Sunday, March 11, 2007

David I. Masson R.I.P.

David I. Masson 6 November 1915 - 25 february 2007

Unwelcome synchronicity department ... I mentioned David I. Masson in a comment to a post over on Kid Shirt only a few weeks ago (25.2.07, the pedant in me (which makes up approximately 87% of my personality) impels me to point out) and now I hear Mr Masson has passed on ... on that very day, spookily enough. One of the most interesting contributors to 'New Worlds' during Michael Moorcock's wonderful editorship, when the New Wave in science fiction was challenging notions of what genre fiction was and could achieve. For a short, heady period in the 1960s, some of the most vibrant avant garde writing around was being published in a funny little SF magazine out of the hippy hinterlands of Notting Hill - and foremost amongst this work was David I. Masson's. He published seven brilliant, provocative short stories in 'New Worlds' and that was that.
Maybe he had said what he wanted to say, but apart from a very small number of stories (three, all in all, I think) in SF anthologies, that was the sum total of fiction he chose to publish. In addition, a few poems and some highly praised studies of sound patterning in poetics make up Mr Masson's entire ouevre. A small but perfect body of work - Masson's short stories are dense, metaphysical, intelligent. He published the 'New World' seven in a wonderful collection titled The Caltraps Of Time; there is now, I believe, an edition available with the extra three stories rounded up and included. Well worth reading, and a reminder of a great talent.


Blogger kek-w said...

*Gaaaaah*....not another one....

4:43 PM  
Blogger St. Anthony said...

Yes, they say it always comes in threes ... Inman, Baudrillard and Masson recently ... and a more unlikely trio you'd be hard-pressed to think of.

5:38 PM  
Blogger Molly Bloom said...

He looks a bit like Herzog in that picture. I used to love those old SF magazines and the yellow hard-back SF books you used to be able to get - are they called Gollancz* or something like that?

*Not to be confused with a large monster in a movie that had a little version called Godzukie.

7:33 AM  
Blogger St. Anthony said...

He looks a bit like Nic Roeg, too. That's a piece of pottery he's cradling there, by the way, not a strange alien artifact. He was held to be a very fine potter, amongst his other talents.
The Gollancz yellow jackets - bloody marvellous stuff. Just the sight of one brings on a Proustian interlude. The first serious stuff I ever read, after Dickens, was Gollancz SF ... of which our local library had tons. I remember discovering Ballard and thinking "this is different".

8:15 AM  
Blogger kek-w said...

Yeah, I devoured all the Gollancz SF from our cool little mobile library back in the early/mid 70s...they had a whole wall of it...

1:19 PM  
Blogger St. Anthony said...

The local mobile library ... that's where I cut my reading teeth. Bloody exciting it was, climbing those steps.

1:57 PM  

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