Guest post over at The Word Fiend

It’s National Book Week in South Africa, and Shelagh from The Word Fiend is celebrating it with a series of guest posts by South African bloggers on how much we love our books. She kindly offered me the opportunity to write something for her blog, and I waxed lyrical about all the lovely bookish ads in my first print copy of the London Review of Books. Check it out.







Greg X. Graves: Guest post and giveaway!

Greg X. Graves is a young, angry man who is full of himself ideas. He’s a rebel, baby. You can’t take him home to Mom and Dad, because he’ll probably start railing against the Man and his stupid Establishment, and your parents will say “Whoa, Daughter, no way are you dating this hooligan,” and it’ll just be a whole big scene, and Greg’ll be like “Whatever, toots,” and ride away on his bitchin’ hog and then everyone will be sorry.

He’s on Violin in a Void today to make you laugh about the folly of serious fiction and offer his antidote to drama – the fun, fictional guide to moral living entitled Bears, Recycling and Confusing Time Paradoxes. You can win a copy of Greg’s book, plus a whole bunch of other cool stuff, so read on!

The Sinkhole of Fun Fiction by Greg X. Graves

Fiction takes itself too seriously. It’s mostly about solemn business, whether it’s a stoic hero slaying an evil warlord, or a grandchild learning that his grandfather was so strict and hateful because he had to work twenty-six hours a day starting from the day after he was conceived.

Don’t get me wrong: drama has its place. Sometimes it’s unavoidable in real life, for example, or when a bunch of Ancient Greeks were still sober enough to remember the lines of their play. Even Shakespeare had a few decent dramas, like that movie with Leonardo DiCaprio and that actress who wasn’t in Titanic or Inception.

But I’ve always felt that our cultural landscape has a great big sinkhole at its center, filled with pit-dwelling molemen. This hole represents fun fiction. After all, heroes get boring and repetitive. They’re always accepting their sacrifices with grim-faced determination.

Even fiction featuring everyday protagonists has to be littered with poignant moments. The main character has to think about how the baguette he’s buying is the same shape as the rifle that his grandfather used back in the war to shoot all six of his brothers right in their faces after they’d joined the enemy army. Or how walking up a flight of steps would be an almost impossible task for his aunt, who is a paraplegic because of that war where six of her sisters joined the enemy army and she had to shoot them all in the face.

The Guide to Moral Living in Examples doesn’t dwell upon drama or the big Moral Questions that keep protagonists up at night. It does, however, dwell upon what might happen if you attended a job interview only to be greeted by hideous telepathic space-faring lizardmen in mansuits.

Instead of the tortured symbolism baked into the dramatic crust of that baguette, the Guide to Moral Living in Examples is more concerned with the fact that the grandfather’s brothers were all vampires and now holidays are really awkward.

Each of the entries in the Guide to Moral Living in Examples is written to delight, entertain and amuse. It began as an excuse to write the sort of story that I could never find: the time travel narrative with enough paradoxes to make a robot punch you in the eye for trying to explode its positronic brain; a tale exploring whether we could avoid the problem of running out of fossil fuels by making more fossils via a dinosaur breeding program; and, yes, the story of a job interview interrupted by hideous telepathic space-faring lizardmen in mansuits.

And now the Guide to Moral Living in Examples is available as an anthology with an equally ambitious title: Bears, Recycling and Confusing Time Paradoxes. Take this guide with you into all morally-questionable encounters, like when the King of Deceit sends you into the Outlands of Stench.

Despite what the dramatic fiction syndicate tries to sell you, the dramatic moments in life are few and far between. Mostly life is just filled with alien abductions, human-sized microbes that punch you in the stomach, and drainmen.

Read Bears, Recycling and Confusing Time Paradoxes. Don’t be caught unprepared.

Intrigued? You should be! If you comment on this post, you’ll be entered into a giveaway for a copy (eBook) of Bears, Recycling and Confusing Time Paradoxes. It’s all part of indie publisher 1889 Labs’ awesome blog tour, so your comment will also enter you in the weekly giveaway of a $10 Amazon voucher, and an 1889 Labs paperback of your choice, not to mention the grand prize giveaway, where there are so many prizes and so many ways to enter that I suggest you go straight to their blog and check it out. If I haven’t convinced you yet, then let me add that one of the prizes is a Kindle. Yes really 🙂

Start by leaving your comment here. This giveaway is international, and the winner of the eBook will be announced on Saturday. Keep a close eye on 1889 Labs for winners of all the other prizes. Good luck!