Friday, December 03, 2021


From the archives: Randy Johnson

FFB: Black Is The Color – John Brunner

Brunner was an early find, third I believe, behind Heinlein and Norton. The early stuff was mostly from the Ace Doubles. Black Is The Color is a little bit different. From 1969, part spy novel, it has a plot line that would fit into things happening today.

Mark Hanwell, a disillusioned young man returns home to London after six months in Spain where he’d met and worked for The Big Famous Writer he only ever refers to as Hairy Harry. It didn’t take long for him to realize his hero had feet of clay, making the bulk of his money selling pornography and weed. In fact, the last four pieces of writing under his name had been written by Mark.

Home, he goes looking for a woman who’d sent him a few letters early on, then stopped. A singer, he traced the bank d she’d been with falling into as different a world as he’d ever run into.

Sadism was part of it, voodoo, a plan to start a race war in England, Mark finds his work and the man she’d taken up with, a South Africaner.

I’d never heard of this book before I came across it. Good stuff


Wednesday, December 01, 2021

Short Story Wednesday



Richard Robinson

First Wednesday Book Review: Oh, William, Elizabeth Strout

 Elizabeth Strout is probably my favorite writer and Oh, William is a continuation of the story she began in MY NAME IS LUCY BARTON. I love her unadorned, plain-speaking writing style, I like her characters and find them completely credible, I love her affection for even the worst of them. Lucy Barton is introduced as a patient in a hospital after an operation went bad. She spends a month there ruminating on her life and especially on her horrific childhood. Her mother visits her-something unexpected because of the way she treated Lucy as a child. But William calls her in because it is hard for him to visit with a job and two children to care for.

Oh William picks the story up later. Lucy is now a successful novelist with two grown daughters and has just lost her second husband, who she adored. William was her first husband and she is thrown together with him when he finds out he has a stepsister he never knew existed and needs help coping with it. Lucy takes the journey with him despite herself. 

I am now reading the third story about this family (although written before Oh, William) and it is terrific too.Is anything nicer than being in the hands of a writer you love?

For more First Wednesday reviews, visit Barrie Summy. 

Tuesday, November 30, 2021

A Little Good News

My pathology report finally came back and there is no cancer in any of the lymph nodes they checked and the margins are clear. So hopefully three weeks of radiation once my surgical wounds have healed and then one of the estrogen fighting drugs. I am still hoping to go to California mid-January but it will be tight. I go to the surgeon today to see how healed I am.

Monday, November 29, 2021

Monday, Monday

 Imagine celebrating Thanksgiving in a week where you also saw two productions of your plays and then dying at age 91. (Maybe Jeff was at the same performance). What a blessing. 

Sondheim has always been a bit of a struggle. I think music in general is a weakness for me. So although I can admire his versatility with lyrics/words I still yearn (too much) for a tune to hum. I watched Sweeney Todd for the first time last night and was astonished at how dark it was. How Sweeney never got to redeem himself, right to the end. Is there a darker story? I downloaded a biography of him (by Meryle Secrest) and am determined to get him more. He actually lived in the same town as Phil for a while.

Reading ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE by Elizabeth Strout. Just can't seem to get enough of her. 

Watched KING RICHARD, which I liked more than I expected to. What a strange and interesting man.

Listening to DEAD EYES, a podcast about an actor who was fired from a Tom Hanks miniseries because Hanks claimed he had dead eyes. This is is exploration of that comment. I listen to podcasts a lot. Mostly ones about books, movies, TV. I have given up on all the political ones. 

A nice Thanksgiving, playing games and laughing although I ran out of steam. Apparently that surgery a week ago takes longer to recover from than I expected. 

What about you? Tired of turkey?

Monday, November 22, 2021

Monday, Monday

Not too much to say here. Watching a show called THE GULF on Acorn and also watched Tic Tic Boom on Netflix. Boy, no one writes many memorable tunes anymore. The music largely seems to advance the plot and it is not something anyone will ever hum as they leave the theater (or sofa).
Still Andrew Garfield was good in the role. Enjoying the TCM podcast on Desi and Lucy. Hoping you have more to say than me.

 My DIL and father.