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Thursday, April 24, 2014

Arthur Hlavaty (and Jesse Walker) literary news roundup

Arthur Hlavaty reviews the new Barry Miles biography of William Burroughs: "Call Me Burroughs, by Barry Miles, is an excellent and thorough bio. It reinforces my view of the three Beat Generation superstars: Ginsberg was a saint, Kerouac was a turd, and Burroughs was a sicko. We read much about his mental adventures in Scientology and worse.

"And it leaves us with a familiar problem: What do we do about great work by horrible people? I can't even decide whether the craziness is mitigating or exacerbating. At least Ezra Pound never said that the Jews were specially created by evil insects from space."

Arthur also notes that Heinlein biographer William Patterson has died, although fortunately he managed to finish the second and final volume. Editor David Hartwell, who edited several of RAW's books, did a lot of work on both volumes. My Hartwell interview is here (part one) and here (part two).

Arthur (a busy guy) also commented on the 2014 Hugo nominations, which made me feel rather out of touch; I've read none of the books on the "best novel" list, and in fact, I've read only one of the authors listed (Charles Stross, who is quite good.)

Arthur: "I am so old and out of touch that most of the names on the Hugo ballot mean nothing to me, but it's about time Steve Stiles (last of the paper fanzine people) got the Fan Artist award, and I'm rooting for Noah Ward vis-à-vis Opera Vita Aeterna and series almost Aeterna."

I admit that after reading this, I solemnly scanned the ballot for the mysterious author Noah Ward before realizing what Arthur wrote. He's referring to Vox Day, the notorious author mostly known for his racist and sexist comments. Mr. "Day" describes himself as a "hard-core libertarian"; thanks for helping the brand, pal. I'll add that I haven't read any of his fiction yet and will try to keep an open mind until I do. That's always been how I judge fiction.

Meanwhile, Jesse Walker points out that Orson Welles might get a Hugo.

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