Mike Edison (BSS #226)

Mike Edison is the author of I Have Fun Everywhere I Go.


Condition of the Show: Reinvestigating the purported death of Bat Segundo. (See also Show #199.)

Author: Mike Edison

Subjects Discussed: Writing a memoir predicated upon shit-talking, sticking with the details, the lack of composite characters, compressed chronology, Heeb editor Josh Neuman vs. Screw art director Kevin Hein, Tom Cruise’s ass, The Passion of the Christ, the ground rules for satire, Martha Stewart, being married to ideas, High Times‘s Steven Hager, reality TV vs. YouTube, patience and publishing, the Chronocaster, Tommy Chong, attempting to assemble the film High Times Potluck, marijuana bribes, the cult of personality, sexual harassment, being in the gutter with Al Goldstein, the roots of High Times, editorial backstabbing, the appropriate conditions in which to get stoned, Robert Altman, stoners and color separation, Ozzy Osbourne, Edison’s career trajectory, working for a beer and soft drinks magazine, dropping out of Columbia and working as a porn novelist and getting burned out, on being bored easily, the business of High Times, magazine readership, early ambitions, Bill Hicks, the Beatles and John Lennon’s Plastic Ono Band, Ringo Starr’s first album vs. Steve Miller, and the unpredictability of life.


Correspondent: First off, you have a lot of critical things to say about a lot of people.

Edison: I name names, brother!

Correspondent: Yeah, I know. But there’s a lot of shit-talking going on.

Edison: You think?

Correspondent: And I’m wondering if this book was written out of revenge or what?

Edison: Absolutely not. I mean, you know, I feel sorry for the people who weren’t nice to me in the last twenty years of my career. But, no, this was not written from a point of view of malice. That’s not a place to write a book from. The book’s a celebration. And, of course, a few people crossed me over the years and I do kind of take joy in sticking pins in them now. I’d be lying if I didn’t say that there weren’t. But success is the best revenge. And history is written by the winners.

Correspondent: You consider yourself a success? You’re writing your own history here?

Edison: I’m on your radio show. I think there’s no greater sign of success than that.

Correspondent: (laughs)

Categories: People

Peter David (BSS #225)

Peter David is most recently the author of Tigerheart.


Condition of the Show: Investigating claimed nemeses of Goliath.

Author: Peter David

Subjects Discussed: On being prolific, producing work quickly, writing stories set in expansive universe, reacting to a universal construct, working with mythos, the Fallen Angel universe, the Star Trek: New Frontier books, Joseph Campbell and Star Wars, Willow, fundamental tropes in storytelling, whether or not all stories are derivative, retinkering the Peter Pan formula for Tigerheart, the advantages of pastiche, James Barrie, Don Quixote, the Great Ormond Street Childrens Hospital’s litigious actions towards Peter Pan adaptations, emulating Barrie’s voice, the unproducable nature of Barrie’s Peter Pan play, the advantages of dream narratives, the conversational nature of the comic book script medium, cameo appearances and throwaway side characters in Tigerheart, verisimilitude, managing numerous characters in a universe, story elements that originate from the protagonist, speculative double entendres to George Bush, adjusting comic storylines as sales figures come in, spicing things up in Fallen Angel, keeping a comic book marketable and other commercial demands, David’s twelve-year run on the Hulk, boosting sales, the role of the comic book editor, David’s exclusive Marvel contract, Tennessee Williams, unique stories and salable stories, and coordinating storylines on other comic books.


Correspondent: I’m wondering though if there has ever been an instance in your comic career, in which an editor has come to you and said, “Hey, Peter, the sales for this particular title are flagging. What can we do to raise things up?” Has this ever an influence?

David: Sure. Of course it’s an influence. I mean, look, when it comes to — particularly my work-for-hire material — my job at the end of the day is to do two things. As far as the publisher is concerned. This is purely my job as far as the publisher is concerned, okay? Number one: Turn in a publishable script. And number two: Do everything that is within my power to write a book that will sell. Okay? Because I could turn in absolutely kickass scripts that aren’t going to sell for crap. But I feel to a certain degree that part of my job is to try and do everything I can to keep the book marketable. I’ve been doing that my entire comic book career. When I was writing Hulk, during my initial twelve-year run, I regularly had access to sales figures ahead of time. Three, four months ahead of time. Because that’s how far ahead we were soliciting. And they were incredibly instructional. Because what would happen is, I would be aware of a sales drop months ahead of time. Months ahead of time. So that I would have the Hulk in a particular incarnation going through a particular series of events. If I saw sales starting to flag, I’d say to myself, “Okay. That incarnation of the Hulk seems to be running its course. Time to come up with something else.”

So if you want to have an idea of when sales were starting to drop during my twelve-year run, at any particular time, look to a point where the Hulk undergoes some kind of transformation, backdate yourself about six months and that’s when I was looking at the sales figures, going, “Okay. We have a drop.” The problem nowadays is that we don’t know sales figures until after the book is already on the stands. So instead of having a three to four month early warning system, so that I can course correct ahead of time, we are always behind the curve by three to four months. Because we don’t know the sales numbers until at least two months after the book has come out. I mean, you know, we see the sales numbers on ICv2 or whatever it is. That’s when I see the sales numbers. We see those sales numbers come out two to three months after the book is on the stands, plus we’re soliciting three months down the line. So you can find yourself in free-fall before you’re aware of the fact that you’ve got any kind of attrition problem. Because every book’s always going to have attrition. Every book. Every book. There’s no stopping it. There’s always going to be. You’re going to get a build. And then it’s going to level off. And then it’s going to start to drop. Always. No matter what the book is. Always. The thing I was able to do on Hulk is, when I saw it start to drop, I would say, “Okay. Time to do something different.” And I could come up with a new angle on The Hulk that would boost sales. Because we’d have people going, “Oh, they’re doing something new and different with The Hulk? Let’s see.” As it is, I can’t course correct. And it’s incredibly frustrating.

Correspondent: But I’m also wondering if some of the stuff that you do with, say, Fallen Angel — I mean, you had a post on your blog recently in which a gentleman couldn’t purchase it from his neighborhood comic store. Because he was the only person purchasing the issue.

David: Buying it, yeah.

Correspondent: So for something like this, is Fallen Angel more of an unfettered territory to write in?

David: It’s unfettered territory. But that doesn’t mean that I don’t want to see sales be brought up.

Categories: Fiction

¡Más Segundo!

Over the past two weeks, plans have been drafted and considerable efforts have been made to keep the show going at least through the end of the year. The details of these plans will be revealed here on Friday. The Save Segundo team believes that we can do it and we will have more information soon. In the meantime, thanks for your support and thanks again for listening.

Categories: Uncategorized

Sen. Mike Gravel & Joe Lauria (BSS #224)

Senator Mike Gravel and Joe Lauria are the co-authors of A Political Odyssey. Gravel was a candidate for the 2008 U.S. presidential race. Lauria is an investigative journalist who writes for The Sunday Times.


Condition of the Show: Delving into the complexities of the military industrial complex.

Authors: Senator Mike Gravel and Joe Lauria.

Subjects Discussed: Whether Sen. Gravel and Joe Lauria share the same brain, The National Initiative for Democracy, Article VII of the Constitution, rules that prevent people from participating in the electoral process, the military industrial complex, the Civil War and the defense budget, Eisenhower’s transportation system, Harry Truman and Communists, Iran’s missile defense, living in a culture of fear and a culture of information, X-ray machines at airports, Gravel’s involvement in the celebrity culture of politics, “Rock,” involvement with Obama Girl, whether or not Senator Obama or any of the Democratic presidential candidates have been in touch with Gravel since the debates, whether or not Gravel is done with electoral politics, leaving out details of Gravel’s life between 1981-2006 in A Political Odyssey, political visibility, balancing substance and celebrity, the semiotics and audience reaction to “Rock,” the “unnecessary” nature of war, Woodrow Wilson, war as an endless continuum, whether or not Americans deserve the government that currently represents them, Colin Powell and false threats, Daniel Ellsberg, Dick Durbin, Frank Wuterich and Murtha’s defamation suit, the Speech or Debate Clause, morality and collateral damage, Scoop Jackson, Gravel standing up against the ABM, working with hawkish Senators, and political peer pressure.


Correspondent: A question to both of you. The modifier that frequently ripples, so to speak, throughout this book in relation to war is “unnecessary.” You question Woodrow Wilson’s motives for getting us into World War I, writing that America was not threatened. Yet I must bring up the bombing of the Lusitania. And I must also point out that there was the Kingsland Explosion. The Zimmerman telegram. I mean, what is a necessary war? Was America really not at threat in World War I? Is this what you’re saying?

Gravel: Of course it was not.

Lauria: Well, I’ll just say briefly that the idea of the Zimmerman telegram was absolute nonsense. Why did Wilson send ships into the areas where they could be sunk?

Gravel: Right. And there was an argument that it had munitions. I mean, Woodrow Wilson didn’t have to go into the First World War at all. In fact, had he not gone in, there’s a chance that we never would have had the Second World War. Had we let them, that was their war, bleed themselves out. Well, you realize that after the First World War, the democracies of the world were in command of the world. And who screwed up the 20th century but the democracies? Clemenceau and the British and ourselves were the ones that set up the tobacco of the 20th century. Does it get any worse than that?

Correspondent: Okay, that clarifies…

Lauria: There wouldn’t have been Versailles. There wouldn’t have been a settlement to the war.

Gravel: There wouldn’t. Because…

Lauria: You would not have had Hitler.

Gravel: No, you wouldn’t have had Hitler. Because the Germans could not have refielded their armies that had left. The French could not have refielded their armies. So there would not have been Versailles. This was like the movie, The Last Man Standing. Well, the American troops! The British were not standing. The French were not standing. The Germans were not standing. So there we were. The Americans were standing. And we were the heroes. And old Woodrow Wilson was basking in this light. Woodrow Wilson was not the great President we made him out to be. Believe me, he was not.

Correspondent: I thank you for the clarification, but back to the other question. Is war necessary in any sense? Can you cite specific conflicts? Specific battles?

Gravel: I know of no war in history that did not beget more war.

Correspondent: But that kind of dodges the question very skillfully.

Gravel: No, that doesn’t dodge the question. I know of no war that has not begotten more war.

Correspondent: Is it necessary though?

Gravel: I don’t know if it’s necessary. I don’t know if it’s necessary. You attack me. I gotta kill you. Then your brother says, “Well, you killed me.” It’s the famous American cowboy story. You know, vengeance wreaks more vengeance. What kind of question is it? Maybe the question you ought to ask is to take the question from Jesus. Turn the other cheek and maybe you won’t get the other cheek lopped off.

Categories: Ideas, People

Faye Flam (BSS #223)

Faye Flam is most recently the author of The Score.


Condition of the Show: Attempting to contend with gender generalizations.

Author: Faye Flam

Subjects Discussed: Boot Seduction Camp as the prism with which to approach evolutionary science, the Mystery Method, crude philosophical rules vs. scientific rules, the SRY gene, masculinity’s backup gene, genetics and the delineation between gender, Jeffrey Eugenides’s Middlesex, bonobos and bisexuality, biological pair bonding, Alan Alda and testosterone poisoning, the decline of macho actors, oxytocin, Andrew Sullivan’s testosterone injections, certain oversights Ms. Flam made from John Tierney’s article on the correlation between shorter men and money, Alfred Kinsey and the human heterodoxy, Joan Roughgarden’s Evolution’s Rainbow, Dr. Peter Hurd’s studyon finger length and aggression, the differences between humans and sparrows, Rachmaninov’s hands, evolutionary science and other species, homosexuality and “sexually antagonistic selection,” risk-taking behavior and attractiveness, biological clocks, young men and very older women, and whether scientists or cultural pundits set the terms for human behavior.


Correspondent: But not every man, Faye, is going to sit down and slap thousands of dollars wanting to get laid like this.

Flam: (laughs) No.

Correspondent: I mean, this isn’t the archetypal man. It’s almost as if this is an extraordinary, almost cartoonish construct on which you respond with science and examples with other species and the like. So I’m wondering why this was the one. Why you couldn’t just have some schlumpy guy in a bar who isn’t paying thousands of dollars?

Flam: I guess so. Well, these classes are pretty popular. There are a lot of guys who are into this. And The Game was a bestselling book. So it was a pretty big phenomenon. And it was a little extraordinary, which is what made it interesting. I wanted to start with something that was human and yet not totally mundane. And it caught my interest. It did sort of reflect this idea of the male sex working at just getting sex. Women will put a lot of effort into their hair and makeup, but not really to get sex. I mean, You can walk into a bar without makeup and still get some guy to go home with you.

Correspondent: Depends upon what types of bars you frequent.

Categories: Ideas, People

Nam Le (BSS #222)

Nam Le is the author of The Boat.


Condition of the Show: Attempting to find classification within the media industrial complex.

Author: Nam Le

Subjects Discussed: On writing about panna cotta before experiencing it, plausibility and aesthetics, subjectivity, the dangers of autobiographical connections and personal experience perceived by readers and critics, why fiction needs to be influenced by strangeness, place and topography, “Meeting Elise” as an inverted New Yorker story, when the bludgeon of language falls apart, Nam Le’s comic impulses, on not being published in the New Yorker, the relationship between artistic frustrations and the short story infrastructure, making stories succeed on their own terms, bouncing around the globe and using different tones, being perceived, writing without being restrained, political discourse and infantile reductionism, Nam Le’s concern for plant and tree life, getting things wrong, prioritizing descriptive details, the risks of not providing all geographic details, readers who don’t look things up, spelling things out vs. not holding a reader’s hand, elemental meaning within place names, fixed location vs. transitory location, the surrender of identity in relation to how people attach themselves to community, the natural topical limitations of a writer, smooth description, not trusting the veneer of the self, the many references to the body within the stories, the body as an epidermal buffer between the soul and the environment, authentic dialogue and ground rules established for vernacular, the decision to capitalize “Child,” the ethics of writing, and looking in sentences and paragraphs with a sense of aesthetics and ethics.


Le: First of all, I think that place names are — I mean, you’d be a fool not to use them in many regards. Because they’re such charged and resonant words. Because they carry the connotation of all of the expectations and assumptions, and all of the misconceptions, as well as all of the history and culture of the place. So a word like Cartagena has such layers and meaning, and also has references to — for example, to be wanky again, Carthage. But there are elements that are simply embedded into a name like that. And with Hiroshima, for example, I mean, geez, can you think of a word or a place name that is more loaded?

Correspondent: Auschwitz maybe.

Le: Exactly.

Correspondent: I’m waiting for that story from you.

Le: (laughs) You know what I mean? I mean, that was a particularly calculated title.

[Podpress is currently incompatible with WordPress 2.6. So until Podpress gets its act together, you can listen to the MP3 below.]

BSS #222: Nam Le

Categories: Fiction

Grandmaster Flash & Karen Abbott (BSS #221)

Grandmaster Flash is most recently the author of The Adventures of Grandmaster Flash (with David Ritz).

Karen Abbott is most recently the author of Sin in the Second City.


Condition of the Show: Marinating in urban culture.

Authors: Grandmaster Flash and Karen Abbott

SUBJECTS DISCUSSED: Using “adventures” in a book title, cutting, rubbing and scratching, finding obscure records in a digital age, turntables vs. mashups, time-coded vinyl, illicit methods of obtaining equipment, Sylvia Robinson, the risks of entering into a deal without an attorney, Flash’s problems with “The Message,” Ray Chandler, “Getting Everleighed,” bawdy verbs in desuetude, research and literary associations, the swank decor of the Everleigh Club, the legendary attorney Colonel MacDuff, determining reliable sources a century later, Clifford Roe and Ernest Bell, the danger of writing a history with clear-cut protagonists and antagonists, the white slavery scare, maintaining high standards in prostitution, balancing the pursuit of the facts with the writing an entertaining book, the reformist tendency to slum in the Red Light District, Ike Bloom and graft money, filling in the missing pieces of the narrative constructed by the Everleigh sisters, the Everleigh sisters’s idiosyncratic grammar, whether Abbott portrayed Vic Shaw in a fair light during her final days, Bathhouse John Coughlin — the buffoon and poet laureate of the Levee District, Clement Moore, the early days of Al Capone, the rush of reformist regulation before the 1920s, Jack Johnson, needless persecution under the Mann Act, the lack of coordination between federal and local authorities, the early days of the FBI, the 1908 bombing of the Coliseum, speculation on why the wondrous debauchery of the First Ward Ball were stopped, the downside of advertising a brothel, insular zoning, and prognosticating on the motivations of reformers going after the Everleigh Club.


Corresponent: If you listen to “The Wheels of Steel” today, as I have actually a couple of times, you can actually hear your hands on the turntables, whereas you can’t always hear someone who is just doing a mashup. You don’t hear that analog quality. So I’m wondering how things have adjusted for you in light of this. How do you keep the analog part of things legitimate? Real? How do digital tools help you as well?

Flash: Okay, first of all, I’m a scientist before I’m a DJ. So pushing the envelope for new technology, I’m always with that. Because I was ahead of my time thirty-three years ago. So now that it’s become things like Serato, Torq, FinalScratch — Traktor Scratch, which is what I use — you still have to drive it in the same fashion. Meaning that if you were a great mixer, a great DJ, in the analog world with vinyl, you still have to drive it the same way in digital. So if you was wack in the analog world, you will be wack in the digital world. So the real fact of the matter is follow through how you play your songs and what songs you play. That still separates the boys from the men, and the ladies from the women. So the modern technology has brought in convenience. You can put 15,000, 20,000 songs on a hard drive, and carry those. Where at one point, we as DJs used to have three or four guys who used to lift our boxes. That isn’t the case anymore. I carry less vinyl and I have more in my laptop.

* * *

Correspondent: It’s interesting that something like “Everleighed,” as well as “decentized,” which you point to later in the book — these are verbs that didn’t quite make it in the 21st century.

Abbott: “Decentize.” I’m surprised. You’d think that some reformers today would have latched onto it.

Correspondent: You’d think in light of the fundamentalist furor that is going on as we speak. But how much of your research is oriented around these associations? Because obviously, this is a very literary approach in a certain way to the facts that exist. There’s a lot of fanciful language that you use that really gets us into this atmospheric context. I’m wondering. Does something like this originate from the facts? Or does it originate from a phrase? Or does it originate from a verb as we sort of suggested here?

Abbott: You know, I think a lot of the phrases that exist in the book were already in existence. The characters sort of latched onto them. I’m kind of ashamed to admit that I spent two days researching the etymology of Susie Poontang.

Correspondent: Really?

Abbott: Of where “poontang” might have come from.

Correspondent: Well, did you come up with any conclusions here?

Abbott: It was a Chinese phrase that had to do with prostitutes. And I think she had to latch onto that for herself. It’s sort of a chicken and the egg question. But I’m sure that she probably appropriated it for herself to get to America.

Categories: Ideas, People

The Bat Segundo Show, 2004-2008

The Bat Segundo Show is going on indefinite hiatus. Which pretty much means that it’s over, unless some magical sponsor or benefactor can appear at the eleventh hour to save the show. But I doubt it.

I tried to keep the show running as long as I could, supporting it with my own money. A typical show took me about twenty to thirty hours to produce from start to finish. Segundo was a full-time job for which I received nothing but generous donations, including many of you who kindly chipped in during last year’s pledge drive. The hell of it is that the money required to keep the show going was peanuts.

But now that most of my freelancing income sources have dried up — in some cases permanently — I’m looking for a full-time job to make ends meet. And I only have so much time and energy to go around.

I feel tremendously sad about all this. I know that for some authors, Segundo was the only place they had to discuss their books. But I see no other option but to fold the show under the current economic circumstances.

Thanks to all the authors who took the time out of their busy schedules to talk with me. Thanks to all the publicists who went along with the crazy concept. And thanks, most of all, to the listeners. For four years, we offered a bona-fide alternative to the mainstream. And I’m extremely disheartened to abandon this. I never felt entitled to a living from this. But I do feel as if I’ve drowned a baby.

There are about nine shows left to be released, with a few more interviews I’ve set up that have yet to be conducted. I’ll be putting these shows up in the forthcoming weeks.

In the meantime, if you need a guy to write for you full-time or wait tables, please feel free to email me.

Categories: Uncategorized

Mark Kurlansky (BSS #220)

Mark Kurlansky is most recently the author of The Last Fish Tale.


Condition of the Show: Moving forward after unexpected losses.

Author: Mark Kurlansky

Subjects Discussed: Mark Kurlansky’s wonderful dog, coming into Gloucester from an outsider’s perspective, possible solutions to global fishing problems, the close parallels between bottom dragging and the decline in fish stocks, ineffective methods of government subsidization, bycatch, intercontinental arguments over fishing, the problems with regulating fisheries, trying to find uses for excess fish stock, Gorton’s, bureaucracy and other political problems in Massachusetts, the clash between environmentalists and fishermen, the Elise vs. Bluenose race, downtown zoning and fishing, careful hotel development, chowder recipes, Moby Dick, Portuguese linguica, fishermen going out to sea without being able to predict the dangerous weather, the history of the schooner, various fishing technologies, oceanography, Howard Blackburn, Gloucester newcomers, ethnic groups and the granite industry, the Luminists and Fitz Henry Lane, Emile Gruppe, non-native Gloucester residents and art, Kurlansky’s illustrations, Motif Number 1, T.S. Eliot’s The Waste Land and Ezra Pound’s cut of Gloucester passages, balancing non-specific details about interviews with primary sources, and Kurlansky’s journalistic approach.


Correspondent: I’m wondering if it’s a matter of this obdurate Gloucester character that you allude to many times throughout the book. In fact, I was curious about the whole Elsie vs. Bluenose race. You actually write that essentially, they didn’t have time to deal with this great defeat. That they were more concerned with fishing. And in a desperate effort to determine whether this was true, I was digging through the New York Times archive and I found this particular quote from Captain Marty Welch in a 1921 article. He basically says, “I’ve no excuses. The larger boat won. The Elsie is as good as the Bluenose is, only she’s smaller. Give me a vessel of that size and I’d like to race her every day in the week.” So this seems to me either a sense of Gloucester bluster or perhaps a notion of some kind of pride. What is this exactly?

Kurlansky: Well, in that particular case — and it was a different era — you have to remember that schooners were invented in Gloucester. And they were invented as fishing boats. And so fishermen had this tremendous pride that they were the masters of schooners. And they became yachts. Today, the only schooners around — except for in a few museums — are yachts and for racing. So fishermen — and it’s the same thing with the environmentalists. “These aren’t real men of the sea. These are just rich guys who are playing around on these boats. We’re the guys who know how to handle a schooner.”

Correspondent: And then, on top of everything else, the Canadians decide to put the Bluenose on their stamps, their dime….

Kurlansky: On everything.

Correspondent: My girlfriend’s Canadian and I asked her about the Bluenose. And she gave me a slight grin. So I’m like, “Come on. Give the Gloucester guys something.”

Kurlansky: Well, Bluenose visits Gloucester. There’s a new…

Correspondent: The Bluenose IV. Yeah, I saw that.

Kurlansky: But one of the unusual charms, I think, of Gloucester is that it is very determinedly a blue-collar place. And it takes a tremendous pride in its blue-collarness. And it’s a community in which there are a number of extremely wealthy people. And they all get along pretty well. At least, they socialize. In a way, it is the classless society. Except that there is this tremendous awareness of class and the ethos of working-class people. You have to be aware of that if you want to deal with Gloucester.

(Image: Rebecca Hallas)

Categories: Ideas

Thomas M. Disch (BSS #219)

To my great shock, the late, great Thomas M. Disch committed suicide on July 4, 2008. This was his last face-to-face interview before his death, conducted on June 25, 2008 at his apartment. For more on Disch, start here. His most recent book was The Word of God.


Condition of the Show: In memoriam.

Author: Thomas M. Disch

Subjects Discussed: The difficulties of declaring yourself a deity, truth and memoirs, authenticity, James Frey, Disch’s takedown of Whitley Streiber, Democrats and evangelism, Reverend James Dobson, the unexpected reaction to Disch declaring himself an atheist at a North Dakota convention, Clifford Irving, the fun of footnotes and annotation, fundamentalists, writing books in which the ground is always shifting, Emerson and the trinity, Algis Budrys, Thomas Mann, the taboos of simulacra and alternative realities, war and commandments, the fantasy of having different parents, griping about editors and agents, the American literary tradition of celebrating con artistry, L. Ron Hubbard, Disch’s religious acolytes, Michael Moorcock, asking for blurbs without any of the blurbers reading the book, Philip K. Dick’s 1972 letter to the FBI, Camp Concentration, pulp fiction and literary posterity, “A Visit from Saint Nicholas” and Clement Brown, whether or not literature (and civilization) will survive into the next century, maintaining a LiveJournal, on not submitting poems to magazines, Samuel Johnson’s maxim, poetry and the New Yorker, editors or critics who hate Disch’s guts, being ignored, being snubbed by Stephen Donaldson, ridiculing enemies, nonoverlapping magesteria, having Catholic friends, cowboys, literature as a religion, Disch’s efforts to read The Tale of Genji before death, the reading of “approved classics,” Samuel Richardson’s Clarissa and Jane Austen, Disch’s strong love of Patrick O’Brian’s Aubrey-Maturin novels, writing Amnesia and building a model of Manhattan within the text adventure game, literature as a constantly changing medium, inhabiting the now and obsolescence, silent film, and poetry as Disch’s “one good horse.”


Correspondent: I wanted to also ask you about A.J. Budrys, who I know you — I saw your LiveJournal where there were many caustic remarks directed his way. But I should point out that when I received this galley well before June 9th, when he died, you referred to him as “the late Algis Budrys.”

Disch: (laughs) Yes!

Correspondent: I’m wondering if you had some inside dope or if this is another example of your divine powers.

Disch: I guess so. I mean, I never know what my divine powers are going to do often, until they’ve done it. And this is certainly a case where I had picked the right horse without even knowing.

Correspondent: Well, I mean, why did you type “the late” so early on? I mean…

Disch: (laughs) Well, for one thing, I didn’t know.

Correspondent: You didn’t know he was alive?

Disch: Yeah. I sort of figured it was likely that he was dead. And wishing it to be the case, I just wrote it that way.

Correspondent: Or he was dead to you in other words?

Disch: Yeah. Yeah. I mean, if I had my druthers, there he is.

Photo credit: Flickr

Categories: Fiction