Towse: views from the hill

March 17, 2009

Christopher G. Moore and Christopher Moore

Filed under: books,writers,writing — Towse @ 5:59 pm

Christopher G. Moore was at Left Coast Crime 2009.
Christopher Moore was not.

The book dealer who brought Christopher Moore’s books to sell to conference attendees didn’t know the difference, or thought that conference attendees didn’t. No excuse, really. The list of conference attendees included a hot link to Christopher G. Moore’s Web site where ’tis obvious he writes a very different tale than Christopher not-G Moore.

Imagine your surprise if you’d purchased a Christopher Moore book from the book dealer and, having reached the head of the “have Christopher Moore sign your book” line, you discovered the Christopher Moore (Christopher G. Moore) in front of you looked nothing like the author photo on the (Christopher Moore) book you had in hand.

Here’s the basic difference ‘twixt the two:

“Think Dashiell Hammett in Bangkok.” —San Francisco Chronicle (Christopher G. Moore)

“Moore’s storytelling style is reminiscent of Vonnegut and Douglas Adams.” — Philadelphia Inquirer (Christopher Moore)

Now you know …

Buy either. Buy both. Different reads. Very different reads. Both worth reading.

October 27, 2008

RIP Tony Hillerman

Filed under: people,writers — Tags: , — Towse @ 5:58 pm

Tony Hillerman has died at age 83.

My favorite memory of him was his appearance as guest at the first fundraiser dinner for (what now is known as) the Foundation for Monterey County Free Libraries back in the early nineties. The Foundation had originally asked Robert Campbell to be guest speaker but Campbell answered (hashhish remembering here) something to the effect that Campbell really wasn’t so hot with the public speaking thing. If he had been good at it, Campbell said, he probably would’ve chosen a vocation other than writing. But he knew this guy. …

Hillerman signed one of my hardback first editions before the dinner and kept the audience laughing during dinner with his dry wit and self deprecating stories of bloopers he’d made and his life as a writer. Hillerman all-in-all proved to be a generous, charming, raconteur sort of a guy.

Hillerman did a lot for the mystery-writing community and writers in general, a lot for libraries and readers. He earned the Grand Master Award from the Mystery Writers of America. Talking mysteries : a conversation with Tony Hillerman and Seldom Disappointed: A Memoir are excellent introductions to Hillerman the writer and his writing.

Hillerman’s writing evoked the Southwest. His mysteries were appreciated by the Navajo nation because of his depictions of and respect for the native culture. The Navajo Tribal Council honored him with its Special Friend of the Dineh award in 1987.

He was one of a kind.


June 13, 2007

Ray Bradbury: Fahrenheit 451 Misinterpreted – Amy E. Boyle Johnston

Filed under: books,video,writers,writing — Tags: , — Towse @ 8:44 pm

Ray Bradbury: Fahrenheit 451 Misinterpreted – Amy E. Boyle Johnston, LA Weekly.


Bradbury, a man living in the creative and industrial center of reality TV and one-hour dramas, says it is, in fact, a story about how television destroys interest in reading literature.

“Television gives you the dates of Napoleon, but not who he was,” Bradbury says, summarizing TV’s content with a single word that he spits out as an epithet: “factoids.” He says this while sitting in a room dominated by a gigantic flat-panel television broadcasting the Fox News Channel, muted, factoids crawling across the bottom of the screen.

His fear in 1953 that television would kill books has, he says, been partially confirmed by television’s effect on substance in the news. The front page of that day’s L.A. Times reported on the weekend box-office receipts for the third in the Spider-Man series of movies, seeming to prove his point.

“Useless,” Bradbury says. “They stuff you with so much useless information, you feel full.” He bristles when others tell him what his stories mean, and once walked out of a class at UCLA where students insisted his book was about government censorship. He’s now bucking the widespread conventional wisdom with a video clip on his Web site (, titled “Bradbury on censorship/television.”

As early as 1951, Bradbury presaged his fears about TV, in a letter about the dangers of radio, written to fantasy and science-fiction writer Richard Matheson. Bradbury wrote that “Radio has contributed to our ‘growing lack of attention.’… This sort of hopscotching existence makes it almost impossible for people, myself included, to sit down and get into a novel again. We have become a short story reading people, or, worse than that, a QUICK reading people.”


“I was worried about people being turned into morons by TV,” Bradbury says in the censorship/television video clip. The collection of clips includes his explanation of how he wrote Fahrenheit 451 in nine days in a clip titled (oddly enough) FAHRENHEIT 451.

The Bradbury site also includes a wonderful obit for Marguerite Susan McClure (Maggie) Bradbury, who died in 2003.

May 17, 2007

RIP Terry Ryan, the author/daughter of the Prizewinner of Defiance, Ohio.

Filed under: writers — Tags: , — Towse @ 11:10 pm

Author Terry Ryan, 61, dies in S.F. home

I’ve been sorting through boxes of books lately. Came across Terry’s book just a couple days back. I hadn’t realized she was ailing.

Survived by her nine siblings and Pat Holt, her partner of almost a quarter-century. Pat and Terry were married on Valentine’s Day weekend, 2004. The state nullified that marriage.

That wrong can never be righted now. Here’s to the day things change for those who carry on the good fight.

And here’s to Terry, may she be remembered fondly.

May 2, 2007

Bob Pastorio: Restaurateur, raconteur, friend

Filed under: writers — Tags: — Towse @ 2:22 am

A couple weeks back, Carol linked to a profile written by Charles Culbertson, a friend of Bob’s.

I just got around to reading it. Culbertson really caught Bob’s essence. Very nice.

January 23, 2007

RIP Barbara Seranella (1956-2007)

Filed under: writers — Tags: , — Towse @ 6:04 pm

Received a note from my SinCNorCal cohort with word that Barbara Seranella died Sunday while awaiting a liver transplant.

Sad news for those who’d known her.

More information at her site.

Life’s too short for some. This is, as one of her titles said, an unacceptable death.

Less than three weeks ago, I blogged that her New Year’s message showed such spirit.

We all had hoped …

January 19, 2007

RIP Robert Anton Wilson

Filed under: SFF,writers — Tags: — Towse @ 6:32 am

RIP Robert Anton Wilson

[via pnh at Making Light]

December 14, 2006

RIP Leslie Harpold

Filed under: writers — Tags: — Towse @ 2:59 am

I’ve been spinning through the Web, reading reminiscences of Leslie Harpold since I first found out a few hours ago through a post at SFist that she had died some time last week.

What can I say?

I hope Heaven is everything she’d imagined it could be.

She was a fine writer and, judging from the stories and posts from her many friends and acquaintances, someone I would’ve liked to have known.

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