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Spook: Science Tackles the Afterlife
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The Velvet Podcast, Episode 007: INTERVIEW with Blake Butler
Posted 2 August 2010 / By Caleb J. Ross / Media

Episode #007 of The Velvet Podcast is now live!

“If I made it I might as well destroy it by eating it” – Blake Butler

In this interview episode of The Velvet Podcast, I interview Blake Butler, author of Ever (Calamari Press), Scorch Atlas (Featherproof Books) and the forthcoming There is no Year (Harper Perennial). Blake and Caleb discuss the impact of eReaders on visual-dependent literature, the novels vs. movies fallacy, and the importance of humility in a predominantly stuffy industry.

Please, give it a listen. Subscribe via Feedburner, Podcast Alley, or iTunes.

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Episode 007: INTERVIEW with Blake Butler
Posted 30 July 2010 / By Caleb J. Ross / The Velvet Podcast

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“If I made it I might as well destroy it by eating it” – Blake Butler

In this interview episode of The Velvet Podcast, Caleb J Ross interviews Blake Butler, author of Ever (Calamari Press), Scorch Atlas (Featherproof Books) and the forthcoming There is no Year (Harper Perennial). Blake and Caleb discuss the impact of eReaders on visual-dependent literature, the novels vs. movies fallacy, and the importance of humility in a predominantly stuffy industry. Read More

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Many Clockwork Oranges
Posted 30 July 2010 / By Caleb J. Ross / Unexpected Literary References

(part of my ongoing Unexpected Literary References series)

I was watching an episode of Aqua Teen Hunger Force the other day (yes, I spend my time wisely), and for the first time I made the connection between the data-injection scene in the “Super Trivia” the infamous video scene in Stanley Kubrick’s film adaptation of Anthony Burgess’s novel A Clockwork Orange (yes, I said “for the first time” implying that I’ve seen this episode many times. Like I said, I spend my time wisely). The infamous scene portrays Alex (played by Malcolm McDowell) strapped to a chair, forced to watch morally positive images in order to cure his devilishness. This got me thinking, there has got to be more references out there, sprinkled throughout cartoon-dom. And there are. And surprisingly, the entire gamut from adult-intended cartoons to those created specifically for children, honor this disturbing scene.

Though these references may not technically be a direct homage to the book, I’ll allow them considering that the book spawned the movie, which spawned the necessary cultural awareness to appreciate these various references.

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Mind effed: Jose Saramago karate-chops the 4th wall and drops knowledge about lazy novelists
Posted 27 July 2010 / By Caleb J. Ross / Mind Effed

The journey was uneventful, that’s what novelists in a hurry always say when they think that, in the ten minutes or ten hours they are about to eliminate, nothing has taken place that would warrant any special mention. Strictly speaking, it would be much more correct and honest to put it like this, As in all journeys whatever their duration and length, there have been a thousand incidents, words and thoughts, and for a thousand you could read ten thousand, but the narrative is dragging, so I’m allowing myself to abbreviate, using three lines to cover two hundred kilometers, bearing in mind that the four people inside the car have traveled in silence, with neither thought nor gesture, pretending that by the end of the journey they will have nothing  to relate.

-from The Stone Raft (pg 122)

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Blame Caleb for the BP Oil Leak
Posted 21 July 2010 / By Caleb J. Ross / Blame Caleb

It seems book deals are overwhelmingly the result of celebrity. But because I have never madamed a gubernatorial knob gobbling session, didn’t shoot to national fame by positioning my condescension to gullible suckers as empathy for “the real America,” and unfortunately wasn’t smart enough to fool Oprah first, my current celeb-cred holds steady at terror alert level negative green. In fact, I barely warrant an obituary, let alone a book. But if controversy is what the industry wants, then controversy I shall give.

With that realization in mind, I selfishly admit: the BP oil spill was my fault.

See, back on the tragic day, 4/20, Frank and I—Frank was the rig’s main guy—we got a bit high in honor of the holiday and decided to pass the evening hours playing dominoes. “Playing” used loosely, here, as we mainly spent the night arguing over what the black dots on the dominoes tasted like.

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Transubstantiate, the first novel from Richard Thomas, is now available
Posted 18 July 2010 / By Caleb J. Ross / General News

July will forever forward be known not as the month in which America celebrates its independence, but instead as the month that witnessed the release of Richard Thomas’s debut novel, Transubstantiate.

This novel has been a long time coming, and I urge everyone to grab a copy as soon as possible. And as you do that, get involved with some of the discussion and live readings surrounding the novel, including a July 19 live Q&A at Bitten By Books (Time TBD), a July 18th reading at Archie’s Iowa Rockwell Tavern in Chicago, IL from 8:00 – 11:30, an October 16th reading the infamous Quimby’s also in Chicago, IL, and an ongoing book discussion at The Velvet’s goodreads group.

Not yet convinced? Read a few excerpts at Plots With Guns. Or perhaps this review at Bitten By Books.

Don’t know enough about the author? Get to know him at his The Cult interview.

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Another Great Unexpected “Literary” Reference
Posted 16 July 2010 / By Caleb J. Ross / Unexpected Literary References

(part of my ongoing Unexpected Literary References series)

Last night, a new episode of Futurama featured another novel reference.  “The Duh-Vinci Code” appropriately features a reference to Dan Brown’s The DaVinci Code. See the full clip here. The clip is actually quite funny, though isn’t this turd of a book a bit of an easy target? Yes, the quotations in the post title around Literary are intentional. I can’t bring myself to call The DaVinci Code literary at all. But, still any novel reference is a win for the good guys.

See my original list here.

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