Steve Davidson, over on his blog The Crotchety Old Fan, has invented a new organization, Champions of Really Great SF Authors That No One Else Cares About Anymore. CORGSFATNOECAA. Say “korgs-fat-no-eeka” and you have it.
For my post yesterday about Mark Phillips (the pseudonym of writers Randall Garrett & Laurence Mark Janifer), Steve has made me a Charter Member, and I couldn’t be more pleased. Like the ancient mariner, each member has an “albatross” around his neck (the ancient mariner must have been a fan of something, water if nothing else); an author much respected and enjoyed by him but pretty much ignored by the rest of the SF world. Steve’s cause is A. Bertram Chandler.
Steve is Leader for Life of this select group, and he hasn’t set up any tight parameters on things, but you might visit his site and make your bid – by commenting on the post “We Have met the enemy, and he is not Pogo” – if you have a favorite neglected SF author to add to the list, which now includes Chandler, Garrett (who, you will remember, is Mark Phillips) and Murray Leinster. I would argue the latter isn’t so forgotten, what with a NESFA collection and some recent Baen collections, but at least Keith Graham stood up for him, and that counts for a lot.
George Kelley (George Kelley) is also a Leinster fan, and has Jack Vance as a favorite, and I submit he should be admitted to the group, though again, Vance may not be obscure enough.
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While we’re talking about obscure authors, what about a name I doubt most of today’s younger SF fans have ever heard: P. Schuyler Miller. Not only did he write quite a lot of science fiction in the early days, but he was for more than two decades the genre’s most respected reviewer with his column “The Reference Library” in Astounding Science Fiction.
I was pawing through some old issues of that magazine the other day and decided to glance at the column. The next thing I knew I had read a half dozen of them and was itching to read several of the books he’d reviewed. Miller never sugar coated his reviews, if he liked a book he said so, and said why. Same if he didn’t like a book. In one of the reviews I read he gave a pretty negative review of a book written by the magazine’s editor, John W. Campbell. That takes guts, and a knowledge that telling the truth as you see it will not get you in trouble.
I wish someone would collect Miller’s review columns, just as Anthony Boucher’s mystery reviews have been collected. Maybe some day…