Tom Wolfe’s next book will be a “nonfiction account of the animal/human speech divide,” reports Sarah Weinman. Presumably this effort – entitled The Kingdom of Speech – will be based on the author’s “Human Beast” lecture from 2006. (A lecture he went on to explicate in a 2008 interview with SF Gate.) Hopefully the Great White Suit’s return to straight nonfiction will prove more successful than his attempt at fictionalizing Miami last year.
“Walter Benjamin would have loved this guy Tom Knox. In our age of mechanical reproduction, for starters, Tom Knox is an immaculate work of artifice. He keeps cranking out books even though he doesn’t exist. Tom Knox, you see, is the pen name for Sean Thomas, a peripatetic British novelist, journalist, blogger, and travel writer. What’s more, The Babylon Rite, the fourth novel by ‘Tom Knox,’ works overtime to live up to Benjamin’s dictum that all great works of literature must either dissolve a genre or invent one.”
“We, like, pretend we don’t, like, know our, like, hips are swiveling or, like, some of us are short so, like, we have to, like, really work our abs, and, like, our boys hold us tight and we smell their, like, deodorant and cologne and, like, sweat and, like, their essence under it all, which is like garlic and like dirt.”
- From “Like,” which is a mesmerizing piece of fiction from Lindsay Hunter.
You should buy this book. Why? Because it’s beautiful, imaginative, and devastating. Because Nick Moran recommended it on this site before. Because it’s about a boy who can control flocks of birds. Because it’s violent and because it’s lovely. Because it’s on sale right now in an attractive combined volume. Because it contains passages like this one:
“So many buildings had already been destroyed, the solitary walls like ruins submerged in flames, the city like an ocean of flames. Circles of maniacs prayed in the middle of the streets, and flapped their arms like birds. Teenage conscripts lay trapped beneath rubble, crying for their mothers, while comrades tried to get them out. Cats hauled their kittens through the ruins, and vultures swooped to seize them; a donkey gave birth inside a restaurant where dogs sipped at puddles of champagne, and cut their paws on broken bottles. Explosions shook the Earth; Katherine hardly kept her balance. Cobblestones zoomed past her head. A girl tried to carry a newborn foal on her back. Whoever won the war would rule ruins, be the king of stones and buzzards. Fires hurled themselves against the sky, as if in rapture, the city a cathedral of flame, flames like penitents to the sky. An elderly man thought his beard was in flames, and slapped at his face as he ran, calling, It burns! It burns! Men writhed on spears which had been rammed into the ground in perfect rows, a field of pain. Women carried infants like footballs. Birds choked on smoke and died mid-flight, raining in a deathstorm.”
“Kindle Worlds might seem like a vast step up for your average fanfic writer, the best of whom are paid in praise alone. If it didn’t feel like such a fundamental and remotely insulting misunderstanding of fan culture, if it didn’t feel like a prime chance for corporations to exploit rather than promote, I might even praise Amazon.”
Will Kindle Worlds Commodify Fan Fiction? by Elizabeth Minkel
There are lots of conversations in the world about writing which focus on the benefit of the reader and what works for him or her, and of course all writers should care about that, but at the same time, the magic act of making something out of nothing is happening in the writer’s head, and it’s that brain that needs to be tended to first.