Thursday, April 9, 2009

Summer's Coming!

Legend has it the book took only weeks to write (and some of us who've read it are not surprised.) Though the author was the scion of an American literary dynasty, there was nothing up to that point to indicate he'd write one of the bestselling novels of all time. The idea itself came from an article he'd read recently in a newspaper.

But he shared his notion with a friend in the publishing world, received a small advance, rented a room above a garage, and the rest is history.
"The great fish moved silently through the night water, propelled by short sweeps of its crescent tail. The mouth was open just enough to permit a rush of water over the gills. There was little other motion: an occasional correction of the apparently aimless course by the slight raising or lowering of a pectoral fin – as a bird changes direction by dipping one wing and lifting the other. The eyes were sightless in the black, and the other senses transmitted nothing extraordinary to the small, primitive brain. The fish might have been asleep, save for the movement dictated by countless millions of years of instinctive continuity: lacking the flotation bladder common to other fish and the fluttering flaps to push oxygen-bearing water through its gills, it survived only by moving. Once stopped, it would sink to the bottom and die of anoxia."
Now, I usually cringe when folks claim, "The movie was better than the book!" (heard a local radio host make that claim recently about Carl Sagan's Contact. Sacrilege.) But let's face it, in this case it's true. The subplot involving the affair between Hooper and the Chief's wife now seems like something only to pump up the word count. The sex itself was yawn inducing, even to this (at the time) hormonal adolescent. The death of Hooper at the end was (I suppose) punishment for his sins. Fortunately for us, the movie corrected most of Benchley's overreaching.

But it's funny what you do remember about a book. Decades later, I still recall a minor anecdote that had Brody as a teenager mowing the lawns of his rich neighbors, whose children all seemed to wear Polo shirts. He begged his parents to buy him one. Once he got it and put it on, he found out it didn't change anything. He ripped it up and used it as a rag. It's funny what you remember.

Not sure why I'm writing this. Lurked a message board recently where the subject of opening paragraphs came up and someone posted this. Brought back a flood of memories.

Not much else to report. Sent a story off to Pseudopod and a 100-worder off to Necrotic Tissue. Put 100 more words into a short.

Life goes on.

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