Linda Castellani (castle) Wed 4 Oct 00 23:12
Pat Murphy has won numerous awards for her thoughtful, literary science fiction and fantasy writing. In 1987, she won the Nebula Award for both her novel, The Falling Woman, and her novelette "Rachel in Love." She has also won the Philip K. Dick Award, the World Fantasy Award, the Isaac Asimov's Reader's Award and the Theodore Sturgeon Memorial Award. In 1999, Murphy made a departure from her usual work with the publication of There and Back Again. She claims this novel was written by her alterego, pulp writer Max Merriwell. This rollicking space opera, as you may have guessed from the title, is a retelling of The Hobbit--with worm holes and space pirates. Pat says her latest novel, Wild Angel (Tor Books), was written by Mary Maxwell, a pseudonym of Max Merriwell's. Wild Angel is an adventure novel in the spirit of Tarzan, about a young girl adopted by wolves in Gold Rush California. Murphy is currently working on a novel titled Adventures in Time and Space with Max Merriwell. This book, which she says she is writing herself, is about Max and his pseudonyms: Mary Maxwell and Weldon Merrimax. For more information about Murphy's fiction, check out her web site at www.brazenhussies.net/murphy Pat also works for the Exploratorium, San Francisco's acclaimed museum of science, art, and human perception, and has published many science books as a member of its staff. She has taught writing at Stanford and the Clarion SF Workshop. She has a black belt in kenpo karate and her favorite color is ultraviolet. Martha Soukup, Pat's interviewer, has won one Nebula. Her short-story collection is The Arbitrary Placement of Walls (DreamHaven Books), and she recently found herself writing about what you didn't see on the television show Big Brother for Salon.com. Please join me in welcoming them to inkwell.vue!
Linda Castellani (castle) Fri 6 Oct 00 12:44
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Martha Soukup (soukup) Fri 6 Oct 00 13:00
Thanks, Linda. Pat, we have a lot of ground to cover! Let's start with the obvious question: after so many Pat Murphy novels and stories, why, now, is Pat Murphy writing a novel by "Max Merriwell"? Who is Mr. Merriwell, and why did you want to write his book instead of another of yours? (Then we can get to why Max Merriwell wanted to write a novel as Mary Maxwell rather than himself.) This is a fascinatingly twisty turny project you're involved with.
Pat Murphy (jaxxx) Fri 6 Oct 00 14:34
Indeed it is. And some of my friends think I'm having way too much fun with it. Who is Max Merriwell? I suppose the most accurate description is this: Max Merriwell is a character I created to write books that I couldn't or wouldn't write. You see, Max Merriwell is a pulp science fiction writer. He's a cheerful fellow, rather full of himself, who dearly loves his own work. His first novel was published when he was eighteen, and he never looked back. Each year, he writes three novels--but more on that later. In a way, this whole twisted project began with an off-hand comment at a convention and a joke. At a convention a number of years ago, I did a reading. The story I read was "A Cartographic Analysis of the Dream State," a story about a women's expedition across the Martian polar cap. It's a hard science story, more or less. Oh, there are a few yetis, but they only show up in dreams, so I figure it's a hard science story. Anyway, a fan came up to me after the reading, looking a little troubled. "That was a nice story," he said, "but it wasn't a Pat Murphy story." I questioned him on this--it was after all, a story I had written, so I was dead certain it was a Pat Murphy story. And he described what belonged in a Pat Murphy story. What he said was true of many of my stories, but not all. I came away from that conversation feeling vaguely uneasy. For a time after that, I felt strangely constrained, realizing that people had certain expectations of my work. I didn't like that feeling. So I started thinking about pseudonyms..... Now about that joke. I started joking, many years ago, about writing what I then called "Hobbits in Space," a space opera with the plot of The Hobbit. It was a joke because everyone knew I would never write such a book. I was known for my thoughtful, literary science fiction. I would never do such a thing. You can see how these two threads fit together. Max came along to write "There and Back Again" since that isn't a book Pat Murphy would write. But it was a book I wanted to read. And channeling Max to write it was an extraordinarily liberating experience. While I was working on it, I had a sign over my computer that said: "This is not a Pat Murphy book--this is a Max Merriwell book." Every so often, in the writing, I'd come to a place where I'd think, "Oh, I can't get away with that." Then I'd glance at the sign and say, "I can't, but Max can." I think the funniest thing is that apparently Max and I can both get away with this. "There and Back Again" got a great review in the New York Times, something I've yet to manage with any of other books. And I've gotten fan letters for 12 year olds. A lot of people seem to be having as much fun reading the book as I did writing it. Oh--before we get too far, I should probably mention that people can read the first chapter of "There and Back Again" and the first chapter of "Wild Angel" on my web site at www.brazenhussies.net/murphy. As you'll see if you take a look, they are very different books. And both of them are very different from the books I've written without Max's assistance.
Martha Soukup (soukup) Fri 6 Oct 00 15:09
I don't want to get too far off track too early, but I have to ask this, Pat: Do you think the Hobbit in Space book, "There and Back Again", _is_ less "thoughtful and literary"? Does Max actually turn down those qualities of your writerly brain, does he turn up others, or is it a third thing entirely?
Angus MacDonald (angus) Fri 6 Oct 00 17:34
[Really interested in seeing how Pat answers that. I know how which it seemed like as a reader.]
Pat Murphy (jaxxx) Fri 6 Oct 00 20:43
The answer to that question would have been different at different moments during the writing of the book. Looking back on the book now, it feels like Max allowed me to be less consciously literary and thoughtful. Max wrote what he wanted to write--a rollicking good adventure yarn. The deeper values that I espouse are still there--not because I was careful to put them there, but because they bubbled up naturally. A thought related to that: being a literary science fiction writer is a tricky business. My fellow writer Lisa Goldstein pointed out to me that being a literary SF writer is a double whammy. Lots of literary folks won't read you because you're SF, so they figure it'll all be rocket ships and rayguns. And lots of SF folks won't read you because you are literary and therefore pretentious. Writing as Max, I could embrace the SF aspects of my work without concern or embarrassment, and let the literary aspects be there without effort. I loved action adventure science fiction when I was reading my way through the part of the public library where all the books have rocket ships on the spine. But I had never written any. In a way, Max allowed me to let go of things that I wasn't even aware I was holding on to. There's a martial arts analogy that's appropriate here, I think. When I first started training in karate, sparring took a great deal of energy--I was exhausted after a bout. It took years of training before I could spar effortlessly and not be tired at the end. What I had to learn was how to relax and stop fighting myself. It's the toughest thing to learn as a white belt. For some strange reason, when I was writing as Max, I can put aside self-doubt and just have a great time writing. Maybe it's because Max is so free of self-doubt. Now I'm really interesting in hearing what Angus thought, as a reader.
Martha Soukup (soukup) Fri 6 Oct 00 23:53
So am I. But for now, moving on to the book in question--"Wild Angel", in which an orphaned three-year-old girl in the Gold Rush West becomes a lupine Tarzan figure-- How did Max feel writing as Mary Maxwell? Why does he want to write a book through her rather than write it as himself? Or how did you feel? (Where are you in the middle of all of this anyway?)
Pat Murphy (jaxxx) Sat 7 Oct 00 07:26
I'll answer the last question there: how do I feel? I feel like a kid in a playground. I feel like I've figured out a way to play with the traditions of science fiction and fantasy, bringing my sensibilities to traditional formulas. I've written a couple of books that I had a fabulous time writing, that I wouldn't have otherwise written. Weird that I had to create Max and Mary to do this, but hey--it worked for me. And I'm curious to hear how it worked for readers. One thing I should probably mention here. You can read There and Back Again or Wild Angel without knowing anything about Max or Mary or any of this madness. Each book is written to be read independently. So I'm also curious about what people thought of each book, aside from all this business of pseudonyms. My publisher (Tor Books) has downplayed this whole metafictional component of the project. (I don't think they would have mentioned it at all on the flap copy of There and Back Again, but I sent them an author photo of me and Max sitting together on the couch, so they had to.) They thought (quite rightly, I realize) that this would just confuse people. My name is on the cover of both books (the title page lists the pseudonyms). I argued for Max to get top billing, but my editor said: "I could do that, Pat, but I'd have to pay Max as if this were a first novel." Hmm. A very persuasive argument. So I let her put my name on the cover.
Martha Soukup (soukup) Sat 7 Oct 00 11:13
A more specific question about "Wild Angel", then: You'd already, fairly recently, written a fantasy novel about a young woman living a wolvish life (as a werewolf). Now you as Max as Mary have written about another girl and young woman living a wolvish life, this time because little Sarah becomes a sort of Tarzan of the Wolves. What is it about women running with the wolves? And what's different enough to make it an utterly different novel when you run it through the Edgar Rice Burroughs filter?
Pat Murphy (jaxxx) Sat 7 Oct 00 13:23
I'll have to see if I can get Pam Keesey over here to help answer that. (She edited a book of short stories called "Women who Run with the Werewolves.") I've been writing about women and wolves, on and off, for many years now, in short stories and in these two novels. I confess that I'm fascinated by wolves. Working on these books gave me an excuse to attend a wolf behavior seminar at Wolf Park in Indiana and spend some time with a captive pack. I'm particularly interested in wolf communication. In both novels, I was interested in dealing with what it's like to live in a world without words, with a different kind of language. So what is it about women and wolves? The first novel you mentioned, "Nadya--the Wolf Chronicles," was about a woman werewolf in the 1840s. The werewolf can be interpreted as symbolic of the animal nature of man. Uncontrolled passions. The wild side of human nature. Of course, women aren't supposed to have any of that. Wolves and werewolves are also symbolic of the wildness that people can't control. Traditionally, there is no place in society for women who step outside their social role, women who are wild and uncontrolled. I don't know about you, but I wept at the end of the movie, "Thelma and Louise." I felt that these were two strong women characters with no where to go, no place in society where they belonged. So when I was writing "Nadya," I was conscious of wanting to create a world where a strong wild woman could win. In Wild Angel, I was dealing with some of the same material, without the "werewolf" aspect of it. And, as you said, I was filtering it through Edgar Rice Burroughs. In my mispent youth, I read Tarzan of the Apes and all of Edgar Rice Burroughs' other Tarzan books. This was back before I was old enough to be annoyed by the dreadful writing and racism in the books. These were books that swept me away into another world. In an introduction to the Signet Classic edition of Tarzan of the Apes, Gore Vidal compares Burroughs' work to a vivid daydream. It certainly worked that way for me. When I read Tarzan as a girl, the daydream carried me along and I would accept any coincidence that let me go swinging off through the jungle. Only problem was, there really wasn't a role for a young girl in Burroughs' jungle. Sure, there was Jane's role (love interest and person to be rescued), but I wasn't interested in that. So in writing Wild Angel, I wanted to write an action/adventure story that, like Tarzan, swept the reader into a daydream--but a daydream with a female character in the active role. Of course, I wanted the story to reflect my sensibilities, not those of Burroughs. But for the purposes of writing this novel, I adopted some of the attitudes of Burroughs that I admired. Burroughs knows enough not to let the facts get in the way of a rollicking adventure, and I respect him for that. I admired his willingness to rearrange reality to suit the needs of his story. If he needs a lion, a lion is there. No problem. In the first Tarzan book, he mentions one of Tarzan's more unlikely friendships: "With Tantor, the elephant, he made friends. How? Ask not." I like that. He took a firm hand with his readers, telling them simply and clearly the way things were. No apology. No explanation. So the Burroughs' filter allowed me (or should I say Mary? or maybe Max?) to move ahead with the story. The attitude is that of a story-teller, spinning a yarn. Here's my story--don't quibble with it. That's kind of Max's attitude in general, I think.
Linda Castellani (castle) Sat 7 Oct 00 22:56
(I just have to say that I am loving the Pat as Max as Mary idea. It's gotten all kinds of things to swirling around in my brain...)
Martha Soukup (soukup) Sat 7 Oct 00 23:19
I want to ask questions about both of Max's novels, the one Max wrote as Max and the one Max wrote as Mary, but I should be a good interviewer and concentrate first on the book at hand, even though it's the second book, I think. So, "Wild Angel" takes place out West during the big gold rush. That's obviously a colorful mileau, but there are lots of colorful mileaus--why this time and this place? And how, in such a very male time and place, did you end up with most of the characters being women? (Though the villain of the piece and one of the main viewpoint characters are men.) It's a nice change--
Emily J. Gertz (emilyg) Sun 8 Oct 00 07:37
Welcome Pat, ringleader of the Bad Girls of Science. I'm very interested in what you're saying here. I have to admit: being an admirer of "Pat Murphy books" I was really taken aback by "Wild Angel;" I was not aware of the Max Merriwell persona (you are very right that Tor townplays it -- I only noticed Max and Mary's names on the spine 2/3 of the way through the novel).
Pat Murphy (jaxxx) Sun 8 Oct 00 09:20
Linda, if the thought of me writing as Max writing as Mary had your head spinning, imagine what it did to mine! I found I couldn't think about this too much while writing. In some scenes, I was very aware that Max Merriwell's puzzlement with women was bubbling up. In other areas, I know that both Max and Mary were moving the book along. A number of years ago, Karen Joy Fowler (author of Sarah Canary) and I joked about writing an action adventure book. Every time a character tried to have a deep and meaningful conversation, a shot would ring out or a knife would whiz past, narrowly missing her. In some ways, Wild Angel is that book. I'm interested in Emily's reaction to the book. One of the practical (rather than twisted psychological) reasons for using pseudonyms is to avoid confusing readers. (Oh, I can hear people laughing now. I know, I know--it's not like this isn't confusing.) But that really is a reason for pseudonyms. I know that how I approach a book makes a difference to how I read it. If I open the book expecting one thing and get another, I may be unhappy--even if what I get would have been fine if that had been what I was expecting. Some people have told me that they read and enjoyed There and Back Again--but that they wouldn't have picked it up if they hadn't already known my work. So I guess they were expecting a space opera filtered through my perspective. Now, onward to Martha's question--and thank you, Martha, for keeping me on track. It can be tough to do. (At the Exploratorium, my title is Director of Publications. Since I'm more or less a one-person department, that means I direct myself. I tell people it's a tough job, since I don't take direction well.) Anyway, why the Gold Rush? The real answer is--that's just the way the book came to me. I wanted to write a novel with larger-than-life characters, that being one of the characteristics of Burroughs--and the Gold Rush is loaded with larger-than-life characters. I didn't even have to make them all up! One of the things I love about historical research is making use of characters and events that feel like fiction, but are fact. In Wild Angel, the best example of that is the Ancient Order of E Clampus Vitus, whose members call themselves Clampers. To describe the Clampers, I'm going to lift a few paragraphs from Wild Angel: "The Ancient Order of E Clampus Vitus claimed origins in 4004 BC. Some spoilsports said that the Order had been created in the late 1850s as a drunken response to the Masons, the Odd Fellows, and other fraternal orders. Not so, said the Clampers. Adam, the Clampers said, was the Order's first Noble Grand Humbug, the title given to the leader of a chapter. The society counted among its past members such luminaries as Solomon, George Washington, and Henry Ward Beecher. Since these individuals were conveniently dead, they could neither confirm nor deny their membership in the order." "The Clampers' motto was Credo Quia Absurdum, "I believe because it is absurd." Their meeting hall was designated the Hall of Comparative Ovations. Their symbol was the Staff of Relief. Upon initiation, all members were given "titles of equal importance." Their avowed goal was to assist widows and orphans, particularly the widows. Their primary activity was initiating new candidates in extravagant and drunken rituals. They were reputed to also do good works, but the truth of that is difficult to ascertain. Since no Clamper could ever recall the events of a meeting on the following day, the activities of the society were assured of remaining secret." Sounds like something I made up, but all of that is well-documented and as true as history ever is. There are many tales of Clampers in the Gold Rush. If you tour the Gold Country today, you'll see plaques on historic structures, posted by E Clampus Vitus. The organization, which still exists, is an historic drinking society or a drinking historical society, but drinking is always a part of it. It's a group that appreciates absurdity. I'm quite fond of the Clampers, though I think it's too bad that they have always been and still are an all male group. Anyway, one reason I like to write novels set in the past is that they give me a chance to explore the absurdities of history. The Gold Rush, being rich in absurdities, was a lovely time to write about. You ask how, in such a very male time and place, did I end up with so many women characters? Easy. I wrote it that way. Every writer views the world through his or her own set of filters. I was interested in the women, and so the women were the ones I wrote about. Women like my characters (with the exception of Sarah) were, in fact, present during the Gold Rush, played a role during this period. They were in the minority, but they were there. I find it interesting that we are always aware when there are more women characters in a book than men characters. I had a well-meaning friend tell me that the problem with my novel The Falling Woman was that it lacked strong male characters. Yet few people seem bothered that there are no women characters in Moby Dick except for a couple of whales. Anyway, I (with the help of Mary and Max) made a conscious choice to write an action adventure book with a woman in the starring role. It's a book for those of us who felt shut out of all the action adventure books with no women in them. As for that villain--I found writing about Jasper Davis to be an interestingly liberating experience. In my own work (that is, my work that is unfiltered by any of my imaginary friends and personalities), I write about shades of gray: good people have bad sides, villains are never completely evil. But in the world of Burroughs, people are good and people are evil. The hell with shades of gray. Jasper Davis is out-and-out bad. It was interesting to write a character who is bad to the bone.
Martha Soukup (soukup) Sun 8 Oct 00 20:20
Studies show that most people (men and women) in our culture tend to think there are more women when the number of women is over about one third. To have an actual majority (as the space novel certainly does), rather than the large minority most people really notice, is a fine thing in this interviewer's opinion. Speaking of the space opera, there are two characters (one of either gender) who seem to appear, with slightly different names, in both novels. (Leaving out Pat Murphy. Who appears briefly in each novel, as one of either gender. But we'll leave that character aside, maybe.) Does Max use these characters in a lot of books, or are these books special in that way?
Pat Murphy (jaxxx) Mon 9 Oct 00 07:59
These two characters, Gitana and Gyro Renacus, first showed up in There and Back Again. Gitana, a powerful woman with amazing powers, is parallel to Gandalf in The Hobbit. As Max describes her: "I could tell you many stories about Gitana and there are many more that no one but Gitana knows to tell. Some said she was a pirate; some said she was a scavenger; some say she was an adventurer, in search of glory and profit. If you asked her, she would just smile and shrug and say that she was a seeker of truth. And maybe she was. But wherever she went, adventures followed." That's Gitana. Gyro Renacus is a pataphysician. In There and Back Again, the pataphysicians are equivalent to the elves in the Hobbit. Incidentally, the pataphysicians (like the Clampers) are real, though most readers think I made them up. The College of 'Pataphyics was founded by the French writer Alfred Jarry (author of Ubu Roi). The Surrealist counted Jarry as a forerunner of their movement. I won't get into a long discussion of pataphysics here. For more info on the College, check out http://www.pataphysics.com/pataex.html. But I have to note that the spiral-bearing figure that dances across the screen at www.well.com is a pataphysical figure. The spiral is the symbol of the College of 'Pataphysics. Why a spiral? Well, as Gyro explains in There and Back Again, every point on the spiral is a turning point. That's one of the basic tenets of the College of 'Pataphysics. Each point along any path is a turning point. And I suppose that's the answer to the question. Every point is a turning point, and I can't tell you about the other books that Max has written, since I haven't read (or written) them yet. Gyro and Gitana do show up in Wild Angel. Gyro is the owner and ringleader of a circus and Gitana is a con artist, Temperance lecturer, and a mesmerist (among other things). Gitana shares some traits with Joan Egypt, a character about whom I've written. (You can find a story about Joan Egypt at http://www.brazenhussies.net/murphy/Flamingos.html) Both Gitana and Joan Egypt are trickstersstrong and knowledgeable women who see the absurdity of life and aren't afraid to act upon that knowledge. I do have plans to write more Joan Egypt stories. And I'm quite fascinated by both Gyro and Gitana. I wouldn't be surprised if they showed up again, but I don't know for sure. I have to confess something that people may already suspect: I don't have all this planned out. In these books, I am flying without a net. I know some things--but there are many others that take me by surprise. I didn't really know that Gyro and Gitana were going to be in Wild Angel until they showed up. Many of my other novels have been much more rigorously planned. In these novels, under the influence of Max, I'm trusting much more to the process, letting things happen and figuring that Max and I will figure out what happens next. It's interesting and more than a bit unnerving, but fun. In every novel that I've written, I've hit a point where I say to myself, "What the hell are you doing? This is a complete mess. There's no way you're ever going to finish this book." (Mind you--this is true no matter how much I plan the novel out beforehand.) Now, on my seventh novel, I recognize that as part of the process. I still hit that point, but at least I can say to myself--"Oh, that's where I am. Well, if I just keep going I'll find the way through." Each time it feels hopeless, and each time I find the way. I'd be curious to hear if other writers experience the same thing. Or maybe it's just me. But it seems to happen every time, so I've gotten used to it. I don't like it, but I've gotten used to it. Oh, one more word on Gyro and Gitana. In the book I'm currently writing (Adventures in Time and Space with Max Merriwell), each chapter begins with a quote from a book by Max Merriwell, Mary Maxwell, or Weldon Merrimax. Gyro and Gitana show up in those--so I know that these characters show up in at least one other book by Max and one other book by Mary.
Martha Soukup (soukup) Mon 9 Oct 00 11:30
You haven't written a book by Max Merriwell writing as Weldon Merrimax yet. Do you think you might? (By the way, these are fabulous answers! And if any writer doesn't feel completely lost in the process somewhere of writing a novel or even a short story, I'll bite her on the ankle.)
Pat Murphy (jaxxx) Mon 9 Oct 00 14:37
My answer to that question would have been different yesterday than it is today. I am just working on the end of Adventures in Time and Space with Max Merriwell, and I hit some stuff that makes me realize that I'll never author a Weldon Merrimax book. Well, maybe never is too strong a word--but it's very very very unlikely. Glad to hear that you share my sense about the process. I get stuck on short stories, too--but a short story I can always put away for a year or so. With a novel, I usually have so much invested by the time I get stuck that I can't let it go, I have to keep plugging away until I reach the light at the end of the tunnel. Anyway, I'd be happy to assist in any ankle-biting should we ever meet such a self-assured author. I'll hold her while you bite, then we can trade. Oh, hey--I realized that I should probably mention, for folks in the San Francisco Bay Area, that I'll be doing some readings and signings around town next weekend. I've teamed up with two other award -winning women writers--Lisa Goldstein and Michaela Roessner. Together we are struggling to overcome our natural modesty and self-promote our books like brazen hussies. So we've put together a little grassroots marketing effort--Brazen Hussy Promotions, and we're doing bookstore appearances as the Brazen Hussies. Anyway, here's where we'll be: Friday, October 13, 5:00 PM Dark Carnival, 3086 Claremont Avenue, Berkeley, CA 94705, 510-654-7323 Saturday, October 14, 5:00 PM Borderlands Books, 534 Laguna Street (at Fell), San Francisco, CA 94102, 415-558-8978 Sunday, October 15, 5:30 PM Kepler's Books, 1010 El Camino Real, Menlo Park, CA 94025, (650) 324-4321 OK--end of brief commercial announcement. Hey, that reminds me, if anyone is interested, we could also talk a little about the economics of the book business these days. I was talking to someone the other day who commented that he's been frustrated lately when he finds an author he likes. He commented that it seemed like it was really hard to get the author's earlier work. That's absolutely true, and it's a result of some major changes in the book biz lately. Most publishers don't keep their backlist in print anymore. This relates to the Brazen Hussies. We are working together to market our books because that helps keep them alive. To quote the Author's Guild Midlist Book study (available on line at www.authorsguild.com), "Editors describe getting marketing support in-house as the biggest hurdle a book faces once it is under contract." Publishers buy midlist books, but then provide little or no marketing. Consequently, the books languish and die. The Author's Guild study is fascinating, though depressing, reading. I'm far from an expert on the subject, but I've done some research and read the Author's Guild study on the subject. I'd also be happy to post tips that I put together with a group of women writers on the top ten ways to help keep books you love in print. I don't know--maybe that's another topic. Does anyone know if that's being discussed anywhere--like maybe in books?
Martha Soukup (soukup) Mon 9 Oct 00 15:49
If it isn't, it should be. That's a frustratingly coy answer about Weldon Merrimax!
Pat Murphy (jaxxx) Mon 9 Oct 00 16:31
Sorry about that. I can't tell you more because this book is in the final stages. A friend of mine once described writing a novel as: "trying to scoop a broken raw egg up off the kitchen floor with your bare hands." No way can you get all of it. Right now, I'm scrabbling after some of those elusive bits that are trying to wiggle away. Some of them have to do with Weldon.
Martha Soukup (soukup) Mon 9 Oct 00 19:45
Uh-oh! So, Mark Twain has quotes at the beginning of each chapter of "Wild Angel", and Lewis Carroll has quotes at the beginning of each chapter of "There and Back Again" (all from "The Hunting of the Snark"). What do these gentlemen have to do with these books?
Pat Murphy (jaxxx) Mon 9 Oct 00 21:19
That's something I figured that out only after I completed both books. Originally, I chose "Hunting of the Snark" because I love that bit of nonsense dearly and I wanted to include some terminology from it in the book. (Snarks and boojums, to be exact.) I quoted Twain because he was perfect for the historical period and a damn fine writer to quote. It was only after completing the books that I realized that both Lewis Carroll and Mark Twain are pseudonyms. Coincidence or unconscious choice? Damned if I know. In the third book, each chapter begins with a quote from a book by Max Merriwell, Mary Maxwell, or Weldon Merrimax. That is a conscious choice, but one that makes me feel a bit like a dog, chasing her own tail. Circles within circles. Every point is a turning point.
Beelzebubba (sd) Mon 9 Oct 00 22:04
will the Brazen Hussies' blimp be making an appearance at all? enjoying Wild Angel. supposed that the quotes were to continue from fellow victorians. waiting for marx and darwin to make appearances. do you suppose that more authors will be added to the landscape of the Murphy mythos?
Martha Soukup (soukup) Mon 9 Oct 00 23:17
Oooh! Other people asking questions! Good one, too.
Emily J. Gertz (emilyg) Tue 10 Oct 00 08:06
Economics of the book biz: v. worthy discussion. I was fortunate to live in walking distance of Powell's City of Books for several years. If I got interested in an author, chances were I'd be able to find some of his or her backlist at Powell's (like say Eleanor Arnason, or Pat Cadigan). What are your suggestions for keeping books in print? Back to _Wild Angel_: I am still musing on what worked for me and what left me wondering. As a kid, my pulp novels of choice were the Black Stallion books. I adored them but always resented that the central non-equine character was a boy. So I def. 'got' that Sarah was an updating of that type of protagonist: the child with a preternatural connection to a wild beast, an ultimately successful avenger. Did you consciously decide on how you'd emulate the pulp style, Pat? Did you mean to avoid updating it to a more contemporary, sort of "post-modern" self-parody?
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