My Non-Adventure with a Playboy Editor


I saw Jamie Malanowski’s name on the Huffington Post, where he is one of their most interesting and funny columnists/bloggers. He is also the managing editor of Playboy, and I am exceedingly jealous.

Jamie’s name on Huff Po triggered a memory of meeting him — I thought — back in the very early ’80s at a science fiction convention in Baltimore. I did a bio search of him, and sure enough — he’s from the Baltimore area.

I emailed him.

HI Jamie,

Saw your latest post on Huffington, and it jogged a memory. Forgive me if this was not you and if the question sounds strange, but did you ever attend science fiction conventions in the Baltimore area? In the late ’70s or early ’80s I once met a Jamie Malanowski at a Balticon. I may even have corresponded with him a few times after that — I can’t remember. When I saw in one of your bios that you are from Baltimore, it made me start to wonder.

Anyway, even if you aren’t, you’ve had a great literary career so far and should be proud. I’ll be picking up “The Coup” as soon as possible.

Take care,
Rusty

Then Jamie was nice enough to write back:

Rusty–

Thanks for the note.

Well, I wish I could say yes, but I don’t recall attending a sci-fi convention in Baltimore (or anywhere). I did go to the car show at the Civic Center once. Besides, by the mid-seventies, I had gone on to college in Philadelphia.

But–did we have fun?

Let me know if you liked The Coup!

So:

Hi Jamie,

I appreciate your quick response. Of course, we had a great time! Obviously you don’t remember the guy dressed as Gandalf, shooting fireballs up toward the ceiling of the restaurant in the Hunt Valley Inn. And how could you forget the Klingon hookers we partied with in the pool?

Keep writing, and take care —
Rus

And he came back with:

Dude, that was my wedding reception.

So I just finished his 2007 novel, The Coup. Unbelievably, the blurbs on the dust jacket and on Jamie’s website get it right — this is a biting, yet all too possible, satire on Washington politics and the power of public perception, and it has not received the attention it deserves.

Imagine a President who is a cross between George W. Bush and Bill Clinton, and imagine a Vice President with the smarts and charm of Al Gore and the ruthless tenacity of Dick Cheney, and you would have the Presidential pair in Malanowski’s The Coup. Godwin Pope, the VP, is sick of the President’s good ol’ boy, philandering ways. Almost by accident a plot forms in his mind — a viable way to move Jack Mahone out of the White House so Godwin can slide on in.

The plot is full of wry twists, and Malanowski’s portrait of a conniving, yet thoroughly likable VP is the anchor of the novel. You don’t want to like this bastard, but you do — especially when he falls in love with a journalist, uses her to move his plan forward, yet still quotes Marlowe in a love note: “Come with me and be my love.”

My favorite image: the denouement in the Oval Office. Read it — I won’t spoil it. But the image is rich and precisely perfect.

My favorite line:

Darkness fell on Washington, and like Dracula’s little children of the night, the pundits came out to feed on the weak and dying.

Visit Jamie Malanowski’s website. Tell him I sent you. You can order The Coup from Amazon or Barnes & Noble.

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