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Anne S
Posted on Monday, February 17, 2003 - 01:23 am:   

Hello, and welcome to this neato board for Jerusalem Dreaming aka the Edward Whittemore Appreciation Society. Thanks go out to Jeff V and Nightshade Books for, in the first case arranging for the board, and in the second case for providing the space.

Of course if you have visited the Jerusalem Dreaming web site you will know me as Anne Sydenham and you may even have met me on my recent travels in America, where I had a great time after I discovered some wonderful sleeping tablets and got over the jet lag. It was Edward Whittemore who provided the impetus for my trip and the launch of the Old Earth Books reissues my ultimate destiny. Who would have thought when I began the web site that I would be travelling to the US and even have a board on Nightshade along with all you very creative persons. I'm mind blown.

I suppose I should start some thread other than this, so how about beginning with:

Which of Whittemore's books is your favorite and why?


Anne
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Night Shade Books
Posted on Monday, February 17, 2003 - 01:27 am:   

I'm not terribly good at explaining the "whys", but I'm a Jerusalem Poker guy myself.

Jason
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JeffV
Posted on Monday, February 17, 2003 - 08:47 am:   

Yes, Jerusalem Poker is my favorite as well. Although I really liked Nile Shadows much more the second time around than the first. The books do seem to change each time you read them. Anne--could you post the URL for your site?
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Night Shade Books
Posted on Monday, February 17, 2003 - 09:29 am:   

I'm due for a sit-down to re-read them all, now that I've got the Old Earth set sitting on my shelf.

Jason
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Mike Simanoff
Posted on Monday, February 17, 2003 - 10:15 am:   

Hi Anne--great to see you here!

I have to admit that my favorite would have to be Sinai Tapestry. Only by a hair. Why?--because it was the first Whittemore book I read, and not knowing what to expect, it made the deepest impact.
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GabrielM
Posted on Monday, February 17, 2003 - 11:48 am:   

Currently reading SINAI TAPESTRY....
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Anne S
Posted on Monday, February 17, 2003 - 04:36 pm:   

Hi Jeff, Mike et al

I suppose you'd be wanting know which of the books is my favorite. Hard to do, as once started on a Whittemore reading binge, I just want to go on reading his books forever. Perhaps Jerusalem Poker just sneaks in by a nose. And I do love Quin's Shanghai Circus too.
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Stern
Posted on Friday, February 21, 2003 - 07:06 am:   

My own favorite is the beginning of Nile Shadows.
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Ellen Datlow
Posted on Friday, February 28, 2003 - 09:03 pm:   

Hi Anne,
Quin's Shanghai Circus was the first I read and remains my favorite. It was like a splash of ice water. I read it in the mid-70s, just as Ted was writing Sinai Tapestry and would need to reread it and his other books to say more.
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Anne S
Posted on Saturday, March 01, 2003 - 07:19 pm:   

Hi Ellen,

Good of you to drop by. Have you checked out the Jerusalem Dreaming site recently? There are lots of photos of the book launch on it and you are in quite a few of them.

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Robert Devereux
Posted on Thursday, March 06, 2003 - 06:08 pm:   

I was just introduced to Whittemore (thanks to Jeff VanderMeer's strong praise). I've read Sinai Tapestry and Jerusalem Poker (with Nile Shadows on the way).

Of the two I've read, I like JP a bit more. Both involve a lot of shifts in character, place and time, but JP sets it up a bit better. Opening with introducing the main characters, then going back to relate their stories made if feel more like it was one whole story, instead of ST, which felt a bit more like a collection of related stories.

But I do love both. Both have an ability to make me feel sorrow or joy along with the characters, which is a rare thing. I look forward to reading the rest of his books.

-Robert
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Ellen
Posted on Thursday, March 06, 2003 - 07:10 pm:   

Hi Anne,
I haven't been there lately but will go and be right back <g>
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Ellen
Posted on Thursday, March 06, 2003 - 07:15 pm:   

Anne,
I can't find the photos in any area of the site...where are they?

Btw, thanks for linking to SCIFICTION and datlow.com
I'll have my webmaster add a link to Jerusalem Dreaming.
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Jeff Topham
Posted on Friday, March 07, 2003 - 12:38 pm:   

Hi Anne,

Great site, and thanks once again for including my piece on Quin's. As that piece surely shows, Quin's remains my favorite of W's novels (right on, Ellen!). There are, though, other great scenes in the later novels that stand out: The scene in JP, for instance, where Nubar Wallenstein (clad only in oversized women's underwear) retires to the basement to obsess over his intelligence reports while his servants dismantle his palazzo--this in one of the most jaw-dropping comic scenes I've ever read.

BTW Anne, I really enjoyed the piece on W you wrote for the NYRSF--great stuff!
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Anne S
Posted on Friday, March 07, 2003 - 06:41 pm:   

Thanks Ellen for adding a JD link from your site.

The Launch photos are on the News page. You may have to scroll down a bit.

Jeff, I'm glad you liked the NYRSF essay. And I do agree about that scene in JP - outrageous and thoroughly hilarious.
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MJM
Posted on Friday, March 14, 2003 - 12:32 pm:   

Jonathan Carroll recommended these to me a few years ago. Jonathan had actually been in correspondence with the man who was notoriously
given to disappearing, which he eventually did.
I've been grateful to Jonathan ever since. They are the work of a genuinely original imagination.
Such a pleasure to see them all reprinted at last.
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Rhys
Posted on Wednesday, March 19, 2003 - 02:44 am:   

I'm currently reading SINAI TAPESTRY too (just like Gabe M above)... Quite amazing.

The edition I've got is a paperback with an awful cover which makes it look like something by Ayn Rand!
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Anne S
Posted on Wednesday, March 19, 2003 - 04:55 pm:   

Which edition? Is it this British paperback edition?.

It is quite appalling I agree.
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Rhys
Posted on Saturday, March 22, 2003 - 05:19 am:   

Hey Anne, that's the one! I found the book second hand in a charity shop.

The diagonal blurb on the cover says something like, 'a story set in a world just as self contained as that of Lord of the Rings'!

I never would have picked this book up if the name Whittemore hadn't been recommended to me again and again and again by Jeff VdM. This cover does nothing to entice the random buyer.

But how did you put a picture here??? Did you use HTML? The *src* command doesn't work for me!

Doesn't that cover look like something that should be on ATLAS SHRUGGED?
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Anne S
Posted on Saturday, March 22, 2003 - 06:53 pm:   

Rhys,

To add a picture there is a bit of code involved. I had to refer to the formatting help page (on the toolbar at the top). You find how to insert images in the "other formatting" section.

That paperback version of Sinai Tapestry is the one with which I first discovered Whittemore back in 1979. I think it was the blurb about it being "....an epic hashish dream...cosmic ...fabulous...droll and moving" that sucked me in. The Harper's Review from which the Lord of the Rings reference is blurbed can be read on the JD site.

As I have never read any Ayn Rand books (being put off by her politics) I cannot really judge the appropriateness of the cover to Atlas Shrugged.
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Rhys
Posted on Thursday, March 27, 2003 - 04:41 am:   

You haven't read any Ayn Rand? My advice: keep it like that! The Fountainhead is not bad, but Atlas Shrugged is a pile of steaming manure. An 'heroic' story about tax evasion!

So did Whittemore write short stories too? What was his first published piece? I'm fascinated to learn about him now I know what a great writer he was.
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Jeff Topham
Posted on Thursday, March 27, 2003 - 05:10 am:   

Rhys, I think your description of Atlas Shrugged is actually a kind one. Politics aside, it is turgid, sluggish, and unbearably didactic. Ugh.
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Rhys
Posted on Thursday, March 27, 2003 - 06:04 am:   

You're right of course, Jeff! I was foolishly misled into reading Ayn Rand because of my love for the rock band Rush and their album 2112. They cited her as a major inspiration!

I hasten to add that this was many years ago! I haven't listened to Rush for about 15 years!
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Anne S
Posted on Friday, March 28, 2003 - 08:43 pm:   

It seems I was well advised to steer clear of Ayn Rand, though there was faint chance of me ever reading her after I had a clash with Objectivists way back in the 60s. I was at university at the time and part of an anarchist discussion group. Somehow or other the objectivists were invited along to explain their philosophy. The evening was not a success and prejudiced me forever against Ayn Rand.

Rhys, Whittemore wrote about 7 books before he managed to get one published, and that was "Quin's Shanghai Circus" in 1974. Other than Quin his only other published works were the Jerusalem Quartet. As far as I know he never went in for short story writing.

By all accounts he was a fascinating person, a former CIA agent, widely travelled, the black sheep of his family. He was also apparently extremely charming to members of the opposite sex, something of a lady killer.

Anyway, on the JD site there are a number of articles which provide more details of his life, by people who knew him.

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