Friday, November 05, 2004

JUSTIFY YOURSELF: Putting Nick Mamatas on the Rack

Nick Mamatas' Move Underground from Night Shade Books combines the On the Road and Lovecraft traditions in a surreal, bizarre journey through cthulhu Beat Poet country. The mind boggles. The heart throbs. Blurbed by Mieville and admired by many, the novel is Nick's first. I thought if anyone needed to justify himself, it would be Nick, given the fact that his outspoken advocacy of intelligent and incisive commentary on a host of issues has led to many of those on the wrong end of the argument (including myself!) to want to interrogate length.

So, without further preamble, Nick Mamatas:


Why should readers pick up your book as opposed to, say, just about anybody else's book?
Readers should pick up my book because it is part of the subset of total books that are good. 90% of all books are bad and should be avoided. Picking up my book means that you have one of the 10% of the books that are good. As people like good books, they should only choose from within that 10%.

Of course, this leads to a second question: why should we choose your book from out of the 10% that are good? And you should do that because I need the money. I know you don't need your money because until just now you were far more likely to spend it on some crappy book instead of mine! Better than your money flow through the bookstore, up past [the distributor] Ingram, down over Night Shade and finally into my pocket, where it will gain holy power.

Does your book have any socially redeeming qualities? If so, what are they?
Two. One is of interest to historians of literature and culture -- Move Under Ground explains exactly why and how Jack Kerouac ended up being a bitter, bloated, right-wing crank before his death. The answer is both incredibly obvious if you think about it, and a pleasant surprise.

The second is for members of the working class. For a couple of decades now, such workers have been hammered by propaganda designed to increase their exploitation -- the so-called "team concept", "quality circle" and other management voodoo, for example. These ideas allowed bosses to eliminate the eight-hour day and gives them better, subtler means to pit worker against worker so that they could not resist the
ever greater assaults on their lives and souls. Reading my book will permanently inoculate any member of the working class from such rhetorical flim-flam.

And it will make CEOs explode! That's more of a chemically redeeming quality though.

Does your book have any medicinal or mental health value to readers?
Yes, it cures syphilis. Unless you don't have syphilis. Then it gives you syphilis. Don't worry; just keep reading and the book will cure it. As long as you don't stop after four chapters and put the book down to watch tv or catch up on your work-related emails you'll be fine. Just don't stop reading once you start OR YOU'LL DIE OF SYPHILIS!

Assume your book has been filed under "Ages 8 to 12" in the children's section, perhaps by mistake, perhaps not. How horrified do you imagine a child would be after reading your book, and why? How many years of therapy would the child take to recover from the experience?

Not only will children not be horrified by my book, it will likely be the best thing that ever happened to them, just as it was to me when I read Colin Wilson's THE MIND PARASITES at age nine.

If no one buys your book and you are unable to continue publishing your fiction due to the intense vilification that occurs in the media, what line of work will you go into?
I'm moving in to your house and sleeping on your couch! And I'll pay my way by tutoring your daughter in comportment and elocution.


At 1:46 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Most writers show tact and humility, but this guy is a shameless example of self-promotion by intimidation and lack of anything substantial to say, except about himself, on a topic equal to the mass sales potential of a book about pork and beans.

At 6:25 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey--all comments on this blog need to have a name associated with them. Otherwise, I delete them. If you want to associate a name with your comment, I'll leave it up. Otherwise, I'm deep sixing it. You've got a day to do so. Negative comments are fine, but I expect a certain amount of accountability in the context of this forum.


At 7:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I like the cover. I like the Lovecraftian and Kerouac angles mentioned in the jacket copy. Generally, I like smart fiction.

Based on his blog and various articles and postings of his, Nick is a pretty smart guy and a skilled entertainer/self-promoter. (Regardless of who he's torqued off lately, or how many of his opinions I happen to disagree with.)

I'm going to end up buying this book, no doubt.

Lon P.

At 2:24 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

These have been a lot of fun--I've really enjoyed them.

Also--I don't want you to come away from my post about the election thinking I in any way support Bush or think that a vote for him was a good idea. I certainly don't. Good god, I don't. Just so we're clear. :)

At 2:24 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

These have been a lot of fun--I've really enjoyed them.

Also--I don't want you to come away from my post about the election thinking I in any way support Bush or think that a vote for him was a good idea. I certainly don't. Good god, I don't. Just so we're clear. :)

--Catherynne M. Valente

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