What don't you like about yourself?
Raymond Chandler: Maybe the greatest prose stylist ever. I can't really get into other noir-ish authors because of him. He puts them to shame. I bought five Elmore Leonard books today at a library sale for a buck-a-piece. We'll see. Chandler's best novel is The Long Goodbye. Robert Altman adapted it. Elliot Gould makes a really weird Philip Marlowe. I "plagiarized" Chandler in my novel. I took a chapter and changed nearly every word, creating something entirely new. I left words like "the" and "he" and "it" and "and" intact. I'm always afraid I did something wrong by doing this. It was like writing an essay in sixth grade and copying a few paragraphs from an encyclopedia while using synonoms for every word so you won't be accused of plagairism. It's a lot harder to write fiction this way. It feels Oulipo-ish. I wrote another thing like this. A story for Lamination Colony. I rewrote the beginning of Naked Lunch.
Mark Leyner: Every word counts. No word counts. Irrelevance without any filler. I saw a movie a while back that he co-write with John Cusack and the guy who wrote Bulworth. It was called War Inc. It was pretty good.
Steve Aylett: Similar to Leyner. Bigger. Better. Funnier. Actually makes plot work. Genre-y.
Thomas Ligotti: Horror author. One of the few that I like. Short story guy. Like Lovecraft if Lovecraft was a much much much much better writer. His work makes my brain feel funny. Like I'm in another dimension. I don't think he writes fiction anymore. Just essays about hating the human race.
Kelly Link: She lives near me. She's great. Genre-y. Not genre-y. I don't know what else to say. I took her new book out of the library today. I hope I will not be dissapointed. I will be dissapointed. I am dissapointed by everything these days.
Carlton Mellick: He tears shit up. Later work much much much better than early work.
Tao Lin: Tao Lin Tao Lin Tao Lin Tao Lin.
D. Harlan Wilson: Writes books that I want to read. Irreal. Stranger on the Loose best story collection. Dr. Identity best novel.
The next three authors seem to share the same face but grow out of three different facial expressions:
Paul Auster: Last two books have been
Jonathan Carroll: Like if mid-period Paul Auster wrote fantasy without crazy heaps of exposition and coincidences. Seems like he is probably a nicer person than Paul Auster. Most of his books are also a blur. Minor characters in some novels are protagonists in other novels. Uses a town in upstate NY a lot for setting. His books used to cure my depression. His characters felt like friends. He put them through hell, but it felt good to read about them going through hell. Just took his new novel out from the library. Read about halfway. It's ok. Better than his last novel, which I did not like. I have liked all of the earlier ones. I think I might be growing out of him. I think I'm growing out of a lot of authors. I need new authors to grow into. The writing is good in the new novel, but it is confusing. Not "What the hell is going on?" confusing. More like "Why the hell are the characters doing these things?" confusing. Feels like someone ripped out a bunch of random pages. Took me a while to like Carroll's endings. Dissapointing at first. Open-ended. Like poetic open-ended endings to bad movies that leave it open for the sequel. After being dissapointed a lot, I started to really like the endings. Carroll explained them by saying something like this: "My endings are like life. Everything does not work itself out in the end."
Steve Erickson: The only author who I'm not growing out of in the trio. Reuses characters like Carroll. Different realities without explanations. Makes it work. Makes it awesome. Does funny things to my brain. Like Ligotti, but not as dark. If you are familiar with Erickson, you might think to yourself, "Ligotti sounds totally fucked." I didn't like Erickson's last book the first time I read it: Zeroville. Felt different. User-friendly. Reread it and loved it. Not my favorite novel by him, but not my least favorite.
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