Today would be author Stanley Elkin’s 80th. On this occasion, one fan posts an excerpt from The Franchiser and suggests “Read it out loud three times: the first to hear the sounds, the second to feel your mouth and tongue and throat make the sounds, the third time to listen to what Elkin is saying.”
Martin Connelly takes a look at The International Cryptozoology Museum, which is run by Loren Coleman up in Portland, Maine. If you can’t make the pilgrimage yourself (or if you’re just put off by chupacabra taxidermy), you can also get a feel for the study of far out beasts by reading Coleman’s “genre-defining” book, Cryptozoology A to Z.
“For Germany, the Wagners are what the Atreidai are in Greek mythology. One of them, Atreus, committed a grave sin, casting a curse over all subsequent generations, beginning with Agamemnon and Menelaus, followed by Iphigenia, Orestes and Electra. The family is marked by enmity, as is the Wagner family.” On a certain influential composer.
“Publishing is also an industry that selectively values a kind of swaggering authenticity that would never capitulate to demands for something so banal as being nice. But authenticity is too often a short hand for callous, aloof, or honest for the purpose of cruelty rather than truth-seeking.” Alana Massey writes about the “niceness” of publishing.
After his death, fans of David Foster Wallace canonized him as a prophet, according him a degree of benevolence shared by almost no one in American letters. In New York Magazine, Christian Lorentzen argues that Wallace himself worried about this happening, and says he’d “probably be the last person to argue for his sainthood.” His essay pairs nicely with Jonathan Russell Clark on The David Foster Wallace Reader.
The Walter Scott prize did an analysis of prize submissions since its eight years of existence-with 650 novels submitted-and found that “38% of its submissions were set in the 20th century, while 19% were set in the Victorian era, between 1837 and 1901.” They also found many of the submissions focus on World Wars II and II and that the number of women historical fiction writers submitting their work has gone up.”The [Walter Scott] Prize celebrates quality, innovation and longevity of writing in the English language, and is open to books first published in the previous year in the UK, Ireland or the Commonwealth,” the breakdown is fascinating.