Monthly Archives: September 2010


In 1970, Miles Davis brought out his jazz-rock fusion album, Bitches Brew. It became Miles Davis’ first gold record. Now, 40 years later, we have this 40th Anniversary collection in two formats. The first format, the “Collector’s Edition,” includes 4 CDs, the original album on CD, and an audiophile vinyl pressing on 2 LPs. Also included are previously unissued material including extensive live performances of much of the same music including a DVD of the entire Copenhagen performance from November 4, 1969. More bonus material: a 48-page 12×12 book, memorabilia envelope, and large fold out poster.

Or, you can go with Bitches Brew in the Legacy Edition [2 CDs and a DVD]. Here are all the original material plus alternate takes and bonus cuts. A DVD of the Copenhagen performance is included. Bitches Brew is one of those seminal recordings. These editions are completely remastered and sound great!
Track Listings
Disc: 1

1. Pharaoh’s Dance
2. Bitches Brew
3. Spanish Key
4. John McLaughlin
Disc: 2
1. Miles Runs The Voodoo Down
2. Sanctuary
3. Spanish Key (alternate take)
4. John McLaughlin (alternate take)
5. Miles Runs The Voodoo Down (single)
6. Spanish Key (single)
7. Great Expectations (single)
8. Little Blue Frog (single)
Disc: 3
1. Directions (Copenhagen concert of 11/4/69)
2. Miles Runs The Voodoo Down (Copenhagen concert of 11/4/69)
3. Bitches Brew (Copenhagen concert of 11/4/69)
4. Agitation (Copenhagen concert of 11/4/69)
5. I Fall In Love Too Easily (Copenhagen concert of 11/4/69)
6. Sanctuary (Copenhagen concert of 11/4/69)
7. It s About That Time (Copenhagen concert of 11/4/69)
8. The Theme (Copenhagen concert of 11/4/69)


This week BEST BUY is offering Phil Collins’ GOING BACK CD for a mere $7.99. If you love Motown, you’re going to love this new Phil Collins effort. Phil sings his favorite Motown hits like “Papa Was a Rolling Stone” and “Standing in the Shadows of Love.” I’ve been a Phil Collins fan since his days with Genesis. If you’re a Phil Collins fan, this is a must-buy especially at BEST BUY’s rock bottom price. GRADE: A
1 Girl (Why You Wanna Make Me Blue) 2:32
2 (Love Is Like A) Heatwave 2:53
3 Uptight (Everything’s Alright) 3:03
4 Some of Your Lovin’ 3:19
5 In My Lonely Room 2:25
6 Take Me In Your Arms (Rock Me For a Little While) 2:59
7 Blame It On the Sun 3:27
8 Papa Was a Rolling Stone 6:44
9 Never Dreamed You’d Leave in Summer 2:59
10 Standing in the Shadows Of Love 2:42
11 Do I Love You 2:50
12 Jimmy Mack 2:56
13 Something About You 2:47
14 Love Is Here and Now You’re Gone 2:40
15 Loving You Is Sweeter Than Ever 2:48
16 Going To a Go-Go 2:49
17 Talkin About My Baby 2:47
18 Going Back 4:36


Wall Street achieved iconic status back in 1987 with Michael Douglas’ (as Gordon Gekko) slogan: “Greed is Good.” The sequel, Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps, tries to capture the amoral Wall Street ethos that led to the near-collapse of our economic system. Gordon Gekko’s release from prison triggers a series of events involving Shia LaBeouf, Josh Brolin, Carey Mulligan, and Frank Langella that director Oliver Stone attempts to use as a microcosm of our current financial crisis. However, I found the Real Life drama of Michael Douglas’ battle with throat cancer to be more compelling every time Douglas was on the screen. GRADE: B+


Rick Robinson reviewed a Graham Greene short story collection a few weeks ago. That motivated me to read Greene’s Complete Short Stories, a wonderful collection of 49 stories. Greene’s short stories were scattered through four short story collections. This volume gathers them together in one handy place. For Graham Greene fans, here’s the breakdown of the stories:
Stories 01 to 21: 1954′s Twenty-One Stories (itself an expansion of 1947′s Nineteen Stories)
Stories 22 to 25: 1963′s A Sense of Reality
Stories 26 to 37: 1967′s May We Borrow Your Husband? and Other Comedies of the Sexual Life
Stories 38 to 49: 1990′s The Last Word: And Other Stories

Everyone will have their favorites but I recommend gems like “The Destructors,” “Under the Garden,” “An Appointment With the General, and “The Basement Room.” I consider them some of the finest short stories ever written. If you’ve only read Graham Greene’s fine novels, you’re missing out on some of his best work if you ignore his short fiction. GRADE: A
(This completes the September 2010 portion of my Short Story Reading Challenge. I will read and review one short story collection per month in 2010. To find out more about the Short Story Reading Challenge, be sure to click: “”>Short Story Reading Challenge.

THE LONG EMERGENCY By James Howard Kunstler

Last week I scared some of you with the prospect that the plastics in your kitchen and bathroom were leeching carcinogens into your food and body with Slow Death By Rubber Duck. This week’s entry into the prospect of “gloom and doom” is James Howard Kunstler’s The Long Emergency: Surviving the End of Oil, Climate Change, and Other Converging Catastrophes of the Twenty-First Century. I read The Long Emergency because Kunstler has written a series of novels based on his conception of a post-oil society. You’ll be seeing those reviews in the weeks ahead. As for The Long Emergency, it could have been titled: Worst Case Scenario. If all of Kunstler’s predictions about the end of oil and the effects of climate change and food shortages come true, we’re looking at the end of civilization as we know it. Yes, this is indeed scary stuff. GRADE: B+


Featured in the July 2010 issue of SCIENCE FICTION STUDIES is an article by Rob Latham listing “Library Collections and Archives of SF and Related Materials” throughout the world. If you’re interested in the whole article, click here. The part I was most interested in was:
The George Kelley Paperback and Pulp Fiction Collection at the University at Buffalo is comprised of over 30,000 paperback novels and pulp magazines that date generally from the 1930s through the 1980s. The Kelley Collection includes 8,000-plus science fiction paperbacks and anthologies, along with major sf and fantasy magazines and fanzines. All items in the Kelley Collection have been catalogued, and are searchable via BISON, our online catalog, and via WorldCat. The collection’s Web site at is a useful starting point for those interested in learning more about our holdings. The collection began, quite simply, because UB alumnus George Kelley enjoyed reading popular fiction. He started saving paperbacks as an adolescent after his mother threw out his comic book collection one summer while he was away at camp. Kelley, who earned an MA and a PhD from UB, worked for many years as a computer consultant, traveling extensively and collecting paperbacks and magazines in various popular genres wherever he went. His collection eventually grew so large that its weight began to damage the floors of his house, so in 1994, he donated more than 25,000 volumes to the UB Libraries. Kelley predicted that academic interest in science fiction would continue to grow, and he wanted to insure that researchers would have access to sf materials that might otherwise be lost because most libraries did not collect such items.

Major sf authors represented in the Kelley Collection include Brian W. Aldiss, Poul Anderson, Piers Anthony, Ray Bradbury, Marion Zimmer Bradley, Arthur C. Clarke, Samuel R. Delany, Gordon R. Dickson, Philip K. Dick, George Alec Effinger, Harlan Ellison, Ursula K. Le Guin, H.P. Lovecraft, Joanna Russ, Clifford D. Simak, Timothy Zahn, and Roger Zelazny. In many cases, multiple editions of individual titles are available. Sf periodicals in the collection include a complete set of Galaxy magazine, from its first issue in 1950 until it ceased publication in the 1980s. The collection’s many fanzines range from simple photocopies to complex, illustrated publications, including a full run of perhaps the most famous, Locus, from its earliest mimeographed editions in the 1970s. A notable feature of the Kelley Collection is that most items are in remarkably good condition. This is due in large part to the fact that George Kelley stored each paperback in a plastic bag, thus helping to protect the highly acidic paper. Recent initiatives related to the Kelley Collection include the addition of selected science-fiction cover art images to UBdigit, the University’s online repository for interdisciplinary digital collections. Metadata analysis of each UBdigit image facilitates searching for character types, clothing, objects, weapons, scenery, and other depicted elements. As a non-circulating collection, all Kelley Collection materials must be used on-site in the UB Libraries’ Special Collections Research Room, 420 Capen Hall. Arrangements may be made to view collection materials by contacting Special Collections staff at 716-645-2917 or via e-mail at <>


They Walked Like Men is an alien invasion novel. Simak sets up a puzzle where newspaper columnist Parker Graves finds himself confronted with shapeshifting aliens who can inhabit “dolls” that allow them to pass as humans. Another group of aliens enters the fray to take over the Earth, but Parker Graves is torn between trusting them or suspecting they are far worse than the original alien invaders. Clifford D. Simak was once considered the equal of Heinlein and Asimov. Sadly, Simak’s work has drifted into the “forgotten” category despite its excellence.


Just about everyone who follows this blog will want a copy of Breathless Homicidal Slime Mutants. Steven Brower teaches conceptual design at the School of Visual Arts in New York City. He takes a historical approach to the development of the paperback. Examples of 19th Century works lead to the rise of penny dreadfuls and pulp fiction. The rise of paperbacks in the 1940s and the growing inventiveness of cover artwork grace the 304 color pages of Breathless Homicidal Slime Mutants. Mysteries, science fiction, westerns, romance novels, fantasy, literature: examples of all these genres and their cover artwork fill these pages. Be prepared for hours of delightful browsing! GRADE: A

WAYFARING By Alan Jacobs, ‘NADA By Daniel Boyd, and STILL ON CALL By Richard Stern

Small presses deserve plenty of praise. Lately, I’ve read several excellent small press books. Alan Jacobs’ Wayfaring: Essays Pleasant and Unpleasant was a delight. It was published by William B. Eerdman’s Publishing Company in Grand Rapids, Michigan. I never heard of this publishing company, but I’ll be checking it out periodically if they keep publishing great books like Wayfaring. “NADA by Daniel Boyd came out from Casperian Books (never heard of them, either) but if you’re in the mood for a faux-Gold Medal adventure novel, ‘NADA delivers. Richard Stern talks about his writing profession and how he is going to wind down his writing career in his moving collection Still On Call. This was published by the University of Michigan Press (a little larger than the typical small press, but still tiny when compared to the commercial publishers). If we don’t support small presses, they will just go away. Small presses have most of the creative energy in publishing today. Buy a small press book and support their efforts.