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Flurb #5

The fifth issue of my webzine Flurb goes online today.

Once again, FLURB squeezes the rubber chicken of SF to produce the golden egg of ART!

This issue features a Beat SF story of mine in the form of letters from William Burroughs in Tangiers, excerpts of John Shirley’s lost cyberpunk novel Black Glass, Terry Bisson’s hilarious anti-mundane story “Captain Ordinary,” a Lovecraftian novella by Lavie Tidhar, a mystic travel guide to Upstate New York by Thom Metzger, and amazing pieces by new SF writers Alex Hardison, Brendan Byrne, and Nathaniel Hellerstein.

If you have comments on the issue, please add them to this post. Pleasant comments are especially appreciated, as we do this for no money and only in hopes of making the world a more interesting place, groping for beauty in the dark.

PS, First day out (March 31, 2008) we got boinged and io9ed, with 3,000 visitors.

I added one last tale, a short ghost story by Richard Kadrey, on April 1.

65 Responses to “Flurb #5”

  1. Les Says:

    John Shirely: ‘Not too much of a stretch: he’d always had “pretty boy” features, slender, almost fawnlike; not a “tranny” face but it could have been the gender-bending visage of a rock star from the last century.’

    Well, thank god she doesn’t look ugly, like, you know, me. With my “tranny” face.

    I guess I should be more prepared to see slurs in your zine and toughen up to seeing my identity tossed around like a piece of garbage, but, you know, it’s a lot to toughen up to.

  2. Rudy Says:

    Les, maybe you’re being oversensitive. I just followed the link under your name to your cool music site, and see your face there, a very sweet and attractive face. I’m sorry John hurt your feelings; I think he was just trying to create a vivid mental image based on distinctions that one learns to make from walking the streets of a multi-whatever cyperpunk paradise like our dear Bay Area.

    I have to ask if you think my “Tangiers Routines” is funny or not?

  3. Steve H Says:

    I just sat down and read the whole thing . . . now I gotta think about it for a while. You nailed Burroughs’ tone pretty well. He was a great man but I wouldn’t have let him shoot a bottle off my head.
    I think you’re right about Hardison: postcyberpunk! And Hellerstein makes a good point about the Singularity, namely that humans would eventually win any physical conflict, Terminators or not.
    Les, if your identity is so fragile that a mere mention of gender-bending in a short story makes you feel like garbage, you should try to work out your problems in a way that doesn’t involve flaming the author. Transexuals DO exist and are occasionally compared to other humans. As you say, toughen up.
    Rudy, definitely an excellent flurb this time. Nice collection of ideas.

  4. John Shirley Says:

    LES

    I used to live with a transsexual; she was my girlfriend. I’m not likely to be prejudiced.

    This is a novel, and the novel has narrative points of view; each point of view has a voice. The observation about a tranny fits with the character’s point of view. He also casually has people murdered. Does that mean the author has people murdered?

    But if you look at the passage again, objectively, I think you’ll see that while he may be using the phrase lightly, it’s a stretch to find it insulting anyway.

    Transsexuals typically do show some of their previous gender in their faces; very few are perfectly “pass-able”. (The term, which I’ve heard many transgender people use, always confuses me. They don’t mean passable in the usual sense, they mean ‘can pass for a woman’. Maybe it’s spelled passible?)
    But so what? Many born-female women look vaguely male. Who cares? If a person is attractive they’re attractive.

    Finally, Tranny is a street expression and despite the fact that transgender people go from female to male it’s usually applied to former males who’ve become female, or are in the process of shifting to female, or more female.

    So if you’re the female-to-male transgender person, taking offense at the *term*, I can only say that you will have to consult with the vast numbers of people who routinely use the term. It probably isn’t used much by the transgender community itself–but here it represents a character’s point of view, and it’s what he would think.

  5. Futurepunk Says:

    Being an addict of all things cyberpunk, I happily dove straight into Shirley’s samples expecting… well, expecting A LOT I suppose. But I’m not sure about what I ended up with.

    There were bits and pieces that I thought were really working well. The idolization of the VR esape from street reality, hewn in ecstasy and adrenaline perfection. The volatile, jerry-rigged nature of Rooftown. Rent-a-wives. Spot on there, spot on.

    But then, other parts ended up seeming, how should I say, genre-autistic. A little too caught up in itself, that is. As though they’d been entered in a frantic revision more for the sake of affect than true to the overall world-building. The chapter titles, Spanx’s manic self-narrating, and the opaque slang (not that it was hard to decipher, rather that it seemed to be needlessly covering the persona of the dialogue with another layer of street-level grit.)

    Overall, I felt it had the sense of something desperate to convince itself and the reader it was cyberpunk, rather than say, the delicate flippancy of Gibson’s earlier work. Not that all things cyberpunk must, inevitably, be traced back to Neuromancer (or even Burning Chrome.)

    For whatever reason, it seemed to be like that teenager, trying to establish an identity and laying on the mascara a little too thick to pass off as self-styled rather than clumsy and adolescent.

    Affect is the word that keeps coming back to me. It reads of a cyberpunk affect but I only feel you gouging at the heart of the genre when Danny’s in orbit. That is, looking back over the text, when the narrative pacing seems at its slowest. Perhaps the story is scrambling a bit too quickly for its own footing to take hold?

    Regardless, it’s nice to see someone else who hasn’t forgotten the genre that made me fall in love with science fiction all over again.

  6. John Shirley Says:

    Futurepunk

    You are aware that what you have here in Flurb from me are just bits of a novel, aren’t you?

    PS Shirley was before Gibson.

    [I don’t know why I’m replying, typically people comment and then never check the reply to the comment.]

  7. John Shirley Says:

    PPS to Futurepunk in the unlikely event he comes back here–

    Rudy Rucker was before Gibson too and before ME – he wrote cyberpunk first. WHITE LIGHT I think was before me. I assume it was before City Come A Walkin.

  8. Futurepunk Says:

    Yes, I was aware. I hope my comments didn’t offend you too deeply. I figured since the novel was still under construction (potentially?) you’d appreciate honest feedback. No harm nor disrespect intended.

    I also don’t really care much for who’s first as much as who is neato, although it’s interesting you and Rucker both pre-date him. Doesn’t Bester lick you both in the “I was doing this while you were in diapers” category?

    As for me, hell, I was busy being born while Gibson was writing Neuromancer so I guess I really WAS in diapers! Okay I’ll get off your collective lawns now.

    PS: The internet ate my comment on your letters series Rudy but I thought they were brilliant. I fell into them completely.

  9. MarcL Says:

    We can debate or debase this from now till Pluterday, but Fritz Leiber’s “Coming Attraction” (1950) is for me the Golden Age story that seems to prefigure much of what ended up being called cyberpunk. Bester was the pyrotechnic wizard though. It’s all good.

  10. Steve H Says:

    We’re drifting into ‘intention’ territory. Did Mary Shelley write the first science fiction story? OR was it HG Wells? FRANKENSTEIN is pretty obviously sf when you look back, but she didn’t set out to write ‘science fiction’ the way Wells did. Not surprising those shards of black glass didn’t show many of the characteristic cyberpunk genetic markers.

    The Kadrey story is pretty cool. How thoroughly departmental . . .

    Leiber’s “Coming Attraction” as early cyberpunk? I’d vote for that. It definitely seems to prefigure the ‘New Wave’ of the Sixties. How about his story “Black Glass” from ’78 (catchy title, eh?)?

    JS, CITY predates Rudy’s WHITE LIGHT by four years at least. Bester licking you both is an image that must be deleted from our collective brains, though. I’m poking myself in the third eye between keystrokes.

  11. Gamma Says:

    as yu maybe aware thats good – me it dont paramatta like in OZ – yu know OZ like on the bitch a shute nevilled like the Town called Alice – i expect Dobbs soon so witch way will the pipe point – lets spin it off the thread.

    p’rapz

    yur in all mentalocity

    G

  12. Rudy Says:

    Re. goldie oldie SF that prefigured 21st C SF, for me it was Pohl and Kornbluth’s, The Space Merchants, about an ad-man (as cool as a programmer, in the mid-1950s). A world covered with ads…

    But, yes, Gamma, let’s spin it off the thread.

    So … let’s hear it for our FLURB first-timers, Hardison, Byrne, and Hellerstein, with “Cathedral,” “Donald Asshole and Los Elementos de Rock,” and “We’re awake, let’s talk”!

  13. Gamma Says:

    i thought kindly of yu the other day – maybe i am a recepticle fer turning stuff about it wont be long – and the only memory i have of you is in the Bar at the Worldcon i ferget when it was but my eldest son Leon D’weezil Gamble was born in 77 – now i gnosis this n that but like a gentle breeze in the trees there is no sound – may i recomend a type-czecher in it

    must go waiting for more SLACK

  14. linus r. Says:

    I really sympathize with anyone in sci-fi that writes and publishes…. because it’s always possible to write something that’s subject to misinterpretation that can not be revoked…. (a good example in punk is the song “NewYork” by the Sex Pistols: gays, drag queens and transvestites are synonymous with the Pistols and punk rock, t.v.’s both venerated and an absolute exemplar, yet the song NewYork is REALLY “tough” and can sound inconsiderate.) I advance a solution to this problem that is essentially an ideal that may or may not be realistc: stick to pure sci-fi that is categorically “safe” and “uncorrupt” i.e., that can not be misinterpreted: let SF reside in a world that is free from the invasive problems of human existence (e.g. bible conservatism) or “in the world but not of it” ….so grounded in an extraordinary ideal that misinterpretation is impossible. In the words of Eric Burden: “I’m just a guy whose intentions are good, oh lord don’t let me be misunderstood.” http://whatis.techtarget.com/wsearchResultsB/1,296962,sid9,00.html?query=cyberpunk

  15. glenn branca Says:

    So far I’ve only read Rudy’s story but just had to comment. Amazing!! You know I think there’s really more Rucker there than Burroughs even…..what I’m trying to say is…….won’t Tor let you write something like that?? I would love to see more more more.
    On the other thread: Didn’t Transmaniacon come before “City…”? I always felt that it was even more proto-cyberpunk although it would have been seen as post-new wave at the time. And that name is certainly about as cp as it gets.

  16. John Shirley Says:

    Yeah Transmaniacon and City came early…now that I think about it…

    Did Leiber write a story called Black Glass? What was it about?

    Yeah funnily enough I was thinking of Pohl/Kornbluth too while reading this Flurb!

    They were among the predecessors to, well, satirical sf, but also some cyberpunk, at least mine…

  17. glenn branca Says:

    Wow…..Black Glass…….I can’t believe it……I’m thrilled. Can I get an advance copy? I just can’t wait…….is it really finished?
    This is a true gift. I never expected yet one more Real Cyberpunk novel.
    What’s so interesting here is that you’re doing it from the perspective of the present in the context of the past future……you know? Yes of course you do.
    Full circle.
    You ARE the man. You always were. I’ve never forgotten your dedication to your family in Eclipse “….in the hope that I’m wrong about the world that they will grow up in”. I truly wish that you had been wrong.

  18. Rudy Says:

    Linus, I prefer for SF to be engaged with contemporary life and all its problems. Not to the point of being like a Week In Review section, but to the point of being satirical and relevant.

    But this is somewhat irrelevant to the “Comments on FLURB #5” that I was hoping to elicit here. I’d really prefer if you read the stories and comment on THEM! The art speaks for itself, and never mind any “what is the ‘c’ word?” thread.

  19. Kelly Says:

    Hi,

    Wow! Thanks so much for Flurb. This is a great find and the link will be passed on to many friends. *I’ll comment on the material therein soon.* I got distracted by the link to listen to you reading from Postsingular as I’ve never heard your voice before.

  20. John Shirley Says:

    Glenn –

    Yes Black Glass is done and will be published in August by Elder Signs Press, in its first edition.

    We plan to have a mass market edition, of course but we haven’t yet tried to get a publisher for that. Maybe I’ll submit it to the publisher for my novel Bleak History. If we get good reviews from the first edition, that will help. My novel Demons made the jump from small/medium press to major presses that way…

    I do appreciate your enthusiasm.

  21. Steve H Says:

    JS, I actually hunted through my shelves for that Leiber story, which I think I have in a collection called GHOST LIGHT, but didn’t find it. As I recall, it was kinda transreal; Leiber himself, aged and widowed, begins to see an alternate city of black glass and metal superimposed over San Francisco as he strolls; following a mystery woman, he finds himself in her future world.
    “We’re Awake, Let’s Talk” would be a great title for a collection of shorts about the Singularity. “Tangiers Routines” is cool but I agree with Glenn that it contains more Rucker than Burroughs, even though you have his tone of voice almost perfectly (like Turing, you assimilated him for your own purposes; I doubt he’d mind). Nice take on the Turing Effect, too. I liked the Bisson piece as well; my plan is the same as Captain Ordinary’s: eat out, watch tv and read until the mundanity goes away. Tidhar’s story reminded me more of Poe than Lovecraft; Metzger’s was beautifully written and strange. Hardison made me think of Tad Williams’ cyberstuff, especially the ‘code monkey’ kids and the hidden intelligence. Byrne’s story would fit perfectly into POSTSINGULAR’s world, cartoons and all.
    That’s life; grope for beauty in the dark and get a rubber chicken instead!

  22. Kelly Says:

    Nate: Very humorous indeed. And really quite endearing of our symbiote. The bit about the Diva-Scan is now my tagline at a local board.

    Rudy: I really dug the Burroughs bit. However, man, you ARE you. I loved the commingling of styles there. They mesh quite well and that ending is pure and perfect. Such an upright young man was that Burroughs.

    More to read.

  23. Gamma Says:

    Bob Dobbs arrived here safely and is the no arms safeness of the Martian Walls – i insisted that Gibson was a Canadian but he corrected me maybe sometime in this afternoon in KT – he doesn’t have a pipe but when i spun the sturgeonocycle we soon forgot about whatever it was before that –

    LOVE

  24. nick Says:

    Uncannily accurate Burroughs routine, Rudy. I felt dirty afterwards.
    Truly you be channelin’ de Master, sonnyboy.

  25. glenn branca Says:

    I see that you are removing some of the old posts. I’m sorry if I was breaking some rule. By the way I had nothing to do with that highly informed musicologist’s gushing in many posts about my music. [Link added by Rudy.] It was embarrassing.

    I think Flurb’s great. I just wish it was a mag. I hate reading fiction on my screen.

  26. Ross Says:

    “Tangiers Routines” is absolutely classic stuff, Rudy. I’m a huge Burroughs fan and a huge Rucker fan, and you accomplished a perfect melding of Burroughs and Rucker in this story. I look forward to the sequel(s).

  27. Gamma Says:

    Dobbs dont use anything other than his senses today is the annual rememberance of the poet of Howl – i wish them all well & less or more usy of symbolzzzz”’The Zen Gun

    yrzz

    g

  28. Aaron Goldberg Says:

    Top stuff John and Rudy (apologies to the other dudes, I will read their stories)

    I guess the spirit of Burroughs burrows on, though when will K.W Jeter write another original sci-fi novel? He understands the whole sex-tech-power trip real well.

    I’ve actually started to like Gibson in my older years, even though I wrote him off as a pretentious dull hack after I discovered you guys through that ‘mirrorshades’ book..I guess I had a similar attitude to Antonioni movies.

    I related these opinions to not getting regular meaningful sex and listening to too many Big Black records. Amazing how age sharpens the intellect at times!

  29. Gary Says:

    BEAT SF would be a very welcome sub-genre.

    So what’s next: The CIA is after the 120 year old Dr Benway as he knows the secret power source of the Nova Mob that created the Cities of the Red Night?

  30. Gary Says:

    Hey Doc, sorry if I come off as a bit of a dick. It’s a bipolar thing. I went all Tom Clancy in the last post, as WSB used to used ti “cut-up” parts from old sf pulp books (wasn’t Henry Kuttner one of those authors?).

    But I am quite serious about BEAT SF ( or whatever name it gets ) as a sub-genre. And with your routines; you are, like. the main cat. You dig? 🙂

  31. Ross Says:

    Yeah, Gary, Henry Kuttner was one of the SF authors that Burroughs used in his cut-ups. Burroughs dug Kuttner’s novel FURY, and he used material from it in his classic THE TICKET THAT EXPLODED—specifically, the concept of the “Happy Cloak.” He also used material from Barrington Bayley’s STAR VIRUS (in THE TICKET THAT EXPLODED) and Poul Anderson’s THE TWILIGHT WORLD (in THE WILD BOYS: A BOOK OF THE DEAD).

  32. Ross Says:

    John Shirley’s BLACK GLASS definitely reads like vintage 80s-style cyberpunk. A bit “retro,” therefore, but way cool. I’ll be interested in reading the complete novel.

    Richard Kadrey’s DMV is slight but effective, packing a nice punch.

  33. Joathan Trainham Says:

    Hey Rudy sorry! I wasn’t aware of the rules. Anyway about the Flurb Zine is there like anyway you can turn it into a zine. Maybe you can do that with your old books that are out of print. There’s this really great book I heard about but haven’t read that was published by Microcosm Publishing called Stolen Sharpie Revolution; can be purchased at Interpunk for $4 sorry for any trouble.
    TAKE CARE RUDY

    PS: Hey Rudy your books are hard to find in my area and I don’t own a computer but I’m hoping to hit ebay soon to get all your old books, sorry dude. Oh Glen sorry to embarass you but is there any other way we cant alk if you like I think your a genius along with Rudy and would love to start some communication. Sorry everyone, I’m a nube.

    JON

  34. Melissa Says:

    Haven’t read all the stories yet, but Metzger’s was wonderful in every sense of the word.

  35. Jonathan Trainham Says:

    Hey Rudy how does one submit a story to FLURB, is there a submission process or what I’m very curious because I have a couple stories that would fit with the FLURB material??? THANKS

    JON

  36. John Shirley Says:

    Yeah Ross I did in fact decide to just write the book in the style that the original core material was written in and in the manner of my old cyberpunk stories. I realize they seem a bit retro but, you know, James M Cain doesn’t read like a modern detective writer but you wouldn’t want him to not sound like james M Cain.

    Also that book existed in outline and in my mind since, well, a long damn time. So I vitalized the book that existed.

    I’m 55 and inevitably a bit retro.

    I don’t expect to write any more cyberpunk.

  37. Ross Says:

    Hey, John. When I described the BLACK GLASS material as “retro,” I didn’t mean that at all negatively. I love 80s-style cyberpunk, and I gathered that you were aiming for that. I wasn’t trying to imply that you’re a living fossil as a writer (you’re clearly not). And keep on writing cyberpunk forever as long as you’re producing material of this quality. I’m still running scenes and images from it in my head (man, I love the “scorpion”) and getting off on them.

  38. Ross Says:

    Gary, if you like idea of BEAT SF, then check out William S. Burroughs; much of his work is clearly SF (e. g., THE TICKET THAT EXPLODED, NOVA EXPRESS, THE WILD BOYS).

  39. e9amaus Says:

    Two of the entries down.. I plan on reading the rest shortly but wanted to get this out…

    The Nathaniel Hellerstein story was really nice. “Our illusion of free will is fully functional, as is yours.” made me cackle with delight. If only I can work that into a conversation sometime before I die.

    The Shirley excerpts were great to read. Almost nostalgic. I’m looking forward to the book this fall. The v-rat scene was almost too close to home for me (my issue) in that a newly found interest in cybering has opened my mind, I’d hate to end up on the silken hammock like those two.

    My fanboyism will emerge (if it hasn’t already) if I linger, so.. off I go!

  40. e9amaus Says:

    [possible spoiler warning for Black Glass excerpts]

    re: nostalgic

    Just re-read a few of the lines from the v-rat scene.. at the risk of overdoing it I wanted to clarify, as my description of ‘nostalgic’ is really from my perspective of course.. maybe it’s the prose, the style of Shirley’s writing that brings me back or makes me want to go back.. the time of my life when I discovered the whole “genre”, as it were, was in my late teens iirc, so I guess it makes sense to want to return to that… not that this piece reminds me specifically of anything I’ve read, just the universe it’s in, the way the tech is just melted into the world. They can do anything with their bodies, look anyway anyhow, but they’re still trapped with the thoughts inside their minds.

    I just felt I didn’t to justice to the addiction (laying landmines for myself here) displayed in the excerpt.. sure there’s a lot of talk, ppl have opinions and what not but I can tell you as a married man, generally happy, when my cyberbuddy is not online, I’m a different person.. longing aching wanting them to login, dying, thoughts racing, are they bored, is it over, etc etc.. there’s a real grab there.. so, the idea of experiencing what these characters are experiencing is powerful to me.. the way the guy is somewhat aroused by the folds in the fabric separating the rooms, the imagery of that, the whole shebang.. loved it.

    Maybe Alt-F4 is the right next step, I’m going to hit ‘submit comment’ instead.

  41. Tom Says:

    I loved Richard Kadrey’s DMV. i don’t have the concentration for anything much over 1,000 words so i appreciated the succintness and the abrupt ending. made me feel a little sick as well.

    Beat SF is a great idea, i noticed that in issue 4 you decribed John Kessel’s Down Town as “something like On the Road compressed into a six-hundred-and-sixty-six word cyberpunk haiku.” we deffinately need more of this please

    and i agree with e9amaus about “Our illusion of free will is fully functional, as is yours.” being a great line

    Thank you for Flurb Mr Rucker

  42. e9amaus Says:

    yo. wanted to leave a minor apologetic note here.. imbibed a bit of sauce the other eve and let a bit too much leak for your interests, surely.. so! my bad!

    see: penitence

  43. Zenjew Says:

    Terry Bisson’s story made my day; can’t wait to get to the rest. I guess there’s more to Kentucky than bourbon (or perhaps it’s the bourbon that’s making Rucker and Bisson so funny and deep?).

    Yet again, a bullseye outing. Bravo.

    –Zenjew

  44. e9amaus Says:

    Alex Hardison — I WANT MORE!!!!

    Loved the “kids!”
    I think the terseness in describing the user interactions with his computer are just right. There are so many things..

    It’s full of win.

    Perhaps I can give more constructive praise at a later time..

  45. Rudy Says:

    FLURB Submission Guideline.

    Can people send unsolicited submissions to Flurb?

    Yes, but, as I don’t have much spare time to work on Flurb, I prefer only getting inquiries and submissions when I’m actively planning an new issue.

    The month of September, 2008, is when I’ll be thinking about the next issue, Flurb #6.

    If you want to send me a piece, send it as an RTF file attached to an email with FLURB SUBMISSION as email subject line, and send it in September, 2008. You can find my email address from the link on my blog page near the top right.

    I typically prefer short pieces (3,000 to 5,000) words, with an artistic, cutting-edge quality. Generally I’d rather not run poems or short-short flash fiction. I like it if there’s something unusual or non-standard or gnarly or transgressive about your piece. Once in a while I’ll publish essays or memoirs as well as stories, though these should be in some way SF related.

    FLURB does not pay contributors. You keep copyright, and FLURB leaves your story online indefinitely, unless you want it removed.

  46. Alex Hardison Says:

    e9amaus – thank you, that’s very kind. Everyone seems to latch onto the kids as their favourite part, which is great because that’s what I was happiest with as well. I guess that now I know where to focus my energies next time.

  47. M.A. Says:

    Ok, I just found this, and if I get canned for reading science fiction at work it’ll be ALL YOUR FAULT! The Burroughs letters are a delight, and truly weird. Will peruse further tomorrow…

  48. Paul Says:

    wonderfully dark! Captures the essence of out of control bureaucracy that is the real DMV. Very inventive!

    Paul Cole host of WRFR radio’s Beam Me Up broadcast / podcast

  49. gary Says:

    Thanks Ross. I had a manic idea of running a cut-up of Rudy’s Saucer Wisdom ( the broadcasting of ET ), and blending it in with Burroughs’ Nova Express.

    But really, Rudy’s book The Sex Sphere is passionately yearning for a cut-up/fold-in. But not infringing on copyright. 🙂

  50. victor Says:

    Yeah I like the Burroughs letters – but I get so tired of seeing people spell Tangier with an “s”. Tangier or Tanger. Any other well says the writer doesn’t really know much about the place at all.

  51. MarcL Says:

    It’s spelled every possible way in the story (Tangier Tangiers Tanger Tangers)…as if part of the point is that there are variants…not just the one Tangier but many Tangiers…many routines…

  52. Rudy Says:

    That’s right, Marc, I did in fact spell Tangier every possible way in the story. Burroughs himself did this in his letters, spelling it all those ways. I chose “Tangiers Routines” for the title because that seemed to look better than “Tangier Routines.”

  53. Wedcnogy Says:

    hi great site 10x

  54. shaun Says:

    Nathaniel – –
    I just read your story/email from “You Know Who” and absolutely loved it.
    Awesome work, and congratulations on having your first sci-fi story published
    by The Web. Happy little helpers to have.
    — shaun

  55. victor barker Says:

    I guess I’d better bow to Rudy’s better knowledge of what’s in Burroughs’ letters so sorry if I annoyed.
    I first went to Tangier in 1951 and have been back many many times, though never staying more than a few weeks at a time. Unfortunately I never met Burroughs there, though I did meet up with Paul Bowles. I loved the place back in the fifties and sixties. I was there a couple of years ago and though it has changed a lot in the European part of the city I still found the old town delightful. I usually stay around the Petit Socco and in the old Continental.
    But I have never seen or heard anyone there refer to the pace as Tangiers. I guess I’m just quirky about it. Some sense of “personal possession” of the place that an oldtimer like me can get!
    I do like your site though Rudy – best regards, Victor

  56. Rudy Says:

    Hey, Victor, thanks for the further info. By now, you’ve just about convinced me to change the title of the piece to “Tangier Routines”. I wish I could go there too some time.

  57. shaun Says:

    I’ve never been there but I imagine there are many Tangiers reflected off many different people’s eyes who have been there, and in that respect – (despite my laptop’s spell check siding clearly with Victor – it adamantly underscores ‘Tangiers’ in a firm line of red pixels) – Rudy’s pluralization works rather beautifully, suggesting to me shades of Calvino’s Invisible Cities.
    We are all explorers of cities that are constantly being lost to some while others are still to discover yet another aspect of their sprawl, for themselves. my 2c.

  58. m smith Says:

    re cathedrals I liked it so to offer a petty suggestion
    the “kids” should maybe catcall
    “meat-man meat-man shit-to-live-to-eat-man”
    or something such instead
    cause catcalls rhyme
    only to help ok bye

  59. mikey hunter Says:

    y’okay flurbists. …
    John Shirley, 1st time here but I got to say, after reading cyberpunk since “Mirrorshades” kindly passed to me whilst in-carcerated in juvenile Y.O.I., by a friend, back in 1990/91 in the U.K., I think all the comments given above real relevant, as are your replies-reply’s. The ‘ rent a wife – user programming ‘ description so relevant now/here and at your story’s future I was transfixed. I’ll read again and am looking towards Rudy’s Routines also as not read his yet. By the way, has anybody read 1956 novel by J. B. Priestley called Low Notes on a High Level ? about a character named Dobbs. …
    Truly Best Wishes All of You

  60. Joseph Silin Says:

    To Nate Hellerstein: We were lab partners in NN High School Chemistry class. Remember, “The Mole is Coming!!!” You were a generous friend, (i got to copy your lab reports) a big nerd with a pocket protector, who also carried a Texas Instruments pocket calculator strapped to your belt like a six-shooter. We shared many lunches in the cafeteria and I always enjoyed your sharp intellect. It was you who got me to go to the chess club which i enjoyed. I am glad to hear you are living life on the west coast.

  61. Aaron Johnson Says:

    I had Th Metzger as a teacher about eight years ago, and I read one of his books because he introduced himself as a writer who taught, rather than a teacher who wrote, and I found him convincing and decided to read his writing. I checked out a couple of his small-press books from the local library, and I found them incomprehensible. Anyway, I was having a conversation with some people the other night and Mr. Metzger came up. So I thought I’d look online and see if his writing had changed. I still find it insanely self indulgent and weird. It makes me feel glad that people like him don’t always succeed. Sometimes the people who fail are the ones that deserve to.

  62. Rudy Says:

    Aaron, Th Metzger has in fact had some good successes in his very diverse writing projects. So don’t be too fast to count him out.

    As for writers getting what they do or do not deserve—it’s all pretty much of a crap-shoot. I respect any writer who has the tenacity to develop and expand a style or range of styles.

    Obviously I myself enjoy Th Metzger’s pieces or I wouldn’t publish them.

  63. Aaron Johnson Says:

    You’re right. I’m a jerk. Sorry everybody.

  64. Jane, Computer Backpack Nut Says:

    That is hilarious. It took me a minute looking at that picture to figure out what that was!

  65. Dave Lee Says:

    Wonderful, I can hear WSB’s voice, with just that Rucker tweak! Thank you for this!


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