The Many Lives of Donald Westlake – Michael Weinrab on the work of Donald Westlake, for Grantland:
The Outfit is 213 pages, which is actually somewhat long by the standards of the early Parker novels. There are 24 Parker titles in all, and most of the early ones are tight little symphonies of spare and rigid prose, split into four distinct movements; they somehow manage to adhere to a rough formula and still blow your hair back every time. Their tone is brutal and unsentimental, and their themes are Nietzschean to the extreme: People act, without adverbial accompaniment, and the whys and wherefores are utterly beside the point. The protagonist is a career criminal, a sociopathic utilitarian who despises small talk. When someone asks him if he had a good flight to his destination, he thinks, This wasn’t a sensible question. He is concerned entirely with the successful execution of crimes and with his own self-preservation amid this process. One memorable chapter ends with the line, “He buried him in the cellar in the hole the kid had dug himself.”
You can perhaps argue that Ballard missed the big change that was to come just years after his death—the apparent crisis of global capitalism, the shift of industrial and financial production towards the east, and the tightening pressure on the suburban middle classes that this would result in. But the kicking back against these pressures, in the form of the online rebellion and well mannered protest of Anonymous and the Occupy movement, seem to fit perfectly into this description. Both are, in many ways, more of a simulation of a protest than an actual protest themselves—one involves doing little more than clicking a mouse, the other seemingly owing more to music festivals and camping than to hard-fought political resistance.
Let It Bleed – An interview with cartoonist Yoshihiro Tatsumi at Hazlitt:
The parents were really up in arms about these bad books. Manga at that time was different than it is now. It was friendly manga, so little kids could read it too… On the page you have the same number of panels, the people move from left to right and they’re all the same size and it all looks the same on the page… There was no movement or anything like that. We took inspiration from movies, doing zoom shots or close-ups. Using the camera. We wanted to use these techniques in manga, really violent movement. We were trying to move the panels in a realistic kind of way, to make work without lies, true work.
“The truth about publishing is that publishing houses change their names and identities all the time. It’s the nature of this perilous trade. When I started in the business there was a Collins, and there was a Harper & Row. I can’t even remember when it became HarperCollins. There was Doubleday Canada, and all of its imprints, and there was a Random House, and all of its imprints…”
Publishers fail and new publishers emerge to take their place.