American Odd: Conspiranoia!: the Mother of All Conspiracy Theories, by Devon Jackson

This week I continue my American Odd essay series with a look at Conspiranoia!: the Mother of All Conspiracy Theories, by Devon Jackson. It’s the essay the UFO nazi Bilderbergers don’t want you to read … or do they? Continue reading American Odd: Conspiranoia!: the Mother of All Conspiracy Theories, by Devon Jackson

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An Interview with Marc Schuster

What inspired you to write The Singular Exploits of Wonder Mom and Super Girl? I was working on a paper in graduate school when I started reading a pair of books called The Steel Drug and Cocaine Changes. As the titles suggest, they were about cocaine, and they included case studies of people who had used and abused cocaine. Some of them were very compelling, but due to the nature of the books, the stories were also very fragmentary. With The Singular Exploits of Wonder Mom and Party Girl I wanted to flesh out some of the details in a … Continue reading An Interview with Marc Schuster

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The Singular Exploits of Wonder Mom & Party Girl, by Marc Schuster

Audrey Corcoran is unhappy, affected by the vague nameless malaise that creeps into those with thwarted ambitions and unrealized desires.  Audrey works at Eating Out, a “shopper magazine” one usually sees in grocery stores and restaurants.  In this case, the “magazine” – really a glorified press release and advertising delivery device – caters to the businesses on the Golden Mile, a strip of middlebrow chains and franchises.  The Singular Exploits of Wonder Mom & Party Girl chronicles Audrey’s alienation and annoyance at the petty power games and trivialities in her comfortable middle class existence. Living with her two children, the … Continue reading The Singular Exploits of Wonder Mom & Party Girl, by Marc Schuster

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The Reckoning by Howard Owen

In Howard Owen’s ninth novel, The Reckoning, the lives of George James and Freeman Hawk meet again after decades of separation.  Freeman was an African-American civil rights activist who fled to Canada to avoid getting drafted.  George James was a scion of the old money South and an heir to the Old Dominion Ham Company.  Owen shifts between past and present, reflecting the tense relationship between George James, widowed and alcoholic, and his son Jake.  Freeman Hawk returned to George, but George’s idealization of Freeman makes the opaque circumstances harder to pick up.  George tells Jake how Freeman led the … Continue reading The Reckoning by Howard Owen

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Elysiana by Chris Knopf

The novel Elysiana is about the eponymous barrier island off the coast of South Jersey.  Chris Knopf, known for the Sam Acquillo Hamptons Mystery novels, has written a self-contained novel set in the summer of 1969.  It begins with Midwestern girl Gwendolynn Anders suffering a bad drug trip.  Time loses coherence as Gwendolynn experiences memories and flashbacks, seeing herself at a party, and then finding herself in the back of car.  She gradually regains control of her mental faculties and then realizes she is on Elysiana.  The island, only twenty-five miles long and a mile wide, presents a microcosm of … Continue reading Elysiana by Chris Knopf

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I Think, Therefore Who Am I?: Memoir of a Psychedelic Year, by Peter Weissman

In the film The Limey (Steven Soderbergh, 1999), the record producer Terry Valentine offers his girlfriend an evocative speech describing the Sixties. “Did you ever dream about a place you never really recall being to before?  A place that maybe only exists in your imagination?  Some place far away, half remembered when you wake up.  When you were there, though, you knew the language.  You knew your way around.  That was the sixties.” After a pause, he continues.  “No.  It wasn’t that either.  It was just ’66 and early ’67.  That’s all there was.”  Peter Weissman’s memoir I Think, Therefore … Continue reading I Think, Therefore Who Am I?: Memoir of a Psychedelic Year, by Peter Weissman

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