Thursday, May 28, 2009

I've just been re-reading Elmer Gantry, by Sinclair Lewis, and am amazed all over again by what an unbelievably gutsy book it is...and more relevant than ever. It should be required reading for every American.

Speaking of which, I hope that the re-release of my book Xombies (as Xombies: Apocalypse Blues) will finally give it a chance to be properly evaluated. Despite the title and lurid cover, it never was intended to be a "zombie novel" (there was no such genre when I wrote it in 2001), but rather a social satire that used "Xombies" the same way Kurt Vonnegut used Ice Nine in Cat's Cradle--as a device to address gender issues, corporate manipulation, assumptions of good and evil, and the human tendency toward self-deception. These were all very much on my mind after 9/11, when it seemed to me that most of America had turned into a horde of mindless zombies. And, like the unfortunate refugees crammed aboard the USS No-Name, we were all in the same boat.

Not many readers appreciated these ideas at the time, but I hope that by now most of my cultural critiques have entered the mainstream. At least no one can accuse me of jumping on the bandwagon.


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