Exploring Margaret St. Clair

After running across her name in a couple social media streams, I checked into my sci-fi collection and concluded I only had a very few short stories she wrote. So let’s dig deeper. Yesterday my copy of A Compendium of Margaret St. Clair arrived:


I soon discovered it had an extremely odd, uh, set-up that I have never seen in any other book. The story index acts as though the page count starts with 1 at the first story. But the actual page count includes 7 previous pages. So the location of every title in the index is off by 7 pages.

Now, I regard this as a plus, not a flaw. Gives the volume an eerie, almost sci-fi, touch. Makes it irresistible to hand it to somebody and say “See anything strange about this book?”

After the online tips, the first story I’m gonna check out is “The Gardener.” (Though I gotta admit that my fave title is another often-touted tale, “The Man Who Sold Rope to the Gnoles.”)

Stuff in the Air That Came Out of Speakers Today Locked in the Tower #28

Aaron Lee Tasjan, Tasjan! Tasjan! Tasjan! (New West)

Waaaay too little-known (even by me until just a bit ago) some country/some rock/some pop ace.


Got turned on to him by a tweet from Randi Millman, who, you know, has for decades known good music when she hears it.


R.I.P.: Larry McMurtry

I’ve said, since I saw The Last Picture Show when it was a new movie and Hud when I tracked it down on TV, that these films do by far the most vibrant job reflecting the emotional and visual texture of the small-town West where I grew up.Yesterday and today I re-watched Hud and checked out a plot synopsis of the novel, which I have not read. Think the story is improved with the race element removed, but think Hud murdering his father would be a gut-punch addition that would blunt the disturbing early-’60s reaction where the psychopath clicks as a seductive protagonist. Conclusion: gotta read that Horseman, Pass By! novel.

Trump the Walking Turd

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For years I rolled my eyes, changed the channel, walked past the book rack and generally thought of Donald Trump as a particularly over-inflated type of Noo Yawk gasbag – ego has to get the biggest stage possible, ruder even than Massholes, claims international stature but wallows in rich-glob ignorance. Then he spewed his shit about the Central Park Five. After that, I hated the fucking racist.

For more than 30 years, in addition to innumerable odd stares, this is the type of questions my wife and I have gotten from goddamned strangers (my wife Donna is Chinese):

“What’s it like being part of an interracial couple?”

“How did you two get together, really?”

“How do you deal with her family?”

“Hey buddy, why are you picking up her packages?”

And one we still hear on a regular basis —

“Are you two together?”

And with every day I became more convinced that racial bigotry had no place in the America I was promised. To turn that back now at the highest office in the land … there aren’t consequences severe enough.