Eating Authors: James Morrow

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James Morrow

Welcome to a new year. 2015 looks like it’s going to be freaking glorious (and not just because I have a novel coming out from Tor Books in December) and so it’s only appropriate to begin another 52 weeks of EATING AUTHORS by setting a very high bar. We’re accomplishing that by having none other than James Morrow as the year’s first guest (and not just because he’s a native son of Philadelphia).

Along with multiple nominations, Jim’s fiction has won numerous awards including the Nebula (twice!), the World Fantasy (twice!), the Grand Prix de l’Imaginaire, and the Sturgeon. And if you’re not acquainted with his Godhead Trilogy (Towing Jehovah, Blameless in Abaddon, and The Eternal Footman) then now’s time to crawl out from under that rock and put these books at the front of your reading list. And don’t even get me started on his other novels, short story collections, or the various award anthologies he’s edited.

His latest book, Galapagos Regained, comes out from St. Martin’s Press tomorrow and promises another compelling venture into the existence (or not) of a supreme being, presented as a riotous romp around the world with Darwin’s personal zookeeper as a protagonist. Seriously. Can you think of a better way to start a great year of reading?

LMS: Welcome, Jim. It’s a pleasure to have you here to start off 2015 for us. Now, let’s not dither any further, the folks want to read about your most memorable meal.

JM: My most memorable meal occurred in Cambridge, Massachusetts, circa 1972. The occasion was cinematic: a one-day-only revival of Sergei Bondarchuk’s ginormous and exhilarating adaptation of Leo Tolstoy’s  War and Peace, all six-and-a-half hours of it.

Galapagos Regained
Towing Jehovah

In that era the fabled Orson Welles Cinema, not far from Harvard Square, was a veritable cultural complex, boasting three screening rooms plus the Orson Welles Film School and the Orson Welles Restaurant. It was this last institution that, during the intermission, served War and Peace patrons (the only customers admitted that night) a marvelous Russian meal, included in the price of the ticket.

As I recall, the menu appropriately combined aristocratic delicacies with peasant fare. My date and I were astonished to find ourselves in a zone where the gustatory had become mysteriously continuous with the visual. There is nothing like beef stroganoff before the Battle of Borodino.

Beyond its imaginative programming of foreign and independent films, the Orson Welles Cinema was also famous for its annual 24-hour Science Fiction Movie Marathon, held every Washington’s Birthday weekend from noon on Sunday until noon on Monday (then you went home and slept). Alas, this beloved theater is no more, having succumbed to an electric fire in 1986. 

Thanks, Jim. I’m a huge fan of thematic movie and meal night. You’ve got me wondering what the restaurant at the OWC served up during its annual SF marathons. Ah, the stuff of dreams!

Next Monday: Another author and another meal!

#SFWApro

author photo by Witek Kaczanowski

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