August 23rd, 2006


Lin Carter fondly remembered

A Friend sent me to the site  of Nick Lowe's essay on how to (not) write fantasy novels -- see comments to the Mordegon proposal.  He  has a hilarious demolishment of a Lin Carter novel (Black Star) and thus jogged my memory to include him in my list of horribly prolific writiers.  It also reminded me of an incident years ago, at the beginning of my writing "career", when I met Lin.  The story also has reference to my (possibly not entirely sincere) ambition to begin a conceivably endless fantasy series.

My second published novel, Beasts, had just come out from Doubleday, one of those nasty plastic-covered library hardcovers.  DOubleday was also the publisher of the first novel of F. Paul WIlson (thanks to Negothick for a memory-jog on that name).  I don't remember the book's name.  He was a doctor and lived in New Jersey.  A bookstore in Brick Church wanted to have Wilson come and sign books.  My editor at Doubleday, Sharon Jarvis (hi, Sharon, wherever you are) thought this wouldn't be much of an event -- she knew where her books ranked in the Great World of books -- and said okay, but added a couple of writers for a better show.  One was me, and the other was Lin Carter.  We were all three taken out to Brick Church in a Doubleday van (?) or maybe Sharon's own car -- be strange if D'day actually sprang for this -- anyway we all set up on a table at the bookstore, Wilson with his one book, me with two, and Lin Carter with stacks of hardbacks, paperbacks, reprints, anthologies, redactions, etc. -- hundreds.  He had long blond locks and a fringed leather jacket a la Kit Carson (it was 1976 or so).  He sold books, Wilson greeted a few friends, I don't remember if I sold any.   On the way back to NYC Lin told me he'd read The Deep, my first book, liked it, and asked when the sequel was coming out.  I said I hadn't planned on one; the story seemed complete to me.  What?! Lin was surprised.  All that labor making up a whole world/culture/mythology, and you're not going to use it for a series? 

So maybe the truth was there for me all along.  A master had opened it to me and I didn't notice.