Welcome to the twenty-fourth issue of Galaxy’s Edge. This
issue marks the conclusion of four successful years, which is probably about
three and a half more than knowledgeable insiders gave us when we started.
This issue we present new and newer writers Paul
Eckheart, Marina J. Lostetter, Nick DiChario (who’s a little less new than
most), Edward M. Lerner, Liz Colter, Fabio Centamore, Neal Peart, and Larry
Hodges. Plus old friends Mercedes Lackey, Kevin J. Anderson, Kristine Kathryn
Rusch, and 2016 Worldcon Guest of Honor Michael Swanwick. Also included are
book recommendations by Bill Fawcett and Jody Lynn Nye, Greg Benford’s science
column, Barry Malzberg’s column on literary matters, and the Joy Ward interview
this month is with a true giant in the field, Robert Silverberg. Hope you enjoy
all of them.
We are also exceptionally proud to
begin serialization of Robert A. Heinlein's Hugo-winning Double Star
with this issue.
* * *
I told this story during my Worldcon Guest of Honor
speech back at Chicon 7 in 2012. A number of people have asked me to commit it
to paper (which I had done decades ago in some fanzine), so here it is again:
“Me and the High Priest.”
I first met Anton LaVey, the founder and high priest of
the Church of Satan, back in August of 1968, long before I was a full-time
science fiction writer. I’d sold a pair of pretty awful Edgar Rice Burroughs
pastiches, but basically I was just a kid starting out, editing a couple of
men’s magazines and tabloid called The National Insider, which was like The
National Enquirer only worse. The Worldcon was in Berkeley that year, and
of course we planned to go.
Carol and I had never been to the Bay area, so I decided
we’d go a few days early, spend them in San Francisco, and I’d line up a story
or an interview each day to cover the expenses. During those four days I
interviewed Carol Doda (the first topless dancer), the Low Moan Spectacular (a
brilliant comedy group), and Anton.
I still remember taking a cab to his house, which was an
old Victorian monstrosity painted black from top to bottom. There was a hearse
parked in front of it, a lion roaming the (fenced) back yard, and Anton
answered the door dressed exactly like a priest, with one exception—instead of
a cross, he was wearing a tiny coffin on a chain around his neck.
For some reason we hit it off. He had a huge collection
of Arkham House books. I’d read a batch of them, and had actually known a
handful of the authors, so we had something to talk about besides Satanism.
After awhile I pulled out my camera, one of the girls shed her clothes, and
Anton presided over a black mass.
It was dull as dishwater, and it’s really difficult to be
dull when you’re chanting obscene spells over a gorgeous naked girl on a
makeshift altar. I explained that the Malleus Maleficarum and the Compendium
Maleficarum were fine textbooks, but he was sitting on hundreds of
wonderful (and occasionally Satanic) poems by Robert E. Howard, Clark Ashton
Smith and H. P. Lovecraft in his Arkham collection, poems that had beat and
meter—and eventually he did incorporate some of them into his ceremonies. (You
can hear the The Satanic Masses, an LP/vinyl record he released a
couple of years later.)
He was our guest at Baycon’s masquerade, and I
commissioned a regular weekly column from him for the Insider. We became
friends, in spite of the fact that I used to drive him crazy by calling him
Anthony Levy (which seemed more likely to be his real name) and he was our
house guest whenever a book-plugging tour brought him to our area.
Do I believe in Satanism? Of course not, no more than I
believe in anything else. But let me tell you a little story, which happens to
I used to phone him from the office whenever one of his
columns came in, just to go over changes and corrections (this was many years
before faxes, scans, and e-mails), and once I phoned him just after lunch on
December 24. He mentioned that he’d forgotten to buy me a Christmas present
(said the Satanist to the Jewish atheist), and was there anything he could get
me? I said that it was starting to snow, and I’d sure love for him to use his
Satanic connections to get me the hell out of there in the next ten minutes,
since the city figured to be in gridlock by quitting time. It was just a thing
to say, honest. I never expected what came next.
He mumbled some incomprehensible chant in an unknown
language and told me it was taken care of, and I could go home in ten minutes.
Then he hung up.
And thirty seconds later the power went off, and when it
didn’t come on again in five minutes, the publisher sent everyone home and
closed up shop for the day.
Was it Anton? I sure as hell doubt it. Did it happen?
Absolutely. Can I prove that it wasn’t Anton? Nope. Did he take full
credit for it for the next ten years? Of course. Could he do it again? I don’t
know. I decided never to ask for another favor. I mean, hell, if I was wrong
and he did shut off the power from 3,000 miles away, I knew what church
I definitely did not want to be beholden to.
Anton died twenty years ago. We’d lost touch with each
other by the late 1970s, and in truth we were never very close friends. But
when I think back on all the colorful people I’ve known, he ranks right up
there near the top.