Archive of Reader Reactions & Anecdotes

Reader Comments on "The Blue Max"

From Don, 29 November 2008:

Jack,

I’ve always been an admirer of yours and with this latest e-mail as to your health I wish you blue skies, gentle winds and happy landings wherever you find yourself in the universe. I am certain however that you have many more “earthbound” adventures yet to come.

I did want to take this opportunity to thank you for a life of aviation and adventure that you were very influential in creating. I was a kid growing up in the farmlands of extreme southern New Jersey where the crop dusters in peaceful civilian pastime roared down the green rows, me always looking up and wanting to be like them. It was then too that I watched in an old art deco styled movie theater the movie “The Blue Max” and marveled at the beauty and adventure of flight, even in wartime. With a yearning to be “like them” I eventually obtained my pilot’s license and now build and fly those wooden crates myself.

In later years I obtained a copy of the book “The Blue Max” and through the pages got a deeper understanding of the affect of the alcoholism that was affecting my family and myself. Now many years sober I occassionally re-read your book to understand where I had been and how far I’ve come. Thank you for being such an inspiration.

Jack, though we’ve never met in person I feel a bond with you in that your words in story have been with me for most of my life.

I’m glad to have met you!

Be well my friend. My prayer this day are for you.

Don

* * *

Reply from Jack:

Dear Don:

I’m so sorry to have taken so long to answer your wonderful email. But, as you’ve seen, I’m pretty well tied up in a battle against cancer, and the radiation treatments and all that weird stuff have sapped my energy to the point that it’s a real chore simply to write a check to pay the bills.

I’m deeply touched by your credits to The Blue Max for helping you get a line on your fondness for the grape and to put the cork in the bottle. For that alone I am profoundly grateful for having written that novel. You’ve obviously had a wonderful life as a consequence, and you do me a great honor by giving me a role in it.

I try as much as possible to stay away from my miseries when writing my blog. Everybody’s got problems, so what’s different about me, eh? Anyhow, please, dear friend, keep in touch with me — keep tabs on me — and enjoy every moment of your life, hear?

Fondly,

Jack

From Darren, 5 October 2008:

Hello Mr. Hunter,

I was delighted to find that not only have you written (and are writing) many more books than I realised, but also have your own very active blog! I first read ‘The Blue Max’ many years ago, when I was seventeen, whilst learning to fly Kirby Cadet T21 gliders at RAF Kenley; I have just re-read it, having just purchased my first aeroplane, a 1973 Currie Wot (pic attached!). The novel (as you may divine from my choice of aerial steed) made a deep impression on first reading, but only with the passage of years have I come to appreciate the pathos, humanity and perception of your rich characters. I was also struck by the uncanny fashion in which the film, whilst diverging from the plot and modifying the characters to a great extent, yet retained the subtleties and fundamental dynamics of your (certainly, at the time of writing) radical and cutting-edge experimental storytelling and fluidly authentic dialogue. Oddly enough, I returned from my trip to Enstone (Oxfordshire) a month or so ago, having viewed my possible prospective aircraft, only to switch on the TV and be confronted with Karl Michael Vogler and James Mason in heated debate over a certain reprobate Jasta pilot! I took this as a sign, and telephoned the owner to close the sale immediately! Stachel still has lot to answer for. . .

Currie Wot

As well as my flying interests, I also edit the highly irregular journal ‘Prototype X’ (which often features articles on vintage aviation), and which was created as a result of collaboration between contributors to the forum and ‘blog’ of another author, Michael Moorcock, a Brit currently resident in Bastrop, of whom you may have heard. I attach my slightly fatuous time-travel novella ‘The Cruel “C”’ and a piece on the Shenadoah disaster from this publication, which you may (and I mean ‘may’, advisedly!) find interesting, if you have a very, very long and dull journey to undertake and lack reading material. A few of my literary pals quite enjoyed the novella, but as my best friend recently described one of my recent short stories as ‘crap!’ I never expect folk to (a) read, (b) appreciate the stuff I send ’em. . . ;-)

Anyway, I would be very pleased to sign up to your website, if possible; I would also quite like to think about commissioning a piece of your excellent artwork, maybe even a painting of ‘G-AYNA’, if she isn’t too modern for your tastes! Also, must just say that I found the link to the Imperial German militaria site fascinating — especially the proprietorial cats (I’m a vet by trade, and have two quite naughty felines of my own).

With very best wishes,

Darren (East Molesey, Surrey, England)

* * *

Reply from Jack:

Dear Darren:

I know I violate the protocols of polite correspondence by addressing you by your first name, but I am (1) incorrigibly Yankee and therefore predictably cavalier about the niceties and (2) I’m uneasy with “Mr. Hunter” because it makes me feel like a rumpled, pipey, tweedy, Medieval Poetry professor, contrary to my own view, which is of a tall, muscular, vigorous hunk readily mistaken for 007. So “Darren” it is, and if you don’t approve, take it up with Miss Moneypenny.

That said, I am genuinely delighted to have you join us. And I’m flattered and most grateful for the kind things you have to say about my writings. Since you, too, are a writer/editor, you know only too well how hard it is to come by favorable reader feedback.

That’s a fine-looking aircraft you own, and I’m glad to share the picture with the many aviation fans among my blog readers. As for taking on a commission for a painting of it, I’m afraid I’ll have to ask you for such a huge amount of patience you may be reluctant to take the idea any farther along. I’m swamped and simply can’t at this point give you a yes or no — or even a maybe. If I live another year or two, let’s talk. Okay? Moreover, I have no time at all any more for pure recreational reading and editorial comment, so I’ll have to pass there, too.

I’m glad you like cats. I think they’re among the most fascinating of creatures, and because he feels the same way, I’m taking the liberty of forwarding your e-mail to Ken Greenfield, honcho of Der Rittmeister service. He’s in Europe right now, but I suspect you’ll hear from him when he gets back.

Meanwhile, many thanks again for your fine message. You have continuing best wishes from all of us over here.

Jack


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