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The Age of Dis-Consent

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Georges Simenon, the Belgian writer, who died in 1989, authored 200 novels, 150 novellas, among other works and wrote under a couple of dozen pseudonyms. If one had counted all of Raymond Chandler’s books, and for the hell of it, added his bar bills to make another dozen books, Chandler’s output would still remain a small fraction of what Simenon produced. But Simenon’s work rarely features in the discussion of modern fiction. Simenon, the man, is often thought of as a legendary lover. To have one’s fiction largely forgotten and one’s sex adventures remembered is one of those roll of the dice outcomes. In Simenon’s case, the number of conquest he notched up with a sniper’s methodical record keeping vastly out numbered his books.

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Posted: 9/12/2008 6:31:53 AM 

 

The 9th novel in the Vincent Calvino series published by Atlantic Books has had substantial support from the UK press. The Tribune Magazine reviewer Peter Whittaker has this to say about RISK:

 

“THE central character of Christopher Moore’s debut crime novel is Vincent Calvino, a disgraced Italian-American lawyer who has decamped to Thailand and reinvented himself as a private investigator. But the word debut here does not mean that either the author or his character is a wet-behind-the-ears neophyte because Moore has written 18 books, all published in Thailand, of which this is the ninth to feature Calvino. Moore offers an explanation of sorts for this state of affairs which casts a not-entirely favourable light on the vagaries of international publishing. That aside, the important questions are can Moore write and is he worth reading? On the evidence of this novel, the answers are unequivocally yes.

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Posted: 9/10/2008 11:28:30 PM 

 

We’ve become obese with information. The critical facility to shed the useless information that only adds lard, slowing down the brain, until it is only able to receive raw, unfiltered information. Consumerism has absorbed our privacy, and instead has given us spectacle and brands and celebrities. Information retrieval, noble in principle, has become a machine tailor made to reinforce positions, prejudices, and attitudes. No one’s mind is changed in the new world. The Internet has become a place where like mind forges alliances to sell a bill of goods. They troll for buyers. It is a great place for cultist, bigots, shoot from the lip experts, and like the borg, pulls the user into the collective community.

 

The Internet has freed people from thinking. And instead has created a new commons for drive by shouters and crackpots, the Internet as their weapon of choice to machine-gun their opponents. Unfortunately we accept that their rants and screams as information. There is premise that every voice is equal; that every view deserves respect and discussion.

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Posted: 9/8/2008 5:51:40 AM 

 

There are a fair number of private eye series published in the United States, Canada, and Great Britain. Having nine novels in published the Vincent Calvino series, and generally following the reviews and commentary on books in this genre, it is interesting to consider the probability of a comparison made to Raymond Chandler and his private investigator, Philip Marlowe.

 

I propose a new law for the fictional world of private eye literature. Moore’s Chandler Law is:

 

As a P.I. series grows, the probability of a comparison involving Raymond Chandler or Philip Marlowe approaches one.

 

My Vincent Calvino series is no exception to the rule. Link: http://www.cgmoore.com/viewpoints/Press_Kit_July08.pdf ...
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Posted: 9/5/2008 1:38:24 AM 

 

The Nick Cage action film Bangkok Dangerous has opened to good reviews in the United States. The New Yorker  liked it as well. Next week the film will open in Bangkok. My friend Jim Newport, who is the guy responsible for the great sets in the film, invited me out to the set during the production of the film. The bell tower in Prague was recreated on a vast sound stage in Bangkok. I had a chance to see the scene unfold one evening.

 

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Posted: 9/5/2008 12:44:22 AM 

 

By mid-morning Bangkok was boiling hot. People had awakened to discover that a state of emergency had been declared. Overnight the inevitable happened: blood has been spilled in the streets of Bangkok. Pro and anti-government clashed. News reports say one upcountry man was killed and forty-four others injured.

 

This morning and early afternoon driving on Bangkok streets everything appeared, on the surface, normal. People were shopping, eating in restaurants, walking on the streets. But  across town in the area around Government House, a different story unfolds. If the story were a noir novel, then it is at the point in the story, where the abject bleakness and despair descends as the main characters seek a final confrontation.

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Posted: 9/2/2008 3:35:00 AM 

 

There is the sound of thunder to the West. The Bangkok sky is ghoulish gray. Outside my window the motorcycle taxi boys are scanning the sky. Inside their offices, workers are scanning the Internet and Thai TV for news. Petitions have been lodged with the Thai judiciary. The government has requested an injunction and for arrest warrants naming five mob leaders.

 

Last night a mob (some estimate to be 25,000) occupied a radio/TV complex in Bangkok, and later broke into and occupied Government House. Tempers are on edge. Violence is in the air. But the police and military have exercised restraint. There is tension and uncertainty as everyone hunkers down and waits for the final confrontations on the streets to play out. Forces hidden out of sight are huddling, contemplating, weighing, and planning. One plan is to starve them into submission. No food is allowed into the building. No keys given out to the washroom.

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Posted: 8/27/2008 5:42:37 AM 

 

If Arthur Krystal’s collection of essays titled The Half Life is anything like the one posted on Harper’s, Sentences it is worth reading. Krystal has a masterly voice like a student from the back of the classroom shouting that the teacher’s panty line is showing.

 

Here’s an excerpt:

“Writers who scrabble for a living come in three denominations: the midlist writer who generally writes better than the big-name writer but has a much smaller following; the even less well-known experimental writer who refuses to sell out and publishes in out-of-the-way journals with names like Egg or Behemoth; and the somewhat successful writer who publishes in all the “right” places, but never really breaks out. To fall into any of these categories is to encounter neglect, rudeness, and indifference.”

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Posted: 8/27/2008 3:53:41 AM 

 

At the dawn of the industrial revolution, London was awash in gin. Getting drunk was a collective (and very public) way of spending free time. After the 1950s, TV was the new ‘gin’ for the masses in many countries. Bored with all that extra time? Turn on I Love Lucy. Buy the stuff hawked on the advertisements. It became a way of life. A free-time life that most people continue to accept without much thought.

 

As Wikipedia suggests, some people have capped the gin bottle, turned off their TV, rolled up their sleeves, and contributed their two cents worth.

 

It is about our overwhelming desire to consume, to be judged by what we consume, to draw our identity from consumption. These are the ideas that Clay Shirky has been exploring.

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Posted: 8/22/2008 12:36:01 AM 

 

I recently gave an interview with the Dutch author Jochem Steen who is the man behind the Son of Sam website:

 

“The cultural and political dimensions of the Calvino series. Vincent Calvino is an investigator living in Thailand. He’s an outsider. And through his eyes the day-to-day realities of a non-Western legal system unfolds.”

 

To continue reading: http://sonsofspade.blogspot.com/2008/08/q-with-christopher-g-moore.html ...
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Posted: 8/21/2008 10:29:56 PM 

 

Yesterday morning I emerged from the MRT (subway/underground) only to find a virtual wall of police and police dogs at the stairs and more police at ground level. Another coup? I wondered. I asked one of the motorcycle taxi drivers what was going on. They often prove to be the most reliable source of information. The driver knows me. He smiled, “George Boossh.” He made the name “Bush” sound like air escaping from a punctured tire and delivered with the famous Thai smile showing no hint of irony. Seems the President was on this way to Father Joe’s Mercy Centre in Kong Toey, and later the President delivered a speech at Queen Sirkit Centre across the street from where I live.

 

·        Progress continues on Calvino #11. I aim to write 2,000 words a day for the first draft. Some days I hit the target, other days I fall short on the word count. I have a reasonably good outline. The emphasis is on reasonable. If I were driving from Bangkok to Chiang Mai, and the outline were my map, I’ve got the road mapped as far as Ayutthaya. In other words, I’ve got a long ways to go and need to figure out the roads as I go along.  The risk is getting lost. But this is the only way I know how to write a novel. It has worked before. Hopefully the first draft will be done in three months.

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Posted: 8/8/2008 2:31:52 AM 

 

Waking up on a Monday morning in Bangkok to find Spirit House on amazon/kindle’s website is a great way to start the week. The price for the book is certainly right. It is a free download for Kindle owners. The promotion will last until the 15th August.

Format: Kindle Edition
File Size: 304 KB
Print Length: 304 pages
Publisher: Grove/Atlantic (August 1, 2008)
Sold by: Amazon Digital Services
Language: English
ASIN: B0013TPWXM
Amazon.com Sales Rank: #1 in Kindle Store (See Bestsellers in Kindle Store)
Popular in these categories: (What's this?)

#1 in Kindle Store > Kindle Books > Mystery & Thrillers
#1 in Kindle Store > Kindle Books > Fiction > Genre Fiction ...
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Posted: 8/4/2008 1:15:15 AM 

 

Thomas Schmid wrote “Introducing Bangkok’s seamy side: Christopher G. Moore” in the Macau Times on Sunday 3 August. He writes about the publishing background of the Calvino series and the film deal for the books. “His hero Vincent Calvino accomplishes a carefully choreographed balancing act between eastern and western values, which is testimony to Moore’s thorough understanding of cultural differences, an ability which he has nurtured during his many years as a Bangkok resident.” ...
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Posted: 8/4/2008 12:52:23 AM 

 

Most authors understand that without awareness of a book it is difficult to reach readers. Bloggers, some of whom are authors, offer suggestions as to how to break through the noise of the marketplace and attract the attention of readers. It is hardly a science and opinions differ on what works and what doesn’t. The reality is that most books pass an anonymous life to a quiet grave. That fear drives authors to try ways at marketing. I’ve tried as well with my books over the years. An interview here, a review there, and there is a bump in sales. But what all authors wish for is not a bump but a mountain. ...
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Posted: 8/1/2008 6:56:12 AM 

 

Regulars of the Texas Lonestar Bar in Washington Square gathered to attend funeral services for George Pipas who died in Bangkok last week. George was a fixture in Bangkok expat circles; part of the fabric. At age 84 years old he came to the bar every day for lunch and held court. George had been on Normandy Beach on D-Day; and he’d been to many other places afterwards. He was a genuine character, someone who looked after his friends, and had lived long enough to see major changes in the world. He knew back in December that he had a death sentence. He just got on with his life and never asked for sympathy. ...
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Posted: 7/28/2008 2:39:16 AM 

 

Grove PressThe Independent on 22 July ran Jonathan Gibbs list of 80 detectives from around the world (in no apparent order) by city. Cities included are: London, Oxford, Paris, Istanbul, Madrid, Rome, Athens, Berlin, Seattle, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Montreal, Havana, Mexico City, Beijing, and Tokyo. A crime fiction is writer was chosen for each of the cities. I was pleased to see for Bangkok:

Atlantic Monthly Press (December 21, 2007)"Christopher G Moore has long been a big name in crime for his Vincent Calvino books, based on the exploits of an American private eye in Thailand's seedy underbelly, but they're only now coming out in the UK."

Read 'The Risk of Infidelity Index' (Atlantic)

Full article ...
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Posted: 7/23/2008 12:08:37 AM 

 

PAYIING BACK JACK, the 10th in the Calvino series will be released in Thailand in December 2008 and in 2009 by Atlantic Monthly Press in New York. ASIA HAND will be released by Atlantic Monthly Press in New York in 2010. Meanwhile I am at the early stages of writing Calvino 11 and that explains for the infrequent updating of the blog. ...
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Posted: 7/21/2008 4:25:34 AM 

 

Glad to report that Zero Hour in Phnom Penh has been released in B-Format by Heaven Lake Press has been released. Third in the Vincent Calvino crime series, Zero Hour in Phnom Penh has been translated into Chinese, Japanese, French, German, Thai and Spanish. Zero Hour in Phnom Penh also won the German Critics Award (2004), the Premier Special Director’s Award Semana Negra (Spain) (2007) ...
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Posted: 7/21/2008 4:25:12 AM 

 

The Evergreen Review’s Jim Feast reviewed Risk:

“For writers in the private eye genre, such as Christopher Moore, who take up the traditional form, as he does in The Risk of Infidelity Index, originality is not measured by examining the plot. This never varies. A client hires the gumshoe to investigate a matter, which turns out to be much more complex than it appeared. Neither does it appear in the creation of novel character types, since these, too, are largely invariable and include the heroic but flawed hero, a cop who hounds but also befriends the detective, a treacherous blonde, and so on. The true measure of originality lies in the invention of atmosphere. ...
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Posted: 7/21/2008 4:22:55 AM 

 

It has been a good month for the Calvino series. My Spanish publisher Ediciones Paidós has released Kicking Boxing en Nirvana. My author copies arrived today. Looking at the covers from various editions, each publisher and their art department have come up with different images.

No, this isn’t a new Calvino title. It is the Spanish edition of Spirit House. In England, Atlantic Books has released a paperback edition of Spirit House. ...
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Posted: 7/10/2008 12:53:57 AM 

 

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