Category Archives: Books

Picnic, Lightning

Sue Lyons as Lolita

Over at Vice, actual pages from Vladimir Nabokov’s screenplay for Lolita are on display, including a wonderful scene that didn’t make it into the movie.

Humbert’s Voice

…she was killed by a bolt of lightning during a picnic on my fourth birthday, high in the Maritime Alps.

CUT TO:

A Mountain Meadow–A thunderhead advancing above sharp cliffs
Several people scramble for shelter, and the first big drops of rain strike the zinc of a lunchbox. As the poor lady in white runs toward the pavilion of a lookout, a blast of livid light fells her. Her graceful specter floats up above the black cliffs holding a parasol and blowing kisses to her husband and child who stand below, looking up, hand in hand.

Plus, you know, stuff about Kubrick. More.

‘They said they had come all the way from Amsterdam to f**k Charles Bukowski’

Spank Hank

Over at Vice, there’s an interview with John Martin from Black Sparrow about his long relationship, both professional and personal, with Charles Bukowski.

I mean, his public persona is very unlike the man.

Apparently, Hank was courteous, among other things. More at Vice.

Joyland

What if you’d written a novel and then, years later, Stephen King wrote a book with the same title, and you suddenly found yourself awash in King-like royalties? Emily Schultz, the author of Joyland, found herself in that situation when Stephen King released his own novel named Joyland as a print-only title.

King has now responded to the mix-up, telling Entertainment Weekly “I’m delighted for her, and I’m going to order her book”. King, writes Schultz on Twitter, is “wonderful”.

Stephen King isn’t just one of our best, most prolific, and most influential writers. He’s also a really cool dude. More at The Guardian.

The Goldfart

Urgh!

Have you read Donna Tartt’s The Goldfinch? Was it highfalutin enough for you? For some publications, like the august New York Times, it hit the mark. But there are more discerning people than that out in literary land defending us all from literature-as-entertainment. (Ew! Entertainment!) Vanity Fair‘s Evgenia Peretz airs out the laundry. Can’t we all get along?

Indeed, we might ask the snobs, What’s the big deal? Can’t we all just agree that it’s great she spent all this time writing a big enjoyable book and move on? No, we cannot, say the stalwarts.

More at Vanity Fair.

When Alice met Kurt

Is that you, Kurt? It's me, Alice!

Let’s say you’ve got out your “Heroes of the 1970′s” action figurines and you’re playing with them atop your desk at work. How often would you team up Kurt Vonnegut and Alice Cooper… you know, to have them duke it out with Nixon and Ehrlichman?

Over at Dangerous Minds, we get to imagine Alice Cooper and Kurt Vonnegut meeting for reals, cuz it really did happen. Holy shit!

Giving some love to a banned book

Our correspondent Joseph Hirsch has a guest post over at Hardboiled Wonderland, giving a little love to a Stephen King-penned novel called Rage.

My own personal favorite King book, and the subject of this post, is Rage. To use an analogy, if one reads Salem’s Lot or The Shining, they are reading the literary equivalent of latter-day Scorsese, say when he made Casino or Bringing out the Dead. These works are very good, to be sure, but they are missing that enfant terrible quality. Rage is the literary equivalent of Taxi Driver. It is the angry, violent work of a young man.

More over at Hardboiled Wonderland.

How to make a living as a writer

Over at the Guardian, Damien Walter makes the case for reading franchise novels in a specific sci fi canon

What franchise novels can certainly do well is compelling storytelling. And at their best, they can do it much better than the franchises that spawned them. Timothy Zahn’s Heir to the Empire introduces the malevolent Grand Admiral Thrawn to the extended Star Wars universe, where he remains hands-down its best antagonist.

while simultaneously making the case for writing them…

The big names of franchise writing such as Peter David and Alan Dean Foster may struggle to command much literary respect, but with more than 20 million books sold worldwide, Kevin J Anderson can respond to critics of his Dune prequels while sucking on a stogie rolled from thousand-dollar bills.

More at the Guardian.

Eddie Little remembered

Frequent contributor to Paragraph Line Joseph Hirsch wrote a great piece about Eddie Little for Up and Down These Mean Streets. Little was a career criminal who could write well “…unlike say, James Ellroy or Elmore Leonard, who had to rely more on imagination than experience when it came to telling their tales.”

Read more at http://www.donherron.com/?p=6435

Joey has written some terrific crime novels himself, including Ohio At Dusk, Rolling Country and the forthcoming Flash Blood. He has also written a book that should be a science fiction cult novel, The Last Slice of Pizza.

Sci-Fi vs. Lit Fic

A genre fiction writer, in this case a science fiction writer, takes a stand and says that science fiction is better than literary fiction… at least as a way for us to think about the big issues of the day.

Speculative fiction may not mimic real life but it uses its magic mirror to reflect on the world around us. It’s a fundamentally outward-looking genre, in direct contrast to literary fiction, which looks inward to explore the human condition.

Pew-pew! Pew-pew! Take that John Updike!

More at The Guardianhttp://www.theguardian.com/books/2014/apr/18/genre-debate-science-fiction-speculative-literary