My new novel, The Man Who Saw Seconds, is finished. And my agent turned it down because it’s science fiction, and she doesn’t do science fiction. I feel very grateful to have the agent I have–The Ugly is a difficult book, and finding an agent who cares about literature more than money is rare, unusual, extraordinarily lucky.
And yet I can’t help feeling a bit of frustration at the way we all put ourselves in boxes. Why can’t the same author write both heavy stuff and thrillers? Comments I’ve received from other published writers who’ve been kind enough to give me their time as readers included, “I was irritated whenever I had to put it down,” “It would/will make an amazing film,” and “I’m stunned your agent wasn’t completely hooked. I certainly am.”
Again, I have a great agent. She just doesn’t do sci-fi. She suggested I work with her for my literary fiction, and find another agent for my commercial fiction. So…I’m looking for a sci-fi agent. And perhaps a pseudonym.
Manny Lampnut? Bald Lazier Ox? Roland Lulfromulber? Radix Loblaze? Or perhaps my literary character, Muzhduk the Ugli, can become the pseudonymous author of my science fiction, where he can create a character named Preble Jefferson, who, among other things, writes the memoirs of Alexander Boldizar as they are dictated to him by an old woman, a hermeneutic. The study of those passages and convoluted connections will demand supreme scholarship to interpret, years of intense application, after which time it will still not be wholly worked out. In order to help Preble, the old woman will give birth to his grandmother, who will bear his mother. When his mother will give birth to him, there I’ll be, deciphering the dictations of the old woman.