Saturday, February 28, 2015

Saturday Music Club: some bands with singers, some singers with bands...

Carmen McRae with Brubeck, Morello and Wright: "Oh So Blue" 


Diahann Carroll and the Modern Jazz Quartet: "La Cantatrice"


Jeanne Lee and Ran Blake: "All About Ronnie"


Abbey Lincoln: "Love Has Gone Away"


Aretha Franklin: "Deeper"


Lambert, Hendricks and Bavan: "Watermelon Man"


Ana Tijoux Live in Berlin


Carmen McRae Quartet: Jazz Casual




Sunday, February 22, 2015

Saturday Music Club returns, still tardy, now

Jawbox: "Apollo Amateur"


Thievery Corporation: "All That We Perceive"


Ana Tijoux (con Jorge Drexler):  "Sacar la voz"

http://www.halftheskymovement.org/30-songs-30-days

Nina Simone: "Backlash Blues"


Ion Bogdan Stefanescu and Horia Maxim: "Blue Shadows In The Street"


David Amram large band: "Tompkins Square Park Consciousness Expander"

Ran Blake Quartet: "Short Life of Barbara Monk" 

Friday, January 2, 2015

FFB: THE BEST FROM FANTASY AND SCIENCE FICTION, 20th Series, edited by Edward L. Ferman (Doubleday 1973); THE BEST FROM FANTASY & SCIENCE FICTION: THE FIFTIETH ANNIVERSARY ANTHOLOGY, edited by Edward L. Ferman and Gordon Van Gelder (Tor 1999)






















The Best from Fantasy and Science Fiction: 20 ed. Edward L. Ferman (Doubleday, 1973, hc)
The Best from Fantasy & Science Fiction: The Fiftieth Anniversary Anthology ed. Edward L. Ferman & Gordon Van Gelder (Tor 0-312-86973-8, Oct ’99 [Sep ’99], $24.95, 381pp, hc) Anthology of 21 stories that appeared in the magazine from 1994-98. Authors include Kate Wilhelm, Ursula K. Le Guin, Bruce Sterling, and Gene Wolfe.
  • 13 · Introduction · Gordon Van Gelder · in
  • 15 · Last Summer at Mars Hill · Elizabeth Hand · na F&SF Aug ’94
  • 64 · Maneki Neko · Bruce Sterling · ss F&SF May ’98; originally published in Japanese in Hayakawa S-F Magazine.
  • 81 · No Planets Strike · Gene Wolfe · ss F&SF Jan ’97
  • 92 · Sins of the Mothers · S. N. Dyer · ss F&SF May ’97
  • 106 · The Finger · Ray Vukcevich · ss F&SF Apr ’95
  • 112 · Lifeboat on a Burning Sea · Bruce Holland Rogers · nv F&SF Oct/Nov ’95
  • 140 · Gone · John Crowley · ss F&SF Sep ’96
  • 154 · First Tuesday · Robert Reed · ss F&SF Feb ’96
  • 172 · The Fool, the Stick, and the Princess · Rachel Pollack · ss F&SF Oct/Nov ’98
  • 183 · A Birthday · Esther M. Friesner · ss F&SF Aug ’95
  • 200 · Sensible City · Harlan Ellison · ss F&SF Oct/Nov ’94
  • 209 · All the Birds of Hell · Tanith Lee · nv F&SF Oct/Nov ’98
  • 233 · We Love Lydia Love · Bradley Denton · nv F&SF Oct/Nov ’94
  • 258 · Paul and Me · Michael Blumlein · ss F&SF Oct/Nov ’97
  • Plumage from Pegasus:
    ___ 275 · Have Gun, Will Edit · Paul Di Filippo · cl F&SF Aug ’96
  • 280 · Forget Luck [Tony Manetti] · Kate Wilhelm · ss F&SF Apr ’96
  • 294 · Quinn’s Way · Dale Bailey · nv F&SF Feb ’97
  • 326 · Partial People · Terry Bisson · vi Bears Discover Fire, Tor, 1993
  • 329 · The Lincoln Train · Maureen F. McHugh · ss F&SF Apr ’95
  • 344 · Another Fine Mess · Ray Bradbury · ss F&SF Apr ’95
  • 353 · Solitude · Ursula K. Le Guin · nv F&SF Dec ’94
Actual review forthcoming!

Please see Patti Abbott's blog for less encumbered folks' entries...

Friday, December 19, 2014

FFB: FANTASTIC STORIES: TALES OF THE WEIRD AND WONDROUS ed. Martin H. Greenberg and Patrick Price (TSR, 1987)...among some "hidden" fiction magazine best-ofs...

cover illo by Janet Aulisio, for Robert
Bloch's "The Double Whammy"
Fantastic, as a magazine, for most of its 28 years and some months of existence (from launch in 1952, early absorption of its predecessor Fantastic Adventures in 1954, and folding into companion title Amazing Science Fiction Stories in early 1981), was usually an example of at least someone involved doing the best they could with the magazine, in the face of serious obstacles. Sometimes the chiefest obstacle was the apathy of the editor, particularly true during the latter years of founding editor Howard Browne's tenure, and those of his former assistant and heir Paul Fairman...the magazine, starting out with a large budget and some fanfare by a serious, though not quite top-of-the-industry, publisher (Ziff-Davis), achieved initial sales beyond reasonable expectation (the third issue featured a story attributed to Mickey Spillane, at the early height of his popularity, which had been highlighted--and "spoiled" with extensive description--by a Life magazine profile of the Mike Hammer creator, on newsstands before the Fantastic issue was published...so Browne quickly ghosted a new story, "The Veiled Woman," and published it as by Spillane)(in later accounts of the incident, Browne also notes that he thought the genuine Spillane story terrible; the Browne counterfeit is a reasonably good, and probably intentionally slightly parodic, pastiche).
The first issue, a cover much referred to in
James Gunn's introduction and that of

the source of Asimov's story in the book...and 
not included in the selected cover images...
illo by Barrye Phillips and Leo Morey


However, those high circulation figures were not sustained into the second year of publication, and with the folding in of FA, Fantastic's budget was cut and Browne went back to the usually relatively indifferent efforts he'd been making at Fantastic Adventures, accepting and publishing good work when it was offered by writers but just as happy to run that good work alongside no-more-than-readable hackwork by regular Ziff-Davis writers, much of the latter published under "house names" such as "Lawrence Chandler" and "Ivar Jorgensen"--the actual authors could be any number of contributors including Browne and Fairman themselves (many of the stable of contributors in those years haven't remembered clearly [or didn't choose to] who wrote what among the less memorable items, and the office records of the era have apparently not all been retained; among the best writers who didn't always do their best efforts for Ziff-Davis fiction magazines in their Chicago-based days were Robert Bloch and William McGivern). When Browne officially resigned in 1956 (having checked out to the degree of spending much of his office time writing his crime fiction, and deciding that the relocation of the editorial offices from Chicago to New York City were his cue to try his luck as a screenwriter in Hollywood), newly official editor Fairman went even further along into systematization of Fantastic and Amazing, depending not entirely but largely on four relatively young writers to produce wordage that would be accepted and published unread (under a variety of bylines), as long as the manuscript delivery was punctual and the stories didn't cause any problems that might interfere with Fairman's own in-office writing for other markets...and even this arrangement managed to bring in some good or promising work among the acceptably mediocre, since the quartet was comprised of Milton Lesser (who would publish most of his better work as Stephen Marlowe), Harlan Ellison, Robert Silverberg and Randall Garrett. And Fairman had as his assistant a young and
illo by Richard Powers
inexperienced but diligent and talented recent Vassar graduate, Cele Goldsmith, who would dig through the "slushpile" of submitted manuscripts and would occasionally find very interesting work indeed, including what would be the first published story by Kate Wilhelm. When Fairman left, in 1958 (primarily to be a full-time freelance writer, but briefly taking on managing editorship of Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine, by then published by Ziff-Davis co-founder B. G. Davis, who'd quit ZD in 1958, as well), Goldsmith was elevated to editorship (at 25 years of age), and with far less cynicism if also less of a sense of the history of fantastic fiction, she would go on at the magazines to put together issues that would mix brilliantly innovative, interesting if more traditional, and sometimes merely notional work, till the magazines were sold by Ziff-Davis in 1965.  Under Goldsmith (who took through marriage the name Cele Lalli during her tenure), the fiction magazines had lost their champion at ZD with Davis's departure, as William Ziff, Jr. began his successful focus of ZD on hobbyist and highly specialized magazines, which meant that for most of her career with them, Fantastic and Amazing were secondary projects, with art direction and packaging that was somewhat less consistently good than her editorial product deserved. A fellow named Norman Lobsenz was given the task of overseeing her work, though apparently he mostly wrote the consistently trivial editorials and responses in the reader letters columns in the magazines. Among the writers she "discovered" through first professional publication as editor, were Ursula K. Le Guin, Thomas M. Disch, Sonya Dorman (her prose, at least, aside from a student story in Mademoiselle--as with Disch only even moreso, Dorman's career as a poet was at least as prominent as that as a fiction-writer),  Roger Zelazny, Ben Bova, Ted White, Keith Laumer, and Piers Anthony (when still a promising young writer, well before he made jejune fantasy novel-series his primary occupation). Her magazines were one of the primary markets for the mostly young writers who were shaking up fantasy and particularly sf in the early 1960s, along with Avram Davidson's editorship of The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction and, increasingly, Frederik Pohl's work at Galaxy magazine and its siblings. Among those she worked with closely was
One of the better covers from the Goldsmith/
Lalli years...Jakes, who wrote many sorts of

fiction, made his biggest splash in historical
fiction in the mid-1970s. Illo by 
Vernon Kramer.

Fritz Leiber, though the reports of her courtesy and quick and enthusiastic response, trumping even the withered budget she had for her version of the magazines, is the common narrative (much noted by Le Guin and others) of her career at the magazines (and her later work on Ziff-Davis bridal magazines, which comprised most of her career), and is one of the more important points made by James Gunn in his introduction to the volume theoretically under review here. Gunn's introduction, for what it's worth, is rather short, Very oddly copy-edited and is the Only editorial matter in the book to give any sense of the context the collected stories were published in, aside from the copyright acknowledgements page bearing the years of publication; there aren't even headnotes to any of the stories nor contributor notes. That is most assuredly Strike One against this anthology, despite it being only the third book (I believe; please see below) to collect a sampling specifically from Fantastic, the heftiest of the three volumes, and the last so far (this latter fact is Strike One against the publishing industry).  There is also a rather offhandedly selected set of plates in the center of the book, on heavy slick paper displaying in color some of the front covers from some of Goldsmith's and later editor Ted White's issues, with minimal comment there, and a set of new illustrations for the stories, by such talented artists as Janet Aulisio and Stephen Fabian, which nonetheless mostly seem rather uninspired and oddly out of place in the anthology, rather than magazine, format...indicative of TSR's stewardship of Amazing (combined with Fantastic Stories) and their publishing efforts generally...haphazard tossing around of money, with rather half-assed follow-through (aside from all the Dungeons & Dragons product money TSR had at hand, they'd also gotten a windfall from Steven Spielberg's renting of the Amazing Stories title, and a/v rights to as many of the stories in the back issues as possible, for his misbegotten and shortlived tv anthology series). Also included in the volume, for no obvious reason and probably in part because Martin Greenberg had made an error in his famous filing system and indexed a short story by Lester Del Rey, published in 1955 in the unrelated magazine Fantastic Universe, as a contribution to Fantastic...or perhaps Greenberg just wanted an excuse to run the story, and hoped no one would notice. Together, let's call those Strikes Two and Three against this book being taken too seriously by the casual browser of bookstands, particularly if she knows anything about the magazine whose provenance was one of the primary selling points here. And I haven't even gotten to the contributions of the editors who worked with publishers Sol Cohen and Arthur Bernhard, who ran the magazines on the thinnest of shoestrings, from 1965 through the sale of Amazing to TSR in the early '80s, and all the roadblocks they threw up against good work by subsequent editors Joseph "Ross"/Wrocz, Harry Harrison, Barry Malzberg, longest-serving Ted White, and Elinor Mavor (who for no good reason called herself "Omar Gohagan" in her first issues). Of course, the anthology editors and Gunn don't mention these folks' efforts, either, even if they include some of the fiction White published. (I've personally had the good fortune to speak and correspond with
A typically handsome (and comics-
influenced) cover from Ted White's term
as editor and art director; illo by Douglas
Chaffee
Harrison, Malzberg and White, if very briefly in the first case, about their experiences as editors for Cohen's Ultimate Publications; Harrison was breezily philosophical, looking upon his short tenure as just another part-time job that helped keep body and soul together during a brief period of living back in the US again; Malzberg I think found the experience as fascinating as it was frustrating, for what it told him about the nature of the markets he was working in as writer, editor and agent; White, who stuck with it for a decade despite eventually qualifying for welfare payments, since his stipend as editor and designer was so slight, was nonetheless devoted to the task and willing to put up with the strictures he faced, however grumpily...his next job after leaving Fantastic and Amazing was a year as editor of the then-flourishing, and very well-budgeted, adult fantasy comic Heavy Metal.)


The earmarks of nonchalance all over this anthology are a pity, because the selection of stories is pretty good, though not reasonably representative of the best of the magazine's career. It's also notable which of the contributors whose work is collected here have gone onto ever greater fame in the years since this 1987 book was published, much less their stories' original publication (pretty obvious examples: J. G. Ballard and particularly George R. R. Martin), those whose fame has been sustained (Le Guin and Philip K. Dick), those whose star has dimmed (almost inarguably unfairly, given their best work: Roger Zelazny, John Brunner and to a much lesser extent Isaac Asimov) and those who remain stubbornly underappreciated (Ron Goulart, David Bunch, and to too great an extent Robert Bloch...Judith Merril is perhaps as well-remembered today as a mover and shaker in the Toronto countercultural scene in the 1970s and '80s as she is for her extensive work in sf and related literatures).

Courtesy the Locus Index: 
Fantastic Stories: Tales of the Weird and Wondrous ed. Martin H. Greenberg & Patrick L. Price (TSR 0-88038-521-9, May ’87, $7.95, 253pp, tp) Anthology of 16 stories from the magazine, with an introduction by James E. Gunn plus a selection of color cover reproductions.
  • 7 · Introduction · James E. Gunn · in
  • 11 · Double Whammy · Robert Bloch · ss Fantastic Feb ’70
  • 21 · A Drink of Darkness · Robert F. Young · ss Fantastic Jul ’62
  • 33 · A Question of Re-Entry · J. G. Ballard · nv Fantastic Mar ’63
  • 59 · The Exit to San Breta · George R. R. Martin · ss Fantastic Feb ’72
  • 70 · The Shrine of Temptation · Judith Merril · ss Fantastic Apr ’62
  • 85 · Dr. Birdmouse · Reginald Bretnor · ss Fantastic Apr ’62
  • 97 · Eve Times Four · Poul Anderson · nv Fantastic Apr ’60
  • 126 · The Rule of Names [Earthsea] · Ursula K. Le Guin · ss Fantastic Apr ’64
  • ins. · Artists’ Visions of the Weird & Wondrous · Various Hands · il
  • 135 · The Still Waters [“In the Still Waters”] · Lester del Rey · ss Fantastic Universe Jun ’55
  • 144 · A Small Miracle of Fishhooks and Straight Pins · David R. Bunch · vi Fantastic Jun ’61
  • 148 · Novelty Act · Philip K. Dick · nv Fantastic Feb ’64
  • 174 · What If... · Isaac Asimov · ss Fantastic Sum ’52
  • 186 · Elixir for the Emperor · John Brunner · ss Fantastic Nov ’64
  • 202 · King Solomon’s Ring · Roger Zelazny · nv Fantastic Oct ’63
  • 220 · Junior Partner · Ron Goulart · ss Fantastic Sep ’62
  • 229 · Donor · James E. Gunn · nv Fantastic Nov ’60
Two weeks ago, I gave a quick gloss of a review of Ted White's The Best from Fantastic, and the other anthology drawn largely from Fantastic, even earlier than White's and including stories from Fantastic Adventures and one from Amazing, is Ivan Howard's Time Untamed, mentioned here briefly some time back (with its original ugly cover, as cheerfully reproduced by an Award Books reprint); the slightly less ugly second edition and UK covers are below.  This volume is an example of the "hidden" anthology drawn from a given magazine, or in this case a magazine group (as is the Weird Tales magazine anthology The Unexpected, mentioned in that same post), as are Ivan Howard's several other anthologies for the publisher Belmont/Belmont Tower, which drew from Science Fiction, Future Fiction, Dynamic Science Fiction and the other sf magazines Robert Lowndes edited for Columbia Publications, owned by Louis Silberkleit, who also owned the later, and similarly low-budget Belmont books concern (Silberkleit was also a partner of Archie Comics guy Martin Goodman in several projects over the decades) ...no mention, or essentially so, in the book's packaging that all the collected stories are from the one source, or related group of sources.  Fantastic Universe, mentioned above as the source of the Del Rey story that has no reason to be in a Fantastic anthology, had one obvious anthology drawn from its pages, The Fantastic Universe Omnibus, but FU (and The Saint Mystery Magazine) editor Hans Stefan Santesson later published several anthologies that draw all but exclusively from FU's pages, while not advertising that fact, beginning with Rulers of Men. I recently suggested to the editors of The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction that not only Samuel Mines's The Best from Startling Stories should be noted in the entry for Thrilling Wonder Stories, Startling's older sibling which the anthology also draws from, but that Damon Knight's anthology The Shape of Things should also be cited in both magazines' entries, as it's also an anthology drawn intentionally and exclusively from both magazines (and quite a good one)...another "hidden" example (as the Mines Startling volume almost is for TWS...). Joseph Ferman's No Limits (quite possibly co- or ghost-edited by his son, Edward Ferman) is an anthology drawn from the 1950s version of Venture Science Fiction magazine; Once and Future Tales, an all-but "hidden" anthology from Venture's sibling The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction (and commissioned by a short-lived publishing project, and outside the then-regular set of Doubleday's Best from F&SF volumes). I hope to add other examples to an ongoing list here...I've also briefly reviewed a vintage pirated volume taken from Christine Campbell Thomson's legitimate UK anthology series Not at Night that drew regularly on the early Weird Tales for its contents...the pirated volume published here as one of the early products of The Vanguard Press, co-founded by Rex Stout, no less.

For more of today's books, please see Patti Abbott's blog.



Tuesday, December 9, 2014

some folk-rock (and antecedents)

Some previously posted, some not.





















Johnny Cash: "Hey, Porter"


Buddy Holly: "Learning the Game"


The Springfields: "Silver Threads and Golden Needles"


Jackie DeShannon: "Needles and Pins"


Mimi and Richard Fariña: "Reno, Nevada"


The Byrds: "Wild Mountain Thyme"


The Byrds: "Here Without You"


The Turtles: "You Showed Me"


Blackburn and Snow: "Stranger in a Strange Land"


The Seekers: "I'll Never Find Another You"


Fairport Convention: "It's Alright Ma, It's Only Witchcraft"


Fairport Convention:  "Farewell, Farewell"


The Pentangle: "Light Flight"


Joy of Cooking: "Down My Dream"


Joni Mitchell and The Band: "Coyote"