January 5th, 2008

What You Could Read

I know everyone adores playing “1000 Things We Like,” but I thought I’d post about something else for a change. Like some things that I have been reading that you might like.

For example, I would suggest reading Prism International. If you live in Ontario, this will be very hard, as they did not send our province any fall issues for some reason, but that’s the issue I’m recommending you order it because contains the beautiful story “Some Light Down” by S. Kennedy Sobol. It was my privilege to read that story in very early form, and it was heart-stopping then, and it’s thrilling to me now to see it having evolved so far. Of course, this means S. Kennedy and I know each other, but we didn’t when I first read the story, so you should take my word when I say it’s brilliant.

Another recommendation I have for the literary-minded is Jim Munroe’s mega website, No Media Kings. If you move in Toronto indie circles, you may have heard the name Jim Munroe before even if you’ve never read his books or comics, seen his movies, been to his shows or readings, or played his video games. I once had a strange job wherein (a) I often had no work, (b) I was not allowed to read books or magazines, (c) I was not permitted to surf the internet unless the sites pertained to books. These rules made no sense, but I got around them in large part thanks to Mr. Munroe, who bills his site as an “indie culture site.” Basically, if you work in one of the above media and don’t want to let your get caught up in corporate R&D, promotion, editing, distribution, etc., Jim will tell you how to do it yourself. Even if you are willing to go a little corporate, there’s still useful reading on the site–for authors, there’s stuff on grant-writing, touring, etc. that’s very practical, friendly, and go-go-go. There’s stuff on there that’s not at all practical unless you are the dynamo that is Jim Munroe–book tour via bicycle, for example—but it’s very entertaining.

Of course, all this partically obscures the reason I was curious enough about the guy to google him in the first place, which is that he is a pretty good novelist. I read his first book, Flyboy Action Figure Comes with Gasmask when I was a kid and got hooked. That was his first book, published with HarperCollins Canada, the experience that so annoyed him that he declared himself the anti-Rupert Murdoch, or, I guess The King of No Media (heh). He went on to write a number of novels: *Angry Young Spaceman, Everyone in Silico, Roommate from Hell* (all available at the above link) and to publish and distribute them himself. No small feat, though it helped I’m sure that the novels were good (if you like semi-sci-fi and silliness, and PCness–I do). Still the sheer number of hours, and the force of will to overcome not only self-doubt but the logistical nightmares… Impressive.

I interviewed Jim Munroe in the summer of 2003 for a school project (would that that transcript still existed–stupid dead hard-drive). He did it because I emailed him and said if he talked to me I’d buy him lunch. He wrote write back and said ok, showed up when he said he would, and tried to pay for his own sandwich, so obviously I was more than a little impressed. I guess there’s bias all over this post, really, but still, these are reccommendations worth checking out–it’s not my fault I’ve met so many talented people.

Smoking the same damn cigarettes

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