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Dennis's picture Posted by Dennis

Phoenix Unpacked: Part One – Suddenly, Last Christmas

Note: This essay contains spoilers for the new Kindle Single, 'Phoenix' by Chuck Palahniuk. If you haven't yet read this wonderful story, remedy that right now.

'Phoenix,' a Kindle Single by Chuck Palahniukby Chuck Palahniuk

If you’ve had a chance to read Phoenix, thank you.  It consists of cat-related anecdotes I’ve heard over the past several years.  Chances are you’ve already heard me tell a small part of it on tour.  The best fiction rises – yes, like a phoenix – out of the ashes of people’s sad, true disasters.  We write in order to repeat the past.  As it says in the story, “…The people will always be humping next door.  The cat will always be screaming around every house they own...”

If you’re reading this be warned.  It will make very little sense unless you’re read Phoenix.  In this essay I’ll explore the mechanics of the story.  Everything I write is constructed like a truck on the Freightliner assembly line:  Smaller components of the vehicle are assembled by teams in far-flung locations.  Prior to the final draft, the whole project looks like a spread-out mess.  Then – flash – the truck is whole.  Then, amazingly, It Drives Away Under Its Own Power!

When I worked at Freightliner we built 26, sometimes 27 trucks in eight hours.  That seems impossible until you consider that the “assembly line” is less like a line than like a branched river system.  The parts of a story flow into it from every direction.  It would be too exhausting to look at them all – the plot, the themes, the authority, the original sources, the metaphors – so this essay will focus on the basic shape of the story.

In the past I’ve called these – stories of this shape -- “Postage Stamp” or “Thumbnail” stories because we’re told the entire story in miniature as it begins.  In the film Titanic we’re shown a rough computer model of how the ship will sink.  In Citizen Kane we’re shown the crude newsreel about the life and death of Charles Foster Kane.  In both cases, these little sneak-peeks hook us with the promise of big events to come.  They whet our appetite like a Shakespearean prologue.  This structure also dampens the melodrama of the plot points.  For example, we know most of the people will die on the Titanic.  We know Charles Foster Kane’s love affair will be exposed and ruin his political career.  By sacrificing the surprise of those events, the authors allow the audience to focus on the deeper emotions that are motivating the characters.

Posted by Dennis

'Phoenix,' An Amazon Kindle Single By Chuck Palahniuk

'Phoenix,' An Amazon Kindle Single By Chuck Palahniuk

Update: Since Friday, 'Phoenix' has shot up Amazon's sales rank from around #27,000 to #278. It's now #3 in the Kindle Single Fiction category.  Thank you all for reading! 

Update: You can also now purchase 'Phoenix' on Amazon CA and UK here.

In all the excitement last week- with the announcement of three new books in thee years- something just as cool got lost in the shuffle. Chuck Palahniuk has gone and written a Kindle Single!

Posted by Dennis

What's Next For Chuck Palahniuk? New Novels In 2013, 2014 and 2015 Announced!

What's Next For Chuck Palahniuk?

[Photo from the StarTribune]

Publishers Marketplace dropped the news earlier this month that Chuck Palahniuk sold the rights to his next two books, as well as signed a deal in the wake of the Haunted movie adaptation finally getting its greenlight. In other words, this is a very good time to be a fan of Chuck Palahniuk.

So I figured it was high time we do our own "State of the Union" here at The Cult with a summary of what's in the store for fans of Chuck.

Posted by Dennis

The Short Film Based On Chuck Palahniuk's 'Romance,' To Screen At Cinequest

The Short Film Based On Chuck Palahniuk's 'Romance,' To Screen At Cinequest

You may have heard the news this week that the financing for Haunted finally came through, and that we'll soon be getting our third Chuck Palahniuk film adaptation. But if you were being technical, Haunted could really be considered "three and a half."  Last year, director Andy Mingo premiered his adaptation of Chuck's hysterical short story 'Romance.'

'Romance' was read during one of Chuck's recent tours (I got to hear it at the Invisible Monsters Remix LA event).  And it appeared in the August 2011 issue of Playboy. You can even download it for free at here.  But if you live in or near California, you can do better: you can go see it in a theater!

Update 2/11/13: Downpour informed me that at the time of this post, it has an issue with its checkout process that prohibited about 20 people from downloading the short story of 'Romance.' They've since fixed the issue and the free download is now working. As part of the apology they've also created an exclusive discount code for you all, which you can use to get 25% off downloads of the Chuck novels on our website. Use Code: chuck2813. Expires: 2/13/13.

On March 2nd at the Cinequest film festival in San Jose, there will be a special event that will start off with the California premiere of the short film at 130pm. 

You can purchase tickets for the screening here!

Afterwards, Chuck Palahniuk will be awarded with a Maverick Spirit Award followed by an onstage Q & A.

Chuck Palahniuk at the 2013 Cinequest Film Festival

Chuck's going to be in good company receiving his Cinequest Maverick award.  Also getting awards this year will be Harrison Ford and Salman Rushdie.

Here is how you can purchase tickets to the event:

Here's what  the 'Films and Moving Pictures' blog had to say about 'Romance's' sold out Raindance screening in England last year:

‘Romance’ has laughs and genuine “Palahniuk” moments that make you squeal and shock you out of your seat... The film is like nothing seen before... Cinema experiences were made for moments like these.

For more information on how you can follow the short film, check out its official site at and its official Facebook at And of course, you should check out the film's trailer on YouTube!

Posted by Dennis

Chuck Palahniuk's Next Novel Is 'Doomed'

UPDATE: The next book will indeed be titled DOOMED. It's a sequel to Damned and it's scheduled to be released October 2013.

When Chuck was in Los Angeles recently for his small tour for the new Invisible Monsters Remix, I had the pleasure of taking him out to dinner.  And while gnawing on some steak (...I was.  Chuck had the salmon), we got to talking about his next book.  And lo and behold... the next novel will be Chuck's first sequel!

Posted by Dennis

Serbian 'Rant' & 'Invisible Monsters' Covers Are Modern Art

European countries continue to impress with their approach to designing Chuck Palahniuk covers.  Rather than taking a literal approach to the work, they tend towards the abstract.  Their covers are more like modern pop culture art than spoon-fed designs. A few years ago I celebrated the Czech Republic's covers for their boldness...

Now Serbia deserves a place on that mantle.  Check out their new cover for Rant, as well as their cover for Invisible Monsters:

'Rant' Serbian Cover Serbian 'Invisible Monsters' cover

The company behind this is FESTINA LENTE and they didn't stop there.  They also shot this strange short teaser for their Rant release as well as a gallery of fans reading the books.

For more pictures, check out their Facebook Page.

Posted by Dennis

Slumber Party Event: Chuck Palahniuk, Chelsea Cain and Lidia Yuknavitch at The University of Oregon

The November 2nd slumber party event at the University of Oregon, with Chuck Palahniuk, Lidia Yuknavitch and Chelsea Cain, has wrapped up.  The night was a success and a total sell out.  So Chuck wanted to say a few things about how it all went down: 

I'm just checking in to thank everyone who made the 'slumber party' event in Eugene a chaotic success.  Chelsea Cain and Lidia Yuknavitch were amazing, as were the zombie babies.  And the hundreds of glowing beachballs were a vision from the stage.
In the melee I forgot to thank the University of Oregon Bookstore.  They arranged for use of WOW Hall and sold tickets.  Plus they warehoused my stuffed animals until the evening of Nov. 2nd.  They were heroes, and I snubbed them.  For that oversight I heartily apologize.

Chuck also wanted to mention that the University of Oregon Bookstore is still carrying some signed books from the event.  So if you live local, go check it out!