Thursday, August 03, 2006

The golden needle?

Is the coveted (and overly yawn-inducing) Needle Award golden?


As of this moment, eight of the ten finalists (and both winners) have representation by some of the finest literary agents in the business (at least six were as a result of the Needle nod). And it looks like one book is actually closing in on a deal.

So, are my picks that on target or is it merely coincidence?!

Yeah, probably coincidence.

But no matter what, you can trust my selections--though there will certainly be fewer this year.

Updates will forthcoming. I'll pass on the good news as soon as I get it.

And for all you fans of Dennis Latham (whose book MICHAEL IN HELL was selected by yours truly last year), he's got a new title out and a nice feature in the Cincinnati Enquirer. Check it out.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006


Oh, yeah. If the title hasn't already got you by the hair, then check out this opening:

One Sunday evening, the town of Parcival, USA disappeared. It was Tuesday morning before anyone in the outside world noticed it was gone.

The book's style, from the get-go, is not something that would normally stick with me--a sort of itemized introduction of the various characters--but it did. And what characters they are! The book is literary, yet it's also a bit of a western, some science fiction, and a whole lot of whimsy. I mean, we're talking characters whose names are Alexander Pumpernickel and Quentin C. Coriander! This book is superb satire, the kind of story and writing I have not seen since I last read Orwell's ANIMAL FARM or THE GREAT DIVORCE by C.S. Lewis.

Yeah, now you get where I'm coming from.

And now you see why it is difficult to describe the story in detail without giving away the store.

The book is full of suspense (how exactly does a town manage to disappear and return--and why?) and twists at the very end for a clever, highly-imaginative closing--just the kind that makes you think, "Hmm, maybe I should start over and read it again."

If it's so great, why isn't it published by Viking or Grove/Atlantic? Because even Orwell and Lewis couldn't get stuff like this published today. (Velluminous, from what I can tell, is a commercial publisher using the POD model.) But I am thankful Mr. Aitchison found a way to get this story into print no matter what. Oh, what I (and you) would have been missing.

Grab a copy of this fantastic novel today. Amazon has it for $10.49; it's worth all 1,049 pennies.

Sunday, July 30, 2006

Editing, Guns N' Roses style

We all need to be edited. Even Axl Rose. This little piece on McSweeney's has got to be one of the funniest things I have read this year. This would even make Miss Snark proud!

You'll never look at your editor the same way again.


Also, check out this super-duper article on Will Clarke's books (yes, both) in the New York Times Sunday Book Review. No wonder both of Will's novels are selling like crazy at Amazon!


And in the praise the Lord department . . . .