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The Age of Dis-Consent

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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 

 

In cognitive science there is the notion of status quo bias, meaning people like things they way they are and rarely welcome change. This bias is often written about in the context of political science and economics. But it is rarely discussed as such in the world of novels, publishing and literature. It is hardly a stretch to find that status quo bias applies to fictional worlds. Readers, critics, and editors may complain that a character has through actions or thought departed from what he or she did in previous books. We expect the character to remain the same, and knowledge of this collective bias can influence the decisions made by an author in the kind of future books he or she will write.<...
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Posted: 7/8/2008 5:08:11 AM 

 

Alcoholics write books, too.

Sometimes they write crime fiction. Sometimes they write literary works. No matter what form the novel takes, the real dark star is the bottle.

Think of Dr. Strangelove riding the bomb out of the bomb hatch and into oblivion. Substitute a bottle for a bomb and you find a metaphor that unites a number of books in this genre: The drunken hero/anti-hero. Drinking is not just a life style; it form, shapes, distorts the human condition. Like a moth to flame, we can’t take our eyes off the flutter of wings as they close in on the fire. What is not terribly surprising about these books is their semi-autographical nature. Where the drinking takes place the strip joints, bars, nightclubs, and back alleys also transports the reader into the environment where the drinking takes place. Not every writer who creates a drunk for a hero is an alcoholic. Though looking at the record, it would seem that such a writer is rare....
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Posted: 6/25/2008 1:38:17 AM 

 

The Timesonline has an interview/profile about Elizabeth George, an American, who has written a series of crime novels set in England. Her latest is Careless in Red .

“George is an Anglophile crime writer from California; Thomas Lynley, her detective hero, is an English aristocrat with posh friends and a titled wife whom the author killed off in the 13th book to cries of anguish and outrage from her readers. Her stories are all set in regionally distinctive bits of Britain such as Yorkshire or Cornwall…” ...
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Posted: 6/18/2008 6:34:54 AM 

 

Writers differ on their approach to creating fictional characters. In crime fiction, the background and relationship of the characters fuels motivation, colors narrative, and propels the story forward. In order to make the novel realistic, the characters must think, act, believe and circulate in ways that are credible to the culture where the story is set. Before I start a novel, I write a brief history for each characters, including age, education, marital status, family background, employment history, and his/her emotional range: what makes him/her feel fear, hatred, passion, anger, etc. All of this proves useful when it comes time for writing the novel. I feel that I have a reasonable understanding of what the characters are capable of doing, believing, plotting or planning. My characters range across nationalities: Americans, English, Spanish, Italian Thais, Chinese, Burmese, and Khmer. On the surface they often share many superficial attributes; but underneath, where the cultural wiring is laid down, they are often surprisingly different in expectation, values, and customs....
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Posted: 6/2/2008 1:34:30 AM 

 

Crime fiction, film and art connect both City of Angels.
At the hip.
And at areas above the hip.
In August, the crime thriller starring Nicholas Cage, Bangkok Dangerous will open worldwide.

Set designer Jim Newport (who did a brilliant job on Bangkok Dangerous) and has been nominated in the past for an Emmy, recently launched in Bangkok his novel “Chasing Jimi” and I attended the launch party, where Jim read from his book. ...
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Posted: 5/29/2008 11:51:25 PM 

 

The British edition of The Risk of Infidelity Index is now out in Great Britain. You can buy it at Amazon for £7.79.
Or better yet do go your bookstore and pay £12.99. Bookstore owners deserve to make a living like anyone else. And God knows that Amazon is rich enough.

I am pleased with the cover design. The designer captured the noir spirit I seek to create in the Calvino series. Great cover, compelling story, an internationally published crime fiction series, so what happens next should be easy, right? ...
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Posted: 5/27/2008 11:08:06 PM 

 

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