Saturday, February 04, 2006

'The Vomit Factory (Life is Fake: Death is Good)' by Alexander T. Newport

TITLE:The Vomit Factory (Life Is Fake: Death Is Good)
AUTHOR:Alexander T. Newport
PRICE: Free Download, book: $13.47
GENRE: Philosophy

Dig: "The Vomit Factory (Life is Fake: Death is Good): Temper Tantrums, Freak-outs, Philobabble, Rants" by Alexander T. Newport, is accurately titled. It's basically a long diary, all about the author's unhappiness and general discontent with the world. After a brief note about why spelling doesn't matter to him, because it's his book god dammit and he can do whatever he wants, he introduces us to some of his ideas about immortality. For example, how life is just a "dreamgame" which we've chosen to take part in as some kind of vacation from our "homestate of awareness" (which is supposedly infinitely blissful) by donning our "virtual reality skin-suits." And dig: Mr. Newport presents these ideas with a unique tone, using words like "dig" a lot (he always spells "a lot" "alot" by the way, because it's his book and he can) to really draw us in.

Unfortunately, Mr.Newport never really gets past the presentation of these ideas, into what they actually are, or what they might mean to anyone but him. He goes in long, ranty, depressing circles about how crummy everybody is, especially to self-imposed outcasts such as himself. But dig: this gets old real fast. It's too bad, because I'm sure Mr. Newport has some pretty interesting ideas. I'm sure a conversation with him would be a real trip. But anything of merit that Mr. Newport might have to say gets drowned out in the whiney, self-pitying, nonsense that makes up most of the book. It's an un-organized, badly (or barely) edited collection of diary entries, dreams, poems, and other pieces of his personal life (including several grainy, seemingly pointless photos of him and his cats), shoved into one volume, and presented as a book. But there's no coherence, and I found myself getting frustrated by this quite rapidly. I have to admit I couldn't get through all of it, at a certain point it just seemed clear that it wasn't worth investing any more of my time into.

There's some funny parts in the book, and I can't completely hate something that gave me a few chuckles, but I can't recommend buying this to anyone. In fact, I really wish I could get my money back. The author includes several rejection letters from publishers in the book, most of which are scathing refusals to have anything to do with him, and generally expressing anger for wasting their time. My question is this: why include this in a book if you want the book to be successful? I get the feeling that Mr. Newport, somewhere, doesn't want the book to be successful, and if he doesn't care, then why should I? The book is available for free in .pdf format, so you might want to give it a look yourself if you're really into self-pitying nihilism, but otherwise...pass. Dig?

RATING: 4/10

10/10: Lulu



Philosopher Newport said...

What we have here is a fan of classical music who reviewed a semi-intelligent punk-rock album. Why he bothered is anyone's guess given that most people could've predicted the results.

Thank you, Mr. Anonymous Reviewer, for taking the time to write about The Vomit Factory. You really shouldn't've. :)

Best wishes,
Alexander T. Newport
Philobabblist Extraordinaire

Anonymous said...

That metaphor doesn't carry. Punk rock is slipped on the stereo and danced around the room to. Reading requires concentration, and should be rewarded with more than a raw assemblage of noises.

And no, I'm not the reviewer. But seeing as they're a volunteer, you should be grateful to them for taking the time to read your book. Sour grapes isn't very punk.

Michael W. Grant said...

And you are? And did you read the book? If not, how do you know it's nothing but a raw assemblage of noises? Because someone else said so?
Each to his or her own opinion, but I liked the book very much. And the fact that some pseudo-academic didn't is actually a tribute to its punkdom. And where are the sour grapes? Mr Newport thanked the reviewer who cowardly avoided signing his review and offered him best wishes. You wouldn't know punk if it pushed its chest against yours and spit into your face.

The Gline said...

Mark Jacobson was once interviewing Legs McNeil, the fellow who founded the first fanzine named Punk in 1973 or so, and after watching McNeil make a spectacular mess of himself in some unswimmable Jersey river, he shouted: "I am not going to take the responsibility for making you famous!" Given that Legs was a not-so-closet racist whose idea of a good time was to be an ass and to take as many other people with him as he could in a drunken stupor, I thought Mark had the right idea.

Emily Veinglory said...

Lets try and keep things nice and friendly here folks :)

I must note that the reviewer isn't really anonymous--I just neglected to add the name when posting this review. As a single handed web-master with very little in the way of relevant skills I do tend to make that kind of mistake.

Anonymous said...

I cannot believe what I'm reading! Did the reviewer REALLY read this book? Oh my god, it's fantastic!
You people are afraid of new ideas and presentations. As for editing errors, I counted 5 out of 445 pages. You're lucky to get any book with as few errors as that.
Me thinks the reviewer is a sissy.

Randall Pilkerton, Oshkosh, WI

Emily Veinglory said...

'Me' thinks that Radall can't cope with someone having a different opinion to him without hurling personal insults. Welcome to the real world, Randall.

Tim Case said...

It was quite a while ago that I reviewed this book, and didn't realize that some of these comments had since been made. I'd like to quickly address a few points made by others.

I certainly hold no grudge against Mr. Newport, though I'm afraid I have to disagree with his analogy. I love punk rock. Also, as Emily pointed out, this review was never really anonymous.

To Mr. Grant, I have to defend myself. I object strongly to being called a coward, though maybe pseudo-academic isn't too far off, as I'm currently studying Creative Writing at University. I'll try and take that one as a compliment.

To Mr. Pilkerton, I'm afraid you are mistaken about how many editing errors there are, though I suppose that depends largely on how subjective we want to be with the word "error". There are many instances of bad spelling and convoluted grammar in the book which, as far as I could tell, were either accidental or else just due to laziness. In my opinion that qualifies as an error. If that makes me a sissy, so be it.

Alexander T. Newport said...

It's been a long time since POD People reviewed The Vomit Factory and loads of new comments since the original review.

The reviewer has never heard of the term "colloquial" but it best describes those words or terms that he considered to be misspelled. And it was for that reason that I compared him to a fan of classical music reviewing a punk-rock album.

There is also a Note About Spelling in the front of the book and I had hoped it would have made it clear that I reserved the right to spell the phrase "a lot" as "alot". I felt confident about spelling it that way because it seems to me that it SHOULD be spelt that way. R. Crumb spells it that way in all of his comix. Years ago the word "today" was spelt as "to-day" until some rebellious person did away with the hyphen. HMMPH! Imagine that!

One last thing---a secret! Yes, I didn't bother to mention it at the time of the review because I figured any decent writer or reader would have sussed it out for themselves, but those Rejection Letters were written by ME! Any true writer who has submitted materials to publishers would've figured this out pretty fast because publishers USUALLY do not write personal rejection letters; they are usually form-letters. And, in the rare cases when they DO write a personal rejection letter, they don't attack the author nor do they go into the kind of details that my fictitious Rejection Letters go into.

So, as far as I am concerned, the reviewer was not really qualified or capable of reviewing my book fairly. He certainly was not the least bit interested in Philosophy, Spirituality, or Enlightenment, so why the hell he bothered, I don't have a clue.

The book continues to sell pretty well given that there is no advertising for it whatsoever. I am still very proud of it.

A big THANK YOU to those of you who came to my defence. That was very kind of you. Cheers!

Best wishes,
Alexander T. Newport
Philobabblist Extraordinaire

Emily Veinglory said...

Seven years latter and you are *still* pissed off that one person didn't like your book? Wow.

Alexander T. Newport said...

Gee whiz, are you still at it, Emily?

No, I am not pissed off. The fact is, other than a couple of reviews at Amazon, no one else has reviewed The Vomit Factory. So, when one does a search for reviews, up comes this 7 year old review.

Not that your books are like children to you, but mine are to me, and I could not let that turd's review stand unchallenged---especially his ignorant crack about the Rejection Letters.

I am extremely surprised that POD People still exists---and even more so that YOU exist.

Do you think you're better than me because I have commented on a 7 year old review?

Fine. Be better than me, but you'll never write as well as I do and when all is said and done, my books will have outsold yours by 3 million to 1.


I am still writing and still kicking major ass, and I WILL have ALL of my books published by a brick & mortar publisher before I am dead.

You can bank on it.

Alexander T. Newport
Philobabblist Extraordinaire