Literary References to Don DeLillo and Other Postmodern Fiction Influences

Bret Easton Ellis’ Glamorama references Don DeLillo’s Mao II (Semtex…made in Czechoslovakia). Jonathan Lethem’s Chronic City references Don DeLillo’s White Noise (paraphrase: how do you even get around in this world, without even a great internist; “How do you even get along in the world…” this discussion being had by super obsessive pop culture academics). Jonathan Lethem’s Chronic City references Thomas Pynchon’s Crying of Lot 49 (ex-child actor star), etc, Bret Easton Elllis is name-dropped, a tribute to David Foster Wallace (Ralph Warden Meeker), etc, seeing the big hulking tiger like seeing the tiger in Don DeLillo’s book Names, watching the shapes of flocks of birds out the window like in, I forget, Don DeLillo’s Names or Mao II.

In turn Thomas Pynchon’s Inherent Vice references Jonathan Lethem’s Gun with Occasional Noise (private eye book with cabal of sinister dentists, unless they’re both referencing some old gumshoe trope I don’t know about). The first chapter quote (what do you call those pages before each chapter in a book where an author puts in quotes from other sources?) in David Mitchell’s Number 9 Dream is from Don DeLillo’s Americana. Inherent Vice name drops Dark Shadows several times which in my mind heavily influenced Twin Peaks. Mad Men is very similar in concept to the first few chapters of Don DeLillo’s Americana and part of Underworld with all of the NYC TV and ad executives.

In turn all of these books I think share some commonalities with the great Breakfast of Champions by Kurt Vonnegut and books by Philip K. Dick. I always thought Kilgore Trout was inspired by Philip K Dick but it appears he was based on Theodore Sturgeon

Name some more in the comments!


Scanning Textbooks into Free PDF Files; DL Ashliman’s Guide to Folktales in the English Language

New York Times: First It Was Song Downloads. Now It’s Organic Chemistry.

AFTER scanning his textbooks and making them available to anyone to download free, a contributor at the file-sharing site composed a colorful message for “all publishers” of college textbooks, warning them that “myself and all other students are tired of getting” ripped off. (The contributor’s message included many ripe expletives, but hey, this is a family newspaper.)

I’m putting out an open call for people to scan in DL Ashliman’s A Guide to Folktales in the English Language: Based on the Aarne-Thompson Classification System (Bibliographies and Indexes in World Literature) (Hardcover).

It’s an invaluable resource for creative types everywhere, from storywriters, script writings, academics, visual artists, Star Wars fans, etc. It basically breaks down and categorizes myths, folktales, fiction into various types of plots and themes. It was published in 1987, the publishers have CRIMINALLY already let it lapse out of print, and copies are going for $300! Come on you free book scanners, have at it. $300? Bah! Reprint this book, or they will set it free!

Anyone have access to one of these mechanized page turning scanners?

LA Times: Bret Easton Ellis

LA Times: Bret Easton Ellis, two decades beyond ‘Zero’

“I think in the last five years or so there’s been a rather ominous silence,” said Jonathon Keats, a San Francisco critic and artist who admires Ellis’ work. “It seems like Ellis has never been given the benefit of a test of time. He’s gone from being poster boy for everything extreme to a name that’s quaintly nostalgic — a moment from the past.”

But talk to some of the more serious writers of his generation and a different picture emerges.

Many see him as an overlooked figure, one whose literary heft grows with time. It may be that like a lot of things that emerge from California, the style and vision of Ellis’ work creates problems for East Coast intellectuals, but will become as enduring as psychedelia, surfing, the hard-boiled novel or fast food.

A.O. Scott, the New York Times film critic who is working on a book about contemporary American fiction, considers 1991’s “American Psycho,” a skewering of ’80s greed sometimes seen as an endorsement of it, “one of the most misunderstood books in all of American literature.” For Scott, “Glamorama,” which got scathing reviews, is a book that “in 100 years might be understood as a masterpiece,” the work that presaged the combustion between the Internet and celebrity.

It’s totally true, Glamorama, a great book, totally predated and predicted the rise of the ga-ga crazy paparazzi internet TMZ Perez Hilton Lindsey Lohan Nicole Simpson celebrity TV/news/celeblog culture going on currently…AND it has crazy predictions of a 9-11 type thing going on with bad guys and airplanes, etc…another very, very misunderstood and underrated book.

Bret Easton Ellis’ writing is very misunderstood sometimes, he has a great amount of control and style–he has such fine control over style that you have to look for subtle shifts where you realize he is writing in certain ways, which may seem boring or pedantic or whatever, but is actually finely crafted and tailored to fit the scene and fits the character, the style is actually an active, changing part of the storyline, responding to characters and situations, rather than a constant throughout the book–though I think he kind of overplayed this in the first quarter or half of Lunar Park, where the style and plot are rather boring and mundane, and kind of overtly ridiculous, in an intentional way, to reflect the mundane life of the protagonist, and the style and plot pick up quick rather quite grandly later on. That went way over people’s heads…it took me a few attempts to get through it myself.

By the way, any fan of Bret Easton Ellis has to read Don Delillo, his books such as White Noise and Cosmopolis are amazing and much of the writing and dialogue is witty, well observed, in a postmodern vein which may appeal to fans of Bret Easton Ellis’ best passages. Very trenchant and observant.