Thursday, July 02, 2009
The Killers Inside Him
On Tom Piccirilli's great website The Big Adios there are some comments about a chapbook that Max Allan Collins and I put together way back in 1983 called Jim Thompson: The Killers Inside Him. Here's what (Max) Al had to say:
"This is a rare item that I have only a couple copies of. With the cooperation of Thompson's widow, Ed and I were trying to get the author some attention. I like to think we had something to do with his rediscovery or resurgence or whatever, but we were rarely if ever credited by later biographers and anthologizers. I did some editing and a tiny bit of writing on a novella had been deemed (by editors and even Thompson's wife) an unpublishable if interesting work. I didn't do a lot, other than clarify a few things and expand the ending to where it made a kind of sense. This was "This World, Then the Fireworks," which was reprinted in a somewhat different form in a collection that dissed me for fucking with the story, and yet used all my changes without credit but restoring the original, incomprehensible ending. Some minor touches of mine even made it into the movie version, which obviously wouldn't have been made if Gorman and I hadn't rescued this from Thompson's files. It's a very Thompson-esque thing, the way Ed and I are the forgotten men in the Thompson revival. I remain proud of the indepth piece I did, discussing virtually all of his novels. The cover is by Terry Beatty, my MS. TREE artist.
For the record, I was reading Thompson in high-school study hall in Muscatine, Iowa, in the mid-'60s, which probably has almost as much to do with how I turned out as Mickey Spillane and Chester Gould."
Ed here: For me the pleasure was getting to know Alberta Thompson and learning so much about Jim. I think we got a nice interview out of our many conversations. Same with Arnold Hano who'd been Thompson's editor at Lion books. As I mention on The Big Adios I remember sitting at Al's place and us trying to figure out just what the hell Thompson was trying to do with the ending. Very confusing. Al not only figured it out, he did a fantastic job of revising it so that it not only made sense but enhanced the drama. Boy talk about long ago and far away. 1983. Wow.