A newsletter published by David Pringle, 124 Osborne Road, Brighton
GRANADA RE-INVEST IN BALLARD
The British paperback rights to Empire of the Sun have been bought by Granada Publishing, after a tough bidding session which involved Dent, Fontana, Futura, Pan, and Penguin Books. Apparently, Penguin ran Granada closest -- an ironic turn, when you consider Penguin's lack of interest in JGB's work over the years.
The five-figure sum which Granada have agreed to pay is the largest that Victor Gollancz Ltd., the hardcover publishers, have ever received for the paperback rights to any of their books.
Nick Austin, Granada's editorial director, says that Empire... is the most significant purchase his company has made “since Fowles' The French Lieutenant's Woman.” He is also reported as saying that Ballard's new book “ranks with Nineteen Eighty-Four and Catch-22 among the great novels of the century.” Gosh.
Granada should now see their way to reissuing Crash and the many other JGB titles which they have published in the past (probably in high-quality, “B” format, editions). They hope to issue Empire of the Sun in September 1985 as a “super-release,” with the full weight of Granada's publicity machine behind it. Needless to say, this will be the first time Ballard has ever been accorded this treatment by a paperback publisher.
A BOY'S EYE VIEW OF OLD SHANGHAI
It's time to say a few words about the novel itself, which I have read in manuscript. It would be improper to attempt to review it so far in advance of publication, but a few general comments should not come amiss. Empire of the Sun is Ballard's longest novel to date (521 manuscript pages, which Gollancz estimate should make a 288-page book) and it is divided into 42 chapters -- exactly the same number of divisions as in The Drought or The Unlimited Dream Company.
The first thing to say about the novel is that it is very good, powerfully described and intensely felt. The second point to make is that it is very much another J. G. Ballard novel: despite the fact that it is not science fiction, it has a development and atmosphere similar to some of his earlier work. To give a general impression of what the book is like one could point to the short story “The Dead Time” (1977, reprinted in Myths of the Near Future). It is not an expansion of that story -- the characters and most of the events are quite different -- but in a sense Empire... is “The Dead Time” writ large: a psychological fantasy of the Second World War.
It is definitely a work of fiction. Although based on Ballard's own experiences, one can see that he has “heightened” them in various ways. As in almost all JGB's novels, the emphasis is on a solitary centre of awareness: in this case, the boy called Jim who is eleven years old at the beginning of the book. Everything is seen through his eyes. Anyone who is expecting a Ballardian equivalent of, say, Paul Scott's Raj Quartet should disabuse themselves of the notion straight away. This is not a conventional novel: it contains plenty of “local colour” but there are relatively few characters and events. Although a big book, it gives us the Chinese theatre of World War II in miniature -- an extremely vivid miniature which should unsettle a great many readers. Enough said.
NEW STORIES IN 'AMBIT' AND 'INTERZONE'
Ballard's most recent works of short fiction are “The Secret Autobiography of J. G. B******,” a two-page story which appears in Ambit 96 (Spring 1984), and “The Object of the Attack,” a 6,000-word tale which will almost certainly appear in Interzone 9 (circa August 1984). Both are good.
It is quite a coup for Interzone to have a solid new Ballard story in the issue which will be current at the time Empire of the Sun comes out. There will be an all-star line-up in that issue: in addition to the Ballard, IZ has new stories by Brian Aldiss, Thomas M. Disch, M. John Harrison and Garry Kilworth.
Meanwhile, Interzone 8, which should be out a couple of weeks after this newsletter reaches you, contains an unpublished story by the late Philip K. Dick, “Strange Memories of Death,” and a three-page “prayer/poem” by JGB, “What I Believe,” plus some good stuff from new writers. The Ballard piece appeared in French in the January 1984 issue of Science Fiction (Denoel). It has been specially revised by the author for its first English appearance in IZ.
Subscriptions to Interzone are £5 per annum (£6 or $10 overseas) from -- guess where? -- Osborne Road, Brighton. If you are not already a subscriber, shame on you -- but you can always rectify the situation: cheques or postal orders should be made payable to “Interzone.”
THE LOW-DOWN ON 'ALIEN'
You're quite right about my being offered the novelization of Alien -- the shooting of the film had just been completed, at Shepperton I think, but someone brought the script over from New York. I knew nothing about the film, which I was never shown, and when I read the script I liked it even less. It struck me as an unoriginal horror movie with almost no connection with sf. They offered me $20,000 but it was surprisingly easy to turn down -- the film is very glossy, but empty at its centre. Anyway, my experiences with Hammer had put me off sf movies -- bad enough without having to novelize them, though I wouldn't mind doing the novelization of Alphaville, or even Huston’s Moby Dick or Hawks's Big Sleep (Welles’s Macbeth would pose some problems),
-- J. G. Ballard, Shepperton, Middlesex
Funnily enough, Huston's Moby Dick was scripted by Ray Bradbury, while Hawks's Big Sleep was scripted by sf writer Leigh Brackett (in collaboration with a certain William Faulkner). Messrs Melville and Chandler didn't get much of a look in. Meanwhile, film-maker Sam Scoggins has a yen to make a real feature film based on a Ballard story (he hasn't decided which one). Anyone out there got a few tens of thousands of pounds to spare?
A LETTER FROM CHINA
Dear David Pringle
I am pleased to read your letter of Feb. 23. As I am teaching the only sf course in English here, I do know J. G. Ballard and some of his stories, and I once used his “Billennium” as reading material for students. However, so far as I know Mr Ballard’s stories have not been published in Chinese translation here. One of my colleagues translated “Billennium” into Chinese and I helped to contact two magazines for its publication, but in vain. They would not buy it. The only Chinese introduction of Ballard and his works appears in a book entitled A Comprehensive Guide to World SF Literature edited by Takashi Ishikawa (translation from Japanese into Chinese). Why such discouraging situation? On one hand, we lack his original works. In my school, for instance, there are only two of his books: The Four-Dimensional Nightmare and The Terminal Beach (I don't think there are more of his books elsewhere in China). British Council donates many books but none of Ballard's. On the other hand, most of his works take disaster, post-holocaust, doomsday as subject matters, which can hardly be accepted here. Our editors and publishers welcome stories of active and optimistic value. In China you can easily find Chinese translations of Arthur C. Clarke, John Christopher and Brian Aldiss's works. They are most translated British sf authors.
As you mention Ballard's new novel Empire of the Sun, this may be of great interest to Chinese reading public. If there is nothing against our present government and the Communist Party, I think it is possible to find a publisher for its Chinese translation...
-- Wu Dingbo, Shanghai, China
I wrote to Wu Dingbo because he happens to be a citizen of Shanghai, and because his address is in the Directory of “World SF” (an international organization of sf “professionals” set up by Brian Aldiss and Harry Harrison). I also wrote to Ye Yonglie, who is the only other inhabitant of Shanghai listed therein. He responded promptly with a very brief note and the tear-sheets of a Ballard story in Chinese, taken from a magazine called SF Ocean No. 2. The story appears to be JGB’s “Time of Passage” (1964, reprinted in The Venus Hunters). I wrote back to Wu Dingbo, explaining about JGB News and asking his permission to quote the above letter. The following remarks are taken from his second letter to me.
Dear David Pringle
I am very glad to receive your second letter. However, I hope my letter won't create misunderstanding. I don't say that “the Chinese people can read Aldiss, Clarke, etc., but not Ballard” (to quote your words). The point is that we don't know much about him due to, mainly, the lack of access to his works. As to me, I am somewhat influenced by American sf critics who usually regard Ballard as writer about disaster, doomsday, etc. When I told Ye Yonglie about your enquiry about Ballard he searched for some time and discovered one translation of Ballard’s story here. So, Ballard's works can be read here, but selectively, I'm afraid.
To be frank, Ballard's Shanghai novel might interest Chinese readers and publishers more than his sf books. If I could have a copy, I would recommend it to two publishing houses in Shanghai (I have personal contact with these publishers). There is no problem about translator and translation. The problem is copyright.
I am very glad to learn from you that Ballard has expressed interest in revisiting Shanghai. I think of all touring places Ballard should choose Shanghai where he can cherish childhood memory and make new friends. If he decides to visit Shanghai please let me know beforehand. I offer my help to make his trip here more interesting and memorable. Shanghai sf writers and my sf students will welcome him.
-- Wu Dingbo, Shanghai
A generous offer. JGB has been talking about a possible return to Shanghai for some years -- perhaps if the new novel is a big success he will do so. I was amused to see that the American sf news magazine carried a feature on Robert A. Heinlein visiting Shanghai about 18 months ago. Apparently, he was made very welcome. I believe Brian Aldiss has visited the People's Republic too.
ANOTHER MENTION IN 'THE BOOKSELLER'
Maggie Pringle has mentioned Ballard again in her “First Report” column in The Bookseller (see the last of these newsletters). On 3rd March she wrote: “J. G. Ballard's novel Kingdom of the Sun has been sold to Don Hutter of Simon & Schuster for $75,000, a large sum considering he has no US track record. Gollancz and his agent Maggie Hanbury, who did the selling, must be delighted by Graham Greene's inclusion of Ballard's novel The Disaster Area among the ten books he rereads most often.” No prizes for spotting the two errors...
The Graham Greene mention was also reported in The Guardian. Greene was in Britain to promote the “Best Novels of Our Time” campaign, and he slyly gave journalists his own, alternative list of his ten favourite works of fiction published in English since 1945. JGB's The Disaster Area was indeed one of them, along with Flann O'Brien's The Third Policeman and Brian Moore's The Great Victorian Collection. The choice of The Disaster Area out of Ballard's total oeuvre seems rather odd: one wonders whether Greene has read any of the other short-story collections.
Anthony Burgess has also given JGB a boost by listing The Unlimited Dream Company in his Ninety-Nine Novels: The Best in English Since 1939 (Allison & Busby). He writes: “This is perhaps the best novel that Ballard has written... The writing is distinguished and is in the service of an Edenic vision which has its intrusive snakes... It is an apocalyptic book but also very much a novel.”
THE END STARTS HERE...
Chris Fowler has kindly sent me a cutting from New Musical Express. It's a review of the Dent edition of The Terminal Beach, by Mark Sinker. He says: “This collection just predates the breaking of the New Wave. He still hasn't purged the tedious mise-en-scene and limp middle-class social drama that polluted most writing of that time. But it's clear that he hasn't the least interest in them: in the best stories, he's exploring unmapped territory for a popular writer...
“Not every story is successful, not yet. He's travelling by touch still. But twenty years later, when the New Wave has long flickered and died, when science fiction has abdicated its duties and betrayed its possibilities, the unspoken collapse of 'The Drowned Giant', the jewelled terror of 'The Illuminated Man', the mighty dread of 'The Terminal Beach', even if they only prefigure his best, are as urgent and quietly powerful as ever.” An unusual perspective. I assume Mark Sinker is very young.
A PRIZE IN SPAIN?
Also from my correspondent Chris Fowler comes the news that JGB has been nominated for an sf prize by a Spanish comics magazine. Chris writes: “Ballard's Rascacielos (means 'skyscraper', so I assume it's High-Rise) is one of three novels nominated for the CIMOC Prize, under the sf novel heading. I'm sure you can work out what the other two are: Guia del autoestopista galactico by Douglas Adams, and Los desposeidos by Ursula Le Guin... CIMOC is one of the leading Spanish comic magazines comics being very big in Spain, even bigger and more respectable than in France), which also carries reviews of new sf books. The nominations have been arrived at by polling their reviewers (I think -- my Spanish is not too brilliant), and now the readers have until the end of March to send in their votes. Presumably they'll announce results in the May issue.”
A MAJOR INTERVIEW FORTHCOMING IN 'PARIS REVIEW'
Thomas Frick has very kindly sent me a copy of his postal interview with JGB, and it is quite something, the best interview with the man that I have read in years. It should appear in The Paris Review later this year: “George Plimpton finally read the thing and did like it very much,” says Tom Frick, but “there's a fair chance that it will be sanded down to some smoother form of interchange.” Here are a few tasters from the interview (copyright Thomas Frick and J. G. Ballard, 1984, and not to be quoted elsewhere prior to publication in PR):
Frick: Do you map out your way ahead of time with any kind of outline or notes?
JGB: Yes, always. With short stories I do a brief synopsis of about a page... In the case of the novels the synopsis is much longer. For High-Rise it was about 25,000 words, written in the form of a social worker's report on the strange events that had taken place in this apartment block, an extended case history. I wish I'd kept it, I think it was better than the novel.
Frick: What about Burroughs? Do you know him?
JGB: Burroughs of course I admire this and the other side of idolatry, starting with Naked Lunch... In his way he's a genius. It's a pity that his association with drugs and homosexuality makes him a counterculture figure, but I suppose his real links are with Kerouac, Ginsberg, and the Beats. Though I think he's much more of an establishment figure, like Dean Swift, with a despairing disgust for the political and professional establishments of which he is a part. I have met Burroughs quite a few times over the last fifteen years, and he always strikes me as an upper-class midwesterner, with an inherent superior attitude towards blacks, policemen, doctors, and small town politicians, the same superior attitude that Swift had to their equivalents in his own day, the same scatological obsessions and brooding contempt for middle-class values, thrift, hard work, parenthood, etc., which are just excuses for petit bourgeois greed and exploitation. But I admire Burroughs more than any other living writer, and most of those who are dead...
Frick: Do you have any pet daydreams about other lives, other careers, other J. G. Ballards?
JGB: I haven't really any private fantasies about an alternative life, even in the daydream sense. I rather like the idea of ending my days drinking myself to death on a mountainside in Mexico. I went to the same school as Malcolm Lowry, The Leys in Cambridge, and curiously enough, in September 1939, while waiting with my parents for a boat back across the Pacific to Shanghai, I lived in a rented flat on the same shoreline near Vancouver and Victoria Island where he had his shack -- we spent a couple of months at a time when he was there. His father came from the same Manchester cotton industry background as mine. Bigger mythologies have been built on smaller grounds...
Frick: Do you watch much television?
JGB: Yes, I watch a great deal... I love those American crime series... What I detest is the indigenous British drama that feeds all our second-rate and passe fantasies, such as Brideshead Revisited, the British equivalent of E.T. -- Bambi meets Cosmic Consciousness...
Frick: It strikes me that Thatcher's handling of the Falklands affair might be an example of the power of the media landscape...
JGB: The Falklands War was a classic, the way in which the military reality of the war was instantly submerged by a tide of political and patriotic sentiment created and propelled forward by TV and the newspapers. The war is now inextricably fused with its own myths and with the personality of Thatcher. TV tapped the desperate need for a declining nation to live out in fantasy, always safer, its most potent dreams of political power and self-respect. Nothing can rival a serious-minded and responsible TV service (like the BBC) in giving an unshakable moral dimension to the most questionable public delusions...
See what I mean? It's a cracking good interview, and I recommend all of you to seek it out on publication.
MORE FROM MONSIEUR SIGAUD
Another JGB interview has seen the light of day, in the third issue of Bernard Sigaud's Hard Copy (March 1984). Entitled “Myths of the Near Future,” it's a transcription of the Book Four interview conducted by Hermione Lee for transmission on Channel 4 TV on 24Th November 1982. Those of you who missed the programme and are without a video-recorder can now read the interview (which is a fairly straightforward one, as these TV things usually are). Bernard is now about to leave Britain to return to France, his two terms as a full-time JGB scholar at an end.
Hard Copy 3 contains, among other things, an alphabetical index of the first lines of all Ballard's stories. There's a small feature on Andre Ligeon-Ligeonnet, described as “French videaste extraordinary,” who might, or might not, be making a film of Concrete Island. There's a quotation from a Paris-Match review of Crash (“filthy, repulsive and fascinating”), and various imaginative illustrations and cryptic items in the usual Sigaud style.
A few notes on Jean Baudrillard and Gilles Deleuze. Apart from the two books mentioned by Jonathan Benison (Mirror of Production and For a Critique of the Political Economy of the Sign) two other books by Baudrillard are in English, published in New York by Semiotext(e). They are In the Shadow of the Silent Majorities and Simulations. The first is a small, 100-page, paperback. Telos Press, publishers of Production and Critique, is an offshoot of Telos, a big Marxist journal.
Semiotext(e) also published On the Line by Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari, which contains two essays: “Rhizome” by Deleuze and Guattari, and “Politics” by Deleuze alone. So far I've only seen Silent Majorities and On the Line. Deleuze seems to be explicitly a Marxist, but a stronger strain in both books is semiology, or semiotics. However, the idea of signs is taken very broadly. In Silent Majorities Baudrillard deals with the media, saying that they make the real hyper-real. You have mentioned the French interest in Ballard's “The Air Disaster.” This passage from Baudrillard seems to indicate some reasons for this interest:
“There is no difference between an earthquake in Guatemala and the hijacking of a Lufthansa Boeing with three hundred passengers on board, between the 'natural' intervention and the 'human' terrorist intervention. Nature is terrorist, as is the abrupt failure of the whole technological system: the great New York blackouts (65 and 77) create more wonderful terrorist situations than the true ones. Better: these great technological accidents, like great natural accidents, illustrate the possibility of a radical subjectless subversion. The power failure of 77 in New York could have been instigated by a very organized terrorist group; that would have changed nothing in its objective outcome. The same acts of violence, of pillage, the same undermining, the same suspension of the 'social' order, would have ensued from it. This signifies that terrorism is not a step of violence, but is everywhere in the normality of the social, such that from one moment to the next it can be transfigured into an inverse, absurd, uncontrollable reality. The natural catastrophe acts in this sense and so, paradoxically, it becomes the mythical expression of the catastrophe of the social” (pp 56-57; emphases in original). The passage is also a good discussion of some of the background to High-Rise, I think. However, Ballard's name occurs nowhere.
-- Leslie Hurst, Borrowash, Derby
or, How I Started Reading the Works of J. G. Ballard
I was born in March 1950, which means I had not reached my 13th birthday at the time The Drowned World was issued by Gollancz in January 1963, so I was too young to be aware of Ballard's literary debut. (I have still never seen a copy of Kingsley Amis's Observer review which first boosted JGB to fame: if anyone has clippings from that year, I'd be grateful for photocopies of any reviews of The Drowned World and The Four-Dimensional Nightmare.)
The first thing by Ballard which I read was the very short story “Track 12” which appeared in Brian Aldiss's 1961 anthology Penguin Science Fiction. I must have read that some time in 1964, when I was fourteen. It did not impress me greatly -- I was probably still in my Arthur C. Clarke phase then. At around the same time (perhaps earlier) I borrowed The Drowned World from the public library, assuming from the cover blurb that it was something in the same vein as John Wyndham's The Kraken Wakes. I think I read three or four pages, hated it because it was so unlike Wyndham, and returned it promptly to the library.
Over a year went by, during which I “discovered” Ray Bradbury, Theodore Sturgeon, and the novels of Brian Aldiss (Hothouse, etc.). I became more sophisticated in my tastes. At the age of fifteen I was also reading Hemingway, Fitzgerald, and Joyce's Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man. The second Ballard short story I encountered was his early piece “Build-Up,” which reappeared in a Penguin anthology called Connoisseur's SF edited by Tom Boardman. That I enjoyed.
I have a vague recollection of reading something about Ballard in a newspaper in 1964 or 1965. All I remember is that it said (inaccurately) that J. G. Ballard, up-and-coming sf writer, lived in Walton-on-Thames. I recall thinking “that's near here” -- at the time I was living, with my parents and young brothers, in Surbiton, Surrey.
Around the middle of 1965 I read New Maps of Hell by Kingsley Amis, and that sent me on a search for sf magazines, which I had been unaware of until then. In a second-hand bookshop in Kingston I found copies of Venture SF (a British reprint of F&SF), which I ordered from a local newsagent and read regularly for a few months. There were also piles of magazines called New Worlds and Science Fantasy, going for 9d or 1/- each, but for some reason I didn't touch them at first. I suppose I was looking for American stuff.
Towards the end of 1965 I began writing sf stories of my own -- something about a mind-transplant, which gloried in the title “Pit of Acheron”, was one of the first. Encouraged by reading Amis, and the introductions to Aldiss's and Crispin's anthologies, I thought I should like to become an sf writer and contribute to the magazines. My father had bought me a secondhand portable typewriter for £5. I soon realized that I could not submit to Venture, an American reprint, so I went back to that second-hand shop in search of British sf magazines.
The first issue of New Worlds I bought was No. 146, the January 1965 issue (then almost a year old). It contained nothing by Ballard, although there was a brief, praising reference to him in the editorial. I started sending off my stories (my masterpiece was a little thing called “Culmination,” written in sub-Bradbury style) and began collecting friendly rejection slips from Mike Moorcock and Langdon Jones. Impressed by their magazine and by their sense of enthusiasm, I cancelled my standing order for Venture and asked the newsagent to get me New Worlds instead (I was working as one of his paper boys).
The first new issue of NW to come through was No. 156, the November 1965 issue. Again, no Ballard, but by then the time was ripe...
At Christmas 1965 I went on a school cruise to the Holy Land, via Gibralter and Malta -- still the furthest-flung bit of travelling I have ever done. We spent Christmas Eve in Bethlehem, and I subsequently wrote a “story” about it for the school magazine. At my father's suggestion I took just one book with me to read on the trip -- Cervantes' Don Quixote. After a few days at sea I was hungering for something else to read. I noticed an older boy lying on his bunk reading a brand-new sf paperback -- the Penguin edition of Ballard's The Four-Dimensional Nightmare. Suddenly I was desperate to get hold of that book, and I badgered him into lending it to me. It was my first real experience of reading Ballard. The book just amazed me, mystified me and delighted me. I didn't understand it all, but I wanted to understand it. I re-read “The Voices of Time” slowly. The atmosphere of it and the other stories seemed so intense, so original...
I saw the Lebanon, Jordan and Israel through Ballardian eyes. Sand, concrete, beat-up American automobiles, barbed wire, new apartment blocks in the desert, gun emplacements... It all seemed so apt. Having been obsessed with the concept of style in literature (under the influence of reading Hemingway and Bradbury I was now seized with the idea of imagery. Good writing had to contain “relevant” images, and Ballard's work was full of them.
I had to return that book to its owner at the end of the cruise, but I did so reluctantly -- I even offered to buy it from him at the full price. As soon as I returned to normal life in January 1966 I cycled round the local bookshops and spent some of my paper-round money on the Penguin paperbacks of The Drowned World and The Four-Dimensional Nightmare. (This time I relished the novel, and couldn't understand my own incomprehension of 18 months earlier.) There was nothing else by Ballard available, so back I went to the Kingston second-hand shop and bought as many as I could afford of the copies of New Worlds and Science Fantasy which contained Ballard material. I soon had a complete run of Moorcock's NW, as well as many of the Carnell-edited issues. I read “Equinox,” the two-part serialization of what was to become The Crystal World. I read “The Subliminal Man,” “The Waiting Grounds,” and many others.
Another item I now read was Moorcock's review of The Terminal Beach which had appeared in NW 144 (Sept.-Oct. 1964). This told me that J. G. Ballard was “the greatest imaginative writer of his day.” Being young and impressionable, I believed it. I still believe it, almost twenty years later. Blame Michael Moorcock!
I borrowed The Drought from the library. They didn't have a copy of The Terminal Beach, so I ordered the Gollancz edition from a bookshop and paid out 18/- of my hard-earned money. It seemed an immense sum, but I have never regretted it. I thought the book was tremendous, the best collection of short stories I had ever read. It was the pinnacle of my early experience of reading JGB. From then on I bought every new Ballard book in its first edition on the day of publication, and -- well, the rest is history.
All the opinions expressed in this newsletter are those of the editor -- or of the named correspondents. This is in no sense an “official” publication, and does not necessarily reflect the views of J. G. Ballard or his literary agent. I welcome correspondence and reserve the right to quote from readers' letters unless those letters carry a specific instruction to the contrary (I exercise discretion, in any case).
I have heard from: Jonathan Benison, who has sent me some interesting Italian material; Mark Ziesing; Elisabeth Gille; Daniel Riche; Malcolm Edwards; Robyn Sisman; Peter Ronnov-Jessen, who has sent me a transcript of the interview he did with JGB last October; Bernard Sigaud (of course); and Peter Brigg, who says (with reference to his forthcoming Starmont House book on JGB): “Thomas Dikty, my publisher (ah! how first-book types roll that one around on their tongue -- later I shall probably say it with a radically different sleaze of voice) has been supplied with an index and he is guaranteeing 1984, although he is not precise about the time. I’ll drop you a note once I am reading proof but I am confident that the JGB world is not going to poise on its axis over the appearance of one more study guide... I gave a paper on Hello America at the Canadian Association for American Studies Conference in Banff, Alberta, at the end of September. I hold a bit of a torch for that book because of its special technique of juxtaposing fantasy with humour and projection...”
I have also heard from Borgna Brunner, the lady with the unlikely name who is Assistant Editor at G. K. Hall and Company (Publishers) of Boston, Mass. She says: “I'm pleased to inform you that your bibliography is proceeding smoothly toward publication, and we look forward to the finished product in July. We just received word on the approved price today: $45.00 US, $49.00 foreign.” Ouch. I'm sorry about that, people, but it looks as though JGB: A Primary and Secondary Bibliography is going to be too expensive for any of you to buy -- strictly for the library trade. (Enterprising folks could ask the publishers for review copies, though...)
Still no word from Vale about the Re/Search Special, though I have heard from a correspondent in San Francisco that the Re/Search people are still hard at work on it. Apparently, it is completely typeset and pasted up, and it's going to be 200 pages (large format). I suppose the book grew to be bigger than Vale had bargained for... Another one that's going to turn out expensive, I fear, but it should be great! That's all. Please keep in touch, everybody.