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Jeff VanderMeer
Posted on Sunday, February 16, 2003 - 05:31 pm:   

Welcome to Peter Straub's new message board. You would have to have been living in a hole in the ground on a desert island not to know Straub's work. However, just a few recent highlights. He co-wrote The Black House with Stephen King--a novel that has received many great reviews. He also edited Conjunctions 39: The New Wave Fabulists, an anthology of modern fantasy including work by M. John Harrison, Kelly Link, China Mieville, Gene Wolfe, and many others. And I'm sure he has many other projects that he will provide information about as appropriate.

For my part, I first encountered Straub's work in the Prime Evil anthology--his story in that book has stayed with me for years. I also greatly enjoyed Koko, the first novel of his I read. Since then, I've read and enjoyed much more of his work.

Please feel free to post questions and comments for Straub on this message board, realizing his ability to reply may be limited by his busy schedule.
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Jay Caselberg
Posted on Monday, February 17, 2003 - 01:55 am:   

Peter, glad to see you here. We met in -- I think it was Chicago -- at WHC with Hartwell, I believe. It's very good to see you with a message board here.
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Peter Straub
Posted on Monday, February 17, 2003 - 08:13 am:   

Nice to see you, too. Here in NYC, a tremendous amount of snow covers everything in sight, including the furniture is our little back garden. My task for today is -- to finish reading the 330 manuscript pages I have written so far of a new book called *lost boy lost girl* (we'll see if Random lets me keep those lower case letters), in order to remind myself of everything I've done before going on to the finish. Then I have to type the whole thing up, because it's written by hand, in big journals.
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Neil Williamson
Posted on Monday, February 17, 2003 - 08:57 am:   

Hello Mr Straub

Just a note to thank you primarily for Pork Pie Hat. It's a marvellous story amd shows a great deal of affection for the subject matter. Made me go dig around in the stack of CDs for some Lester Young.

I've also been enjoying Conjunctions 39. Others may have their own favourites, but for me the Harrison story is superb.

Many thanks

Neil Williamson
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JT Lindroos
Posted on Monday, February 17, 2003 - 09:05 am:   

I first read GHOST STORY, translated into Finnish, and I liked it okay -- this was after a binge of Stephen King and I wanted to try something similar, but different. I liked it enough to try another one, and the next one I read was KOKO -- which was absolutely fantastic. Partly because I was also interested in books dealing with the Vietnam war at the time, and remember reading this and Richard Currey's FATAL LIGHT close to each other... two marvelous, highly recommended books.

Otherwise, I haven't read nearly enough of Mr. Straub's work, mostly because I don't have the time to read anything over 300 pages these days it seems!

--Juha Lindroos.
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Peter Straub
Posted on Monday, February 17, 2003 - 09:08 am:   

I'm glad you liked Conjunctions. Maybe I'm prejudiced, I have to be, but I think it's a very powerful collection. My own favoriotes are the Harrison story, which is wonderful, the Kelly Link story, and John Crowley's amazingly beautiful and disturbing story. I think mine is okay, too, if you want to know the truth.

Lester Young, yeah -- everbody should listen to more Lester Young. Lately, though, most of my listening is to The Magnetic Fields and Flare, since I have recently become friends with Stephin Merritt and LD Beghtol.
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Neil Williamson
Posted on Monday, February 17, 2003 - 09:30 am:   

The Magnetic Fields - yes. 69 Love Songs was a top collection. Flare, I've sadly not heard of.

Conjunctions - the Crowley I loved too, the Link story I enjoyed but it confused me (it has to be said I read it five hours into a transatlantic flight, so perhaps my concentration wasn't great!)

You're an NYC resident? Have you managed to see the Mingus Big Band at all. Had the happy opportunity to catch them at the Glasow Jazz Festival last year. Awesome.
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Night Shade Books
Posted on Monday, February 17, 2003 - 09:41 am:   

I'm perfectly ok with being confused, most of the time. Harrison's story from Conjunctions confused me, but I loved it all the same. For that matter, I published an entire book of Harrison's, and most of it confused me. Confusion is good, at least, I think.

And I do think the Crowley story is one of the finest things he's ever written.

Jason
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Mike Simanoff
Posted on Monday, February 17, 2003 - 10:05 am:   

Mr. Straub,

Just chiming in with another appreciation of Conjunctions: 39. I think it's something people will continue to read and discuss for some time yet. I also like "Little Red's Tango" very much indeed and think it's one of the strongest pieces in the anthology.

Mike
(Lost somewhere under 15 inches of snow in Queens)
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Mark Roberts
Posted on Monday, February 17, 2003 - 11:46 am:   

Hi Peter. I was intrigued by your mention of your new manuscript. Do you write everything by hand first? Or do you approach different projects in different ways? I was also wondering how much revision you make when you type the complete MS...and indeed whether that 'typing' would be done on a PC or on a typewriter.

(A respected UK editor recently told me that he believed fantastic literature as a whole was producing some of its best work in decades...and attributed this to modern technology - both in terms of access to research material and the inherent flexibility of word processing. I wondered what an established author thought of that.)

All best,

Mark
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Peter Straub
Posted on Monday, February 17, 2003 - 01:26 pm:   

To answer a few questions: yes, I have seen the Mingus Big Band at Fez, also the Mingus Orchestra.

And as Jason probably knows, part of Mike Harrison's point is that there *is* no single point or meaning to be found in his work, so it *has* to be confusing. The confusion is a response to a real richness of available meaning. I get very impatient with those readers who think the writer's duty is to make everything simple and streamlined for them. It is often true that if you do not understand something, you are just beginning a fruitful engagement with it.

I write by hand off and on - this time, I wanted to do the whole thing by hand. Then I type it into my Dell PC & revises all over again on that. If given my head, I go through mayube a dozen separate revisions, all of them involving mainly cutting and changing the wording. As far as your editor's speculation goes, Mark, I don't see how technology can inspire an upsurge of good work. I think that is due to the appearance of a number of extremely talented writers.
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jonathan briggs
Posted on Monday, February 17, 2003 - 01:58 pm:   

Hi, Peter, how much snow did you get in New York? We got about 15 inches here in DC. I'm a little bruised and battered from various tumbles down stairwells and headers on Metro platforms. As a transplanted Texan, I sometimes have a little trouble with this Jack London jazz.

A couple Halloweens ago, I spent an evening over coffee in my neighborhood cafe/bookstore with "Borderlands 4" and "Fee." That story crawled in my head and nestled there like a snail thru my earhole. You made me feel all ooky, Mr. Straub. "Fee" stayed with me on the walk home and for days afterward. Ever see the Spanish (I think) movie "In A Glass Cage"? Very similar oppressive atmosphere. Anyway, just wanted to say thanx for making that Halloween particularly creepy.

And I agree with Neil on the Mingus Big Band. I got a chance to see them in New Mexico a few years back, and they were terrific.

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Jay Lake
Posted on Monday, February 17, 2003 - 06:46 pm:   

> I don't see how technology can inspire an upsurge of good work.
> I think that is due to the appearance of a number of extremely talented writers.

I think the history-of-lit-crit types have documented a sea change in narrative style and diction based on the introduction of the typewriter over a century ago, and there may be a similar change underway now with word processing. I agree about seeing a number of extremely talented writers, but I wonder how much more leverage they get out of their toolkit...

Jay Lake
Portland, OR
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Steve Taylor
Posted on Friday, February 21, 2003 - 07:05 am:   

Mr. Straub--I wonder if after Conjunctions the editing bug has bit you at all. Do you have any other plans to edit another anthology?
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Peter Straub
Posted on Sunday, February 23, 2003 - 12:40 pm:   

Editing that issue of Conjuncdtions was such a peak experience - almost all of the contributors were really on-target, an amazing percentage of them turned in stories that showed them at the very top of their game, and every single one was on time - that I think of the whole thing as an example of beginner's luck, and as such probably not repeatable. Maybe in another five to ten years, I'll do another Conjunctions issue, but that will probably be it.
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Bob
Posted on Sunday, March 02, 2003 - 11:31 pm:   

Just wanted to say, you do good work.
Er...yup, that's it.
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Peter Straub
Posted on Monday, March 03, 2003 - 10:20 am:   

Well, folks, I turned 60 yesterday. This seems completely fictional.
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Neil Williamson
Posted on Wednesday, March 05, 2003 - 02:27 am:   

So you're really only 35?

Many happy returns, Peter. Many more to ya.

Neil
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Michael Kelly
Posted on Wednesday, March 05, 2003 - 05:21 pm:   

Dear Mr. Straub,

Happy belated birthday. Glad to see you with your own message board.

I take it, then, that Conjunctions (which I've not read, but has me intrigued) was quite a different kettle of fish than the HWA antho you edited? FWIW I thought the HWA antho was quite good. Perhaps the best one in their short series.

-Mike
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Gwenda Bond
Posted on Thursday, March 06, 2003 - 04:33 pm:   

Hey Peter,

I just (finally, I kept keeping it back like chocolates) started really digging into the Conjunctions stories. I think it's my favorite antho of the year, by some large amount.

Don't know how I found this place, but it's like a big train station of people I know. I feel obligated to post.

Hope you're well,

Gwenda
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Ellen
Posted on Thursday, March 06, 2003 - 05:51 pm:   

Hi Gwenda,
I'm here too!! How come you haven't come to visit my topic?
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Peter Straub
Posted on Saturday, March 08, 2003 - 12:27 pm:   

There was a big difference between doing the HWA anthology and the Conjuntions issue. For the former, contributors could be drawn only from the HWA membership. Given the limitations this imposes, I thought I wound up with a very interesting book, and I'm glad Mike Kelly enjoyed it. With Conjunctions, I was free to invite in the writers I most enjoyed who seemed to fit into the sort of pattern I had in mind.

Gwenda, who might well be the one and only Gwenda I know, enjoyed it, too - I'm glad. It's What I Did Last Summer.
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Andrew Breitenbach
Posted on Monday, March 10, 2003 - 04:14 pm:   

Dear Mr. Peter Straub,

Will "The General's Wife" be reprinted at some point? Thanks for your time!


Best wishes,

Andrew J. Breitenbach
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Mark PL
Posted on Tuesday, March 25, 2003 - 11:40 am:   

Hi folks,

I dunno if it's been mentioned anywhere yet, but I see on Amazon UK there's mention of a new book by Peter, as yet untitled, due out in autumn (trans: fall).

Sounds like Tim Underhill's back. Which is quite funny when you consider the interview Peter gave when KOKO came out, in which he said he couldn't imagine or see the point in writing about the same character ofr years.

I'm glad you changed your mind, Peter.
And for what it's worth, I thought your tale and Neil Gaiman's and M John Harrison's the stand out pices in Conjunctions.

Pity you couldn't have squeezed a Graham Joyce story in, though.
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John Klima
Posted on Wednesday, April 02, 2003 - 10:30 am:   

I have Conjunctions on my shelf at home--moved to the top of things to read next. I had seen it at my local B&N when wandering through the stacks one night. I went back the next day to pick it up, and couldn't find it for the life of me. While tempting fate with my wife ready to go home, I went shelf by shelf through the stacks and finally find it, bought it, and took it home.

Where was it? Oh, filed under 'Bard' of course.

It looks absolutely fantastic. My wife pulled it out of my hands the other night so that we could eat dinner. I can't wait to get back from my business trip so I can dig into it.

JK
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johua
Posted on Wednesday, August 04, 2004 - 05:48 pm:   

I am just wondering som things about the talent of this autor so some of his new novels to be take or exposed in cinematographic versions. I'm reading jis newest novel which is preety good "lost boy lost girl" which I consider it as the best horror novel of the year which is now critically acclaimed and also is swepting all this years awards: the Bram Stoker Award (best novel), the International Horror Guild Award (best novel) is nominated to the British Fantasy Award (August Derleth Award to Best Novel) and I hope to be nominated for the Woirld Fantasy Award.
I've already bough the major books of the Blue Rose trilogy: Koko (World Fantasy Award-winner best novel) and The Throat (Bram Stoker Award-winner best novel and World Fantasy Award-nominee for best novel). I hadn't bough Mystery but one of my wills is to adapt the Blue Rose trilogy into a motion picture trilogy of psychological thrillers of outstanding terror. If fans of Straub want that Koko, Mystery and The Throat vote to Blue Rose trilogy to adapt into cinematography, e-mail or give suggestions to movie-makers.
That will satisfy Mr. Straub and for express in the silver screen the horrors and fantasy thrills of the trilogy of the Blue Rose. And also I would like that they adapt "lost boy lost girl"
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Craig Shaeffer
Posted on Tuesday, September 21, 2004 - 06:03 pm:   

Thoughts for Mr. Straub...

1. Ghost Story is the best horror novel ever written--this from an avid Stephen King fan. I read it during my senior year in college while sitting on the porch of my house on a series of crisp fall afternoons. Honestly, I've never had a horror novel possess me as completely as did GS.

The "Witness" scene (with the Bates) is forever etched in my memory. Along with the climax of Rosemary's Baby, the phallic impalement in Hell House, and the Beatty/Montag showdown in 451, this is one of my favorite moments in the literature of the macabre.

2. If You Could See Me Now, Julia, The Hellfire Club, and Shadowland are also classics of the genre. I can't comment on his others because I've not yet read them. To be honest, I'm saving them for the same reason I'm saving some of Ramsey Campbell's, Richard Matheson's and Joe R. Lansdale's. I want them to look forward to.

3. In case you read this some day, THANK YOU, Mr. Straub, for all the joy, excitement, and terror you've given me. You're truly a master and an example to be emulated.

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