I Must Read Writer Cathi Unsworth

January 15, 2010

The Ladies of Noir: A Roundtable Discussion

Cathi Unsworth quotes from that:

Noir writers, as opposed to straight crime fiction writers, are also to me the most beautiful prose writers. My hair stands on end with awe when I read my favourites — David Peace, Derek Raymond, James Ellroy, Nelson Algren — all of whom nail the places and the people who live in them so well because they have so much compassion. Their work isn’t dark to me; it is the guiding light.

Oh yes. That’s exactly it for me too: my hair stands on end!


Derek Raymond was my first inspiration, who I met when he made an album with my friends Gallon Drunk in 1993. It was just in time to save me from the horror of Britpop that was about to unfold, and thanks to him, I spent the next decade getting lost in the 70-odd years of hardboiled and noir fiction that had until then been an undiscovered country to a girl obsessed by music. Then I was fortunate enough to meet the great Noir writers Martyn Waites and Ken Bruen, both of whom encouraged me that I did have enough talent to take that leap myself and write a book. What inspires and informs my writing is my experience of 40 years on this troubled planet and the rage that it engenders, my complete nosiness and glowering sense of injustice, and a perpetual soundtrack of music that goes with the writing.

And I am so jealous:

You cite Derek Raymond as a major influence. Was meeting him a bit like coming home?

Unsworth: I think he was the most exciting person I have ever met. Strange, I know, when you consider that I was 25 or 26 and he was 63 or 64. But the energy and the amazing analytical brainpower coming off that man were like nothing I have ever experienced before, and brilliant things went on around him all the time. Ask anyone who knew him and they will tell you the same thing, he just made everyone around him feel very happy. Reading his book I Was Dora Suarez was a turning point in my life, it showed me the direction I needed to go down, although it took me another ten years to get there, as I said before, a decade of feasting on the finest crime fiction, before I was ready to begin.

Previously here:

Derek Raymond: Read ALL Of His Work

Derek Raymond: Read ALL Of His Work

January 15, 2010

Writer Derek Raymond in trademark beret

Catching up on The Rap Sheet‘s tribute series to legendary writer Derek Raymond. Two installments in this post.

The Book You Have to Read: “I Was Dora Suarez,” by Derek Raymond by writer Cathi Unsworth.

Cook risked it all with his 1990 novel, I Was Dora Suarez.

He did! Unfortunately, it was difficult to me to get Derek Raymond’s novels years ago, so I read I Was Dora Suarez as the first one. That was a mistake, because it’s a book you must work up to by reading the preceding three in the Factory series.

It was the most devastating novel I’d ever read. Nothing has even come near it since. And I don’t think anything ever will.

And this is the final installment in The Rap Sheet tribute series, done by writer Ray Banks, who is no slouch himself. I recommend Banks too.

The Book You Have to Read: “Dead Man Upright,” by Derek Raymond

[Y]ou don’t read Raymond for the realism, you read him for his worldview, and that worldview is shot through with a Jacobean sense of moral decay.


Derek Raymond Tribute site
Rare Derek Raymond photograph
Derek Raymond’s current publisher

Previously at Mike Cane’s Blog:

Derek Raymond: He Makes All Others Look Like Shit

Previously at Mike Cane 2008:

Writer Derek Raymond
Writer Derek Raymond Tribute

Previously here:

The Immortal Writer Derek Raymond
Derek Raymond Still Lives
Derek Raymond Is Your Year-End Reading
God Bless Writer Derek Raymond
Derek Raymond

Now Google Can’t Be Trusted To Be Google!

January 5, 2010

Google Blocking Negative Search Recommendations On Islam – Why?

They have devastating screensnaps. I’ve verified it myself.

And I also tried it out with another group:

And I tried some others…

Read the rest of this entry »

Sell Your Dream And You’ll Live The Nightmare

January 5, 2010

Richard Nash: Book Publishing 10 Years in the Future

3. Most predictions for 2020 based on models derived from controlling the supply side, that is, from the monopoly on the means of producing and distributing books, will be wrong. By which I mean, the supply chain book publishing and retail model is ending. The book retail chains will disappear, just like Circuit City, Sharper Image, Tower Records disappeared. And the corporate publishers will likely all but disappear just as Atari, Digital, Wang disappeared though the backlists will be spun off to private equity companies looking for semi-predictable IP-based cash flow, and a couple of front list publishing enterprises will likely be operating trying to emulate the Hollywood blockbuster model with just about enough success to be able to stay in business.

Boldfaced emphasis added by me.

He is seeing farther out than I have.

And he is absolutely correct about that.

This is your future if you have a contract with a print publisher:

Enjoy watching private equity feed off your creations while you starve.

Print Lives! As Fuel.

January 5, 2010

Pensioners burn books for warmth
Hard-up pensioners have resorted to buying books from charity shops and burning them to keep warm.

Volunteers have reported that ‘a large number’ of elderly customers are snapping up hardbacks as cheap fuel for their fires and stoves.

Temperatures this week are forecast to plummet as low as -13ºC in the Scottish Highlands, with the mercury falling to -6ºC in London, -5ºC in Birmingham and -7ºC in Manchester as one of the coldest winters in years continues to bite.

Workers at one charity shop in Swansea, in south Wales, described how the most vulnerable shoppers were seeking out thick books such as encyclopaedias for a few pence because they were cheaper than coal.

One assistant said: ‘Book burning seems terribly wrong but we have to get rid of unsold stock for pennies and some of the pensioners say the books make ideal slow-burning fuel for fires and stoves.

A lot of them buy up large hardback volumes so they can stick them in the fire to last all night.’

A 500g book can sell for as little as 5p, while a 20kg bag of coal costs £5.

So, all you people who envision a future of used print books still being sold for decades hence — you better cross out that bit of your futurology.

Previously here:

Whiny Bookstore-Loving Hypocrites

You Won’t Be Published, You’ll Only Be Robbed

January 3, 2010

I am not rehashing this damned issue again. I’ve done it in several past posts. Go read those or just STFU when you’re left holding nothing because you stupidly signed a contract with a bastard print publisher.

At Mike Cane 2008:

Writer 2.0: Realize Your Investment
Quote: Matt Fraction
Suit Bastard Print Publishers NAILED!
MammothMedia Loses Another Pair Of Balls
Tonight’s TV: Monopoly!
You CAN Fight And WIN!
Writers: Laugh Last, Laugh Best

At The eBook Test:

Quote: Writer M.J. Rose
The Authors Guild Leadership: 21st Century Chamberlains
Writer Ursula K. Le Guin Nails Authors Guild
Edgar Allan Poe Knew The Score In The 1800s!
Writing Quote Of The Year: Paul Witcover
YOUR Creation, YOUR Work, YOUR Art
Quote Of The Day: Guy LeCharles Gonzalez
TV’s Bonanza: With Charles Dickens


In 2010 Give Some Back
For Writers Only

One Simple Question For All Book Publishers

January 3, 2010

Given all the twee pathetic whining that Jonathan Galassi, president of print publisher Farrar, Straus & Giroux engages in with his New York Times Op Ed: There’s More to Publishing Than Meets the Screen

I have one simple question: When the hell do writers ever get free of you bastards?

It’s already been established that after thirty-five — long long long long ever so long — years, we are by law free from your parasitic enslavement.

Are you going to whine like a crybaby after a business arrangement has been concluded that we owe you — what? — emotional loyalty or some laughably immature shit like that?

If that’s the best card you lot have to play, I’m going to have one happy time dancing on all of your corporate graves!


Reclaiming Your Copyright After Thirty-Five Years

Ray Bradbury: Mike Cane Is An Eejit

January 2, 2010

Well, this time I have lots and lots of company.

According to Bradbury, Fahrenheit 451 is not about the words in books at all.

Ray Bradbury: Fahrenheit 451 Misinterpreted

Now, Bradbury has decided to make news about the writing of his iconographic work and what he really meant. Fahrenheit 451 is not, he says firmly, a story about government censorship. Nor was it a response to Senator Joseph McCarthy, whose investigations had already instilled fear and stifled the creativity of thousands.

This, despite the fact that reviews, critiques and essays over the decades say that is precisely what it is all about. Even Bradbury’s authorized biographer, Sam Weller, in The Bradbury Chronicles, refers to Fahrenheit 451 as a book about censorship.

Bradbury, a man living in the creative and industrial center of reality TV and one-hour dramas, says it is, in fact, a story about how television destroys interest in reading literature.

Boldfaced emphasis added by me.

So, there goes part of what I wrote here: Whiny Bookstore-Loving Hypocrites (thanks to the two Commenters who pointed out this Bradbury article).

Bradbury, by the way, also hates the Internet:

The Internet? Don’t get him started. “The Internet is a big distraction,” Mr. Bradbury barked from his perch in his house in Los Angeles, which is jammed with enormous stuffed animals, videos, DVDs, wooden toys, photographs and books, with things like the National Medal of Arts sort of tossed on a table.

“Yahoo called me eight weeks ago,” he said, voice rising. “They wanted to put a book of mine on Yahoo! You know what I told them? ‘To hell with you. To hell with you and to hell with the Internet.’

“It’s distracting,” he continued. “It’s meaningless; it’s not real. It’s in the air somewhere.”

Go figure.

Tell me, what is not a “distraction,” Ray? Do you know that there are religious groups that see literature as a “distraction”?

Whiny Bookstore-Loving Hypocrites

January 1, 2010

You are!

Where do you buy your music? Online!

Where do you watch your TV shows and movies? Online!

Where do you watch your porn? Online!

Did you give a damn that record stores became extinct?

Did you give a damn when Suncoast Video went under as a harbinger?

Do you wring your hands at night over the fate of broadcast and cable television?

Did you weep for the X-rated movie theaters?

Just because you have a sick, nostalgic and unnatural fetish for an object called a book doesn’t mean you are anything except sick and retrogressive and, ultimately, ridiculous.

You didn’t cry when everyone else’s ox was being gored.

So STFU now about yours.

Where the hell was your voice over writers being screwed into poverty for decades?

Where the hell were you during the Google Books grand theft?

Where the hell are you today with Random House trying to keep writers locked up as their bitches?

I don’t give a damn for the object called a book.

You can round them all up and burn them for all I care.

What matters — the only thing that matters — are the words locked up in them.

You book fetishists probably don’t even understand that Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451 wasn’t about books —

— it was about the words in them. [Update: See Ray Bradbury: Mike Cane Is An Eejit]

The hell with your books.

Give me the words.

Go cry yourself to sleep over your sick attachment to an object and leave the grown ups who understand the words matter alone.

Previously at Mike Cane 2008:

For God’s Sake, Get eBooks Going, Steve Jobs!

Previously here:

Seth Godin: No Power Buyers Equals Death
Two Down, One To Go…
Two Sentences From The Future
The Horror Of Paper Books
The Loudness Of Dust Settling

Quote: Writer M.J. Rose

December 31, 2009

Best of ‘09: M.J. Rose on Changing the Way Authors Get Paid

Now, more and more books are not being published, but instead are merely being printed.