Feb 26, 2010

If You Were Following This Blog...

...I just changed all of the settings because there was something wrong with them, so now you have to follow it all over again. The widget is down and to the right.

Five People Who Made Me Want to Be a Writer

This question is not the same as my five favorite writers or the five writers I admire the most. Also, it's possible that if asked tomorrow, I might change two or three of the names. But here are today's five:

Harlan Ellison
Stephen King
Jack Kirby
Don Martin
Sam Shepard

Who are yours?

Feb 24, 2010

Some Questions about the Appification of Buyout

Nobody at Random House told me that Buyout was going to be an app. I've never talked to anyone at ScrollMotion, who designed the app. There are many things I don't know. Why is Buyout twice as expensive, for example, as some of the other books on the list? (It's $16.99. Worth every penny, I might suggest, but still more than the actual print book.) How will I be paid for the apps that sell? Does it say in the contract that those app rights are even Random House's to sell? Some of this stuff I could look up, probably, if I went into five-year-old files and found the contracts. But those contracts are probably silent on the question of apps, since, well, apps didn't exist.

Also, how come I don't get a free one?

Feb 22, 2010

Lit Mags Are Dead. Long Live Lit Mags. But Maybe Not Pure Psychological Realism.

Everyone with an interest in fiction should read this piece at Mother Jones, if you haven't already. Times are hard for litmags (most of them, anyway; but more about that in a sec). This piece has been out for a while, but I'm thinking about this now because it's gotten tied up in my head with this other piece, by Ted Gioia, called "Notes on Conceptual Fiction," at the website Conceptual Fiction.

Read them both and ask yourself: are litmags dying not because people don't read, but because litmags are clinging to literary models that are historically transient but assumed by the literary-academic establishment to be permanent? (I ask this question from a perspective within said establishment. I'm not hostile to it. But I do think that it, like any other respected and powerful institution, is very slow to react to cultural changes, and has a set of blinders that it tends not to notice until they are pointed out...like, say, by the death of literary magazines.)

I think it's no coincidence that the strongest literary magazines right now are the ones least beholden to an editorial vision centered on psychological realism and the standard kind of beautifully arid atmosphere pieces that seem to be the primary product of intense MFA-program workshopping.

And, putting on my genre-nerd hat, let me say that I love the Gioia piece because it avoids the cheerleading instinct so common to genre apologia. It is possible, indeed desirable, to talk about what genre fiction does well without falling prey to zero-sum thinking and arguing that because genre fiction does some things well, literary or realist fiction does not, cannot, must forever be considered the wan and lonely spinster of the family of literatures. Everything can be good. Most things aren't.

Feb 16, 2010

I Keel Keeng Tut

As USA Today notes this morning, I am doing an adaptation for IDW of The Murder of King Tut, James Patterson's conspiracy-minded take on the death of the boy pharaoh. So I am neck-deep in ancient Egypt. Cool. Here's the first cover:

Feb 9, 2010

Beaker Sings Dust in the Wind

I come up for air long enough to present you with this...



Now back to book with Friday deadline.

Feb 6, 2010

Feb 5, 2010

Anno Iron Man Continues

Here's the cover for my novelization of Iron Man 2, appearing in your neighborhood bookstore on April 1:

Feb 3, 2010

Anatomical Figuration of Amazon/Macmillan

Bookninja, which is always worth reading, on the Amazon/Macmillan kerfuffle that will determine the course of Western civilization: "Somewhere around the duodenum, Amazon’s foot, which had apparently entered through its own mouth, met Macmillan’s foot which, as we saw yesterday, entered through Amazon’s rectum, and the two are having a kungfu battle amid the half-digested remains of America’s mid-list novelists. Heady stuff."

As one of those mid-list novelists (I think), I feel threatened by this image but consider it appropriate.

Feb 2, 2010

100 Stories for Haiti

Buy this book when it comes out. Not because I have a story in it ("Snapdragons," reprinted from the Vestal Review), but because it's a good thing to do.