No, I still haven't begun my reread of "Old Glory and the Real-Time Freaks", haven't even opened it yet. But I will soon. For one thing, I want to give the book every chance to be what I remember it as, and I know that too much anticipation can make even the world's greatest book something of a letdown.
While preparing for the big reread, I have been researching the author Ralph Blum. All I knew about him was that he quit writing fiction to write books about runes -- self-discovery and divination with, well, with rocks. And that's about all the Internet knows too. He graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Harvard University with a degree in Russian Studies. He's written several books about runes, and co-authored books about UFOs and zen and other new-age subjects. Most of his books are out of print. He evidently only wrote one other novel "The Simultaneous Man" a science-fiction work that predates "Old Glory" and is even harder to find. He is 77 years old and he has a new book coming out in early 2010, called Invasion of the Prostate Snatchers: No More Unnecessary Biopsies, Radical Treatment or Loss of Sexual Potency. According to the co-author bio, Mr. Blum has been living with prostate cancer for 20 years without radical treatment, which makes me think he must know something.
Then there's this quote from quotationsbook.com that makes me think maybe he doesn't:
"Know thyself. Nothing in excess. The Self is required to balance the Self."
Okay, yeah, whatever you say; no, I don't want to buy a flower.
I also found a 1972 review in the New York Times "In Old Glory and the Real Time Freaks, Ralph Blum. . . maps the self-guidance, self-adjustment and self-landing of a 6-foot-6 17-year old. . . He is a funny writer, his jokes expose hypocrisy, shorten social distance, suggest a more decent order of values in our society. . . his novel is likely to elicit a complicated set of responses. For me, the range goes from amusement and delight to compassion and anger."
This is the cover to the hardback version, not the paperback. The PB cover was better, if you ask me.