A personal note

Today marks the one-year anniversary of the death of Donald Westlake.

The new year marks the one-year anniversary of the relaunch of The Violent World of Parker. Although the relaunch wasn’t official until a month later, January 31st, I think of it as being born when I got word of […]

News for week ending 2009-12-26

Pulp Serenade–An interview with Hard Case Crime editor Charles Ardai about The Adventures of Gabriel Hunt: http://bit.ly/604sdA # Pluck You, Too!–A detailed look at Stephen Frear’s Westlake-scripted The Grifters: http://www.pluckyoutoo.com/2008/09/grifters.html #

Nackles: A Christmas story by Donald Westlake

Note: I believe this story to be in the public domain. If it is not, please let me know and I will remove it from the site.


By Donald Westlake (writing as Curt Clark)
Originally published in
The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, January 1964

Did God create men, or does Man create gods? I don’t know, and if it hadn’t been for my rotten brother-in-law, the question would never have come up. My late brother-in-law? Nackles knows.

It all depends, you see, like the chicken and the egg, on which came first. Did God exist before Man first thought of Him, or didn’t He? If not, if Man creates his gods, then it follows that Man must create the devils, too.

Nearly every god, you know, has his corresponding devil. Good and Evil. The polytheistic ancients, prolific in the creation (?) of gods and goddesses, always worked up nearly enough Evil ones to cancel out the Good, but not quite. The Greeks, those incredible supermen, combined Good and Evil in each of their gods. In Zoroaster, Ahura Mazda, being Good, is ranged forever against the Evil one, Ahriman. And we ourselves know God and Satan.

But of course it’s entirely possible I have nothing to worry about. It all depends on whether Santa is or is not a god. He certainly seems like a god. Consider: He is omniscient; he knows every action of every child, for good or evil. At least on Christmas Eve he is omnipresent, everywhere at once. He administers justice tempered with mercy. He is superhuman, or at least non-human, though conceived of as having a human shape. He is aided by a corps of assistants who do not have completely human shapes. He rewards Good and punishes Evil, And, most important, he is believed in utterly be several million people, most of them under the age of ten. Is there any qualification of godhood that Santa Claus does not possess?

Continue reading Nackles: A Christmas story by Donald Westlake

Merry Christmas!

“Christmas reminds us we are not alone. We are not unrelated atoms, bouncing and ricocheting amid aliens, but are a part of something, which holds and sustains us. As we struggle with shopping lists and invitations, compounded by December’s bad weather, it is good to be reminded that there are people […]

Cute fan ad for Darwyn Cooke's Parker books

Have “cute” and “Parker” ever been in the same sentence before? Well, they’re in the same sentence now: This fan-made ad for Darwyn Cooke’s Parker books is cute.

I recognize Wolverine and Jonah Hex, but who is the fella with the bandages?

Via Almost Darwyn Cooke’s […]

“Draw Parker” contest winners

I somehow missed the announcement of the winners of the “Draw Parker” contest over at Almost Darwyn Cooke’s Blog. I’ve highlighted second place (by the appropriately named Brandon Parker) with this post, as I presciently highlighted the winner in my initial post. To see third through fifth place, you’ll have to […]

More cover translation help needed

The great thing about having a major new search engine to work with (Bing) is that I’m coming up with a whole bunch of new results on my image searches. I just found this page, for example, which linked to the image above and the image below.

The […]

News for week ending 2009-12-18

From the archives: Donald Westlake at NYT–A Pseudonym Returns from an Alter-Ego Trip, With New Tales to Tell: http://bit.ly/1nexQe # The remake of The Stepfather will be released on DVD and Blu-ray on 2/9/10: http://bit.ly/6Fg1L6 #

New Italian cover of The Hunter added

Thanks to reader Patrick, who, like me, wonders what the hell is going on in the cover photo.

A literal translation of the title and any other information on this edition (year of publication, &c.) would be most welcome.

Update: Reader Charlie informs me that this is […]

Finnish Parker covers!

I just stumbled across this stash of Finnish Parker covers. Above is the cover of Plunder Squad, which I reviewed yesterday.

If any of you out there are reasonably fluent in Finnish, I could use some help. I’d like literal English translations of the titles at a minimum, and […]