May 25th, 2011 | researchmaterial
I’ve written several times about Norman Spinrad’s seminal 1960s sf novel BUG JACK BARRON before, and how it was one of the formative influences behind my TRANSMETROPOLITAN. It’s now been republished as an ebook by an outfit called Reanimus. Here’s the Amazon.com link. Here’s the Reanimus link. I haven’t downloaded it myself, so I can’t speak to the quality of the transfer. The ebook “cover” is, yes, appalling. If you’re coming to BUG JACK BARRON for the first time, you will find it didn’t date so well in certain areas, including language and sexual politics (during its serialisation in NEW WORLDS, a fact which led to the magazine being denounced by the goverment, it’s reported that the magazine’s own feminist typesetters wouldn’t go near the thing. And that was then). It was written in 1967 by an angry sf author, and it’s raw and ugly. It was also a horribly prescient book in many ways. An angry American sf author, who was really writing about the media and political landscapes of his time, ramped up to eye-burning glare by the amplifying power of speculative extrapolation.
And the fact that it was banged out in ‘67 means that, in Norman’s own words:
BUG JACK BARRON–denounced on the floor of the British Parliament, the basis of a famous unmade movie in Hollywood held captive by Universal, more or less in continuous print for four decades in France, nominated for various awards, published in more languages than I can remember, reprinted in more editions in the US than I can remember, generally considered one of my magnum opuses and certainly the most famous–could not have an ebook edition because it was written on a typewriter.
Here’s an introduction to BUG JACK BARRON by Mike Moorcock.