Fans of Tom Waits are often divided into two camps: those who favor the early boozy Kerouac, be-bop inspired crooner of life’s derelicts and losers up until he transmogrified beginning with the “Heartattack and Vine” album and “crossed over” into Kurt Weill cacaphonous orator of the absurd; fans of the later period sometimes disdain the earlier, and vice versa, despite the obvious connections. Me, I’m in the third camp as a huge admirer of both milieus. (I suppose there’s a further quarter of people who can’t stand Waits at all, but, much like the folks who still tiresomely maintain Dylan hasn’t done anything since his protest days, aren’t worth serious attention.)
A similar kind of division exists in genre. Those who regale the Golden Age of pulp when men were men and women’s curves were accentuated by tight-fitting space suits and can’t stand all this new weird, new wave, fabulist whatever it’s being called, stuff that frequently has a radical socio-political feminist agenda (see, for example, Dave Truesdale) as opposed to those who welcome a reinvigoration of stale conventions (me, for example).
Then there are those whose eclectic tastes recognize and appreciate the connections of the old and new. This brings us to the 60th Anniversary Issue (October/November) of Fantasy & Science Fiction, which blends both the newer literary stylings as well as its pulp antecedents in celebrating its longevity (no mean trick, these days) as a classic genre magazine.