Friday, February 29, 2008
Wednesday, February 27, 2008
But one thing that continues to surprise me is the range of commentary on the exact same work. I used to think that if I wrote a good book, I'd get good reviews, and if I unfortunatley wrote a bad book then I'd get bad reviews. Man, it does NOT work that way. The same book can produce high praise one day and savage attacks the next. The best example of this phenomenon (of my own novels) is THE PISTOL POETS. If you collected the reviews of this novel all in one place and read them, you'd discover that the novel is simultaneously a "stinker" and an "obvious example of sophomore slump." You'd also discover that it "clearly remains Gischler's best work" and it's "hilariously funny and entertaining." People have remarked that it's not nearly as good as GUN MONKEYS. Others have said they liked it "much better than GUN MONKEYS." It was the first of my novels to be optioned for film.
It's the SAME book!
But it's not just this one novel. I've had nice e-mails from a number of readers. Some say GUN MONKEYS remains their favorite. Others say SHOTGUN OPERA is the best. Or SUICIDE SQUEEZE ... or even >GASP< THE PISTOL POETS.
This leads me to the following obvious, useless conclusion: A lot of different people like all different kinds of book for any number of different reasons.
Well, DUH, Gischler.
But his can be troublesome for an author. I have a very low threshold for more of the same more of the same more of the same more of the same more of the same. If I were a smart businessman, I might have gone with a series character, pleasing the same readers with the same cast of characters over and over again. This isn't a knock on series characters or series character authors. These comments aren't from a reader's point of view. I'm speaking as an author, and as an author my gnat-like attention span demands that I try to do something at least a little different in each novel. Yes, there are also similarities. A Gischler novel is generally recognizable as a Gischler novel. But at the very least I need to try out some new characters, some new situations, etc.
In the final analysis, this is all a long and winding road right back to where I started. I can't -- won't -- write a novel by calculating what will most please the most readers. I simply have to write what I like and hope others would like to come to the party. As a matter of full honesty, I once tried to write a "commercial thriller." Why? To sell a lot of books and make money. I bored the shit out of myself, couldn't make it work. Publishers told me to go pound salt. I just don't have the skill to write something I wouldn't read myself.
Which brings us to GO-GO GIRLS OF THE APOCALYPSE. I wrote this novel with full confidence that it was exactly the novel I wanted to write, but with absolutely no guess if a publisher would care.
It worked out.
GO-GO comes out in July. Soon reviews might start to appear.
What beer goes with nail-biting?
Monday, February 25, 2008
Saturday, February 23, 2008
No, no, no. I mean THIS contest: http://www.bleakhousebooks.com/bookclub.htm
I'm encouraging everyone to go vote ... especially for Anthony Neil Smith's great novel Yellow Medicine. Seriously, Neil is a pal of mine, and I'm willing to bet that all those novels are fine reads because I always expect good stuff from the publisher Bleak House. But the fact is Yellow Medicine is the only novel I was allowed to have a sneak peek at, so I can say with authority that it's plenty groovy.
Also, ifI get on Neil's good side, he might ask me to be vice president.
Vote early. Vote often.
Friday, February 22, 2008
I'm a little late to the picnic as usual, but as has already been reported, out man in Philly Duane has written a recent Punisher for Marvel Comics. The title of this particular tale is Punisher: Force of Nature. It's a damn fine read. Quality, kick-ass entertainment.
At the local comic book shop where I purchased this issue, I tossed the thing on the counter and the guy behind the register said, "Oh, man, that one kicks ass."
This Duane guy is just too versatile. What's next? An appearance on ABC Television?