Ellen Datlow (ellen-datlow) Thu 9 Jan 03 10:20
I do remember Schachtman's Jack. I went there a few weeks before it closed. Great store. Now an Anthropologie, I think. Other New Yorkers should mention their favorite nooks and crannies and their most missed same. I've asked my mother to correct anything I've gotten wrong but I guess she's too shy :-) I know she's out there though. My sister too...
Jack Womack (jack-womack) Thu 9 Jan 03 10:51
I think I can come up with a couple other things I miss until anyone else comes up with theirs. (And there's nothing wrong with any of yours as you remember them, far as I remember; the Elgin was just before my time, but Sutter's was still there in the first few months I was here. At the time its croissants were the best in town, but I have no idea if they would still be.) 1. The sign for the "Whirly Girl Revue" dating from the early 60s that was on Broadway just next to the Howard Johnson's that's getting ready to close (the one that entices customers with the mid-60s graphics and line suggesting that they "try a pitcher of daiquiris." 2. The old sign on the kosher winery on Rivington Street near Clinton, that proudly proclaimed its product was "the wine so thick you can cut it with a knife." 3. Checker cabs, of course.
It would have made more sense over tea (wren) Thu 9 Jan 03 14:36
Hi, y'all. I'll second you on checker cabs -- I remember fighting for the jumpseat with my siblings (there are three in my group, so with only two seats, it was always a struggle). Double-decker buses on the M1 route from Harlem down Fifth Avenue to the Village. The Alamo being mobile. I have fond memories of turning the cube, much to the amazement of tourists, and people who'd never seen it moving; but it's been secured for a couple of years now. The double-letter trains. The flickering artwork (there's a name for it, that I've spaced) in the Manhattan-bound tunnel of the D train between the DeKalb and Grand Street stops. (I'm a native, who commuted to high school and college, so a lot of my memories involve transit.)
It would have made more sense over tea (wren) Thu 9 Jan 03 14:45
By the way, it's Velma. (Too many email identities.)
Ellen Datlow (ellen-datlow) Thu 9 Jan 03 20:27
Hi Velma, What's the Alamo?
Jack Womack (jack-womack) Fri 10 Jan 03 06:10
Hi Velma, Isn't the Alamo that black cube sculpture in the middle of the square at Astor Place & Lafayette?
Ellen Datlow (ellen-datlow) Fri 10 Jan 03 07:52
Is that what it's called? I think it was called Imagine? It says that somewhere on it I think. I remember when it used to move. THat's where lots of kids used to skateboard--haven't seen if they do anymore. I miss the old, original Kiev restaurant. It's still there but "revived" with new owners and not the same atmosphere--although the potato pancakes, blintzes,perogi, and cold borscht are as good as ever. Also, I miss the 10th Russian Baths. Ladies day was always Wednesdays and I'd go every few months (and one winter every few weeks) with friends. But the last time I went we discovered to our horror that it had turned co-ed every day and we turned around and walked out. In the old days you could get fresh orange juice and vodka and a big steak to eat in between schvitzes (sp). Later it was health drinks --peeuuw! The sauna was always great. And you could get beaten with oakleaves by this big older Russian women. Ah joy.
Jack Womack (jack-womack) Fri 10 Jan 03 08:59
My older Russian mother-in-law once attempted to alleviate my cold symptoms by making me lie down and "cupping" my back, i.e. lighting those little pieces of cotton and then applying the little glass bowls over them until the suction made them stick to my skin. Afterward, I looked as if I'd been wrestling squid. Didn't help the cold either. Did anyone ever try to do that to you? Thank goodness she's never brought out the oakleaves. Was thinking also of places in NYC that basically disappeared without a trace, and no one noticed. Remember the old small grocery chain in midtown, Charles & Co.? And, the Brew Burger chain? Used to be plenty of both twenty years ago, then suddenly they were all gone. Though I think my favorite departed restaurant/coffee shop, at least for its name, was the old "Chew'N'Sip" on Fifth Avenue (cannot remember the exact cross street). Also, thought of one of my favorite non-tourist spots: the courtyard entrance to Chumley's, the old speakeasy in the Village.
SOMEbody noticed.... (tinymonster) Fri 10 Jan 03 09:30
The Brew Burger's gone? I remember eating there with my parents once as a kid, and my parents loving it. (I didn't, because I thought hamburgers were supposed to taste like McDonald's. Wish I could have gone a few years later.) My mom tried looking for it a couple of years ago on a return trip to NYC, but couldn't find it. Guess now I know why.
Ellen Datlow (ellen-datlow) Fri 10 Jan 03 09:41
Uh, yes I know all about cupping as my acupuncturist has done it several times over the years to help my lungs. And yes, it's always embarrassing to have large round red squid-like sucker marks on one's back. It might have helped me--who knows? It didn't hurt! Yes, I remember those two chains. I can't say I particularly miss the Charls's & CO. Overpriced. Brewburgers had decent burgers. Never heard of chew n sip... Think we should get back onto publishing a little?
Andrew Alden (alden) Fri 10 Jan 03 09:51
Not until I point out that Russian baths use birch withes rather than oak leaves.
Patrizia (fritz) Fri 10 Jan 03 10:44
(I'm here & reading with interest too!)
Ellen Datlow (ellen-datlow) Fri 10 Jan 03 11:09
Andrew, perhaps in Russia that's so but in the Russian Sauna on 10th street in NYC uses Oak--I would swear to it.
Jack Womack (jack-womack) Fri 10 Jan 03 14:07
Publishing, well, we've covered all the basics. What would you like to see more of in fiction (and not just in the fiction you'd publish yourself)? And, what do you think there's already been too much of (i.e. minimalism, stories going constantly off onto tangents, footnotes)?
Ellen Datlow (ellen-datlow) Fri 10 Jan 03 14:49
I have to say that I think now is a very exciting time in the genre short story. As I believe I mentioned (if not here then elsewhere) there were more short horror stories published in 2002 than in the previous 2 years together. Of course, many were unimaginative, poorly written retreads but it's the ones that were _good_ that are important. I've been very happy overall at the submissions I receive for SCIFI.COM. I thank Rob Killheffer and the late Jenna Felice for Century Magazine, which spawned a whole new generation of 'zines from Lady Churchill's Rosebud Wristlet to the newest ones: Turbocharged Fortune Cookie, Electric Velocipede, Is that a Cat, Full-Unit Hookup, and The Journal of Pulse-Pounding Narratives. On the whole though, what I see from newer writers is not enough _story_--some good set-ups, well-done characterizations but the fictions (I hesitate to call them stories) don't _go_ anywhere. I'd like to see more care taken to telling a story.
Martha Soukup (soukup) Fri 10 Jan 03 16:44
(You have to thank Meg Hamel for publishing Century, as well as the fine editors.)
Ellen Datlow (ellen-datlow) Fri 10 Jan 03 19:28
You're right Martha. Meg put up a lot of the money. I'm still hoping it'll come back--I know Rob has the material.
Martha Soukup (soukup) Fri 10 Jan 03 20:28
I know people sent him the material!
BERT BROWN writes... (tnf) Sat 11 Jan 03 16:36
This is from Bert Brown: Hello Ellen and Jack. I'm a huge fan of the short story. Of any category, but particularly of the fantastic story, for its delightful derangements. Ellen, seem to be saying earlier that a writer must, in some sense, earn a collection. My feeling is the mags are fleeting and unless we provide a place to gather those stories, much of value is lost, perhaps forever. Jack Dann has a new collection, gathering twenty or so of his stories, but this is a man whose career goes back 30 years. Most of his work is near impossible to retrieve. I agree that there is a great excess of work available at any given time, and the internet provides a tool to retrieve those older works. But we don't stop publishing new stories because there are enough out there already, nor do writers derive feduciary benefit from antiquary transactions. The idea that only a segment of a writer's work is worthy of being collected alarms me. Much can be learned from work which fails at some fundamental level. The ongoing Sturgeon short fiction project is an excellent example. Some of the stories reprinted there are poor, but in them we see a young writer at work, we see his development, we can feel the growth of ambition, the refinement of technique, the assurance of mastery. Priceless. Did we really have to wait until he was long dead? My question here is: what do you believe is the primary function of the short story collection, and do you think it should be a reward for a body of work rather than a commercial proposition which provides a medium for rescuing a writer's oeuvre from oblivion as well as a source of income for writers who would prefer to write short stories, if only the money were better? You also mention Story. Are you talking thud and blunder? Because I happen to think the allied fantastic short form is written so well now, it will be difficult to exceed its excellence. Very good stories, most with lots of Story. Raymond Carver doesn't publish in Asimov's or F&SF. But your com- ments seem to suggest you think they lack an essential ingredient. I hope this is not some reference to the sophistication of the stories. I happen to think literacy is one of our greatest gifts to ourselves, but it is a devia- tion from, and not, the norm. We live in a world of people who *can* read, who could understand every word of, say, Moby Dick, or could manage to look up unfamiliar words in a dictionary, but who choose not to. Not illiterates, but alliterates. Frankly, they don't need to read. (Insert litany of modern distractions here.) I think it is perfectly reasonable for writers to write for an audience which has mostly outgrown thud and blunder -- but not com- pletely. There's still Garcia y Robertson, Allen Steele, Mike Resnick and probably most of Analog, though I don't read it so I can't say. And that's okay. It's a huge field, with plenty of room for thud and blunder. Well, a little room. I guess my question is: what do you think fantasy/sci-fi ought to have or do, specifically, which you percieve it currently does not do? Finally, is your ideal world full of intractable geniuses who write brilliant stories which are a little tough in the delivery, or is it populated by writers whose work is strong, not great, but who are more amenable to the hand of an editor and a calendar. (No, I do not consider myself a genius.) My question here, I suppose, is meant to obliquely address the issue of art versus commerce. Is filling the slots on a schedule with reliably familiar techniques and tropes *preferable* (they aren't mutually exclusive) to publishing work which really matters and which is maybe a little more chal- lenging, though it arrives unreliably? Are you the Harlequin or the Tick- tockman? Bert Brown
Ellen Datlow (ellen-datlow) Sat 11 Jan 03 17:28
Hi Bert, Magazines are indeed fleeting and a collection of a writer's work is crucial to the continued existence of his/her oeuvre. You say that you think it's valuable to have _all_ of an authors' work collected in one place. I think there are many early works by authors that are terrible and should not be kept in print for posterity and I know that many writers agree about their own early work. When I say there are too many collections being published I mean horror collections--because I read for YBFH I read dozens of horror collections published by the small press. And only a handful of those collections show consistently good work. Why on earth would a reader want to read terrible stories? As a reader I don't. If I read enough mediocre stories in an author's collection why would I want to continue reading them? Why would anyone buy them? Publishing is not a vanity operation (unless of course you're publishing for yourself). It's to reach an audience. If you put out your early poorly written work that's not going to attract readers. Jack Dann has had at least one, possibly two collections published before this most recent one. Sturgeon's short fiction has been collected over the years many times. I don't think every writer should have a collection out reprinting everything they've ever written. There are only a few such series that I can think of: Philip K. Dick, Sturgeon, and there was a series of collections of Robert Silverberg. Most short story writers are not as prolific as those three were/are. You seem to be talking about an academic project. Most readers don't want to read the awful stories of their heroes. I'd personally would rather read the best of someone's output than read everything they've written since they were ten year's old. I don't think you're familiar with my editing for the past twenty years or you'd know that when I talk about _story_ I don't mean blood & thunder. But I do prefer plot to meandering fiction with no point. You're forgetting that as a reader you only read what editors have bought. (unless you're an editor, which you might be, of course). As I believe I've already said I very much like the stories _I_ publish or I wouldn't be publishing them. But I get a few hundred submissions per month. Very few of those stories get bought and published by me.
Ellen Datlow (ellen-datlow) Sat 11 Jan 03 17:31
Bert, I think I've already answered the rest of your post in earlier posts so if you haven't read the entire interview from the beginning you might consider going back and looking at it. Post #2, 5, 7 and others discuss issues you've brought up.
BERT BROWN writes.... (tnf) Sat 11 Jan 03 18:28
This is from Bert Brown: I've read quite a bit of the work you've edited. JOMNI, Event Horizon and scifi.com, the Year's Bests, the Fairy Tale anthologies and others. JI respect your work in the field. JIt is inarguable that your editing has been one of the primary influences on fantasy/sci-fi in the last couple of decades. JYour earlier posts here are what incited my questions. JSorry. I'm also a big fan of Jack Womack's work and hope he isn't going to bash my head in with a pipe. Bert Brown
Martha Soukup (soukup) Sat 11 Jan 03 19:33
Even though it would be an honor?
Ellen Datlow (ellen-datlow) Sat 11 Jan 03 20:48
To bash his head in with a pipe Martha? :-) Bert, just kidding. I didn't mean to be so hard on you but since you _are_ aware of what I've been publishing over the years I think you can understand why I would take your questions personally...or were you just being rhetorical? Let's start again. Knowing my work as you do, you also know that I'm not interested in blood & thunder types of stories and have rarely published them. I love working with and encouraging writers--that's the best part of being an editor so yes, I'd love to receive brilliant stories that need work whose authors are not intractable geniuses so that I can teach them how to make their work better(eg. Gibson's "Johnny Mnemonic") and I also love to receive strong stories by writers whose work is excellent but not necessarily genre-shaking. I think the field needs both. Does that come closer to answering your question?
Martha Soukup (soukup) Sat 11 Jan 03 22:06
Just saying that if you're gonna get your head bashed, it might as well be Jack Womack who does it.
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