Two Genre Titans: When James Bond Met Philip Marlowe

So many great literary meetings have been lost to time. Here’s a fascinating one that wasn’t: Ian Fleming (master of the spy novel) discussing craft with Raymond Chandler (master of the hardboiled detective novel).

This is believed to be the only recording of Raymond Chandler’s voice.

Sit back, pour yourself something shaken not stirred, and enjoy!

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The Art of the Interview

I’ve praised Marc Maron’s podcast before, and it’s (almost) always worth a listen. This week’s episode is especially good: friend of the blog (and underpraised American treasure) Harry Shearer!

There’s a lot of subtext to this one and I’m not sure exactly what to think. Harry’s a complicated guy. He’s funny and brilliant, and yet he seems not to have too many friends. (How can that be!?) I blame showbiz: he’s spent his life battling the entertainment industry, and the fighting spirit has probably spilled over into his relationships with those closest to him. Like a Roman soldier on a decades-long campaign: how many friends did those guys have? Comrades, maybe, but friends? Maybe not so much.

In any case, you can find it here. And if you’re a little wiped out by the SNL 40 hoopla, this is a welcome cleanser.

H.G. Wells and the Bumbling Interview


God bless H.G. Wells. He seems like kind of a decent guy, and as a kid I loved his books (The Invisible Man, The Time Machine, War of the Worlds, etc.). My parents had a set of a History of the World he’d written, which I tried to read about a million times but could never get beyond five pages. I don’t think they had either; it had the classic feel of “Oh, that was that year that everyone bought that one book that nobody actually read.”

Something about him always made me think he was kind of a bumbler. Why? Because I realized that other respected writers didn’t take him seriously? I’m not sure. It may have been the cover of my copy of The Time Machine, which had a desperate looking man on it. I always thought that was him. Earnest. Forthright. A Serious Person in capital letters. And…sort of buffoonish. Maybe this is unfair. But it stuck with me.

And then yesterday I ran across an interview he did…of Joseph Stalin.
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Writer in Your Life? The Greatest Gift Idea Ever

Great Paris Review interview with the amazing Ursula K. Le Guin. Two quick points:

Le Guin mentions getting an early boost from Ace Doubles, a series by Ace Publishing that sought to put out two short novels combined in one book. I love this idea – and what great covers they had! Worth a roam through the Internet to read about this cool series from the ’50s.

Image Credit: smithms/uncw.edu

I was also struck by the helping hand Le Guin got from her father:

 

INTERVIEWER

When you began sending your work out into the world, did you have some idea of the writer you wanted to be?

LE GUIN

I knew by then that my main shtick was fiction, but that I would always write poetry. My first publications were all poetry, and that’s partly because of my father. He realized that sending out poetry is quite a big job. It takes method and a certain amount of diligence and a good deal of time. And he said, I could help you do that, that would be fun! He got interested in the subculture of the little magazines and realized that it is a little world, with rules all its own.

INTERVIEWER

So he studied it anthropologically?

LE GUIN

He was curious about everything! And he actually did some of the mailing-out stuff.

 

Most writers I know are a little overwhelmed with all the stuff you have to do around your writing. And – let’s face it – even your most supportive loved ones might scratch their heads sometimes, trying to be helpful but not knowing where to begin. And that’s if they like your work! If they don’t… well, they still have love to give, and um, sweaters, I guess.

So if that’s you – if you have a writer in your life and are in the mood for showing a little support, why not offer to take something off their hands? Handle some of the mailing, or the tweeting, or the formatting for eBooks, or the cover design, or the interactions with the editors, or the research, or the web design… well, anything that you think might be useful.  (And also give them something nice they can open, of course, so you don’t feel like a little kid trying to get away with giving “chores” as a present.)

And then take our previous advice and head over to Soho Press and get a Passport to Crime bundle!