A Note on Codename Prague

I was fooling around on the Internet tonight and reading some of the reviews of my novel Codename Prague, the second installment in my scikungfi trilogy. I want to make a quick observation, if only for my own peace/piece of mind. Sometimes things don't exist for me until I put them in words.

As expected, Codename Prague has received little critical and readerly attention. And what attention it has received has been mixed, i.e., people have seemed to really like it, or really not like it, or really something-in-between-mixed-with-confusion. All responses are fair and just. And authorial intent is for the birds. If I might speak to myself for a moment, though, especially to the part of me that winces at the badness of this book . . . This book is supposed to be bad. Bad in a "good" way, at times, and at other times, bad in a BAD way, as an effort in comic literature and a hyperbolic riff on pulp sci-fi literature and especially sci-fi film. Readers should wince at the bad humor and the bad allusions just as they might wince at the same things in a Stallone movie, or a Schwarzenegger movie, or a Van Damme movie, or any number of low-budget cult films. That this methodology empowers the novel is as obvious to me as it is obscure. Codename Prague itself admits that it is "unfinished," too, which is meant to connect it with the novels of Franz Kafka, all of which are literally unfinished (except perhaps for Amerika), among other things.

So what's the point?

It is the same point made by Schwarzenegger in Expendables 2 when, during the climactic shootout, he tears off the door of a smart-car driven by Bruce Willis and jumps in and exclaims, "My shoe is bigger than this car!" It is also the same point made by every Andrew Lloyd Webber character that hits the stage . . .

RIP Codename Prague. Long live The Kyoto Man.

Fall Semester

This Fall marks a transition at Wright State University from quarters to semesters. WSU was among the last institutions in Ohio to make this transition. It's been a busy but fun summer getting my Fall courses together while composing three short biographies (Hitler: The Terminal Biography, Freud: The Penultimate Biography, and Douglass: The Lost Autobiography), putting the finishing touches on The Kyoto Man, and editing and writing essays and reviews for journals like The Los Angeles Review of Books, Extrapolation, and Foundation. Anyway, here's my course website for the Fall semester; I'm excited to be teaching a multimedia African-American Textuality course as well as Introduction to Fiction Writing, the latter of which is built around Lance Olsen's wonderful new writing textbook Architectures of Possibility: After Innovative Writing. I wish the best this Fall to my colleagues and fellow academics—especially of the SF variety!