Wednesday, February 8, 2012

#526: Global warming...?

It was sunny & in the mid-50s here on Tues, the 5th consecutive day of Spring-like weather. I even went out & MOWED THE LAWN Tues aft. How sick is THAT? & I hadda pretty good time, 2. It felt pretty good being out there. Not at all like work. I was even laughing. It was almost relaxing. Didn't even havta hum little songs 2 keep me motivated. A body in motion....
I would love it if this were the Official Start Of Spring, but I'm fairly sure Mother Nature/La Nina is just softening us up 4 another round of rain & cold & crap. In fact, it's already started sprinkling 2nite. But it was nice while it lasted. Next time we'll see the sun will probly B in April. Or June....

Spent the past couple of days reading Judith Merril & Emily Pohl-Weary's BETTER TO HAVE LOVED (2002), Merril's life story pasted-2gether by her granddaughter Pohl-Weary after Merril's death in 1997.
Merril was a prominent science-fiction writer, book critic & anthologist from the '50s in2 the '70s -- her wide-ranging selections in her '60s annual YEAR'S BEST SF short-story anthologies influenced current SF writers like William Gibson.
I remember Merril best as the book reviewer 4 THE MAGAZINE OF FANTASY AND SCIENCE FICTION in the mid-'60s when she championed the works of Samuel R. Delany, Philip K. Dick, J.G. Ballard, Roger Zelazny, R.A. Lafferty, & most of the British "New Wave." But her columns weren't just book reviews -- they were travelogues of the places she visited (mid-'60s London, the brutal '68 Chicago Democratic Convention), descriptions of writers she met, whatever struck her fancy.
The book is a bit of a grab-bag: The opening chapters that follow her life story R pretty riveting, as she meets The Futurians in New York City, marries writer/editor Frederik Pohl, argues & collaborates with C.M. Kornbluth, befriends a ton of SF writers (including lifelong friends Virginia Kidd & Katherine MacLean), & has affairs with star SF writers Theodore Sturgeon, Fritz Leiber, Walter M. Miller Jr., & others.
She was a tough woman, & she went thru a lot. But after witnessing Chicago '68 up-close she moved 2 Toronto 2 become a "resource person" at the city's experimental Rochdale College. & after that the book sorta slowly dribbles away as the details of her life get thinner. Pohl-Weary sorta apologizes 4 this up-front. But there's no need.
The best part of this book is as good & as vivid an SF reminiscence as Damon Knight's THE FUTURIANS and Frederik Pohl's THE WAY THE FUTURE WAS. If you're an old-time SF fan, you'll probably love it. & as a peek behind the scenes, it's pretty priceless.
& some of it's beautiful. Here's Merril's opening, written by a woman who outlived nearly all the lovers in her life:
"Every way to lose a lover is unbearable. ... Grief is not knowing where to give the love that does not stop."

Have also been trying 2 read Ray Coleman's massive LENNON biography (1984/1995/2000), but I'm suprised about how surfacey it is. Some of the descriptions of the early days in Liverpool & Hamburg R pretty fresh, but the later stuff thins out drastically, & I think Coleman even gets summa the minor details wrong.
Maybe there just isn't anything new & fresh left 2 say in this story. But I'd think in 700 pgs of text (originally published as 2 books) that Coleman coulda found something new -- he'd interviewed Lennon many times.
It is, at least, better, more positive, more optimistic than Albert Goldman's wretched THE MANY LIVES OF JOHN LENNON, which was so outrageously negative that I couldn't finish it -- despite being locked in by Goldman's earlier ELVIS.
At this point I'm not looking 4 new dirt, & I don't need the same old facts repeated again, I'd just like the story told with some depth, insight, style, feeling.... Is there any way 2 make it all new again...?

COMING SOON: Early (& Late) Al Stewart.

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