BILL CRIDER'S POP CULTURE MAGAZINE
Yish. Some people's idea of fun (glad I'm not the only needle-averse commenter)...wv: lymbeat...the music they listen to in the haploid lab...
I got to know Jerry Sohl a little bit in the early 90s. What a nice guy. I recently read Costigan's Needle for the tenth time in my life. It was one of the first pbs I ever bought. Still holds up pretty well. He was another one Damon Knight tore apart at every opportunity. I remember Wilson Tucker mentioning that he saw tears in Jerry's eyes when they both worked together back in the Fifties. The Knight review Jerry had just read was particularly savage. Jerry had a very successful career as a TV scripter as well as a novelist. Of course Knight was even more severe on Richard Matheson. I never thought much of Knight as either writer or critic. He wrote a few good stories but man I just couldn't abide the way he tore into Van Vogt, for just one example. Do you remember that, Bill? I mean VV had his flaws but who has some of his books in print today? It's VV, not Knight. And I'd' say Matheson has done pretty well too come to think of it.
I still have my copy of Knight's book with those essays in which he ripped a lot of people. I liked some of his stories a lot (still do), but I didn't always agree with his criticisms. He was a man of strong opinions.
Knight's still at least as in print as van Vogt...though Matheson is doing better than either commercially. I think it helps, not the whole reason, but helps, that Matheson is still alive (how many Shell Scott books are in print, and how many non-McGee JDMs?). OK, I guess I will have to post the essentially positive review of Matheson Knight gave...and while sorry that Jerry Sohl took Knight's criticism so hard, unless he lied the criticisms don't seem unjust. Knight extravagantly praised Heinlein (not always justly), William Campbell Gault's sports fiction (justly), Fritz Leiber and any number of others...as Bill notes, a man of strong opinions. And when he wrote short sf and fantasy at his best, there was no one consistently better at it (even though Knight didn't learn to write a good novel till the end of his life, another factor in why he isn't more thoroughly in print than he is)(his nonfiction is most of what's in print...we haven't had anyone better in writing instruction.)And it wasn't so much that van Vogt didn't have his flaws, it was that nearly everyone was insisting that he didn't when Knight took on his work.A prickly personality, famously, but not someone who didn't do vastly more good than harm, where he did harm at all.
And...he was smart enough to marry Kate Wilhelm, who seemed like a wonderful person when I finally met her some years ago. Her books and stories aren't bad, either.
Love this cover, too! I have all of Damon Knight's ORBIT anthologies. He knew talent when he saw it.
To say the least, in everything you said about Wilhelm. I helped (as much as I could) with a very trivial matter for Wilhelm and Knight, not long before his death, and they were very gracious.George--he did seem to tire a bit of the ORBIT series by the end, but as a whole, impressive. WORLDS BEYOND also impressive (haven't read his IF issues yet), and I like his reprint anthologies as well.
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