The cost of war...
When once asked who he thought the scariest guy in America was, Stephen King replied, "Probably Jack Ketchum." I remember reading that quote and thinking that Ketchum had to be a serial killer, or some terrible politician or criminal that I had never heard of. When I later found out he was an author, I was impressed to say the least. I grew up on the stories of Stephen King, so an endorsement like that holds a lot of weight for me. I'm a big horror movie hound, though I don't typically read a lot of horror novels.
But that's okay really, because Jack Ketchum isn't your typical horror author. read more »
After a slight intermission, we return to you with perhaps the greatest feature we have ever offered on our website in 10 solid years of content. Chuck Palahniuk reads and reviews your stories! Hopefully by now you know the drill, but just in case you don't, lemme recap you!
Starting in February of 2009, we began a screening process, whereby about 17 original stories from our Writers' Workshop get nominated and then read by judges every month. The top 6 stories are then sent off to Chuck Palahniuk who reads, reviews and feedbacks them. The selected finalists are then posted here, along with Chuck's in-depth notes. It is Chuck's aim at the end of the year to choose the best stories and publish them in an anthology which he will write the Intro for.
As we are on a three month turnaround, below you will find the 6 stories that Chuck reviewed for June 09. Premium Members can click each story to not only read it, but also see Chuck's feedback.
The Great-God Bird of Arkansas - Wil D. Alton
Invisible Graffiti - Adam Skorupskas
Bike - BH Ebert
Logan Outbreak - J. R. Strohmeyer
The Line Forms On the Right - Amanda Gowin
The Soldier - Phil Jourdan
A big congrats to all the finalists. Chuck seemed to really enjoy every story we sent in June.
For all of you that would like to jumpstart your writing career, quit procrastinating and,
For everyone else, remember, don't miss out, read more »
A young immigrant travels to the land of ice and snow to whisper tales of gore on how he calmed the tides of war.
I was two-thirds of the way through Rawi Hage’s Cockroach when the incident occurred.
I was making my daily rounds, trolling the internet for porn, when something bounced off the top of my head. I ran a hand through my hair. Nothing. A minute later- bonk! A small piece of plaster lands on the desk. Fear grips me. I look up, slow. There on the ceiling is a whopper of a cockroach, strutting around with impunity like Tony Manero on his way to the club. read more »
That's right, all you San Francisco/Bay Area locals, here's your chance to attend a reading! Craig will be reading at Litquake next Thursday, October 15 at 7:00 PM.
SUBTERRANEAN SF: Hard-Boiled Writing With An Edge
This event shall take place at an undisclosed location.
Seating is limited and by invitation only.
"An evening of darkly inspired readings exposing San Francisco’s sinister underbelly. Join a hard-hitting roster of literary and crime fiction masters as they delve into the shadowy realms of mayhem, murder, and much, much more." read more »
A haunting companion to the dystopian masterpiece Oryx and Crake, from the reigning queen of speculative fiction.
Four years ago, my girlfriend lent me Margaret Atwood's Oryx and Crake on our very first date. I was hesitant to accept, not only because that locked me into seeing her again, but because other than Geek Love, I had never read anything by a female author that I had actually liked. (Imminent backlash in 3... 2... 1...) Flash forward to the present and we are still together and I am anxiously awaiting the release of The Year of the Flood. Looks like I have fallen prey to not one, but two crafty she-devils.
Margaret Atwood, on why she wrote The Year of the Flood:
I’ve never before gone back to a novel and written another novel related to it. Why this time? Partly because so many people asked me what happened right after the end of the 2003 novel, Oryx and Crake. I didn’t actually know, but the questions made me think about it. read more »
Attention writers! Lock and load, because it's time to prowl the wasteland of procrastination and start collecting scalps. Translation: It's time to get serious about your writing. Here at The Cult, we do not rest until we're sure that every writer with potential that is reading this has taken that fateful plunge into improving their craft. We're relentless in this endeavor; to make you all better writers and to hopefully, get you published.
What started this year with Chuck Palahniuk reading and reviewing 6 stories every month for an upcoming anthology, has just evolved into another beastly arm of The Cult's writers' workshop... this one belonging to badass scribe Craig Clevenger! read more »
You're digging it, right?Interview by Stephen Conley
James Ellroy has written a new book. After eight long years and a short story collection or two, Mr. Ellroy has finished his Underworld USA Trilogy with Blood's a Rover, a wild and unpredictable ride through the end of the 1960's and the end of our country's innocence for good.
James Ellroy began his career with such fantastic works in Noir as Brown's Requiem, Because the Night, and Killer on the Road. He hit it big with his LA Quartet: The Black Dahlia, The Big Nowhere, LA Confidential, and White Jazz, all of which were international bestsellers. LA Confidential was made into a classic film starring Russel Crowe and Kevin Spacey. read more »
Here it is, in all its mellifluous and macho-maimed magnificence. Grok its groin-grabbing gravity.
The above quote comes directly from the back cover of the ARC. I figured I’d get the hyperbole out of the way, and who better to sell this gargantua than the Demon Dog himself? The man is his own best critic, and as a reader, I tend to agree with him.
It’s been eight long years since The Cold Six Thousand bludgeoned the face of the literary landscape, and the concluding volume of the Underworld USA Trilogy is finally here. Let me preface my review by saying Mr. Ellroy and myself are in complete agreement on this- it does not disappoint. read more »
Greetings, everyone! As of yesterday, six more original short stories have been sent off to Chuck to be read, reviewed and feed-backed. This is an unprecedented opportunity for up and coming amateur writers. Not only do we offer a groundbreaking online Writers' Workshop for you to troubleshoot your material and get honest and helpful feedback from your peers... but we are currently selecting the best stories each month and sending them off to Chuck!
In 2009 our Writers' Workshop received a massive make-over. Chuck is now directly involved with his readers, helping them improve their writing craft. Each month, after a thorough screening process, we send Chuck 6 fan-written stories which he then reads, reviews, and provides vital feedback on. It is Chuck's goal to pick the best stories at the end of the year and include them in an Anthology, which he will not only include his name on and write the Introduction for, but also help attach a publisher to. (in fact, Chuck has hinted that he may already have one lined up!)
So saddle up, folks. It's time to get serious about your writing! read more »
In that place where self-analysis, stimulants, and murder meet: psycho killer, qu'est-ce que c'est?
"It is often easier to confess to a capital crime, so long as its sentences sing and its features rhyme, than to admit you like to fondle-off into a bottle." William H. Gass
The Adderall Diaries, at its most simplistic, concerns a deeply flawed and wounded man writing about a murder trial; Stephen Elliott gives a sober (irony; apologies to Foster Wallace) recount of the Hans Reiser case, pari passu his own painfully complicated childhood/adolescence, appetite for sadomasochism, and daddy issues. Capital crimes and fondle-off's are all confessed here, and the book certainly sings. Adderall itself doesn't figure so strongly as the title would suggest; there are a few paragraphs throughout that reflect on the drug, but mostly it is mentioned offhandedly, as in: got up, took my pill, went to court. It is the quiet fuel on which the book and its writer runs--the title seems more like tribute. Also involved in the story is Sean Sturgeon, connected through slight social tracks (S&M related) to Elliott, and to Hans Reiser as his one friend and the man his wife, Nina, left him for prior to her murder; at one point a suspect in the Reiser case, he confesses to eight unrelated murders instead. This compulsory confession is not unlike Elliott's constantly pitched personal recounts, strangely, and for the spill of the book they oddly mirror each other in ways I am not even sure Elliott is aware of. read more »