Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Titles From the Cutting Room Floor: Jonathan Lethem

"Here's a weird little exclusive for you: I was searching my computer and found an old speculative "Table of Contents" for The Ecstasy of Influence, loading with titles for essays I wanted to write to fill out the book. There were versions of essays I'd gone ahead and written, of course, either under the title I'd guessed at, or something similar (and, I hope, better). But mixed among them were these nine titles for essays I'd never even begun trying to write -- they're stuck in some alternate reality version of the book, which must be about a hundred and fifty pages longer than the one I'm publishing in this universe. In some cases I can pretty well visualize the essay that might have been written, but wasn't; in others they look completely opaque to me now. In either case, though, these seem to me completely unlikely ever to exist, now that the vehicle that was intended to bear them has moved on without them. Here, then, are the essays from the nonexistent "director's cut" of The Ecstasy of Influence:

Thomas Pynchon versus Muriel Spark


Memoir of Omega The Unknown/Steve Gerber

Writing for Criterion, and other Liner Notes

Mailer’s Graffiti

Unthinking The Thinkable

Against Mary McCarthy’s “The Fact In Fiction”

My Drugs

Writing Is Triage

Jonathan Lethem will be at Moe's November 22nd, 7:30  to discuss the Exegesis of Philip K. Dick. To pre-order a signed copy of The Ecstasy of  Influence go to


  1. Yawn...snooze...lights out...

  2. Chris what's your deal bro?

    Why all the effort to point out how boring he is? Very interesting exercise.

  3. I wonder if it's finally safe to reprint Thomas M. Disch's list of titles of science fiction stories that he decided not to write, originally published to explain why he had quit writing science fiction (that time). Since he's not completely owned by Disney, I don't suppose anyone will bother suing me into oblivion.