The Next Big Thing

So, this thing has been going around called The Next Big Thing, where authors talk about their next book, and then tag other authors who keep the chain going, much like that Make Money Fast thing, except you don’t have to mail anybody money, and you don’t wake up in a bathtub full of ice in a Vegas motel with no kidneys and “welcome to the world of AIDS” written in Richard Gere’s lipstick on a mirror.  (Maybe I’m getting my urban legends mixed up.)

Anyway, Arthur Graham tagged me to do this.  Normally, I don’t like to talk about works in progress, and there’s usually a nondisclosure agreement stopping me, anyway.  But I conferred with my legal team, and they said I could talk about my next project, so here goes.

1. What is your working title of your book (or story)?What We Talk About When We Talk About Analingus (A Novel)

2. Where did the idea come from for the book? When I was 9 years old, I had the opportunity to visit Uganda, on a scholarship from General Motors Institute (which was renamed Kettering University in 1998) with the intention to study the effect of the coup and deposing of Milton Obote on the authorship of science fiction related to industrial-scale fucking machines.  (Prior to his involvement with the Kenyan independence movement, Obote worked at an engineering firm, and there was great speculation in this timeframe that had he stayed in power, his regime would have promoted fucking machines at an unprecedented rate, leading to greater trade relations with other fuck-machine pioneers such as the Japanese.)

Due to some technical issues with using my computer equipment abroad and a khat-related substance abuse problem, I did little fucking machine research while in Uganda, but in a sheer coincidence, met Idi Amin at a local Dungeons and Dragons tournament.  We talked at great length about alien abduction and dissociative anesthesia, two closely related subjects which we both had a keen interest. Now, I disagreed with Amin strongly about most of his policies, his ruling, the persecution of ethnic minorities, his support of international terrorism, and by no means do I condone any of his actions.  I did, however, form a strong bond with him.  Every Thursday night, we’d get together at one of the royal palaces and watch Mork and Mindy off the ABC satellite feed, staying up all night, smoking hashish, and discussing the possibility that Garry Marshall was in on the alien abduction movement and hiding secret messages within the Robin Williams sitcom.  Just prior to the outbreak of the Uganda-Tanzania war (which caused me to return to Michigan and lose my scholarship) Amin conferred a doctorate of medicine on me from Makerere University, which was later invalidated. But this sparked my interest in medical science, and gave me the first ideas for this book.

3. What genre does your book fall under? Speculative Satanic paranormal nonfictional pseudo-pharmacological erotica how-to.

4. Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition? The obvious choice for Amin would be Lindsay Lohan.  Many of the characters based on living persons — Ben Bernanke, R. Kelly, Slavoj Žižek, Paula Deen, Andrew Dice Clay, Gloria Steinem — would play themselves.  There are characters that obviously aren’t available — Osama bin Ladin, Macaulay Culkin, Andrea Dworkin, Randy Jackson — and casting would have to be more creative.  Henry Rollins has already indicated an interest in playing the Robin Williams role, and of course Johnny Depp is on board to reprise the role of Hunter S. Thompson in the Ibogaine dream sequence.

5.What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book? In an alternate reality where anarchist and Presidential assassin Leon Czolgosz is the executive producer of a successful HBO game show where lactating housewives battle each other to the death with food items from the Taco Bell breakfast menu in order to use a time machine to go back in time to pleasure themselves sexually with period-correct surgical tools (bone saws, trepanation awls, bloodletting lances), failed pharmaceutical technical writer Jon Konrath has discovered he has been abducted by aliens interested in learning the exact cause of the US recall of the acne treatment drug Accutane by Hoffman-Laroche, which is used by the aliens to power their damaged five-dimensional retinoic-parasynthetic warp drive enabling them to return to their planet, but of course caused rampant irritable bowel disease in some users (most notably actor James Marshall, who played James Hurley, in the cult classic Twin Peaks, and later sued Roche after the surgical removal of his colon) and they ultimately force Konrath to blackmail German director Uwe Boll to obtain money for sexual reassignment surgery in order to compete on Czolgosz’s game show, go back in time to 1982 to kidnap Dr. Gary Peck, who developed Isotretinoin, to find a way to mass-produce retinoic acid derivative isotretinoin (13-cis-retinoic acid), and get the aliens home.

6. Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency? Rooster Republic Press has first-look rights to my next novel, but I have an intellectual property agent who is currently querying several large global food processing corporations (ConAgra, Archer Daniels Midland, Unilever, Smithfield) for a possible hybrid book/frozen prepared food delivery system.  I know all of the talk right now is self-publishing e-books, but the real money involves manufactured food products, especially ones involving the value-add boutique prepared meal segment.  Authors who aren’t actively looking at methods of marketing their work within the industrial food marketplace are only hurting themselves.  Also, the screenplay has already been sold, although it isn’t written; I’m not allowed to talk about that yet, due to the non-disclosure agreement I had to sign with the studio.

7.How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript? 37 hours, give or take. My first drafts happen fast, but I usually go through several hundred iterations of edits before the completed manuscript. For example, the first draft of my book Rumored to Exist was written entirely during a direct flight from Boston to Seattle, but took from 1995 to 2002 to edit.

8.What other books would you compare this story to within your genre? – At first glance, a lot of people mention either the Voynich manuscript or the Codex Seraphinianus, which are both illustrated glossaries written in artificially constructed languages.  But this isn’t just some stream-of-consciousness glossolalia; it utilizes a language system I developed back in the 90s to communicate with house pets in a virtual reality environment.  Aside from that, I’d probably say Steinbeck’s East of Eden, or maybe the unpublished G.G. Allin autobiography/pain medication administration primer Freaks, Faggots, Drunks, Junkies, and Me: My Struggle With Early 20th Century Theories on Intrathecal Immunoglobulin Production’s Effects on Selective N-type Voltage-gated Calcium Channel Blockers.

9. Who or what inspired you to write this book? My editor at Rooster Republic Press is this syphilitic little man named Jean-Paul, who, when not working as a publisher, has a moribund fascination with being on the receiving end of acts of brutal sodomy in men’s restrooms at the Dallas-Fort Worth airport. (Jean-Paul isn’t his real name.  He asked me to change it because he was afraid that having me mention his preoccupation with anonymous anal sex in public bathrooms would make him sound gay.) The guy bought an AirTran unlimited annual ticket just so he could cruise the restrooms in the E concourse, because he claims that terminal — which services flights from AirTran Airways, Alaska Airlines, Continental Airlines, Delta Air Lines, Frontier Airlines, Northwest Airlines, Spirit Airlines, United Airlines and US Airways — has the lowest-rent passengers, and therefore the highest number of redneck closet homosexuals willing to anally penetrate him anonymously in a toilet stall.  He’s a big fan of my previous work, and will frequently call me from the restroom across from the E Terminal’s Dickey’s Barbecue pit, simultaneously eating an XL family pack of their fall-off-the-bone pork ribs and applying Preparation H to his bleeding rectum, urging me to write more books about man-alien acts of sodomy.

I’d originally planned on writing something stupid, just for the money — you know, detective stories, police procedurals, maybe some kind of Tolkein ripoff stuff.  Because I’ve been writing my last few books just for the sake of art, they haven’t sold well, and most of the reviews were negative.  (Vanity Fair: “[…]nothing more than a nonsensical jumble of fight scenes, decapitations, and high-speed car collisions involving a wide range of low-end import vehicles filled with medical cadavers in clown makeup and butchered cattle launched with NHTSA high speed frontal crash test sleds into concrete walls in slow motion.”; The New Yorker: “We cannot condone the purchase of a book that urges readers with erectile dysfunction to crash a passenger jet into a Wal-Mart in order to alleviate their medical disorder and obtain an erection.”; Salman Rushdie, for The Observer: “Two words: shit sandwich.”) Plus there was that whole business with the German ban of Sleep Has No Master, the Iranian fatwah, and the cancelled exhibition at the Tate Modern in London of all of my fecal matter collected during the writing of the book, all of which was insanely stressful.  I basically wanted out of the absurdist fiction gig, and was ready to write lesbian vampire young adult whatever-the-hell.  But Jean-Paul kept calling, saying “fuck that Hunger Games bullshit! Write another book with lots of ass-fucking and violence.”  And here we are.

10. What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?

I realize a thousand-page nonlinear fiction book with eight different nested narratives might scare away more readers than it would interest, but one of the things I’ve experimented with is adding QR codes within the text which link to relevant online streaming pornography that helped influence that particular passage.  For example, in the section where Squeaky Fromme opens a dental practice and pain management clinic in the new World Trade Center with former Yankees pitcher Roger Clemens, there’s a link that you can open in your smartphone that will take you to a 16-minute clip on YouPorn of a Japanese tentacle porn parody of the book Flowers for Algernon.  Also, every food item mentioned in the book is cross-linked to a low-fat recipe in an appendix in the back, and each recipe lists nutritional information, including Weight Watchers points, which should be helpful to readers who are concerned about weight loss.

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