WARNING--contains humor and intentional bad grammar
Before you get all superior and critical, hear me out. I am not advocating junk--"reality" TV, celebrity magazines, etc. Sadly the wonderful tabloids like the Weekly World News are no more. As they said on the X-Files, "The Truth is out there" but no longer in the checkout lines at the supermarkets.
But I digress. Is that permitted? "Breaking the rules" was last week's topic for "This Blogger Life" wasn't it? Well, that could be just about any time as far as I am concerned. I don't even know what "the box" is that we're supposed to think outside of. I use boxes for storing things, and cats love to hide inside them.
Anyway, let me tell you about this bad book. You might have one, too. I hope you do. Because I think we all need one.
The book for me is a yellowing paperback, a piece of pulp fiction. It has a classic lurid "sci-fi" cover, and it is everything "sci-fi"--- It's not science-fiction, which can be very well written and thoughtful stuff. Allegorical, even. What it means to be human. A cosmic perspective.
This book has no such lofty claims. And maybe that's what I like about it. Because in a way, it shows what it is to be human, too. To be imperfect, to write badly, and yet aspire to tell a story, however stupid.
Bug-eyed monsters, and an evil scientist? Yes. Square-jawed astronaut hero? Yes. Beautiful and smart female character? Yes! Her name is Nanette, by the way. Isn't that perfect?
It was published in 1966, the same year the first Star Trek premiered on TV. This book however, does not "boldly go"--it fumbles and stumbles. That's why it is so much fun. The made up words--"robotomized." Really? The clumsy lines. The ridiculous plot. It's wonderful because it is so bad.
How did this book show me how to write good?
1. It does not intimidate. It invites interaction, even collaboration. Marginal notes. Clever comments, questions and additions.
2. It reminds me that writing doesn't have to be serious all the time. We need all kinds of stories.
3. It shows me it can be done. While I don't aspire to write a novel, it shows me that novels don't have to be 500 page doorstops or 6 volume epics.
4. It managed to get published! Yes, this little book somehow made its way out into the world where it ended up eventually in a used-book store. There, the sense of wonder contained therein could be had for a mere 50 cents.
5. It can be shared with other people. I have friends who have sought it out and enjoy it, too. It's kind of like a cult film, in that way. We know the best lines. My favorite--"The joke's on you, Earthman! I am not even from your Earth world!"
And it could be yours, too. It is till available on Amazon but maybe you can find a copy in a used bookstore. Who knows what else you could discover there?
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