Plausible Deniability

by Maria on April 1, 2009

April Fool stories tend to be more ‘heh’ than LOL. (A couple of Internet geek ones I’ve gotten today; one is ‘heh‘ and the other is ‘eh?‘) But just seeing a tagline with April 1st underneath it makes me doubt any post’s veracity, even totally plausible and unfunny ones like “Brian Barry’s Obituary” (which, by the way, I’m surprised doesn’t mention ‘Sociologists, Economists and Democracy’, the only one I’ve read so presumably the most mainstream.)

Perfect example of a spoof that’s too plausible to be all that funny (or is it a spoof…?): today’s from George R.R. Martin saying he has engaged Howard Waldrop as his writing partner on Ice and Fire. It all sounds plausible, especially given the amount of abuse Martin gets from his overly entitled fans for being so late in delivering the latest of the unwieldy Ice and Fire series. (They grudge him watching football, seriously.) But the last bit where Martin says Waldrop will knock out the rest of the novel in a month or two while Martin is “in the hot tube with some babes in bikinis, sipping some Irish Mist and watching my TIVO replay of the Giants victory over the Patriots in the last Super Bowl but one” gives it away. Still, if old George really did want to outsource his sprawling epic, there are probably worse ways to go about it.



rea 04.01.09 at 9:27 pm

I liked this one, but maybe you have to be a fan of the Detroit Tigers . . .


Laleh 04.01.09 at 9:41 pm

And this one is *not* an April Fools story, but should be:


Cool Bev 04.01.09 at 9:54 pm

I like the idea too:
1. Waldrop needs the money – last I heard he had moved out of TX because it was too expensive and was living in a shack in OR, writing (for fun) and fishing (for food).
2. I can’t get enough Waldrop, while Martin, let’s face it, has a pretty decent page count.

The only problem is that Howard writes about a 5-page short story in a good year. So maybe between the 2 of them…


Bruce Baugh 04.01.09 at 11:32 pm

The Waldrop bit is insider-baseball humor, actually. Waldrop writes brilliantly, but slowly. Very slowly. He manages a novel every 10-15 years or so, and about a volume’s worth of short stories each decade. A lot of us connoisseurs would love to see what Waldrop could do with epic fantasy, but he’s not the cure for anyone’s delays. :)


Maria 04.02.09 at 12:49 am



Bruce Baugh 04.02.09 at 1:21 am

I suspect that a lot of Waldrop would appeal to a fair number of CT readers, though. From his early classic “The Ugly Chickens”:

My car was broken, and I had a class to teach at eleven. So I took the city bus, something I rarely do.

I spent last summer crawling through The Big Thicket with cameras and tape recorder, photographing and taping two of the last ivory-billed woodpeckers on the earth. You can see the films at your local Audubon Society showroom.

This year I wanted something just as flashy but a little less taxing. Perhaps a population study on the Bermuda cahow, or the New Zealand takahe. A month or so in the warm (not hot) sun would do me a world of good. To say nothing of the advance of science.

I was idly leafing through Greenway’s Extinct and Vanishing Birds of the World. The city bus was winding its way through the ritzy neighborhoods of Austin, stopping to let off the chicanas, black women, and Vietnamese who tended the kitchens and gardens of the rich.

“I haven’t seen any of those ugly chickens in a long time,” said a voice close by.

A grey-haired lady was leaning across the aisle toward me.

I looked at her, then around. Maybe she was a shopping-bag lady. Maybe she was just talking. I looked straight at her. No doubt about it, she was talking to me. She was waiting for an answer.

“I used to live near some folks who raised them when I was a girl,” she said. She pointed.

I looked down at the page my book was open to.

What I should have said was: “That is quite impossible, madam. This is a drawing of an extinct bird of the island of Mauritius. It is perhaps the most famous dead bird in the world. Maybe you are mistaking this drawing for that of some rare Asiatic turkey, peafowl, or pheasant. I am sorry, but you are mistaken.”

I should have said all that.

What she said was, “Oops, this is my stop,” and got up to go.

Naturally, the woman is not mistaken, but even dodos only get so many chances. Like a lot of Waldrop stories, it is very deeply funny, with a solid knot of tragedy at the center.


Bruce Baugh 04.02.09 at 1:22 am

Foo. Should have been block quotes all the way down to “Naturally…”


Barry Freed 04.02.09 at 2:31 am

Bruce, that sounds very interesting but your link is bad.


Righteous Bubba 04.02.09 at 2:34 am

Bruce, that sounds very interesting but your link is bad.

Works for me.


Michael Walsh 04.02.09 at 9:21 pm

“1. Waldrop needs the money – last I heard he had moved out of TX because it was too expensive and was living in a shack in OR, writing (for fun) and fishing (for food).”

Howard’s been back in Texas for a number of years. Now, he has had a quintuple bypass, plus some other medical adventures.

Having published Howard’s most recent collections, I have been on the phone off & on with him over the years.


harry b 04.03.09 at 6:45 am

Laleh — no no no, if that were a joke it wouldn’t be half as funny.

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