Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Raymond Chandler: "They pay brisk money for this crap?"

This hasn't been the best week for us at AuthorCulture. Our Monday writer didn't get her reminder two days beforehand and completely missed her post. We all gave her a good ribbing for it and a good time was had by all.

Guess who missed his post this morning? (This is, you understand, a rhetorical question.) So I present this letter from Raymond Chandler who apparently had no love for the Science Fiction of his era.

6005 Camino de la Costa
La Jolla, California

Mar 14 1953

Dear Swanie:

Playback is getting a bit tired. I have 36,000 words of doodling and not yet a stiff. That is terrible. I am suffering from a very uncommon disease called (by me) atrophy of the inventive powers. I can write like a streak but I bore myself. That being so, I could hardly fail to bore others worse. I can't help thinking of that beautiful piece of Sid Perelman's entitled "I'm Sorry I Made Me Cry."

Did you ever read what they call Science Fiction? It's a scream. It is written like this: "I checked out with K19 on Aldabaran III, and stepped out through the crummalite hatch on my 22 Model Sirus Hardtop. I cocked the timejector in secondary and waded through the bright blue manda grass. My breath froze into pink pretzels. I flicked on the heat bars and the Brylls ran swiftly on five legs using their other two to send out crylon vibrations. The pressure was almost unbearable, but I caught the range on my wrist computer through the transparent cysicites. I pressed the trigger. The thin violet glow was icecold against the rust-colored mountains. The Brylls shrank to half an inch long and I worked fast stepping on them with the poltex. But it wasn't enough. The sudden brightness swung me around and the Fourth Moon had already risen. I had exactly four seconds to hot up the disintegrator and Google had told me it wasn't enough. He was right."

They pay brisk money for this crap?

Ray


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6 comments:

  1. Great save, Johne! Loved this piece. "Atrophy of the inventive powers." Yeah--I'm gonna remember that one!

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  2. It was probably all that black and white and smoke. Kodachrome helped enormously. Or should that be enormously helped.

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  3. Linda hit on the same phrase I did—"atrophy of the inventive powers"! I love that.

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  4. I wonder if that's where Google got its name? :D

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  5. "My breath froze into pink pretzels" - really, I'm surprised no enterprising young sci-fi author has snapped that one up.

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  6. I like it. I have a feeling this could apply to most procedurals as well. "He took the swab, dipped it in phenolphthalein then carefully placed the swab in a number 2 spring-closed double enveloped thingammadoohickey." That is followed by a paragraph about phenolphthalein and the Kastle-Meyer test. End Chapter. :)

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