Comment on This Post: Giant Triple Threat Giveaway (Ken Baumann, Marie Calloway, Tao Lin)

I know there was a Tao Lin post x hours ago, but I don’t care. I have books to give away. Want to win free books? Want to grumble? Comment on this post to get one of these:

triple 3

FIRST PRIZE goes to the commenter with the best* comment

SECOND PRIZE goes to the commenter with the worst* comment

THIRD PRIZE goes to the commenter who makes the MOST* comments (bonus for over 100)
each prize will be selected randomly from the (pictured) prize pool of:

Solip by Ken Baumann
what purpose did i serve in your life by Marie Calloway
Taipei by Tao Lin

*as calculated by me

(for the curious, the reason I have these books is that I pre-ordered two out of the three, then received ARCs. i bought two copies of Ken’s because I knew it would be badass)

Web Hype / 157 Comments
June 18th, 2013 / 11:00 pm

The Mean Interview with Ken Baumann, Author of Solip



Shane: As a fourteen year old, you’re extremely accomplished – acting, writing, pornography. Do other kids give you a hard time about your success?

Ken: To clarify: I performed in my last pornographic film at 14. However, I am currently 23 years old. I would get confused about this, too. Right now, I’m unemployed and writing books that will almost definitely burn up in the churning indifferent fires of time. Define success?

Shane: Sex. Drugs. Women. Pigs. God worship. Eat whatever you want and stay skinny. That’s how I would define success and you’ve had it all. Millions of fans watch your show each week. How does it feel to publish a book no one will read? 

Ken: Sex? Well, yes. Okay. Sex is correct. Women? I’m married, but that’s how I like it. So check. Pigs? I eat so much pork, so check. God worship? You mean like I worship a god? Or that I’m worshipped as a god? For the latter, I don’t know if you’d call a gaggle of fourteen year olds in the nascent days of their purchasing abilities as godlike, but god is found in the accidental miracle of life and blah blah blah, I guess. Okay, that counts. But it’s more like “eat whatever I want and get hospitalized” these days. So okay: 4 out of 6. I guess… a few people will read SOLIP? I think it’s sold 100–200 copies. But there could be future Jeffersons in there, bub. Future Jobs’s’s. Future Guy Who Made Penicillin’s!

Shane: Interesting. Very very interesting. You like being interesting.

Ken: …

Shane: What’s the most expensive cup of coffee you’ve bought in Hollywood?

Ken: I don’t drink coffee.

Shane: There’s a video – you, Gian, Blake – dumping coffee on a homeless person.

Ken: The homeless person in question was a paid extra who “desperately” needed his SAG-AFTRA card, and that was not coffee, it was dirt. How can I take this interview seriously if you don’t get the basic facts right?

Shane: Dirt, right. Solip is a rich, challenging, language based text void of narrative with flashes of Salmon Beckers. Tell me, what’s it like to be nominated for a Teen Choice Award?

Ken: Being nominated for a Teen Choice Award and then not winning kind of feels like signing with Penguin and then having your second book fail. You whine about that a lot, right?

Shane: Salmon Beckers, Wallace Sterns, Brent Butters, a lady named Joyce – these are all influences for you. I’m curious, when you talk about these influences, your ideas on philosophy, your marriage to Rumor Willis, what do people find the most annoying to listen to?

Ken: Probably all of it. And I can’t even begin to issue corrections with this one. Do you have a speech-to-typing impediment or something?

Shane: Knock knock 

Ken: Please stop.

Shane: It’s a literary joke. Knock knock. 

Ken: Who’s there.

Shane: Ken Baumann 

Ken: Ken Baumann who?

Shane: That’s what the New York Times said.

Ken: …

Shane: Get it?

Ken: …

Shane: The cover doesn’t have your name, Solip is written very small, and there’s a blurry snail. How upset are you in the printing error?

Ken: You missed the secret message in the cover? Huh.

Shane: Ever skin a goat?

Ken: I’ve skinned a few things, but not a goat. :*(


Shane: When is ABC Family making a show about Solilp? 

Ken: When your mom greenlights it.

Shane: Word association time. I’m going to say something and you write back the first word that pops up in your sex crazed drug filled hollywood head. 

Ken: Sure.

Shane: Ken Baumann.

Ken: Very, very tired.

Shane: Thank you for doing this interview, Ben. Solip is a really artsy, experimental, dense work of poetic prose. I wish you the best of luck with your acting career. 

Ken: …

Author Spotlight / 14 Comments
May 23rd, 2013 / 2:42 pm

A bit more on Susan Sontag and “Against Interpretation”

Tôle irisée de réacteur d'avion

I’m still bogged down with school (almost done) but I thought I’d throw a little something up, pun intended. Two months ago I wrote an analysis of Susan Sontag’s “Against Interpretation” where I argued that, rather than being opposed to all interpretation, as some believe, Sontag was instead opposed to “metaphorical interpretation”—to critics who interpret artworks metaphorically or allegorically. (“When the artist did X, she really meant Y.”) I thought I’d document a few recent examples of this—not to pick on any particular critics, mind you, but rather to foster some discussion of what this criticism looks like and why critics do it (because critics seem to love doing it).

The first example comes from Chicago’s Museum of Contemporary Art, in particular the exhibit “Destroy the Picture: Painting the Void, 1949–1962” (which is up until 2 June). One of the works on display is Gérard Deschamps’s Tôle irisée de réacteur d’avion (pictured above, image taken from here—I didn’t just stretch out a swath of tinfoil on my apartment floor). The placard next to it reads as follows:


Craft Notes / 5 Comments
May 13th, 2013 / 11:13 am


25 Points: Solip

by Ken Baumann
Tyrant Books, 2013
200 pages / $14.95 buy from Amazon or SPD








1. Solip isn’t a novel.

2. If you’re looking for plot, look elsewhere.

3. This might be the single most difficult book to write jacket copy for.

4. This isn’t experimental literature for the sake of experimenting.

5. The book is physically tiny and the front cover is minimalist.

6. There is nothing on the back cover. A wall of black staring at you. No pull quotes or blurbs, and by the second page you realize why: because the book speaks for itself.

7. I read this tiny book in one sitting in a coffee shop amazed by its power and had to go indoors to drown out the outside world to reread it and devour it properly.

8. Baumann’s writing demands your attention. It’s as if he’s bottled up the intensity present in much of online fiction and spread it out over a longer narrative, not losing a beat in the process.

9. The sentences are divine. The language will cast shadows. They will hum to you. Listen closely.

10. The book has a pulse to it, a pulse that beats louder and more pervasively as the text unfolds. READ MORE >

May 7th, 2013 / 3:01 pm