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jeff
Posted on Thursday, February 06, 2003 - 07:01 pm:   

Greetings. If you stop by, drop me a line and let me know how you are doing, ask a question, or start a new thread if you like.

Best Wishes,

Jeff
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Deborah Layne
Posted on Thursday, February 06, 2003 - 09:50 pm:   

Hey, Jeff, nice place you got here -- it could maybe use some plants or a post-modern sculpture or something, but, you know, whenever you get to it.

What are you working on these days?

Deborah
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jeff
Posted on Saturday, February 08, 2003 - 07:18 pm:   

Deborah -- How are ya? Yeah, I'm thinking of getting a couple of those black light paintings and a strobe light. Where's my Iron Butterfly record and love beads?
I've got a few things on the burner these days. One of them is a novel I'm wrestling with now, but it has sworn me to secrecy. Finished a bunch of stuff recently. I've got a long story called "Coffins on the River" coming out from this anthology, Polyphony #3. Ever heard of it? That won't be out for a while. There will be a novelete at Sci Fiction at the end of the month (Feb), "The Empire of Ice Cream." Got stories coming out in Ellen Datlow's The Dark ghost anthology, Kelly Link's Trampoline, The Silver Gryphon, and Witpunk. Also, the story "Creation" will be in the Silverberg/Haber Year's Best. Oh, and The Lambshead Guide to Discredited Diseases, put out by none other than Night Shade, that's coming up soon.
What are you up to these days. I imagine working like mad to get Polyphony # 2 out. Anything else?

Best,


Jeff
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Deborah Layne
Posted on Sunday, February 09, 2003 - 02:05 pm:   

Jeff,

Oh, yeah, black light posters, no question that would spruce the place up. I'll send you a lava lamp, too.

Trying to get Polyphony 2 out is right. I have proofs out to a few people and still expect to have the book for sale by early April.

Wheatland Press will put out a collection by some guy named Jay Lake with incredible illos by Frank Wu. Look for that in July. Also a fun picture book version of a Jerry Oltion story -- that one may be done in time for WorldCon -- illos by Bob Eggleton.

I'm writing a little when I can. The usual.

Keepin' busy.

I saw you got lots of mentions by different folk in Locus' Recommended Readings 2002 issue -- glad to see it.

Take care,

Deborah
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Stepan Chapman
Posted on Monday, February 10, 2003 - 04:52 am:   

Hey there, Dr. Ford.

I just got back from Hawaii, where I visited my father and sister. Kia and I send you regardules.

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jeff
Posted on Monday, February 10, 2003 - 09:11 am:   

Dr. Chapman: Glad to hear from you. Hawaii, not too shabby. How's the novel going. Last time I communicated with you you said that you were making good headway. Where you at with it now?
OK, now it's time for me to fess up. Remember that stuff you sent me before Christmas? Well I put it aside at the time, as I told you, in order to finish up my teaching work for the semester. I was looking forward to checking it out over the month long break we get. Well, in the transmigration of our normal house into Christmas house -- Lynn changes everything around, moves stuff, it's chaos -- I lost the package. It's definitely here somewhere, nothing ever gets thrown out, that is a certainty, but where, as of this minute, I haven't got a fucking clue. I know I am lame. I have gone on expeditions for it, but as yet it has been as elusive as Mokole Mbembe, the fierce dinosaur of the Likouala Swamp region of Central Africa. I've been holding out telling you this, hoping I would soon find it but haven't. I am begging you not to begin proceedings to have me disbarred. I seriously intend to redouble my efforts and find it. Forgive.
Give my best to Kia. Hope you guys are well and the words are flowing.
Hey, what's this book of short stories you have out? I believe I have read about it but have never seen it. Is this true?
Best,

Jeff
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Stepan Chapman
Posted on Tuesday, February 11, 2003 - 01:02 am:   

Hey, Jeff.

The novel is idling its big deisel engine while I putter in my junkyard, assembling some new fictions for some periodical editors.

I do have a short story collection available from Amazon Books. Published by Creative Arts Book Co. of Berkeley CA, 2001.

I trust you're keeping warm.

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Liz Hand
Posted on Wednesday, February 12, 2003 - 04:19 pm:   

Hey Jeff, just wanted to say (here, where everyone can see it!) that Ellen D., was raving about a story you gave her recently -- can't recall when, but in the last month or so. Which story is that, and where/when will it appear? I'm thinkng it was on SciFi.com but not sure I'm remembering that right.

Any Sandy Becker sightings recently?
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jeff
Posted on Wednesday, February 12, 2003 - 06:09 pm:   

Liz: I did a story for Ellen recently titled "The Empire of Ice Cream." I think it is within the novelette range, for as much as I know what the boundaries of these classifications are. I think it's going to run on the last week in February at SciFiction.
It's funny you should ask about Mr. Becker. I've been working on this writing project based loosely on my childhood, and I've been dredging up a lot of long lost pointless memories. One was of my mother taking my brother and I to A&S (do you remember A&S?) on Montauk Highway in Babylon to see Sandy Becker. He came in in a helicopter and landed on the roof. I'm telling you it was packed. When the crowd saw the helicopter, they went shit face, screaming and cheering. For fucking Sandy Becker, no less. Those were simpler times, to be sure. The one thing I remember was that when we finally saw him on the second floor of the store, he was wearing a camel hair suit jacket and a pen had exploded in the chest pocket and he had this big blue stain on him. No one seemed to care, but it must have worried me because that's about all I can remember. You know what a fastidious dresser I am.
Geeba Geeba.

Best,

Jeff
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Jack Dann
Posted on Wednesday, February 19, 2003 - 08:44 pm:   

Hey, Jeff,

Good crowd in here. Reminds me, I want to drop an e-mail to Ellen. She's been on my mind.

Cheers,

--JACK
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jeff ford
Posted on Wednesday, February 19, 2003 - 10:14 pm:   

Jack: I noticed the other day that your Jubilee collection is out. How many stories does it have in it and how far back do they go? Do you have a favorite? Ellen seems to be doing well. I think she was just in the UK for a while. She should be back by now, although I think she got stuck for a day or two due to the fact that there was a massive snow storm on the East Coast over the past couple days. Down in South Jersey, we got 20+ inches.

Best,

Jeff
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Ellen
Posted on Thursday, February 20, 2003 - 04:26 pm:   

Hi Jeff, Jack, Liz, et al--I'm going to have my own area here as soon as Jeff V sets it up.
Jeff's novelette "The EMpire of Ice Cream" goes up on our site next Wednesday. I love it!! You'll love it!! We all love ice scream.
Don't mind me, I'm probably just punch drunk from jet lag as my original flight out of London Tuesday afternoon was cancelled and instead I flew out and in last night. COuldn't sleep more than five hours what with cats showering me with attention and jetlag. I'll probably try to go to bed early tonight.
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jeff ford
Posted on Friday, February 21, 2003 - 05:31 am:   

Ellen: Hi. I see you have your own board here now. I have to go up the line there and check it out. Glad your trip worked out.

Best,

Jeff
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Ellen
Posted on Friday, February 21, 2003 - 05:52 am:   

Hi Jeff,
Yup. And I've started blathering away.
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Montmorency
Posted on Monday, February 24, 2003 - 07:24 am:   

Hi Mr Ford,

At last I read The Portrait of Mrs. Charbuque. Thank you very much for the superb story.

To tell the truth, I was purplexed by Physiognomy when I read it a few years ago, and didn't follow the sequels; maybe I was expecting straight adventure, or at least someting like Severian. I believe I should go over them this time having better perspective now. Well, I'm a desirable reader, who bought five of your books including the latest collection:-)

I'm a bit curious why you adopted rather modern narrative for Charbuque, instead of dense, gothic style. I myself appreciate your clear voicing, perfect match for the fairytale-like elements, but my friend comments pseudo-archaic writing would have been better suited for the story reminiscent of Carr. I personally suspect you intentionally avoided giving the impression of simulated classic detective fiction, though.

Also I wonder how to pronouce Charbuque - is it shar-BEWK as in French?

Oh, I shouldn't forget to inform you that Japanese translation of your "Fantasy Writer's Assistant" had appeared a few month ago (yes, I'm Japanese). If you happen to need a copy, I will send the magazine just to express my gratitude for your story.
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jeff ford
Posted on Monday, February 24, 2003 - 08:21 am:   

Montmorency: Hi, thanks for writing. Glad you liked Mrs. Charbuque. Her name, by the way, is pronounced as you have it above. The writing in the novel, is somewhat of the time. Carr's novel, if I'm not mistaken was set in a somewhat earlier time, and it copies more the writing style of pulps. The writing I read from the time my novel was set, primarily Edith Wharton, is not so tortured as real old fashioned Gothic writing. Tell your friend to actually invesitagte some novels from 1893, I think he will see that the writing is much more contemporary than he thinks. Henry James was more convoluted than his main squeeze, Edith, but even his writing could not be called gothic. So your friend, I think, is laboring under a false impression of the time period in which the novel was set.
Thanks, but I have a copy of the magazine with the story. A very close friend of mine, who is Japanese, living here in south Jersey, got a friend of her's over in Japan to send a copy and somehow Gordon Van Gelder of F&SF got a copy and sent it on to me. Thanks anyway, though.
Check out The Physiognomy again if you get a chance. If you do, let me know if you like it any better or dislike it even more.

Best,


Jeff
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Montmorency
Posted on Wednesday, February 26, 2003 - 07:07 am:   

Thank you very much for the clarification. Now I'll visit SciFiction to check your new story:-)
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Ellen
Posted on Wednesday, February 26, 2003 - 07:12 am:   

Jeff,
By the way, I thought you'd like to know that our proofreader liked your new story a lot--she rarely comments on individual stories.
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jeff ford
Posted on Wednesday, February 26, 2003 - 07:19 am:   

Ellen: May Ganesha bring this remarkable soul sweetmeats and good fortune. Thanks for letting me know.

Best,

Jeff
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Ellen
Posted on Wednesday, February 26, 2003 - 07:38 am:   

I'll tell her to expect something weird in the mails <g>
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PeterW
Posted on Friday, March 21, 2003 - 02:30 pm:   

Mr Ford,

After reading your astounding story "Weight of Words" in Leviathan Three, I had to pick up "Charbuque" (and "FWA"). Finished Charbuque last night; good to the last fullstop!

Thanks
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jeff ford
Posted on Friday, March 21, 2003 - 03:48 pm:   

Peter: Thanks for taking the time to check out the work and drop a line. Glad you got a look at "Weight of Words." I don't think too many people saw that one. If you get a chance, when you are done with the story collection, stop by and give me a run down on what you thought.

Best,

Jeff
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Ellen
Posted on Monday, March 24, 2003 - 01:56 pm:   

Jeff,
I read "Weight of Words" and liked it a lot.
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PeterW
Posted on Monday, March 24, 2003 - 02:03 pm:   

I'll definitely let you know what I think of the short story collection. Thanks again for the great book.
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jeff ford
Posted on Monday, March 24, 2003 - 09:22 pm:   

Ellen: Hi. Thanks for looking at the story. I was inspired in a round about way to write that story due to Micahel Swanwick's element stories that you published at Sci Fiction. There's a lot of strong work in Leviathan #3. I was very happy to have been part of it.

Best,

Jeff
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jeff ford
Posted on Monday, March 24, 2003 - 09:23 pm:   

Peter: I look forward to hearing back from you. Good luck.

Best,

Jeff
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Ellen
Posted on Tuesday, April 22, 2003 - 07:44 am:   

Jeff,
I just read your piece on Singularity about "The Friends of the Friends" by Henry James and it sounds wonderful. I'm going to see if I can track it down.
The only James I've read is Turn of the Screw which I've enjoyed but didn't compel me to read anything else by him.

Faulkner is another one that requires an acquiring a taste--I found it difficult to "get into" his novels but once I did breezed through those I read. In college I wrote a paper comparing the Snopes Trilogy to The Cherry Orchard by Checkhov.
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jeff ford
Posted on Tuesday, April 22, 2003 - 11:01 am:   

Ellen: Thanks. I think you would like some of the other ghost stories as well. Although they aren't "Very Scary" (that's a joke). And I agree with you about Faulkner as far as having to spend some time getting into his work. College basically ruined The Sound and The Fury for me, but I love Intruder in the Dust. I really need to read more of his work and then go back to TSATF. The Snopes Trilogy and The Cherry Orchard -- who'd a thunk it? But now that you mention it, that kind of break down of ancestral lines and so forth, the dissolution through repetition, kind of makes sense.

Best,


Jeff
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Ellen
Posted on Tuesday, April 22, 2003 - 04:02 pm:   

Also, if I recall there are the lower class intruders who wreck the old life. Yup.
Never read The Sound and the Fury. Need to.

Well, of course I know his "A Rose for Emily." Is there a collection of James's ghost stories available?
Btw, I've contacted amazon to get rid of those "scary stories" :-)
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GabrielM
Posted on Tuesday, April 22, 2003 - 04:44 pm:   

I believe there's a collection from Wordsworth, the UK paperback classics publisher. The downtown Strand carries most of that line.
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jeff ford
Posted on Tuesday, April 22, 2003 - 07:06 pm:   

Ellen & Gabe: Yeah, Gabe's right. That Wordsworth Collection of Henry James Ghost Stories is pretty good. And Ellen, glad you deleted the "scary" as now some of them might get a chance to be.

Best,


Jeff
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Ellen
Posted on Tuesday, April 22, 2003 - 07:48 pm:   

Maybe Friday I'll check out the Strand for one.
thanks.
Jeff, we should both keep checking to make sure it's fixed within a week or so.
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Rick Bowes
Posted on Tuesday, April 22, 2003 - 09:26 pm:   

Two things:

There is an adaptation by Joshua Logan of Chekhov's THE CHERRY ORCHARD. Set in the American South and called THE WISTERIA TREES, it had a very Faulknerian atmosphere. Intentionaly so.

One reason that A TURN OF THE SCREW works for me is that the powerful male character is seen at second hand, evoked rather than described. I usually find James to be a male writer whose male characters lack a certain presence.
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GabrielM
Posted on Wednesday, April 23, 2003 - 09:44 am:   

Totally o.t., but yesterday I bought a copy of the McNulty book, Rick, thanks for the rec. Comes with an interesting intro by his widow.

Please return to your regular discussion.

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Rick Bowes
Posted on Wednesday, April 23, 2003 - 11:47 am:   

You're welcome

The McNulty book in question is THIRD AVENUE, a compilation of the New Yorker stories from the 1940's by a classic newsman about life in the Irish bars in the shadow of the El. Without the depth of Joseph Mitchell but utterly devoid of the cuteness and whimsy of Damon Runyon. At moments, I catch fragments, side glances, of an urban life that was fast disappearing when I was a little kid.

Yes. Totally off-topic and I apologize.
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Rick Bowes
Posted on Wednesday, April 23, 2003 - 12:37 pm:   

And a double apology. THIRD AVENUE is the original 1946 book with some very flavorsome line drawings of saloon life. THIS PLACE ON THIRD AVENUE, incorporating those and other under the El stories is the title of the 2001 Crosspoint reprint with the intro by Faith McNulty, who of course, was also a well known New Yorker writer.
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Ellen
Posted on Wednesday, April 23, 2003 - 02:44 pm:   

So was it out before my paper in 1970? Maybe he got hold of it somehow. :-)

<<<There is an adaptation by Joshua Logan of Chekhov's THE CHERRY ORCHARD. Set in the American South and called THE WISTERIA TREES,
it had a very Faulknerian atmosphere. Intentionaly so.
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Rick Bowes
Posted on Wednesday, April 23, 2003 - 04:18 pm:   

Ellen

I think you and Logan both saw the same thing. And I would be surprised if Faulkner (a not too shoddy playwright - REQUIEM FOR A NUN)was not well acquainted with Chekhov. The passing of a way of life was their shared great theme.
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jeff ford
Posted on Thursday, April 24, 2003 - 05:24 am:   

GabeM&Ellen&Rick: Sorry, been away for a few days. The first play I ever saw on Broadway was back in the mid-70's and it was The Cherry Orchard. I went with a class from my community college. I remember Meryl Streep was in it and it very effectively used these scrims to get an overlay effect and had great sets and lighting. I was amazed by it.
I barely recall the remnants of the McNulty mileau in New York from when I traveled there as a kid with my grandfather. The saloons eventually gave way to the Irish bars with the steamed meats, which are also all but vanished. Much the worse.

Best,


Jeff
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Mastadge
Posted on Friday, May 23, 2003 - 02:03 pm:   

Well, I enjoyed FANTASY WRITER'S ASSISTANT immensely, tore through PORTRAIT OF MRS CHARBUQUE (but was able to restrain myself from tearing it up - I thought it was good, not great, but it was certainly the most page-turning of page turners I've read recently), and you already know what I think of "Empire of Ice Cream," so now I've moved back a little bit. Picked up VANITAS, PHYSIOGNOMY and MEMORANDA today; there wasn't a copy of THE BEYOND at my store, so I'll have to wait on that one. Anyway, I'm looking forward to digging in!
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jeff ford
Posted on Friday, May 23, 2003 - 07:50 pm:   

Mastadge: Sorry the Portrait didn't strike you better, but thanks for checking it anyway. Do yourself a favor and start with the Phys. and then read Mem. and the Beyond. Vanitas was a real pre-pre-prequel I wrote when I was in my early 20's. Leave that one for dead last, please. If you have real problems getting a copy of The Beyond when you get to it in the sequence, write to me at my e-mail address, which is on my website.

Best,

Jeff
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Mastadge
Posted on Friday, May 23, 2003 - 08:15 pm:   

I think I gave the wrong impression. I didn't dislike Portrait at all. I enjoyed it very much. I just didn't think it was as wonderful as most of your short fiction that I've read.
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jeff ford
Posted on Friday, May 23, 2003 - 08:53 pm:   

Mastadge: I think you misunderstood, I'm just happy as hell that you took the time to read it. I got where you were coming from. It's all good.

Best,


Jeff
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Ellen
Posted on Saturday, May 24, 2003 - 09:25 am:   

Jeff,
I first say Meryl Streep in Trelawny of the Wells My mom got a subscription to the Vivian Beaumont series of plays for many years and took me with her. I also saw Christpher Walken in The Merchant of Venice--everyone was wearing white in it and it was quite striking. That was the first time I'd seen Walken.
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neil williamson
Posted on Sunday, May 25, 2003 - 03:16 am:   

Jeff, mate

I just finished Mrs Charbuque (UK edition) about 2am last night, and have to tell you that I loved it. As Mastage says above, by making it a mystery you created a helluva page-turner.

I was recommending it to friends before I was even half-way through!

take care

neil
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jeff ford
Posted on Sunday, May 25, 2003 - 08:21 am:   

Neil: How have you been? Thanks for reading the Mrs. Glad you liked it and the pages kept turning. It only concerns me when the pages stop turning. What have you been up to? I've been waiting around since the beginning of April to check out The Shark Monkey. Where the hell is it? What the hell is it? From the picture I couldn't tell whether it was like a "used car salesman" kind of shark, sleazy and somewhat lecherous, or if it actually had a fin. You guys know there was a woman who lived in Wales, who had a theory that monkies and hence humans evolved from sea dwelling creatures. The Aquatic Ape was a book. I think she was a great feminist. I hope your SM has more of a bite than her theory did. Thanks for checking the book. World Fantasy this year?

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Robert Devereux
Posted on Sunday, May 25, 2003 - 10:33 am:   

I greatly enjoyed Portrait of Mrs. Charbuque. I just picked up my own copy last weekend (after reading a library copy). I did also enjoy Fantasy Writer's Assistant and The Physiognomy, but not as much as Portrait. I think a lot of it is the subject matter - I love books about artists, musicians and writers. Usually they have a bits of philosophy of art written into them, and I enjoy that.


With regards to the Aquatic Ape, it wasn't that monkies evolved from sea creatures, but that spending time semi-aquatic was what differentiated humans from the line that lead to chimps. It does help explain some things - our relative hairlessness, our tear ducts, upright posture, etc. I'm rather fond of the theory, since it explains more of our physical features than the alternate, savanah ape theory. There was an article in the Guardian about it recently saying some scientists are beginning to pay more attention to it now.

-Robert
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jeff ford
Posted on Sunday, May 25, 2003 - 11:58 am:   

Robert: Thanks for checking the books. And glad you enjoyed the Mrs. as much as you did. I agree with you that the Aquatic Ape is an interesting idea and it does have some tantalyzing aspects. Thanks for correcting my description of it. I became aware of it from one of the nature shows on tv. It was about primates, but they did a little segment on this theory. It's one of those ideas that's really ripe from a speculative fiction point of view. So I went out on the web and read up on it. I believe the woman, her name escapes me now, who propounded the theory had at one time been a television writer.
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Robert Devereux
Posted on Sunday, May 25, 2003 - 01:33 pm:   

I found the article at the Guardian

http://www.guardian.co.uk/life/interview/story/0,12982,946539,00.html

Elaine Morris was the name of the woman, and she was a TV writer. She got the idea from Professor Sir Alister Hardy who first suggested it in 1960.

-Robert
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jeff ford
Posted on Sunday, May 25, 2003 - 03:43 pm:   

Robert: Thanks, I appreciate the link and info.

Best,

Jeff
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neil williamson
Posted on Monday, May 26, 2003 - 09:18 am:   

Hi Jeff

I've been well, thanks. Busy, but nevertheless well. SharkMonkey is still under wraps - I guess he's about as far from your Acquatic Ape as can be, but I'll be looking into the link to see if there's anything Mark and I can nick. Thanks to you and Robert for that.

Anyway, SM's a bit of a side project for us, so I'd be hoping you see other stuff from me before that surfaces - although you never know!

World Fantasy is unlikely this year, unless I canpersuade my brother to switch his wedding from Andalucia to Washington. :S However, if Tor UK ever get you over to meet your public here, let me know!

neil

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jeff ford
Posted on Monday, May 26, 2003 - 09:51 am:   

Neil: What have you got coming out soon? Can you say?
My chances of getting Tor UK over to the UK are probably slightly less than you getting your brother to switch his wedding plans. I tried in vain to get them to fly me over. I told them when I made the inquiry that I could hear the laughter generated by my request all the way over here in South Jersey.
But Worldcon is going to be in Scotland in 05, and if I'm still doing this then, I definitely will make the trip for that.
May the Shark Monkey swing from curl to curl.

Best,


Jeff
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Neil Williamson
Posted on Tuesday, May 27, 2003 - 07:33 am:   

Hey Jeff

Thanks for asking - I have a rare sf story (rare for me, anyway) in the new issue of The Leading Edge. Other than that though (with the proud exception of my contribution to Lambshead), anything else that's going to come out is going to depend on me selling the stuff I'm, finishing off right now. But I'm always optimistic :-)

That's a pity you won't make it over in the near future (unless of course Mrs C goes through the roof - aside, did you see the review in alien online? http://www.thealienonline.net/ao_030.asp?tid=2&scid=15&iid=1648). Who knows, I might manage a trip over next year some time. If not, I'll save you a bar stool in Glasgow in 2005.

Curl to curl! Right on!

neil
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jonathan briggs
Posted on Wednesday, October 08, 2003 - 08:31 pm:   

Hi, Jeff, I read your story "Present from the Past" tonite on my commute home from work and just wanted to say thanks. It was a real gem. I think you did something special there. I'm afraid the impact of the middle section might have been slightly diluted by the nonstop stream of nonsense spewing outta the bubblehead with the cellphone next to me at the Metro station. Good Lord, she wasn't even breathing or pausing between words. It was just this constant nattering, like a toothpick slowly being pushed into yer temple. I tried to block her out with my headphones, but Revolting Cocks just didn't quite fit the mood, ya know (besides, I could hear that annoying voice over the music!). But after about nine hours, my train arrived, I took note of which car she got on, and ran for a different one. And on the way home, I was able to properly get lost in your story. That last paragraph. Perfect. Those images are likely to stay with me awhile. Thanx again, Jeff. Very nicely done. I'm afraid I'm not as familiar with your work as I'd like to be (I'm workin on it, awright!!!!). I read "The Pysiognomy" and a short story or two, the rest of it's in my to-read stacks. How much of a departure was "Past" from your other work?
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jeff ford
Posted on Wednesday, October 08, 2003 - 09:04 pm:   

Jonathan: Thanks for reading the story. I'm glad it struck a chord with you. I'm actually going to be using it as the preface to my new novel, The Shadow Year, which if I don't get it done soon will be my old novel. Actually, Present wasn't much of a departure. I've done a range of writing, with varying degrees of fantastical content. With that story, one of the things I was feeling was how the death of someone close to you does in a way make life seem "fantastic" in an unreal kind of way. Because you see the stark reality, you also see some of the real beauty that can only be seen when the illusion is stripped away. Anyway, I'm still thinking about that story myself, so I'm sorry I can't be of more help with an answer. And yeah, I hate those train pests.

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