August 31st, 2004


Too Much, Not Too Little...

93! write here, that is. I've been reading, and thinking, and working, and even goofing off occasionally. Then doing it all again. ;)

In particular, thanks to a posted recommendation from the brilliant Jeff VanderMeer (of City of Saints and Madmen: The Book of Ambergris fame -- and Veniss Underground, and Secret Life, and Thackeray Lambshead and so much more, so see for yourself at , you'll be glad you did) I have been reading an absolutely wonderful writer named Edward Whittemore, who deserves his own paragraph so let's give him one.

Edward Whittemore. Former Agency guy, dead now...and one of the finest novelists I've ever read, based solely (so far) on his first novel, Quin's Shanghai Circus, which I'm two-thirds of the way through and that's plenty enough to earn the praise I just gave him. Nobody but nobody's first novel is this damned good. His sole additional output is the four-volume Jerusalem Quartet; details on all may be found at a tribute site:


You always wish you could match the terrific writer who does something very different from your own stuff, I realize that; and despite its surface lucidity, its (doubtless regrettable) effort at Stephen Kingish accessibility, my work is pretty much unlike anyone else's. But I don't often read anyone even nearly my contemporary and think, Oh, God, I wish I could write like that. Hell, I hardly ever read work nearly contemporary and even think it's wonderful, any more...which is why I plugged the very fine Jeff VanderMeer above, and am gonna plug (again) up-and-comer Simon Logan, whose The Decadent Return of the Hi-Fi Queen and her Embryonic Reptile Infection is due for a review here (in brief: he's not as good yet as he's gonna be, but watch this guy: he's gonna be extraordinary, and right soon).

But, well...Edward Whittemore. An unusually fine writer, a philosopher of both breadth and depth, and a wonderfully educated mind...and as is almost never the case with that combination, someone who's also experienced enough of real life, particularly its deadly business end, that reading him actually broadens you. Wow, and likewise wow.

I have a couple of additional posts in my head, prompted largely by reading Whittemore; may post 'em right away, or after a while, or not at all. But I had to tell you folks right now, while all five of Whittemore's books are (however briefly) back in print -- in trade paper, and still available on Amazon last I looked -- just what you're missing if you haven't read him.

Sheesh :0

93 93/93 -- Awestruck AJ :)