Science fiction essayist Paul T. Riddell isn't the first to compare magazine writing to public masturbation, but he's the first to practice what he preached and quite writing.Before he did, he and cohort Edgar Harris (former sports editor of Science Fiction Age) spent thirteen years covering such diverse subjects as assistance to beginning writers ("I want to hunt down the idiot who came up with that 'writers make $37.50 an hour' story and let Whitley Strieber's aliens make him/her squeal like a pig") to Harlan Ellison's cybernetic history and how Canada formally apologized to the UN for the TV series Lexx. Put down the Edmond Scientific catalog, grab a UNIT recruiting flyer, and find out why Ellen Datlow referred to Riddell as ". . .unfailingly incediary." ... Read more
Customer Reviews (2)
"People who like this sort of thing will find this the sort of thing they like."
...said Abraham Lincoln.
Amidst the tons of my other reading and whatnot, I'm also reading Paul Riddell's Greasing the Pan. Since it's all basically essays and all of the material is reprints from deceased magazines and the like, it's not like you HAVE to read it all in one sitting.It would make good bathroom reading material, except when Paul makes you laugh like hell or get furious, either one being distracting when you're on the porcelain throne and trying to do your duty to Mother Nature.
I don't have an easy explanation of what it is and what it's like...slam a dose of Joe Bob Briggs at his best, Harlan Ellison at his best and fieriest, lots of Molly Ivins.Stir vigorously, add in lots of science fiction connections and pro writing stuff, small press items, odd bits of curious science and facts.Drench with wry humor, add in two pound of habanero peppers to cool it down. Stir more vigorously with a spade, and call it a frickin' shovel.Then garnish with the ashes of Hunter S. Thompson, or whatever he was smoking. Serve.
A milder dose, garnished with pitcher plants, can be found at the author's live journal site. (http://txtriffidranch.livejournal.com/) I'm also aware that Riddell Has Strong Opinions, and has probably hacked off a number of people in the professional science fiction world over the last 20-very-odd years who would read this and not like it, no sir, not at all.And others might find his prose Weird On A Stick, even if I like it, which says something about my literary weak spots.
So as my title goes, this is something that, if you're curious to see if good and funny essay writing is alive, especially if the material on the SF writing and publishing world means something to you, go for this.
Buy it.Ask for the Kindle version.Send it to your Aunt Edna, especially if she used to have a subscription to Locus.Send threatening letters to the author and publisher demanding more stuff to be unearthed from the vaults.
You know the drill.
Are you sure he did this without drugs?
As his wife, I can tell you. The way he writes? He talks at about the same speed and depth. I've enjoyed his columns for years, and I'm glad the book is finally out.
... Read more