July 25, 2016
Checking in on our early-summer authors
by Melville House
Hail the mighty authors of Melville House! For the first half of the summer, while you were stalking Butterfree between the stacks, chilling with a beach read, or standing over the grill, weeping onto your steaks, these defenders of Melvilliance were getting out there, writing articles, giving interviews, working on books — doing the hard jobs we all rely on. So here’s an update on what our authors from the first few weeks of the summer have been keeping busy with. These folks came to grill up some burgers and give you something awesome to read — and they’re all out of burgers.
The Queue has had a big summer, starting with its lead role in a New York Times cover story in May. More recently, it’s been the subject of a discussion in The New Inquiry between translator Elisabeth Jaquette and writers Marcia Lynx Qualey and Aaron Bady (“I wasn’t worried about who lived or died. I just felt the opening, the moment of optimism, the place for the reader to breathe and see how the world could be done differently.”). And for the LA Review of Books, author Basma Abdel Aziz was interviewed by Alexia Underwood. You can read it here. It’s completely remarkable:
I will tell you something that is somehow funny. The brother of a political prisoner called me and said, “You know my brother? I’m going to bring him some books and he reads your articles in al-Shorouk … would you please sign some copies of your books for him?” I told him, okay, but I don’t recommend taking my books — which talk about torture — to the prison. He took a group of books from me and some other authors and then later contacted me and said, “I delivered the books, thank you, and I’m sorry, all the books went to my brother except your novel.” I said, “Why?” He said — the funniest thing — he told me that the officers said this book carries thoughts and we will not allow a book that carries thoughts to enter the prison. I said, “What?” A cooking book will carry thoughts. It’s weird.
Chris Lehmann, author of The Money Cult, has had a lot on his plate, too. Earlier this month, he wrote of Donald Trump for In These Times that “he’s already given every indication that he’s simply leveraged himself into another deceptive partnership with the flailing corporation known as the Republican Party, and is fully prepared to walk away and declare himself the savvy winner once this disastrous misallocation of political capital is converted into still more bad paper.” He followed up soon after with an editorial for the Washington Post, linking support for Trump to the prosperity gospel preached by the likes of Joel Osteen:
The American Protestant mainstream, weaned for so long on the dogmatic gospel of economic uplift and possessive individualism, no longer processes contradictory information or intimations of a different moral alignment of economic reward and punishment. Like Trump, Osteen obsessively refers to the long, impressive record of his own economic good fortune as Exhibit A in the divine sanctioning of material favor. Like Trump, Osteen cites advantageous real estate deals, zoning abeyances and luxurious personal living circumstances as the pleasing personal tokens of cosmic grace. Indeed, Osteen goes Trump one better and finds the telltale signs and wonders of God’s lovingkindness even in the mundane workings of the service economy — as when he gets an air-travel upgrade or lands an especially convenient parking space.
Chris also found time to write about the forced retirement of well-known jerk Roger Ailes, and to talk about Trump and Osteen with ReasonTV:
Simon Parkin, author of Death by Video Game, has been writing for a number of publications, including the Guardian, where he recently inquired into Britain’s readiness to face the challenges of global warming:
Even as ice melts, seas surge, coastlines retreat, insurance premiums rise and the rain falls and falls and falls, we have grown numb to the dread statistics: 2C or 4C – who cares? It’s all catastrophic. Today, the baby-boomer’s vision of future skies busy with flying cars seems appallingly naive. Not because technology has fallen short of those optimistic expectations, but because many people do not envision a future of progress. Instead, the future we imagine is one of decline, or, at the least, perilous change.
He also wrote about self-driving cars for the New Yorker, inspired one of this summer’s hottest video games, and was, alas, destroyed by aliens: