Comments Off on Douglas Lain’s Books
due out from Tor Books August 27th, 2013
Set during the turbulent year of 1968, Christopher Robin Milne, the inspiration for his father’s fictional creation, struggles to emerge from a manufactured life, in a story of hope and transcendence.
Billy Moon was Christopher Robin Milne, the son of A. A. Milne, the world-famous author of Winnie the Pooh and other beloved children’s classics. Billy’s life was no fairy-tale, though. Being the son of a famous author meant being ignored and even mistreated by famous parents; he had to make his own way in the world, define himself, and reconcile his self-image with the image of him known to millions of children. A veteran of World War II, a husband and father, he is jolted out of midlife ennui when a French college student revolutionary asks him to come to the chaos of Paris in revolt. Against a backdrop of the apocalyptic student protests and general strike that forced France to a standstill that spring, Milne’s new French friend is a wild card, able to experience alternate realities of the past and present. Through him, Milne’s life is illuminated and transformed, as are the world-altering events of that year.
In a time when the Occupy movement eerily mirrors the political turbulence of 1968, this magic realist novel is an especially relevant and important book.
“Doug Lain’s Billy Moon is postmodern SF, powering past mere science and into a cubist world of strange. It’s a mash-up of Phil Dick, Francoise Sagan, and Winnie the Pooh, with a jaded Christopher Robin at the heart of the 1968 Paris student revolution. Billy Moon is moving and profound, with a radically evanescent style. Just the thing for our new century.” —Rudy Rucker, author of the WARE Tetralogy
It is the eve of the 2001 presidential election. Christian and his wife have traveled back to Tennessee to attend his father’s funeral. When Christian picks up the phone attached to an atom bomb exhibit at the American Museum of Science and Energy, he finds the ghost of his father on the other end of the line. His father’s ghost warns him that a rift in the world has opened and that unreality is leaking out.
Cast into a world with no more illusions, Christian descends into an Escher-like grid of paranoia and comical absurdity.
As polls close and votes are counted then re-counted, his wife begins coughing up eggs. Then, back home in Portland, they are forced at gunpoint to join a neighborhood block party.
Convinced that she no longer exists, Christian’s wife splits herself open like a clockwork dummy and reveals that she is hollow inside, but she isn’t dead. In fact, she is still pregnant with their child.
In order to survive, they must transform the scenes of their past into a new reality, before the rest of humanity buries them in a wave of mutilation.
Wave of Mutilation is about what everything means. It’s what you get when the stuff in your head comes out to play — the love of your life floating in a motel swimming pool, unreality leaking from the world, block parties of identity destruction, and interstitial spaces where you might spot Donald from Mathmagic Land motioning you into a strange place between now and a distant childhood that might not even be yours. Lain’s writing is sharp and surprising. You’ll have a good time. – Ray Vukcevich, author of Meet Me in the Moon Room
In these four stories, Douglas Lain explores the painful and mysterious chasms in the hearts and minds of people who want to break out from their lives, but find themselves becoming stagnant and self-destructive. Unable to escape or move forward, they lose themselves in the past and present, hoping for some insight that will lead them to a brighter future. Readers of Philip K. Dick, Donald Barthelme, and Kelly Link will rejoice in the work of Douglas Lain. Featuring: THE LAST APOLLO MISSION 09/11 was an inside job. What nobody knows, except for writer Paula Austin, is that Stanley Kubrick was one of the men behind it all. With help of Nicholas Cage, of course. RESURFACING BILLY In a near-future city where radioactive trash is seeping up through the soil, one man creates a chewing gum that just might solve the planet’s trash problem, while trying to prove to a Big Brother-like school that his son’s behavioral problems are completely normal before they mandate a lobotomy. ALIEN INVASION/COFFEE CUP STORY Aliens have finally invaded, but apathy has overtaken the planet and nobody seems to care about the flying saucers in the sky. The tensions in a young couple’s relationship rise to the surface as they discuss what the alien invasion means, or more to the point, what it doesn’t mean, in this satirical mash-up of alien invasion and realist “cup of coffee” stories. CHOMSKY AND THE TIME BOX A tech blogger travels back in time and becomes obsessed with a twenty-two minute period in the Chicago O’Hara Airport on November 16th, 1971, when Noam Chomsky and Terence McKenna nearly met. But nothing goes according to plan in his repeated attempts to change the course of history, which entail kidnapping Chomsky and subjecting hostages from the Chicago O’Hara to footage of Ronald Reagan.
your guide to urban foraging, hollywood
movies, late capitalism, and the communist alternative (a memoir)
“Pick Your Battle” is the title of a radical self-help book that was successfully funded through Kickstarter on July 13th, 2010. Using the foraging of fruit trees and blackberry bushes as the jumping off point, this surreal effort at self-help is part memoir, part critical theory, and part manual. In a time of peak oil, peak population, and peak insanity just stepping outside and getting to know the plant life in your neighborhood represents a radical break.
Do not consult your physician if you are alienated. Book includes tips and exercises for revolutionizing your everyday life. Never use as directed.
Douglas Lain started publishing regularly right around the time I started reviewing for Tangent, and I remember his stories clicking with me right out of the gates. His first collection, Last Week’s Apocalypse (2006)–is that a great title, or what?–is probably not for everyone’s tastes, but I found it a pretty remarkable book, its stories consistently funny, unsettling, inventive, and full of surprises. I’m not sure I always got the stories, but it never seemed to matter, and ultimately I wasn’t always convinced they were supposed to be gotten–they evoke and provoke, regardless. The prose is effortlessly read, often laugh-at-loud funny, with a singularly quirky tone. Even when the trees obscured the forest, I found myself simply enjoying the trees–its recurring themes and ideas, which include frequent musings on war, drug use, the nature of reality, mental illness, pop culture, marketing, politics, and consumerism, to name a few.