A sizzling tale - Page 2

'Zodiac' author Robert Graysmith talks San Francisco history and his new book, 'Black Fire'

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Steamboat drawing by author Robert Graysmith

But I hope I did a good job. I loved the book and I loved doing the drawings for it. [I had so much material that] the companion book, Black Water, is already done — it's an incredible story, so I'm really counting on Black Fire doing well so we can bring it out. I can't really tell you what it's about, but there's a lot of archaeology involved, and it's the exact same time period, with a few of the same characters.

SFBG The characters in Black Fire are pretty memorable.

RG I love the characters, like "the ugliest man in San Francisco" — and maybe in the world, we weren't sure! You've got a US senator, a gunfighter, boxing champs, con men. Incredibly bigger-than-life figures, and these are the guys who saved the city! In a city where everybody was terrible, these slightly bad guys were the heroes. They really were what held us together, pulling these water wagons up hills, fighting fires with tiny hoses. It was so overwhelming, the devastation — because we had paper houses, and they kept building the same houses over again. I love the fact that they fought against impossible odds and succeeded.

ROBERT GRAYSMITH

Nov. 15, 7pm, free

City Lights

261 Columbus, SF

www.citylights.com

 

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