13 June 2010

The Two Harveys

Again, I recognize the slight thinness in my blog posting. I’ve buckled down on my writing projects since winning The Writers of the Future Contest, so please bear with me . . . it might be this way for a while. I’m concentrating my free time heavily on working on new short stories and revising my recent novels, and that does mean that one of my free time activities, in this case blogging about movies and books, will suffer something of a reduction.

Anyway, last night I attended my first event with some connection to the Writers of the Future, which was watching a live performance at the Stories from the Golden Age Theater in Hollywood. This performance, which occurs weekly, takes place in the Author Services building (the literary agency that runs the Writers and Illustrators of the Future Contest) and features professional actors reading a dramatization of a pulp short story from the 1930s, complete with sound effects, narration, costumes, and a introduction from a bogus sponsor. Essentially, it’s a live performance of old time radio, and a genuine hoot, especially if you’re like me love both pulp literature and 1930s culture. Last night’s show was a Westerns, “Reign of the Gila Monster,” which was originally published in Western Aces magazine, is pretty much what I expect from the fast-action and sharp dialogue of the stories of the period. The performers included Martin Kove (the eeeevil karate master from the original Karate Kid) and Bo Hopkins, who to me means “Sam Peckinpah.” I asked him after the show if he would please say for me his famous dying line from The Wild Bunch: “Well, how would you like to kiss my sister’s black cat’s ass?” And he did it. Cool guy.

The event wasn’t specifically about The Writers of the Future, but I did get to meet the contest coordinator and also one of the other winners in this quarter. Some of you who have seen the press release for the winners might have noticed two people with the last name “Harvey” among the three winners. Brennan Harvey won First Place, and I won third. And no, we’re not related. It’s a weird coincidence that not only did two people named “Harvey” win in the same quarter, but they’re also both Southern California residents. So yesterday I got to meet Brennan for the first time, and he’s a great guy. Here is a photo taken last night The Two Harveys together:
We’ll spend a lot of time over the next year telling people that “No, I’m not related to the other Harvey.”

Both of us were also interviewed for a documentary about Stories from the Golden Age, a series of pulp reprints. I babbled a lot; pulp fiction is sort of a topic near to my heart—have you noticed that?

The Author Services building contains a room that houses a huge amount of original pulp magazines. This blew my head apart. My beloved stories and authors, in their original pulp wood paper formats, saved from the garbage cans people would have tossed them into back in the 1930s when they finished them. Yes, I stood before magazine with the names “Max Brand” and “Cornell Woolrich” on them. Cornell . . . Woolrich . . . It was like looking at a sacred relic for me. Plus, nearly every issue of Unknown, the famous fantasy mag that gave us Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser and Jack Williamson’s Darker Than You Think.