“The entire manuscript was written with the E-type bar of the typewriter tied down; thus making it impossible for that letter to be printed. This was done so that none of that vowel might slip in, accidentally; and many did try to do so!” Abe Books tells the tale of Gadsby, a self-published 50,000-word novel written without using the letter “e.” Its author, Ernest Vincent Wright, won some notoriety when he accomplished the feat – called a lipogram – in 1939, although it’s unlikely Wright could have foreseen that individual copies of his book would eventually fetch prices upward of $1,200. And if it’s literary hijinks you’re after, definitely read our own Anne Yoder on the work of Georges Perec, who wrote a lipogram of his own in 1969.
The coming-of-age novel is a lot older than most of its protagonists. Gabriel Roth and sometime Millions contributor Kristopher Jansma will discuss the history of the genre at 7 p.m. on Monday, October 28 at the Center for Fiction in New York City. You can read Jansma’s past Millions essays on watching The Killing and searching for lost J.D. Salinger stories.
Interested in seeing unsettling characters — preferably with moustaches — looking for meaning in wacky postmodernist settings? Well, o ye of of bizarre inclinations, you’re in luck: Thomas Pynchon is rumored to be working with Paul Thomas Anderson. (He’s also coming out with a new book.)
Thanks to NASA, three poets will have a chance to boldly go where no poets have gone before: Mars. Indeed, an online contest is currently open in which users can submit haiku to accompany the Mars Atmosphere and Volatile EvolutioN (MAVEN) mission, which is scheduled for launch in late 2013. The MAVEN project will be the first mission devoted to understanding the Martian upper atmosphere. More details about sending poetry into outer space can be found here.