Recent and Upcoming Indie Book Releases

by
Daulton Dickey.

Absolutely Golden: A Novel
D. Foy
Stalking Horse Press

Absolutely-Golden-Store-ImageIt’s 1973, and a thirty-something widow has been cajoled by a young hippie parasite into financing their vacation to a nudist colony in the Northern California mountains. The night before their departure, however, she arrives home to learn that she and this man will be accompanied by the stripper on his lap. At Camp Freedom Lake, the trio meet a womanizing evangelist, a bumbling Zen gardener, and a pair of aging drug-addled swingers from Holland. Together, they’re catapulted through one improbable event after the other, each stranger than the last, until finally the woman who was dominated by her fear of past and future finds herself reveling in the great here and now.

D. Foy’s Absolutely Golden is a radical departure from his two previous novels, Made to Breakand Patricide. It’s comic, ebullient, magic, light, gently surrealistic. It’s rollicking, effervescent, slyly profound. But more, this brisk tale offers a kaleidoscopic look at parts of the 1970s we haven’t often seen in fiction—nudism, New Age philosophy, Eastern religion, the occult, swingers culture, California culture, and then some.

Best of all, Foy tells his story in the guise of a woman obsessed with the notion that she’ll never find another man until she’s rid of what she believes to be a mysterious curse. As if written in the marriage of Vladimir Nabokov, Renata Adler, and Anaïs Nin, her words transport us from doubt, despair, and dread into states of increasing wonder and euphoria.

Click here to Pre-order or Buy Absolutely Golden

The Abridged History of Rainfall
Jay Hopler
McSweeney’s

rainfall_pb_cover_store_siteThe Abridged History of Rainfall is a finalist for the National Book Award.
Jay Hopler’s second collection, a mourning song for his father, is an elegy of uproar, a careening hymn to disaster and its aftermath. In lyric poems by turns droll and desolate, Hopler documents the struggle to live in the face of great loss, a task that sends him ranging through Florida’s torrid subtropics, the mountains of the American West, the streets of Rome, and the Umbrian countryside. Vivid, dynamic, unrestrained: The Abridged History of Rainfall is a festival of glowing saints and fighting cocks, of firebombs and birdsong.

Click here to Pre-order or Buy The Abridged History of Rainfall

 

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Memes and Zombies

by
Daulton Dickey.

In “The Selfish Gene,” Richard Dawkins gave us the theory of “memes,” a word with which most people who use the Internet are familiar. Briefly, Dawkins’s definition of a meme is a self-replicating concept, behavior, attitude, sense of fashion, piece of music, and so on. He argues that a meme is only analogous to genetic evolution, that memes themselves are evidence for an alternate form of evolution, coinciding with, but distinct from, genetic evolution—but occurring far more rapidly than the evolution of genes.

A meme’s success depends on fecundity, the rate at which copies multiply. Mutations and variations occur in memes, which hasten their evolution. Setting that aside, if we concentrate on the fecundity of memes, then we can reach an interesting conclusion.

Say you live in a culture in which concept A is dominant in the meme pool; its ability to replicate means it has “infected” a significant portion of the brains constituting that culture. Concept A then passes from person to person, many of whom adapt to the meme without either conscious awareness or analysis of the meme.

There probably exists a plethora of memes in the meme pool which we accept and propagate without conscious awareness of the logic, or lack thereof, inherent in the concept. To put it bluntly, if we were to analyze twitterheader (2)many of the concepts, i.e., the “ideas,” we hold, then we would realize that we hold them because we were exposed to them and propagated them without “thinking” about them or “understanding” them.

Memes are, in a sense, parasites. Or, as William S. Burroughs once said, “the word is a virus.” They spread from brain to brain, from person to person. If we accept that memes are parasites, if we accept that our concepts, our behaviors, our aesthetic principles and so are transmitted from person to person, some of whom don’t “understand” the various memes they’re propagating, then we can, in a sense, say humans are controlled by such memes, analogous to the way infections in horror movies generate zombies.

Therefore, we can say that, by embracing memes without understanding them, humans are, in a sense, zombies. A dominant meme in popular culture currently speculates about a hypothetical “zombie apocalypse.” We dedicate time to this meme without realizing that we are, in a sense, already zombies, each and every one of us.