Thanks to John King Tarpinian for these links to interviews, reviews and videos of people who will be signing at the Los Angeles Vintage Paperback Show tomorrow, March 22.
You could be there, too – bring books!
“There were hundreds of artists who turned out a cover or two during the paperback boom that began in the 1940s,” [Hard Case Crime’s Charles] Ardai says, “but only one who turned out more than a thousand, and that was Robert McGinnis. By sheer volume, then, he had a disproportionate impact on the field. But it was a matter of quality, too—his skill and artistry were the equal of Rockwell and Parrish, and his breathtaking women were the stuff of fantasy for a generation of readers. (Two generations, actually, since I fell in love with them when I discovered my dad’s collection.) The Mike Shayne novels, the Carter Brown novels, the Shell Scott novels, the Modesty Blaise novels—what would these have been without McGinnis?”
Do you think your interest in science fiction is what drove you toward a career in science?
Oh, sure. That’s true of a very large number of scientists. I’ve checked, and I’d say fifty percent of those I’ve asked read it avidly.
Stephen Woodworth’s From Black Rooms is a fine example of a quality SF/thriller/suspense/horror story. It’s the kind of series full of stand-alones that you can pick up anywhere, but then if you love series characters, you may want to read the earlier volumes first (beginning with Through Violet Eyes) as this one gives away a few revelations from those.
Do these stories take place in the same context as Doyle’s Holmes books (parallel stories) or are they set in their own time and place apart from the original series?
They take place in the World of Sherlock Holmes, but they do not spring from or tie into any of Conan Doyle’s stories except for the use of some of the same characters. My major conceit in my stories is that Moriarty is not the super-villain that Holmes believes him to be, but is more of a Robin Hood—stealing from the rich to give to the poor, and to support his scientific experiments. Holmes has a warped view of him because he’s the only man—and certainly the only villain—he’s ever dealt with who is as smart, and perhaps just a smidgen smarter, than he is.
Why do you write what you do?
If you mean, why do I write fast-paced fiction laced with thrills and chills, it’s because that’s what I’ve always felt I was meant to do. Strange, isn’t it, how one can be so certain of something, even as a young child. The desire to write a story, any kind of an interesting tale, is something I’ve had since I was able to connect the fact that I loved to read with the idea that it would be possible for me to create stories of my own by writing them. At the age of eight, I announced to my parents that I would be a writer, and that’s what I became.
What does Atkins think of public/political outcry against violence onscreen? After all, he DOES write those wicked horror movies and books…
“My basic position,” he says, “is of course anti-censorship so any stance from authority figures (even the benignly rabbinical Joe Lieberman) that seems to me to be the apparently-reasonable thin end of an ultimately-repressive wedge makes me suspicious. I don’t buy the ‘influence’ argument because its reductio ad absurdum is Charles Manson finding instructions to slaughter in Beatles’ records. You can’t legislate for lunatics. If some retard kills people because he got all worked up watching RAMBO then lock him up. But don’t put David Morell or Sylvester Stallone in the cell next door. Crime is an act, not a thought.”
The detail with which you describe the setting in “A Home in the Dark” is awesome. Did you base it on a real-world home?
It’s actually the Hollywood Hills, not far from my house. Some details real in a look-out-the-window sense; some made up. Hence, fiction.
How did you first come to discover the Barsoom books by Edgar Rice Burroughs?
When I was a young husband my bride surprised me by insisting that Tarzan of the Apes was a really good novel, not just trashy kid stuff. I’d read a little Burroughs as a kid. I still remember sitting under a cool elm tree on a warm spring afternoon and becoming immersed in Tarzan and the Ant-Men. But a long time had passed and I think my perceptions had been warped by too many bad Tarzan movies. She got me to try Burroughs again and I was instantly hooked. I started reading all the Burroughs books I could find. I was already a science fiction fan, and was totally captivated by the Barsoom series.
From actor to director, from composer to producer, Bruce Kimmel has been a part of the entertainment industry for thrity-some years (or more). Baby boomers instinctly recognize him from his guest starring roles on such television classics as “The Partridge Family,” “Laverne & Shirley” and “M*A*S*H.” Cult film lovers know him for two strangely wonderful films from the 1970’s – “The First Nudie Musical” and “The Creature Wasn’t Nice;” each film saluting a genre, with riotous results.