Awkward Press

Independent publishers of imaginative fiction and daily meditations on the ridiculousness of the universe.

Hooray for Clay

October 22, 2009 By: Category: Events

Here’s the thing about Awkward Press: we’re just three guys trying to scrape by on our looks and our desire to bring a little bit of entertainment into the world. When one is a founder of an independent publishing company, one does not expect to find oneself being lauded by the New York Times. Unless one is co-founder Clay McLeod Chapman, that is, who is currently sweeping the New York stage with the latest incarnation of his storytelling series The Pumpkin Pie Show. Two days ago, the Times wrote a rave review of Clay’s show, in which they say:

These are weird, creepy tales, but they are more than that. At his best, Mr. Chapman uses the macabre to explore the humanity of his characters and reveal an almost spiritual side to the horrific. Lovecraft once wrote that “the oldest and strongest kind of fear is fear of the unknown,” but in these stories, set in a banal, melancholy, lonely landscape, the unknown can also seem sublime.

Congratulations, Clay! You’ve earned it! As for the rest of you lot, if you’re looking for something to do to celebrate this year’s festival of Halloweenery, procure your tickets posthaste!

Dear Tim Burton

June 22, 2009 By: Category: Greatest Hits, Movies

Hi! First of all, thanks for Edward Scissorhands and Beetlejuice. Those were great, how that guy had scissors for hands and that dead clown was so scary. Second of all, you dirty filthy bastard, if you ruin another one of my favorite books, I will kill you. Here is a picture from your new retelling of Alice in Wonderland.

Johnny Depp as the Mad Prop Comic

Johnny Depp as the Mad Prop Comic

Here, by contrast, is John Tenniel’s classic interpretation of the Mad Hatter.

John Tenniel's Mad Hatter

John Tenniel's Mad Hatter

Now, it is useful to note that John Tenniel’s illustrations were in the first edition of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, meaning they were approved by Lewis Carroll himself with all respect to the original text. It is also useful to note that the Mad Hatter in John Tenniel’s drawings is not a Bozo-haired S&M drag king.

See, here’s my problem with you, Tim Burton. You are not very funny. I’m sorry, but you’re not. Pee Wee Herman, he’s funny, and so you made a funny movie with Pee Wee Herman. Somehow you pulled off Ed Wood, a movie that was mature, well-paced, funny, and touching. But did you see Mars Attacks? Did you, Tim Burton? Did you watch your own movie that you made? Because it was not funny.

The worst things you do are adaptations and remakes, and you seem to do an awful lot of those kinds of movies. I don’t know how you managed to sap the humor out of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, but you did. It is practically impossible to remove the humor from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. That’s like removing the cute from a koala. Watching your version of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory was like watching a koala with rabies and knowing that I was going to have to kill it later by myself with a safety pin. The day I saw your version of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory was the day the clown cried.

And now you’re doing Alice in Wonderland, because of course you are, because there is nothing more Tim Burton on earth than Alice in Wonderland. Except for that part about how even though it has a sinister edge, it’s also one of the funniest books ever written. My guess is that your interpretation of it is going to be all sinister edge with, I don’t know, a fart or two. Which, come on, Tim Burton. Just because Lewis Carroll liked to take pictures of naked little girls doesn’t mean you have to punish the rest of us. I’ll admit, this one’s a little better:

Cyndi Lauper

Cyndi Lauper

… or it would be a little better if Helena Bonham Carter wasn’t the only woman you knew. You should meet more women, Tim Burton.

And you should stop ruining my favorite books, please. If you make another adaptation, please choose something that is not very good. Like Marley and Me. A little of your gothic S&M touch could really do wonders to Marley and Me.

The Evil Eye Experiment

June 10, 2009 By: Category: Experiments

I’ve set up a Google alert to let me know when Awkward Press is mentioned out there in the world because I’m a total narcissist like that. Today I discovered that the review I wrote just yesterday has already been linked somewhere, which got me pretty excited about the power of the Internet and how my 6 pizza rating system is sweeping the world.

So I click on the link, and I’m taken to a site called “Evil Eye: Un blog utilisant Le Blogue du Québec”. I’m not going to link to it because it’s probably filled with nasty electronic beasties that like throw porn at your computer when your mom’s trying to look at pictures from your trip to Cabo or whatever. But it clearly is not a real site that’s actually maintained by someone, because everything in my review has been translated into some kind of space English. And then I realized that yesterday I talked about the Evil Eye vagina in Lord of the Rings, and so this site must be some kind of aggregator that takes everything that mentions the term evil eye and posts it in mangled English for French speakers (?) Because, like, progress.

But anyway that realization led me to think that if I repost the mangled version of my review from their site, they will in turn post my repost in an even more mangled version. And eventually, after a million years of posting and reposting the same review, we might accidentally write the Bible or something. So after the jump, you will find the mangled version of my review in its entirety. I will let you know tomorrow how it goes!


Awkward Book Review: The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Steig Larsson

June 10, 2009 By: Category: Book Reviews, Greatest Hits

girl-w-the-dragon-tattooOne would assume that a guy who has been a founding member of two publishing companies would probably spend a lot of time reading novels. One would be mistaken. I don’t read that much. I mean, I am always in the middle of a book, but it’s generally a pretty slow, painful process, and the books that really suck me in are few and far between. It’s irritating to me that Goodreads doesn’t have an option to stretch the “date read” column over several months.

That being said, now that we have this lovely new website, I think it’s probably a pretty smart idea to try and fill it with something. And what better thing for a publishing house’s website than book reviews? Answer: no better. There is no better thing.

I picked up a copy of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo at BEA last year, the big annual publishing trade show. The editor’s note on the back described it as an “international sensation.” I like international sensations, and books are free like magical candy at the BEA, so I thought I’d give it a shot. Then I read that it was the author’s first book and he died right after delivering the manuscript to his publisher. And everyone knows that people who die are usually the best authors, so, duh.