Why Lovecraft's failures are sometimes successes.
The Library of America has released a hardback selection of Lovecraft's finest stories. As a result I have been revisiting this important pulp author's fiction, and I find myself returning to a question I have often asked myself about Lovecraft. What is the reader meant to feel? Terror? Edification? Relief at not being confronted with unnamable horror in the Real World?
The world Lovecraft depicts — where reason is frail and evil lurks beneath the surface of matter itself — is far removed from that described by, say, Homer, in which there is good and bad, and the bad can be defeated if you show courage and passion. In Homer, the self is the centre of a storm of emotions, and the ability to triumph through the will is a properly heroic trait. In Lovecraft's universe it is not the heart that is at the centre of the human experience, but the mind. Given the regularity with which his narrators end up insane, it seems the mind is not adapted to deal with the terror of things. Lovecraft presents the individual as a lone wanderer in a desert that will ultimately consume him; nothing here of the sense of fraternity on which Homer's heroes rely. For Lovecraft, better not to join the dots: reality, that terrifying totality, is too intense to apprehend. No wonder his protagonists are so severely punished for their curiosity. read more »
Super Sad True InterviewInterview by Kasey Carpenter
Gary Shteyngart, author of the New York Times Bestselling novel Super Sad True Love Story recently sat down with me over a hummus and whole grain sandwich (I opted for ham and brie on croissant – not the healthy choice by any means) and smiled as I peppered him with questions regarding said book, his thoughts on MFA programs (he teaches one at Columbia), and his tenuous relationship with technology.
SSTLS is in fact, a love story, but it is one fraught with one-way blind manifestations of love, painfully abbreviated text messages and journal entries, offers of hope to even the most mismatched of pairs, and a less than glamorous take on what might become the way in which we find our "soul mates" somewhere in the near future, say next Tuesday. All the while Lenny, the protagonist, is hoping to find a way to cash in on his company's services, specifically the promise of living forever even as his world, the United States that his Russian parents so happily embraced, comes crashing down around him. read more »
As part of a new push to create more awareness of all the wonderful things we have going on in our Writer's Workshop, each month we are going to 'unlock' one of Chuck's exclusive craft essays.
As you may or may not know, back in 2004, Chuck Palahniuk and I decided to unveil a new feature on this website whereby up and coming writers could hone their craft with review and thorough feedback by their peers. But Chuck decided to up the ante by offering to pen an original craft essay on writing... every month. At the close of each essay, Chuck would issue a "homework assignment" to the reader that would involve applying the lesson he just taught into their next piece of writing.
This process continued for a total of three years, resulting in 36 original craft essays on writing that you won't find anywhere else online. Mind you: these are lessons you'd normally have to pay $20,000+ in an MFA writing program to attain, being offered to you by a best-selling writer on this very site. The essays soon graduated into Chuck actually reading and reviewing 6 original submissions by up and coming writers every month, with plans to choose the best selection at the end of the year for inclusion into a Writing Anthology... that he will be editing himself.
Through it all, the core essense of this movement was the Workshop itself and the work that was being submitted there. Today, we have writers who are being published for work they honed and crafted in our very workshop. You can usually tell what the good stories are and who the authors are who are going to go far, by the level to which they learn and apply Chuck's writing tenants... tenants which were taught to him by Tom Spanbauer in his Dangerous Writing program and in turn, were handed down by their mentor, Gordon Lisch.
So to convince you all of just how much of a vital resource these essays are to writers hoping to finish that novel, submit that short story, or even brush up that poem, we are chosing a different essay every month, and making it free to the public. This is a feature that you would normally need a Premium Membership to access.
This month we are unlocking Chuck's second essay,
This essay will remain open to the public for approximately 30 days. If you don't want to wait, and prefer to read all 36 essays, as well as 14 thorough Q&As with fans and of course, access to our groundbreaking Workshop where you can submit your own writing samples, stories, novel chapters, poems and even screenplays, for peer review... then go ahead and:
We've got a strong month for stories and an incredible month for Chuck's in-depth feedback we'd like to share with you. Read on.
The finalists include:
Dietary by Brandon Tietz
A Vodka Kind of Girl by Matt Egan
Western Eyes by Brien Piech
Mating Calls by Tony Liebhard
F for Fake by Tyler Jones
Relics by Joe Johnson
Congratulations to our finalists!
If you'd like to participate in our ground-breaking workshop, read exclusive How-To craft essays from Chuck and just network and meet other writers,
You know the drill, folks. Every month a new book is selected and a new moderator steps up to lead the discussion. This month, our reading is already underway on Gary Shteyngar's bestseller Super Sad True Love Story.
Here's the write-up from Amazon:
Welcome to the day after tomorrow. In Gary Shteyngart's near-future New York, the dollar has been pegged to the yuan, the American Restoration Authority is on high security alert, and Lenny Abramov, the middle-aged possessor of a decent credit score but an absurdly low--and embarrassingly public--Male Hotness rating, is in love with the young Eunice Park. Like many of the clients of his employer, the Post-Human Services division of the Staatling-Wapachung Corporation, he'd also like to live forever, but all he really wants is to love Eunice. And for a time, despite the traditional challenges of their gaps in age and ethnicity and the more modern hurdle of an oppressively networked culture that makes your most private identity as transparent as the Onionskin jeans that are all the rage, he does. Super Sad True Love Story is as corrosively hilarious as you'd expect from the satirist of Absurdistan and The Russian Debutante's Handbook, but what may surprise you are the moments when the satire hits bedrock and the story becomes--no air quotes required--sad, true, and very much a love story. --Tom Nissley
Breaking The Curse: Paying Penance with James EllroyInterview by Joshua Chaplinsky
Hot on the blood-slicked heels of last year's Blood's A Rover, James Ellroy returns with The Hilliker Curse, a memoir of his quest for atonement through women. Curse is a soul laid bare, an open chest wound at risk of infection, where anyone can stick their grubby little mitts in and poke around. Lesser authors might balk at displaying such honesty, but Ellroy remains committed to the cause. He is doing important work, telling important stories. This one just so happens to be his own.
Sequestered in his publicist's office, my first taste of the larger than life author is the sound of barking as he greets the denizens of Knopf. With nothing but my ears to go on, I think maybe he is accompanied by pets. "Call me dog," he tells me later, as we adjourn to the empty conference room where I am allotted thirty minutes to pick his brain. He is an intimidating presence, despite the bright pink polo shirt and congenial smile, but the man's also a pro. He orates as if from a script, like he was given the questions ahead of time, even when I think I've hit him with something new and different.
True to the spirit of his memoirs, no subject is off limits. Not the death of his mother, his messy romantic life, or his recent mental breakdown. But lest you think it is all doom and gloom, Ellroy is a man of astounding optimism, and our conversation reflects this. He also throws in a few choice tidbits about upcoming projects, unprovoked, including a tabloid style TV show on The Discovery Channel and his next quartet of books. read more »
Yesterday I had a chance to go see David Fincher's new film The Social Network. And yes, I loved it. Not at first. But about a few hours later, I found I couldn't shake the film. I kept replaying the scenes over and over in my head. And now, I'm ready to see it again already. But this isn't a review of that fine film, no. Rather, it's just one more example of how Fight Club lives on for all of us, and perhaps most notably... in its director's heart.
You might remember a scene where Mark Zuckerberg (played brilliantly by Jesse Eisenberg) is half-assedly doing some school work by posting pieces of art under a fake Facebook account and asking fellow students to comment on them, so he can then use their feedback in his assignment. Well, if you look closely at the fake account he's registered, you'll realize that it's registered to none other then.... Tyler Durden!
I didn't catch this myself. For that, I have to credit SlashFilm as the source. But I'll be sure to watch this scene more closely when I see the film again. For now, just thought you all should know... Project Mayhem lives on.
Introducing The Cult return of Craig Clevenger for an exclusive four-week intensive writing experience:
200 Proof Storytelling!!*
October 7th - November 4th
A Cult Special that combines the vital elements of Craig Clevenger's renowned Hotseat and Shotgun courses into a single, packed, powerful, four-week intensive class - exclusive to ChuckPalahniuk.net
(Seats for this will be limited so...
Keep reading, but make sure to
Urgent Update: Sold Out
*Distilled for purity. Bottled on-site.
Within this course you'll get:
read more »
Check out this awesome grindhouse-style poster for Fight Club. This was designed by Liam Carl. You can check out more of Liam's work at his official site: http://liamcarldesign.com/
In our 11 years online, fans of sent us a ton of artwork, but since the 'grindhouse' craze is still relatively new, I think this is actually the first time anyone has ever taken one of Chuck's novel/movies and whipped something like this up... and we love it, and want more!
So if you want to create your own 'grindhouse' version of one of Chuck's books or movies, send it as an email here, and be sure to include it as a .jpg or gif, along with your name and how you'd like to be credited. The best ones will be included in our Gallery.
UPDATE: We are running low on Fight Club Tshirts in the Creme color. We are not sure when we will print another run of this shirt, so consider this your head's up! If you want one of our Fight Club shirts, now would be a good time to order one.
We just received a new shipment of our popular Invisible Monsters Tshirts. We had previously sold out of a lot of our popular sizes of this shirt about three months back, but now all sizes are back! But wait, there's more! The first 100 people to order any store items will receive the rare Tell-All poster with their order... free!
These posters sold out soon after Chuck concluded his tour, but the good people at Random House stumbled upon a left-over batch in their offices and were nice enough to donate them our way.
One last thing! I want to remind you to not be shy! If you have one of our Invisible Monsters shirts and think you look awesome in it, snap a pic and send it our way. Not only will we post it on our Flickr, but it will also go up in our Tshirt gallery.
For all you bold ones out there, email your pics here.