New Books to Come in 2021

Hello.

Yes, it’s been quite some time. The reason is because I’ve been hard at work on new fiction. But there’s good news.

I have a couple of books coming out soon.

One of the novels is a semi-autobiographical one entitled Rejoice for the Dead (Between the Lines Publishing, release date tba). Here’s a summary:

A few months after Bobby O’Malley joins the army to pay for his college education, he learns that his father is dying. O’Malley returns home to see his father one last time and bury him. Afterward, he is forced to put off his mourning, so he can continue his new role as an infantry soldier. In 1985, during a decade of excess, that role means mostly falling in with the wrong people and drinking to dull the pain of loss. Along the way, O’Malley makes some friends, falls in love with a married woman, and learns a secret about his father that changes his life.

Here’s a peek at the cover:

The other novel, The People’s Republic of New Arkaim (Red Grit Books*), is a sci-fi dramedy which will be released in mid-September. The details are as follows:

Fifty-four-year-old army veteran and heart attack survivor Cal Paladin believes his life cannot get any worse, especially ever since his wife left him to join a desert-dwelling cult. Enter the United States Army. Cal, despite his poor health, gets called back to active duty service, along with his old army cohorts, to take part in a secret expedition to a parallel world.

After things go horribly wrong, Cal and the remaining members of his unit are rescued by Russian commandos and taken to the city of New Arkaim, a Soviet colony established back in the 1950s. The inhabitants of the socialist colonial city possess no knowledge of the USSR’s collapse back on Earth decades ago. And Alexei Podrovsky, head of New Arkaim’s secret police, intends to keep it that way.

Before long, Cal falls in love with Sofia Dashkova, a cultural hero of the colonial city whose star power is on the wane. Alexei Podrovsky thinks Sofia has outlived her usefulness. He wants her dead. Cal devises a way to save Sofia and himself, but Sofia is about to unleash a scheme of her own, one that will change the lives of everyone in New Arkaim.

Here’s a peek at the cover of The People’s Republic of New Arkaim:

I’ll post more when dates are solid for both books. I’ll probably preview a little something I’m currently getting to ready to share, too. Stay tuned…

(*You won’t find Red Grit Books online just yet as its still in its infancy stages…More news on this to follow in the new year…)

Mi Paranoia es Tu Paranoia or, A Response to a Facebook Post

Thirty years ago, more or less, I took a seminar in college on Thomas Pynchon: The Crying of Lot 49 for the warm-up and Gravity’s Rainbow for the rest of the semester. The professor teaching was a brilliant, goofy Virginian that everyone thought, as impressionable young students often do at other colleges of their Pynchon professors, that our man was him. It’s ludicrous, of course. But it was stoked even further when said professor went on sabbatical “to tour the South” and a few years later Mason & Dixon was published.

Some hangers-on still cling to the notion that our old professor was Pynchon lampooning as a Virginian with a PhD. I like to imagine that even Thomas Pynchon has his limits.

Anyway, I have since gone back to Lot 49 and GR several times over the years, and all his other books save Slow Learner in its entirety. My favorite is probably Against the Day. Vineland had its moments. Oddly enough, I didn’t enjoy Inherent Vice as much as I should have. Bleeding Edge had its moments too, especially the passage about people eventually submitting to surveillance:

“Dick Tracy’s wrist radio? it’ll be everywhere, the rubes’ll all be begging to wear one,” decries Ernie, “handcuffs of the future.”

I wouldn’t be so flippant as to say Pynchon’s an acquired taste. Good literature as we all know has more to it than that. But if you’re like me and you memorize license plates of cars that pass your house more than twice in one day it’s nice to know someone out there knows, as William Burroughs once pointed out in reference to paranoia, a little about what’s going on.

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