‘Superversive’ coming soon

Someone showed me a picture and I just laughed— Dignity never been photographed.

—Bob Dylan, ‘Dignity’

Neither the redoubtable Sarah Dimento nor I could think of any good way to draw a picture of a superversion; so after long dithering, I asked her to come up with a simple text design. Here, then, is the cover for Superversive: Recovering the Tao of Fantasy, coming soon to an Amazon near you. superversive

Progress report

Since inquiries have come from several of the 3.6 Loyal Readers, I answer at large:— Tonight I finished compiling and formatting the essais that will go into the Superversive collection, and to my surprise, they seem to hang together pretty well, and add up to a sustained and forcible polemic. I still need to go through the drudgery of compiling the bibliography and endnotes (always the worst part of the job), and to write a valedictory piece, ‘Recovering the Tao of Story’. Then I have got to talk Sarah Dimento into doing a cover. I expect to have the new book out in July. I have also, at long last, come within a few chapters of completing the first episode of Where Angels Die. I am reasonably pleased with the work so far. My original plan was to make the episodes about 60 manuscript pages apiece; that is, roughly as long as the screenplay for a one-hour television drama. But the first episode has a lot more work to do, introducing the main characters and setting up the central conflict; so it will be double that length. This is not without precedent; quite a lot of TV series have premiered as made-for-TV feature films, which were then cut up into two episodes for syndication. I have sketched out the next three episodes, tentatively entitled ‘The Little Charter’, ‘The Bad Enough Brigade’, and ‘Luck’s Travelling Temple’. I should like to release all of them at once, and get some of the ‘Liliana Nirvana’ effect I referred to earlier. We shall see if this has a salutary effect on sales. Meanwhile, I am formatting several paperback books for Wendy S. Delmater, and editing a translation of a stage play by Bruno Moreno Ramos. I am open for more commissions of both these kinds, at the right price. Once all these things are taken care of, I intend to get back to work on the Magnificent Octopus. It is still my firm intention to get The Grey Death out for an autumn release; though at present it looks as if it may be later rather than earlier in that season.

The equitable division of shirking labour

Last night, I did nothing. That is, I got no work done on Where Angels Die, which it had been my firm intention to do when I applied the seat of the pants to the seat of the chair. Instead, I sifted through the archives to choose the right essais for the Superversive collection, and whittled my list down to ten. (But ten of my longer pieces; the book will be slightly longer than Writing Down the Dragon, which will make it my largest collection yet.) Then I imported them into Word, made some necessary edits (mostly to eliminate repetitive bits), and formatted them for submission to Amazon’s Magic Ebook Gonkulator. 'But you did nothing!' cried Truman the Boneless Beast. I have introduced you to Truman before, I think. He is a fat little sluglike creature, boneless and quite possibly brainless, who inhabits the subbasement of my mind. His function, such as it is, is to criticize everything I do, and everything I omit to do, and make it out that I am a complete and miserable failure as a human being. I call him Truman because it helps me to imagine him talking in the voice of Truman Capote, who had a voice that nobody could possibly take seriously. (He sounded very much like Droopy, the sad little dog from the Tex Avery cartoons.) Of course, Truman meant that I wrote no original copy – ignoring the fact that I did several hours of solid work, editing and formatting and so forth, amounting to about half the labour of putting out a new book. (The other half: I shall have to write a new essai especially for the collection, my standard nefarious plot to make my 3.6 Loyal Readers buy it instead of just reading it all here for free.) So Truman and I have struck a deal; or rather, I have made Truman an offer that he can’t refuse. Every night, when I go to work, I shall do nothing on one particular project; and Truman can castigate me as much as he likes for that. And I shall sneak away and play hooky, and spend my time working on something else, so that I can feel a sense of virtuous accomplishment about the ‘nothing’ that I did. I regard this as a very fair way to divide up the shirking of labour. If any of you are afflicted with minor chores or big jobs that you don’t much want to do, and your own inner screamer (miscalled your conscience) is riding you illogically whether you do them or not, I can only humbly suggest that you give this method a try. It seems to be working for me, so far. And now I hope you will excuse me. The hour draws nigh, and I have my lack of work cut out for me.

The Art of Courage

The lovely and talented L. Jagi Lamplighter, a.k.a. Mrs. John C. Wright, is starting a weekly series on Superversive Fiction on her blog. I have the honour of being chosen as the first guest blogger in this new series. Colour me bashful. In this short essai, I explain the origin and intended meaning of the term ‘superversive’, particularly as it applies to fiction. I first came up with the term (in that meaning; others have used the neologism for different purposes, but it did not catch on) in a very old essay, ‘Superversive: The failure of subversion in imaginative literature’. This new piece covers some of the same ground, but with a different emphasis and a new twist in the conclusion.
 

Behold the Underminer! I am always beneath you, but nothing is beneath me!

The Incredibles

For about a hundred years now, ever since the First World War broke the confidence of Western civilization, it has been fashionable to praise subversion. Art, music, and literature, as many of the critics tell us, are not supposed to go chasing after obsolete values like truth or beauty; they are supposed to shock, to wound, to épater les bourgeois – to subvert the values of society.

Read the rest at Welcome to Arhyalon….