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    #16
    Does anyone else (probably older folks like me) recognize the late actor Steve Forrest on the cover of "Ghoul N' the Cape"? I asked Paul about it and he said it was a coincidence, but I saw it right away and figured he must be in the story somehow.

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      #17
      Originally posted by joejets View Post
      Does anyone else (probably older folks like me) recognize the late actor Steve Forrest on the cover of "Ghoul N' the Cape"? I asked Paul about it and he said it was a coincidence, but I saw it right away and figured he must be in the story somehow.
      Funny, I had a similar reaction but I thought it was David (The Hoff) Hasselhoff. I think I like your reference better. I guess it is the risk you run when you draw character faces on the cover.

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        #18
        Anyone able to get the ARC/Galley in the recent newsletter? I didn't even bother to email.
        Looking for the fonting of youth.

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          #19
          Originally posted by Ben Staad View Post
          Anyone able to get the ARC/Galley in the recent newsletter? I didn't even bother to email.
          I didn’t bother to email. Not my jam, really, ARCs and whatnot. Hope those who wanted one, got one.

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            #20
            Posted on FB 7 minutes ago:

            Surprise announcement! Finished and READY TO SHIP!
            Our latest LETTERED release: AMERICAN MORONS by Earthling favorite Glen Hirshberg. Book and traycase are entirely handmade in the US. Several of the components originate in Italy, chosen in honor of the title story, which is set in Rome.
            - Book is hand sewn into boards and covered with hand made Italian marbled papers; quarter leather binding with leather inset on front board; fine Bugra endpapers; ribbon page marker. Interior is printed offset on acid-free paper.
            - Clamshell traycase is covered in Italian Canapetta bookcloth; black velvet lines the interior; matching leather laid into a recess on the spine.
            - Signed by author Glen Hirshberg on color limitation page.
            - 26 copies; $550 each.
            Please email me ASAP (earthlingpub@yahoo.com), as our lettereds tend to disappear quickly....




            Looking for the fonting of youth.

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              #21
              And now for a lengthy review of Ghoul N' The Cape, if anyone is interested...

              Ghoul N’ the Cape by Josh Malerman

              Artist David Palumbo is a genius. How does one create cover artwork for a novel that spans over seven hundred pages, taking the reader from coast to coast, bar to bar, and strange encounter to strange encounter? And yet, when tasked with creating the cover artwork for Josh Malerman’s Ghoul N’ the Cape, he managed to paint a collage using details from every facet of the lengthy novel. David Palumbo’s artwork is a masterpiece; it is the cherry on top of a sundae that some may find filling, while others may find it to be way too much.

              With Ghoul N’ the Cape, Josh Malerman has written his longest novel to date. But he has also written his most polarizing novel to date. Some will see the novel as a sprawling American road novel and as the philosophical classic of the ages. Others will only see the novel as being a bit too “in your face” with its philosophies and may find it to be long strictly for length’s sake.

              The novel touches many different genres, but it is a road trip novel at its heart. A seemingly crazy man wearing a cape (the titular Cape) enters a bar in New York City seeking several shots of vodka and a traveling companion. There he meets Ghoul, a seemingly homeless drunk who has lived his whole life in the city, whom he convinces to join him on his road trip to California. They may not actually be crazy or homeless, but they are most certainly both drunks. Their coast-to-coast journey features a great many stops, most of which are at bars.

              The reason for their journey is to escape “The Naught”, a mysterious being that is coming to destroy America. “The Naught” comes in several forms, most notably being “Ghost Star”, a celestial body that will eat America from east to west, but at a very considerate speed that will only endanger our heroes when the plot needs to propel them forward to the next scene. Our heroes will also face other dangers including a man made entirely of blood, a man with a magical machete, and the growing concern of liver failure as our heroes down drink after drink.

              The novel also serves as a midlife coming-of-age story for Ghoul as he leaves New York City for the first time in his whole life and grows as a person from each bizarre encounter they come across on their journey. Nearly every single one of these encounters features a character getting deeply philosophical over some aspect of their life, situation, or career. Through this, the novel attempts to also be a text on self-reflection or a meditation on life. Whether or not it succeeds in this aspect is likely to divide its readers.

              The nature in which these characters reflect upon their lives and situations is reminiscent of a Socratic oratory. Malerman has a great number of topics to discuss and so each character in the novel is ready to wax poetic on one of these subjects at a moment’s notice. In one such example, the titular duo encounters a drunk used car salesman. With practically no lead in, the salesman goes on a multi-page soliloquy about the nature of his business, the rules of his business, the nature of money, how much he hates money, and how much he’d like to simply trade a car for the horse that the duo have with them. Some may find this to be a beautiful introspective on the nature of business and trade, while others may find the salesman to be a bit “too much”.

              This exchange with the drunk salesman serves as a great litmus test for the remainder of the novel, as there are many philosophical dialogues in the remaining six hundred pages. Further conversations range from the nature of the devil to the concept of “celebrity”. The latter of these conversations is had with “the most famous woman in the world”, which is seriously the description given to one of the characters and is highly representative of the “on the head” style that the novel is filled to the brim with.

              But the novel isn’t just seven hundred pages of road tripping from strange situation to strange situation. There are also two shorter works within the title! Both are presented as stories told to the titular duo during their travels. The longer of the two is a sixty-page novella called “Liberty in Pieces”. It tells the story of the Statue of Liberty being brought to America in pieces aboard three barges. When one of the crewmates turns up dead, it becomes apparent that there is someone or something dangerous aboard the barges. This tale of horror is perhaps the best tale in the whole novel, though it too delves deep into philosophical waters by its end.

              The shorter piece is a thirty-page short story entitled “The Third Amendment”, which follows two extreme gun enthusiasts who are desperately afraid of people “taking their guns away”. It is reminiscent of Chuck Palahniuk’s style, though its characters would make any of Palahniuk’s protagonists seem level-headed by comparison. It also feels incredibly out of place. “Liberty in Pieces” at least fits in with the overall message and self-reflection of the whole novel, whereas “The Third Amendment” feels like it was just inserted to add some political humor and to increase the page count.

              While “The Third Amendment” may be the only outwardly political piece of the whole novel, there are definitely political undertones that can be picked up throughout. To Malerman’s benefit, none of the characters are political and the diverse cast maintains a neutral tone throughout for the benefit of all humanity. However, it should be noted that the ultimate goal of “The Naught” does have very strong social and political insinuations that could easily split the opinions of some readers. But to say anymore on the subject would be to give too much away.

              All in all, Ghoul N’ The Cape is a very divisive novel that is sure to lead to a combination of enlightenment and frustration, sparking discussions and disagreements. Is it “the great American novel”? To some it will be, whereas it will be a hard pass to others. It is certainly a “love it or hate it novel”. One camp will assuredly break it down and study it in the future, while the other camp will simply want to tear it apart. And through this dichotomy, this novel truly is “American.”

              Ghoul N’ the Cape is currently only available as a signed and limited edition through Earthling Publications and it is due to be published in December of 2021. If you are an avid Malermaniac, please consider supporting the author and the small press. Thank you very much to Paul Miller for providing this reviewer with an advance reading copy of the title, in exchange for this brutally honest review.

              The reviewer would like to acknowledge the irony that this thousand-plus word review may be viewed as being “long for length’s sake”. The reviewer also kindly asks that you do not revoke his Malermaniacs membership card. Thank you very much!

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                #22
                Someone on Facebook said that there are way too many spoilers in my review, but I'm not really sure that there are. Plot and character-wise, I really only touched upon what was already in the summary on the book and on Earthling's website. The only real exception to this was the inclusion of the car salesman, but I felt that it was necessary to provide an example of the philosophical dialogue that one is going to encounter throughout the whole novel.
                But my apologies if it spoiled anything else.

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                  #23
                  No worries, I didn’t pick up any spoilers…some people just like to police such things and see issues where there aren’t any.

                  I found your review very helpful. Given all you said in your fine review, it’s a hard pass for me. I’d already had a sense the book was going down the divisive path you describe, and appreciate you confirming it.
                  Twitter: https://twitter.com/ron_clinton

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                    #24
                    I am still holding out hope I can enjoy this book. But, in all honesty here, I have no interest in reading any type of thinly veiled political sociology op-ed. I will stick to the forum guidelines here but as an example many stories by Stephen King over the last decade or so have really put me off of him. His latest short story Red Screen as an example.
                    Looking for the fonting of youth.

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                      #25
                      I should clarify that I am perfectly fine with undertones, witty commentary, and opposing points of view that are thoughtful. One sided, ham-fisted, stories are not for me these days.
                      Looking for the fonting of youth.

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                        #26
                        Originally posted by Ben Staad View Post
                        I should clarify that I am perfectly fine with undertones, witty commentary, and opposing points of view that are thoughtful. One sided, ham-fisted, stories are not for me these days.
                        I really want to see if someone else picks up the political undertones. None of the other reviews have mentioned them yet, though I suspect that it won't be until the novel is widely available.

                        The philosophical bits certainly outweigh the political bits six-to-one. And it should also be noted that Malerman and I share a lot of the same political beliefs, but I still needed to mention said undertones.

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                          #27
                          Cool. I'm still excited to read this one. I've liked all of his work that I've read to date and I am hopeful this is an engaging read. For me it's not sharing beliefs it is more about respecting beliefs and understanding that there are truths from many differing perspectives.

                          "If the world were perfect, it wouldn’t be.", - Yogi Berra



                          Originally posted by Splync View Post

                          I really want to see if someone else picks up the political undertones. None of the other reviews have mentioned them yet, though I suspect that it won't be until the novel is widely available.

                          The philosophical bits certainly outweigh the political bits six-to-one. And it should also be noted that Malerman and I share a lot of the same political beliefs, but I still needed to mention said undertones.
                          Looking for the fonting of youth.

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                            #28
                            Oh man, Josh shared Jeff's review. That's pretty cool!

                            He didn't say a thing about my review, but I didn't give it unanimous praise, so I wasn't holding my breath, haha...

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