POSTSCRIPTS 10 - Joe's thoughts on Zoran Zivkovic

POSTSCRIPTS 10 - Joe's thoughts on Zoran Zivkovic

Postby Paul_Campbell on Sat May 19, 2007 6:14 am

I received my copy of Postscripts 10 the other day (incidentally, the box it came in has to be the most professional packaging I've ever had a book delivered in!).

And the first story I read -

- Connie Willis.

Yep, I'm a King fan, Joe's lovely, but I read Connie first.

THAT'S how good a writer I consider Connie.

At first I was a little crestfallen when I discovered that the Connie Willis story was a reprint from 1981, but perked right back up again when I saw that it wasn't in any of her three story collections, nor is it to be included in her forthcoming retrospective from Subterranean Press! I perked up even more when I read it last night and discovered it to be, in essence, the germ for her novel Passage (2001). Amazing to think that the genesis for that novel had been percolating in her subconscious for 20 years! (Although I can see now why it was never included in any of her collections, if indeed the reason being was that she was 'saving it' for a novel length treatment.)

I've known of Postscripts more or less since its inception 3 years ago, but never bothered to take out a subscription as I became very wary of British magazines in the '90s: they published short fiction, not short stories. Miserablist, slipstream claptrap about cypher characters wandering around dreary English housing developments. Not a 'story' among them - at best they read like excerpts from a long, dull realist's novel.

However...

... good things were being said about Peter Crowther's Postscripts and so I contacted Pete a few weeks ago (whom I met at last year's Fantasycon in Nottingham, England, along with Joe hisownself) and asked if he still had copies of all 9 back issues. he did.

I received them last weekend, in one big bundle, and immediately the very foreignness of Zoran Zivkovic's name leapt off the contents page and so I decided to start there... his name, for me, conjured up dark, foreboding images so you can imagine my surprise and delight when I discovered that he read like a whimsical version of Thomas Ligotti! Terrific stuff! I read all five of his stories (issues 2 and 4 through 7), one a day Monday to Friday, and indeed plan to work my way through all nine issues in this way, a story a day. (Whilst, of course, reading novels: currently munching my way through Dan Simmons's 2003 novel Ilium.)

Was wondering, Joe, what you thought of Zoran Zivkovic?

(For those who bought Postscripts 5, which features Joe's "Bobby Conroy Comes Back from the Dead", there's a Zivkovic story in there. Incidentally, the paperback copy of issue #5 which Pete sent me is signed by Juliet E. McKenna and Joe - a lovely touch!).

I'm not usually crazy about vignettes (with the exception of those included in Peter Straub's 1991 volume Houses Without Doors, which is, in my most humble opinion, the best single-author collection ever: a masterclass in vignettes, short stories, novelettes and novellas) and my reaction to King's "Graduation Afternoon" was no different. Though, that said, I've always loved the minutiae of Stephen's writing: here, too, it's in evidence as he builds a word-picture of Janice's character. Enjoyed the voice of the story, too (talking of King, I think his story "The Things They Left Behind" in Ed McBain's 2005 anthology Transgressions is one of his very best; a brilliantly subtle and affecting story).

A little suprised not to find an interview with Michael Marshall Smith, but extremely impressed by this latest issue! The production values and author line-up are superb. But a magazine?! This is a friggin' 352 page anthology! :D

I plan on taking out regular 4-issue subs from here on out.

(By the way, as an added bonus, subscribers get a free Christmas chapbook, especially commissioned by Pete: the first two were "Christmas Inn" by Gene Wolfe and "Iyllria" by Elizabeth Hand. Plus, Pete says there will be future 'double issues' like #10 which, although they cost twice as much if bought individually, are sent out to subscribers for no extra cost, i.e. it works out to the same £6/$10 as what they're paying for the regular edition.)
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Postby LauraK on Sat May 19, 2007 5:18 pm

Well, I hope that means I'll get mine soon. I believe I ordered it in Jan. :(

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Postby Dana_Jean on Sat May 19, 2007 9:31 pm

Well Paul, I'm sorry you didn't have much to say, I was sort of looking forward to your thoughts. (Just kidding dammit.)
That was all really intriguing and I'm so anxious for my Postscripts to come now. Thanks
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Postby Paul_Campbell on Sun May 20, 2007 2:15 am

Pete tells me that although #10 was technically published to coincide with the World Horror Convention in Toronto, in reality only a limited number of copies were printed off on time, due to PS launching quite a number of other titles at the con. The printers simply couldn't produce the entire print runs that each title needed.

Pete literally only took delivery of the remaining print run of #10 last weekend. So within the next week or so folks in the States ought to be receiving them.
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Postby LauraK on Sun May 20, 2007 10:01 am

Thanks, Paul. :)

I didn't comment on what you wrote because I didn't read it- I want it all to be fresh for me when it arrives. Silly, I know. :p

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Postby joe_hill on Sun May 20, 2007 12:18 pm

Paul,

Haven't had a chance to get to Zoran Zivkovic yet, although I've heard good things, and we've been in a few magazines together.

And I share your high opinion of Connie Willis... terrific writer.
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Postby Paul_Campbell on Sun May 20, 2007 1:21 pm

Thanks for replying Joe!

Zoran's definitely worth a look - so much so that I'm tempted to buy his massive collection Impossible Stories, published by PS last Spring.

Now, if I can just juggle the credit card bills...
Last edited by Paul_Campbell on Mon May 21, 2007 4:14 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Dana_Jean on Sun May 20, 2007 7:55 pm

Pete and Joe also broke my afraid-to-order-things-over-the-internet cherry.


Now I'm sort of getting addicted. Only books though.

Pete has always treated me with the utmost respect. I think he digs me. Maybe even loves me.

Okay. He doesn't even know me.
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Postby PaulJessup on Mon May 21, 2007 2:23 pm

Messir Campbell-
If you wouldn't mind me asking (and this applies to anyone else who has read it) what you thought of my story that was in this issue?
[http://pauljessup.kapo.ws][http://grendelsong.com]
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Postby Paul_Campbell on Mon May 21, 2007 5:21 pm

Hi Jessup,

I've only, as of 10 days ago, taken bulk delivery of Postscripts 1-9, and #10 on Thursday there.

So far I've read the five Zivkovic stories, Connie Willis's "Distress Call" and Stephen King's "Graduation Afternoon".

Haven't even read Joe Hill's own story yet. (Or, for that matter, "Bobby Conroy...")

But tell'ya what, I see your story is only 8 pages long and I've noticed from the PS website that you have no less than another 3 stories forthcoming - issues 12, 14 and 15 - so it's obvious that Pete's very impressed with your work.

I've just finished backshift and I'm about to go for a bath (yeah, I know, all you ladies out there like really needed that image!).

I'll log on again in a few hours (about 8:30pm eastcoast time in the States; 1:30am over here in bonnie Scotland) and let you know what I thought!

Paul
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Postby val04463 on Mon May 21, 2007 5:36 pm

What you thought about your bath? :oops: :oops: :shock:
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Postby Dana_Jean on Mon May 21, 2007 6:41 pm

Yes. Do tell. How was the bath? Any Lochness monsters I need to be aware of?
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Postby Paul_Campbell on Mon May 21, 2007 8:04 pm

Dana Jean wrote:Yes. Do tell. How was the bath? Any Lochness monsters I need to be aware of?


Easy tiger!

Paul Jessup - "Mud Skin"

What struck me first off was that your approach to magic realism is very evocative of Kelly Link, although I have to say that, despite the mischievousness of the Pa character, the delivery was rather dry, lacking Kelly's finesse and exuberance. Her sly humor, too, is also crucial.

The basic premise reminded me of Theodore Sturgeon's "Microcosmic God". I liked the way you structured the whole fantastic concept of the story around a couple of ordinary country folks.

In the brief introduction you outline your aims for the story, and I would caution against this, not least because it has the danger of coming across as pretentious.

I'm in agreement with Stephen King when he said that a writer's first responsibility is to tell a story; questions of theme and whatever deeper meaning or message the tale may hold should come to the fore natural during the course of the 2nd draft. It certainly isn't wise to start out with an agenda and then attempt to construct a fiction around it. A writer's job is to be a storyteller - s/he isn't there to deliver a sermon or their master's thesis.

As for religion?

You know, I like the idea of what religion could be in theory.

The beauty of it - in theory - is that it doesn't matter whether God exists or if the Bible is a load of claptrap, because in theory it has the potential to be this amazingly wonderful unifying thing: it gives people a common interest and a sense of community.

Well, so much for theory, huh?

For in practice you have the Middle East.

In practice you have, on TV in the States, over-zealous Christians, Mormons and Evangelist shoving their religion down your throat (nothing is more off-putting than the hard sell; something these folks just never seemed to get).

In practice you have, in middle England, communities rife with bigotry, Here too in Scotland, especially in the city of Glasgow and surrounding suburbs, what with this whole Celtic/Rangers football team rivalry. Yeah, I know; it's childish and pathetic - let's not even go there!

(Incidentially, the whole Northern Ireland Protestant/Catholic thing has always simultaneously amused and distressed me: here you have grown adults heckling kindergarten kids on their way to school, and why?! One calls it a Church, one calls it a Chapel; one calls it a Priest, one calls it a Minister. But get this - they both worship the same God. Go figure...)

I believe in God. I have no interest in religion.

They are not the same thing because Man created religion, which was his folly.

God created Man. That was His folly.

Wait, what were we talking about again? Oh, yeah, "Mud Skin" -

- I wouldn't say you set out here with a mission in mind, or even a message; although, if there is one it's very bleak, as the ending clearly implies that, yes, you can change the status quo but eventually it'll revert back to the way it was anyway.

All in all, a neat little story. Be interested to read your future stuff in Postscripts.
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Postby Dana_Jean on Mon May 21, 2007 8:21 pm

Dana Jean Campbell. Dana Campbell. Mrs. Paul Campbell. Mrs. Dana Jean Campbell. DJC.

Yes. It is with sincere regret and sadness that I announce that Mark James and I are splitting. He gets to take the quilt, I will take the Henry the VIII story. One day, he talked all purdy to me, and then the next thing I know, he logs off never to be heard from again.

Paul isn't aware of his feelings for me yet; but he will come to embrace them soon enough.

"Hey, hey Paul,
I want to marry youuuuuu."



(You do know I'm just f'ing with you, right Paul? Mmmmm, maybe.)
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Postby Paul_Campbell on Mon May 21, 2007 8:44 pm

You crack me up girl! :lol:

G'on with yo badself -
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