Grab-bag post: SFFaudio podcast on Donald Westlake’s The Comedy is Finished, plus the Destroyer and John Carter (of Mars)

Cover for audio version of "The Comedy is Finished" by Donald Westlake

The Comedy is Finished

I recently recorded a podcast on The Comedy is Finished, hosted by Jesse Willis of SFFaudio and also featuring DEW’s son Paul Westlake, who, needless to say, had much more to add than I did.

This is a free-ranging discussion of both the novel and whatever else came up, so spoilers are everywhere. And I can’t bring myself to listen to these things after I’ve recorded them, so I don’t know how bad the spoilers are, but in the case of this book, I’m not sure it matters as much as it usually might. And my feeling is that this is a really good podcast. We all had fun recording it.

I didn’t have time to listen to the audio book version (I had to stick to paper), but Paul and Jesse did and have good things to say about it.

My review of the book isn’t posted yet as it needs some edits I simply haven’t had time to make. I’m hoping to have it up within the next couple of days, edits be damned if need be. I’m too late with it already for a guy who claims to run a Donald Westlake site.

You can download the podcast from the SFFaudio site.

Warren Murphy and Richard Sapir’s Destroyer series returns!

This is something I’m really excited about. One of the positives about the e-book revolution is that it allows authors to write to the length of the story, not to the length that will make the spine look sufficiently thick at the bookstore as dictated by the marketing types. So when Warren Murphy decided it was time to revive his wonderful Destroyer series, he debuted with an e-book novella, Savage Song, available March 23.

Welcome back, Remo, Chiun, and Dr. Harold W. Smith.

John Carter (of Mars)

I hope you’ll forgive me for wandering off topic a bit, but, as I’ve said before, my path to crime fiction and eventually Parker came directly through the pulps. The moment my path began was reading Tarzan of the Apes by Edgar Rice Burroughs, pressed into my hands by my father at a young age.

The movie John Carter is based on A Princess of Mars, the first in the Barsoom series (not the John Carter series because he isn’t in all of them) by ERB. And it’s currently catching all sorts of shit from many comers.

This isn’t right. Yes, the marketing campaign failed (see above poster), but the movie is terrific fun. In fact, I took a friend who had no familiarity with the source material and the first words out of his mouth after we left the theater were, “That was fun.”

If you have any interest at all, don’t believe this “Biggest Flop of All Time” thing that the press is repeating right now, or at least know that if John Carter does turn out to be a huge flop, it isn’t because the movie lacks merit. It has merit to spare.

Is it a masterpiece? No. The script has a few problems due to the writers and director getting ahead of themselves in trying to create a franchise by incorporating elements from the sequels and hence downplaying some elements from the first novel that would have made for a better film. But that’s a minor complaint. John Carter is a blast.

John Carter doesn’t deserve what’s happening to it.

As mentioned, the friend I took really enjoyed it. So has everyone else I’ve talked to about it who has seen it but one friend, whose criticisms were fair and whose alley I don’t think it was much up to begin with.

Some other views:

Here, friend of the site John Grace co-hosts with Louis Fowler on an episode of the Damaged Viewing podcast, and likes the film even more than I did. (Some stuff that may offend certain sensibilities contained in podcast.)

Max Allan Collins likes it, too.

And, finally, this guy I don’t know very well who is a consultant for my association told me how he went with his fifteen-year-old son and they both had a great time. And I think that says it all.

If you haven’t seen it, don’t believe the (negative) hype. John Carter deserves an audience. See it on the big screen while you can.