[li]The story was a cowboy type story, but written in a mythical almost heroic mode the characters (from what I can recall) seemed archetypal. I seem to remember that the hero was chasing a villain and was shot or something. One image that sticks to my mind is him cursing so caustically that buzzards fell out of the sky with their feathers burned.[/li][li]Another one was a story about a guy who was told a story by someone who claimed to be an angel (I think the Archangel Raguel, but I may have this wrong). I remember that the Angel was bumming cigarettes from the guy, and telling a story about (I think) a murder in heaven while all of the angels were working on the various projects of creation. I seem to remember that Lucifer was involved somehow, perhaps having to do with how he fell.[/li][li]Finally, a guy invents a time machine. The catch with the tricky physics is that when you alter the past, the act of returning to the present somehow negates the changes. The cool thing about this story is that the guy is trapped in a burning hotel room, seconds away from death, and keeps going to the past to either get more time or try to right wrongs or something.[/li][/ul]
I will say that have been most impressed with the things that I have been able to find out on there boards, but if you guys come through for me now I will be blow away
First, I have no answers for you. Sorry. None of those plots sound remotely familiar (except that the smoking angel scenario reminded me of that movie, “Michael”, I think it was called). Anyway, I was doing to say that if someone here doesn’t come up with suggestions or a title or even a “Hey, I’ve got that book!” consider talking to the lovely folks at the New York Public Library, or doing an online search with the plot keywords. I was wracking my brains for 3 months trying to remember the title of a book from childhood (with far fewer facts than you have) and finally managed to spot the title at the online search database. (I don’t live anywhere near NYC and didn’t feel like paying for the crazy-sounding long distance call.)
No answers for you eaither, but I have questions in abundabce…
I read a paperback that a friend loaned me many years ago about a band called the Nazgul only the lead singer died… A kid who worshipped the band, and looked and sounded a lot like the original guy was brought in to front the band on a comeback tour which retraced the route that was followed by the band on its final tour and ended when the singer was shot and killed… As it developed the band was actually attempting to bring the spirit of the original singer back… I remember thinking it was a really good book, but returned it to the friend I had borrowed it from and promptly forgot the title… Any help from anyone?
The angel book might’ve been Meetings with the archangel: a comedy of the spirit by Stephen Mitchell. It’s about Gabriel, though, not Raguel.
The story about the angel is “Murder Mysteries” by Neil Gaiman. You can find it in his short story collection Smoke and Mirrors.
I believe the time machine story is Ripples in the Dirac Sea by Geoffrey Landis.
Oh, man . . . there’s an exerpt from the cowboy story in one of the old high school literature textbooks I picked up during student teaching . . . but I have no idea where they are now. If I find them, I’ll let you know. I remember the bit about the buzzards . . . it was part of a cussing contest . . .
> I read a paperback that a friend loaned me many years ago
> about a band called the Nazgul only the lead singer died… A kid
> who worshipped the band, and looked and sounded a lot like
> the original guy was brought in to front the band on a
> comeback tour which retraced the route that was followed by
> the band on its final tour and ended when the singer was shot
> and killed… As it developed the band was actually attempting to
> bring the spirit of the original singer back
George R. R. Martin The Armageddon Rag. That’s not quite an accurate summary of the book, though.
Sorry… Its been something like 20 years since I read it
I will look in to these answers, and by the way, you guys rule!
I have a book title that I’ve been trying to remember, though I don’t know that I’ll ever reread it.
Its a story of two kids, and there;s this tree stump that if they climb in through it, they come out as birds (crows?). There’s also an island where they go into this cavern/hole, and it’s like all the trees are upside down because of the tree toots coming down into the cavern. I read this book when I was in grade 3 (1989), and I was reminded of it in a dream I had, and I’m wondering what it was. I haven’t theied to Google for it, though I’m going to do that now…
The western story might possibly have been “Spud and Cochise”, by Oliver La Farge.
“Spud and Cochise” occurred to me too, but the plot that Binarydrone describes doesn’t quite fit. You should try to find that story to see if it’s the right one, Binarydrone.
Hmm… tangent off this thread, or start my own? Decisions, decisions…
Ok, here’s mine:
A guy picks up a book at a used book store. It’s an autobiography of the Wandering Jew. However, whenever he stops reading, the words stop making sense, appearing to be nonsensical. The only way he can read the story is start at the very beginning and keep reading.
Somehow, people attain the ability to temporarily see the world through another person’s eyes. Not just with their eyeballs, but also colored through their perception of the world. One guy sees the world through a female associate’s eyes and is disturbed to find that she tends to view virtually everything with sexual overtones.
Okay, I’ve been waiting to ask this one of you guys for a long time, just never started the thread. Have any of you ever read a short story about the law of averages suddenly ending? I think it starts in San Francisco, when all of a sudden the whole city decides to take the day off and go to the beach. Then everything that is supposed to average out doesn’t. I don’t remember specifically any of the other things that happen, but it’s along the lines of everybody decides to go out for a cheeseburger at the same time, and things like that. I’ve been working on trying to find that one for years. Wish I could help with the others, but some of those sound like interesting stories, and I might just go out and find them.
Sigmundex, there’s a Heinlein story called “The Year of the Jackpot” in which the main character is keeping track of all sorts of weird things happening, just as kind of a hobby, and he notices on his charts that all the major curves are either at peaks or troughs. The story starts with him sitting at a diner drinking coffee, and noticing a young woman standing at a bus stop who’s starting to disrobe. Eventually, he and the young woman flee the city, just before a lot of Bad starts to happen. At very end, he notices a huge sunspot on the sun, that just seems to keep getting bigger, and bigger, and bigger…
Ring any bells?
Another one that I’ve been looking for: a story where various cycles and fluctuations in the global economy and politics end up being related to the personalities and neuroses of the bureaucrats who run the responsible departments. I read the story in a science-fiction anthology at least 20 years ago and haven’t been able to find it since.
I’ll try this one here too:
Many years ago, I read a story in Reader’s Digest by Isaac Bashevis Singer, published in the magazine probably in the 70s or early 80s. Now I am interested in reading the story in its original (undigested) form, but I haven’t been able to find it. The main character has been living in Heaven, but commits some offense that results in his being sentenced to a lifetime as a human on Earth as the punishment. The story implies that human existence is basically a penal colony for the Heavenly community, and ends with the main character exhibiting the same fear and uncertainty about being born into a human existence as most humans exhibit toward their own mortality. Does anyone remember this story?
> Have any of you ever read a short story about the law of
> averages suddenly ending? I think it starts in San Francisco,
> when all of a sudden the whole city decides to take the day off
> and go to the beach. Then everything that is supposed to
> average out doesn’t. I don’t remember specifically any of the
> other things that happen, but it’s along the lines of everybody
> decides to go out for a cheeseburger at the same time, and
> things like that.
There’s a vaguely similar 1940 story by Russell M. Coates called “The Law.” It starts with the Triborough Bridge in New York being choked with traffic one evening. It continues with the Law of Averages (as the story puts it) breaking down all over the U.S., although no place outside of New York where this has happened is mentioned in the story. Congress decides to pass laws to enforce the Law of Averages. Do you have any idea where you read this story?
I have faint memories of a couple of after-the-bomb stories, both involving the main character going travelling.
In the first, all I remember is the hero going to the city and climbing the stairs into an office building, where he finds a painting that just looks like random blobs of colour up close, but from a distance resolves into a vase of flowers. “A great magic!” he says.
For the other one, all I remember is the cover of the paperback. There’s a young guy on a raft with a cougar (telepathic, IIRC, so he can talk to it) and a plant-man covered in leaves. There might be a ruined city skyline in the distance.
Another I remember involves a non-bomb disaster. (Can you tell I read a lot of those back in the day?) Our hero lives in a village next to The Blight, a roughly-circular area miles across where nothing grows. Sometimes ‘monsters’ come out of it. He sets out to cross it, and finds out what’s really going on. (I’ll hold the spoilers for now.)