Loch Ness Monster Spotted on Google Maps!


Fiction comes to the instant gratification machine

I don't like to crow too loudly about publications, but here's a neat one: I'll be part of the launch of Triple Quick Fiction with a story called "Crime of the Scene." If you have an iphone, be on the lookout. If you don't, you can patiently await the web app. This will be a crazy and wonderful experiment.

I have much to say about this attention span issue but I'll save it for another time.


Why I Write

Did any of you read this piece by Stephen Elliott about why he writes? I found it unexpectedly moving.


Thoughts on Inglourious Basterds?

I thoroughly enjoyed the film and plan to see it again. I liked it even more than I hoped I would. For one thing, the way scenes were stretched out, letting the tension build and build... I didn't know movies knew how to do that anymore (the first scene was especially brilliant in this way).

For another, something about the violence didn't bother me. I find myself more disturbed by film violence nowadays, but this -- gory as it was -- was sufficiently cartoony to never let me forget I was watching a Hollywood film. Compare to violence in The Hurt Locker, for example -- there I winced. In IB I was cheering.

Third, Christoph Waltz is going to be a big star in this country now. I hope he wins an Oscar. The Nazis in general were really well done. The Frankfurt Allegemaine said the portrayal of Nazis was spot on: "...as the pompous trash they were." A German friend of mine loved it, but thinks the German-dubbed version in Germany won't translate as well. She saw it in Holland, where they just subtitle.

After Grindhouse, I wasn't sure what to expect from Tarantino. Would he continue down the road of parody to self-parody? Thankfully the answer seems to be no. This is a mature effort and a thrilling piece of filmmaking.


Inherent Vice trailer

Bumped from Trevor's comment...

Can't be much argument that that's the best book promotion there ever was. If you're of a mind, have a look at this Simpsons. It's the same voice, different accent.

Has anyone ever played it better than Pynchon? "That's with the seeds and stems o' course..." Give me a fucking break. Classic.


Pynchon's LA

I know there are some rabid Pynchon fans here (looking at Grendel, askew) waiting for Inherent Vice. Wired Magazine has built an interactive map of LA based on the book. Looks like fun time-killing.


Comic Book Cities

I thought some Goats might like this top 10 from a British Architecture journal. Makes me realize how much I've probably been missing with comic books and graphic novels. Anybody read Moebius's The Long Tomorrow (#5 on the list)? Just from the stills in the article, one can recognize (as the article points out) the source for cityscapes in "Blade Runner" and "the Fifth Element." Amazing.

Favorite line: Mister X looks like Le Corbusier on crack.



Nic Brown has received a wonderfully warm NYT review for his new collection of linked stories. I'd been wondering what to read next. I've gotten to swim in a lot of books this summer, partly because of a few days of real R&R. In the past couple weeks, I've read Wolff's A Boy's Life (very worthy of its rep--wow), re-read Malamud's The Natural (better and worse the second time around), read half of Berger's Little Big Man (I loved it, but the book belonged to the house where I was staying), and read Carlos Ruiz Zafon's The Shadow of the Wind (this is why I rarely read bestsellers: it was so not, as the cover says, Borges meets Eco meets Garcia Marquez!). All that's left on the pile right now is the last chapter of another baseball novel, The Celebrant, by Eric Rolfe Greenbert (weaves fact and fiction around the early 20th c. giant Christy Mathewson), Kyle Beachy's the Slide (met him here in IC this summer), and, happily, Kiki P's recently published poetry collection Fort Red Border. Okay, and Brothers Karamazov, which I'll have to make time for (never read it, was liking it, but got drawn away). Fyodor refuses to let me put another hefty tome (like Diaz or Bolano) on the pile. Now, thankfully, Nic's book has temporarily solved the problem.

By the way, you'll see in the review a lengthy description of the collection's opening story, which should be recognizable--at least in the abstract--to anybody who was at the special workshop held by Jim Shepard during the WW director search. Very fond memories of Shepard getting deep into the POV of that party!