Thursday, August 21, 2008

And on the seventh day --

KDO: acronym - Keegan's Day Off. And it's more like the fourteenth day since I took one off! AND it it shouldn't count, because I'm still walking like Galen (see yesterday's post), getting conversant with the floor ... and what use is a day off when you have a bad back? That's not a day off, it's what is called, in this country, a Sickie. (As clearly distinct from a Ciggie, which is a cigarette.)

Thanks to those who kindly mentioned yesterday's Planet of the Apes humor ... yes, I was always a big fan of the concept, going back to the original Charlton Heston movie, which I saw as a wee little tyke. The tv series of the 1970s was actually quite well done -- esp. when you consider what they had to do on a tv budget and weekly schedule. Makes you shudder.

The 2001 Tim Burton remark was terrific ... and I don't actually give much of a stuff about what the critics say about it (I know they hated it unanimously). I grew up with Apes movies, and as per critics as a subspecies of mankind ... I do believe I established, about a dozen posts ago, how ridiclous the whole field of film criticism is (see this post, apropos of Beowulf). With Tim Burton's POTA, the little bast-dears are at it again. Here's an unutterably stupid comment from film critic on Tiscali: "While the stunning make-up failed to disguise Tim Roth's sadistic enjoyment in the role of Thade, Wahlberg seems altogether too real to operate in such a fictitious world although his understated strength at least gave his character some credibility." Say, what? I wonder what this individual made of 300, and The Dark Knight?? Now, shoot over to and hear Tim Roth on the subjec: "I think the whole [scenario] is funny. We would step back occasionally, me and Paul [Giamatti] and just laugh ourselves silly because it truly is absurd." In other words (before I shut up about the whole subject) every single one of us has a completely unique way of seeing anything at all ... but, usually, only critics get to foist their uniqueness (read: utter subjectivity) on the public, AND get paid for it, AND have a fair percentage of unsuspecting readers take what they read as gospel. [sound of barfing]

For those who liked the Apes movies, here's a good interview: Director Tim Burton and cast have a big adventure reinventing Planet of the Apes, and for everyone else --

Onward to other subjects!

(But, lunch first. Like the man said in the movie, "I'll be back.")

Pasting in the link to reminded me of another interview I read there, a little while ago -- their interview with Samuel R. Delaney, who has become rather iconified in the field of ... I won't say "gay SF," but rather, "experimental gender and human relationship SF." It's a very good interview on may levels. Delaney speaks about his life experiences as a writer, a creator of speculative fiction, and a professional author in the 1970s, when SF underwent its epiphany, and its revolution.

Is anyone else reading this old enough to remember the New Wave?! You may not believe it, but put away somewhere ... plastic-wrapped and packed flat ... I still have some issues of the English magazine, NEW WORLDS. It was a newspapaper sized magazine, with humungous pages, and no binding ... so, the color printing came out of the mgazine like so many posters. And the stories -- woah. Weird.

One of the most refreshing areas of the New Wave was the simple fact you could talk about sex and display the "undraped human form" and not be shoveled into the same pile of stuff as the porn rags. Sexuality had, by that point, gained a kind of respectability; the inclusion of sensual material in a story did not get the whole thing labeled as porn.

But, going back to Samuel R. Delaney's interview, the discussion regarding DAHLGHREN is interesting, even though SRD didn't seem to want to settle down and talk about the novel in much depth. At the time it was published, it was contentious to the point of being difficult to publish, not merely because it was one of the first sorta-kind-mainstream books to tackle being gay, but because it also didn't shilly-shally and beat around any bushes -- it was specific and explicit about it. Also, it's a long book, even by today's standards at 800pp, and for an SF novel of its day (mid-70s-ish) it was monstrous.

And there were problems galore, apparently ... the sound you hear now is Keegan chuckling wickedly, because (aha, Eureka, and so forth) it turns out I'm not alone in being victimized by the Universe (!). "IT" has happened to someone else too!

The "IT" I'm referring to is the thing which has been the flea in my ear since 1999: AQUAMARINE went to press without being proofread or copy edited. There have been times when I really did think I was the only serious writer this had happened to. Not so. Let me give you a quote from the very end of the interview with Samuel R. Delaney -- and then I'll give you the link to go over an read the whole interview... But you've been continually correcting typos, as can be seen by your essays on it and published correspondence in 1984 and elsewhere. Getting a more perfect Dhalgren has been more difficult than getting a more perfect Babel-17.

    Delany: Often that's just different publishers. Dhalgren is so large that it's more difficult. Some books come out with remarkably fewer typographical errors than others. Dhalgren had more than its share from the very, very beginning. I was never sent the copyedited manuscript to read. Dhalgren, when it was a manuscript, it went off, and the next thing I got were galleys, so I never had the copyedited manuscript. And I only had the galleys for four days. You try to correct 800 pages of galleys in four days; it's an undoable task. And given that that's how it was done, I think Bantam did a remarkably good job. But there were hundreds of errors in the initial publication. And slowly but surely they got it down to a reasonable number of errors. And when Wesleyan redid the book, again, it was done a little too fast, it was rushed and nobody proofread it, with the result that suddenly there were another hundred-odd errors that crept in. And Vintage is very nice. Most of the errors of correction at this point are done not by me, but by other people who call up and say, "Hey, on page 373, there's no period at the end of this sentence." And I look, and sure enough, they've left out a period.
[Source:, issue 217; Samuel R. delaney interviewed by Scott Edelman]

...sounds of wicked chuckling issue, once again, from Keegan!

And here's the link to the whole interview. It's a very good one:

Samuel R. Delany exposes the heart of Dhalgren over a naked lunch

Ciao for now,

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