Thursday, January 12, 2012

Fobbit update: "The real Iraq War, in all of its bloody, dark, and often hilarious glory"

With every email from my editor at Grove/Atlantic, Fobbit inches closer to the reality of a bound copy held in the palms of my trembling, outstretched hands.  This week, we were e-talking about a plot summary to go on the back cover of the galley copies which will be mailed to a select list of authors who, if all goes well, will say nice things about the novel for publicity purposes.  (Even if they aren't moved to sing Fobbit's praises, I'll just be grateful they took the time to read the book.)  Here's what we came up with:
Of all the fobbits stationed at Baghdad’s Forward Operating Base Triumph, Staff Sergeant Chance Gooding is the fobbitiest. His M-16 is collecting dust, he reads Dickens and Cervantes instead of watching NASCAR with the grunts, and the only piece of Army intelligence he really shows an interest in is the mess hall menu. Gooding works in the base’s public affairs office, furiously tapping out press releases that put a positive slant on the latest roadside bombing or strategic blunder before CNN can break the real story. Another soldier who would spend every day at the FOB if he could is Captain Abe Shrinkle, but unfortunately for him he’s a front-line officer, in charge of a platoon of troops. Abe trembles at any encounter with the enemy and hoards hundreds of care packages, brimming over with baby wipes, foot powder, and erotic letters from bored housewives. When Shrinkle makes a series of ill-judged tactical decisions, he ends up in front of his commanding officers, and Gooding has his work cut out trying to make everything smell like roses....and that’s just the start of the bad news. Gooding and Shrinkle join a cast of characters reminiscent of M*A*S*H and Catch-22 to paint a behind-the-scenes portrait of the real Iraq war, in all of its bloody, dark, and often hilarious glory.

It's still a work-in-progress and will probably expand for the actual final jacket copy, but I thought I'd share it with you to get your reaction.  What do you think?  Is this something that would pique your curiosity enough that you'd walk up to the bookstore counter and plunk down your hard-earned ducats to buy a copy of the book?

As long as we're talking about the embryonic flutterings of Fobbit, I thought I'd also share a sketch I did for a cover-design idea: a battle-clad soldier peeking over an office cubicle.  The brilliant design gods in Grove's Art Department will no doubt come up with something far, far better than this stick-figure attempt of mine, but this is good for shits-n-giggles, as they say in the Army:

Click to enlarge


  1. great summary, sounds like a LOT of fun!!!

  2. Sounds intriguing, David, but like it might be too violent for my taste. Yes, I know, war is of course violent and crazy and insane and funny and much more. I'd certainly pick this up and read some because it does seem as though it has far more than that too.

  3. I like it David. I will personally be purchasing a copy when it is ready for prime time. I must ask, though, if there is a little bit of you in Staff Sgt. Gooding.

  4. Thanks, April!
    And no, there's not "a little bit" of Gooding in me. There's a lot. :)