nuranar: Hortense Bonaparte. La reine Hortense sous une tonnelle à Aix-les-Bains (1813) by Antoine Jean Duclaux. (Saint stickfigure)
Tell me you want to play and I'll pick up to three of your fandoms (a list might be helpful). Then update your journal and answer the following questions:

1. What got you into this fandom in the first place?
2. Do you think you'll stay in this fandom or eventually move on?
3. Favorite episodes/books/movies, etc?
4. Do you participate in this fandom (fanfiction, graphics, discussions)?
5. Do you think more people should get into this fandom?

From [livejournal.com profile] seawasp, who asked of me The Saint, Lord Peter Wimsey, and The Wild Wild West. (Nice choices!)


The Saint
1. What got you into this fandom in the first place?
I think it was the late 1940s radio show starring Vincent Price that first piqued my interest, back in early high school. My city library had very few of Charteris's many books, but one of the few was The First Saint Omnibus, an absolutely fantastic introduction.  That was all I had, though, until I discovered Paperback Swap after college and was able to not only read but acquire most of the books.

2. Do you think you'll stay in this fandom or eventually move on?
I can't see ever moving on.  The Saint stories are above all stories of Adventure, and that is a love I've always had and probably always will.

3. Favorite episodes/books/movies, etc?
I'm very partial to the novellas, almost all written pre-WWII. Unlike in the short stories, there's plenty of room for a fairly complex plot and more than one action bit in the novella length.  My favorite full-length novels are The Saint Meets His Match (Angels of Doom), Getaway, and The Saint in New York.  I've seen and enjoyed the movies with George Sanders, but not enough to have a favorite yet.  The black-and-white episodes of the Roger Moore TV show can be surprisingly good, particularly those adapted from actual Saint stories instead of made up.  But the books are way better, particularly because there hasn't been an actor yet cast who both has and shows all of Simon's attributes.  I prefer Sanders' manner to Moore's, but Sanders is definitely not as athletic as Simon ought to be. And both men are remarkably big (particularly Sanders in the shoulders), whereas the Saint was tall but more slim than bulky.  It's also hard to carry off the Saint's debonair insouciance WITH his latent threat and physical ability. (The Val Kilmer movie is okay considered on its own, but it is NOT the Saint.)

4. Do you participate in this fandom (fanfiction, graphics, discussions)?
Not really. I have some great icons from [livejournal.com profile] jordannamorgan, which I rotate out regularly. I'm also a member of the [livejournal.com profile] saint_fans community, which is very inactive at the moment but has had some decent discussion and fun in the past.

5. Do you think more people should get into this fandom?
I think that a lot of people would really enjoy it. But both its age, and its various much-later adaptations, work against its being known.  It's really a shame, because the books were wildly popular for many decades.  I'm sure most existing fans are at least a generation older than myself.



Lord Peter Wimsey
1. What got you into this fandom in the first place?
One of my high school readers had the non-Wimsey story "The Inspiration of Mr Budd."  I thoroughly enjoyed it, so I went to the library and found the collection of short stories Lord Peter Views the Body.  I think I read The Unpleasantness at the Bellona Club first; I remember being mystified by references to an early book, which turned out to be Clouds of Witnesses.  I wasn't used to a mystery-story writer who also developed her characters from book to book!  By the time I left for college I had acquired most of the books through my local used bookstore.

2. Do you think you'll stay in this fandom or eventually move on?
I don't read them every year, but these will always be favorites.

3. Favorite episodes/books/movies, etc?
Clouds of Witnesses is a good one, although I can't help but think that someone used to really following a trail/reading tracks could have seen in the path what should have been obvious. (I have my own [mental] OC's in an alternate version who do just that!)  But other than that, Murder Must Advertise and The Nine Tailors are my clear favorites.  Murder Must Advertise has so much variety, with some fantastic elements, besides being a fascinating slice of a particular walk of life in 1933 London.  The Nine Tailors has the best atmosphere ever, and is solely responsible for my awareness of and fascination with change-ringing.  I suspect I'm a bit of an exception among Lord Peter fans, in that I'm not a super fan of Harriet stories.  Not that I dislike her; that's definitely not the case. I just marginally enjoy non-Harriet stories more.
I know there is a TV series that is highly favored, but I haven't seen it.

4. Do you participate in this fandom (fanfiction, graphics, discussions)?
No. I'm not particularly drawn to.

5. Do you think more people should get into this fandom?
Most people that are going to probably already are. Sayers is often lumped in with Christie, but her books are VERY different.  She doesn't use complex, tightly planned mysteries with clues carefully revealed. Often the mystery is of less significance than the characters themselves. The writing itself, and the dialogue, is of a higher standard as well.




The Wild Wild West
1. What got you into this fandom in the first place?
Channel 39 was pretty much an all-Western station until it was sold and became a Spanish-language station about ten years ago. Growing up, we could usually be sure of finding a safe, older Western TV series (Gunsmoke, Bonanza, Rawhide, etc), and occasionally we'd tune in to "The Wild Wild West."  It was sure fascinating: color (important to kids!), lots of action, weird gadgets and just weird stuff. Sometime after college we discovered a friend was a big fan (Call of Duty name James West). He'd found out the show was out on DVD.  Over the next six months, through gifts and personal purchase, I acquired all four seasons, really sailed in, and had a blast.

2. Do you think you'll stay in this fandom or eventually move on?
I can't imagine actually moving on.  I'm not obsessing over it, but from time to time I'll watch a bunch of episodes (well, more like the whole run) while sewing and have a grand time.

3. Favorite episodes/books/movies, etc?
There are quite a few. I'm partial to the extra-weird, such as the "The Night of the Man-Eating House." In a show that does weird stuff that still has a logical explanation, this episode leaves the supernatural door open.  "The Night of the Puppeteer" has a very different feel, with very noir lighting - literally dance-like; I find it mesmerizing.  Others are "The Night of the Inferno," the original series premiere, "The Night of the Headless Woman," and "The Night of Jack O'Diamonds." Plus episodes where Ross Martin does particularly good disguises. "The Night of the Surreal McCoy" is a Dr. Loveless with one of my favorites of Arte's impersonations. And the all-time best moment with Arte is when, as a Middle-Eastern arms buyer, he serenades himself with guitar and voice (in his "native" tongue) in "The Night of the Doomsday Formula." (Aha, it's here, starting at 2:35. See Kevin McCarthy try not to break character at 3:05.) The fact that Ross Martin was such a good musician makes it that much funnier - he really knows how to make it sound, well, as it sounds!

4. Do you participate in this fandom (fanfiction, graphics, discussions)?
No. I'm not really aware of one, first, and second, I'm sure it would be nothing but slash. No, thank you.  I would really like some user icons, though.

5. Do you think more people should get into this fandom?
Sure, why not? Just watch it with an open mind - 60s TV is what it is. :)
nuranar: (reading)
Snagged from [livejournal.com profile] ladyneferankh. :)

1) What author do you own the most books by?
Haha, LibraryThing to the rescue! Although I don't have everything in there yet. Hmph.
Andre Norton, 49.
Edgar Rice Burroughs, 37.
Erle Stanley Gardner, 30-40.
Margery Allingham, 27.
Leslie Charteris, 20-30.
Agatha Christie ought to be up there, too, since between my mother and I we own all but a couple of her 70+ novels. But I did most of my buying in junior high and early high school, and we never kept track of them.

More behind the cut! )
nuranar: (reading)
Snagged from [livejournal.com profile] ladyneferankh. :)

1) What author do you own the most books by?
Haha, LibraryThing to the rescue! Although I don't have everything in there yet. Hmph.
Andre Norton, 49.
Edgar Rice Burroughs, 37.
Erle Stanley Gardner, 30-40.
Margery Allingham, 27.
Leslie Charteris, 20-30.
Agatha Christie ought to be up there, too, since between my mother and I we own all but a couple of her 70+ novels. But I did most of my buying in junior high and early high school, and we never kept track of them.

More behind the cut! )
nuranar: Hortense Bonaparte. La reine Hortense sous une tonnelle à Aix-les-Bains (1813) by Antoine Jean Duclaux. (MHI)
Hmm, interesting meme.  The hard part is limiting myself to only 15, because I pick at least one favorite character in everything I read. And I'm just now over 600 books on LibraryThing, and not finished cataloging. >.<

List fifteen of your favorite characters from different series, and ask people to spot patterns in your choices, and if they're so inclined, to draw conclusions about you based on the patterns they've spotted.

Which means YOU, my dear friends list, get to play psychoanalyst. Enjoy! :p 


1. Albert Campion (author Margery Allingham)
2. Nhi Vanye i Chya (Cherryh's Morgaine books)
3. Kelly Robinson (I Spy)
4. Col. Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain (Shaara's The Killer Angels)
5. Lord Peter Wimsey (author Dorothy Sayers)
6. James Eckert (Dragon Knight series)
7. The Duke of Sale, a.k.a. "Gilly" (Heyer's The Foundling)
8. Sir Gareth Ludlow (Heyer's Sprig Muslin)
9. Simon Templar, the Saint (author Leslie Charteris)
10. John Carter (MacLean's The Golden Rendezvous)
11. Tuppence Beresford (author Agatha Christie)
12. Tyrel Sackett (L'Amour's Sackett books)
13. Donald Lamb (author Erle Stanley Gardner)
14. Aragorn (The Lord of the Rings)
15. Kimball Kinnison (Lensman series)

I used a random sequence generator, so don't make anything of the order. I will volunteer that except for Tuppence, these are all men. :p

(Note - it says "series," but that may be geared toward TV series and I don't do many of those. I'd rather focus on favorite characters, period. Which is hard enough... I know I'm leaving off some dillies...)
nuranar: Hortense Bonaparte. La reine Hortense sous une tonnelle à Aix-les-Bains (1813) by Antoine Jean Duclaux. (MHI)
Hmm, interesting meme.  The hard part is limiting myself to only 15, because I pick at least one favorite character in everything I read. And I'm just now over 600 books on LibraryThing, and not finished cataloging. >.<

List fifteen of your favorite characters from different series, and ask people to spot patterns in your choices, and if they're so inclined, to draw conclusions about you based on the patterns they've spotted.

Which means YOU, my dear friends list, get to play psychoanalyst. Enjoy! :p 


1. Albert Campion (author Margery Allingham)
2. Nhi Vanye i Chya (Cherryh's Morgaine books)
3. Kelly Robinson (I Spy)
4. Col. Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain (Shaara's The Killer Angels)
5. Lord Peter Wimsey (author Dorothy Sayers)
6. James Eckert (Dragon Knight series)
7. The Duke of Sale, a.k.a. "Gilly" (Heyer's The Foundling)
8. Sir Gareth Ludlow (Heyer's Sprig Muslin)
9. Simon Templar, the Saint (author Leslie Charteris)
10. John Carter (MacLean's The Golden Rendezvous)
11. Tuppence Beresford (author Agatha Christie)
12. Tyrel Sackett (L'Amour's Sackett books)
13. Donald Lamb (author Erle Stanley Gardner)
14. Aragorn (The Lord of the Rings)
15. Kimball Kinnison (Lensman series)

I used a random sequence generator, so don't make anything of the order. I will volunteer that except for Tuppence, these are all men. :p

(Note - it says "series," but that may be geared toward TV series and I don't do many of those. I'd rather focus on favorite characters, period. Which is hard enough... I know I'm leaving off some dillies...)
nuranar: (reading)
This one from [livejournal.com profile] seawasp


1) What author do you own the most books by? Not sure. With the weekend's acquisitions, I have 32 Saint books, so that's probably the highest.  The Agatha Christie and Nancy Drew collections surpass that, but both are jointly owned by my mother and I. And the majority of the Louis L'Amours are Nathan's.

2) What book do you own the most copies of? With far too little space for the books, I don't like having multiple copies of many things unless there's a reason for a particular edition. I have duplicates of some Austens and Sherlock Holmes, but I think the winner is Bibles, with five. In length-of-ownership order, I have the Living Bible I was given for Christmas in... 1989, I think; the NIV I got for Xmas in 1992 or 1993; a slimmer NIV, this time from the church, upon my high school graduation in 2001; an 1855 pocket-sized KJV I bought on ebay while in college to use for 1860s reenacting, and which I often carry to church because it's the smallest; and the NIV study Bible given to me by Mr. and Mrs. Klob when I graduated from college in 2005.

3) Did it bother you that both those questions ended with prepositions? Nope. Sometimes I try to avoid it in my writing, but only when it doesn't sound too contrived.

4) What fictional character are you secretly in love with? Oh, I love Richard Diamond, but that's hardly a secret; and he is a radio character, not a book character. There's plenty of others I could love, but none come to mind right now when I want them.

5) What book have you read the most times in your life? Err.  I never keep count. The Bible, Ben-Hur, Alistair MacLean's Where Eagles Dare and The Golden Rendezvous, Rifles for Watie, maybe Agatha Christie's Partners in Crime and The Man in the Brown Suit; probably lots more. I love to re-read.

6) What was your favourite book when you were ten years old? Nothing stands out; probably a Nancy Drew. I read all of Mom's before I was 8, and I added to the collection for years.  I also loved The Black Stallion; it's one of the earliest books I remember reading, certainly before first grade.  I would have read it to death except that I never owned it.

7) What is the worst book you’ve read in the past year? Not sure. Probably the book I stumbled across on Project Gutenberg that ends unhappily, with the central character going rather nuts - after the reader's been suckered into really really rooting for him and the woman. I loathe books wherein the main character(s) really, truly are insane.

8) What is the best book you’ve read in the past year? Impossible to say. Thanks to Project Gutenberg and Google Books, it's a choice among hundreds.

9) If you could force everyone you know to read one book, what would it be? I can't think of one. People tend to hate what they are forced to do. I sure do!

10) Who deserves to win the next Nobel Prize for Literature? Not a clue.

11) What book would you most like to see made into a movie? There was something I was thinking about recently, but I'm dashed if I can think of it now... I would love to see the Lensman books made into good movies, but there's No Way In The Universe that's going to be done acceptably.

12) What book would you least like to see made into a movie? There's an ocean of drivel that should never be given the shred of dignity conferred by movie release. And then there's the Lensman books, as I just mentioned; honestly, I would cringe if I heard they were being filmed, because they wouldn't be right.

13) Describe your weirdest dream involving a writer, book, or literary character. I don't remember my dreams. This phenomenon has long been a cause for passing puzzlement and frustration.

14) What is the most lowbrow book you’ve read as an adult? I have no pretense to any brow. This question and all its implications annoys me.

15) What is the most difficult book you’ve ever read? Maybe the textbook for discrete mathematics, although I don't remember a thing about it. It's more likely the first programming text I had, since it hopelessly confounded me for the first fourteen minutes and put me to sleep within the fifteenth.

16) What is the most obscure Shakespeare play you’ve seen? Neither The Tempest nor King Lear is obscure, methinks.

17) Do you prefer the French or the Russians? As authors, neither. Judging from what I've read, French, for the sake of Victor Hugo and Jules Verne.

18) Roth or Updike?  Who?

19) David Sedaris or Dave Eggers? Who?

20) Shakespeare, Milton, or Chaucer? Shakespeare. I haven't read enough Milton to know for sure, though.

21) Austen or Eliot? Austen.

22) What is the biggest or most embarrassing gap in your reading? The biggest gap would probably be the so-called "Lost Generation" writers, both American and British. I have little-to-zero interest in the worldview of those writers or the content of their writings, and no plans to ever close that "gap" in my reading.  I'm not embarrassed about this gap.  I do wish I had read more 19th-century literature back when I had more time and less tired brain cells, but it's still a strength in my reading and I'm planning to continue.

23) What is your favourite novel? Another impossible question. I'd probably have a list of 50, even if I limited favorite authors to one book. The ones I've read multiple times are there.

24) Play? The translation of Molière's Tartuffe, or The Hypocrite in my high school lit book is hilarious and made of awesome. (So is Wishbone's version of The Hypochondriac!)  I want to find out which translator did it and get Tartuffe, and others if possible, by him.

25) Poem? Not sure. Maybe If.

26) Essay? Either "On Faerie Stories" or one of C. S. Lewis's writing ones, such as "On Writing for Children" or "On Science Fiction."

27) Short story? I have no idea. There are way too many to tell, especially considering the SF ones.

28) Work of non-fiction?  The Bible. Aside from that, Costume in Detail. I've pored over the drawings in that book for years, and it still never fails to fascinate me.

29) Who is your favourite writer? I can't pick one. Alastair MacLean is waay up there.

30) Who is the most overrated writer alive today? No idea. I read little that was published in the last 10, 20, or 30 years.  I'd take a stab at Stephanie Meyer, but for all the raving I haven't heard anyone actually building up her writing.  (I don't seek out such discussion, though.)

31) What is your desert island book? Swiss Family Robinson.

32) And… what are you reading right now? LJ, with forays to Wikipedia (drama on the Lost Generation talk page, ahoy!), Amazon, and my tags list, to garner links.
nuranar: (reading)
This one from [livejournal.com profile] seawasp


1) What author do you own the most books by? Not sure. With the weekend's acquisitions, I have 32 Saint books, so that's probably the highest.  The Agatha Christie and Nancy Drew collections surpass that, but both are jointly owned by my mother and I. And the majority of the Louis L'Amours are Nathan's.

2) What book do you own the most copies of? With far too little space for the books, I don't like having multiple copies of many things unless there's a reason for a particular edition. I have duplicates of some Austens and Sherlock Holmes, but I think the winner is Bibles, with five. In length-of-ownership order, I have the Living Bible I was given for Christmas in... 1989, I think; the NIV I got for Xmas in 1992 or 1993; a slimmer NIV, this time from the church, upon my high school graduation in 2001; an 1855 pocket-sized KJV I bought on ebay while in college to use for 1860s reenacting, and which I often carry to church because it's the smallest; and the NIV study Bible given to me by Mr. and Mrs. Klob when I graduated from college in 2005.

3) Did it bother you that both those questions ended with prepositions? Nope. Sometimes I try to avoid it in my writing, but only when it doesn't sound too contrived.

4) What fictional character are you secretly in love with? Oh, I love Richard Diamond, but that's hardly a secret; and he is a radio character, not a book character. There's plenty of others I could love, but none come to mind right now when I want them.

5) What book have you read the most times in your life? Err.  I never keep count. The Bible, Ben-Hur, Alistair MacLean's Where Eagles Dare and The Golden Rendezvous, Rifles for Watie, maybe Agatha Christie's Partners in Crime and The Man in the Brown Suit; probably lots more. I love to re-read.

6) What was your favourite book when you were ten years old? Nothing stands out; probably a Nancy Drew. I read all of Mom's before I was 8, and I added to the collection for years.  I also loved The Black Stallion; it's one of the earliest books I remember reading, certainly before first grade.  I would have read it to death except that I never owned it.

7) What is the worst book you’ve read in the past year? Not sure. Probably the book I stumbled across on Project Gutenberg that ends unhappily, with the central character going rather nuts - after the reader's been suckered into really really rooting for him and the woman. I loathe books wherein the main character(s) really, truly are insane.

8) What is the best book you’ve read in the past year? Impossible to say. Thanks to Project Gutenberg and Google Books, it's a choice among hundreds.

9) If you could force everyone you know to read one book, what would it be? I can't think of one. People tend to hate what they are forced to do. I sure do!

10) Who deserves to win the next Nobel Prize for Literature? Not a clue.

11) What book would you most like to see made into a movie? There was something I was thinking about recently, but I'm dashed if I can think of it now... I would love to see the Lensman books made into good movies, but there's No Way In The Universe that's going to be done acceptably.

12) What book would you least like to see made into a movie? There's an ocean of drivel that should never be given the shred of dignity conferred by movie release. And then there's the Lensman books, as I just mentioned; honestly, I would cringe if I heard they were being filmed, because they wouldn't be right.

13) Describe your weirdest dream involving a writer, book, or literary character. I don't remember my dreams. This phenomenon has long been a cause for passing puzzlement and frustration.

14) What is the most lowbrow book you’ve read as an adult? I have no pretense to any brow. This question and all its implications annoys me.

15) What is the most difficult book you’ve ever read? Maybe the textbook for discrete mathematics, although I don't remember a thing about it. It's more likely the first programming text I had, since it hopelessly confounded me for the first fourteen minutes and put me to sleep within the fifteenth.

16) What is the most obscure Shakespeare play you’ve seen? Neither The Tempest nor King Lear is obscure, methinks.

17) Do you prefer the French or the Russians? As authors, neither. Judging from what I've read, French, for the sake of Victor Hugo and Jules Verne.

18) Roth or Updike?  Who?

19) David Sedaris or Dave Eggers? Who?

20) Shakespeare, Milton, or Chaucer? Shakespeare. I haven't read enough Milton to know for sure, though.

21) Austen or Eliot? Austen.

22) What is the biggest or most embarrassing gap in your reading? The biggest gap would probably be the so-called "Lost Generation" writers, both American and British. I have little-to-zero interest in the worldview of those writers or the content of their writings, and no plans to ever close that "gap" in my reading.  I'm not embarrassed about this gap.  I do wish I had read more 19th-century literature back when I had more time and less tired brain cells, but it's still a strength in my reading and I'm planning to continue.

23) What is your favourite novel? Another impossible question. I'd probably have a list of 50, even if I limited favorite authors to one book. The ones I've read multiple times are there.

24) Play? The translation of Molière's Tartuffe, or The Hypocrite in my high school lit book is hilarious and made of awesome. (So is Wishbone's version of The Hypochondriac!)  I want to find out which translator did it and get Tartuffe, and others if possible, by him.

25) Poem? Not sure. Maybe If.

26) Essay? Either "On Faerie Stories" or one of C. S. Lewis's writing ones, such as "On Writing for Children" or "On Science Fiction."

27) Short story? I have no idea. There are way too many to tell, especially considering the SF ones.

28) Work of non-fiction?  The Bible. Aside from that, Costume in Detail. I've pored over the drawings in that book for years, and it still never fails to fascinate me.

29) Who is your favourite writer? I can't pick one. Alastair MacLean is waay up there.

30) Who is the most overrated writer alive today? No idea. I read little that was published in the last 10, 20, or 30 years.  I'd take a stab at Stephanie Meyer, but for all the raving I haven't heard anyone actually building up her writing.  (I don't seek out such discussion, though.)

31) What is your desert island book? Swiss Family Robinson.

32) And… what are you reading right now? LJ, with forays to Wikipedia (drama on the Lost Generation talk page, ahoy!), Amazon, and my tags list, to garner links.
nuranar: Hortense Bonaparte. La reine Hortense sous une tonnelle à Aix-les-Bains (1813) by Antoine Jean Duclaux. (Default)
I worked late last night, of course, to offset coming in late from my eight o'clock morning class. When I walked into the house (passing Bro. No. 1 on the way, going I know not where), "Be Our Guest!" was blasting from the stereo and Dad was dancing around the living room. It was so funny and so typical all at once. His dancing, by-the-bye, is most awe-inspiring, since he makes up for lack of training with enthusiasm, and stands 6'8" to boot. A most impressive sight. :D

Free Speculative Fiction Online has provided me some amusement in the past weeks. A certain set of three books, a collaboration published under the name "Mark Phillips," deserves special mention. Read on - this is not Nuranar once again burbling on about how fantastic something is.

The books in question are Brain Twister , The Impossibles , and Supermind , originally published in Astounding in 1959 and 1960. All can be found at The Gutenberg Project.

The introduction to Brain Twister is priceless, and sets the tone for the series.

"Mark Phillips" is, or are, two writers: Randall Garrett and Laurence M. Janifer. Their joint pen-name, derived from their middle names (Philip and Mark), was coined soon after their original meeting, at a science-fiction convention. Both men were drunk at the time, which explains a good deal, and only one has ever sobered up. A matter for constant contention between the collaborators is which one.

They have been collaborating for some time now, and have devised an interesting method of work: Mr. Garrett handles the verbs, the adverbs and the interjections, Mr. Janifer the nouns, pronouns, and adjectives. Conjunctions are a matter of joint decision, and in the case of a tie, the entire game is replayed at Fenway Park, Boston, early in the following year.

BRAIN TWISTER was fifteen years in the making, of which time three days were spent in the actual writing. When the book was finished, both authors relaxed in the mutual pleasure of nervous breakdowns, from which it is not certain that either has ever recovered.

Mr. Garrett is a large, roundish fellow with a beard. He wears flowered vests and always carries a small talisman which no one has ever seen. Mr. Janifer is a somewhat shorter and thinner type, with a shorter and thinner beard. His vests are in solid colors, he wears horn-rimmed glasses because he has always done so, and he is never found without a souvenir subway token from the City of New York.

The personal lives of the authors differ widely. Mr. Garrett's hobbies, for instance, include such sports as close-order drill and river pollution. Mr. Janifer, a less active type, prefers sedentary games such as humming or blinking.

Mr. Garrett is engaged to an exotically beautiful creature, and the two plan to be married as soon as they run out of excuses. Mr. Janifer, on the other hand, is fascinated by women, and hopes some day to meet one.

Great start, huh? The books themselves are not flat-out amazing, but they're quite humorous and the cast of characters is terrific. Although set slightly in the future, the "science fiction" aspects are primarily concerned with mental power. Furthermoer, Supermind draws all three plots together with real genius. I don't know if they planned it, but the three have a latent coherency and hidden connection that's superior to most series. The big electrifier, though, came in The Impossibles:

He [Malone, an FBI agent] found a phone booth in a bar called the Ad Lib, at Madison Avenue. Sternly telling himself that he was stopping there to make a phone call, a business phone call, and not to have a drink, he marched right past the friendly bartender and went into the phone booth, where he made a call to New York Police Commissioner John Henry Fernack.
*moves on* *pauses* *looks again* * eyes widen* No way! 

nuranar: Hortense Bonaparte. La reine Hortense sous une tonnelle à Aix-les-Bains (1813) by Antoine Jean Duclaux. (Default)
I worked late last night, of course, to offset coming in late from my eight o'clock morning class. When I walked into the house (passing Bro. No. 1 on the way, going I know not where), "Be Our Guest!" was blasting from the stereo and Dad was dancing around the living room. It was so funny and so typical all at once. His dancing, by-the-bye, is most awe-inspiring, since he makes up for lack of training with enthusiasm, and stands 6'8" to boot. A most impressive sight. :D

Free Speculative Fiction Online has provided me some amusement in the past weeks. A certain set of three books, a collaboration published under the name "Mark Phillips," deserves special mention. Read on - this is not Nuranar once again burbling on about how fantastic something is.

The books in question are Brain Twister , The Impossibles , and Supermind , originally published in Astounding in 1959 and 1960. All can be found at The Gutenberg Project.

The introduction to Brain Twister is priceless, and sets the tone for the series.

"Mark Phillips" is, or are, two writers: Randall Garrett and Laurence M. Janifer. Their joint pen-name, derived from their middle names (Philip and Mark), was coined soon after their original meeting, at a science-fiction convention. Both men were drunk at the time, which explains a good deal, and only one has ever sobered up. A matter for constant contention between the collaborators is which one.

They have been collaborating for some time now, and have devised an interesting method of work: Mr. Garrett handles the verbs, the adverbs and the interjections, Mr. Janifer the nouns, pronouns, and adjectives. Conjunctions are a matter of joint decision, and in the case of a tie, the entire game is replayed at Fenway Park, Boston, early in the following year.

BRAIN TWISTER was fifteen years in the making, of which time three days were spent in the actual writing. When the book was finished, both authors relaxed in the mutual pleasure of nervous breakdowns, from which it is not certain that either has ever recovered.

Mr. Garrett is a large, roundish fellow with a beard. He wears flowered vests and always carries a small talisman which no one has ever seen. Mr. Janifer is a somewhat shorter and thinner type, with a shorter and thinner beard. His vests are in solid colors, he wears horn-rimmed glasses because he has always done so, and he is never found without a souvenir subway token from the City of New York.

The personal lives of the authors differ widely. Mr. Garrett's hobbies, for instance, include such sports as close-order drill and river pollution. Mr. Janifer, a less active type, prefers sedentary games such as humming or blinking.

Mr. Garrett is engaged to an exotically beautiful creature, and the two plan to be married as soon as they run out of excuses. Mr. Janifer, on the other hand, is fascinated by women, and hopes some day to meet one.

Great start, huh? The books themselves are not flat-out amazing, but they're quite humorous and the cast of characters is terrific. Although set slightly in the future, the "science fiction" aspects are primarily concerned with mental power. Furthermoer, Supermind draws all three plots together with real genius. I don't know if they planned it, but the three have a latent coherency and hidden connection that's superior to most series. The big electrifier, though, came in The Impossibles:

He [Malone, an FBI agent] found a phone booth in a bar called the Ad Lib, at Madison Avenue. Sternly telling himself that he was stopping there to make a phone call, a business phone call, and not to have a drink, he marched right past the friendly bartender and went into the phone booth, where he made a call to New York Police Commissioner John Henry Fernack.
*moves on* *pauses* *looks again* * eyes widen* No way! 

nuranar: Hortense Bonaparte. La reine Hortense sous une tonnelle à Aix-les-Bains (1813) by Antoine Jean Duclaux. (Default)
I've compromised.  It's now the recycle can, not the wastebasket, that's handy for kicking over.  It won't make such a mess when I tump it over, but will give no less satisfaction.

---

In addition to the heaps of Nero Wolfe books, my to-be-read Debris Field includes several Alistair MacLean books.  Besides The Way to Dusty Death, sent to me by the Most Gracious [personal profile] jordannamorgan, I have The Satan Bug (from PaperBackSwap) and Fear Is the Key (from the Book Rack).  The Way to Dusty Death, written in 1973, is the first of MacLean's final, and poorest, phase, so I read it first.

The Way to Dusty Death is set on the Grand Prix racing circuit in Europe.  It tells of the seeming - seeming - mental breakdown of Johnny Harlow, unquestionably the best driver, after a series of crashes, and his lapse into alcoholism.  Reader beware - Things are seldom what they seem.  I have zero interest in automobile racing, but that was not a handicap to understanding the book.

If this is a poor book, it's poor only in comparison to MacLean's best.  I didn't find it terribly suspenseful, but that is a very subjective opinion; it's far more suspenseful than most mysteries, for example.  There's a bit too much narration and too little dialogue, particularly in the beginning.  Characterization is not poor, but certainly doesn't show the extreme care and effort put into his earlier books.

In all of the four or five Cussler novels I've read, I've thought that Cussler tried to accomplish too much.  He tries to write a modern thriller with heavy historical elements, and his hero(es) have to head off The Biggest Catastrophe to Hit the World Ever.  In every book.  I swallow a lot, but that's just too much.  Another of MacLean's later books that I've read seemed to fall into the same trap, coupled with a (Cussler-like) caricatured Evil Villain.  But not in The Way to Dusty Death.  As always, the kernel of the conflict is deeply hidden; it's not a Save the World situation, though.  I refuse to give away plot points, so I cannot elaborate.  But it's a definitely a worthy plot.

There were a few notable word choice examples in the dialogue.  At one point, the Hero agrees with the Partner, saying, "True, true!"  That little phrase is up there with "wonderfulness" as the biggest of the many catch phrases that I SPY made famous.  At another point, the Hero refers to the opposition as "the ungodly."  If you think that didn't bring a big grin to my face, you don't know me!
nuranar: Hortense Bonaparte. La reine Hortense sous une tonnelle à Aix-les-Bains (1813) by Antoine Jean Duclaux. (Default)
I've compromised.  It's now the recycle can, not the wastebasket, that's handy for kicking over.  It won't make such a mess when I tump it over, but will give no less satisfaction.

---

In addition to the heaps of Nero Wolfe books, my to-be-read Debris Field includes several Alistair MacLean books.  Besides The Way to Dusty Death, sent to me by the Most Gracious [personal profile] jordannamorgan, I have The Satan Bug (from PaperBackSwap) and Fear Is the Key (from the Book Rack).  The Way to Dusty Death, written in 1973, is the first of MacLean's final, and poorest, phase, so I read it first.

The Way to Dusty Death is set on the Grand Prix racing circuit in Europe.  It tells of the seeming - seeming - mental breakdown of Johnny Harlow, unquestionably the best driver, after a series of crashes, and his lapse into alcoholism.  Reader beware - Things are seldom what they seem.  I have zero interest in automobile racing, but that was not a handicap to understanding the book.

If this is a poor book, it's poor only in comparison to MacLean's best.  I didn't find it terribly suspenseful, but that is a very subjective opinion; it's far more suspenseful than most mysteries, for example.  There's a bit too much narration and too little dialogue, particularly in the beginning.  Characterization is not poor, but certainly doesn't show the extreme care and effort put into his earlier books.

In all of the four or five Cussler novels I've read, I've thought that Cussler tried to accomplish too much.  He tries to write a modern thriller with heavy historical elements, and his hero(es) have to head off The Biggest Catastrophe to Hit the World Ever.  In every book.  I swallow a lot, but that's just too much.  Another of MacLean's later books that I've read seemed to fall into the same trap, coupled with a (Cussler-like) caricatured Evil Villain.  But not in The Way to Dusty Death.  As always, the kernel of the conflict is deeply hidden; it's not a Save the World situation, though.  I refuse to give away plot points, so I cannot elaborate.  But it's a definitely a worthy plot.

There were a few notable word choice examples in the dialogue.  At one point, the Hero agrees with the Partner, saying, "True, true!"  That little phrase is up there with "wonderfulness" as the biggest of the many catch phrases that I SPY made famous.  At another point, the Hero refers to the opposition as "the ungodly."  If you think that didn't bring a big grin to my face, you don't know me!
nuranar: Hortense Bonaparte. La reine Hortense sous une tonnelle à Aix-les-Bains (1813) by Antoine Jean Duclaux. (Default)

When I got home last Wednesday there was a nice fat  package waiting for me.  Not only did it have the three Alistair MacLean books I requested, but the seller had included a fourth for free!  The following note was stickied onto the cover:

Hello:
    Please excuse my wounded condition... You see I got into a fight with a much better swordsman and suffered a gruesome gash across my face.
    I've been bandaged up pretty well and I'm still willing to serve... if you'll have me.
           "The Secret Ways"

*delighted wibble* The injuries in question were two wide razor cuts to the cover, penetrating a couple dozen pages. The cover and first few pages were repaired with tape.  It wasn't PBS-allowable, but just fine for reading, especially with a bookmate.

I requested Night Without End, The Black Shrike, and The Golden Rendezvous, written in MacLean's best years according to Wikipedia, between 1959 and 1962.  The "wounded" book was The Secret Ways, coming immediately before those three.


 

Reviews )



My list of MacLean favorites has jumped from three to six. It was a glorious three days.

 

Writing )

I still have two books yet to read on the early-MacLean list: Fear Is the Key and The Satan Bug, both available on PBS.  How long should I wait before requesting them, d'ya think? :D

nuranar: Hortense Bonaparte. La reine Hortense sous une tonnelle à Aix-les-Bains (1813) by Antoine Jean Duclaux. (Default)

When I got home last Wednesday there was a nice fat  package waiting for me.  Not only did it have the three Alistair MacLean books I requested, but the seller had included a fourth for free!  The following note was stickied onto the cover:

Hello:
    Please excuse my wounded condition... You see I got into a fight with a much better swordsman and suffered a gruesome gash across my face.
    I've been bandaged up pretty well and I'm still willing to serve... if you'll have me.
           "The Secret Ways"

*delighted wibble* The injuries in question were two wide razor cuts to the cover, penetrating a couple dozen pages. The cover and first few pages were repaired with tape.  It wasn't PBS-allowable, but just fine for reading, especially with a bookmate.

I requested Night Without End, The Black Shrike, and The Golden Rendezvous, written in MacLean's best years according to Wikipedia, between 1959 and 1962.  The "wounded" book was The Secret Ways, coming immediately before those three.


 

Reviews )



My list of MacLean favorites has jumped from three to six. It was a glorious three days.

 

Writing )

I still have two books yet to read on the early-MacLean list: Fear Is the Key and The Satan Bug, both available on PBS.  How long should I wait before requesting them, d'ya think? :D

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