MISTAH KURTZ!
A PRELUDE TO
HEART OF DARKNESS
SPRING 2016



THE MAN WHO FELT LIKE A SATELLITE



BOMBSHELL: A NOVEL



NINETEEN FIFTY-SIX



I, JUDAS: A NOVEL



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ADVANCE PRAISE FOR MISTAH KURTZ! A PRELUDE TO HEART OF DARKNESS

kurtz-red-skull-sketchJames Reich’s third novel MISTAH KURTZ! A Prelude to Heart of Darkness is garnering advance accolades. The novel is being published by Anti-Oedipus Press in March 2016.

“In Heart of Darkness, Marlow tells us that Kurtz’s voice ‘rang to the very last,’ hiding ‘in the magnificent folds of eloquence the barren darkness of his heart.’ In Mistah Kurtz, James Reich turns back the clock to give that eloquence fresh room, bringing to new life one of the great characters of literature by channeling Kurtz’s insistent voice directly onto every inch of these fantastic pages.” —Matt Bell, author of Scrapper

“Mistah Kurtz! is not only satisfying because it reintroduces us to an adored classic but because it takes us so convincingly someplace new. The deceit, longing and mosquitos are so thick you’ll grip your chair and slap at your ankles.”  –Ramona Ausubel, author of No One is Here Except All of Us and A Guide to Being Born

“I kept stopping to reread sentences and sometimes whole paragraphs; not because they were difficult to understand but I couldn’t believe the writing was that good. It’s an incredibly well crafted, uniquely insightful book. Mr. Reich set himself a formidable task and he accomplished it with a masterful piece of fiction.” Malcolm Mc Neill, author of Observed While Falling

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NORTHERN ZAPATISTA

Subcomandante_MarcosNORTHERN ZAPATISTA: New work at Bold Type Magazine.

Bush-Clinton, Resistance to Neoliberalism, Hillary’s prevarication over TPP, what the pundits don’t get about the nature of the leftward swing of the north, understood through the indigenous revolutions in the south…zeitgeist, history and holograms…

(Extract)…Now we come to the key to understanding the anxieties of both parties regarding the passage of TPP in the just over twenty-year context of NAFTA, and something vital about the mood of the United States. The passage of NAFTA on January 1, 1994, was the signal for the Zapatista uprising in Chiapas, Mexico. My contention is that the Zapatista insurgency provided vital impetus for a leftward swing in Latin American politics from the election of Hugo Chavez in 1998 onwards. Zapatismo, its ingenuity and indigeneity, its opposition to the remote oligarchies of global capital and neoliberalism are present in Seattle 1999, the Occupy movement, in opposition to the Keystone XL pipeline, etc., and arguably in the ‘unpredictable’ rise to national prominence of Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders — not unpredictable if you can admit that the leftward swing of the south, repudiating U.S. interference, has exerted a pull on the north, and that sympathies have existed at the grass roots. With due irony, you might call this an instance of the tail wagging the dog… Read the full article at Bold Type, HERE.

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BARRY MALZBERG’S BEYOND APOLLO

Barry Salzburg - Beyond ApolloThe Anti-Oedipus Press reprint of Barry Malzberg’s Beyond Apollo is available now! It was a great honor to write a foreword to this new edition. From the publisher: “Two astronauts travel on the first manned expedition to the planet Venus. When the mission is mysteriously aborted and the ship returns to Earth, the Captain is missing and the First Officer, Harry M. Evans, can’t explain what happened. Under psychiatric evaluation and interrogation, Evans provides conflicting accounts of the Captain’s disappearance, incriminating both himself and lethal Venusian forces in the Captain’s murder. As the explanations pyramid and the supervising psychiatrist’s increasingly desperate efforts to get a straight story falter, Evans’ condition and his inability to tell the “truth” present terrifying expressions of humanity’s incompetence, the politics of space exploration, and the intricate dynamics of psycho-sexual relations . . . Originally published in 1972, BEYOND APOLLO incited controversy, polarizing critics and fans despite winning the first John W. Campbell Memorial Award for Best Science Fiction Novel. Always disinclined to sell out or compromise his vision, Malzberg became disillusioned with the SF genre, which purported to be THE genre of innovation. Paradoxically, many SF editors and publishers worried about unsettling readers’ comfort zones and insisted that authors write in accordance with a set of rules, formulas and codes. Malzberg would neither heel nor kneel; disillusioned, he unofficially retired from the genre in the late seventies and hasn’t looked back. What he produced as a science fiction writer, however, remains among the best published during the twentieth century-important in its historical context, but also entertaining and thought-provoking in its own right. Dark, acerbic, funny and smart, BEYOND APOLLO may be Malzberg’s greatest accomplishment. This special anti-oedipal edition includes an introduction by novelist James Reich and a study guide that will prove especially useful in classroom settings.” Learn More/Buy It HERE.

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SFUAD PRESS RELEASE: NEW WORK FROM JAMES REICH

Unknown-1Press release from Santa Fe University of Art and Design: Santa Fe, N.M.—April 22, 2015James Reich, Santa Fe University of Art and Design (SFUAD) Creative Writing and Literature faculty member, has recently published several new e-books and announced that his third novel will publish next March. Reich debuted the first in his series of twinned short stories, “The Man Who Felt Like A Satellite” and “Althaus” (2015, Modist Press) at City Lights Bookstore in San Francisco earlier this year. The second in the series is “Nineteen Fifty-Six” and “Glaxo Babies,” both of which are currently available for purchase on Amazon. Additionally, Anti-Oedipus Press announced that it will publish Reich’s third novel, “Mistah Kurtz! A Prelude to Heart of Darkness,” in March 2016.“I was exhilarated by the idea of this novel from the moment that James described it to me,” said Matt Donovan, chair of the Creative Writing and Literature Department at SFUAD. “Creating a prequel to Conrad’s text is an absolutely brilliant premise for a book, and, in the hands of a writer as talented as James, promises to be a stellar literary experience. I honestly can’t wait to get my hands on a copy.” Read the full press release HERE.

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PETE CAMPBELL: AMERICAN SNIPER, A ‘MAD MEN’ EULOGY

Pete Campbell: American SniperPete Campbell: American Sniper by James Reich was first published as one of a series of Mad Men ‘eulogies’ by The Weeklings, and was subsequently picked up by Salon.com and The Good Men Project. “It took me a while to like Pete Campbell. Campbell, as anonymous as a soup can, was also Sterling Cooper’s boyish friendly ghost, an alabaster wimp, regularly cuckolded by the agency. His ambition was shrill, his gestures desperate and hard to respect. He was an unsympathetic Pinocchio, striving even to be a real boy in a real man’s world. Today, I regard Pete Campbell — so subtly, selflessly and brilliantly played by Vincent Kartheiser — as the product of genius. Campbell embodies compelling anxieties. I want to describe two related episodes, linked by the disembodied John F. Kennedy, that transformed Pete Campbell into an all-American anti-hero.” – Read more at any of the links above.

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MISTAH KURTZ! A PRELUDE TO HEART OF DARKNESS

james-reich-mistah-kurtzJames Reich’s third novel Mistah Kurtz! A Prelude to Heart of Darkness will be published by Anti-Oedipus Press in March 2016. Foreign language translation rights will be handled by Kent Wolf at Lippincott, Massie, McQuilkin literary agents. Anti-Oedipus Press maintains an impressive list of authors, publishing work by Barry Malzberg, Laurence A. Rickels, Lance Olsen, Kim Stanley Robinson, D. Harlan Wilson, Hope Jennings and Harold Jaffe.

Mistah Kurtz! discloses the contents of the papers Kurtz entrusts to Marlow and the end of Joseph Conrad’s canonical novella. Drawing on clues left in Conrad’s account, the novel anticipates and dovetails with the arrival of Marlow at Kurtz’s ivory station in the Congo. Giving voice to one of the most enigmatic characters in the literary canon, Reich presents meticulous and controversial solutions to the origins, mystery and messianic deterioration of Mistah Kurtz: Company man, elephant man, poet, feral god. Appalling rivalries, murder, fragile loyalties, doubt and desire shroud the pages of this book; part adventure, part desperate confession. Filtering the strangeness of Apocalypse Now and historical accounts of the ivory trade, this irreverent, audacious endeavor lends meat and madness to the ghosts of the Congo, names that which had been nameless, and renders this season in Hell in crystalline clarity.

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LOOBA AND TITUS – NEW SHORT FICTION

James-Reich-Looba-TitusLooba and Titus a new short story by James Reich has been published by LitroNY.

You can read the story HERE

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VOIGT-KAMPFF: NOTES ON ‘DO ANDROIDS DREAM OF ELECTRIC SHEEP?’

VOIGT-KAMPFFVoigt-Kampff, Philip K. Dick’s extension of Alan Turing’s test of human-machine equivalence in Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? (1968), is so overshadowed by its mechanical presence in Ridley Scott’s film adaptation of the novel that one of Dick’s greatest ironies tends to go un-interrogated. Dick’s choice of the name is not arbitrary: the Germanic Voigt-Kampff is a compound derived from an antiquated   usage for ‘farm steward/landowner’ or manager, and ‘struggle/fight’. Voigt also puns ‘Vogt’ in the sense of ‘overseer/bailiff’. It’s a classic Dick joke which refers to the jurisdiction and trials of the novel’s bounty hunter Rick Deckard, owner of the eponymous electric sheep. The novel, establishing a posthuman equivalence of animal, human, androids and ‘electric sheep’ in all their forms is about the elliptical journey from Mein Kampf to Voigt-Kampff, the encroach of fascist and totalitarian modes, and eugenics. Establishing that equivalence or underlining ambivalence is vital to Dick’s quasi-pastoral anti-fascist discourse. The animal reference is of course deliberate, as is the description of Voigt-Kampff being developed from a prior test “devised from the Pavlov Institute in the Soviet Union”. Implicit in the struggle of Deckard as both shepherd of his domesticated electric sheep and of the escaped Nexus-6 androids, is that this is also a literature of holocaust and confinement where the decolonized Earth and the colonized Mars are binary nightmares. It is a narrative of reflective barriers and traps. The androids are killed inside the confines of Deckard’s car, inside a claustrophobic elevator, within an office, a stairwell, and the final kippelized apartment.

The novel opens with Deckard and his wife Iran arguing over the settings of their Penfield mood organs, prosthetic devices that will confine and dictate their dispositions throughout the day. The machine is a Penfield mood organ – Pen / Field. Considered properly, both Voigt-Kampff applied to the androids and Penfield applied to humans, ironically erase human/animal-android boundaries as Dick contemplates a more posthuman sympathy. All of the characters in Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? are products of the “flattening of affect.” The discriminating feature of humanist empathy, achievable only through mechanical interface – fusion with the Sisyphus-like entity Wilbur Mercer – is revealed by Mercer’s absurdist pop culture anti-type, the android Buster Friendly, to be a metaphysical “swindle”. (A mercer is both a type of German ‘shepherd’ dog, and if derived from French is a textiles salesmen; Mercer sells the false fabric of reality. One can go too far with these things.) Here’s another of Dick’s great jokes: Mercer, described by the androids as susceptible to abuse by any “potential Hitler” is revealed to be less a metaphysical being than a pataphysical being in the alcoholic form of Al Jarry – a deliberate reference to Alfred Jarry, whose 1902 novel The Supermale is one of the ur-texts of android/posthuman literature.

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ANNE GERMANACOS – READING AND CONVERSATION

tribute-front-coverI will be in conversation with Anne Germanacos, author of In The Time of Girls and most recently Tribute, at Collected Works Bookstore, Santa Fe, New Mexico, on Tuesday October 28th. “In her masterful second book, Anne Germanacos gets right down to the elemental: the single line. Tribute is a work of prose–novel, essay, experiment in narrative?–created from distinct lines, a work of continual shape-shift and exhilarating motion. Tribute chronicles the daily life of a woman whose mother is dying and who begins to see a psychoanalyst, a woman who lives among lovers, sisters, and children, across continents and their conflicts (New York, San Francisco, Crete, Cyprus, Israel/​Palestine). The book that results offers us both her story–forcefully sensual, vibrantly lived–and, through its bold form, her complex relationship to story.” Read more at Anne Germanacos.com

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ANDRÉ BRETON & ARACHNID WRITING

HR_56600100528260_1It’s ninety years since André Breton — re Surrealism and the extravagant possibilities of ‘marvelous’ literature — wrote: “At an early age children are weaned on the marvelous, and later on they fail to retain a sufficient virginity of mind to thoroughly enjoy fairy tales. No matter how charming they may be, a grown man would think he were reverting to childhood by nourishing himself on fairy tales, and I am the first to admit that all such tales are not suitable for him. The fabric of adorable improbabilities must be made a trifle more subtle the older we grow, and we are still at the age of waiting for this kind of spider…” In 2014, the fact that ‘virginity of mind’ is being retained further into chronological adulthood is evident in the dominance of Marvel/DC franchises (10 DC Comics movies are slated for 2016-2020), intertextual TV crud like Once Upon A Time, and Grimm, the spate of forgettable fairy tale adaptations that included Hansel and Gretel, Red Riding Hood, and the capitalist triumph of young adult fiction as a manufactured marketing category. We’ve got the wrong kind of spider, man. According to Publisher’s Weekly “55% of buyers of works that publishers designate for kids aged 12 to 17 — known as YA books — are 18 or older, with the largest segment aged 30 to 44, a group that alone accounted for 28% of YA sales. And adults aren’t just purchasing for others — when asked about the intended recipient, they report that 78% of the time they are purchasing books for their own reading.” This represents many things, primarily that Breton’s surrealist ache for a challenging imaginative literature for adults has been largely defeated by the anodyne placebos of young adultism as the most prosperous antidote to 19th century versions of realism, and the comfortable bourgeois trust in mimesis. Of course, this arachnid writing that Breton proposed did exist, has existed, and does exist, under the floorboards and tiles. Yet, the result of such pervasive young adultism in our culture is that childish things are not put away, but have spread like unruly grout to fill the cracks where an imaginative avant-garde should be, spread by a trowel of materialist nostalgia, and boredom. The problem, at this point, is that this suspended adolescence, this chastity club-pledged virginity of mind, threatens us with a point where new writers become suspended kidults writing downward and backwards, in a bathroom without spiders.

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