This and That is a three part delight. The book combines a short story collection, including several original in this book, with autobiography and a selection of essays on a wide range of subjects.
Section One includes these stories:
• Eighteen Hours (New story. Submarine action off the east coast of the United States during World War II.) • Blackout (Semi-hard boiled murder mystery.) • Survivor (If your ship is torpedoed, what next?) • The Collinsville UFO (New story. An entirely fictional “true” story.) • Conflict of Interest (New story. The preacher wants those books banned.) • Skagerrak (An early Hans Kruger story.) • A Big Disappointment (New story. Expansion team baseball humor.) • Memoir (A vampire remembers.) • Mort’s Maid (The beautiful maid is mute, and never seems to age.) • Predator (What goes through a serial killer’s mind?) • A Patient Man (What really happened to Felder?) • Castle Grosshelm (There’s treasure in the ruined Romanian castle. And something else.) • Mission Twenty-Five (An 8th Air Force Story.)
Videos of J.T. McDaniel reading two of these stories, A Patient Man and Mission Twenty-Five, may be found on the author’s YouTube channel.
After the short stories, This and That continues with an autobiographical section, divided into three sections, School Days, Theatrical Things, and Military Events. In the 1950 and 1960s, guns in school were more likely to mean shop projects than crime, and most people would have found it strange if boys were not carrying pocket knives. McDaniel was in several plays during his school years, and moved to New York after his military service. Though he never got that great Broadway part, he spent a lot of time around the Broadway scene in the early 1970s. During that period he became acquainted with quite a few familiar personalities, several of whom are mentioned in this volume, including Harold J. Kennedy, Paul Lipson, Sean Dillon, Jack Cassidy, and even Rock Hudson. After returning to Cleveland he found himself getting better parts, at one point twice sharing the stage with future Transformer and video game voice icon, Paul Eiding. He also spent several years working in radio.
While in Viet Nam, McDaniel served with the 1st Aviation Brigade and the 101st Airborne Division. Several stories come from this period:
• Getting There • Movie Nights • The Seabees Pitch In • Blowing Up the Chow Line • Sebastian Cabot’s Arse
Part Three is called Thoughts on One Thing and Another, and is broken into four sections, Movies, Books, and Entertainment; Politcal Rants; Random Musings, and Science and Mythology. The first includes essays on subjects ranging from old movies, to vampires, eroticism in horror, old Cleveland theatres, and exploitation movies.
Political Rants includes essays on:
• Common Sense • Why Trust China? • Voting • Ignorance Defines the Crime
The collection of essays in the Random Musings sections include:
• Gremlins • Men’s Rules for Relationships • How to Start Your Own Religion • Some Stuff I Don’t Like • Some Stuff I Like—or Miss • Communication • On Sociability
The most potentially controversial section, Science and Mythology, includes these essays:
• What is Mythology? • Life After Death—Maybe • Cause and Effect • Open Minds • Pray for a Cure • Genetics vs. Morality • If There Were No Christianity • On Free Will • On Theistic Atheism • Conspiracy Theories • Cults • Aliens and Demons
Trade Paperback, 8-½ x 5-½, 400 pages, isbn: 978-1-932606-33-1 Published by Riverdale Books
This and That may be ordered from your local bookseller, or from these online retailers: