inkwell.vue.170 : Ellen Datlow, editor, Sci Fiction
permalink #51 of 126: 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...
  
inkwell.vue.170 : Ellen Datlow, editor, Sci Fiction
permalink #52 of 126: 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.
  
inkwell.vue.170 : Ellen Datlow, editor, Sci Fiction
permalink #53 of 126: 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.)
  
inkwell.vue.170 : Ellen Datlow, editor, Sci Fiction
permalink #54 of 126: 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.)
  
inkwell.vue.170 : Ellen Datlow, editor, Sci Fiction
permalink #55 of 126: Ellen Datlow (ellen-datlow) Thu 9 Jan 03 20:27
    
Hi Velma,
What's the Alamo?
  
inkwell.vue.170 : Ellen Datlow, editor, Sci Fiction
permalink #56 of 126: 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?
  
inkwell.vue.170 : Ellen Datlow, editor, Sci Fiction
permalink #57 of 126: 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. 
  
inkwell.vue.170 : Ellen Datlow, editor, Sci Fiction
permalink #58 of 126: 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. 
  
inkwell.vue.170 : Ellen Datlow, editor, Sci Fiction
permalink #59 of 126: 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.
  
inkwell.vue.170 : Ellen Datlow, editor, Sci Fiction
permalink #60 of 126: 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?
  
inkwell.vue.170 : Ellen Datlow, editor, Sci Fiction
permalink #61 of 126: Andrew Alden (alden) Fri 10 Jan 03 09:51
    
Not until I point out that Russian baths use birch withes rather than oak
leaves.
  
inkwell.vue.170 : Ellen Datlow, editor, Sci Fiction
permalink #62 of 126: Patrizia (fritz) Fri 10 Jan 03 10:44
    
(I'm here & reading with interest too!)
  
inkwell.vue.170 : Ellen Datlow, editor, Sci Fiction
permalink #63 of 126: 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.
  
inkwell.vue.170 : Ellen Datlow, editor, Sci Fiction
permalink #64 of 126: 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)? 
  
inkwell.vue.170 : Ellen Datlow, editor, Sci Fiction
permalink #65 of 126: 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. 
  
inkwell.vue.170 : Ellen Datlow, editor, Sci Fiction
permalink #66 of 126: Martha Soukup (soukup) Fri 10 Jan 03 16:44
    
(You have to thank Meg Hamel for publishing Century, as well as the fine
editors.)
  
inkwell.vue.170 : Ellen Datlow, editor, Sci Fiction
permalink #67 of 126: 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.
  
inkwell.vue.170 : Ellen Datlow, editor, Sci Fiction
permalink #68 of 126: Martha Soukup (soukup) Fri 10 Jan 03 20:28
    
I know people sent him the material!
  
inkwell.vue.170 : Ellen Datlow, editor, Sci Fiction
permalink #69 of 126: 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
  
inkwell.vue.170 : Ellen Datlow, editor, Sci Fiction
permalink #70 of 126: 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.
  
inkwell.vue.170 : Ellen Datlow, editor, Sci Fiction
permalink #71 of 126: 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.
  
inkwell.vue.170 : Ellen Datlow, editor, Sci Fiction
permalink #72 of 126: 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
  
inkwell.vue.170 : Ellen Datlow, editor, Sci Fiction
permalink #73 of 126: Martha Soukup (soukup) Sat 11 Jan 03 19:33
    
Even though it would be an honor?
  
inkwell.vue.170 : Ellen Datlow, editor, Sci Fiction
permalink #74 of 126: 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? 
  
inkwell.vue.170 : Ellen Datlow, editor, Sci Fiction
permalink #75 of 126: 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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