True or False?

by J.D. Rhoades

Okay,  this won’t be
another one of those "who I met  at Bouchercon" pieces, but I do want to give a
shout out to my fellow Murderati, both posters and commenters, who I met (or met again) there. Sure,we didn’t win the Anthony, but
it was a lot of fun  hanging with you. And for the record, the funniest  Bouchercon story, bar none, is here.

Moving on….

Seems to me we’ve been awful serious lately. Not that that’s a bad thing. Not in the slightest. There have been some great,  thought-provoking posts here, and some thoughtful and incisive comments on those posts. I’ve learned a lot from you folks. But, you  know, all work and no play makes Jack Nicholson try to axe his whole family to death in THE SHINING.

So, as a reward for everyone’s good work, let’s kick back, take a break, and have a little fun. I’m going to throw out a fun or unusual "fact" about a writer or a well-known work, and you tell me if it’s true or false. Later, I’ll post answers in the comments. Those with the most right answers will get their names thrown in the hat,  and I’ll pick one and send them a copy of BREAKING COVER, autographed by yours truly, unless you’d rather have it autographed by someone else. That would be kind of weird, but I’m an easygoing guy. Be sure to READ THE QUESTIONS CAREFULLY.

And, just for grins, throw out your own fun "fact" about a writer or work and let the rest of us guess if it’s true or false. An additional prize may be given out for the best one of those. Or it may not, depending on my mood.

Okay, here we go.

TRUE OR FALSE:

1. When Dashiell Hammett was working as a private detective,
he got his first promotion after a case that involved tracking down a stolen Ferris wheel. 

2. Arthur C. Clarke named the HAL 9000 computer in 2001: A
SPACE ODYSSEY by shifting each of the letters in the IBM name one letter back in the alphabet. 

3.The catchphrase "The butler did it!" originally came from a conversation William Faulkner had with Raymond Chandler while writing the screenplay for THE BIG SLEEP.

4.Dr. Seuss wrote GREEN EGGS AND HAM when his editor
challenged him to write a story using only fifty different words.

5. Michael Connelly  actually threw away the manuscript to THE BLACK ECHO,  but his wife fished it out of the garbage and persuaded him to submit it.

6. Ian Rankin’s book BLACK AND BLUE was originally going to be
called OBSESSION, but a perfume maker came out with a perfume with the same name,
and the title was changed.

7. There is a "lost" Travis McGee book written by John D. McDonald called A BLACK BORDER FOR MCGEE. It’s narrated by his old friend Meyer and tells the story of McGee’s death. McDonald submitted it with the proviso that it be published  after his own death, but the publisher refused to release it.

8. Patricia Highsmith’s mother tried to abort her by drinking turpentine.

9. Fantasy/SF writer Harlan Ellison once supported himself by writing lesbian pornography under the name Ellyn Harlison. His best-known work was called I HAVE NO **** AND I MUST CREAM.

10. Metallica guitarist Kirk Hammett is a great grand-nephew  of Dashiell Hammett.

Good luck!

P.S. This should go without saying, but no Googling for answers. You’re on the honor system.

 

37 thoughts on “True or False?

  1. Jake Nantz

    I’ll give it a shot. Hell, it’s a 50/50 guess for those I don’t know, right?1) Definitely True2) I think it actually stands for something specific, but I have no idea what. False.3) No clue. False?4) I’m tempted to get out my copy and start counting words [wouldn’t be googling, now would it? πŸ˜‰ ] but I’ll just guess true5) I’m pretty sure he talked about this on book tour, but I could be making that up in my head. true?6) Definitely True7) true?8) Yep, true9) I have no clue, but that sounds a bit strong. False?10) As far as I know, Ripper’s from the Philipines, so that’s got to be false.

    As far as fun facts, how about these:1 – Supposedly, Gene Siskell asked to be buried with his thumb sticking up. (sorry, I know it’s more movie than book related, but it’s the best I could do). True or false?

    2 – Is THE AMITYVILLE HORROR: A TRUE STORY really true, or was it all a hoax created by the people who bought the house when they were drinking? (Okay, I admit I wasn’t sure about this one so I had to check snopes.com to be certain)

    Reply
  2. Rae

    Hmmmm….OK, here we go –

    1. Odd enough to be True2. True, pretty sure I’ve heard this.3. Don’t believe it. False.4. Believe it. True.5. Yeah, maybe. I’ll go with True.6. Doubt it. False.7. Wow. Interesting. True.8. How sad. I’ll say True.9. Believe the occupation, but the title? Not so much. False.10. Oh, why not? True.

    πŸ˜‰

    Reply
  3. evabaruk

    1. True2. False3. False? I thought that was Victorian, dunno.4. I want that to be true. How stupid do I feel sitting on the sofa trying to recite ‘Green Eggs and Ham’. True5. False?6. False7. False8. True9. False. If I’m wrong, I’ll have to hunt down a copy of that.10. For some reason I hope not. False

    Jake’s QuestionsI’m going false for both.

    Reply
  4. Lori G. Armstrong

    Hey, isn’t #5 what happened with Stephen King and his wife Tabitha fished out his novel…Carrie? out of the garbage?

    As for the rest? I SO suck at these.

    Doing the devil horns in the air if Kirk is a grandson to Dashiell~

    Great seeing you, Dusty! Looking forward to Muskego πŸ™‚

    Reply
  5. Jake Nantz

    Crap, now that I think about it, you’re right Ms. Armstrong. Connelly said THE BLACK ECHO was the third he’d written but the first he submitted because the other two weren’t good enough in his opinion (or at least I think that’s how he put it). Mr. Rhoades, can I get a mulligan on that one?

    Yeah, didn’t think so. dammit.

    Oh well, back to lying….

    Reply
  6. Emma Larkins

    Okay, so on those standardized tests they always say ‘guess if you don’t know,’ so here’s my shot.

    1) Sounds cool, so I’ll go with TRUE.2) I’m pretty sure it’s an actual acronym, so FALSE.3) FALSE.4) I’m going to say FALSE for this one.5) FALSE.6) Um, TRUE?7) Guessing TRUE here cuz I need more TRUEs (harder to come up with fake stuff than real stuff!)8) TRUE.9) TRUE.10) TRUE.

    Kudos for the great posts, Murderati, I need to stop by more often. Also thanks to Tess Gerritsen for her article about whether to fire an agent, I used it on my blog post about agents today.

    http://emmalarkins.blogspot.com

    Reply
  7. Brett Battles

    God, I hope that one about the Travis McGee novel is True, and it somehow comes out someday.

    The rest?…eh…

    1. t2. f3. f4. t5. f6. t7. as previously stated…hopefully true8. t9. f10. t

    Reply
  8. Allison Brennan

    Lori’s right about Stephen King and Tabitha, and it was CARRIE. I’d be shocked if the exact same thing happened to Michael Connelly.

    I’m not even going to try to come up with something T/F.

    Reply
  9. toni mcgee causey

    Wait, there’s a POP QUIZ? We’re having pop quizzes? Nobody told me there were going to be pop quizzes. Do we get graded? Is there a curve? Will there be papers? Holy shit, is there a mid-term? I need a SYLLABUS, damnit. [I am having a nightmare, that’s why everyone is nekkid, I am having a nightmare, that’s why everyone is nekkid, I am having…]

    Reply
  10. Jake Nantz

    Toni, you’re killing me. I just interrupted my student-teacher in the middle of a lesson by laughing. You need to warn us before you do something like that. I’m a bit red-faced back here right now…

    Reply
  11. Rob

    1. True2. False3. False4. True5. False (That’s Stephen King’s story about the novel, CARRIE.)6. True7. False8. True9. False10. False

    Reply
  12. Jude Hardin

    1. Guess true

    2. True

    3. Guess false.

    4. True

    5. That was Stephen King/Carrie

    6.Guess false

    7.False. If I remember correctly it was something John D. talked about but never finished.

    8. Guess false

    9. Guess false

    10. Guess true

    Reply
  13. Louise Ure

    Yeah, Jake, what are you doing reading the blog in the classroom? And just in case anybody thought I was really calling Jake a liar, I’m not. I’m just saying that he has an incredible gift for fiction, and that’s a good thing.

    Reply
  14. Randy Johnson

    1; False2: True – I’m not sure. It’s always been said that IBM were the letters, but I think I read where Sir Arthur said it was just a coincidence3: False4: True6: False Rankin loves the Stones and several books have titles similar to albums(i.e. Beggar’s Banquet, Let It Bleed)7: False Been rumored for years8: True9: False Ellison admits to writing a couple in the fifties, but has always refused to admit the pseudonym10: False

    Reply
  15. Randy Johnson

    1; False2: True – I’m not sure. It’s always been said that IBM were the letters, but I think I read where Sir Arthur said it was just a coincidence3: False4: True6: False Rankin loves the Stones and several books have titles similar to albums(i.e. Beggar’s Banquet, Let It Bleed)7: False Been rumored for years8: True9: False Ellison admits to writing a couple in the fifties, but has always refused to admit the pseudonym10: False

    Reply
  16. Jerry House

    1- false2- false3- false4- false5- false6- false7- false8- true9- false10- false

    Amazing how many times false comes up when you flip a coin.

    Reply
  17. J.D. Rhoades

    I think Typepad doesn’t like the links I put in to verify my answers, so you guys are just going to have to trust me.

    1. When Dashiell Hammett was working as a private detective, one of his first cases involved tracking down a stolen Ferris wheel.

    TRUE!

    2. Arthur C. Clarke named the HAL 9000 computer in 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY by shifting each of the letters in the IBM name one letter back.

    FALSE!

    3. The catchphrase “The butler did it!” originally came from a conversation William Faulkner had with Raymond Chandler while writing the screenplay for THE BIG SLEEP.

    FALSE! When William Faulkner was writing the screenplay for THE BIG SLEEP, he and Howard Hawks couldn’t figure out who had killed the guy whose car was fished out of the water. So they telegraphed Raymond Chandler, who telegraphed back β€œthe butler did it,” to which Hawks replied, “Like hell he did; he was down at the beach house at the time.” However, this was NOT the origin of the phrase.

    According to the Straight Dope:

    “The expression “the butler did it” is commonly attributed to novelist Mary Roberts Rinehart (1876-1958), who wrote dozens of popular books, starting with The Circular Staircase in 1908. In 1930 she published The Door, in which–I’m sorry if this ruins the suspense for you–the butler does it.”

    4. Dr. Seuss wrote GREEN EGGS AND HAM when his editor challenged him to write a story using only fifty different words.

    TRUE!

    5. Michael Connelly actually threw away the manuscript to THE BLACK ECHO, but his wife fished it out of the garbage and persuaded him to submit it.

    FALSE! As Lori pointed out, this actually happened to Stephen King with CARRIE.

    6. Ian Rankin’s book BLACK AND BLUE was originally going to be called OBSESSION, but a perfume maker came out with a perfume at the same time, and the title was changed.

    TRUE!

    7. There is a lost Travis McGee book written by John D. McDonald called A BLACK BORDER FOR MCGEE. It’s narrated by his old friend Meyer and tells the story of McGee’s death. McDonald wanted it published after his own death, but the publisher refused to release it.

    FALSE: JDM did tell Time Magazine that such a MS existed. But it’s never been confirmed, no one’s ever found it, and no publisher’s refused it.

    8. Patricia Highsmith’s mother tried to abort her by drinking turpentine while pregnant.

    TRUE! Highsmith’s childhood years were grim, as indicated by her mother’s confession that she had once tried to abort her pregnancy by drinking turpentine, adding, “It’s funny, you adore the smell of turpentine, Pat.”

    9. Fantasy/SF writer Harlan Ellison once supported himself by writing lesbian pornography under the name Ellyn Harlison. His best-known work was called I HAVE NO **** AND I MUST CREAM.

    FALSE! This is just a joke my friend Tuck used to tell.

    10. Metallica guitarist Kirk Hammett is a great grand-nephew of Dashiell Hammett.

    FALSE! I totally made this up.

    Reply
  18. Jake Nantz

    Ms. Ure, no worries…I am a liar and I tell them for fun (though not for much profit yet). As far as what I’m doing online during class, believe it or not I’m trying to help my student-teacher. See, we’re not allowed to leave them alone with students in the room very often (even though that’s what will best help them establish a sense of confidence). So instead, I have shown my S-T everything I am working on in the back of the room so she knows I’m not watching her like a hawk, so to speak. That way she can relax and just do her thing without worrying that every little thing she says or does is being heavily scrutinized.

    Of course, then Miss Toni busts out that hysterical post (you wouldn’t believe how many kids act the same way…you just wouldn’t believe me), and I throw the whole class outta whack with a nice healthy guffaw, followed by a, “ooh, sorry,” and a bright red face.

    πŸ˜‰

    Reply
  19. pari

    I know 4 is true. That’s all I’m gonna say about that, but I’d wage that B.G. knows her stuff. So if I were a betting gal . . .

    Here’s a NM question:Which of these names are really people who live in NM?a. Duran Duranb. Paula Paulac. both

    Reply

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