Posts tagged ‘Novelist’

April 22, 2014

Neil Gaiman

Death

sandman

Neil Gaiman (b. 1960) is an English author of short fiction, novels, comic books, graphic novels, audio theatre and films. His notable works include the comic book series ‘The Sandman’ and novels ‘Stardust,’ ‘American Gods,’ ‘Coraline,’ and ‘The Graveyard Book.’

Though his work is frequently seen as exemplifying the monomyth structure laid out by mythologist Joseph Campbell, Gaiman says that he started reading Campbell’s book on the common structure of myths but refused to finish it: ‘I think I got about halfway through ‘The Hero with a Thousand Faces’ and found myself thinking if this is true – I don’t want to know. I really would rather not know this stuff. I’d rather do it because it’s true and because I accidentally wind up creating something that falls into this pattern than be told what the pattern is.’

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February 19, 2014

John Swartzwelder

John Swartzwelder

John Swartzwelder (b. 1950) is an American comedy writer and novelist, best known for his work on the animated television series ‘The Simpsons,’ as well as a number of novels. He is credited with writing the largest number of ‘Simpsons’ episodes by a large margin (59 full episodes, with contributions to several others). Swartzwelder was one of several writers recruited to show from the pages of George Meyer’s ‘Army Man’ magazine (a short-lived comedy periodical published in the late 1980s; Meyer would also go on to become an acclaimed ‘Simpsons’ writer).

Swartzwelder has been animated in the background of several episodes of ‘The Simpsons.’ His animated likeness closely resembles musician David Crosby, which prompted Matt Groening to state that anytime that David Crosby appears in a scene for no apparent reason, it is really John Swartzwelder. Additionally, Matt Groening has stated that the recurring character ‘Herman Hermann’ (the owner of Herman’s Military Antiques) was originally physically based on Swartzwelder–with the exception of his one arm.

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September 26, 2012

L. Ron Hubbard

Scientology

Lafayette Ronald Hubbard (1911 – 1986), better known as L. Ron Hubbard and often referred to by his initials, LRH, was an American pulp fiction author and the founder of the Church of Scientology. After establishing a career as a writer, becoming best known for his science fiction and fantasy stories, he developed a self-help system called ‘Dianetics’ which was first published in 1950. He subsequently developed his ideas into a wide-ranging set of doctrines and rituals as part of a new religious movement that he called Scientology. His writings became the guiding texts for the Church of Scientology and a number of affiliated organizations that address such diverse topics as business administration, literacy, and drug rehabilitation.

The Church of Scientology describes Hubbard in hagiographic terms, and he portrayed himself as a pioneering explorer, world traveler, and nuclear physicist, with expertise in a wide range of disciplines, including photography, art, poetry, and philosophy. His critics have characterized him as a liar, a charlatan, and mentally unstable. Though many of his autobiographical statements have been proven to be fictitious, the Church rejects any suggestion that its account of Hubbard’s life is not historical fact.

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August 10, 2012

Thomas Pynchon

Thomas Pynchon

Thomas Pynchon [pin-chuhn] (b. 1937) is an American novelist. A MacArthur Fellow, he is noted for his dense and complex novels. Both his fiction and non-fiction writings encompass a vast array of subject matter, styles, and themes, including (but not limited to) the fields of history, science, and mathematics. For his most praised novel, ‘Gravity’s Rainbow,’ Pynchon won the 1974 U.S. National Book Award for Fiction (which he declined).

After publishing several short stories in the late 1950s and early 1960s, he began composing the novels for which he is best known: ‘V.’ (1963), ‘The Crying of Lot 49’ (1966), ‘Gravity’s Rainbow’ (1973), and ‘Mason & Dixon’ (1997). Pynchon is also known for being very private; very few photographs of him have ever been published, and rumors about his location and identity have circulated since the 1960s.

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December 11, 2011

Stieg Larsson

stieg larsson

Stieg Larsson (1954 – 2004) was a Swedish journalist and writer, best known for his ‘Millennium series’ of crime novels, which were published posthumously.

Larsson lived and worked much of his life in Stockholm, in the field of journalism and as an independent researcher of right-wing extremism.

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August 23, 2011

David Foster Wallace

dfw by andrew barr

David Foster Wallace (1962 – 2008) was an American author of novels, essays, and short stories, and a professor at Pomona College in Claremont, California. He was widely known for his 1996 novel ‘Infinite Jest.’ In 1997, Wallace received a MacArthur Fellowship. He was born in Ithaca, New York. His father teaches philosophy at the University of Illinois and his mother teaches English at a community college in Champaign. In fourth grade, he moved to Urbana, Illinois. As an adolescent, he was a regionally ranked junior tennis player.

He attended his father’s alma mater, Amherst College, and majored in English and philosophy, with a focus on modal logic and mathematics. His philosophy senior thesis on modal logic, titled ‘Richard Taylor’s ‘Fatalism’ and the Semantics of Physical Modality’ was awarded the Gail Kennedy Memorial Prize by Amherst. His other senior thesis, in English, would later become his first novel, ‘The Broom of the System,’ which centers on an emotionally challenged, 24-year-old telephone switchboard operator who has issues about whether or not she’s real.

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June 17, 2011

Chuck Palahniuk

choke

invisible monsters

Chuck Palahniuk [pall-uh-nik] (b. 1962) is an American transgressional fiction novelist, a genre of literature that focuses on characters who feel confined by the norms and expectations of society and who break free of those confines in unusual and/or illicit ways. Because they are rebelling against the basic norms of society, protagonists of transgressional fiction may seem mentally ill, anti-social, or nihilistic. The genre deals extensively with taboo subject matters such as drugs, sex, violence, incest, pedophilia, and crime.

He is best known for the award-winning novel ‘Fight Club,’ which was later made into a film directed by David Fincher.

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June 17, 2011

Kurt Vonnegut

vonnegut signature

tralfamadore

Kurt Vonnegut (1922 – 2007) was an American writer of the 20th century. He wrote such works as ‘Mother Night’ (1961), ‘Slaughterhouse-Five’ (1969), and ‘Breakfast of Champions’ (1973) blending satire, gallows humor, and science fiction. He was known for his humanist beliefs and was honorary president of the American Humanist Association. Vonnegut’s experience in WWII as a soldier and prisoner of war had a profound influence on his later work.

He was captured during the Battle of the Bulge. ‘The other American divisions on our flanks managed to pull out: We were obliged to stay and fight. Bayonets aren’t much good against tanks…’ Imprisoned in Dresden, Vonnegut was chosen as a leader of the POWs because he spoke some German. After telling the German guards ‘…just what I was going to do to them when the Russians came…’ he was beaten and had his position as leader taken away. While a prisoner, he witnessed the fire bombing of Dresden in February 1945 which destroyed most of the city.

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April 6, 2011

Isaac Asimov

i robot

Isaac Asimov (b. 1920 – 1992) was an American author and professor of biochemistry at Boston University, best known for his works of science fiction and for his popular science books. Asimov was one of the most prolific writers of all time, having written or edited more than 500 books. His works have been published in nine of the ten major categories of the Dewey Decimal System (The sole exception being the 100s: philosophy and psychology). Isaac Asimov is widely considered a master of hard science fiction and, along with Robert A. Heinlein and Arthur C. Clarke, he was considered one of the ‘Big Three’ science fiction writers during his lifetime. Asimov’s most famous works are the ‘Foundation’ and ‘Robot’ series.

The prolific Asimov also wrote mysteries and fantasy, as well as much non-fiction. Most of his popular science books explain scientific concepts in a historical way, going as far back as possible to a time when the science in question was at its simplest stage. He often provides nationalities, birth dates, and death dates for the scientists he mentions, as well as etymologies and pronunciation guides for technical terms. Examples include his ‘Guide to Science,’ the three volume set ‘Understanding Physics,’ ‘Asimov’s Chronology of Science and Discovery,’ as well as numerous works on astronomy, chemistry, mathematics, the Bible, and William Shakespeare’s works.

January 26, 2011

Charles Bukowski

now what

bukowski

Henry Charles Bukowski (1920 – 1994) was a German-American poet, novelist and short story writer.

His writing was influenced by the social, cultural and economic ambience of his home city of Los Angeles. It is marked by an emphasis on the ordinary lives of poor Americans, the act of writing, alcohol, relationships with women and the drudgery of work. Bukowski wrote thousands of poems, hundreds of short stories and six novels, eventually having over 60 books in print. In 1986 Time called Bukowski a ‘laureate of American lowlife.’

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December 17, 2010

Oscar Zeta Acosta

Oscar Zeta Acosta (1935 – disappeared 1974) was an American attorney, politician, and minor novelist, perhaps best known for his friendship with the American author Hunter S. Thompson, who characterized him as his Samoan Attorney, Dr. Gonzo, in his novel ‘Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas.’ In 1967, Acosta began working as an antipoverty attorney for the East Legal Aid Society in Oakland, California. In 1968 he moved to East Los Angeles and joined the Chicano Movement as an activist attorney. His controversial defense earned him the ire of the LAPD, who considered the ‘Brown Pride’ movement more dangerous than the Black Panthers.

In the summer of 1967 Acosta met Hunter S. Thompson, who would write an article on Acosta and the injustice in the barrios of East L.A. for ‘Rolling Stone’ in 1971 titled ‘Strange Rumblings in Aztlan.’ When working on the article, Thompson and Acosta visited Las Vegas (inspiring Hunter’s later novel on the city). In 1972, Acosta disappeared while traveling in Mexico. His son, Marco Acosta, believes that he was the last person to talk to his father. In May 1972, Acosta telephoned his son, telling him that he was ‘about to board a boat full of white snow.’ Marco is later quoted in reference to his father’s disappearance: ‘The body was never found, but we surmise that probably, knowing the people he was involved with, he ended up mouthing off, getting into a fight, and getting killed.’