Thoughts . . . by Mark Rich

. . . scribbled . . . scrawled . . . trimmed . . . typewritten . . . grubbed up . . . squeezed from circumstance . . .

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Kornbluth Book Progress

On March 1, C.M. Kornbluth: The Life and Works of a Science Fiction Visionary officially went into print. That day, feeling I should do something about it, I started a blog at Goodreads to keep track of the book's progress. Since "Vines, Wines and Lines" is my main blog, however, I figured it would do no harm and perhaps do some good to have the postings appear here, as well. The following is based on my first two postings at Goodreads, on March 1 and 2. I am not planning to post there daily.

Since fiction books by both Mark Rich and Ezra Pines (an alter ego of mine) have gone unreviewed, by and large, within science fiction, I am curious if this book's fate will be different. I personally feel this to be an important biography. If none of the major magazines in the field treat it as such, however, the book's chances at having impact are greatly diminished.

The first review of the book -- a thoughtful and positive one -- seems to have been one written by Herve Hauck (my apologies for having no accent markings available) for his Guide Hervelen des Ouvrages de Reference des Science Fiction -- which I only discovered this last week. He posted his review on January 27. Of the biography he writes that it "est extremement solide et s'appuie sur de nombreuses sources (ouvrages divers, interviews avec les protagonistes ou la famille, echanges de courrier, documents archives). Le resultat est un ensemble d'une grande solidite factuelle et d'une lecture tres interessante d'autant plus que la narration integre parfaitement le cadres plus general de l'histoire du genre."

On the other hand, the first print review of C.M. Kornbluth, having appeared in a publication with a February cover date, may have appeared at the same time as, or before, the French review. This is no more than a paragraph in Reference & Research Book News, February, 2010, page two (which I know about thanks to Lori Tedder at McFarland & Company). It is but three lines long -- so hardly more than a notice.

What distinguishes this from an earlier on-line "review" of the book, of a paragraph's length, which was plainly not a review since its author, even within so small a space, made it clear he had not read the book, perhaps not even skimmed it?

The third sentence of this one is as follows: "Kornbluth was an unusual man of unusual habits and views, and Rich incorporates those traits into his biography of the humorous and cynical writer who continues to be regarded as one of the great science fiction authors."

That sentence, a fairly complex one, covers a lot of ground. It does so in a manner, moreover, that suggests at least some reading of the text. This News seems to have a particular format to be followed, for each title: and within that format this "news" includes review-type evaluation.

Cheers ...


  1. With luck the book might snag a Hugo nomination.

  2. Hello,

    I'm Hervé Hauck and I wish to confirm that my rewiew is indeed a very positive one (the only reservations that I've had were about the last part, the study of the doubles, a bit short for my taste and sometimes outside the genre).

    Carry on this kind of theoritical work and your fiction too (even here in France I own a copy of your _Across the Sky_).