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Tuesday, July 29, 2014

D. Scott Apel, are you out there?

The explosion of electronic books that are put out by small companies or simply self-published by the author has had many positive effects, but there is a big negative: When you buy an ebook that isn't put out by a well-established publisher, you never know if it will be formatted correctly.

I ran into this, again, when I bought Science Fiction: An Oral History by D. Scott Apel. It only cost me 99 cents. It consists of interviews with science fiction authors; the writers in the book are C.L. Moore, Leigh Brackett, Theodore Sturgeon, Philip K. Dick, Fritz Leiber, Roger Zelazny, Norman Spinrad and Robert Anton Wilson. The RAW interview may be one that was not previously available. (It's harder to check that when remains down.) The RAW interview has a lot of discussion about Illuminatus! Roger Zelazny also is one of the my favorite writers.

So what's not to like?

Well, when I opened the book I noticed that the formatting obviously was wrong -- the typeface was not the Amazon standard look and size -- but I decided I could live with that. 

But when I browsed toward the last page of the book -- I was reading Apel's piece explaining why he didn't have interviews with Isaac Asimov, Robert Heinlein or Ray Bradbury -- I suddenly got an error message and I couldn't go anywhere else. The error message told me to delete the book and download another copy from the cloud. But each time, I got the same error message and couldn't read the book.

A very long tech support chat session with Amazon (more than an hour) apparently fixed the problem, but I'd like Apel to know about it, and also raise a couple of other issues. But he's apparently one of these guys who makes a point of being hard to find -- no official website, no Twitter account, etc. 

So if anybody out there knows this guy, can you please send me his contact information, or tell  him there's apparently something wrong with his book?

I guess this is one of those ebook things. I'd never be able to get a book on paper for 99 cents. But I've never had to get an hour of technical support to read an ordinary book. 


tony smyth said...

Isnt this the same guy who helped RAW with the later issues of Trajectories (some on cassette tape) and used to write about film??

Cleveland Okie (Tom Jackson) said...

Yes. He is listed as the co-editor of "Chaos and Beyond," an excellent RAW (and his friends) anthology that has gone out of print. I was able to find a cheap used copy and read it a couple of years ago.

michael said...

Paging D. Scott Apel...Mr. Scot Apel...please pick up the nearest white courtesy phone...

I forget where I read/heard this, but Apel at one time ran into dire financial straits - hey man, I've been there, or rather AM there - and this may be one reason he's incognito?

Apel seemed like an ideal foil for RAW's humor on those issues of Trajectories that were audio: he loved RAW's humor and laffs in a more believable way than Ed McMahon did.

Also: the Maybe Logic extras had the local San Francisco PBS re-showing of "The Prisoner" with both RAW and Apel on the panel, talking about the show.

I once tried to find a library that had Apel's book on PKD (_The Dream Connection_) to no avail. If a library was listed as having it, the copy had disappeared.

Eric Wagner said...

I think I own that Book on Phil Dick.

Bobby Campbell said...

Every couple of years I search around to see if D. Scott Apel is online, but alas I've never found him.

I talked with him for a while at the RAW Meme-orial. He was super cool and very nice. I got the impression that he was maybe RAW's best friend. (Or thereabouts)

Just to throw it out there into Universe: I'd gladly facilitate the digitization and distro of the old Impermanent Press catalog. (gratis, natch)

fyreflye said...

Apel's PKD book is available for Kindle on

fyreflye said...

And... I bought the Science Fiction history on Kindle, flipped to the Afterword at the end, read it, and found no problems as I paged back through several interviews. In other words, it appears to be safe to buy the book now.

roumas said...

Just a fan of your KTEH Prisoner work hoping to find a way to say thanks after almost a third of a century (YIKES!).

wquandt said...

Just echoing what roumas said above thanks for the commentary on The Prisoner...I still have it on VHS, and always refer to it when I review the series every few years. Sure wish you were available on Facebook Scott, but I understand your reasoning...feel the same way about society, too. At least now I know you have books out there I can buy...I had no idea!!