Cold Fury

Harshing your mellow since 9/01

Bookish notes

Two solid endorsements on some new, free reading material for you folks. First off, our good friend Francis is offering the latest installment of his Futunari saga, The Wise And The Mad, all day tomorrow, prefacing the festivities with a little authorly musing on the writer’s art:

I’ve gotten a lot of feedback about The Wise and the Mad. Not all of it has been positive. Some of the comments have castigated me for “approving” of the recently much-discussed phenomenon of transgenderism. Some of the castigations have verged on condemnations. Yes, really.

You’d almost get the idea that a writer must believe, with absolute fidelity, what each of his characters believes, and would do what each of his characters would do if put into their particular situations. Hot Flash To the Slow Of Uptake: It isn’t so. It’s never been so. And it is particularly distressing to hear any of my readers express an attitude that ignorant of what a fiction writer struggles to do.

Wait, strike that last: “What a fiction writer struggles to do” — ? Naah. What an American tries to do…and, God willing, succeeds.

When he generously sent me the first Futunari book and solicited my opinion on it, Fran expressed a bit of trepidation about its unusual, off-the-beaten-track nature and how it might be received. A novel centered around the unique lives and experiences of a group of what you might call real transgenders—people who are born with, shall we say, atypical primary sex characteristics—I felt that tackling such unusual subject matter was a daring, gutsy move, and I both respected and admired Fran for it.

Having been a voracious reader since childhood, I’ve covered a hell of a lot of ground when it comes to litt’rachure, and I can’t recall ever reading anything remotely like these books. Fran is an extremely talented writer, though, and proved more than equal to the challenge of bringing the Futunari series to vivid life. Despite a subject that some might find odd or uncomfortable (or maybe because of it), these stories suck you right into the world Francis has created, and as with everything else of his that I’ve ever read I thoroughly enjoyed them. Give ’em a try yourself; your comments on the subject here are always most welcome, as I’m sure they will be over at Francis’s place too.

Next up: earlier this evening I received an email from an old friend of mine who tipped me off to a new novel by his older brother George, another longtime friend and neighbor from my yout’. To wit:

Hey Mike,

Don’t know if you had heard about George’s latest book The Skin Artist. He says the characters are fictional but he sure wrote from a lot of childhood experiences. Still trying to figure out who was the muse for the stripper. He says it was a dancer that Chip Anderson dated but I’m not buying it. Anyway, it’s a free download on Amazon Prime. Dances around the Belmont Playboys a bit too.

Mark

As it happens, and apropros of nothing, Mark and George’s older brother Ray was one of my closest high-school chums; he was killed when we were still in school in a tragic off-road motorcycle accident, an event which stunned and saddened the whole community. I had no idea George was pursuing a career as an author, having been mostly out of touch with him for years now. So I was glad to get the word on this novel, and look forward to reading it. I’m especially interested in seeing just what Mark meant by that “dances around the Belmont Playboys” business, as you might imagine. Click here to download the book, and enjoy, y’all.

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