A Little Something About the Neutron

I suppose, three weeks into the Year of the Neutron, I ought to tell you something about the book, Mr. Neutron. (Keep in mind that time, neutron-wise, is not the same as time in our world, which is the best excuse I can come with for this oversight.)

Here is part of the query letter I sent out. Make that query letter number four, the one that actually worked:

So if someone created a Frankenstein’s monster today, it would probably be to pose as a political candidate—the posturing, the meaningless utterances, the dim-wittedness—who could tell the difference? Only one man, it turns out: a second-string political hack and lifelong loser named Gray Davenport. Gray lives a fantasy life to keep him from dwelling on his failures. But when he realizes just who, or what, the eight-foot-tall man dominating the campaign is, his imagined world becomes all too real.

That’s all I can tell you about the plot for now. I’ll add that it’s a satire, some of which is based on experiences I had while working in the political world (as a second-string political hack), which I think is self-explanatory. The rest is my fevered imagination.

For comparison purposes, you might want to think about A Confederacy of Dunces, the novel by John Kennedy Toole, which was published in 1980. It’s a little odd that I would compare my book to his, since I really disliked Dunces. But the similarities are stunning, as they say, so what the heck.

For starters, Toole’s story is about a lifelong loser (Ignatius J. Reilly) as well. It’s got a cast of crazies like mine, all of whom are determined to keep the protagonist from achieving any of his goals. His book was supposed to be funny. So is mine. The book won the Pulitzer Prize, although a lot of people didn’t think it deserved it. I guess that’s another similarity—nobody thinks mine will win an award either.

Like Toole’s, my manuscript was turned down by every agent and publisher from New York to LA before someone with the guts to print it came along (and thank you, Leland Cheuk of 7.13 Books). Of course, Toole’s book was published eleven years after he’d given up on making it as a writer and committed suicide, so let’s hope the similarities end there.

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4 thoughts on “A Little Something About the Neutron

  1. You know, I did a class presentation on “A Confederacy of Dunces” back in the ’80’s when I was in grad school, and now I really can remember almost nothing about the book. That should tell us something???
    About the book?? (But maybe just about my memory!).

    1. I remember mostly how much I disliked it—so much running around and yelling. At least my book doesn’t have that. I’ll be interested to see whether people think mine is as funny as I think it is. That’s probably not a good sign either.

  2. I liked Dunces but I agree that there was too much running around and yelling. I’m sure your book is funny. Dunces was funny, but hard to enjoy because of the unlikable main character.

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