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Past Masters: and Other Bookish Natterings [Paperback]

Bud Webster
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
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Book Description

28 Jun 2013
Past Masters and Other Bookish Natterings collects some of the very best of Bud Webster’s columns and author profiles drawn from a broad knowledge of the field of literary science fiction and fantasy. Bud is the final word on genre scholarship, and that has never been more evident than in this collection.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 402 pages
  • Publisher: Merry Blacksmith Press (28 Jun 2013)
  • ISBN-10: 0615842828
  • ISBN-13: 978-0615842820
  • Product Dimensions: 22.6 x 15.2 x 3.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,478,992 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

About the Author

Bud Webster has been buying and selling sf and fantasy for almost 40 years, beginning with comics and soon graduating to real books, the ones that have more words than pictures. Most of his working career has been spent in retail of one sort or another, and his bookselling experience ranges from large book store chains to independent specialty bookshops. Over the years, Bud’s supplemented his hard-won knowledge of the field by poring over his personal reference library and by consulting those even more obsessed than he. Along the way he also proved he paid attention while reading all of those books by selling fiction and nonfiction to a variety of markets including Analog and The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction. Bud’s one of few living Americans who can properly be called an award-winning epic poet. He lives in sin in Central Virginia with an understanding woman and two furiously neurotic damn cats (aren’t they all?).

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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
This book is a real joy. Bud is so big-hearted and full of enthusiasm and excitement about his subjects that I cannot help but take a walk alongside him. I've been working my way through a number of old 50s/60s anthologies, and this volume has been an invaluable companion in extending my horizons in the science fiction universe.

I thought the chapter on Clifford D Simak by far the best on this wonderful author that I have read, really capturing the essence of his writing. There are also excellent chapters on Murray Leinster, Cordwainer Smith, Zenna Henderson, H.Beam Piper, Fredric Brown, Nelson Bond, Leigh Brackett, Edgar Pangborn, Cyril M. Kornbluth, Henry Kuttner, Eric Frank Russell, Judith Merril, Phil Klass, Hal Clement, Stanley G. Weinbaum, R.A.Lafferty, Tom Reamy, together with summaries of various of Bud's more unusual personal favourite books. I also really liked the three chapters of wide-ranging discussions with Jerry Pournelle and the chapter on the history of the SFWA Bulletin. I really enjoy his style of writing and the occasional arcane musical reference (such as to the Fugs and early Mothers of Invention).

All in all, if you have any interest at all in the science fiction of the 1950s and 1960s, you will love this book.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.9 out of 5 stars  7 reviews
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Masters of Science Fiction 15 Sep 2013
By Paul M. Dellinger - Published on Amazon.com
Bud Webster is possibly the only writer around today who could provide such a lovingly detailed look at a couple dozen giants of science fiction, authors who helped shape the field but who are largely forgotten by today's media-oriented fans. His credentials are unquestioned (see his "Anthopology 101," about SF anthologies during its "golden age," or his own award-winning stories in Analog magazine, among other writings) and his style would draw you in and have you grinning even if you weren't interested in the subject. But anybody who is in any way a science fiction fan should find this to be required reading. Even those already familiar with Kuttner, Bond, Kornbluth, Clement, Merril, Leinster and so many more will learn something new about all of them. And they will have fun while they are doing it. Author Mike Resnick provides an introduction, and bonus material includes Webster's "discussions" on various SF-related topics with another author, Jerry Pournelle. For anyone with more than a passing interest in the field, this is a can't-miss read.
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Terrific Browse Through the Golden Age 7 Aug 2013
By Cat Rambo - Published on Amazon.com
Bud's book manages to combine a hearty dose of interesting history with some deliciously thorough reading lists. I found a lot of the figures familiar from my high school reading days, but Bud always managed to tell me something about them that I didn't know but which shed more light (and interest) on the stories I already loved. Heartily recommended if you're well-read in the SF field and want to know more about some of its greats.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I love it 2 Mar 2014
By Norvan K. Allen - Published on Amazon.com
Verified Purchase
It was apparent that Mr. webster is a long time fan of the field and knows of whom he writes. I am learning things I did not know of many of my favorite writers.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Exactly what it claims to be. 27 Feb 2014
By kneedeep - Published on Amazon.com
Verified Purchase
Bud Webster had the privilege of meeting many of the authors he writes about, and his insights from that are very helpful in understanding their work. He has said that he is interested in the authors' biographies and bibliographies rather than criticism , and this book is just that and very good at it. As a native of the far south Pacific the joys of fandom were not available to me and research is difficult, so I am jealous of Webster's opportunities and grateful that he shares his knowledge with us. This is not a book that one reads from cover to cover, but more like a box of candies into which one dips for occasional treats. RECOMMENDED.
5.0 out of 5 stars Bud Webster wants us to remember... 16 July 2014
By Norman Ferriere - Published on Amazon.com
Verified Purchase
"Past Masters" is Bud Webster's loving attempt to rescue many fine Science Fiction writers from oblivion. Books by writers such as Stanley G. Weinbaum, Cordwainer Smith, H. Beam Piper, Clifford D. Simak and Zenna Henderson, were once easily found on the shelves in both new and used bookstores. This is not the case today and Bud's mission with this collection of columns is to keep the memories of these authors - and their books - alive.

He succeeds admirably, with warmth and wit and genuine affection for his subjects. He also offers some insightful commentary on the craft of writing. I especially enjoyed his assessment of Frederic Brown's method of crafting a short story. I also appreciated his columns on my favorites, Murray Leinster and the husband-and-wife writing team of Henry Kuttner and C.L. Moore. (Thanks, Bud.)

Even though Bud's intent is to stir future interest in the writers he discusses, for me, this book is also a time machine, of sorts. It's a pleasant trip back to the "good old days" when books by these authors could be found on the shelves in both new and used bookstores. If you couldn't find them there, well, there were always flea markets, SF conventions and mail-order catalogs. If all else failed, the Strand and Forbidden Planet bookstores, in New York City, were only a few hours away.

If you just want to revisit the past, or if you are looking for future purchases, or both, I highly recommend "Past Masters". It makes for pleasant reading... and re-reading.

"Past Masters" also serves as a great companion volume to Bud's fine discussion of SF anthologies, "Anthopology 101". It could also be thought of as a third and companion volume to the 2 indispensable overviews by Sam Moskowitz, "Explorers of the Infinite" and "Seekers of Tomorrow".
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