Wednesday, July 10, 2013

John D. MacDonald On "Reading For Survival"

     A conversation between Travis McGee and Meyer you've probably never read -- which you should: Reading For Survival.

     You might not agree with MacDonald, speaking through his characters.  He may rile you.  He may even be wrong in places.  But it's a dozen pages long and it'll make you think.


Bob said...

I read it long ago, one of the original booklets, but it wasn't mine to keep, and I didn't have a copier handy. Thanks for linking this, Bobbie.

Another obscure MacDonald piece is the introduction he did for Stephen King's first short story collection, Night Shift. In it, MacDonald talks of the writer's craft, and mentions that inserting mini-lectures into a story is one of his own grievous faults. Amazing that he'd think so, because it was those world-weary, cynical lectures from McGee that made him so endearing.

mikelaforge said...

Thought I had read everything JDM. Had not. Thanks.

P.S. Ooh, Ooh - if you look around there is a NYT X-word that has a Travis McGee Color theme.

Brick said...


I kid. I kid.

NotClauswitz said...

That old lady he mentions with the house who kept building-on until it was a maze of rooms - I've been there, it's down the street more or less and it's real.

Drang said...

MacDonald was an interesting character. According to his obit, OSS in Burma during Dubya Dubya Twice. Which explains the reference (in The Green Ripper, I think) to "the first war we weren't allowed to win" which was fought in "tropical jungle." I ass-you-me'd that he was talking about Korea, of course, which, of course, has no tropical jungles. (Urban, yes, tropical, no.)

Stranger said...

Like Bob, I read JDM's essay on reading long ago, but the copy was not mine.

As I glanced through the link, I thought of today's recent high school graduates; the bulk of whom cannot pick up a book and read for pleasure. Or read at all.

A century ago, one man taught auditoriums of children to read - in six weeks - for one dollar each. The "final exam" was to publicly read aloud a 250 word newspaper item, in three minutes, without error or serious hesitation.

Today's "educational system" takes $100,000 or so of taxpayers money, and after twelve years the students have not progressed past "Run Jack Run." I do not believe the taxpayers are getting their money's worth.


Anonymous said...

I remember being up in San Francisco, learning that JDM had passed away. It was a lonely silver rainy day and I was feeling very sad. I was going to miss McGee and Meyer dammit.

I was a lot younger back then and didn't believe in ghosts. Thanks for sharing this, I don't remember ever reading it before.

Roberta X said...

Yes, I remeber thinking,"Well, that's as much McGee as we're ever going to get. I'm going to miss that guy." I still do.

Miss Agnes does get a cameo in John Varley's "Red Thunder," at least.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the link. New to me McGee and Meyer makes my weekend, and proves all bookmarks are worth saving.


Bob said...

Are you aware of Spider Robinson's Callahan books, Bobbie?

Roberta X said...

Indeed I am, and I found them to be good fun, though increasingly fantasy. (I loved the one where people kept telling th protagonist, "You look just like...").

Wasn't happy with Robinson's "posthumous collaboration" with Heinlein and some of his other work.