I would have to say that the problem would be how a "novel" is defined. It's how one looks at it. I feel the term "novel" is too set because of one form that has been going on to long. However, even when people try to experiment, they still basically stick to this form (of course, part of that if not all of that has to do with consumerism). My idea is that there are different levels of "novel," like there are different levels in physics. Quantum Physics equations have different rules than standard physics than Astronomy. When one moves up in levels, there are different ways of dealing with a phenomenon. Couldn't the same idea be applied to "novel" (and "fiction)? What is "novel" on a lower level and what is "novel" on a higher level? I use the terms "Meta-novel" (not to be confused with "Meta-fiction") and "Uber-novel." I would feel that "communication" would fall under the idea of the Uber-novel. The idea of an Uber-novel, as I see it, deals with large sets at one time; and, not just with sets of novels, but the press that prints it, the trucks that deliver it, the stores that sell it, even the paper it is made out of. The Meta-novel, as I see it, would be how the different ideas and narrative functions in a novel can stand alone, and how different basic functions are added together to make a novel.
I feel we just aren't looking at it the right way. I'm not going to get into the cliché of thinking outside the box, but I still remain optimistic about Kant's idea of everything having already been done before.
Because...as I always ask is, "Why did it take until 1974 for someone to publish The Nothing Book?"
In this Post-Modern society where consumerism is the main competition of every form of art, POD publishing has only made more competition for the "literary" writers. They have to compete with the popular fiction that sucks almost as bad most POD books. Not that I can say anything, because I have been part of the POD phase for a while now. I'm not one who stands out from the other numerous other POD writers and I am by no means one of those mythical POD writers who have moved up and gotten published by a large press publisher ( i.e.: Will Clarke). However, POD has offered me a chance to publish anything that I can think up (as long as I have the bucks to dish out). Some could look at it as being free from the oppression of the editors and mainstream publishers, or they could say that they really do it for the glory and not for the money (regardless of whether that is true or not). However, most of us know that POD publishing was easier and less hurtful than spending all that time trying to get published and receiving the numerous rejection letters. Of course, by now, you, the reader, are wondering why I am saying things that have already been said hundreds of times before. Well, I'm getting to something that may resemble a point in a moment. Some of you have read my writings. I am really in the POD publishing world, because I think of it as some kind of stepping-stone to getting published by a bigger publisher. I couldn't say that I am not in this for the fame or money. I could say that I am doing this for many reasons that are not true. In fact, I am like Salvador Dali. He was kicked out of the Ash Can School of Art, because his fellow artists said that money was too much of a factor in his creativity. No other way am I like Salvador Dali, except for maybe the fact that I masturbate to much. But, that's beside the point. Anyway, what my main intention with my writings is that I want to just offer something interesting for people to read. I want them to be interested the whole way through and finish the novel. I don't want to write anything deep and spiritual. If it is possible, I would also like to break from the experimental genre and get into the mythical avant-garde genre (do something so different, you are the only one doing it). Of course, I assume at times that my writings are very avant-garde, but then I learn about some group of writers (mostly writers during the 60's and 70's) who did something similar to things I did in my novels (maybe I should have read more of the Beats before starting my subversive writing career). Hell, Laurence Sterne did a lot of things back in the late 1700's that a lot of young writers think are "new" today. Along with Alfred Jerry in the late 19th century and James Joyce in the early 20th century. Herman Melville dominated with his Modernist masterpiece Moby Dick in 1851. John Barth did everything with metafiction, and Donald Barthelme brought absurdity to a peak.
In spite of what I said, and in spite of the famous cliché "everything has been done before" (made famous by Kant), I still feel that what I do is different in more ways than one. I will still write with the hope that I will hit a nerve one day and get a lot of people's attention (of course, many have said that before). Whether it be the Futurists or the Modernists or the Structuralists or the Post-Modernists or the Experimental writers or the Writers-Who-Don't-Like-Labels-So-Are-Lab
Because...as I always ask: "Why did it take until 1974 for someone to publish The Nothing Book"?
This review has been on Amazon.com for somtime. It is for David L. Tamarin's and my book, My Love Affair With David Lynch And Peachy Like Nietzsche: Dark Clown Porn Snuff for Terrorists And Gorefiends
Jason Rogers and David L. Tamarin, My Love Affair with David Lynch and Peachy Like Nietzsche: Dark Clown Porn Snuff for Terrorists and Gore Fiends (Lulu, 2005)
A split novel? Hey, why not? Musicians have been putting out split albums for years. It's not a split novel, exactly. Rogers' half is a novella, Tamarin's a batch of short stories. But still, it's a split. All that's missing is the long track in the middle where the two bands-- erm, authors-- collaborate. That, however, may be a blessing in disguise.
We start with Rogers' novella My Love Affair with David Lynch. Which would be readable, except that (a) American postmodern avant-garde of this stripe died with Kathy Acker, (b) even Kathy Acker had stopped writing in it for years before she died, and (c) Rogers is not nearly the writer Kathy Acker was. He's not even the writer Bradley Lastname was. (Maybe on a par with Mark Amerika.) Whole pages are here for the sole purpose of filling space. Which would probably be okay, or at least better, if they were blank, or had that stupid "this page intentionally left blank" statement. But no; there is a page and a half early on here entirely filled with the letter s in italic. Bored yet? It gets worse-- every once in a while, Rogers interjects bits about his aims with the novel, how the reader won't understand it, and how it can be original despite the fact that Rogers was inspired by Lynch while writing it. This sort of thing didn't work for Joan Didion thirty years ago in Democracy, and, as Didion's recent National Book Award would seem to convey, Didion's a pretty good writer. Rogers, on the other hand, is not. I can't even find a way to put him in the "amusingly bad" category.
So, having struggled your way through the first half, you get to the work of David L. Tamarin. You are, I assume, hoping that the book will improve and provide you with some amusement, at least, for its rather exorbitant (given its length) cover price.
Tamarin's short stories are of the extreme-horror variety. Which is all well and good. I am a huge fan of extreme horror when it's done well; Edward Lee, Charlee Jacob, and Monica O'Rourke all do extreme horror very, very well, and I love their stuff. The difference between Tamarin and, say, O'Rourke is that O'Rourke understands that in order for a story, even a piece of "flash fiction," to work, there has to be some sort of character development; a story is going to fall flat if the reader doesn't care about the characters. (Amusingly, Rogers mentions this in his novella.) Tamarin, on the other hand, expends absolutely zero energy on building his characters; what few one can find that have any details penned in about them are quite literally generic; all have the same habits (specifically, the same crack habit, which leads to the crack pipe getting too hot to hold, and dropped) and the same mode of speaking. There is no way to tell one protagonist from another in the first-person stories. Which is not terribly surprising, as the voice doesn't change in the third-person stories, either. Tamarin, it seems, is not interested in giving us characters to care about; he's interested in taking cardboard cutouts (and some of the characters are too flimsy to even be called cardboard) and putting them into situations that might shock, offend, or titillate a reader. The problem is that when your characters aren't real, no one cares. Were one of Charlee Jacob's characters to have these things done to them, it would be devastating. (And, quite frankly, I'm somewhat surprised none have by now.) One cannot say the same here; what is supposed to shock, offend, and titillate us bores, or at best amuses for a few seconds.
Tamarin tells us, at least twice, that those reading this book should send him money so he can write full-time. It seems to me the money would be far better spent on a few classes on character development.
I cannot, in fact, come up with a single thing to recommend about this book. It gets half a star because I finished it, but the best thing I can say about it is that, because I picked this year to expose myself to the horror that is Janine Cross' Touched by Venom, this will not be the worst book I read this year. (half)
I find all reviews very fascinating, but the bad ones always seem to draw my attention more. I don't get mad or depressed by the bad reviews. In fact, they usually make me laugh. I know that my kind of writing is going to draw some real hatred amongst readers. I was ready for it.
Now, with my type of writing, most people agree that bad reviews would actually be good for my books. You know, with how different they are (or trying to be). Anyway, I like to read these bad reviews, because I am sometimes amazed that someone read the book so closely for the entire length. I mean, there are reviews by people who pick out the most minute details about the book. They obviously must of not hated the book as much as they said considering that they finished the book, understood the details, etc etc etc.
What I am getting at is that I have long had the idea that a writer could get people to be interested in your books, not because they like your books, but because they hate them. I'm sure this idea isn't new and hasn't been tried a million times by some writer out there (please point me to one), but it seemed something worth trying.
It is like William McGonagall's poetry.
Which brings me to my next point. In one of my posts I said that I wanted to make something so different that no one would be able to compare it to anything. Carlton Mellick III answered with a phrase that went something like, "That's impossible. Everybody will find a comparison to anything." This holds some truth. I was trying to hard to do something different that I completely neglected the human factor. So, I shall go back to my original idea of irritating the world and hopefully being remembered because I said something interesting. And, I want to write novels that people either really love or really hate. I don't want any middle ground.
But, I digress.
Uber Bad Taste
Summary: When Jason Rogers set out to write a book called The Ovens of God, he knew it would make a big mark in the world. The idea was simple: God and Satan make a bet. Satan is going to do one thing and God is going to do another. So...in a nutshell, God supported the Nazis and Satan supported the Allies during WWII. That’s all that needs to be said about this work of FICTION...yeah, a work of fiction.
St. John's Pub
Summary: The Book of Revelation has been taken literally by many bible beaters. It has been made into terrible books that are pure shit (The Left Behind Series) and it has been turned into great books (The Stand). Now, from the demented mind of Jason Rogers comes the Book of Revelation taken literally. The twist is this: John is a music journalist. The events that John sees unfold in front of him as the stage show for a band. It is all as a play that is sure to fuck with anyone's head. Faith is just another form of beer goggles in St. John's Pub. The hangover from this bar will be like Armageddon in your head.
Summary: Everyone is afraid of dying. One of the only ways to live forever is to become remembered by becoming a celebrity. The novelist becomes insane with the prospect of dying. But…there are crazy people everywhere, which is what will be found out while reading this novel. With the very writer of Tomorrow Nothing, Jim Morrison, the reader, a stagehand for the novel Tomorrow Nothing, Robert Frost, Ernest Hemingway, Dylan Thomas, and Legion For We Are Many Demons as characters running through a surrealistic world of insanity and chaos, Tomorrow Nothing promises to be the bizarre anti-novel.
One Part Heroin Two Parts Placebo
Summary: Can you trip like me? This is a drug story told in a way that only Jason Rogers could tell it. One Part Heroin Two Parts Placebo will take you through the lives of a few friends as they live and do drugs. However, this is not your typical transgressive drug story. One Part Heroin Two Parts Placebo attempts to show the reader what it is like to be high. One Part Heroin Two Parts Placebo will bring the reader into the mindset of a druggie.
My Love Affair With David Lynch And Peachy Like Nietzsche: Dark Clown Porn Snuff for Terrorists And Gorefiends
Summary: This is the novella My Love Affair with David Lynch by Jason Rogers and Peachy Like Nietzsche: Dark Clown Porn Snuff for Terrorists and Gorefiends, the short story collection by David Tamarin.
This is absurd, surreal, dark, demented, and bizzaro literature at its...well...most screwed up.
Summary: This includes the three screenplays: Malignant Hump/back, Fetus Tour, and Dr. Phil 666
Summary: Low, the ultimate Stoic, word junkie, martial arts expert, and Mathematics novice, is stuck on an island with his friends: Marcel Dulchamp, Pablo Picasso, a Classics Professor, Nobody, and Andy Warhol. They all talk and talk and then they fight and fight. There is nothing else to do on an island by yourself. In a style...well...hmmm...yeah...and, with three parts chaos and weirdness mixed in (chessey and lame sounding already), comes this anti-novel where lit theory is thrown out the window to starve on the streets and to become a crack hoe and die in a public bathroom with his hand down some other junkie’s pants.
The FBI Says This Is Not Called the Sociopath
Summary: Frank and Charles are detectives who are hunting for Randall Lang Gant, the ruthless serial killer, as he roams through the asshole of the city. I know that is the start of a terrible pulp novel ("terrible pulp novel"…that is redundant, I know). You, the reader, just have to look through the book. You will find out that the story is impossible, nev…well…whatever, avant-garde, and just plain fucked up. Throw in a narrator and some chaos and I, the writer, might just be able to drive the reader crazy and make them the/a sociopath. It is all from insanity. It's not a pulp/detective type novel. It may not even really be a novel (it’s an anti-novel). It may seemingly be but it probably more closely resemble cryptic coded transmissions from distant alien intelligences out in the cosmos. This doesn’t actually sound like a summary of the book, but a way to be cool and different. It may be a gov’t project. Shhhhhhhhh…
Summary: This is the religious text to end all religious texts or… It could/is also the non-religious texts to being/end all non-religious texts.
Elitist Camelback Gaga
Summary: God is unemployed and begging for work. It’s a novel (anti-novel), it’s surrealistic, and it is really weird. No book summary can do it justice.
Superhero Stenchfest (with David L. Tamarin)
Summary: This book contains Emergency Jesus Tampons, a novella by Jason Rogers, and Baby In A Blender, a collection of short stories by David L Tamarin. Bizarre and Extreme Horror, Absurdism, Humor, Satire, Subversive Politics, Gore, Erotica, Metafiction and more all coalesce to create a unique vision and entertaining read. This is one book that you will not be able to forget. It will evoke all types of emotions from horror to empathy, anger to humor and more. Elizabeth Massie has called Tamarin "the rising star of horrific humor."
A Book Not By Ernest Hemingway
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