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July 11, 2002
NINETEENTH EDITION: REVIEW ROUNDUP

I've been getting quite a lot of stuff in the mail, likewise reading things I think deserve a word or two from my mouth, so here we go, yes.

Theatre of War, by Lewis Lapham
2002 The New Press

Lapham, the Editor of Harper's, is one of the smartest men alive, I believe. If you don't, read this, his latest full-length offering from The New Press, a courageous outfit, certainly, as Lapham's essays here, despite being well within the tradition of American exceptionalism and criticism, and his consistent critical bent when employed on the villification of the current and previous President administrations and the American public, have landed him on many a 'most dangerous man in the nation' sort of list, a fact at which, it should be noted, Lapham has a good hearty laugh whenever he gets the chance. Examining the pre- and post-9/11 Hollywood show that is Presidential politics and its grounding among the constituencies (i.e. ourselves), Lapham makes a case through insights, aphorisms and not a little satire for the humanity and true, old constitutional ideals in all of us.


Everyone in Silico, by Jim Munroe
2002 Four Walls Eight Windows

My favorite sci-fi novelist and DIY genius lays it all out in this one; in the year 2039 (or thereabouts, anyway) a coporation by the name of SELF has made a product of the very stuff of reality; Frisco is a virtual city modeled on the its real counterpart, into which the reasonably well-off now insert themselves in droves, for an equally reasonable fee. Meanwhile, back home on the planet, cities are emptying, but the resistance is growing in the form of a strangely-antiquated biogeneticist, activist graffiti artists (equally antiquated), a bio-terrorist of sorts (though God forbid I call him a 'terrorist'), and a double agent playing game in Frisco itself, awaiting the moment when he can reclaim his body…but I don't want to take it too far; I might just give away too much…

See Jim on his tour (on the first half I'll be joining him in support of my own little release [see http://www.the2ndhand.com for those details]); tour detail below**.


Dorian, by Will Self
Due out early 2003 from Grove

Emeritus wonderboy smartass of the Isles, Will Self in back in pure form, though that is, arguably, both good and bad, as this offering presents nothing in the way of the kind of head-spinning chicanery and general humor of some of his other offerings (most notably the Planet-of-the-Apes-like take on our inane and insane world, Great Apes, and his initial story collection, The Quantity Theory of Insanity). Styled as 'an imitation' of Wilde's The Picture of Dorian Gray, it contains all the necessary elements: transpose the Picture with an installation entitled Cathode Narcissus (featuring the eponymous Dorian frozen in time on a series of video monitors in the nude) and the orginal time frame to the AIDS-epidemic eighties and there you have it, essentially. Quite dull, on the whole, though at times Self's satiric wit manages to pull you through. Stick it out, though, for If you make it to the end, it may have been well worth it.


QUICK FICTION, a magazine
2002 JP Press

A nice little collection of extremely short stories here, ranging in topic from family dissolution to to babysitters to Plymouths to my favorite, Grandmothers, in Jason Mehl's Elda, about a Grandmother born years earlier with no opening from the bladder. "This doctor -- empty of all prayer -- pulls out a point and in Elda pokes a hole…". Quite an offering from two Editors in Boston recently out of college. Other notables in James Tate's 'The Survivalists' and Stephen Dixon's 'I'. A good, quick read, though a little heavy on the typos for my taste… http://www.jppress.org


How's that for a roundup?…short, sweet, I suppose. Hope to see you in NYC, MASS, PENN, OHIO or glorious Chicago.

Yours,
T


**with Joe Meno (author of Tender as Hellfire and How the Hula Girl Sings) and Todd Dills (having recently published a collection of shorts titled 'For Weeks Above the Umbrella'):
Wed 20 Nov: Newburyport, Massachusetts, The Book Rack (52 State Street) 7PM
Sat 23 Nov: New York City, Housing Works (126 Crosby Street) 7PM
Sun 24 Nov: Scranton, Pennsylvania, AFA (Artists for Art) Gallery (514 Lackawanna Avenue) 8PM
Mon 25 Nov: Pittsburg, Pennsylvania, The Mr. Roboto Project (722 Wood Street) 7PM
Tues 26 Nov: Cincinnati, Ohio, Sitwell's Coffee House (324 Ludlow Avenue) 8PM
Wed 27 Nov: Cleveland, Ohio, Mac's Backs (1820 Coventry Road) 7PM
Fri 29 Nov: Chicago, Illinois, Quimby's (1854 West North Avenue) 8PM

**with Andy Healey
Sun 1 Dec: Portland, Oregon, Reading Frenzy (921 Southwest Oak Street) 6PM
Mon 2 Dec: Ashland, Oregon, Evo's (376 East Main Street) 7PM
Tues 3 Dec: San Jose, Espresso Garden Cafe (814 S. Bascom Avenue) 7:30PM
Wed 4 Dec: Los Angeles, California, 33 1/3 Bookstore (1200 North Alvarado Boulevard in Echo Park, at Alvarado and Sunset) 8PM
Fri 6 Dec: San Francisco, Modern Times (888 Valencia Street), 7:30PM
Sat 7 Dec: Eugene, Oregon, My House (1136 W 5th Avenue) 7:30PM
Sun 8 Dec: Seattle, Washington, Confounded (2235 2nd Avenue) 7PM

--
Todd Dills
THE2NDHAND publishes short fiction and nonfiction. Todd Dills edits the broadsheet and recently relocated to Birmingham, Alabama, after eight years of publishing from Chicago.

See other articles by Todd Dills.

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