Pavilion Digest: April 2006

A plethora of perplexing pavilion posts. The Pavilion Annex thread, the Pavilion Discussion thread, and monthly digests of all messages from the Pavilion.

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Pavilion Digest: April 2006

Postby admin » Sat Apr 01, 2006 2:04 pm

The following posts contain Art Deco Dining Pavilion messages for the month of April 2006.

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Harlan, re NYT...

Postby AlexKrislov » Sat Apr 01, 2006 2:04 pm

Name: Alex Krislov
Source: unca20060606.htm you want just the section or the whole paper? For reasons not worth going into, I have two copies, both undamaged.

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Harlan Ellison
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Postby Harlan Ellison » Sat Apr 01, 2006 3:07 pm

Source: unca20060606.htm



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The Elizabeth Bishop Controversy

Postby cmzhang42 » Sat Apr 01, 2006 4:06 pm

Name: Chris M. Barkley
Source: unca20060606.htm
I dunno about everyone else but I find the Elizabeth Bishop situation very troubling myself.

Following Harlan's lead, I am leaving explicit instructions to erase the hard drive, shut down and delete my email accounts, destroy all letters, notes, story ideas, scripts, drafts, artwork, doodles or A*N*Y*T*H*I*N*G freaking thing I've written.

The stuff I have now I use for reference...I don't anybody in my head or examining my life and motives while I'm here OR after I'm gone. Jeeze louise, this really upset me...

Chris Barkley

Mark S.


Postby Mark S. » Sat Apr 01, 2006 4:34 pm

Name: Mark S.
Source: unca20060606.htm
I cannot think of a single good thing that has come from the literary graverobbers, like in the Bishop case. Raymond Chandler, Poe, Lovecraft all had people who came after that and muddy the waters with pastiche or worst on works they no longer had control.

Harlan has made his point made very clear on what he wants done with his works --- I think he mentions it in the "Shatterday" collection about having every scrap left behind destroyed. But unless you have a determined and faithful executor, how do you make sure that your estate protects your reputation and work in the face of commerce, which is the thing that has motivated the Bishop situation.

Would Conan Doyle be pleased with the literally hundred of Holmes' pastiches that flood the shelves? He was not entirely fond of his creation, but when Derelth asked permission to write Holmes stories, since Doyle was no longer doing them, Doyle told him it would be more fun if Derleth rolled his own---the results were Solar Pons a man who thought he was Holmes.

Robert Bloch was asked to finish a Poe fragment and found it not only difficult, but artistically unsatisfying and later refused to do any more of such works.

Of course Howard had nearly as many Conan stories done by others as he wrote originally, based on the smallest of fragments or notes. They were inspired by the marketplace, not by the reputation of the artist. There should be a way to protect the right of the creator, past their time on the planet, if their survivors cannot be counted upon.

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Postby rich » Sat Apr 01, 2006 5:17 pm

Name: rich
Source: unca20060606.htm
I want it all published. The shit I couldn't get published (which is basically everything I've ever written) and the one paragraph fragments that may be WAR AND PEACE, or just something that possibly could've been written by Sidney Sheldon or whomever's churning out V.C. Andrews crap.

Either way, my instructions are explicit: My body will be stuffed with old newspapers and I'll be sitting in my favorite chair smack dab in the living room. I want the remote control in one hand, and my dick in the other. The only thing I don't care about is the use of coasters. Go ahead and set your drink on me and don't worry about the condensation rings.

I figure that's gotta be worth a couple laughs and a two-minute segment on the local news.

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Postby BrianSiano » Sat Apr 01, 2006 5:39 pm

Name: Brian Siano
Source: unca20060606.htm
I'm really of two minds about literary afterlifes. We've gone over the obvious examples, like Kafka, of Great Works that would never have existed if the creators' wishes for destruction were honored. My life's been enriched for having those works available to me.

And as for sequels and pastiches written by subsequent writers, such as Mark S.'s examples, I think we can agree that _most_ of them are going to be lesser imitations of the original. For example, I love George MacDonald Fraser's "Flashman" novels. And Fraser's not a young man: he's around eighty, his books take about five to seven years, so _Flashman on the March_ may be the farewell. There are a lot of enthusiasts out there who'd _love_ to fill in the gaps of Flashman's career (especially the Civil War volume that Fraser's refused to do). I am _not_ one of them, and I hope I never have to look at anyone else trying to be Fraser, or Flashman.

But, on the other hand... Laurie King's pastiches of Holmes are genuinely wonderful. One doesn't get the sense that she's milking the legend for money. These are intelligent novels that revise and extend Holmes into the early 20th century, through the agency of King's talents and the proto-feminist character of Mary Russell. This may be the exception that proves the rule, and one may not feel that a single Laurie King can outweigh the graverobbers and hacks.

But as a reader, I think it's worth it. There's lots of bad stuff out there... but I don't _have_ to read it to get to the good stuff. It may crowd the bookshelves so that the good stuff's hard to find, but I can find the good stuff. And if someone tries to capture the magic of my favorite writers, well, I might look, briefly, but I won't need to spend a _lot_ of attention before deciding to move on.

A writer can do only so much to protect his or her work. As Mark S. said, it rests with the people who remain alive to meet their responsibilities. And in a very indirect way, it also rests with the people who admire his or her work. We can try to avoid the crap, too.

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Dinner and books

Postby KristinRuhle » Sat Apr 01, 2006 6:57 pm

Name: Kristin Ruhl
Source: unca20060606.htm
If Harlan is so Capital-G Great that dining with him would be worth $5000 then all of his work would STILL BE IN PRINT!! Sigh, we can dream, right? Money never made anyone a good dinner companion though. There's a lot of assholes out there who have money!

Literary afterlife can be Heaven or Hell, and while later generations do sometimes appreciate works published against the authors' dying wishes, a LOT of posthumous stuff...especially these, well, crap. The estate just cashes in on the "franchise" or "known naem" and keeps profiting forever and ever, printing everything the Author Himself wrote on the back of a paper napkin as if it were holy writ. Maybe literary-afterlife-as-Heaven is really a thing of the past -from before publishing became so profit driven.

I'm reminded of a Scientology/Battlefield Earth billboard I saw once - "22 Bestsellers and More to Come!" My friend said, "He (L. Ron Hubbard) writes a lot of books for a dead guy!"


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Not true

Postby Moderator » Sat Apr 01, 2006 8:30 pm

Name: Steve Barber
Source: unca20060606.htm
Perhaps I'm misinterpreting, Kristin, but that was a rather cheap shot you just took (this coming from a person who tries at every turn to discuss issues and avoid direct confrontations on this board).

Personally, I'd be hard-pressed to identify much of ANYbody I could afford to spend that amount of change on in exchange for dinner. It has more to do with my own financial situation than with the partner, any partner, who I would be paying for the privilege.

On the other hand, the vast majority of the humans on this planet have interesting stories to tell, and if flush enough there are few I would not be intrigued in hearing and paying large amounts in the process. I would (again, personally) list artists -- particularly writers -- towards the top of the list, well ahead of luminaries in both business and politics.

And of the artists, an evening with the Ellisons would be one of the highlights.

Apologies for the direct and not ethereal response, but this one just simply annoyed me. (And if I misread, please correct my error.)

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Alex Jay Berman
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Postby Alex Jay Berman » Sat Apr 01, 2006 9:00 pm

Name: Alex Jay Berman
Source: unca20060606.htm
Busy, busy, busy. I've been stuck neck-deep in special-interest lobbying stuff (the GOOD kind) of late, but upon seeing this, I just had to share:

There is now going to be an Octavia E. Butler Memorial Scholarship to Clarion for writers of color. I think it's a good idea; people of stripes other than white are woefully underrepresented in the speculative fiction field, both as creators and as fans.

PUBLISH-AFTER-PERISH: I'm of two minds on this one. On the one hand, I see the callous strip-mining of a good many artists' graves, yet on the other, I am thankful for the publication of unfinished works such as The Mystery of Edwin drood, or Steinbeck's versions of the Knights of the Round Table stories, or other pieces which don't immediately spring to mind.

Too, the unpublished and unfinished works of many great writers have provided us with more of an insight into what they were like and what their creative process was like.

Lastly, I really enjoy collected books of letters, from G.B. Shaw to Heinlein to Twain to Groucho, and because of this, the idea of burning all one's papers horrifies me. In the end, though, it's all up to the person who CREATED the writings.

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Postby Jack Skillingstead » Sat Apr 01, 2006 9:25 pm

Name: Jack Skillingstead
Source: unca20060606.htm
HARLAN, yes I wouldn't miss it for anything. Will be arriving on Thursday. By the way, I think it was the hallway outside the SFWA suite where we talked. I had a bottle of beer in my hand, kind of taking the bar with me. No televisions, though.

Kim Smith


Postby Kim Smith » Sun Apr 02, 2006 1:18 am

Name: Kim Smith
Source: unca20060606.htm
Will you be there Harlan? If yes, will you be receiving guests/idolatry(homage?) from the denizens of the Art Deco Dining lounge who manifest themselves at LA Con IV?

I almost won dinner with you in an auction on KPFK twenty years ago. Can I put that in my official biography someday? "In 1986 Kim Smith nearly had dinner with Harlan Ellison, sui generis. It was the closest Smith ever came to a moral epiphany of life changing quality. Everythng was downhill afterwards, excepting possibly his purported liaison with the woman not named Yolanda."

Of course an HE encounter at LA Con IV would require extensive rewriting of the above future Wikipedia entry.

Yr. Fan, Kim O. Smith AKA Robert A. Wells

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Postby wcf42 » Sun Apr 02, 2006 2:35 am

Name: William C. Francis
Source: unca20060606.htm
Harlan and Susan,
Open invitation:
Never mind auctions.
if you should ever find yourself in the vicinity of Brunswick, I would love to invite you both to join me and my wife for dinner. There is a restaurant in the downtown area of our boondocks town that I would love to share with you. The owner/chef used to own the Indigo Grill in Atlanta. I am sure that I could get our mutual friends Jack and Maureen McDevitt to join us with enough lead time.

If I should ever be conned into hosting another con here (such as the two DSC Beachcons on Jekyll Island I chaired), you would be my first choice as guests of honor. If that were to happen, it might be by invitation only and might happen if and only if I can fund it personally without any expectation of having a minimum attendance. Might cost me more $ but it would certainly be less stress and more fun.
This is not to say that, were this to happen (check weather reports in Hell for snow or other extreme cold conditions) that I would not be willing to accept donations.

Everyone else here in the pavilion:

My previous encounters with Harlan and Susan:

The first time I saw Harlan was in 1968 at the Oakland worldcon. It was my first con - I was in the Navy and assigned to the Defense Language Institute West Coast (DLIWC for you acronym lovers) in Monterey California. I saw the worldcon listed in Analog and decided to attend. First con ever. Clueless newbie. Great memories, including hearing John W, Campbell holding court in an open area and espousing the position that slavery was good for slaves, since they had assurance that all their needs would be fulfilled. I got the feeling then (as an innocent 21 year old) that Campbell didn't necessarily believe everything he said, but that he loved to argue -- about anything. He came to mind in later years when I heard the comment that "arguing with an engineer was like wrestling with a pig in mud: you couldn't win and it doesn't take long to realize that the pig enjoys it".

I saw Harlan at that con in the company of Robert Silverberg among others and I remember overhearing him say about some feminine lovely, "She's naked under those clothes."

My next encounters with Harlan were at the very next con I attended. Kwintius Kublius in Nashville. If I am not mistaken, this was the convention that urban legend has Harlan throwing a fan down an elevator shaft. (Anyone here in the pavilion and anyone that reads Harlan's work should know that this DID NOT HAPPEN. I would also like to go on record to say that it wasn't me.)

What I do remember about that con is the utter undeserved courtesy with which I was treated by Harlan on more than one occasion.

My first encounter with him at this con: I quite rudely made the common assumption that because he had revealed something of himself in his writings that he owed something to his readers. (I was about 30 years old at the time and still married to my first wife, may I be forgiven) I asked him, point blank, "How many times have you been married?" He looked at me and said, politely, "None of your damn business" or words to that effect. As he should have. OK. At that age I had enough sense to Shut the Frack Up at that point. End of story. He went on his way, I went on mine.

Harlan, my bet would be that you don't have any recollection of this at all. If you do, I offer a humble apology for acting like a total jerk and would thank you for your gracious behavior in not shredding my ego into tiny bleeding shards. Or my body.

Later at the same con, I found myself on the balcony outside the con suite with our fine host. Keep in mind the era, the mid-seventies. I asked Harlan, "What do you think about a rock opera based on 'Repent Harlequin, Said the Ticktockman"? Our fine and gentle host did not throw me over the balcony rail - if memory serves we were on the fourth floor. He merely said, "The gorge rises." Wise before my time, I again Shut the Frack Up. Nothing further ensued from that encounter.

My favorite memory of Harlan at that con is when in his GOH speech, he mentioned my then wife, describing her as the "troll" who had accosted him about joining the D&D game she had become involved in as her first role-playing experience.
It was only a very short time before she chose to divorce me, for which I am eternally grateful.

I also remember a Dragoncon; the one at which Atlanta Radio Theatre Company recorded "The Rats in the Walls" starring our mild-mannered host (and which all present should buy immediately). I was helping out with the Electical Eggs table.
For those that don't know, Electrical Eggs was an organization that achieved its primary goal of eliminating the need for its existence. It was devoted to making conventions accessible to those with impairments commonly referred to as handicaps. I share the honor with Harlan of being a "Good Egg", as awarded by Samanda Jeude for service to the organization. This was the first time I met Susan and was the first time I saw Harlan in the presence of Susan.

Harlan, I think you are a very lucky man to have found her. I saw something then in the way the two of you interacted that told me you have something very special. I also saw this in a story Harlan wrote for an illustration that ended up in the book Mind Fields which combines Jacek Yerka's surreal illustrations with stories inspired by the art. I think my treasured copy of the book is buried somewhere among unpacked books. The story I have in mind here was based on a painting of a bed, an endtable with a lamp and alarm clock next to it in the woods.

I also remember Harlan's amazing performance to a packed house at that DraganCon. It was remarkable as one of the most entertaining and challenging talks that I have ever witnessed and enjoyed.

Enough with the remembrances. Harlan, thanks for enriching my life, both with your writings and with your appearances. I hope there will be times in the future when our paths will cross, and that those times will be at least as pleasurable as those in the past.

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Rudiger Treehorn
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Postby Rudiger Treehorn » Sun Apr 02, 2006 3:41 am

Name: Rudiger Treehorn
Source: unca20060606.htm
The whole publish-after-perishment thing is interesting. I'd generally go by three points:

1) What did the author wish?
2) Is the stuff worth publishing?
3) Do the author's heirs need to make some money off those boxes clogging the attic?

The reviews of the Bishop book have been positive, the ones I've seen anyway. And the 'controversy' has alerted me to her name and caused me to think I should pick up a book of her poetry.

Harlan's got Susan and, I would imagine, a detailed set of instructions on how to dispose of his unfinished and unpublished writings. I'd imagine this involves a merry bonfire of some sort, lots of punch and pie, and Dannelke being sealed into the tomb in the manner of the Egyptians and their faithful retainers.

Love, Rudiger

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Postby Ben » Sun Apr 02, 2006 3:50 am

Name: Ben Winfield
Source: unca20060606.htm ... 20Ellison'

I hope IDT and Industry Entertainment find the room for stories by Octavia Butler, William Gibson, Jules Verne, and Philip K. Dick. Not a "complete" list by any means, but it would be pretty damn definitive.

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