Anastasia. 23. No-longer-in-college. Unemployed loser. (Albuquerque.)
Old movies. Comic books. Travel. Bagels. Robert Downey Jr. Star Trek. Sherlock Holmes. Adventures. Clam chowder. Pirates. Heist movies. Circus performers. Ballerinas. Journaling. Graffiti. Collages. Princesses.
Making Things With Anastasia
The ten novels on this list all substantiate the belief that books are the most elastic, introspective, human and entertaining form of media that exist. Not movies, not music, not art, not the theatre. A famous author once said that novels are the best way for two human beings to connect with each other. I believe this, and I believe that people who do not find pleasure in words have never had the opportunity to read one of the great novels. The first introductions students often have to literature are stale century-old books that do not translate well to this new modern era. Frankly they are boring, and a lot of kids drift into the living room and turn on the television and stay glued for the rest of their lives. So, here I will present the ten greatest novels of the last twenty years, without apologies.
He took up the challenge. He was unable to use more than 70 per cent of the words in the French language. The most common articles and pronouns, most of the French verb endings, and nearly every feminine noun were off-limits. Imagine a French writer not being able to use ‘une’, ‘le’, ‘je’, ‘elle’, ‘est’, or ‘et’.
Surely enough to kill any writer’s ability to create. But Perec was not just any writer. He discovered that, on the contrary, this ‘impossible’ rule unlocked his imagination. He later claimed that he wrote his novel faster than any of his other books. He was forced to think. He had to fight for every sentence. He had no choice but to be original.
The result was La Disparition, a surreal detective story about the mysterious disappearance of a character named A. Vowl. (Get it?) The only Es were the four in his name on the cover. He placed dozens of clues in the book about the fantastically difficult rule he was working under. (For example, the chapters are numbered one to 26, but there is no chapter five, E being the fifth letter of the alphabet.) Despite the clues, many of the original reviewers failed to spot what was staring them in their faces – the missing letter. Embarrassing for the critics; hilarious for the writer and his friends.
In a nutshell: The Second Age of Pulp is upon us, and writers who can churn out lots and lots of copy will dominate (in the second-tier ebook market, anyway — the bestsellers will continue to be the same ol’ mega-names). Content is king, you see, and antedeluvian writers like Dean — which is to say fast-working pros who established themselves prior to the Great Ebook Deluge — are in a perfect position to supply it. For one thing, they have out-of-print backlist titles just waiting for e-resurrection (and re-monetization). For another thing, if they’re anything like Dean, they are not slow goddamn writers. They are fast goddamn writers. And Kindle shall be their playground.
Something related to the difficulty indies face in the vast sea of material - has anyone else noticed that some reviewers (reader reviewers, not review sites) seem to be harder on indies? For example, I’ve seen reviews that basically blame the author for things that are subjective - voice, genre, style, etc. I wonder if it’s because, with indies, you don’t have the “someone saw something good in this” that you have with traditionally published books.
I have that problem, for sure. Even if a book was published through a smaller press, one that’s basically only around to publish a specific person’s books, I still feel kinder towards it than I do towards a book published through CreateSpace. I kind of feel bad about that, but, well.
I am sooooo grateful for the fact that Kindle didn’t exist 9 years ago, or even 5 years ago. I would’ve put crap out there, and I know it.
On that note, here’s what I think would’ve happened if I had the chance to publish my first book Dreams I Can’t Remember on Kindle when I was 17-
-I would’ve sold very, very few copies
-I would’ve gotten almost entirely negative reviews
-I would’ve cried a lot and vowed to quit writing (which I probably wouldn’t have done, but I would probably quit trying to write professionally)
So that is a definite downside to indie publishing. Writers - myself included - risk putting out stuff that just isn’t ready yet, and the damage that can do to our precious egos is terrifying. Also, things about it polluting the indie market may or may not be true.
I do believe that people who publish to Kindle out of laziness will put out bad books, but they also won’t do the work to promote their books, so they won’t sell anyway, and it becomes a moot point.
I think if you care enough to market your book, you probably care enough to write a decent book. But I could be wrong about that.
And Chosen Ones who are “select people” or have some birthright to leadership are even more problematic, because then you get into eugenics. If some people are *meant* to be rulers, then that means some people are meant to be ruled — and the latter group can therefore never be allowed to have the power to self-govern. Why give it to them if they’re genetically or magically or psychologically less fit for leadership? And while you’ve got two divisions of people (“select people” and peons, patricians and plebians, whatever you want to call them), why stop there? If some people are especially fit to rule, why not decide that some people are especially fit only for combat, and some only for skilled trades, and some only for intellectual pursuits? And maybe some people aren’t fit to do anything but die, because they’re old or disabled, or because some of your industries (e.g., mining) are especially dangerous and you can’t spare anyone *valuable* to do that kind of work. You’ve just created a eugenicist caste system, whee.