Swords for Hire
July 7, 2003 1:13 PM   Subscribe

This is the story is a fantasy book is a book with a real tale, only it's not between the covers. Will Allen would retire to his bedroom and his family would hear the typewriter going at all hours. When asked what he was doing, he only smiled and said "you'll see." Later that year, at Christmas 1979 they did. He presented his family and friends with manuscripts of Swords for Hire . Months later, just short of his 23rd birthday, he died of terminal cancer. His older brother Paul, loved the book, read it several times over the years, it was a beloved family story that he read to his daughters. He felt his brother could (and should) have been a published author he surely was meant to be, and got the books published. It won some rave reviews and awards as well. What got me most about this story and I'm not sure why, but the author is on the cover of his book as one of the characters. (You can see the original picture on the author page of the Author's bio page). I thought that was really beautiful.
posted by Dome-O-Rama (10 comments total)
sounds familiar
posted by donkeysuck at 1:34 PM on July 7, 2003

Exactly. Suffice to say, if you have an unpublished manuscript, you should ride it out for a while before killing yourself. Who knows what else was kicking around in the noggins of Allen, Toole, or even Kurt Cobain?
posted by Ignatius J. Reilly at 1:41 PM on July 7, 2003

if you have an unpublished manuscript, you should ride it out for a while before killing yourself

I doubt that Mr. Allen contracted malignant melanoma in a suicide attempt.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 1:56 PM on July 7, 2003

I am a moron.
posted by Ignatius J. Reilly at 2:32 PM on July 7, 2003

Actually his brother said he has other pieces which might find the light of day.

Donkey Suck - no it doesn't. Not even remotely like that.
and Ig, what a completely idiot thing to say.
posted by Dome-O-Rama at 2:48 PM on July 7, 2003

Ig, what a completely idiot thing to say.

I copped to being a moron, so I won't try to refute by basic, a priori idiocy either. Yeah, I misread the FPP, but can you not see the parellel to Toole at all? Not even on a basic "died before their time" level? I think that if you read about the tribulations of Toole's mother, and the pains to which she went to finally get the book published, it might seem less "idiotic" to you.

And all that aside, my (misguided) point still stands: if you die, you can't write anymore, and it is not exactly rare for an artist to not be well-understood until after they are gone. I really didn't mean to be insensitive.
posted by Ignatius J. Reilly at 3:09 PM on July 7, 2003

guy writes book
guy dies
member of guys family seeks publication for said book
book is published
rave reviews and awards

guy writes book
guy commits suicide(he dies, get it?)
guy's mother seeks publication for his book
book is published
rave reviews and awards(pulitzer)

sounds remotely similar to me
posted by donkeysuck at 3:21 PM on July 7, 2003

thanks for the links, Dome. curiosity piqued! But like donkeysuck, I must admit that Toole popped into my mind immediately. It is not the manner of death, but the posthumous recognition.
Excellent find.
posted by G_Ask at 6:43 PM on July 7, 2003

I immediately started Googling for links to Toole before this page finished loading; I'm glad others beat me to it. The similarities are obvious, even if he did die of more natural causes.

I think there's a kind of morbid fascination we have of artists who "die before their time". Look at Van Gogh, or even more recently Nick Drake. Great link, DoR.

One question: his brother Paul -- that's not the same Microsoft Paul Allen, is it? Also, anyone else notice the similarity between this book and Steven King's The Eyes of the Dragon (if anyone's read it).
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 7:19 PM on July 7, 2003

no family still lives in kettering/dayton ohio. At least thats is what he said when he was being interviewed on the news today. (since i live in the same area too)
posted by Dome-O-Rama at 8:19 PM on July 7, 2003

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