Bookish Stuff on a Friday Afternoon

A couple of pieces of book info, one including my work, and another that doesn’t, but is well worth your time.


From Sea to Stormy Sea is due out in the next few weeks. Amazon lists 3 Dec as the pub date, but I’ve also heard this coming Tuesday (19 Nov) mentioned. In any case, early reviews appear to be quite positive, and since I got hold of an e-copy this week, I understand why. My friend Thomas Pluck had some nice things to say about my contribution to the book, a short story I connected to a painting by my father, but really, there’s plenty of terrific stuff in this anthology. Once again, LB assembled a terrific bunch of contributors, this time including folks like Sara Paretsky, Scott Frank, Brendan DuBois, and, um… Lawrence Block. The stories were inspired by a range of American artists, and as has been the case in the previous art-thologies, the plates of works by Thomas Hart Benton, Raphael Soyer, Rockwell Kent, and others (yes, including Dad) will be gorgeous as well. So if you haven’t bought your own copy yet, you probably should do yourself a favor and order. One way or another, you’ll get it soon.

Meanwhile, today’s surfing led me to the land of Serendip. Nearly two decades back, my dad handed me a copy of an urban fantasy that mixed the usual assortment of elves and such into a world reminiscent of 30s gangster movies. The book was The Last Hot Time, and it was written by John M. Ford, known as “Mike” to his friends. By this time, I was much less into SF and fantasy than I once had been, but I recognized good work when I found it, and enjoyed Ford’s book greatly, as my father had. We knew Ford had written other books, but the piles of books are always rising, and by the time Ford died in 2006 (and my father died in 2009), Last Hot Time was a book I recalled fondly, but I never got round to finding his other works.

Last Hot Time

Apparently that was a mistake on my part, but fortunately, it’s a mistake I may be able to remedy over the next few years. For the entire story, check out Isaac Butler’s article at Slate today:

The more I looked into Ford’s career, the more frustrating and mystifying his posthumous invisibility came to seem. Ford had won the Philip K. Dick Award and multiple World Fantasy Awards. He was a beloved and influential peer to writers including Neil Gaiman, Jo Walton, Ellen Kushner, James Rigney (better known as Robert Jordan), Jack Womack, and Daniel Abraham. So why had so few people heard of him? Why wasn’t anyone publishing his books?

It would take me 18 months to answer my questions. My quest would bring me to the vast treasure trove of Ford’s uncollected and unpublished writing. It would introduce me to friends and relatives of Ford who hadn’t spoken to each other since his death in 2006. And, in an improbable ending worthy of a John M. Ford novel, my quest would in fact set in motion the long-delayed republication of his work, starting in the fall of 2020. How did this happen? More importantly, why was he forgotten in the first place? More importantly than that: How did he write those amazing books?

As I said, read Butler’s piece — your own TBR (To Be Read) pile may grow a bit as well.

See you soon!

About profmondo

Dad, husband, mostly free individual, medievalist, writer, and drummer. "Gladly wolde he lerne and gladly teche."
This entry was posted in Literature, Why I Do What I Do. Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Bookish Stuff on a Friday Afternoon

  1. ScottO says:

    “One way or another,” Prof? Are you trying to scare me?!

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