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