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Archive for February, 2010

Tuesday, February 23rd, 2010

Jaimie did not send us a picture, but our in-house archivists uncovered this photo of her conversing with an unidentified Star Fleet officer.

Is it wrong for me to call out bloggers who say unflattering things about my books?  Probably, but sometimes it’s fun to do things that are wrong, like speeding and poaching and setting my enemies on fire.  Yesterday my attention was drawn to the blog Jaimie on Whatever.  The eponymous Jaimie  posted about how she was not especially enjoying The Coffee Trader.  Now, there is nothing wrong with this in itself.  As the blogger herself speculates, David Liss sometimes does not finish books he starts.  We can see her reaching the obvious and inevitable conclusion: if David Liss does it, it must be okay.  That’s the code I live by.

However, she then goes on to confidently assert that it’s not like David Liss would be reading her blog, and since I was, in fact, reading her blog, I posted a snarky little comment.  All of this is fine, expect she wrote back to me this morning asking me to do an interview on her blog.  So, the big question is: should I take the time to produce original material to post on a blog authored by someone who doesn’t like my books?  Perhaps somewhat crassly, I asked her for her hit count data?  I’m just that kind of guy.

In other news, tonight I head off to the Institute of Texan Cultures for the University of Texas at San Antonio fundraiser: UTSA: Great Conversations.  There I will be leading a table in a conversation of my own prior choosing.  Other participants include San Antonio’s mayor, San Antonio’s former mayor, and my rabbi.  I ought to have looked at a list of the previous year’s topics before choosing mine.  Some people are leading conversations on “Handicapping the Oscars” and “The Science of Poker”  Mine is on “The Evils of Unregulated Capitalism.”  I hope there will be free booze.  I don’t think it is yet sold out, so if you want to pay money to talk to me, click here.

Tuesday, February 16th, 2010

This one last time I am going to remind you about my zombie story, “What Maisie Knew,” which is to be found in The New Dead.  On sale today!  For those of you who’ve said, “I love this David Liss guy, but I wish he wrote stories about zombies and the perverts who love zombies,” this is your lucky day.  Read more about it in my local newspaper, which is very nice to me.  For information on where I’ll be reading from the story tonight, and where others will be reading from the anthology, check out this exciting, dynamic, super-excellent link.

Our in-house artist's conception of Kevin Smith.

I know I just blogged about comics stuff, but here’s some more.  Kevin Smith, who had one of the greatest runs ever on Daredevil – along with Brubaker, Bendis, and, of course, Miller (he might have made some films too, I think) – was kicked off an airplane this weekend for “unbearable fatness of his being.”  Actually, no one said that, but I thought it would be fun to put it in quotes.  The story is both hilarious and kind of upsetting.  I just don’t know how to feel about the issue of large people and airline seats.  Those seats are really not designed for anyone who weights more than 180 pounds, but what percentage of the population is that?  I know I prefer to sit next to small, slender, introverted people who hate to use the arm rest, but I also don’t like being put in the position of having to evaluate the size of my fellow travelers.  Still, if I had to sit next to Kevin Smith, there is a strong chance I would not complain about it.

Friday, February 12th, 2010
It has been amusing – has it not? – to watch the tempest in a teapot (pun to come!) brewing over the insane, far-right’s reaction to Captain America #602?  For those of you too elitist to follow this story, let me bring you up to speed.  In this issue the new Captain America* takes on a pseudo Captain America,** who heads up a domestic terrorist group.  At a protest rally, we see signs associating the evil wackos with the contemporary Tea Party “movement” — if that’s the right word for a staged, media-created pseudo political wackjobathon. 

In any case, Tea party wackjobathoners seemed not to like seeing their group portrayed as a bunch of crazy, mean-spirited white people. Go figure.  Says Tea Party Nation founder Judson Phillips, “It’s really sad to see what has traditionally been a pro-America figure being used to advance a political agenda.”  First of all, you moron, “a pro-America” position is a political agenda.  Secondly, how come you get to decide which political positions are pro-America and which aren’t? 

Ed Brubaker’s Captain America has been one of the best, and most politically savvy, mainstream superhero comics of the past several years.

Now both writer Ed Brubaker and Marvel editor-in-chief Joe Quesada (two guys for whom I have an enormous amount of respect, make no mistake) say the protest signs were an afterthought, added by the letterer and not part of any editorial decision.  Their explanation has the ring of truth, but the fact is the larger Marvel continuity has had what could easily be called a “liberal agenda” for quite a while. During the Bush years, Captain America led the group of superhero rebels who refused to surrender their personal liberty and privacy after the country hysterically passes a superhero registration act.  More recently, in the Dark Reign crossover event, media darling and uber bad guy Norman Osborn,*** has made numerous comments aligning himself with the American right.  

Comic books are often imagined as militaristic and jingoistic, and frequently they are, but they are also often concerned not only with the use of power, but the just limitations of that power.  While mainstream comics tend to shy away form tackling hot-button culture war issues directly, they have often implicitly endorsed the advancement of civil right and associated villainy with corporate greed.  In other words, potshots at the right are nothing new.  On the other hand, according to Glenn Beck, both fascism and Stalinist-style communism are liberal movements, and Captain America has spent the better part of the last seven decades fighting those things.  So maybe the jab at the right lunatic fringe is only some long-delayed equal representation.   

*The original Captain America, Steve Rogers, is off with his best girl recovering from recent traumatic events.  See Captain America Reborn #s 1 – 6.

**Really, if you have to ask, you don’t want to know.

***Yes, the former Green Goblin.  That Norman Osborn.  It’s a long story.

Wednesday, February 10th, 2010

Less than a week left until The New Dead is published, and yet another glowing advance review appears, and again my short story, “What Maisie Knew,” get a positive mention — this time from Fantasy Book Critic.  Maybe I have a future in this whole zombie thing.  Though I tend to doubt it.  I was going to write all about how you can’t buy this book on Amazon because of Macmillan’s feud with the on-line book seller (home of the soon to be formerly-popular Kindle), but apparently the corporate entitities have kissed and made up.  Isn’t that nice?

Like most writers, I suppose, I am very frequently asked to opine prophetically on the future of the publishing industry.  While asking for a writer’s opinion on the business end of publishing is a little like asking for a florist’s predictions about global warming, I nevertheless have my own ideas about how the industry is going to shape up in the years ahead and I am happy to share them.  My clever notions are more or less echoed in a moderately interesting op-ed that appeared in the Wall Street Journal earlier this week.  John Makinson, CEO of the Penguin Group, predicts that every little thing’s gonna be alright as long as the industry provides readers with what they want to buy.  The one element he leaves out, however, is how the retailer will do in the coming market.  I, for one, immensely value the role of booksellers in helping to promote books, as well as for providing a place for readers to brows.  When discussing the comparison’s with the record industry, Makinson is happy to make the problem of piracy disappear with a wave of the hand, but he never addresses the fact that is no longer any such thing as a record store.  I am all for ebook readers and on-line vendors, but if book stores were to go the same way, the industry as a whole would likely suffer soon enough. Don’t you think?

Tuesday, February 2nd, 2010

I’m told by people who should know that there is only one spot left for my course, The Novel: Structure and Development, which begins this March.  If you are local, and wish to achieve enlightenment, why not grab that last seat at the table of knowledge?  Annoying people, I am not talking to you.  Check out the remarkable and comically explosive details here.

Also, while we are on the subject of me, people keep writing me to ask about my appearances this year.  I don’t have a book out in 2010, so I won’t be doing a great deal of publicity, but I will be making a few appearances, mostly locally.  Here’s what the year looks like thus far.

February 16.  7 PM.  I’ll be reading from my short story, “What Masie Knew,” published that very day in The New Dead, edited by Christopher Golden.  Click here for other New Dead events, all on the same day.  Mine is at Barnes and Noble La Cantera.  15900 La Cantera Parkway.  San Antonio, TX  78256.

February 18.  7 – 9 PM: Gemini Ink Autograph Series.  Along with Andrew Porter.  Local boys get the big-time treatment.  Chapman Graduate Center Auditorium.  Trinity University, 715 Stadium Drive, San Antonio, Texas 78212.  This is a literary event, so I will likely also read from my zombie story.  Just, you know, to be difficult.

February 19, 11:45 am – 2 pm: Autograph Series Colloquium luncheon.  Pearl Studio.  312 Pearl Parkway, Bldg. 2.  Click here for more info on both these events.

March 10.  11AM – 2PM  Bulverde Library Book & Author Luncheon.  Click here for more info.

March 19th – 20th.  Virginia Festival of the Book.  Click here for my schedule.

July 7 – 10.  Thrilerfest.  Check the Thrillerfest web site later in the year for schedules, or look for me at the bar.

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