Piers Anthony on Codename Prague


A few months ago, I asked best-selling author Piers Anthony for a blurb for my upcoming novel Codename Prague. He didn't like the book, and he didn't give me a blurb, but he wrote something about it in his blog, and I really liked what he wrote, if for nothing else than he connects me with James Joyce and Finnegans Wake, a book that I both love and hate. At any rate, thanks to Piers for giving me the time of day -- he's a kind of legend. Here's what he wrote:

"I read Codename Prague by D. Harlan Wilson. This novel is described by its author as slapstick and 'literary' and graphic, a pop cultural apocalypse in which schizophrenia, psychosis, idiocy, etc. have become to varying degrees normative conditions. 'I think [it] can function as a kind of morality tale.' Well, it is indeed all that. My problem is that I read fiction for maybe two reasons: to enjoy the diversion from dull mundane reality, or to assess it for an informed opinion on its merits. I am not a fan of cyberpunk, if that is what this is, don't understand it, and don't get pleasure from it. I prefer solidly plotted stories, and this is at best thinly plotted. So I can't form an informed opinion. Let me illustrate my problem with a quote, more or less random, from the novel: 'The psychophysical process of attack is not a fundament of this physionietzschean martial art. Nor is the art of defense. The enlightened scikungfi fighter will have transcended these useless tactics. Neither aggression nor protection informs her character. Or rather, these things inform her character to such a degree that they metaentropically implode into nothingness. I stand here. I blink, I breathe. I exist. And I fucking kill you and eat your gore. That is the True Way of scikungfi. Many like to think they follow and practice the True Way. But mass man is nothing but a hack bodhisattva. He always will be.' This is a statement of one of the many divergent philosophies in the novel, replete with obscure or oblique references such as to kung fu or the one to the German philosopher Nietzsche, who developed the theory of the ubermensch (superman) in Thus Spake Zarathustra. In the end he went insane, but the Nazi Germans and others were quite taken with many of his views. That's just a hint of the wider intellectual parameters of this novel. I am reminded of the works of James Joyce; Finnegans Wake is said to be well worth the two to four years it takes to properly read it. But as I said, it's not my thing. So I'm not in a position to recommend it, but that is not at all the same thing as saying it's not competent; I suspect it's a good novel of its type."