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Memory Manifesto

Memory Manifesto

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Jumpers

Jumpers

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The Age of Dis-Consent

The Age of Dis-Consent

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I have returned from five days in Phnom Penh and can report the bookstores have never had a better selection of books. Pirated editions are still around. Though I didn’t see many knockoffs on display. There may have been an author alert and the illegal editions were hidden behind the service counter. Monument Books remains the leading bookstore for contemporary bestsellers and books about Southeast Asia. They also have a bookstore at the airport. Bohr’s Bookstore and D’s both located in the vicinity around the Foreign Correspondents Club have a good selection of second-hand books. ...
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Posted: 1/7/2007 10:32:29 PM 

 

I am reading Orhan Pamuk’s The New Life.

This is an early novel by the Nobel Prize winning author having been published in 1997. The central idea of the novel is the narrator reading a book that changes in his entire life. “I felt my body sever itself and pull away from the chair where I sat reading the book that lay before me on the table. But even though I felt my dissociating, my entire being remained so concertedly at the table that the book worked its influence not only on my soul but on every aspect of my identity.”...
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Posted: 1/7/2007 10:32:08 PM 

 

A Story for Christmas Day in Bangkok.

In 2000 Heaven Lake Press published my work of fiction titled Chairs. In terms of sales, the book has been a disappointment. Everyone wants the latest Vincent Calvino novel. Vinny isn’t featured in Chairs. Guess what? Many readers passed. They love Vinny. Good for him. Bad for Chairs.

Suddenly in the USA Chairs has become a big seller (relatively speaking of course) on amazon.com

So how can a book that should have sold well in my home audience suddenly take off in the States.

Awareness of an author or book makes a difference. Recently one of my back listed titles “Chairs” had gone into a deep sleep on amazon.com Actually it had been in a coma for some years. If it had been a patient on a life support system, the plug would have been pulled a long time ago....
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Posted: 12/25/2006 3:02:15 AM 

 

I have been checking local bookstores—new and second-hand—for William Marshall’s Yellowthread Street Series. The first book in the series is titled Yellowthread Street. In 1975, Marshall was 31 years old and living in Hong Kong when Yellowthread Street was first published. The last book in this series appeared in 1998.

One reviewer wrote:

“This is the first in a series of police books (procedural is not quite the right term for them) set in the mythic underside of Hong Kong. Take one part Ed McBain and one part Susie Wong, mix it up in the high-speed blender of Hong Kong action flick influence, and serve over a taste for the bizarre with a little paper umbrella stuck on top -- that's as close as I can come to describing this unique body of work.” ...
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Posted: 12/19/2006 11:41:21 PM 

 

Jake Needham will be signing his latest novel The Ambassador’s Wife at Kinokuniya, Emporium Branch. Jake will be on hand between 2.00 to 3.00 p.m. You can call 02-664-8554-8. This is a good chance to meet the author. Please drop in at Kinokuniya and show your support for Jake. ...
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Posted: 12/15/2006 2:43:59 AM 

 

When you read a novel set in your own turf, the details incorporated into the story must be right or the creditability of the storyteller is destroyed. Fiction requires a suspension of disbelief. Mistakes about the location of where the characters move, love, hate, scheme, and survive turn drama into a cartoon.

The question becomes to what extend a publisher does elementary due diligence when it decides to publish a novel. It may be that such an investigation is viewed as suited to non-fiction on the basis (false in my view) that a novelist is entitled to flights of fancy. ...
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Posted: 12/14/2006 11:09:18 PM 

 


To see my entry click here!

Fabio Novel, an Italian novelist, has sent along a note about the publication of DizioNoir which is distributed throughout Italian bookshops. DizioNoir (as DictioNoir), a sort of dictionary of thriller, noir and spy stories authors, plus some articles on subjects in topic. It is a teamwork, and a first time for this kind of essay in Italy.

I was pleased to find the listing on page 112 of DizioNoir. The Italian edition of Pattaya 24/7 comes on in December 2007.
...
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Posted: 12/8/2006 12:02:50 AM 

 

There is a good piece from Detectives Without Borders featuring Qiu Xiaolong's A Case of Two Cities This is the fourth of Qiu Xiaolong's novels and his Inspector Chen Cao of the Shanghai Police Bureau. In a starred review in Publisher’s Weekly, the conclusion was made: “Chen stands in a class with Martin Cruz Smith's Russian investigator, Arkady Renko, and P.D. James's Scotland Yard inspector, Adam Dalgliesh.”

I have been rereading Death of a Red Heroine and found the first 150 pages slow. At that point the story kicks in as Inspector Chen Cao’s relationship with the journalist starts to go into high gear and the high-ranking cadre who takes nude photographs becomes the main suspect in the murder. The author according to a recent interview has drawn from his own childhood experiences, passion for poetry and interests such as chess are drawn upon to flesh out Inspector Chen Cao. ...
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Posted: 12/3/2006 9:26:30 PM 

 

A website for those who want their mysteries set in East Asia & Southeast Asia is Readers Advice

China
Japan
Laos
North Korea
Southeast Asia (general)
Tibet

Included on the list are Cotterill, Colin: Siri Paiboun series, Christopher G. Moore: Vincent Calvino series, Adamson, Isaac: Billy Chaka series, Peter May: China Thrillers series, and Christopher West: Inspector Wang series. ...
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Posted: 11/28/2006 9:46:49 PM 

 

You’ve been hungry, scared, over-tired but you knew that somehow you’d survive. In Cormac McCarthy’s The Road the world is a colorless gray with ash covering the trees and snow, in the streams and rivers, fields and empty towns and villages looted, robbed and ransacked. The survivors of an unspoken world-ending event revert to roaming bands who hunt other human beings for meat. The narrator struggles against a bleak, lifeless landscape to keep himself and his son alive, telling his son, they are the good people, they would never eat another person. The novel is powerful as it reveals a side of human nature unrestrained by any principle, value or ethics; just an raw animal desire to survive at any cost. ...
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Posted: 11/23/2006 12:00:46 AM 

 


Howard Richardson (ex-Metro), Christopher G. Moore, Colin Cotterill (author), and Phil Cornwell-Smith (ex-Metro)

On the opening night of Stephff’s Exhibition of political cartoons, a number of writers and journalists were present.

Weapons of Mass Derision - Stephff's cartoons
November 15-December 1, 2006 - MAP to the exhibition ...
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Posted: 11/20/2006 4:33:45 AM 

 

 Good news from our literary agent in Israel. Spirit House has been bought by one of Israel’s leading publisher and will be translated into Hebrew in 2007. ...
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Posted: 11/17/2006 3:48:42 AM 

 

It is 50 years since Jack Reynolds A Woman of Bangkok was published in New York. The ranking of the novel on amazon.com is #1,856,650. The raw number of an amazon ranking isn’t always a true indicator of the importance or significance of a book.

A Woman of Bangkok is, in my view, a significant book. There is no Wikipedia article for Jack Reynolds. No movie was ever made from A Woman of Bangkok. It is useful to look back at A Woman of Bangkok with two other novels set in this region in the 1950s. ...
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Posted: 11/17/2006 3:47:02 AM 

 

An essential part of the publishing process for a writer of fiction is finding the right action. They are the gatekeepers. The large iron door to editors open wide enough for them to slip a manuscript inside.

Author Nicholas Sparks as these words of advice: “Agents act as a 'filtering' system for publishers these days. For every manuscript sent to a publishing house, there were thousands of manuscripts and query letters examined by agents. Agents are always looking for well-written manuscripts. If you can't find representation for your manuscript, don't blame the agents.” ...
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Posted: 11/15/2006 4:35:45 AM 

 

Culture and history plays a big factor in way crime is organized. For those who get their organized crime information from the Godfather or the Sopranos, the image emerges of family based crime bosses rule over tight-knit families with swear an oath of secrecy as they go about their daily routine of extortion, drug-dealing, prostitution pedaling, hijacking, and gambling operations. As far as I can determine, know one has ever analyzed American organized crime along the Red state and Blue state political divide.

In China, the Hung societies which flourished during the Ching dynasty, in the South of China – the geographic area which supplied most of the immigrants to North America –were a secret society. Hung translates as “Brave” though the short hand expression was Red societies. In the North of China a rival secret society called the Ching societies were known as the Green societies. Local chapters existed not unlike Starbucks. Society members in the best tradition of Tony Soprano swore an oath of loyalty....
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Posted: 11/13/2006 10:58:05 PM 

 

I had an email from a friend about the Yes Men

I was unaware of their existence.

“The Yes Men have impersonated some of the world's most powerful criminals at conferences, on the web, and on television, in order to correct their identities. They currently have hundreds of thousands of job openings.” Their website is: http://www.theyesmen.org

But they did inspire me: ...
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Posted: 11/10/2006 5:02:21 AM 

 

For those of you looking for the next Vincent Calvino novel, it is now possible to pre-order The Risk of Infidelity Index. You will need to scroll down the page until you come to the heading Pre-Publication Orders.

The new Calvino is on schedule for release in January 2007 and as soon as the books are received from the printer, your copy will be sent via UPS. The US dollar doesn’t buy as much fried rice as it did a year ago. The price of the new Calvino is US$15.95 plus shipping. The book price is in US dollars is now less than the price in the bookstores in Bangkok (which is Baht 595). ...
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Posted: 11/3/2006 4:39:34 AM 

 

Corruption in Asia is opaque. Behind the fogged window deals are cut, payments made, transfers to offshore accounts. If it were a large, open field, then one might say the press occasionally digs around the corners, sometimes striking a small root. In the International Herald Tribune Friday 3 November 2006, in an article captioned: “In Shanghai, a prism of fiction reveals truth.” Correspondent Howard W. French read Qui Xiaolong’s novel When Red is Black.

French quotes Qui Xiaolong, who is a reporter for a Saint Louis newspaper and living in the United States, who was interviewed on NPR, “Everywhere, at every level you meet with different kinds of corruption.” He also notes that while Qui Xiaolong’s detective novels haven’t been ban in China, the local publisher changed of the city where the detective works from Shanghai to a nonsense name. “They changed a lot,” Qui said. “Some paragraphs or sentences they simply cut.” French writes Qui’s novels can be read “as a sort of almanac of today’s corruption scandal.” ...
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Posted: 11/2/2006 10:53:25 PM 

 

Death of a Red Heroine (Soho Crime) (Paperback) by Qiu Xiaolong

I came across this title through Detectives Beyond Borders: A Forum for International Crime Fiction where Peter Rozvsky ranked it number 2 in a list of 10 of his favourite non-American crime novels. From what I’ve read about Death of a Red Heroine, this takes crime fiction into the social and political realm of a society in transition from one system to another. In other words, you get more than just another murder case. It promises to deliver an intelligent insight into the minds of those living in Shanghai during the 1990s. ...
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Posted: 11/1/2006 2:40:10 AM 

 

The Spiegel Online has excerpted from “War for Wealth: The Global Grab for Power and Prosperity” by Gabor Steingart. The book has been a best seller in Germany. It has yet to be translated into English. Though Spiegel has done an English translation of an essay for their online magazine.

The author claims that the modern proletariat have no interest in education, forming into associations to advance their causes, and vote on either the extreme right or left, switching between the extremes with no difficulty. We live in a time where there is de-industrialization in Europe and North American. So far no one has focused on the long-term political consequences of this process. But it seems that TV watching and drinking on the holding pattern for the new underclass waiting for some political genius to use them to gain power. They have disappeared into their own world. But for how long will they stay inside dreary flats nursing king sized grudges?...
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Posted: 10/31/2006 4:10:30 AM 

 

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