Thursday, February 16, 2017

BYE, BYE, SAY EARTH'S CORPORATIONS, 2250 relocation to PARADISE GARDENS (April 20th)

Advance review of PARADISE GARDENS New Edition. First TRUMPTOPIA? Anyone interested in reading this book, please don't get the old edition. This is the definitive new edition with significant new material, original illustrations, preface w/historical context, Q&A, and reedited text.  Thanks for considering.
S.W.

Feb 20, 2017Carla Sarett on GoodReads
Upton Sinclair meets Philip Dick in Susan Weinstein's dark, dystopian novel, which is illustrated by the author. In it, a quasi-messianic real estate mogul creates an underground "paradise" from which to escape an ecologically damaged world. There's not much joy here-- predictably, even sex is sanitized (but it's still around) and life is organized through a database. The novel spans centuries, shifting back and forth; as characters appear and re-appear, no happier or wiser than when we last met them. Personalities are bleached out, in this grim, corporatized future in which a "lucky" few get to live in a joyless Paradise, and the rest are left to fend for themselves or fight. It's no secret who seems worse off. A timely, ambitious novel

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:




PELEKINESIS TO PUBLISH PRESCIENT PARADISE GARDENS, AN ORWELLIAN NOVEL

“From the infinitely imaginative mind of Susan Weinstein, Paradise Gardens spins a fabulous web. Clever, funny, serious, and prescient. Lovers of Aldous Huxley's and Margaret Atwood's dystopias are in for a satisfying treat."
Sonia Taitz, award-winning author of The Watchmaker’s Daughterand Great with Child.

In the 1980s of Reagan’s America, Susan I. Weinstein wrote PARADISE GARDENS, an Orwellian speculative fiction that imagined a corporate feudal world, the United Business Estates, after the Federal government dissolved amid ecological breakdown. In the 2250s, Nate Greenfield, real estate visionary, with the help of P.R. maven Madge Chilton, sells corporate business on his “eden underground.” Left behind are the Unconnected, people outside corporate protection. Capitalism has devolved into feudalism so total, that employees are conceived to fit the needs of business.

Suspended between the settings of 2250s on the Earth’s surface and 3011s underground, chapters alternate with a revolving cast of characters. Fates are determined by the Psychologicians, who manage the civilization’s data base. Yet, when model employee Janet McCarthy finds herself caught in a web of alternate identities, only her lover Michael can attempt to cut her loose. At stake, is the reset of the planet. In this cautionary near-future, Upton Sinclair’s classic It Can’t Happen Here, has already happened. It is a vision at once strange and familiar. For instance, though written pre- Internet, there are Information Pirates dedicated to keeping facts free.





“It may look like a vintage filing
cabinet on wheels, but it’s a supercomputer
capable of retaining the
genetic information of the human
race and the requirements of your
corporation. Not just projections of
how many individuals will be needed
for your work, but the qualities of
those individuals and the number
of people essential to consume your
products"

PARADISE GARDENS is the second of three groundbreaking novels by Susan I. Weinstein to be released by independent publishing house Pelekinesis. The Anarchist’s Girlfriend (Dec.) and Tales of the Mer Family Onyx (June) complete her new definitive editions. Each includes a beautiful new layout, preface, visual material and other expanded content.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Susan I. Weinstein is a writer, playwright, and painter. Paradise Gardens was read in-progress, at the original Dixon Place and at Darinka, whose archive is now part of NYU’s Fales Library and Special Collections. Pelekinesis published the new definitive editions of The Anarchist’s Girlfriend (2016) and Paradise Gardens (2017), previously serialized by maglomaniac.com. Susan’s short fiction and poetry have appeared in literary magazines, such as The Metric and The Portable Lower East Side. Currently, she is at work on a WWII novel based on blacked out V-mail.

NEW EDITION of Paradise Gardens by Susan I. Weinstein
Publication Date: April 20, 2017
ISBN: 978-1-938349-50-8
Suggested Retail Price: $21.95
http://pelekinesis.com/catalog/susan_weinstein-paradise_gardens.html
Pelekinesis full catalog and ordering information available at www.pelekinesis.com
To pre-order book directly:  https://squareup.com/store/pelekinesis/item/paradise-gardens-by-susan-i
weinstein


WHY THIS BOOK NOW?  Read preface if so inclined.

Preface to Paradise Gardens

It was the age of Reagan, 1980s, when I began Paradise Gardens. I had just read a book on how capitalism evolved from feudalism and was living in "Morning in America." I began to imagine capitalism devolving into a modern corporatized feudalism, as a conservative ideal of America. Originally entitled Inside the U.R.S. (The United Religious System), the novel was written as a cautionary tale, since this was a time of ascendancy for far-right religious groups. Some were believers in the rapture, the apocalypse and rise to heaven of the faithful--after the 4 horsemen did their work. It seemed those in power were doing all they could to accelerate the end times.

Whether messianic or fiscal ideals, they manifested in actions, such as closing mental hospitals and having patients on the streets with no treatment. A vague plan for patients being integrated into "the community" never occurred. Benefiting corporations, stockholders and generally wealthy individuals was the higher objective. They had risen, because they were superior beings. It was a point of government to serve the elite doing the deity's work. Ayn Rand was again in vogue, along with a social Darwinism.

This attitude trickled down, not any financial benefit to average people, from huge tax breaks and unfettered business. I remember a casual conversation at a bar with a Wall Street investment banker. He told me, quite earnestly, that I should leave my rent-controlled apartment. I was preventing the real estate from achieving its market destiny. I was impeding the greater good of business. So before 1984, in this environment (an ethos culminating in 1987's "Greed is Good" in Wall Street), I began to dream Paradise Gardens.

The novel began with an image of a young woman in a corporate office, who was a model employee. In that time, I worked temp jobs in corporations and had a publishing job in the devilishly numbered 666 Fifth Ave building, which had a lush red carpet. I also was a publicist for Bluejay Books, which focused on science fiction classics in beautiful hard covers.

I was a literary person, who had an interest in utopias, from Thomas More's to America's Utopian experiments, from the Shakers to communes in the 1960s. Writing press kits and talking to people like Harlan Ellison, Vernor Vinge (whose True Names anticipated the Internet), and most of all Theodore Sturgeon, widened my idea of classics.

Sturgeon, who started out wanting to be a fiction writer for The New Yorker, fairly invented in the '50s the genre of something weird in the suburbs. Spielberg once acknowledged that if he hadn't read Sturgeon in his youth, he would not have made his suburban movies (his E.T. is a direct cousin of Sturgeon's story, "It!") Sturgeon also inspired Vonnegut's janitor Kilgore Trout (one of his various roles in Vonnegut novels). Science fiction could be literary and down to earth. I read Philip K. Dick and remember how Time Out of Joint blasted the complacency of day-to-day life. I could see the direct line from Kafka's Penal Colony to Dick's Man in the High Castle.

But my roots are in social realists, Zola and the Americans, Dreiser, Dos Passos, and Sinclair Lewis. Lewis' It Can't Happen Here is a cautionary tale about fascism, through America's Jaycees and Lions Clubs. Patriotism is flacked by a president, an Ad Man selling America a bill of goods. It was written in the thirties and I considered it a period piece, though a very plausible one. Paradise Gardens has an edge of satire and Dick's wide-ranging freedom of invention. This story grew, was improvised, cut back and redrafted for about ten years.

Paradise Gardens is a dark book. It begins when the Earth's surface is too polluted to support human life. In the wake of the dissolution of the Old Federal government, corporations flee underground to the ultimate real estate project Paradise Gardens.

I have been haunted by what occurs, because it is lived by characters who became real to me. And as the story was always present, in the back of my mind, I dreamed segments, as well as imagined them awake. The characters evolved their world in my consciousness. Before it was serialized, I found I had to update things that had already occurred in my book, before they happened in reality. The World Trade Center is partially destroyed, the Information Pirates, their billboards and missions to preserve facts, operated before there was an Internet. Some things had to be updated for our time.

Now we find ourselves at what to the apocalyptic seems the beginning of the end of our democracy, with a president-elect who has sold angry voters what appears to be another bill of dubious goods. To the more pragmatic, this presidency just means four years of a regressive agenda--yet it's crucial for the international climate crisis, which can't be undone. Like all dystopians, I hope that reality does not continue to merge with my fiction.

If a cautionary tale has a function, it raises consciousness of what can happen--to ward it off. This novel may be the equivalent of shamanic practices, where a tribe wards off a disaster by transferring negative energy to an object. Some also use earth to cleanse negative energy, water or fire to change its nature. Knowledge for any society is the best protection. And in our time, perhaps negative visualization has a function. This novel can purge our fear, allow a passage for changing dark "unthinkable" visualization to a positive future. Paradise Gardens is a passage and at the end, there is unity--of people, place, and nature.

S.W.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Peter Cherches' entertaining AUTOBIOGRAPHY WITHOUT WORDS, metaphysical sleight of hand, slapstick and shtick






This "book will consist solely of blank pages in white and black and shades of gray..." begins an untitled page after the table of contents in Peter Cherches' AUTOBIOGRAPHY WITHOUT WORDS. Conceptual put-on or truth about a life? That's the knowing metaphysical sleight of hand of this book, along with slapstick and shtick. It is as though Borges worked with Monsieur Hulot, while smoking George Burns' cigar.

Cherches, called by Publishers Weekly "one of the innovators of the short short story," in just a few lines to a few pages entertains with stories from his life. Here are childhood perceptions, food and smells, as well as adult travels to India and Mars. In Cherches' progressive life, the real and surreal meld together, in a consciousness that sees around corners. There's a thin line between memoir and fiction and this book plays with it.

In Part I, Cherches, the adult, sees a group of kids, who look exactly like his childhood friends, talking of Sandy Koufax. One comes up and says he looks like their friend Peter, "If he was an old bald guy, that is." In another story, Martin Scorsese is making a film about young Peter Cherches and Peter objects to the actor playing his earlier self.  Another story, through the eyes of a two year old self, explains how he knew his father died, when his apartment shrunk. 

Part 2 finds the adult Peter investigating perplexing situations. More often than not these lead to new unanswered questions. There's the Chinese restaurant, which he lost on a trip to the restroom. When he recovers the place, his party of friends are in exactly the same continuum time and space. Cherches' dreams and waking life intersect in a the Mars story, a sly send-up of a classic Twilight Zone episode. They also intersect in one of my favorites:

YOUR LANDLINE IS DEAD

I canceled my land line about four years ago, but for some reason I never removed my old phone from the jack in the wall. I had completely forgotten about the phone until the other morning, when it rang, How could this be? I wondered. I've canceled my service. I picked up the phone, "Hello?"

No voice on the other end, just silence. "Hello?" I asked again. Still nothing.
I hung up. Must be some crossed line or something, I figured.
I returned to what I was doing when the phone rang again. I picked it up. "Hello?"
Still nothing. "Anybody there?"  I asked. Nothing. I hung up.

It didn't ring again until about two years later. "Hello?"
Nothing. I hung up and unplugged the phone from the wall jack.

Then my cell phone rang. I picked it up.
"Your land line is dead," the voice said. I recognized the voice. It was a friend who had died three years ago in a car crash.

"Jim?" I said.
"Your land line is dead," Jim replied. Then he hung up.

Pelekinesis publishes this singular book in March. http://pelekinesis.com/catalog/peter_cherches-autobiography_without_words.html.

(Borges, Argentinian writer, poet, essayist, known for contributions to philosophy and fantasy. Monsieur Hugo, comedian Jacques Tati's creation of an every man, whose adventures involved clashes w/technology and problems of living in an impersonal world. George Burns, comedian and vaudevillian.)








Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Climate truth hard to find. Affects you. Real energy jobs, survival of your kids. Read & consider denier Scott Pruitt.


https://www.nps.gov/subjects/climatechange/culturalresourcesstrategy.htm?platform=hootsuite


LOOK at China's Cities, our future with Climate Denier Scott Pruitt. Call your Senators, if you understand what denial means to you now, and the future of our Earth--survival of your kids and grand kids..

If you only care about today and making money, understand permanent jobs in alternative energy are good paying and last a lifetime. Fossil fuels damn the planet, your health and won't last. 

Do you think Fossil Fuel Billionaires in their 70s and 80's want new industry or retraining? Will
your water and air be a consideration? They don't even want you to read the above report.


Senators on natural resources and energy committee will question and vote on the climate denier Scott Pruitt to head EPA.
Urge them to include science facts in their questioning and to get on the record about the dangers of climate change. 
(Reported that grants for scientific research through the EPA have already been frozen.)

SW


Wednesday, January 11, 2017

WHY ARE THE WOMEN (AND MEN) MARCHING? REAL ISSUES & QUOTES HERE


WHY ARE THE WOMEN MARCHING?

White women and women of color, old and young, are marching in Washington, D.C. and other cities.There are also men marching in support of the same objectives. Why are they marching? Women have the right to vote, they can work and retain their wages, own property, and inherit..'What more do they want ?' A traditional conservative might ask. I suggest journalists ask the question. Here are some quotes.

One says she is marching to "show the Trump administration, they have no mandate to take actions that are not what the majority want. Another says, "I am marching to ensure that issues important to women are given voice: pro choice and maintaining Roe v. Wade, better education, climate change legislation..."

"The march allows people to stand together in solidarity to support and protect the rights, safety, respect and equality of all people. ."

"All women deserve access to health care."

"Media who want to see  the March as divisive are taking the easy road. The March is a stand for the expansion of women's and other minority rights (not a diminuation) and for us all to be treated as equals financially, socially and physically. Trump's team seems to want to roll that back (viewing it-like many men-as freedoms "bestowed" on women or others BY white men)-it's wrong thinking all around."

Friday, December 30, 2016

The Reykjavik Assignment (Adam LeBor) & Lady Claire is All That (Maya Rodale), Thriller & Romance with brilliant superwomen, who are also every woman


 

These two novels could not be more unalike, yet there is an affinity worth considering. Both feature brilliant heroines, kind of super women, who are also every woman. Yael Azoulay in Adam LeBor's thriller, THE REYKJAVIK ASSIGNMENT (Harper Collins) lives in the world of geopolitics. A covert United Nations negotiator, who happens to be beautiful, she is highly trained in combat and negotiations with an insider's knowledge of diplomacy and media. Dedicated to her boss, the U.N. Secretary General, she is hyper-aware that his survival, as well as her own, hinges on her ability to counter fast-moving plots and players. They surround her in this novel.

Yael's in the cross-hairs of a dangerous ex-lover and the leader of a shadowy corporate group, which thrives on political chaos. A deadly sniper wreaks havoc and people close to her boss die. When she learns of a plot against him, Yael decides to go to a conference in Reykjavik. She's following a hunch. Though Yael's opponents and friends underestimate her intuitive gifts, which have led her into questionable situations, they also underlie stunning victories. Yael both distrusts her insights and knows they are usually on target.

Ethics and necessity war in her psyche, along with her feelings for her estranged family. At 35, Yael is lonely and aware her profession has made a personal life impossible, She yearns for a meaningful relationship--a home beyond work. In the REYKJAVIK ASSIGNMENT, personal and political forces converge in Iceland's lava fields. As Yael claws her way toward the climax of this incredibly suspenseful saga, you never know whether "surprise" will be friend or foe.

Yael's insecurities about her looks and abilities are familiar to many women. Like them, she's introspective and tries to put negative feelings in perspective. What's extraordinary is her ability to stay a course she believes right, no matter the obstacles or risks. This courage makes her a threat in a world run mostly by men with women who do their bidding. These men are brutal against a female operative, who knows her own mind and will "go rogue" to succeed. Yael is both superwoman and every woman. This is the last volume of LaBor's trilogy. I want to read the others.

LADY CLAIRE IS ALL THAT by Maya Rodale (Avon Books) is a perfect bonbon of a romantic novel. She injects life into that old trope about the attraction of beauty to brains by reversing the sexes. Claire Cavendish is both gifted and obsessed with mathematics. But, as luck would have it, her world is the "ton" aristocracy of Regency London. When Claire's brother unexpectedly inherits a Dukedom, she persuades him to leave their horse farm in America and seek the advantages of his title. With her parents deceased, Claire's concern is for her young sisters, who would benefit from social and educational opportunities not possible in colonial America.  London also offers Claire a chance to meet another Duke, a famous mathematician whose work she has studied.

Her aunt sets about finding husbands for her nieces. The London social whirl, the primary vehicle for obtaining suitable marriages, has prescribed modes of behavior and dress. While her sisters enjoy the elaborate dresses and hair, Claire sticks to plain clothes,hair, and her spectacles. She talks about math at the parties, hoping to meet the mathematical Duke. Instead she meets Lord Fox, a handsome charming, athletic man with no apparent intellectual interests. While he believes himself irresistible to women, Claire believes he's quite taken with himself. Her lack of interest, not the whimpering and swooning he expects, is compounded by her frank way of talking.

She actually asks him why he's bothering her. Fox is puzzled. Most women, except the one who recently jilted him, think him a catch and this blue-stocking spinster should be grateful. Worse yet, she's right, he would not be bothering, except he's made a damnable bet that he can win Claire over and make her an attractive popular woman to their set. The only headway he makes is when he reveals that the mathematical Duke is a friend and offers to escort her to a "deadly" lecture at the Mathematics Society.

This is a very fun set-up. Claire, in a manner most unbecoming a woman, beats the lords at a card-game. Worse yet, it's obviously not beginner's luck but skill at numbers and she enjoyed winning. Then there's the lecture. When ladies were seated at the back, Claire stood to engage the speakers in mathematical questions. She does earn both the famous Duke's admiration and a scandalous mention in the papers.

Just being herself, Claire's outrageous. Her brilliance stands out as does her lack of interest in society's approval. Yet when she decides to conform, she also proves a marvel at strategy. She is a super woman in her intellectual abilities and self confidence. But like many women, she seeks the success of her family before her own.  And she has been so preoccupied with helping her younger sisters adjust, she hadn't factored in what she needs. Though she disapproves of Fox in many ways, between them there is an unmistakable physical chemistry, she can't control.

This is a very enjoyable sexy romance. It's inspired by the real Ada, Countess of Lovelace, considered the first computer programmer. The author's note says Ada worked with Charles Babbage and developed the first algorithm to be carried out by his Analytical Machine.  I liked the context for Claire's brilliance. This novel is also part of a series, Keeping up with the Cavendishes. I had fun with it without reading the others.

S.W






Wednesday, December 28, 2016

THE ANARCHIST, intro to The Anarchist's Girlfriend new edition






Introduction to  THE ANARCHIST'S GIRLFRIEND, Excerpted in debut issue of The Portable Lower East Side. 1984.

Somewhere along the Bowery, in a basement, a red-haired Irishman wears his eternal black suit. Somewhere in Chelsea, a Russian defector has a twin brother. Somewhere in midtown Manhattan, a switchboard operator is going on her night shift. She carries a little video cam. She doesn't know what it is filming. She assumes it will collage to a logical sequence of related images that will have meaning by juxtaposition. She doesn't know if this is so, but it doesn't matter; not to this girl who lived for American rock ’n’ roll blaring incongruously over a Greek coastal town. She doesn't matter, to anyone in that isolated fishing village she left at 17.

THE ANARCHIST
The Irishman works without a green card in a health foods restaurant. He likes beansprouts, nuts, and most goat cheeses. He also silkscreens posters in his basement at night. His long, white fingers are smudged with raw, red ink. The poster glows, DO YOU WANT TO KILL YOUR BOSS? It’s very prettily designed, it's graphically appealing. It ends with a handshake.

The Anarchist examines the new poster, frowning at the quality. His silkscreen is fraying. He thinks of a specialist who prints with an expensive offset lithograph machine, realizing there's a certain quality of poster you need in New York to be noticed. The specialist, who amuses the Anarchist, is fascinated by the “Spy vs. Spy” comic of the raincoated anarchist. His favorite episode is when the spy attempts to throw a bomb sticky with adhesive, ending up a very charred cartoon man. Once he embarrassed himself, by expecting the Anarchist to agree to the cartoon's subversive nature. "I mean, it's anarchistic, even if the magazine still makes money on it.”
The redhead laughed, "Anachronistic, you mean.”

THE ANARCHIST’S GIRLFRIEND
The Anarchist's Girlfriend is from Brooklyn. She's apolitical. She works as a Go-Go Dancer for sixty dollars a night. She sews unusual ideas of what people could wear, might wear, perhaps will wear, in the next century at least. She can combine textures, styles, and periods to come up with any particular feeling in a short while. This is how she “positions” her creations. The Anarchist disapproves, since he is very careful how and where he positions his posters.

"One must have the largest audience possible!” he often admonishes her, "Who will buy these?"
She always answers with conviction, ''Museums of the Future. Underneath a holographic fashion cube a small latex placard will say, ANONYMOUS DESIGNER, 1980, DATE APPROXIMATE WITH TEUTONIUM 90.”

The Anarchist's Girlfriend has short blonde hair cut like Kim Novak and a ski slope nose under the largest, softest, otherworldly eyes. Though her heart is strong, she has very thin shoulders, and delicate highly-tuned nerves. Luckily, she is blessed with second sight. When the men hoot at her Go-Go Act, she excuses their ignorance. In her mind's eye, she is wearing a demure black dress.
In accordance with her futuristic visions, she dropped her name several years ago. She told her friends, “Oh, I don't have to carry it on; several others are listed the same way.” To tell the truth, she believed there would be no such designation in the future. Presently, she preferred the privacy of being known by how people referred to her. Since they often identified her by boyfriends, she became the AG, the Anarchist’s Girlfriend. She doesn't mind the abbreviation as she treasures her friends who entrust her with all their tragedies.


Chapter 1 Excerpt, Sandy Before the Boards.
“Dust is used to test the circuitry in missiles. If a microdot is present in any electrical component, it could misfire to the wrong continent. But it could never happen.”
“You don’t sound convinced.”

(Part of a conversation between "Mr.Dio" and Sandy an answering service operator in THE ANARCHIST'S GIRLFRIEND. In reality, he was an exec, who confessed to an office temp.)

This is a fiction based on fact. While the events in the novel are mostly fiction, many of the characters are based on real people. And there are conversations, like this one that actually happened. Interview has more info about this novel.

S.W.

http://carlasarett.blogspot.com/

Today’s author interview is with Susan Weinstein, whose underground classic, THE ANARCHIST’S GIRLFRIEND is being released in a definitive new edition from Pelekinesis. The wacky novel combines themes of terrorism, metaphysics and conspiracies and I gobbled it up.  

Here is some background on Susan:

Susan I. Weinstein is a writer, playwright, and painter—and a graduate of Temple University's Tyler School of Art. She is married and lives in NYC.  Susan has made her living publicizing books on arts, social and political issues, among other topics, for mainstream, small and university presses. Her review blog is

SARETT:  I love writers who use comedy to address darker issues of identity and meaning -- and you do this remarkably well in The Anarchist’s Girlfriend.  What’s the biggest challenge in keeping it funny?
Weinstein: Keeping a perspective and not getting lost in the dark.  I think humor is perspective.  There’s a Moliere quote that’s stuck in my mind. It’s something like, if you look at life with your heart it’s a tragedy. If you look at it with your mind, it’s a comedy.  

SARETT: Are there any writing rules that you secretly enjoy breaking?
Weinstein: Believability and likeability. I don’t think there’s a good writer who has those in mind or is sure what they mean, when they get down to work. Write what you know is another shibboleth.  A person may understand what it’s like to live on Mars, without knowing how they know that.  I think Ursula LeGuin has debunked quite a few rules.  

SARETT: You’ve mentioned that Dostoyevsky's The Idiot prompted your invention of the other-worldly Anarchist’s Girlfriend.  As I read, many of these characters seemed like people I’d met in downtown Manhattan.  What was the mix of real vs. invented?
Weinstein:  I lived in a Bowery loft down the street from Nan Goldin.  One of her roommates, Jan, drew incredible comic strips and made clothes of the future. An Irish Anarchist silkscreened peace posters in a basement down the street.  Mr. Dio was real, as was the Arizona Dust. I met him on a temp job. (He called me into his office to confess his fears that the dust used to store missiles would misfire.)   The Llama is a composite with a good deal of Werner Erhard. Wes Mavine is based on an artist/businessman, whom I threw a broom at, after he fired me.   

As for Sandy: I worked as a switchboard operator. My clients did include a church suicide prevention center, a prostitution ring, a dog grooming place. I once was crossing the street when a van stopped and the driver fell out in an epileptic fit. I directed traffic, as did the Anarchist's Girlfriend.   

SARETT:  You poke holes though pseudo-spiritualism, yet there's no doubt that the Anarchist's Girlfriend has psychic ability.  Do you believe in such powers or is this a literary conceit?   
Weinstein: Both.  I believe some people have abilities we call psychic.  I think they are often stronger in childhood and diminish. I think these abilities are based on science we don’t understand. The Maimonides Dream Institute in the late 1960’s proved the existence of dream telepathy—these experiments were published by Penguin. I read it because I experienced this as an adolescent. I dreamed a series of pop songs, before they came out!

SARETT:  The wacky humor, and inventive plotting of the novel reminded me of Thomas Pynchon. Were you a fan of his?  Other stylistic muses?  
Weinstein: I read some Pynchon but I read all of John Dos Passos's USA Trilogy.  The character, The Anarchist's Girlfriend, is a kind of blond descendent of Nana and Sister Carrie, though her soul's akin to Dostoyevsky's The Idiot.  I like Bret Harte's Western humor in relating tragic events. Then there is science fiction: Philip K. Dick's Time Out of Joint and Theodore Sturgeon's IT.

SARETT: The novel is set in the New York of the early eighties, and yet it seems remarkably pertinent to our current obsessions with terrorism.  If you were setting today, what changes (aside from sky high rents), would you envision for the story?
Weinstein: The New York of 2016 is far less idiosyncratic, more collective, hive-like than before.  Today, every terrorist act seems calculated-- most are players with a larger cultural agenda.  Now I might show how cell phones and social media affect thinking.  For instance, a desperate personal act like the Anarchist’s, would not be attempted in his insular way with no intention of hurting anyone.  Similarly, Sandy’s operation would be a different grandiose project.  She might be a career oriented performance artist—and the outcome of her operation would be subverted by her "contacts."  The Anarchist's Girlfriend might be a fashion muse, the Anarchist, a designer of brand logos, Wayne a news blogger.  

SARETT:  Your characters have such detailed, rich lives—it must have been difficult to let them go.  Do you ever wonder about their fates?  Did you contemplate a sequel?
Weinstein:  I am attached to these characters.  But they occupy a specific time and place.  The Anarchist's Girlfriend's passage is from innocence to maturity. And all the characters experience a crucial passage.  The ending shows the shape of some futures--Wayne's, the AG, The Anarchist, The Llama and Sandy. I can imagine them waking up in our time in the altered roles I described but no sequel.

SARETT:  This novel has an interesting publishing history--colorful in itself.  Tell us a little about its evolution.  Is the new version revised?  
Weinstein: I read and performed chapters of this novel in art bars/clubs and at marathon benefits for zines. It evolved slowly over several years.  The introduction appeared in the 1984 debut issue of "The Portable Lower East Side," now in NYU’s collection.  The evolving MS attracted the notice of several notable editors, but was never picked up.  Years later, I gave an editor my ONLY copy (by then on unplayable diskettes.)  She loved it, but not for her press. Worse yet, she had trashed it (assuming no one was idiotic enough to send an original.) I got the box before the trash was picked up!   2000's, Eat Your Serial Press published it, but it was not a "professional" launch.   

Now, finally, the book is getting a proper release with a small, literary press.  The Pelekinesis book is a new edition—edited, with a new preface and visuals.     

SARETT:  I’m always seeking new (or forgotten) writers.  Any books that you’d like recommend to our blog readers?  
Weinstein:
Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Writing Across the Landscape
Konundrum: Selected Prose of Franz Kafka selected and translated by Peter Wortsman
Edith Nesbit:  her books inspired Lewis' Narnia series and The Wizard of Oz books.  Her fantasy is wise about innocence. The Story of The Story of the Amulet, 5 Children and IT, The Magic City

SARETT:  What’s up next?  Any projects in the works?
Weinstein: I am finishing new material for the 2017 New Editions: Paradise Gardens, which takes place in 2050 on the Earth's surface and 3011 underground; and Tales of The Mer Family Onyx:  Mermaid Stories on Land and Under the Sea.   I have a new novel based on blacked-out v-mail-- plus a play to finish and marketing of another, "The Wapshot Whatever."

Learn more about Susan:
Twitter @swpubrel


ORDER from Pelekenesis here 
ALSO available at Barnes and Noble  and Amazon


 Good Reads!  The Anarchist's Girlfriend New Edition, debut 12/11
 
by 
3872950
's review
Oct 28, 2016

it was amazing
Read from October 22 to 28, 2016

This is a wildly entertaining novel-- seriously wacky, inventive and original. The plot manages to incorporate three different weird (Pynchonese) conspiracies/groups-- each well-drawn, persuasive and fresh- and naturally, they collide. The author draws their self-enclosed realities with pitch-perfect comedy; -and I loved the absence of traditional, hackneyed corporate villains, cops, etc. Also, the details of downtown arty Manhattan are sharp and funny. All in all, a joyride.






THE ANARCHIST'S GIRLFRIEND NYC late 1970s to early 1980s
She walked this Bowery. The loft she shared was on the other side of the truck.
In book there's an episode with a Mayflower Van that happened at that 4th st.
and Bowery intersection. Further down the street...

Here's a Paul the Book Interview, about life vs. fictional life in the Anarchist's Girlfriend and Pelekinesis Press talking small press and New Edition.  Amazon is still offering the Serial version at dirt cheap prices, but the New Edition is simply much better.  It's not just a reprint. So if you have interest. Below is the podcast. And thanks.
QUOTES ABOUT PARADISE GARDENS

One of the most disturbing yet oddly funny science fiction/dystopian sagas I've ever read. When corporations have wrung every drop out of nature and mankind has no other option but to build entire communities underground, how do you spin it to make it seem like a dream destination? You call it Paradise Gardens of course and you sell it like everything else. When we have no natural water, no natural food, and even the wind and the sunlight has been poisoned you will still have hucksters selling whatever is left for top of the line prices. A thought provoking story well conceived and brilliantly executed.--Patrick King, author of the Shane Collaine Series


"From the infinitely imaginative mind of Susan Weinstein, PARADISE GARDENS spins a fabulous web. Clever, funny, serious, and prescient, this novel takes us on a breathtaking journey. Lovers of Aldous Huxley's and Margaret Atwood's dystopias are in for a satisfying treat."

Sonia Taitz, award-winning author of The Watchmaker's Daughter and Great With Child."



Preface to Paradise Gardens New Edition

It was the age of Reagan, 1980s, when I began Paradise Gardens. I had just read a book on how capitalism evolved from feudalism and was living in "Morning in America." I began to imagine capitalism devolving into a modern corporatized feudalism, as a conservative ideal of America. Originally entitled Inside the U.R.S. (The United Religious System), the novel was written as a cautionary tale, since this was a time of ascendancy for far-right religious groups. Some were believers in the rapture, the apocalypse and rise to heaven of the faithful--after the 4 horsemen did their work. It seemed those in power were doing all they could to accelerate the end times.
Whether messianic or fiscal ideals, they manifested in actions, such as closing mental hospitals and having patients on the streets with no treatment. A vague plan for patients being integrated into "the community" never occurred. Benefiting corporations, stockholders and generally wealthy individuals was the higher objective. They had risen, because they were superior beings. It was a point of government to serve the elite doing the deity's work. Ayn Rand was again in vogue, along with a social Darwinism.

This attitude trickled down, not any financial benefit to average people, from  huge tax breaks and unfettered business. I remember a casual conversation at a bar with a Wall Street investment banker. He told me, quite earnestly, that I should leave my rent-controlled apartment. I was preventing the real estate from achieving its market destiny. I was impeding the greater good of business. So before 1984, in this environment (an ethos culminating in 1987's  "Greed is Good" in Wall Street),  I began to dream Paradise Gardens.

The novel began with an image of a young woman in a corporate office, who was a model employee. In that time, I worked temp jobs in corporations and had a publishing job in the devilishly numbered 666 Fifth Ave building, which had a lush red carpet. I also was a publicist for Bluejay Books, which focused on science fiction classics in beautiful hard covers. I was a literary person, who had an interest in utopias, from Thomas More's to America's Utopian experiments, from the Shakers to communes in the 1960s. Writing press kits and talking to people like Harlan Ellison, Vernor Vinge (whose True Names anticipated the Internet), and most of all Theodore Sturgeon, widened my idea of classics.

Sturgeon, who started out wanting to be a fiction writer for The New Yorker, fairly invented in the '50s the genre of something weird in the suburbs. Spielberg once acknowledged that if he hadn't read Sturgeon in his youth, he would not have made his suburban movies (his E.T. is a direct cousin of Sturgeon's story, "It!") Sturgeon also inspired Vonnegut's janitor Kilgore Trout (one of his various roles in Vonnegut novels). Science fiction could be literary and down to earth. I read Philip K. Dick and remember how Time Out of Joint blasted the complacency of day-to-day life. I could see the direct line from Kafka's Penal Colony to Dick's Man in the High Castle.

But my roots are in social realists, Zola and the Americans, Dreiser, Dos Passos, and Sinclair Lewis. Lewis' It Can't Happen Here is a cautionary tale about fascism, through America's Jaycees and Lions Clubs. Patriotism is flacked by a president, an Ad Man selling America a bill of goods. It was written in the thirties and I considered it a period piece, though a very plausible one. Paradise Gardens has an edge of satire and Dick's wide-ranging freedom of invention. This story grew, was improvised, cut back and redrafted for about ten years.

Paradise Gardens is a dark book. It begins when the Earth's surface is too polluted to support human life. In the wake of the dissolution of the Old Federal government, corporations flee underground to the ultimate real estate project Paradise Gardens. I have been haunted by what occurs, because it is lived by characters who became real to me. And as the story was always present, in the back of my mind, I dreamed segments, as well as imagined them awake. The characters evolved their world in my consciousness. Before it was serialized, I  found I had to update  things that had already occurred in my book, before they happened in reality. The World Trade Center is partially destroyed, the Information Pirates, their billboards and  missions to preserve facts, operated before there was an Internet. Some things had to be updated for our time.

Now we find ourselves at what to the apocalyptic seems the beginning of the end of our democracy, with a president-elect who has sold angry voters what appears to be another bill of dubious goods. To the more pragmatic, this presidency just means four years of a regressive agenda--yet it's crucial for the international climate crisis, which can't be undone. Like all dystopians, I hope that reality does not continue to merge with my fiction.

If a cautionary tale has a function, it raises consciousness of what can happen--to ward it off. This novel may be the equivalent of shamanic practices, where a tribe wards off a disaster by transferring negative energy to an object. Some also use earth to cleanse negative energy, water or fire to change its nature. Knowledge for any society is the best protection. And in our time, perhaps negative visualization has a function. This novel can purge our fear, allow a passage for changing dark  "unthinkable" visualization to a positive future. Paradise Gardens is a passage and at the end, there is unity--of people, place, and nature. 

FOR A RECORDED 80 SECOND AUTHOR READING of PARADISE GARDENS here.
https://www.authorscorner.org/