This week, Quivering Pen readers are in for a real treat. Dzanc Books is offering up a two-fer package of new releases: The Consequence of Skating by Steven Gillis and Pirate Talk or Mermalade by Terese Svoboda. No, my friends, you haven't died and gone to Indie Heaven, this is just your reward for making it to another Friday here at the QP.
Here's a description of The Consequence of Skating from the Dzanc website:
Gillis' fourth novel blends politics, drama, ice skating, mountain climbing, the music industry and world affairs--not to mention artificial intelligence and G.O.D.--to create an inimitable tour de force. Centering on Mickey Greene, an actor who has fallen from grace, the novel follows Mick as he maneuvers through a series of adventures that set him on a course of reconstructing his life in a way he never before imagined.
Told entirely through dialogue, this quirky tale of period pirate-wannabes makes a jeu d'esprit of the privateer life even as it baldly de-romanticizes it. Its protagonists, two unnamed brothers (one of whom might not be male), put out to sea from their Nantucket home in 1718 bedazzled by fantasies of gold doubloons and buccaneer booty. Over the next decade, capture by pirates, shipboard slaughter, maiming and dismemberment, slavery,sodomy, shipwreck on a desert island, and getting stranded in the Arctic all follow in due course. Svoboda plays these travails mostly for laughs, presenting them as ongoing pratfalls in the brothers' klutzy comedy of errors. Periodic visits from a mermaid (perhaps their half-sister) and a parrot who steals the scene every time he croaks 'Hanged!' add to the fun.But, really, I always like to have the books speak for themselves.
Here's the Page 99 Test from The Consequence of Skating:
I wake Sunday, face down, still in my clothes, my neck sore from how I've fallen. My head throbs as if beaten with broomsticks, I roll over and the cat purrs, sits on my chest, wants to be fed. I move again and she jumps away. The light through my window comes uninvited. I blink, rub my eyes, wait until I can focus then look around. The bottle I bought on my way back from Dave's lays empty on the floor. There's a cigarette burn on my sheet, a brown hole I don't remember causing. I put my finger in the hole as if this will somehow remind me. It doesn't. The numbers on my clock are red. I blink twice more, read the time, count the hours lost between my leaving Dave's and waking.And here's the Page 69 Test from Pirate Talk or Mermalade:
Get up now and quit your moaning. Best we mop the deck with the blood of the others.
Get up, I say. I think we're the last. No one else is looking alive.
You can move that leg. You can, I saw you move it when that Moor went after you.
See his cutlass, how it shines--it shines like a jewel in a jar.
Move your leg.
Tomorrow. See the light on the edge of it?
I'll move your leg myself then.
Don't scream. Give me your kerchief to stop the blood. And your cutlass.
Not the one I wrested from three brigands and a captain with just your pigknife held between my teeth?
Magnificent, you were. So fierce their eyes didn't blink but you had them shaking. You slashed and slashed. I wondered where you found your piracy so quick, it must be in the family. Now, give me your cutlass.
If you'd like a chance at winning copies of both The Consequence of Skating and Pirate Talk, all you have to do is answer this question:
What's the name of the online literary journal launched by Dzanc Books in August 2009? The answer can be found by clicking HERE.
Email your answer to firstname.lastname@example.org
Put FRIDAY FREEBIE in the e-mail subject line. One entry per person, please. In order to give everyone a fair shake in the contest, please e-mail the answer, rather than posting it in the comments section. The contest closes at midnight on Sept. 23, at which time I will place all the correct respondents in a vintage potato-chip tin (which has been certified and approved for use by the North American Gaming Regulators Association**) and draw the winning name. I'll announce the lucky reader on Sept 24.
*Which, oddly, makes me think of this.
**Not really, but my wife did say it was okay to borrow it from her collection of vintage antiques, as long as I put it back when I was done.