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Black Books Publishing (a novel)

PhD student Dylan Cashew abandons his thesis on D. H. Lawrence for the uncertain world of top secret aerospace editing, college teaching and then independent publishing. Dogged and even mentored by Lawrence and others from parallel Dimensions, Dylan finds himself immersed in a publishing venture that, with aid of his PR-savvy wife, interjections from the Internet, and a bottomless supply of scotch, nearly goes under before he receives an offer from a Chinese conglomerate that may be too good to refuse.

If you’re an author, published or unpublished, or wished you were one – or someone who’s worked in publishing, or wished you could – this book is for you. (Have we missed anyone?!)

This is David P Reiter’s latest sortie into the satiricsphere of digital narrative. His having won two Western Australian Premier’s Awards with Timelord Dreaming and My Planets Reunion Memoir has done nothing to curb his rash flirtation with innovation. Nearly 200 “internet call-outs” will tempt you away from the central storyline. Can you resist?

ISBN 97819215231670 (PB, 272pp);
152mm x 229mm
AUD $33 USD $24 NZD $36 GBP £16 EUR €19
ISBN 97819215231687 (eBook) AUD $17 USD $10 NZD $19 GBP £10 EUR €12

Reviews

This is a thrilling fast-paced satire of life in the publishing industry that must now navigate multiple universes, consider colliding galaxies, and take instruction from guides such as D. H. Lawrence. All this while the text leaps from Biblical frameworks to internet content, giving a free and complex reading experience that takes in the irrelevancies of time and the breath-taking variations of dimension. You read some text and then you are guided to a short video – sheer delight. It might be music; or the text of Eleven Strange Facts You Didn’t Know – about something; or loud typing pool background effects; or some detailed information on space-time. Be amazed.

The possibilities here would seem to be endless. The technical skill of the whole production is superb. And in case you’re wondering, the characters lead ordinary lives, rendered in regular prose: “After the plane cleared the runway without incident, Dylan was feeling optimistic enough to lash out on a Johnny Walker on the rocks. He realised his interview was that very afternoon but a single scotch surely couldn’t do any harm. The woman next to him ordered an orange juice in what Dylan regarded as judgemental tone.” The characters also drink a fair bit of scotch. Do yourself a special favour and expand your reading universe.

Carmel Bird, novelist, Winner 2016 Patrick White Award for Literature

If only independent publishing was as enjoyable as this novel about it! David Reiter proves himself to be an accomplished comic writer with an incisive satirical eye. Black Books Publishing is darkly funny.

David Musgrave, novelist, poet and founder, Puncher & Wattman publishers

Just finished BBP. What a delightful, enjoyable read. And fast-paced. You’ve really created a character here, Dylan Cashew – likeable and real – that kept me awake (for longer than usual) at nights wanting to read more. Subtly funny, sometimes just funny, it was a good insight into the life – ‘misery’ – of small independent publishers, their ‘wannabe’ authors, and from those with a ‘few runs on the board’, the unrealistic expectations. Well done. Mazel tov! Can’t wait to read BBP II. Unless, wishful thinking, you’ve been taken over for a goodly sum by that number one China publisher!

Barry Levy, author of The Terrorist

Dr David P Reiter

Dr David P Reiter is an award-winning text and digital artist, and Publisher / CEO at IP (Interactive Publications Pty Ltd). He gives talks and leads workshops on all aspects of publishing. Recent works include the medical/micro-textual hybrid TimeLord Dreaming, which won the 2016 WA Premier’s Award for Digital Narrative, Your eBook Survival Kit, now in its 3rd edition, and the picture book Bringing Down the Wall, which was 2014 Best Book for Teens & Kids (Canadian Children’s Book Centre).

As artist-in-residence twice at the Banff Centre for the Arts, he completed My Planets Reunion Memoir Project, which won the 2012 WA Premier’s Award, and The Gallery (2000), a non-linear interactive work featuring the relationship between Paul Gauguin and Vincent van Gogh as reflected in real and imagined letters between them.

To celebrate IP’s 20th anniversary, he curated and designed Just Off Message, an anthology of more than 40 Australian and international authors.


Links


The book's Facebook page maintained by the main character, Dylan Cashew
David Reiter reads from BBP
David Reiter's Google+ page
David Reiter's Facebook page
Link to Timelord Dreaming, Winner, 2016 Western Australia Premier's Award
Link to My Planets Reunion Memoir interactive website. Winner, 2012 Western Australian Premier's Award


Sample


from Chapter One What Have I Done


Dylan Cashew did not want to be there. There were many other places in the world he also did not want to be, but this staid room, this pen-etched desk, these monotone unpolished tiles and four unforgiving walls comprised a standard by which all other places Dylan did not want to be could be judged.

From a coalmine canary’s perspective, it was not all bad: the room had a window. But mostly bad: the window was Photoshop black, peering out as it did to the cropping lines of an airplane hangar. So dark in fact that he could see himself and his unkempt hair slightly better than the assorted aircraft below.

His first few days as Assistant Technical Editor, Aerosystems Establishment Canada. What have I done? Things were bound to get better, if they didn’t get worse, which was more likely since things had a way of bottoming out before scampering for the light of day if they didn’t have anything more pressing to do at that warp of space-time.

‘It could be worse,’ a voice in an East Midlands accent said out of nowhere.

Dylan wheeled around from the window, his gaze probing the recesses. ‘It can’t be!’

‘The indefinite pronoun should never beused to refer to an Author of Note,’ the voice chided.

‘Where are you?’

‘In your head – until you give me permission to metabolise.’

‘Metabolise? That’s a new one on me.’

‘I’ll take that as a yes, then?’

‘You said we were finished in Edmonton!’

‘Because you gave up.’

‘Not on writing – just writing about you!’

D. H. Lawrence – or rather a hologram very much like him – came into view.

Dylan blinked. Then winced. Then winced again.

‘I had high hopes for you,’ said D. H. ‘It’s not too late to admit you were wrong.’

‘There’s my future to think of,’ sniffed Dylan.

‘Oh, is that all?’ scoffed D. H.

‘Now who’s using the indefinite pronoun carelessly?’

‘Not to mention my wife.’

‘Teach you to get married so young.’

‘I’m twenty-three years old, D. H.’

In that frozen instant between galaxies, Dylan had accepted that talking to a holograph was not only acceptable in the circumstances but perfectly natural.

‘Too young to know better,’ D. H. nodded. ‘I was nearly thirty before Frieda and I got married. I already had three novels, a book of poetry and a play notched on my belt by then.’

‘Well, la-de-dah for you.’ Dylan paused for effect. ‘Of course I knew all that.’

‘We were on a roll,’ said D. H. ‘And then you had to go and spoil everything!’

‘I didn’t have a choice,’ Dylan stammered. ‘She proposed.’

‘Caught off guard, eh?’

‘No. Well, yes. Yes – and no!’

There was a knock at the door, so D. H. took his cue and vanished.

A tallish man in a tweed jacket, definite threadbare pants and sporting a bright tie that cried out for attention, leaned in and looked around.

‘To whom were you talking to – just now?’

Dylan broke into a controlled sweat.

‘I’m sorry, Mr Lehmann. I forgot to mention that I occasionally talk to myself when… my blood sugar gets low.’

Mr Lehmann was Dylan’s superior, the Chief Editor who had interviewed him back in Edmonton, and, to Dylan’s amazement, had actually offered him the job. Lehmann was an ex-pat Austrian, whose Germanic accent was so slight Dylan could either assume he’d been living in Canada for many years or had embarked on a deliberate campaign to camouflage his roots to blend in with the natives. Lehmann had greasy hair that would have suited him to a bit part in a 50s black and white film by a struggling Norwegian director. And his way of speaking with overdrawn inflections on the wrong words reminded Dylan of auditions he’d imagined attending in his student days but never quite did.

‘That’s fine,’ said Lehmann, straining to sound reassuring, as if out of a rules book. ‘It’s a lonely job – editing. Until you learn the ropes.’

Dylan eyed the sheath of papers Lehmann was clutching to his chest like an injured pigeon. ‘Is that for me?’ ‘Yes,’ said Lehmann. ‘Your first report – on the Mirage.’

‘Let me guess. It’s an aircraft?’

‘Quite so. Pride of the Armée de l‘air .’

D. H. materialised behind him. ‘Ah, yes, the Mirage – ancestor of the Rafale . Now there’s a bitch of an aircraft!’ Dylan glanced nervously from D. H. to Lehmann, but the latter was none the wiser. Still, Dylan waved the hologram away. Since he had no way of sneaking into D. H.’s parallel universe without an iris scan, he had no idea what a Rafale was.

‘I’m sure you’ll find the draft report interesting,’ said Lehmann, setting it down on the desk, pressing the creased corners flat again. Lieutenant Rousseau will report here at 10am tomorrow to review your edit.’ Dylan gulped. ‘What if I’m not ready?’

‘Chop, chop,’ chuckled Lehmann. ‘There’s plenty more where this came from. Deadlines, deadlines!’ He backed away, straight through D. H. ‘Feel free to ring me about any queries.’