'll Ever POLL (James Redd and the Blecchs), Wednesday, 19 March 2014 14:19 (seven years ago) link
This review of the RAH bio (along with a Cory Doctorow novel) by John Clute is kind of amazing: http://www.strangehorizons.com/2010/20100628/clute-c.shtml
― I Forgot More Than You'll Ever POLL (James Redd and the Blecchs), Wednesday, 19 March 2014 19:22 (seven years ago) link
Finally just started reading Sales' Apollo Quartet. ZOWIE. More than makes up for current reading doldrums.
― Elvis Telecom, Friday, 25 April 2014 04:27 (seven years ago) link
― Kilgore Haggard Replica (James Redd and the Blecchs), Friday, 25 April 2014 04:33 (seven years ago) link
Wish I was reading those again for the first time.
― Kilgore Haggard Replica (James Redd and the Blecchs), Friday, 25 April 2014 04:55 (seven years ago) link
The last one of those is out, btw. On a related note, you are wanted over on this thread: DSKY-DSKY Him Sad: Official ILB Thread For The Heroic Age of Manned Spaceflight.
― The Clones of Baron Funkhausen by Proxy Syndrome (James Redd and the Blecchs), Tuesday, 23 June 2015 03:07 (six years ago) link
Hooboy. I'm so far behind on everything... I promise I'll get to that thread. I've been riding the train to work the past couple of weeks and have been blazing through some schlock just to clear it out. I've been in a dark depressive hole lately - been hate-reading Nixon books and Supermob - the Sidney Korshak book that's a must-read for anyone who perceives the utter corruption at the core of American power.
Did read garbage techno-thriller Ghost Fleet on the Metrolink the other day. I don't know what to say other than it felt like distasteful propaganda.
― Elvis Telecom, Monday, 3 August 2015 07:40 (six years ago) link
Background on that: https://firstlook.org/theintercept/2015/07/04/ghost-fleet-welcome-world-post-snowden-techno-thrillers/
Reviving thread to go on about how much I'm enjoying Kim Stanley Robinson's The Ministry For The Future. A spiritual successor to Stand On Zanzibar that's just as annoyingly fractured.
― Elvis Telecom, Wednesday, 17 November 2021 04:01 (two months ago) link
Yeah, that's a good big messy book that actually gave me a glimmer of hope.
― Tsar Bombadil (James Morrison), Wednesday, 17 November 2021 05:11 (two months ago) link