“There are several 9/11 truth thrillers in print. But until now, the only 9/11-truth-themed novel of high literary quality was Thomas Pynchon’s Bleeding Edge.
Victoria N. Alexander’s new novel Locus Amoenus is the best fictional treatment of 9/11 yet. It’s hilarious, darkly ironic, playful, deeply moving – and stands as an explosive controlled demolition of post-9/11 American culture.
Has 9/11 left us in the position of Shakespeare’s Hamlet, who knows but cannot act? I’ve asked that question more than once – but never as eloquently as Victoria Alexander does in this unforgettable book.” Continue reading →
Because we were unable to give awards in 2011 and 2012, due to lack of qualifying entries, we decided to give two awards in 2013. The first award goes to The Double Life of Alfred Buberby David Schmahmann, which was reviewed by top DR reviewer Charles Holdefer. The second award goes to Cocoa Almond Darling by Jeffra Hays, which was reviewed by Peter Bollington, also a top DR reviewer, and VN Alexander, DR editor. Both authors receive a $1000 prize. Congratulations to David and Jeffra for their fine work.
Unaware, perhaps, that they no are no longer reaping rewards for their creator, used hard copies of my novels find their ways into online used bookstores and resell and resell. I am all for recycling, in theory, but not in this particular. Neither publisher nor author gets a cut of used book sales. What an author can do is buy up all the used copies, which are sometimes priced as low as a penny, and resell them at a higher price. I have tried my hand at this, but I make a lousy bookseller. I refuse to bubblewrap, doublebox or otherwise over-package books the way Amazon does (they seem to think books are potentially able to explode if jostled in the post), and I don’t get orders in the mail very quickly. Although it might be of some benefit, I’m not too keen on spending a lot of energy learning how to be a bookseller as well as a writer. Gone are the days when some publishing-house intern with nothing better to do took care of things for the pampered writer. These days most authors, be they with small or large publishers, have to do a lot of their own PR, dealing personally with book stores and reading groups. I don’t want the added responsibility of resale management. Continue reading →
The greatest fault of literary awards is that they, like the review industry, are largely directed at new writing. There is no reason why the “best” books should be “new” books. Whereas commercial fiction is topical, trendy, and has a very short shelf life, literary fiction is not. If an industry supporting quality writing is to succeed in this changing publishing world, it must distinguish itself from the fashion industry where being “the latest” is every thing. A new philosophy for literary fiction publishing must focus on the maturing title as well as the new one. Continue reading →
Let me say off the top that I like Amazon.com. Even as a huge corporate entity, they provide a fairly even playing ground for small literary fiction presses. They are even more democratic in this regard than many independent bookstores. But today I have some criticisms to make regarding their practices of posting “Editorial Reviews.” These are the unsigned reviews that appear at the top of the review section and that are the most visible. Amazon has an agreement with Publishers Weekly, Booklist and Library Journal to post their reviews in this section. Publishers cannot opt to replace these reviews with others from equally respectable review publications. Amazon claims they are under contract to post reviews and do not have a choice in the matter. Continue reading →