News: October 2007


Looks like October is going to be nothing but tours by appointment, including the sold-out walk Don is leading for the Pleasanton Library “Big Read” project covering that enduring novel The Maltese Falcon. With rain already sweeping in, November and December probably also will be given over to private groups willing to brave the elements, but if any walks open to all pop up, they’ll be listed here in the news.


The walks offered every Sunday in September brought back Mike Breiding after many a moon. One of the almost legendary Breiding clan that hovered on the edges of San Francisco’s cultural underground in the ’60s and ’70s (with the poet G. Sutton Breiding, one of the writers collected by the Bancroft Library, being the best known of that shadowy fraternity), Mike discovered that Hammett’s mean streets are still mean enough — the bike whose adventures he chronicles on his Epic Road Trips blog was only a memory and a severed lock when he got back to the library. John Byrne of Monterey, however, had an easier time of it — after planning his trip up, he had no problems whatsoever and worked up a glowing, atmospheric blurb, riffing like Raymond Chandler after a week-long bender. And toward the middle of September Sean McCourt did a write-up on the tour which was published in the Santa Cruz Sentinel — Sean did his detective work on the same walk on which Ace Atkins wore down his gumshoes earlier in the year.


The fourth issue of the journal Lost Worlds, devoted to the life and work of the California fantasist and poet Clark Ashton Smith, is finally available — if interested, copies may be had from the bookseller Gavin Smith. Retailing for $15, the new issue covers the fantasy-horror story “Necromancy in Naat,” with detailed info on what CAS wrote for the first draft as well as what he cut out and what he changed in order to sell the tale to the pulps. That’s the bulk of the contents, but you’ll also find a memorial tribute Don wrote for the late, great Charles K. Wolfe, a pioneer CAS scholar as well as Don’s English advisor back in college in Tennessee, in addition to reviews and letters and the usual stuff of such journals.

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