March 7, 2011

Passing the Torch: Ben Tanzer on Mark Brand

99 Problems, by Ben Tanzer

It's Mark Brand Day at CCLaP! And as part of the celebrations over Mark's new book with the center, the day-after-tomorrow tale Life After Sleep, I've asked fellow local author Ben Tanzer if he might share a few thoughts he's had about the book as well; after all, Ben was the last writer to be published through CCLaP, with his remarkable essay collection on running and writing, the Kindle Store hit 99 Problems, and so it's his book that Life After Sleep is bumping into the dreaded back-catalog archives. (Ah, but don't worry, Ben will be out in cyberspace this spring for a major new 99 Problems virtual book tour; but as always, more on that as we get closer to the date.) Anyway, here's what Ben had to say about Mark's book; and of course I thank him for taking the time to sit and write this out in the first place.

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There is the belief that we should temper our reaction to things, that caveats are required, and biases should be identified, that it's okay to love something as long as we explain how and why that love may be impacted by the personal, by history and preferences. But I would rather not take that approach to things. I suppose this eliminates any hope I have of being perceived as any kind of legitimate critic, but being a critic has never been the goal. In fact my primary goal is to embrace the sheer fanboyness of my day to day existence and not be so embarrassed by my exuberance for the things I love and that which I have any kind of personal association with.

Which brings me to Life After the Sleep, the new book by Mark Brand which is being released by the Chicago Center for Literature and Photography. Mark Brand and I are friends. We have read together and edited one another's work. Mark Brand is also quite attractive, and I, like you are drawn to attractive people, that's just evolution so please don't fault me for that. Mark Brand writes science fiction, love the science fiction, always have, and that's not changing.

Further, CCLaP has released two joints of mine and I am indebted to them for that. CCLaP's director Jason Pettus and I have drank any number of beers together and I greatly appreciate his discerning and critical eye, even when we disagree, which isn't often, but it happens.

Hello, Requiem for a Dream. What the fuck?

But I digress.

I am also drawn to any author that matures with his work and grows more nuanced as his vision expands, as well as, any publisher who understands what he likes, yet continues to try and capture that like in as many disparate ways as possible.

Which also brings me to Life After Sleep, a book by a maturing, and yes, dammit, attractive writer, being published by an ever evolving publisher, and my unabashed excitement by all facets of this project, none of which should diminish the work itself, a comment on who we are now and where we might be, but still remains grounded in all things recognizable as real, work stress, PTSD, family dynamics, and mostly, finally, sleep, how we get it, why we need it, and what happens when we can't find it, something else I am terribly biased about, but as I said, I'm no critic, I'm a fanboy, and I am all fan when it comes to this book and all it represents.

Filed by Jason Pettus at 1:22 PM, March 7, 2011. Filed under: CCLaP Publishing | CCLaP news | Literature | Reviews |