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146 The Screaming Mimi by Fredric Brown
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Ted Nolan <tednolan>
2020-03-21 20:42:35 UTC
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146 The Screaming Mimi by Fredric Brown

Blackmask is to be commended for republishing a lot of pulp era
fiction which has gone public domain. The downside is that apparently
they seek out a copy of the original, scan it and then OCR the
images. This causes a lot of typos; in this book, for instance,
the word "time" is almost always rendered as "tune", and sometimes
you have to figure out that "bun" means "him". Of course these are
all real words, so they are not caught by spellcheck..

That aside, this is an engaging little mystery, and perhaps the
Chicagoest book I have read. Brown gives you enough clues to figure
out more or less what's going on, but the real draw is the engaging
character of Sweeny.

One reviewer below called the book homophobic. I think that's an
overstatement. A book from 1949 is not going to have a modern view
of homosexuality, but the atitude is very "live and let live", and
Sweeny does come to respect the shop-keeper a bit.

Is it hard-boiled or an action thriller? Not really. Sweeney is
a man of culture as much as deeds, and is only really in danger
once, but Brown makes shoe-leather as interesting as shoot-outs.
Chris Buckley
2020-03-22 16:52:53 UTC
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Post by Ted Nolan <tednolan>
146 The Screaming Mimi by Fredric Brown
Blackmask is to be commended for republishing a lot of pulp era
fiction which has gone public domain. The downside is that apparently
they seek out a copy of the original, scan it and then OCR the
images. This causes a lot of typos; in this book, for instance,
the word "time" is almost always rendered as "tune", and sometimes
you have to figure out that "bun" means "him". Of course these are
all real words, so they are not caught by spellcheck..
That aside, this is an engaging little mystery, and perhaps the
Chicagoest book I have read. Brown gives you enough clues to figure
out more or less what's going on, but the real draw is the engaging
character of Sweeny.
One reviewer below called the book homophobic. I think that's an
overstatement. A book from 1949 is not going to have a modern view
of homosexuality, but the atitude is very "live and let live", and
Sweeny does come to respect the shop-keeper a bit.
Is it hard-boiled or an action thriller? Not really. Sweeney is
a man of culture as much as deeds, and is only really in danger
once, but Brown makes shoe-leather as interesting as shoot-outs.
Thanks for posting all these! I have remarkably little overlap with
you (aside from authors like Weber and McGuire), but that just means
the field has expanded tremendously in recent years.

_The Screaming Mimi_ is primarily a noir mystery rather than SF, but it's a
very good book. Fredrick Brown's SF was mostly short fiction and he was
one of the best at it. _Nightmares and Geezenstacks_ is my favorite
anthology. I should probably get the NESFA Press compilations of
Brown's work, but that is perhaps too many short stories all at once (I
never seem to be able to ration myself to a few a day!)

_The Screaming Mimi_ is the only novel of his that I've read that I
consider to be of the same excellent quality as his short stories. His
other SF novels were all disappointing to me. But I do recommend
_The Screaming Mimi_.

Chris
Titus G
2020-03-23 01:22:58 UTC
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Post by Chris Buckley
Post by Ted Nolan <tednolan>
146 The Screaming Mimi by Fredric Brown
Blackmask is to be commended for republishing a lot of pulp era
fiction which has gone public domain. The downside is that apparently
they seek out a copy of the original, scan it and then OCR the
images. This causes a lot of typos; in this book, for instance,
the word "time" is almost always rendered as "tune", and sometimes
you have to figure out that "bun" means "him". Of course these are
all real words, so they are not caught by spellcheck..
That aside, this is an engaging little mystery, and perhaps the
Chicagoest book I have read. Brown gives you enough clues to figure
out more or less what's going on, but the real draw is the engaging
character of Sweeny.
One reviewer below called the book homophobic. I think that's an
overstatement. A book from 1949 is not going to have a modern view
of homosexuality, but the atitude is very "live and let live", and
Sweeny does come to respect the shop-keeper a bit.
Is it hard-boiled or an action thriller? Not really. Sweeney is
a man of culture as much as deeds, and is only really in danger
once, but Brown makes shoe-leather as interesting as shoot-outs.
Thanks for posting all these! I have remarkably little overlap with
you (aside from authors like Weber and McGuire), but that just means
the field has expanded tremendously in recent years.
Same here as I do not read much urban fantasy which seems to be Ted's
favourite.
Post by Chris Buckley
_The Screaming Mimi_ is primarily a noir mystery rather than SF, but it's a
very good book. Fredrick Brown's SF was mostly short fiction and he was
one of the best at it. _Nightmares and Geezenstacks_ is my favorite
anthology. I should probably get the NESFA Press compilations of
Brown's work, but that is perhaps too many short stories all at once (I
never seem to be able to ration myself to a few a day!)
I have "The Collection" and have probably read only half of them. It has
an interesting introduction to Brown and his work as well as
chronological and alphabetical lists of his short stories.
Post by Chris Buckley
_The Screaming Mimi_ is the only novel of his that I've read that I
consider to be of the same excellent quality as his short stories. His
other SF novels were all disappointing to me. But I do recommend
_The Screaming Mimi_.
If I had read any of his novels, they are long forgotten but I have
found a copy of Mimi and am looking forward to it. Thank you both.
Titus G
2020-03-25 03:26:26 UTC
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Post by Titus G
Post by Chris Buckley
Post by Ted Nolan <tednolan>
146 The Screaming Mimi by Fredric Brown
Blackmask is to be commended for republishing a lot of pulp era
fiction which has gone public domain.  The downside is that apparently
they seek out a copy of the original, scan it and then OCR the
images.  This causes a lot of typos; in this book, for instance,
the word "time" is almost always rendered as "tune", and sometimes
you have to figure out that "bun" means "him".  Of course these are
all real words, so they are not caught by spellcheck..
That aside, this is an engaging little mystery, and perhaps the
Chicagoest book I have read.  Brown gives you enough clues to figure
out more or less what's going on, but the real draw is the engaging
character of Sweeny.
Exactly my thoughts on finishing it though I was so engaged with Sweeny
and the narrators humour that I didn't figure what was going on until
the final events.
Post by Titus G
Post by Chris Buckley
Post by Ted Nolan <tednolan>
One reviewer below called the book homophobic.  I think that's an
overstatement.  A book from 1949 is not going to have a modern view
of homosexuality, but the atitude is very "live and let live", and
Sweeny does come to respect the shop-keeper a bit.
Sweeny wasn't judgemental and even respected Greene whom he hated from
first sight. It is an overstatement.
Post by Titus G
Post by Chris Buckley
Post by Ted Nolan <tednolan>
Is it hard-boiled or an action thriller?  Not really.  Sweeney is
a man of culture as much as deeds, and is only really in danger
once, but Brown makes shoe-leather as interesting as shoot-outs.
Yes. And also a comedy with little jokes everywhere.
"His mouth felt and tasted as though the inside of it was caked with
something unmentionable—unmentionable here, that is, not to Sweeney. He
mentioned it to himself and ran his tongue across his lips to moisten
them." Page 17

Sweeny's initial motivation was to spend a night with Yolanda and this
was a recurring thought. I laughed at the end at Godfrey's summary.
snip
Post by Titus G
Post by Chris Buckley
_The Screaming Mimi_ is primarily a noir mystery rather than SF, but it's a
very good book.  Fredrick Brown's SF was mostly short fiction and he was
one of the best at it.  _Nightmares and Geezenstacks_ is my favorite
anthology.  I should probably get the NESFA Press compilations of
Brown's work, but that is perhaps too many short stories all at once (I
never seem to be able to ration myself to a few a day!)
I have "The Collection" and have probably read only half of them. It has
an interesting introduction to Brown and his work as well as
chronological and alphabetical lists of his short stories.
Post by Chris Buckley
_The Screaming Mimi_ is the only novel of his that I've read that I
consider to be of the same excellent quality as his short stories.  His
other SF novels were all disappointing to me.  But I do recommend
_The Screaming Mimi_.
If I had read any of his novels, they are long forgotten but I have
found a copy of Mimi and am looking forward to it. Thank you both.
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