Mr. Hughart (apparently pronounced "hew-gart"), author of the stellar novel "Bridge of Birds" has been suspiciously absent from the publication front since the 1991 publication of "Eight Skilled Gentlemen." After a little nosing about, I came across a transcript of an interview with Mr. Hughart that, among other things, details his disillusionment with his publishers and his traumatic encounter with the most evil creature this side of a balrog.

The following excerpts were taken from a written interview with Barry Hughart by Jerry Kuntz. The entirety of the interview may be viewed at http://www.rcls.org/hughart/ which is maintained by Jerry Kuntz.

Excerpt, the first:
JK: All fans of the Master Li books want to know why the series stopped after Eight Skilled Gentlemen. Can you explain? BH: The Master Li books were a tightrope act and hard to write, but not, alas, very remunerative. Still, I would have continued as originally planned if I'd had a supportive publisher: seven novels ending with my heroes' deaths in the battle with the Great White Serpent, and their elevation to the Great River of Stars as minor deities guaranteed to cause the August Personage of Jade almost as much trouble as the Stone Monkey. Unfortunately I had St. Martins, which didn't even bother to send a postcard when I won the World Fantasy Award; Ballantine, which was dandy until my powerhouse editor dropped dead and her successors forgot my existence; and Doubleday, which released The Story of the Stone three months before the pub date, guaranteeing that not one copy would still be on the shelves when reviews came out, published the hardcover and the paperback of Eight Skilled Gentlemen simultaneously, and then informed me they would bring out further volumes in paperback only, meriting, of course, a considerably reduced advance.

Excerpt, the second:
JK: What noise has been made about making a Master Li movie? BH: Everybody turned it down except Paramount, where it eventually reached the desk of a senior vice president who exclaimed, "Gooks? You want me to make a movie about gooks? And not even modern gooks?" Exit the silver screen.

fume....grind.....

AAARGHHH!

Does anyone know if the EDB takes contract assignments?

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