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Who Was David Algonquin? The Works Of The Mystery Man Of American Letters
April 20, 2012 9:38 AM   Subscribe

Who Was David Algonquin? The Works Of The Mystery Man Of American Letters
Ken Cosgrove, everyone's favorite Accounts man on Mad Men, has a side career as an author with many pen names. The David Algonquin Wiki imagines a world where Ken's stories have become popular and well-remembered pieces of culture but the man himself is largely a mystery (Although Harlan Ellison is a fan). Wiki is open to anyone, with an attempt being made to write his stories round-robin style.
Role: Contributor
posted by The Whelk (47 comments total) 20 users marked this as a favorite
This project was posted to MetaFilter by Cool Papa Bell on April 30, 2012: Who Was David Algonquin? The Works Of The Mystery Man Of American Letters

Dude this rules. However, Harry Crane is my favorite accounts man. Also I saw him in a bar in Chelsea last night, looking thin and being awesome. No I won't tell you which bar.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 9:48 AM on April 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


This is fun. I love the "Popular Culture" section.
posted by Rock Steady at 9:57 AM on April 20, 2012


"The Punishment of X-4" isn't listed?
posted by jokeefe at 10:22 AM on April 20, 2012


the beauty of a wiki is that if you don't see something, you can change it (I'm changing it)
posted by The Whelk at 10:24 AM on April 20, 2012


can we have a fake wiki war debating whether or not ben hargreaves is really david algonquin

I need to work on revisions this weekend and this is such a beautiful but unwelcome distraction.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 10:39 AM on April 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


That's totally true about Umberto Eco though.
posted by shakespeherian at 10:40 AM on April 20, 2012


Damon Lindelof (Lost, Prometheus) apparently got all up in "The Punishment of X-4" and titled his version of the "one about the woman who lays eggs" -- "Ova".
posted by Rock Steady at 10:40 AM on April 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


I have a sneaking suspicion he published The Gold Violin under his real name and then never again.
posted by The Whelk at 10:41 AM on April 20, 2012


we should make those canon cause it means less typing from me
posted by The Whelk at 10:42 AM on April 20, 2012 [2 favorites]


And, of course, Ken's breakthrough publication in The Atlantic, "Tapping a Maple on a Cold Vermont Morning" which was presumably published under his own name.

I'm thinking a bit too much about this, I suspect, after last Sunday. But such an episode it was.
posted by jokeefe at 10:51 AM on April 20, 2012


I have to say that the beginning of The Long Imposture is excellent.
posted by jokeefe at 10:56 AM on April 20, 2012


from the invisible library it is none in series that

COSGROVE, Kenneth: "Tapping a Maple on a Cold Vermont Morning," The Atlantic Monthly; two novels, unpublished, one about a man on an oil rig, another about a widow on a farm; "The Day We Looked at the Picture"; "The Gold Violin"; story or stories in Parabolas


Maybe a "Ken Cosgrove Controversy" section with scholars arguing that a tepid, by the numbers hobbyist author like Cosgrove could never have come with the depth or imagination of David Algonquin and the only connection is a few Vermont settings and phrases.
posted by The Whelk at 11:01 AM on April 20, 2012 [2 favorites]


There, wikifight fuel added. Have at it!
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 11:02 AM on April 20, 2012


"Known in the series" rather.
posted by The Whelk at 11:02 AM on April 20, 2012


Also this is now a universe where weird tales never went extinct. a better universe, perhaps.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 11:03 AM on April 20, 2012 [2 favorites]


A Stronger Loving world.
posted by The Whelk at 11:04 AM on April 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


one second, I have to make an entree on how prolific he appears.
posted by The Whelk at 11:09 AM on April 20, 2012


So Ken published "Ova" or whatever in Galaxy, right? Apparently Galaxy was anti-new wave: "Algis J. Budrys writing in the review column of Galaxy magazine produced 'one of the classic diatribes against Ballard and the new mode of SF then emergent'" (from the Wikipedia entry on the SF New Wave). So that would likely position Dave Hargrove as a less innovative writer? Dangerous Visions was published in 1967, so the New Wave is sweeping in; I want to think of Ken as being on the vanguard...
posted by jokeefe at 11:12 AM on April 20, 2012


However, Harry Crane is my favorite accounts man.

Just for you: The Adventures of Harold Cranach, Algonquin's famous California picaresque.
posted by Iridic at 11:13 AM on April 20, 2012


THERE NOW MARGARET ATWOOD'S TWITTER ACCOUNT IS PART OF THIS HOO-HA
posted by The Whelk at 11:20 AM on April 20, 2012 [2 favorites]


I want to know more about this Coe character.
posted by shakespeherian at 11:21 AM on April 20, 2012


When he died they found his cement foundation was like, 70% dead hookers.
posted by The Whelk at 11:23 AM on April 20, 2012


I love the Margaret Atwood tweet!
posted by jokeefe at 11:28 AM on April 20, 2012


Also I noted that "The Oviparous Girl" was published in Galaxy, not Weird Tales. Canon, people.
posted by jokeefe at 11:28 AM on April 20, 2012


Sloppy wiki updates make wiki more accurate!
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 11:30 AM on April 20, 2012


Regarding the font inconsistencies: I'll try to straighten out the CSS this evening.
posted by Iridic at 11:31 AM on April 20, 2012


you know what my favorite detail is? The huge gap in time between the last two Jesse Emerald books and the rest, complete with a cheesy call back title suggesting he really didn't want to write anymore but was kind of forced after a hiatus and ending with a complete fan service book.
posted by The Whelk at 11:32 AM on April 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


This is very cool. By the way, check out Pulp on NetFlix Streaming - caught it last night (or the night before?) and it reminds me a bit of all this, though the main character stuck to crime noir and true story ficta.
posted by tilde at 11:34 AM on April 20, 2012


JMO, but what about Pete? Did his story get published? Is he going to claim to be Ken, or not? I suppose it partially depends on how the rest of the season turns out. I can imagine entries on a few real and fake people emulating, trying to be him or claiming to be him.
posted by tilde at 11:44 AM on April 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


I have added some stuff about Roger Norwood, the Army surgeon in Vietnam who ends up traveling through time and, apparently, inspiring a Tom Baker Doctor Who episode and Desmond from Lost.
posted by Rock Steady at 11:45 AM on April 20, 2012 [2 favorites]


ha Rock Steady, that's not too far from what I had in my head and trying to suggest with the Who episode title. Good work.
posted by The Whelk at 11:46 AM on April 20, 2012


I suppose it partially depends on how the rest of the season turns out.

You just wait: we'll spend all season building this wiki up, and then Ken will eat Pete's rifle in the last episode.
posted by Iridic at 11:52 AM on April 20, 2012 [2 favorites]


Hey, so the first paragraph mentioned "nineteen stories, two novellas, and three novels". I added a Norwood story and a story by Dave Mohegan (since that name was mentioned in the first paragraph as well). By my count that gets us to twenty-five titles in quotes and eight italicized titles (including the Cotswolds books). I'm changing the first paragraph to "twenty-three stories, two novellas and eight novels." Which are we thinking are the novellas?
posted by Rock Steady at 1:50 PM on April 20, 2012


When I made up the initial tally, I was counting only those pieces published by Dave Algonquin/Mohegan. I then seeded his specific bibliography with somewhat fewer than 24 titles, intending to preserve some of the pleasure of invention for future contributors.

But really, I'm not married to any sum. Perhaps we should vague it up to "a number of short stories, novellas, and novels" until the canon's a bit firmer.
posted by Iridic at 1:58 PM on April 20, 2012


JMO, but what about Pete? Did his story get published? Is he going to claim to be Ken, or not?

I was thinking up something along the lines of Pete claiming to be Ken in his suicide note, or something, but figured it might be too melodramatic. The controversy could be reignited when his daughter publishes her own memoir of her childhood in the suburbs arguing that her father was in fact the mysterious writer.
posted by jokeefe at 3:13 PM on April 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


oo The Orivporius girls needs to be moved to a Benjamin L. Hargreaves section ..which doesn't exist. I would but on mobile.
posted by The Whelk at 3:39 PM on April 20, 2012


Added it, plus some grar in the discussion section.

This is too much fun.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 4:17 PM on April 20, 2012


oh man those music video references, good show whomever.
posted by The Whelk at 5:06 PM on April 20, 2012


noting that 1965 was the first year of the Nebula Award I went and made a very stupid joke.
posted by The Whelk at 10:39 AM on April 21, 2012


and can anyone who knows more about fanzines try that out?
posted by The Whelk at 10:39 AM on April 21, 2012


(This is great.)
posted by box at 9:53 AM on April 22, 2012


After re reading this, I wonder if the anthology was just another piece or the payoff for the season?
posted by tilde at 7:07 AM on April 24, 2012


http://www.slate.com/articles/arts/the_chat_room/2012/05/mad_men_season_5_is_sterling_cooper_draper_pryce_in_trouble_readers_chat_about_an_ominous_episode_.html


Alex Mizrahi: Speaking of verbal anachronisms, was Ken's line about Megan passing "double secret" signals to Don (I don't remember the quote exactly, but double-secret was definitely in there) a Cosgrovian sci-fi premonition of Animal House's "double secret probation"?
posted by tilde at 8:24 AM on May 1, 2012


No more writing exposition this season.

FYI Ken published in Parabola after Atlantic monthly. They'd broken into Coopers office to look at the Rothko. "It looks deep, like you could fall in. " "I could write a great short story about this. 'The Day We Looked At The Painting.'"
posted by tilde at 6:30 PM on June 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


Oh. Man...
posted by Skygazer at 11:06 AM on June 13, 2012


Burger Chef promotional poem glass tie-in added.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 11:03 AM on June 2 [3 favorites]


He first heard of the tunnel on what he calls that “shitty 1970s day” he dropped out of Pratt. He was “trying to figure out what to do next” when he turned on his radio and heard a program discussing a new novel, The Cosgrove Report. The book’s plot hinged on the idea that, after killing Lincoln, Booth was never caught. Instead, he fled to New York, where he stashed the bundle of missing pages from his diary—which are a historical fact—in a metal box near a wood-burning locomotive buried inside a railway tunnel in Brooklyn. Diamond had little interest in Booth, but was curious about that tunnel. He telephoned the book’s author, G.J.A. O’Toole, who he says told him, “I don’t know much about it. I read as a kid that Murder Incorporated was dumping dead bodies down there. You’re a young man, go find it.”
Source ...
posted by tilde at 12:27 PM on June 10


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