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Spook: Science Tackles the Afterlife
Coming early 2011: Stranger Will (the book, not the creepy old man)
Posted 2 September 2010 / By Caleb J. Ross / Book News/ Publication Announcements/ Stranger Will

Just when you thought you had over a year before getting offended by a book from me (I Didn’t Mean to Be Kevin, November 2011), I go and do something crazy like sign with another publisher to release a novel in March 2011. Stranger Will, a noir story of apathy and abortion, is coming early next year from Otherworld Publications.

Otherworld Publications is a young publisher, but one with an impressive drive to promote its authors. This fact is not the sole reason I signed with them, though. This press seems to have acknowledged something that I, and the below authors, have known for a long time: The Velvet and The Cult are cesspools of untapped talent. Of the 11 current Otherworld authors (some noted on the Otherworld site, others not yet public knowledge), 5 have grown up at The Velvet and/or The Cult forums. I think we have Mr.

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Fry eReads; should I too?
Posted 30 August 2010 / By Caleb J. Ross / General News/ Unexpected Literary References

(part of my ongoing Unexpected Literary References series)


The episode of Futurama titled Lrrreconcilable Ndndifferences featured a suspiciously eReader-esque device (pictured in the above screenshot, though the episode contained better images of the device), which got me thinking, yet again, about my inevitable adoption of an eReader.

I’ve held off so far for two main reasons:

  1. I simply like having books. Yes, possibly just to show off for my two friends who would be impressed by a bookshelf, but also because I feel that the nurtured associations of a book–the smell, the feel of the pages, the statement of class–are part of the reading experience and actually add to the overall gratification of a finished book.
  2. No single eReader delivers what I want.

And what do I want?

  • Low price point. Overall, eReaders have recently dropped in price, which is encouraging. But still I feel that $149 is too much.
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The future of burning books
Posted 26 August 2010 / By Caleb J. Ross / Study (the world/the craft)

Below is the list of the top ten most frequently challenged books of 2009 as gathered from the American Library Association website. I completely understand the low priority some place upon books compared to other forms of media. However, I don’t understand why books would need to be burned. Think of it this way, if I had two children, I would probably like one more than the other. That doesn’t mean I should burn one (I’ll let the sun do that, when I allow my least favorite child to play outside all day without sunblock. Blame averted).

Being invested in the publishing industry, I feel I should fight back. Note: I have not read all of these books, nor do I know what many of them are even about. But if I’ve learned anything from the mere existence of a banned books list, it is that arguments don’t have to respect the source material or the material’s context.

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Kansas City Reading Coves – Cigar & Tabac, Ltd.
Posted 23 August 2010 / By Caleb J. Ross / Reading Coves

I bring you #4 of a hopefully long-lived series: Kansas City Reading Coves.

When I can, I like my coves like my burning crosses: smokey and offensive to most.

Today’s cove: Cigar & Tabac, Ltd – 6898 West 105th Street, Overland Park, KS 66212-1801

I have purchased many a cigar in this place over the last year or so, each time bypassing the giant leather couches for the equally giant walk-in humidor stationed along this small shop’s north wall. I envied the old men each time, wishing I had a few moments to crash, take in a cigar, a book, and a few overheard conversations regarding golf or lawn care or something else just as fitting to the cigar stereotype. This evening, my birthday, I finally allowed myself a few moments to live this dream.

For the most part, my envy was justified. But what comes with romanticizing a book and a cigar in a place like this, are the same associations that make it hard for me fall entirely into the dream.

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This Day In (Made) History
Posted 20 August 2010 / By Caleb J. Ross / Events

Today is my birthday. I’m not much of a celebrator of this, or any, traditionally celebrated day. I’m not a scrooge, a prude, or a buzkill. I’m just lazy. But my dis-affection hasn’t stopped others from wishing me all the best on this day.

From family, to Facebook, to forums, virtual and physical friends alike have been fantastic.

Below is an especially warming well-wish:

This day in history (courtesy of Mr. Nic Young)

1775 The Spanish establish a presidio (fort) in the town that became Tucson, Arizona.
1833 Benjamin Harrison, 23rd President of the United States, is born (d. 1901)
1858 Charles Darwin first publishes his theory of evolution in The Journal of the Proceedings of the Linnean Society of London, alongside Alfred Russel Wallace’s same theory.
1890 H. P. Lovecraft, American writer, is born. (d. 1937)
1907 Alan Reed, original voice of Fred Flintstone, is born. (d. 1977)
1920 The first commercial radio station, 8MK (WWJ), begins operations in Detroit, Michigan.
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Coming late 2011: I Didn’t Mean to Be Kevin (the book, not the apology)
Posted 16 August 2010 / By Caleb J. Ross / Book News/ I Didn't Mean to be Kevin/ Publication Announcements

It’s official. Negotiations have been negotiated. Signatures have been signed. Bells have been sleighed. I Didn’t Mean to Be Kevin will be published in late 2011 by Black Coffee Press. I’ll keep this announcement short and tidy; there is plenty of time for me to drone on about how proud I am of this book. For now, just make sure your nutting pants are clean.

Perhaps not coincidentally, I do drink my coffee black.

Black Coffee Press has a quite a list of books lined up for 2011-12. Some I am especially looking forward to are:

A Shiny, Unused Heart by J.A. Tyler (2011)

This guy is everywhere. J.A. Tyler is one of those names that materializes on every lit site, from the smallish to the giantish. Sometimes I theorize these appearances are simply to make me feel inadequate. Well done, sir.

Code for Failure by Ryan W. Bradley (2012)

Again, a writer whose name appears everywhere.

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It’s about TIME I got a fake TIME cover
Posted 12 August 2010 / By Caleb J. Ross / General News

It has been 10 years since a living novelist has appeared on the cover of Time (since Stephen King in 2000). So why does Jonathan Franzen get to right this wrong? Why not me? “Because you’ve never had a novel published,” you say. True. Though smell on the street is that travesty will soon to be rectified….more to come on that lovely bit of teasery a bit later.

Until then, come on, you be the judge. I make a damn good counterpoint.

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Books I’ve Written
AsAMachineAndParts-Re-issue-medium-175 Version 3 front cover-175 StrangerWill-reissue-175 CharacteredPieces_1stEdition-175 Version 2 front cover-175
Essays I’ve Written
In Lieu of Emo I Listened to the Metroid Theme
It Takes a Man to Get a Vasectomy: The History of the Vasectomy and 5 Things You Probably Didn't Consider Before Getting One
Tiny People in Your Semen: The Discovery of Sperm