My new collection, Ethical Aspects of Animal Husbandry, launches today on Amazon.
I am excited (obviously) to gather this particular group of stories into a book. When I look over my work, I know I write in a number of different genres. This is reflective of how I read. I love the challenge and depth of Delillo, Ford and Carver - and at the same time I love the great crime fiction writers (Joe Lansdale and Elmore Leonard would top this list - with James Crumley thrown in for good and noir measure). I read classics like Moby Dick, Uncle Tom's Cabin, and most of what Hemingway wrote. I had a serious obsession with Vonnegut, which has now been replaced with George Saunders. Oh man, George Saunders. (If you read woofreakinhoo, you know what I am talking about.) Recently, I need to add Jennifer Egan - I recently read Emerald City, and was blown away.
This range of writers is reflective in my work - and sometimes, I have to admit - it has made it hard for the Big 6 publishers to say "yes" to it. In another post, I'll tell the tale of how Correction Line almost made it to the bigs. But today, is Launch Day - exciting for any writer.
In the intro to my description I talk about the "slipstream" bubbling up. This is a fairly recent term, or in my estimation, and it replaces a term I used to use to explain this sort of work: Magical Realism. In my above list of influences, I neglected to mention a big one: Gabriel Garcia Marquez. One Hundred Years of Solitude (one of my top 5 reads of all time), showed a style of writing to me that I went, "Yeah, that the stuff I love!". Marquez and other South American writers had a significant influence on Correction Line. Zoom ahead in my reading history and I came upon Neil Gaiman. After reading Neverwhere and American Gods, I was reminded of my love of Marquez - yet this was something different. The style was linked to fantasy, yet not, mystical, funny, dark - was there a new term for this? Reading Gaiman led me to Tim Powers, and I said, okay what is this stuff?
Great name, what is it?
I found this definition, which says it well:
Slipstream describes fiction that falls between "mainstream" literature and the fantasy and science fiction genres (the name itself is wordplay on the term "mainstream"). Where science fiction and fantasy novels treat their fantastical elements as being very literal, real elements of their world, slipstream usually explores these elements in a more surreal fashion, and delves more into their satirical or metaphorical importance. Compared to magical realism the fantastical elements of slipstream also tend to be more extravagant, and their existence is usually more jarring to their comparative realities than that which is found in magic realism.
Yeah, that's the stuff I love!
The stories in Ethical Aspects definitely have elements of the Slipstream - notably the De-Organization of Bob and Subject:time - and it is there in the background of others as well. Of course, I couldn't stick with one genre, because all those other writers tend to sneak in there.