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Birthdays and Books

Originally published at Ben Peek. You can comment here or there.

 

For my birthday, my girlfriend gave me slipcased, hardcover copies of Fritz Leiber’s Rime Isle and Heroes and Horrors. Both were printed in the late 70s by Whispers Press and were illustrated by Tim Kirk – both very cool, and continue my slow collection of Leiber books by presses long gone. Whispers Press was the publishing arm of Stuart David Schiff’s Whispers magazine, which, according to a quick search, won the first World Fantasy Award for Best Non-Professional Publishing in ’75.

I doubt many people remember Whispers, now. I doubt many people know about the press. Sadly, a lot of people do not know about Leiber’s fine and excellent work.

I wonder what Leiber would make of the current debate among the World Fantasy Awards to change the statue from H.P. Lovecraft to something else. Leiber had – if I remember right – a small correspondence with Lovecraft early in his career, but if he was alive today, he’d be a hundred and four, and because of that, perhaps less inclined to want change, as a lot of older men and women do. But then again, perhaps not. Perhaps he would agree that Lovecraft was an awful racist and that it was reasonable that some people might be offended by receiving a statue of him. Perhaps he’d simply say that all things change. Perhaps he’d say that for a modern writers who were receiving the award, the statue ought to perhaps represent someone that they respected, rather than someone they did not. Who knows. I personally ask why the award doesn’t have a cash prize attached to it, but that’s me.

***

A couple of months out from the publication of the Godless and I think it is fair to say the book hasn’t picked up a lot of reviews. A couple of official ones, a handful or two of blog ones, and largely positive.

It is often why I make a point of saying, in these little blog posts, that you should talk about it, drop reviews, and so forth, because for all the frankly excellent store presence it has had, the other side, the talk of it, is part of letting other people know about it as well. Similarly, Dead Americans and Other Stories, sits in the same boat – though it does not have the store presence to support it (short story collections rarely do). For me, there’s a lot invested, but that is no real different to any other author.

Still, that’s why I prod people who have liked it to speak about it, in case you’re curious. It helps all editions, in all countries, and in 2014, I’m shockingly in a few.

***

I watched Paul Thomas Anderson’s There Will Be Blood recently. He is, I think, one of the best film makers to emerge from America in the last two decades. Daniel Day-Lewis is excellent, as well.

I saw the trailer for his new film, Inherent Vice, during the week, and I’m pretty keen to see that.

Anyhow, enough for today.

 

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