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Found 5 results

  1. It is my fervent wish that no one reads Partners. It starts out innocently and immediately gets worse and worse and worse. The profound happiness of newlyweds freed from hardship and danger, alone together in a remote snowbound cabin is almost too much to bear, given their fate. Do not read this book. The ending is so intensely sad that I find myself unable to write in the future, as if I had crossed some terrible red line, a lifelong moral law against tragedy.
  2. What if men don't read? -- what do I do then? I don't mean girlie men, or gays, or thoughtful students of literature and science. Certainly not sport fans, glued to the tube. Fathers of small children are too busy. No expectation of being read by women, young or old, that's for certain. I need to write the third act of 'Partners.' I resolved to make it a passion play, christlike Kyle betrayed and punished, full of love for his fellow man while he kills. See? About a million miles from Earth, where cosy mysteries and factual accounts of combat in Iraq entertain the few grown-ups who buy books. I don't think young people read any more, and what I do is unsuitable for innocent hearts of any age. It's not a marketing problem, and if it were I can't afford to plunk down thousands for Kirkus and Publishers Weekly, reaching for a lone nut in a haystack of hooey. The traditional method of kicking doors open is to woo an established author, hitchhike on someone else's coat tails. That involves schmoozing and telling lies. I'm not qualified to do that. Not that I'm incapable of lying, but there's something wrong with the way I'm wired, a Frankenstein monster. I can't feign admiration for crap. Probably why I'm so isolated, writing for myself, daring myself to do better in a solo Category of One that no publisher or bookstore needs or wants. The cost in cigarettes and coffee doesn't matter. No matter what I do, the years click along as they always have. Almost impossible to find "friends" on Facebook or Reddit. I tried Twitter, revolted and disgusted by minds (?) that I couldn't delete, flooded like a river overflowing its banks with bullshit. I tried the Alt Right and white supremacists. They don't read fiction. I missed the thriller category by a wide margin, no talent for it. Ah. That must be it, obviously incompetent. Authors should triangulate a known form, play pattycake with plot "beats." If I was serious about being successful, I would attend writers conferences, offer myself as an imbecile, humbly grateful to praise others at random, an interchangeable member of the wannabe collective, learner's permit in the back row. There's a writers group an hour away, meets every month. It chokes me to consider it. I have nothing in common with advertising copywriters, newspaper columnists, history buffs, bible thumpers, and visiting dignitaries, respectable by virtue of selling books -- any kind of anything that has a dust jacket. I should have listened to erstwhile friends in the 1980s, when I was young and fine, making my first few leaps as a director. They logically urged me to change my name, marry a Jewess and convert. But I had been Roarked, no longer part of the world owned and operated by others. Bad enough that directing assignments were projects that someone else conceived. We all start by playing second fiddle in someone else's orchestra, doing old standards and shooting cliches in a barrel. No one else to blame for my aborted first feature. I had a lot to learn about filmmaking, seven eighths of which is playing well with others, hale fellow well met, smiles of pleasure from all concerned, none of which was natural to me. I think back to innocent Janet, the girl who loved me. It was already too late for me at age 14, incapable of ordinary, respectable, sane, sensible life. I yearned for freedom, and I was ready to commit any crime to obtain it. Movies are made with OPM -- Other People's Money, a fact of life -- and dozens of years of experiments with cameras, lighting, microphones and editing benches. My first film was funded by a Catholic priest, Father Ed, who scolded me that the money he gave me was saved from a bicycle newspaper route. Twenty years later, it was a multi-millionaire who scolded me that I cast too many black people. "Are there no whites in London?" he railed, the head of a Dutch eugenics charity worried about gene drift. I didn't care whose money it was. I made shows I liked. I wrote books I liked, after my film career died in a Disney cubicle. I don't expect anyone to agree with my ideas about liberty and justice. No one ever has. Nothing else to do, I returned to a pair of characters that I created as an object lesson for others, a group of 50 screenwriters who thought I was an interesting guru at Zoetrope. Some of them became successful writers; many gave it up after a few seasons, too talented to succeed. I blew a diplomatic fuse, unable to stomach Main Board dominance by villains and LGBT horror producers, literally gay people who made amateur horror movies on a shoestring that were guaranteed to win a festival award, every clumsy child a winner in that category. I couldn't do it, despised horror. Harry and Laura, Janet and Archie, Chris and Peachy, and now, Kyle and Karen. See a pattern? Cis-het adult romance, graphically told, renegades in each other's arms, inseparable after the miracle of finding each other. Not normal. Nothing warm and fuzzy about men who kill. If I added up all the officials and innocent civilians I've killed over the years, it would be equal to every face seen on television, whole stadiums of NFL and college football fans, not quite as many tortured and starved to death by Galt, but a good effort anyway. Being an Objectivist is a serious handicap in creative work. Helpful in every other industry, particularly banking and politics. BB&T, Saxo Bank, Speaker of The House, and Israelis by the boatload. With only a tiny bit of vice, I could have joined the libertarian Lew Rockwell cabal or the Antiwar pooftahs. What would Roark do? More importantly, what did l want to do? For a while it was okay to rant. I had a platform for a couple years. But I couldn't even stick to that script. Instead of making progress as a virtuoso attack dog, I told stories about men beaten by beautiful interesting women, argued that women should be exempt from the criminal law, given an exclusive prerogative of life and death. Men naturally resist such ideas. I like Objectivist Living, however dull it seems. Benevolent MSK ought to be sainted, and I'm fond of his flattering Rand photograph on the masthead. I saw it in Andrea Millen Rich's office when Laissez Faire Books had a floor of operations in midtown Manhattan, 30 years ago. Life is measured in decades. It's been two since I started writing fiction full-time, interrupted by as few day jobs and family duties as possible. If I had pissed away twenty years as a drunk or a drug addict, I might be in better shape. There is no rehab for hundreds of thousands of words, nearing a million, every one of them a crime against humanity. A long time ago, '94 if memory serves, I explained that artistic achievement was more important to me than survival. Soon it will be put to the test. No one lives forever. Assuming that the blockade holds -- 250,000 independent authors on Goodreads, all of them more successful and less dangerous than I am -- my works will evaporate when I die, unread and ignored. Ayn Rand stopped writing fiction when she was my age, too busy with celebrity to create anything more. It happens to all of us, famous or not. We stop. So, as long as my brain and body still function, I'll putter along, do a nice third act of 'Partners' that I cannot rush into from a pat outline. My characters dictate what happens as it unfolds, a chemistry of living, real people who cannot be forced to dance like wooden puppets. All I do is write about it, witness to their bitterness, vulnerability, love and compassion in the face of voluntarily chosen disaster, almost certain death by violence. I write about such things and the women who know and flee from that knowledge, not in fear, but to free their loved ones to fight effectively. The men who went to rescue Galt were willing to fight and die, leaving widows and orphans to mourn them in a remote mountain valley with a gold dollar sign. I like it that Rand's stories are discussed on OL, the only legacy that matters. When I was 22 years old, I met a real life Dominque Francon and laid her, gave her little choice in the matter. She retaliated with all the dismissive hell that one should logically expect. It would take me another thirty years to be worthy of her, and I was married to someone else less challenging by then. I often think of Dominique, both of us nearing 70 now, far too late to dance again. I hope and trust that she found a rock hearted Roark to tame her exquisite beauty. Can you imagine Howard Roark reading a novel? -- naw. Wouldn't need it.
  3. Hi, A few words about my latest, the second in my series with Chris and Peachy, a modern Nick and Nora Charles. Sometimes authors use images to help them see the characters, or waste time while facing another blank page. 200 blank pages is sort of a big deal, though not as big a deal as The Fountainhead, right? The mind boggles what Rand might have looked at. The Tar Pit is 80% less sex and 100% more crime mystery by popular demand. Anyway, meet Chris Cable It would be swell to have a review on Lulu or Amazon. The cheapest is Lulu, if you'd like to buy a paperback.
  4. Vince Flynn died yesterday from prostate cancer. His thriller novels are "hard line" American values of freedom versus totalitarianism.(in particular, radical Islamic-based terrorists). According to fellow thriller author and Objectivist, Robert Bidinotto, who interviewed Flynn for an article in The Atlas Society's magazine, The New Individualist, several years ago, Flynn expressed admiration and inspiration from the novels of Ayn Rand.
  5. I very much enjoyed the opening sentence from the new English edition of Il cimitero di Praga. I note that Wikipedia touts its sales "The book is a worldwide bestseller ... that sold millions of copies as of 2010." **Amazon gives a blurb that perhaps explains its appeal: Nineteenth-century Europe—from Turin to Prague to Paris—abounds with the ghastly and the mysterious. Conspiracies rule history. Jesuits plot against Freemasons. Italian republicans strangle priests with their own intestines. French criminals plan bombings by day and celebrate Black Masses at night. Every nation has its own secret service, perpetrating forgeries, plots, and massacres. From the unification of Italy to the Paris Commune to the Dreyfus Affair to The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, Europe is in tumult and everyone needs a scapegoat. But what if, behind all of these conspiracies both real and imagined, lay one lone man? What if that evil genius created its most infamous document?Now, Philip Coates does not find the opening sentence agreeable or effective. Chacun a son goût and all that ... -- please speak for yourself, Phil. By the time you got to the verb, you yourself may have been lost. Not me, not Ninth. To my eyes, and speaking only for myself, the sentence does several things at once. It locates me the reader in place. It locates the reader to time. It gives a brief background to the place Maubert, salting the plain information with tidbits of a darker, violent history over the years: Place Maubert is dangerous in 1897 ("risk and peril") Place Maubert is in the 4th arrondisement. Place Maubert has a slang reference: the Maub. Place Maubert was once a Middle Ages centre of university life. During medieval times, students flocked to the place from nearby faculties. The faculty of Arts, for example, was found in the Roman-named Vicus Stramineus (in French Rue du Fouarre) After the Middle Ages, place Maubert was the site of public executions for apostles of free thought such as Etienne Dolet. Place Maubert is/was one of the few places in Paris that were not devastated by the urban schemes of Baron Hausmann under Napoleon III. (more information is implied, of course, if one is familiar with the history of Paris) True enough, if one needs to count such things ... I differ in my analysis, as can be seen above and below. I also disagree in part that the sentence is a longwinded pretentious train wreck. Train wreck, no, pretentious, yes, but -- the but to signal that Eco may be riffing on conventions of 19th century literature (consider only Dickens extremely long introductory paragraphs); longwinded ... again, yes, but. I counted place Maubert, the Faculty of Arts in Vicus Stramineus, a tangle of malodorous alleys, the course of the Bièvre, and the bowels of the metropolis. Just five for me ... 1) a passerby crossing the place; 2) Baron Haussman; 3) Etienne Dolet; 4) Faculty of Arts; 5) criminal circles ... I agree that some of the references might escape first reading, especially if one knows nothing about the history of Paris, or if one is uninterested in the history of Paris. I believe it is indeed a rich (for some, over-rich) confection that pays dividends to the engaged reader (me). I am quite sure, me, though you may not be, Phil. It is clear to me that place Maubert was a place of execution. Rue du Fouarre is French for the latin Vicus Stramineus (vicus stramineus means, roughly, street of straw. In french, fouarre means 'straw' or "paille de toutes sortes de céréale, paille pour empailler les chaises" (chair-stuffing, straw of all kinds of cereal crops). Georges-Eugène Haussmann. His 'devastations' are a result of the rebuilding of Paris in the mid/late 19th century, under Napoleon III. This is a famous reconstruction, or at least famous among those interested in the history of Paris, or more specifically urban planning ... See the Rebuilding of Paris for a brief overview, if interested. Yes, you kind of have to know what Haussman is (in some circles) famous for. Phil, if you become familiar with Haussman and his famous projects, you will understand that for many people, the meaning of the word is quite clear. From a warren of Roman, medieval and other streets and alleys, Paris was transformed into the city we know today -- a city of grand boulevards. You can understand that clearing old warrens and ancient streetscapes required great destruction of the existing urban fabric. Moreover, once you know this, you understand that Eco is pointing to 'the Maub' as a neighbourhood that was not slashed through with boulevards and reconstruction. This ancient sector was unscathed in 1897, with all that this implies. I understand your point of view, Philip, but I was ravished by the opening sentence. I hope you understand that some people (me) can take different things from this excerpt, without denigrating your reaction. Phil, you are incorrect with regard to French capitalization conventions. See the French-language history of place Maubert and its present day Metro station. In French, there is no convention to capitalize place in this context. I suspect that the Bièvre will indeed play a part in the story. You may not be aware, Phil, but the Bièvre springs at Versailles and emptied into the Seine in the area of Gare D'Austerlitz. Over the course of the centuries, and especially after the mid-19th century, the Bièvre was relentlessly confined, roofed-over, buried in conduits, re-routed into Paris sewers, and so on. At the time of the story, however, there was still an flowing route of commerce, disposal, sewage, chemicals, and more ... in the neighbourhood of place Maubert at the time of the story, la Bièvre was very much a vital part of the neighbourhood. Here is a couple of pictures at These show this urban stream as it was in late 19th century (in 1912 the urban reaches of the stream were put completely underground, though last year plans to resurrect la Bievre reached fruition). Yes, this was the last bit of the flow of the Bievre in central Paris that had not been covered and conduited. The bowels of Paris has a nice, redolent connotation, to my nose! I can understand your perspective, Phil. On first glance, the sentence can appear to be a grotesque overreach of authorial intentions. But for me at least, the sentence is alluring, enticing, promising of deep riches, historical detail, of Paris sewers, criminals, danger, catacombs, hidden rivers, intrique, death, conspiracy, etcetera! I will post this also to my Friends and Foes blog here at OL. Hope you will respond there, Phil! ________________ ** [this is from my last mention of The Name of the Rose) I was looking at the world's top best-selling books list at Wikipedia today, and was sobered to realize that Eco hit 50 million with Il Nome della Rosa and Rand did not rank at all. Link