It's the end of the world as we know it, in this mammoth post-apocalyptic vampire thriller.
It's already been referenced ad nauseum, so I will refrain from making any lazy Twilight comparisons in this review. Those sparkly bastards are too ingrained in the current zeitgeist as it is. Equally as unhelpful is flaccid hyperbole, ready-made blurbs along the lines of, "this ain't your momma's vampire novel." Because The Passage barely qualifies as a vampire novel to begin with. This works in its favor, more often than not, helping set it apart from the rest of the haematophilic pack. Cronin hasn't so much reinvented the genre as liberally borrowed from it, picking and choosing the perfect combination of fresh and familiar. The result? The successful synthesis of bound and jacketed mass appeal. read more »
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 Richard Thomas' neo-noir Transubstantiate.
After 3 years as a workshop regular and Master Class student, Richard Thomas placed his novel with a small press. He's something of a success story from our site. Hell, we even interviewed him about it. (read it here)
If you've read Transubstantiate (or plan to) and would like to join in on the open discussion, simply:
Here's a snippet from Oxyfication review:
Casual brutality, sex, and disorder: the heroes of noir have never been terribly endearing to the heart, but the seven nihilistic souls of Richard Thomas’ Transubstantiate seem like they were born ruined, and are likely to die that way. The story draws heavily on all the beloved accouterments of the neo-noir tradition—fractured narratives; cynicism; disorientation; ruthless beatings—but the story branches out into other areas, exploring themes of mysticism and the unknowable, even broaching the peripheral terrors of Lovecraftian horror.
Upcoming Book Club Selections!
If you'd like to get in on the action over at Book Club, you can see what we have planned down the line:
October 2010 - Super Sad True Love Story by Gary Shteyngart
November 2010 - Candy by Luke Davies
December 2010 - Blank Gaze (or The Implacable Order of Things) by Jose Luis Peixoto
January 2011 - Invisible by Paul Auster
February 2011 - Out of Touch by Brandon Tietz
March 2011 - Imperial Bedrooms by Bret Easton Ellis
April 2011 - Victoria by Knut Hamsun
May 2011 - Stranger Will by Caleb Ross
June 2011 - We Are Oblivion by Michael Sonbert
All discussions are open to anyone. You just need to be registered to the site so you can login to our forums, where the threads for each book discussin are kept.
If you have any questions about Book Club, you may post them in the forums and our moderator Pete Goutis will be quick to help you out.
The Brash BoY, the MisunderstOod Girl and the Sonogram – the Books of Mark Z. DanielewskiInterview by Kasey Carpenter
Some write to free themselves.
Others write to entrap.
Sometimes an author accomplishes both.
HoUse of Leaves  encompasses both, though I would not have disCovered the freeing aspect hAd I not pursued a face to face coNversation with Mark Z. Danielewski, the author of House of Leaves, a book that has thoroughly trapped so many readers.
A book this complex, this challenging, must surely have a tale of equal merit regarding the cirCumstances under wHich it came tO be. The stOry of how Mark Z. Danielewski came to write HouSe of Leaves doEs not disappoint.
The book itself, if you can call it simplY a bOok, has turned ten years old, bUt it began life ten yeaRs prior to publication, so by all accounts HoL is old enough to go to war, close enough to drinking age to be allowed, and would definitely be considered an "old soul". Over the course oF two hours Mark and I discussed a great many things, but the genesis of House of Leaves is by faR the most interesting. Let's have some fun... read more »
Dirty VegasInterview by Brandon Tietz
To say that the debut novel of Joe McGinniss Jr. delivers would be cliché and about as clever as an episode of Wife Swap. His book, aptly titled, The Delivery Man, does more than that.
Fresh off reading Imperial Bedrooms, a novel that Ellis hints at being his last, I was left with a few misgivings—most notably, the fact that I had devoured the thing in no time. Amongst my gripes about how I’ve possibly seen the last of one of my favorite authors, along comes our book club guy talking about McGinniss Jr.
“He reads a little bit like Bret,” he said.
A few Amazon clicks and days later, The Delivery Man is in my living room and I’ve done a little research in the interim. His father, Joe McGinniss Sr., was a New York Times bestselling author. Subsequently, he would go on to teach a young Bret Easton Ellis right around the time he came out with a little novel called, Less Than Zero. Regarding McGinniss Jr. and his tale of twenty-somethings behaving badly in gritty Las Vegas, I didn’t expect much. The bar felt too high. I was too busy looking up at the impossible standards set by his predecessors to see the kick in nuts coming. The Delivery Man is that good.
Joe recently took some time out to talk with me, the topics ranging from ignorant Amazon reviewers to why we hate vampires, and of course, that city of sin known as Las Vegas. read more »
The list is not available on their site but we've included a picture of it here. You can click the image to make it larger and probably make out all of the content. Either way, we suggest you go pick up this latest issue. You can also visit them online at WritersDigest.com.
Props to Kasey Carpenter for finding us this one. read more »
Zen Mind Fiction Workshop Returns in September.
If you missed the summer session, this is your last chance
this season to take our fastest on-ramp to craft proficiency.
Urgent Update: SOLD OUT: Congratualtions to those on-board and welcome to the journey ahead. You'll get an orientation e-mail early on Thursday.
Sign Up Here.
Class Dates: September 9th - October 7th
I took part in the first one and was very happy. The knowledge that Vig imparts is second to none, and he will exceed any expectations you might have.
There is nowhere else in the world where someone with his level of experience will give you one on one feedback for this kind of money.
If you are a person that thinks that you might be a good writer, but are unsure of how to get a story started or finished this is the workshop for you. If you are already an accomplished writer, it is also a great way to refresh some fundamentals and maybe pick up something new.
-Jason C., Conyers, Georgia
Virtual Classroom Modality:
This intensive online class rolls 24 hours per day for a full month. Instead of scheduled chat sessions that imitate a traditional classroom, we take full advantage of our format to accommodate every possible schedule on the globe. We'll have some phone conferencing available to build our sense of conntection, but well over 90 percent of this class will be delivered in an asynchronous and text-driven fashion. You'll get a dedicated private forum where you can log in whenever possible to read the latest updates, post your assignments, and pose questions.
You'll get four distinct lecture/assignment combos that kick off each week, plus you'll get some bonus material. The deadlines for each written assignment will be important, but you'll generally have at least three days from the time of posting to complete a written assignment. Work on your own schedule, and make this class work around anything else that's going on. If a day slips past when you just can't log in, you simply come back the next day and read everything you missed.
The more time you can make for the class, the more you'll get from the experience, but nothing should prevent you from streamlining this class into the rest of your life. And that's one major advantage of taking an online course over the traditional classroom with its set meeting times. We cater to adult learners who often have jobs and many competing responsibilities, and we cater to gifted writers from all over the Anglophonic world, including Australia and New Zealand, which sit quite opposite from most U.S. timezones. The open format simply makes sense.
What We'll Cover:
Big-picture items included, such as philosophy, lifestyle, habits, how to get unblocked, and where we go as writers (metaphorically, internally) in the quest for big ideas.
But the Devil is in the details. We'll also cover many fine-tuned issues of the writer's craft. This course will help you identify any weak points in your writing that hold you back. We'll dig into very basic and necessary aspects, such as sentence construction, the strength of your verbs, achieving balance in your use of descriptive elements and modifiers, and how to construct effective dialogue. And it doesn't stop there.
Sign Up Now or continue with the letters below.
We're moving distinctly into the homestretch now with our Anthology Project. The stories linked below are top selections from October, 2009 (yes, we're a little behind). Be sure to read Chuck's commentaries, as each set of notes contains illuminating lessons in the writer's craft.
Face Space by Brandon Tietz
Control by Chris Smith
Paper by Gayle Gossett
Dumb Muscle by Gus Moreno
Dyer by Richard Thomas
Congratulations to all the winners!
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,
Ellroy continues to work out his mommy issues in his most candid piece of writing to date.
Onanist. Pervert. Peeping tom. Glue huffer. Panty sniffer. Homeless drifter. John. By his own admission, James Ellroy has been each of these things; he wears it like a badge of honor. In his mind, as a child, he was a murderer. As an adult- a dedicated son and a devoted husband. But what a lot of people don't realize, is that above all else, he always has, and always will be, a man whose life is ruled by women.
In fact, past allegations of misogyny are almost laughable in light of his obsession with woman and their approval. It is a pursuit that consumes him. The Hilliker Curse is a document of this relentless need, painting him as a man whose existence revolves around the women in his life, as well as the women who might be in his future.
It is all unabashedly Freudian. In the wake of his parent's divorce, young Ellroy, brimming with equal parts hatred and lust, "summons" his mother dead in an imaginary act of vengeance. Little does he know that in three months time, his wish will be fulfilled. In a crime that parallels the famed murder of Elizabeth Short, his mother's lifeless body is found by the police. read more »
written for ChuckPalahniuk.net by Joshua Chaplinsky
Truth is stranger than fiction, at least for those blessed with interesting lives. The rest of us have no choice but to live vicariously through their stories. In the case of bestselling cult author Chuck Palahniuk, the embellishment of his exploits by fans has made it hard to tell exactly where reality ends and the storytelling begins. There are those who would have us believe he entered this world kicking and screaming, brandishing a pen, when in fact he comes from much more humble (albeit interesting) beginnings.
Born February 21, 1962, Charles Michael Palahniuk spent his early childhood living out of a mobile home in Burbank, Washington. His parents, Carol and Fred Palahniuk, separated and divorced when he was fourteen, leaving Chuck and his siblings to spend much of their time on their maternal grandparent’s cattle ranch. read more »