The strange story of Martin Amis's lost book, Invasion of the Space Invaders, which offered tips on how to play video games like PacMan:
"He is almost as enthusiastic about PacMan, although you get the sense that he sees it (in contrast to Space Invaders) as a fundamentally unserious endeavor. 'Those cute little PacMen with their special nicknames, that dinky signature tune, the dot-munching Lemon that goes whackawhackawhackawhacka: the machine has an air of childish whimsicality.' His advice is to concentrate stolidly on the central business of dot-munching, and not to get distracted by the shallow glamor of the fruits: 'Do I take risks in order to gobble up the fruit symbol in the middle of the screen? I do not, and neither should you. Like the fat and harmless saucer in Missile Command (q.v.), the fruit symbol is there simply to tempt you into hubristic sorties. Bag it.'"
PUBLISHED: Feb. 16, 2012
LENGTH: 9 minutes (2377 words)
We were friends for more than thirty years, which is a long time but, now that he is gone, seems not nearly long enough. I was rather nervous when I first met him, one night in London in 1977, along with his great friend Martin Amis. I had read his journalism and was already in awe of his brilliance and wit and couldn’t think what on earth I could bring to his table. I don’t know if he sensed the diffidence on my part—no, of course he did; he never missed anything—but he set me instantly at ease, and so began one of the great friendships and benisons of my life. It occurs to me that “benison” is a word I first learned from Christopher, along with so much else.
PUBLISHED: Dec. 16, 2011
LENGTH: 9 minutes (2394 words)
And so Martin Amis and his wife, the author Isabel Fonseca, are coming to Cobble Hill. And what's it like being a writer in Brooklyn? "I expect it's like writing in Manhattan," Colson Whitehead once wrote in The New York Times, "but there aren't as many tourists walking very slowly in front of you when you step out for coffee." More likely, there are other writers walking in front of you. It's a zone of infestation. Not only of novelists but reporters, pundits, poets and those often closeted scribblers who call themselves editors and agents. Not to mention bloggers, or whatever counts for being an online writer these days.
PUBLISHED: April 26, 2011
LENGTH: 12 minutes (3132 words)