ZDMT #20-#22

To my publisher’s (and publicist’s) chagrin and remorse, I have cancelled my final three appearances in the U.S. on the Zero Degree of Meaning Tour at, respectively, Pandemonium Books & Games in Cambridge, the Axis Club in Boston, and Left Bank Books in NYC. The reason for this unforeseen turn of events will remain my own. The good news is I have begun to write another pop song. So far, it goes:

Pituitary gland.
Pituitary gland.
Pituitary gland.
The pituitary gland.

Pythagorean’s theorem!
Pythagorean’s theorem!
Pythagorean’s theorem!
Pythagorean’s fuckin’ theorem!

When the sphere goes down and I git that itch,
gonna reap the equation, gonna make like on ostrich
and bury my head in the congruent earth
and mark a perimeter with the sky and the surf.

I still need two more verses. Working title: “Pituitary Gland vs. Pythagorean’s Theorem.”

THE ZDMT will resume in Canada on Feburary 1 at the Voodoo Nightclub in Winsor. In the meantime, I will be in the Waiting Room gazing listlessly out the Tall Window . . .

ZDMT #19 - Widener Library @ Harvard University

Thoughts on Snow White after watching it last night for the first time as an adult: . . . Snow White has a voice like a songbird. Additionally, the film exhibits various prejudices towards dwarves, e.g., the assumption that they live together in relative harmony in a kind of Davidian compound, and they exhibit a decidedly Amish work ethic, and more importantly, their identities are signified by one idle emotion, despite possessing a clear range of emotions, from end of the spectrum to the other, except for Doc, the only dwarf whose identity is signified by his profession. All this seems terribly wrong.

After a 10-day hiatus, the Zero Degree of Meaning Tour plods forward like a disabled clay ox in stop-motion animation. Who gives a shit?

I used to work at Widener Library when I was in graduate school. Blah fucking blah.

Besides giving up writing, I’m considering giving up reading. I’ve read enough. At this point it will only accelerate the deterioration of my already horrendous eyesight. Reading is overrated at any rate. Finally I will subscribe to what culture tells me to subscribe to: the screen, and the screen alone.

I recently discovered something. My efficiency is a detriment to the academic life. In my profession, I get things done quickly and cleanly and dynamically. By things, I mean pedagogy, scholarship, and service. This altogether conflicts with the character of academia, which is slow, disheveled, clumsy and lethargic. Academia is perhaps the only profession in which competence is discouraged.

I read the same old bullshit from my stupid book in the Big Room of the library. Attendance: approximately 1,000 assholes. Some of them had to sit on the bowls of the organ pipes. I made no effort to conceal how much I hated writing and hated reading and hated people in general. I did this with my tone of voice and then I told everybody exactly how I felt about them and what was wrong with them and when they started making faces I told them to blow it out their asses.

During the Q&A, a student, or somebody young and stupid-looking, said, verbatim, “Don’t you think you have a responsibility to readers that you’re not living up to? I’m not talking about your attitude. [Laughter.] I mean your writing. Not being serious and leading people astray. I mean, heh, Codename Prague is all over the place. I get it. I get what you’re doing. But I think it’s sloppy writing. It’s irresponsible writing.”

I don’t remember how I responded. Something along the lines of: “Look, fucker. That’s not how it works. The way it works is you’re stupid and I’m not. I don’t have a responsibility to fucking readers. They have a responsibility to me. And they fail me every time. All of my writing is essentially a map of how readers fail. Fuckhead.”

Afterwards Skip Gates Jr. and I went out for lunch at Au Bon Pain and made fun of Samuel R. Delaney’s fiction from the 1960s.

Goodreads Giveaway for Codename Prague

The Goodreads giveaway for Codename Prague is now up and running. Enter before May 1, 2011 to win a free signed copy.

Book Giveaways

REMINDER: There is a book giveaway for Technologized Desire: Selfhood & the Body in Postcapitalist Science Fiction ongoing at Goodreads through the end of March. I'm currently setting up another giveaway for Codename Prague. Winners will receive a signed copy plus a special mystery present.

Atlatl Press Banner

Here's the new banner for Atlatl Press, publisher of my fiction collection They Had Goat Heads, compliments of Willson Row. The banner lives: all will be well ...

ZDMT #18 - Galveston, TX

Performances yesterday in the Kitchenwares aisle at 1:00 p.m., 3:00 p.m., 5:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m. Sang the Glen Campbell song a cappella. Then iterated Alec Baldwin’s monologue in Glengarry Glen Ross, miming the exhumation of brass balls from a briefcase.

Review of Dr. Identity in Horror Talk

Here is a recent review of Dr. Identity in Horror Talk.

Codename Prague Unbound

My novel Codename Prague, the second installment in the scikungfi trilogy, is now available in paperback and hardcover editions. The first installment, Dr. Identity, or, Farewell to Plaquedemia, was recently Kindlized; consumer-technocapitalists may retrieve it for $4.99 from most Allpurpose Department Warehouses.

Necrotic Tissue #13

Issue #13 of Necrotic Tissue is now available. It features my short story "Interstate."

ZDMT #17 - The Royal Hawaiian

Every Spring Break my parents flew my sister and I to Hawaii for 10 days. We stayed in the same room, Master Suite 901B, in the Royal Hawaiian Hotel, one of the oldest hotels on the island of Oahu. Referred to as the “Pink Palace of the Pacific,” it stands on the forefront of Waikiki Beach like an orgy of molten flamingos. I remember towering green palm trees, long orange surfboards, a hungry undertow, elaborate breakfast buffets, sharp coral reefs, a snack shop, dead jellyfish, the Brothers Cazimero, and Spectravision. Everything was clean and fresh and pristine. There was a misty rain every morning, and then the sun came out and shone all day. On the horizon the bowl of a volcanic crater, Diamond Head, sloped towards the sky and fell into the ocean.

Interview in Shock Totem

Johnny Boden has interviewed me in the third issue of Shock Totem, a magazine of the Macabre and the Twisted. Select topics: throwing stars, the constructedness of identity, bizarro fiction, goat heads, the specter of narrative convention, the state of contemporary publishing, Aylett, Extrapolation and The Dream People, bodybuilding, Vulgaria, capitalism and blip culture.

Library Journal

Here's what Library Journal has to say about Codename Prague:

"Having assassinated the Nowhere Man, Vincent 'Codename' Prague, master assassin of the Ministry of Applied Pressure (MAP), receives a promotion to Anvil-In-Chief and becomes the target of celebrity hounds. Assigned to a job in Prague (where everyone’s surname is also Prague), Vincent faces Doktor Teufelsdröckh, a mad scientist/chef who has created a monster that rivals Frankenstein. In this second installment of his scikungfi trilogy (after Dr. Identity), Wilson ups his creative ante with new bursts of stream of cyber consciousness prose to rival Gilbert Sorrentino (Mulligan Stew) and William Burroughs (Naked Lunch). VERDICT: With the cinematic feel of Pulp Fiction and a sound slap at modern culture, this should attract a select audience that appreciates metafiction and pulp action."

New Stories

I have two new stories coming out, one in issue 13 of Necrotic Tissue, the other in the inaugural issue of Kugelmass.

Codename Prague in Hardcover

The hardcover edition of my new novel, Codename Prague, book two of the scikungfi trilogy, is now available at Amazon. Here's a snippet of a new review that will appear at The Compulsive Reader: "Recently, Max Bunny Sparber said that if a work is to be incomprehensible then do it deliberately. Reading Codename Prague brings this quote to mind quite frequently. Of course it is a work of genius: it might appear to contain pages of random thoughts but everything is mapped out ..."

They Live

I'm in the home stretch of my They Live cultography for Wallflower Press / Columbia University Press. It's going to be a long home stretch, but a home stretch is a home stretch ... Cultographies are short, book-length monographs on individual cult films. Authors integrate personal experience and critical analysis with details on production, reception, reputation and appeal. Five have been published so far: The Rocky Horror Picture Show (Jeffrey Weinstock), Donnie Darko (Geoff King), Bad Taste (Jim Barratt), Superstar: The Karen Carpenter Story (Glyn Davis), and This is Spinal Tap (Ethen De Siefe). I reviewed Jeffrey's book for Journal of the Fantastic in the Arts a year or two ago and can't rave about it enough. I'm looking very forward to upcoming cultographies on The Evil Dead (Kate Egan), Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia (Ian Cooper), and Blade Runner (Matt Hills).

Jonathan Lethem recently put a kink in my Dasein by publishing a monograph on They Live via Soft Skull Press's Deep Focus series. His book is good, but thankfully much different than my project, which is slated to be published in 2012.

ZDMT #16 - Wedding Chapel in the Luxor Hotel

This might seem like a weird place to do a reading, and I hadn’t planned on it, but my mother-in-law got married a few years ago in Vegas at the Luxor’s chapel and I befriended the Elvis that sealed her. Presumably the Elvis “owns” the chapel. I suspect he made quote-fingers around the word “owns” because the chapel is in the middle of the hotel and belongs to the people who own the hotel and he doesn’t own it at all, but just works there. Anyway, I told him I was a writer, etc., and he told me he was a screenwriter, etc., and he said he had seen my short film The Cocktail Party a few years ago at Comic-Con, etc., and I said we should exchange business cards, etc., etc. Recently he called my publicist and asked if I would do a reading in the chapel, compliments of the Luxor, somehow. The request coincided nicely with my projected location on the Zero Degree of Meaning Tour.

The Luxor is the giant pyramid hotel with the Sphinx in front of it. Inside, at the bottom, is the casino, and if you look up, you can see all of the bedroom floors angling up to a fearsome centerpoint in the ceiling. I have mild acrophobia, and reservations were made for my wife and I on the sixteenth floor, so whenever I had to walk from my room to the elevator, or vice versa, I did so as if on a cracked sheet of ice, arms outstretched for balance, eyes fixed on my slow and careful shoes. This doesn’t compare to my experience on the third and topmost tier of the Eiffel Tower in 1994, where in order to move forward I was reduced to crawling on hands and knees, with eyes pinched shut, asking the frat brother with whom I was traveling to point me in this or that direction. He did little to help, and when old people mistook me for a bench, he fell silent, and I had to break my spine in order to get them off of me. I don’t remember how I found my way back to the ground.

When I got to the chapel, there was no Elvis and no people. I was drunk. I had won upwards of $8,000 playing Texas Hold’em and spent a handsome chunk of it on expensive scotch and saki, my two favorite alcoholic drinks, among other things that now, conveniently, elude me.

I went to the Eiffel Tower replica standing in front of the Paris Las Vegas Hotel.

I walked. It was only a mile or so down Law Vegas Boulevard. 55 degrees out, but sunny. I wore my burgundy Ivan Drago I MUST BREAK YOU T-shirt plus the usual BKE jeans and Doc Martin shoes. Along the way I only paused once, on a bridge, to spit on cars.

The Las Vegas Eiffel Tower is only about a third of the size of the real one, but people don’t seem to mind. Consider the following remarks appropriated from Vegas.com’s “The Eiffel Tower Experience”:

"At nighttime, it's very romantic," said Melissa Drumheller, manager of the Eiffel Tower Experience ... "From here, you can see planes taking off," Drumheller said. "It's amazing.” ... "During the day, you get a view of all these mountains," said Drumheller. "It's a phenomenal view." ... "New Year's Eve up here is quite spectacular," said Drumheller. "People can get a bird's-eye view and watch the fireworks. You see thousands of people on the street."

Nouns like planes, people and mountains, adjectives like romantic, amazing, phenomenal, (quite) spectacular – I had to go.

The fucker was closed. Middle of the day, too.

I paid a security guard to look the other way and, guzzling courage from a brownbag, climbed halfway up the exterior, where I found a platform to sit on and commenced a reading of The Book of Mormon in honor of the fifth and last season of one of my favorite HBO shows, Big Love, which premiers January 16 and stars a bunch of women and Bill Paxton, who plays a polygamist named Bill, and who once played an asshole named Chet in one of my favorite 1980s movies, Weird Science, starring Steven Seagal’s ex-wife and, in a smaller role, Iron Man, as well as Michael Berryman as a “mutant biker.” I met Berryman once at a Horrorfind convention in the 2000s. I don’t think he has fingernails – I recall a kind of desert earthiness to his handshake – but I didn’t press the matter, and we immediately fell into a discussion about the wine offerings at the hotel restaurant, which were surprisingly diverse, but ultimately disappointing.

In the distance – the sky, the surf, the wind in my hair . . .

Kindle Edition of Dr. Identity

My first novel, and the first installment in the scikungfi trilogy, Dr. Identity, or, Farewell to Plaquedemia, is now available on Kindle for $4.99. Dr. Identity won the Wonderland Book Award as well as the Stick Figure Prize in 2007. The second scikungfi novel, Codename Prague, will be published later this month.

Pre-Orders for Codename Prague

My new novel, Codename Prague, the second installment in the scikungfi trilogy after Dr. Identity, or, Farewell to Plaquedemia, is available for pre-order directly from the publisher. The book comes out officially later this month.

Guest Informant

Steve Aylett recently served as a guest informant for Warren Ellis. As always, his remarks are short and whet and every word counts. Read it here. As I've mentioned before, Aylett is probably my favorite working author and he wrote the introduction for my novel Codename Prague, which will be out in hardcover soon. The introduction appears as "Stingray Valentine" in the book Smithereens, a new short fiction collection that will hopefully be reviewed in the next issue of The Dream People.

Path to Publication

Read the abridged version of my path to publication over at author Heidi Ruby Miller's blog.

ZDMT #15 - Metropolis Books

Los Angeles. New Year's Eve . . .

Samuel R. Delany was in the audience. I don’t know what he was doing in California – he lives in Pennsylvania, teaches at Temple University – but I don’t like him. So I said, “Hey, Delany. Fuck you.” He stood defiantly, gripped the tendrils of his long white beard as if for leverage, and replied, “Fuck you, Wilson! Fuck you, asshole!”

I read selections from Peckinpah: An Ultraviolent Romance, my short critifictional novel that combines an absurdist revenge tragedy with the (pseudo)biography and filmography of director Sam Peckinpah. I’m sick of reading Codename Prague and need a break. This has happened on all of my books tours – the one I did for Peckinpah in 2009 as well as Blankety Blank: A Memoir of Vulgaria in 2008 and Dr. Identity, or, Farewell to Plaquedemia in 2007. I don’t even think I’ve looked at the latter two books since their respective tours ended. After a short time, I don’t like to read what I’ve written – to and audience – or to myself. Especially to myself. The unrefined nuances that only become perceptible over time annoy me. But boredom is the main thing. That’s why I write so much. I can’t stand most published fiction, so I write fiction that I want to read. Unfortunately I get bored easily. I’m making an effort to write less, read less, and focus on watching more movies and TV shows. That’s my New Year’s resolution, in fact. I’d also like to start playing video games again. As a kid, I loved going to the arcades, and at home I more or less lived on my Atari and later my Commodore 64, but I never graduated to adult gaming mode. The last video game I remember playing on a regular basis was Sonic the Hedgehog at college in 1993. Afterwards I went to graduate school and basically gave up gaming to read and write. Now it is my goal to revert/mature to the male child-man that populates twenty-first century Amerika and lives on a healthy diet of beer, beef, increasingly diminutive lexicons, and Grand Theft Auto. The sleazier and bloodier and dumber, the better.