I was a huge fan of Harlan Ellison as a kid. Sure I liked his stories, but it was the larger than life image of the writer as the gadfly, the revolutionary of ideas, the conscience of society, that had drawn me to his work. Ellison was like the guy in his story “Repent Harlequin, Said the Tick Tock Man,” who yells at the complacent crowd through a bullhorn and drops two tons of jellybeans all over their pristine conveyor belt machinery. The guy not afraid to “go there,” unsilenceable. I was every bit addicted to the introductions he wrote to his stories as I was the stories themselves. It was in the introductions that we caught a glimpse of the man who labored over his craft, who bravely bared all, who said what needed saying, the force of nature behind the unreasoning mask. He was never one to say “ignore that man behind the curtain.” Of course some would argue that a great story should need no introduction, that there should be no authorial intrusion into the sustained illusion it aspires to create. But this argument misses the point of those introductions; they were like intimate conversations with the starving busker you met on the street and invited back to the house for dinner and drinks. They drew us into the dialogue.
As I aspired to be a writer myself, I always envisioned any story collections I might be honored enough to get published would contain such introductions. I mean, honestly, how interesting can a story be if there’s nothing interesting to say about it? And so finally, I come to the imminent release of my new anthology: The Hippie Hacker, the Happy Hooker and the Great Clone Orgy. And the reason I’ve begun this blog.
The Hippie Hacker right now headed to publication will not contain any of those introductions of which my adolescent self was so fond. With the exception of an overly kind forward by acclaimed author Daryl Gregory, it’s just the stories, uninterrupted by so-called authorial intrusion.
But here I get to do whatever I like. I get to grab the bullhorn, toss the jellybeans. I get to say whatever the fuck I please. So among many other things, expect commentary about the stories about to be released in the collection. Call those posts introductions if you like. Or not. Hell, I might even write an introduction to the goddam introduction. What do think about that?
So strap into your harness. Put on your hardhat. Test the ropes and the carabiners. Watch for falling candy through your safety goggles. And welcome to my blog.