Thursday, December 29, 2011

The Best Books of 1911


A Nice Plain Piece of Wood by Richard Sussers

The Straight Poop by Lewis Nunthrow

How Dry Was Thy Hay by Esther Goyt

The Noble Sifter by C. Weatherlord Crumbjunk III

Monkey Trouble by Dr. Annabell Readwrite

About A Nickel's Worth by Lieutenant Rooster F. Woosh

The Hopping Duck of Catsmooch County by Myrtle Q. Flightrisk

A Bowl With Some Stamps In It by Frank Wedge, DDS

Pimple! by Josiah Welcott

The Curious Case of the Long, Eventless Afternoon by M. Scott Bleaklife

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Holiday Love

The Great Frustration has been receiving some end-of-the-year love. Here's a quick rundown:

Michael Schaub over at The Millions said that The Great Frustration was the best book he read in 2011. The National Book Critics Circle's Critical Mass called TGF, "certainly one of the most original and startling short story collections of the year." McNally Jackson named it as one of their staff picks over at Gothamist. The MJ staff made special mention of my book due to its inclusion of, "science and sex and explosions." I believe what they meant was science and sexplosions. Opening Ceremony, Vol. 1 Brooklyn, Largehearted Boy, Flavorwire, Art Faccia, Heavy Feather Review, and Big Other all included TGF on their best of the year lists. The awesome Corinna Barsan also included a story from TGF in her list of favorite short stories over at Storyville. The also awesome Penina Roth included the same story in her list of favorites as well.

I'm deeply grateful to all of the above for their support of TGF. Thank you to anyone who read and/or talked about the book. I wish you all an excruciatingly happy, mind-bendingly joyful holiday season!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

The Great Fraudstration


As many of you already know, I have come under fire recently due to some issues regarding The Great Frustration, a book that I published early last year with Counterpoint Press/Soft Skull. This matter has already been written about a great deal, and before things develop further I just wanted to address the situation in my own words.

There has been some speculation that certain passages of my book were fictionalized for dramatic effect. As much as I would like to deny these allegations, the truth of the matter is that I can't. In fact, all of the accounts in The Great Frustration were fabricated. I made up the entire book.

I just want to take this opportunity to express my regret. I have let down my family, my friends, my wives, and my countless, countless fans. But while the book is a work of pure fiction, I would like to point out that there are many kinds of truth. I hope that all the aspects of The Great Frustration that people have enjoyed until now won't be overshadowed by my poor judgement and dishonesty.

Sincerely,
Seth "Hambone" Fried

Friday, November 11, 2011

Flash Fridays: On Light

Do you like short stories? Do you like really short stories? Do you like Tin House? Do you like me? Do you like big, hot, sloppy combinations of all these things smashed together? If you answered no to any or all of these questions, then I have no idea how you got to this blog post. Unless it's because I tagged it with the keywords Justin Bieber, Twilight, Sports, and McGriddle.

If you came to this blog in pursuit of those things, then I apologize for the confusion. Also, I'd like to point out that it's never too late to try new things. Don't get me wrong, I'm a huge Biebernaut. And my only complaint about McGriddles is that I don't think they've pushed the concept of pancake sandwiches far enough. But if you've never read a piece of flash fiction, I think you're missing out on an experience that, while infinitely different from indulging in The Biebs and some McGrids, is still pretty darn great.

That's why I'm incredibly proud to be contributing to Tin House's Flash Fridays, which highlights a new piece of flash fiction every Friday. You can read my story here. Huge thanks to Tin House, and to you for checking it out.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

The Way I Like It


I like my women the same way I like my cars, powerful and easy on the eye. I like my cars the same way I like my coffee, expensive and well-made. I like my eggs the same way I like my fighter jets, scrambled. I like my rama lammas the same way I like my ding dongs, in songs that I can't remember the lyrics to. I like my nieces the same way I like my nephews, equally. I like my relief the same way I like my sans-serif fonts, comic. I like my alligators the same way I like my crocodiles, which is lucky.

I like my appletinis the same way I like my crantinis, ordered by a friend so that no one knows they're for me. I like my pencils the same way I like my rubber bands, turned into miniature catapults. I like my people the same way I like my analog clocks, with hands, a face, and on Mountain Time. I like my heads of lettuce the same way I like my firecrackers... kaboom! We're talking lettuce everywhere.

I like my cloth diapers the same way I like my disposable diapers, on babies, monkeys, and old people. I like my geeks the same way I like my nerds, sitting over there with the dorks. I like my ups the same way I like my downs, diagonal. I like my indoors the same way I like my outdoors, separated from one another by a continuous partition such as a house or a dome. I like my thingamajigs the same way I like my whatsits, with a certain je ne sais quoi. I like my cabbage rods the same way I like my taco cats, thought up by me while on cold medicine. I like my dislikes the same way I like my likes, with a pattern that is in keeping with my fundamental perspective as a human being. I like my fundamental perspective as a human being the same way I like my cars, zipping all over the place and going vroom.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Selling Out: My New Life As An Ad Man



I moved to New York City for one very important reason: TO SELL OUT. Don't get me wrong, living the life of a scrappy, rambunctious short story writer with $8 in his checking account was not without its charms. There were many moments of artistic fulfillment and the sort of raw exhilaration that comes from suffering hardships in order to indulge a true passion. But within that dream, there was another dream of one day spending my Saturday afternoons wandering around a Crate & Barrel looking for a fancy end table with my live-in girlfriend Natasha.

In order to accomplish this second dream, I'm going to have to make a lot more money. Natasha doesn't work, because she's imaginary. So the financial burden of this fantasy rests squarely on my shoulders.

That's why I have decided to work in advertising. Like the poet Lew Welch (who famously coined the phrase Raid Kills Bugs Dead during a stint as an ad man), I've decided to use my creative powers to make a little folding money. I have put together a quick portfolio showcasing some of my advertising work. Unfortunately, since I haven't worked for any real clients, the products below are ones that I made up. In any event, please pass this portfolio along to anyone who you think would be interested in hiring me:

Product: Seth Farm Pigeon Butter
Slogan: Seth Farm Pigeon Butter. It's the pigeon butter that's a smidgen better.

Seth is seen walking up a gentle hill. He is dressed as an Amish person. He speaks to the camera, smiling.

Seth: Here at Seth Farm, we've been striving to bring you the best pigeon butter possible since 1994. It's something we take seriously.

Seth's face becomes gravely serious. His nostrils flare. Then, suddenly, he begins smiling again.

Seth: We use only the finest pigeon milk...

Cut to shot of pigeons, also dressed like Amish people, stirring giant vats filled with pigeon milk.

Seth: ...and the butter is churned by the pigeons themselves.

Slow fade to a shot of Amish pigeons dreamily churning butter.

Seth: But don't take my word for it. The proof is in the pigeon butter.

Seth spreads pigeon butter onto a piece of toast and bites into it.

Seth: Lumpy. The way pigeon butter should be... Take it away boys!

A jug band comprised of Amish pigeons clamors up the hill next to Seth and begins playing Stars And Stripes Forever.

Voice over: Seth Farm Pigeon Butter. It's the pigeon butter that's a smidgen better.

END OF COMMERCIAL

Product: Sethtel Baby Cellphones
Slogan: God bless the child that's got a phone.

Seth is standing in front of a piano dressed in a beautiful evening gown. He is singing in the style of Billie Holiday.

Seth: Momma may have ...

Cut to a shot of a woman talking on a cellphone.

Seth's voice (over the video): Poppa may have ...

Transition to a shot of a man talking on a cellphone.

Seth's voice: But God bless the child that's got a phone...

Transition to a shot of a baby chewing on the corner of a Sethtel Baby Cellphone.

Seth's voice: That's got a phone...

Screen shows video of the man and the woman putting the baby in its crib and kissing it goodnight. They turn to leave the room. Suddenly, the woman gets a text. It says, "I love you." They look back and see that the baby has fallen asleep with his Sethtel Baby Cellphone in his hand. They smile. Video transitions back to Seth standing in front of the piano.

Seth: He just worries 'bout nothing. Because he's got a phone.

Seth winks.

END OF COMMERCIAL

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Your Future Finalist

After giving it a medium amount of thought, I am very excited to announce my candidacy to be a finalist for the National Book Award. For those of you who are unfamiliar with the program, the National Book Award is this thing where they put a foil sticker on your book. Then people buy your book because they like stickers. Needless to say, that sounds like exactly the sort of thing I can get behind. And so here we are.

However, I want to emphasize that I am not announcing my candidacy to win the National Book Award. I only want to be a finalist. I'm not greedy. Also, my book isn't about World War II or anything so I don't expect it to win any major literary awards. But a finalist? Why not? I think Al Roker was a finalist one year. It's like jury duty.

So I don't anticipate it being difficult for my book to become a finalist. But! I really want that foil sticker, so I'm not taking any chances. That's why I'm announcing my candidacy publicly. I wanted to make sure that all you Seth-heads out there would know to cast your votes for The Great Frustration.

Now, I know what you're saying: Seth doesn't have devoted fans who refer to themselves as Seth-heads. And also you're saying: Readers don't get to vote for which books win or are finalists for the National Book Award.

Well, guess what? You've just given yourself two pieces of super wrong information: 1.) No such thing as a Seth-head? Then how do you explain the fact that my brother bought ten copies of my book? Or the fact that my morbidly obese basset hound, Hermione, worships the ground I walk on? And don't try to tell me that she's just looking for food that I may have dropped. 2.) Last time I checked, the US was a democracy. A really, really messed up democracy. Furthermore, the US is a nation and "national" is an adjective meaning "of or relating to a nation." ERGO, the National Book Award might as well be called the Get Your Votes In Award.

So if you'd like to vote for my book, just write the National Book Foundation a strongly worded letter. Or you can tweet at them here:

twitter.com/nationalbook

Remember, the squeaky wheel gets the oil. So when you're recommending my book to them, make sure to be as rude as you feel comfortable being.

That's all for now Seth-heads! I know I can count on your votes.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Freerange Interview!

Like individual chickens in a giant hourglass filled with chickens instead of sand, so are the days of our lives. That’s my pithy, artistic way of telling you that I have done an interview with Freerange Nonfiction, one of the best reading series/websites on the planet. No! On the universe.

You can read the interview here.

Also, I will be reading tonight with lots of cool people at the Franklin Park Reading Series. You can find details about the reading here. Double also, the Brooklyn Book Festival is coming up! You can find details about my BBF events back where I hyperlinked the word “here” in the second-to-last sentence.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

My Sales Figures

Let's cut the crap. Publishing is a business. The only books that are important are the ones that sell. It doesn't matter how "good" a book is or how many "pages" it has. What matters is how many people it makes stinking, throw-up-in-a-diamond-bucket rich.

So while I'm very proud of my book's cultural/critical/artistic achievements (ever since it came out this May it has been playing the zeitgeist like a guitar it bought at a garage sale), the only thing that can really be used to measure its success is huge burlap sacks filled with nasty cash.

That's why I've decided to post my book's sales figures right here on this blog... The only problem is that everyone who has seen The Great Frustration's numbers firsthand has been so blown away by its commercial success that they have either a.) moved to the mountains and become hermits or b.) spontaneously ripped their own heads off. So the exact sales figures are not available to me.

But, using the information at my disposal, I have managed to come up with what I feel is a pretty accurate report on the book's progress:

This Monday (July, 25th) a friend of mine named Shawn told me he was thinking of buying my book, which I'm assuming he later went on to do. The very next day (July, 26th) I spoke to two of my family members who said that they were both also planning to purchase a copy of my book eventually. Therefore, my sales doubled in a two-day period. In business analytics, this is what's called a "trend."

Figure 1 (Extrapolation of Trend)


Examining this trend even further, you'll find that by August 13th over 500,000 people will have bought my book.

Figure 2 (Further Extrapolation of Trend)


And exactly one-third of those people will be named Shawn.

Figure 3 (Proportion of Shawns)

And when you consider the fact that Shawn is not a particularly common name, it becomes obvious that 500,000 is a rather conservative estimate. After all, my book is probably also being purchased by Peters and Susans and Ambers and Jacobs and Sarahs and Angelas and guys whose friends call them Spud and Jasons and Tonys and Chets and Montagues and the list goes on. Amandas and Stevens and Beauregards and Tiffanys and Malcolms and Jamals and Warners.

In any event, the point I’m trying to make here is not that money is the most important thing in the world. Just in publishing. And while its commercial success does not necessarily mean that you will like my book, it does mean that not liking it would make you evil and strange.

End of post!

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Search and Replace


This is a book trailer I made using Notepad's Search and Replace function. This just proves that you don't need a big budget to make a book trailer. All you need is a word processor, lots of spare time, and the heart of a lion.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Poets & Writers 2011 First Fiction Roundup

I am interviewed by Hannah Tinti in the new issue of Poets & Writers. P&W has selected The Great Frustration for their 2011 First Fiction Roundup, highlighting the best debut fiction of the summer. You can read an excerpt from TGF on their site here. Make sure to check out the excerpts from the other great writers on the list as well: William Giraldi, Eleanor Henderson, Daniel Orozco, and Vanessa Veselka.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Upcoming Events

In an attempt to prove once and for all that I can read out loud, I have agreed to do several readings in the Brooklyn/Manhattan bi-borough area. Many of these events are still taking shape, so I will update this list with more information as things develop. I will also add whole new events as The Great Frustration continues to win over hearts and minds.

Fiction Addiction
Date: June 28th, 2011
Time: 8:00 PM
Location: 2A
Attire: Festive
Event Status: Total Victory

Vol. 1 Brooklyn
Date: July 13th, 2011
Time: TBA
Location: Bookthugnation
Attire: Jean short casual
Other readers: Adam Novy, Christian TeBordo, and Katarina Hybenova
Event Status: Total Victory

Freerange Reading Series
Date: August 3rd, 2011
Time: 7:00 PM
Location: Pianos
Attire: Female bullfighter
Other readers: Deb Olin Unferth, B.C. Edwards, Courtney Maum, Carmela Ciuraru
Event Status: Pyrrich Victory

The Urbanists: An Art Show

Date: August 19th, 2011
Time: 7:00 PM
Location: Veronica People's Club
Attire: Champagne Helmets
Other Readers/Artists: Someone literally named 'Ammo', Ryan O'Connell, M.J. Corey, Grace Moon, A.K. Burns, Brooks Turner, Daniela Dusak, Dana Givens
Event Status: Victory conceded to Ammo

Franklin Park Reading Series
Date: September 12th, 2011
Time: 8:00 PM
Location: Franklin Park
Attire: Old-timey diving equipment
Other readers: Emma Straub, Tiphanie Yanique, Michael Showalter
Event Status: Total Victory

Brooklyn Book Festival
In and Out of Time: Reading/Q&A on going beyond non-linear narrative
Date: September 18th, 2011
Time: 10:00 AM
Location: St. Francis McCardle Hall
Attire: Dinosaur costume optional
Other readers: Diana Gabaldon, Samantha Hunt
Event Status: Total Victory

Brooklyn Book Festival
Short and Sweet (and Sour): Reading/Q&A
Date: September 18th, 2011
Time: 5:00PM
Location: St. Francis Volpe Library
Attire: Volpe bookish
Other readers: Amelia Gray, Clark Blaise
Event Status:  Total Victory

Word Bookstore
Date: October 2nd, 2011
Time: 7PM
Location: Word Bookstore
Attire: Circus wedding
Other readers: Charles Yu
Event Status: Total Victory

Happy Endings Reading Series
Date: October 5th, 2011
Time: 7PM
Location: Joe's Pub
Attire: Short robe formal
Other readers: Paul La Farge, Jesse Ball
Event Status: Total Victory

Dangit I'm Thirsty! Music & Reading Series: Scary Story Night
Date: October 25th, 2011
Location: 113 North 7th Street (Brooklyn)
Attire: Starter Jacket Formal
Other Readers: Chloe Caldwell
Event Status: Total Victory

Winter Wheat
Date: November 12th, 2011
Time: TBA
Location: Bowling Green State University (Go Falcons!)
Attire: Spiderman casual
Other readers: Kevin Wilson

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Praisepocalypse: People Saying Nice Things About My Book


"Seth Fried is a pure delight to read--his stories are like parables from some alternate sci-fi Bible, funny and wise and generous, deeply strange and even more deeply familiar."

--Karen Russell, author of Swamplandia!

"The 11 stories in Fried's debut have the vigor of adventures ... there's a strain of absurdism in his prose that combines pathos, unease, and dark humor to add depth and give these stories a sense of modernity and relevance."

--Publishers Weekly, Starred Review

"Seth Fried's stories are laugh-out-loud hilarious and wonderfully weird, yet his many strange worlds also have the power to haunt, echoing the sorrows and yearnings of ordinary life in the way dreams can. This is an inspired and inspiring collection from an important new young writer."

--Dan Chaon, author of Await Your Reply

"... perfectly controlled and irresistibly propulsive."

--The Portland Mercury

"In The Great Frustration, Seth Fried creates elaborate set pieces, populates them with living, breathing characters, arranges them for maximum chaos, and then sets it all in motion, inviting you to watch catastrophe and disaster and ruin. Even if you wanted to stop reading, you couldn't: his sentences drive you forward with a relentless rhythm, breaking your heart, then reassembling it, then breaking it again, and you don't even mind, because, oh yeah, while he's doing this he's also making you laugh out loud."

--Charles Yu, author of How To Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe

"Playful, occasionally absurd ... These stories have the antic comedy of Monty Python, but the characters resemble the lost boys of Judd Apatow. Grade: A-"
--Cleveland Plain Dealer

"Fried often goes in for the kill when you least expect it, mining an emotional depth from his intensely flawed characters that is rare in debut fiction ... The Great Frustration is the type of debut story collection I love reading."

--The Rumpus

"These powerful and beautifully absurd stories create poetry from the collected voice of those who love and hate and dream and yearn. They stirred my imagination and time and time again seduced me into reflecting on the hopefulness and vulnerabilities of being human. The Great Frustration is a wonderfully original debut."

--Alan Heathcock, author of Volt

"Weirdly wonderful, Fried’s story collection inhabits equally the philosophical and the visceral."

--ZYZZYVA

"Seth Fried’s stories have extraordinary range, reminiscent of Borges, allowing the reader to become a time-traveler in a world populated by 21st century misadventures with prehistoric bones and a bestiary of microscopic beasts. You will enter the Garden of Eden the very moment before disasters began. His voice and imagination will dazzle you."--Thaisa Frank, author of Heidegger's Glasses

"Seth Fried has a wildly humorous imagination, but also sharp technical skills and beauty of language that weaves deep examinations of self and humanity into the inner folds of his crazy worlds. He’s channeling Saunders by way of Barthelme and Kafka, but also clearing a whole new territory of his own. Listen up and open this book: Seth Fried is the future of fiction."

--Hannah Tinti, author of The Good Thief

"These stories are joyful, breathtaking, and ridiculously funny. Yes, there is darkness and violence and the constant threat of unhappy endings, but Fried is such a stunning writer, you actually love the coming disaster because it is so perfectly presented on the page."

--Kevin Wilson, author of Tunneling to the Center of the Earth and The Family Fang

"Seth Fried should not be read by those with a heart condition, or by women who are nursing or pregnant. Do not read Seth Fried when driving or operating heavy machinery. Because his stories are not only addictive, but dangerously good. He will make your heart stop and your jaw drop. You will suffer from bouts of thoughtful silence and seizures of hilarity and may even soil yourself with pleasure. Consider yourself warned."

--Benjamin Percy, author of The Wilding and Refresh, Refresh

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Fifty-Two Stories/The Magazine of Yoga/Poets & Writers

The official pub date of my book is today! In celebration of this awesome fact, you can now read the title story of my collection over at Cal Morgan's Fifty-Two Stories.

Also, there's a new interview with me up a The Magazine of Yoga. Topics covered: Compost, failure, and cage fighting.

Double also, Poets & Writers has posted a video of mine to their site. This is either a huge step toward legitimacy for me or a huge step away from legitimacy for Poets & Writers. Either way, I'm pretty excited.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Andrew's Book Club

Incredibly excited to announce that The Great Frustration has been selected as the May pick for Andrew's Book Club. I am a huge fan of ABC, so this is a huge honor. You can read an interview I did with Andrew here. Topics covered: Dinosaur comedians, food fights, and MST3k.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Video Q&A On Ninth Letter's Blog

There is a very serious and well-made video Q&A featuring yours truly over at Ninth Letter's blog. Be sure to check it out!

Monday, April 18, 2011

Don't Spend a Dime: A Guide to Supporting Seth Fried's Debut Collection On The Cheap

Times are tight. In recent years most families have been forced to cut their debut short story collection budgets dramatically, if not eliminate them altogether. But not to worry! There are plenty of ways you can support my forthcoming collection without spending so much as one hot round American dime.

1.) Fill out an acquisition request form at the library.


Even if you can't purchase my book, you can still convince your library to grab a copy. Most libraries are run by nice people who want you to have access to the books you're interested in, so they should take your request to heart. However, while you're talking to them make sure you pronounce it "library" and not "lie-berry." That will help prevent them from throwing out your acquisition request form.

2.) Only have sex with people who have bought my book.

Not only will this incentivise people to buy my book in the short term, but in a few generations we might even be able to eliminate the genetic traits that cause people not to buy my book.

3.) Give my book a positive rating on Amazon and Goodreads.

I know what you're thinking: How can I give your book a positive rating if I haven't read it? But, let's face it, it's not like that would make you the first person to post an opinion on the internet despite the fact that you have no idea what you're talking about.

In order to help you out, I've written a few reviews for my book that you can adapt for your own purposes:

"The Great Frustration? More like the great short story collection!"

-Trent Banister, Stairville MA

"If I could travel back in time, the second thing I would do (right after making out with Helen of Troy and right before smacking Adolf Hitler in the face with a pipe) would be to sit down and enjoy this book for the first time all over again."

-Dr. Leroy Fice, Biosphere 2

4.) Social media the book with social media.

This one is easy. Just Facebook link some Facebook links. Tweet some tweets. Do whatever it is Tumblr does with your Tumblr account. Write a heart-melting love ballad about my book and upload the song to Youtube. Go on MySpace and design a really busy profile layout in which animated gifs of my book bounce up and down to the music of some obscure screamcore band.

5.) Ask a loved one to get you a copy for your birthday.

Happy Birthday!!!

6.) Borrow my book from a friend of yours and don't return it.

That way the friend will be forced to replace his or her copy and you will have effectively purchased my book.

7.) Send my book good vibes.

If you are a hippy, then you might be in a position to send my book good vibes. If so, please do.

8.) Find people sending my book bad vibes and stop them at all costs.

If you are a hippy who also happens to have a crazy vigilante component to your personality, then you might want to take to the streets and prevent people from sending my book bad vibes.

9.) Make a mental note to check out my book when you're a little more flush.

Yeah! No big deal. No reason to stress about it right now. You're going to get that big promotion. I just know it. And when you do, my book will be waiting to congratulate you.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

One Story Literary Debutante Ball

I am pleased to announce that on April 29th One Story will be having its 2nd Annual Literary Debutante Ball. I am even pleaseder to announce that (owing to the fact that my debut collection is coming out on May 1st) I will be one of the debutantes.

The benefit committee for the event includes T Cooper, Jamie Lee Curtis, Mark Hage, Amy Hempel, A.M. Homes, Jenny Lawrence, Andrew McCarthy, Dolores Rice, Paul Morris, Leigh Newman, Maud Newton, George Saunders, and Jim & Karen Shepard. It's sure to be a great time, so if you're in the area you should definitely attend. You can buy tickets here. You can also see pictures of some of the booze that will be at the event here and here.

Of course, I'd like to express my extreme gratitude toward One Story for including me in the event. I'm incredibly excited to be featured alongside the amazing writers being recognized. You can check out my debutante interview here.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

#thegreatfrustration

T minus three weeks till The Great Frustration is released! It pretty much goes without saying that such a momentous event would be accompanied by a Twitter hashtag campaign. And yet, I still feel compelled to point out that this momentous event will be accompanied by a Twitter hashtag campaign.

Every day for the next three weeks I will use my twitter feed to express my frustration about whatever's sticking in my craw. Each tweet will be followed by #thegreatfrustration. Anyone who wants to express their own frustrations is more than welcome. Just make sure to put #thegreatfrustration after your frustrated tweet. Because if you don't, then you're not participating in this Twitter campaign and are just complaining for no reason, which is an unattractive quality.

twitter.com/seth_fried

Sunday, April 3, 2011

The Books Have Arrived!!!

Just received the contract copies of The Great Frustration. This picture was taken before I dumped the books onto the ground and began rolling around in them euphorically.

Friday, March 25, 2011

A Complete List of All Books

In order to celebrate the fact that my debut short story collection, The Great Frustration, will be released in about a month, I have decided to compile a list of all the books that have ever been published. In addition to it being a fun opportunity to promote TGF, I figured it could serve as a scholarly resource (which is pretty much how I think of my blog anyway). Without further ado, here they are in no particular order:

Graham's French to English Dictionary

The Helicopter Joke Book

Jump-Around Howie's Big Book of Obvious Riddles

The Panther in the Cauldron: A Diaper Lewis Mystery

A Parent's Guide to Making Your Children Invincible to Witches

How to Tell Which Children Are Invincible to You: A Witch's Handbook

Mission to Cars: How to Attend an Auto Show

Dr. Paul d'Artagnan's Low Calorie Workout

Also:

Phone books

It's pretty humbling to see all those titles listed one after another. It's enough to make me realize that The Great Frustration will be little more than a grain of sand in an immense desert. Nevertheless, as far as grains of sand go, it's going to be awesome. Oh, also: Huckleberry Finn.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Starred Review in Publishers Weekly

I am incredibly pleased to report that Publishers Weekly has just given The Great Frustration a starred review. In fact, "pleased" might be underselling it. All day long I have been climbing skyscrapers and swatting at biplanes. PW had this to say:

The 11 stories in Fried's debut have the vigor of adventures, taking place in settings as disparate as Spain in the time of the conquistadors, a king's harem, a city under siege, various scientific setups, and--in the case of the title story--the Garden of Eden. Such an imagination is refreshing, but even more rewarding is that the stories don't rely solely on concept or conceit, and trudge forward into the lovely mess of strong characters wedged into dramatic circumstance. The scientists in "Those of Us in Plaid" have a simple, though not easy, objective involving an obstinate monkey and a space capsule. Science is clearly one of Fried's major interests: "Loeka Discovered" follows a team of researchers reconstructing ancient history from bits of bone and other artifacts. The lengthy "Animalcula: A Young Scientist's Guide to New Creatures" offers 15 scholarly descriptions of minuscule fauna, creating a fictional microcosm and illuminating it with the surprisingly poetic inner life of the scientist studying his subjects. While Fried's stories run to the historical or technical, there's a strain of absurdism in his prose that combines pathos, unease, and dark humor to add depth and give these stories a sense of modernity and relevance. (May)

This means one of two things: 1.) Publishers Weekly got the cigars I sent, or 2.) Publishers Weekly liked my book. Either way, I haven't received a star on a piece of writing since grade school and it still feels pretty great. Huge thanks to PW!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Animalcula: A Young Scientist's Guide to New Creatures

The new issue of The Kenyon Review is about to drop, as the kids say. The issue will feature a sizable excerpt from my epic, pseudoscientific work, Animalcula: A Young Scientist's Guide to New Creatures. So get ready for twelve (count 'em, twelve) short stories about some exciting microscopic organisms that I'm pretty sure I made up.

The issue will also feature a bunch of amazing work from some incredible people (including a bona fide hero of mine, Albert Goldbarth).

In the next few days The Kenyon Review will also be running a micro-interview with me on their blog. It's not an interview about microscopes, though that would have been completely awesome. It's just called micro because it's short. They've already posted two great interviews with contributors from the issue. Be sure to check them out: Ted Wheeler, Robert Yune. I'll link to my interview once it's up, as is my wont.

Also, while you're waiting to get your hands on a copy of The Kenyon Review, I encourage you to enjoy the work of some actual young scientists over at the Oklahoma Microscopy Society, from whom I borrowed the above picture of a wheel bug.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Blurb Attack: Endorseapocalypse

There's only 74 days (or, 6,393,600 seconds) left before The Great Frustration is released. In anticipation of this culture-changing event, Counterpoint Press/Soft Skull has put together the greatest team of blurbers ever assembled in the long, storied history of jacket copy.

All of these writers are people I admire to a ridiculous degree. It's a total thrill to see them say nice things about TGF. As a thank you, I've written this blurb blurbing their blurbs:

"The blurbs for Seth Fried's debut short story collection are transcendent, each a triumph of the form. This is the most electric set of blurbs I've read in years. I cannot recommend these endorsements enough."

--Seth Fried

And now, the actual blurbs:

"Seth Fried has a wildly humorous imagination, but also sharp technical skills and beauty of language that weaves deep examinations of self and humanity into the inner folds of his crazy worlds. He’s channeling Saunders by way of Barthelme and Kafka, but also clearing a whole new territory of his own. Listen up and open this book: Seth Fried is the future of fiction."

--Hannah Tinti, author of The Good Thief

"Seth Fried's stories are laugh-out-loud hilarious and wonderfully weird, yet his many strange worlds also have the power to haunt, echoing the sorrows and yearnings of ordinary life in the way dreams can. This is an inspired and inspiring collection from an important new young writer."

--Dan Chaon, author of Await Your Reply

"In The Great Frustration, Seth Fried creates elaborate set pieces, populates them with living, breathing characters, arranges them for maximum chaos, and then sets it all in motion, inviting you to watch catastrophe and disaster and ruin. Even if you wanted to stop reading, you couldn't: his sentences drive you forward with a relentless rhythm, breaking your heart, then reassembling it, then breaking it again, and you don't even mind, because, oh yeah, while he's doing this he's also making you laugh out loud."

--Charles Yu, author of How To Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe

"These stories are joyful, breathtaking, and ridiculously funny. Yes, there is darkness and violence and the constant threat of unhappy endings, but Fried is such a stunning writer, you actually love the coming disaster because it is so perfectly presented on the page."

--Kevin Wilson, author of Tunneling to the Center of the Earth and The Family Fang

"Seth Fried should not be read by those with a heart condition, or by women who are nursing or pregnant. Do not read Seth Fried when driving or operating heavy machinery. Because his stories are not only addictive, but dangerously good. He will make your heart stop and your jaw drop. You will suffer from bouts of thoughtful silence and seizures of hilarity and may even soil yourself with pleasure. Consider yourself warned."

--Benjamin Percy, author of The Wilding and Refresh, Refresh

"These powerful and beautifully absurd stories create poetry from the collected voice of those who love and hate and dream and yearn. They stirred my imagination and time and time again seduced me into reflecting on the hopefulness and vulnerabilities of being human. The Great Frustration is a wonderfully original debut."

--Alan Heathcock, author of Volt


"Seth Fried’s stories have extraordinary range, reminiscent of Borges, allowing the reader to become a time-traveler in a world populated by 21st century misadventures with prehistoric bones and a bestiary of microscopic beasts. You will enter the Garden of Eden the very moment before disasters began. His voice and imagination will dazzle you."


--Thaisa Frank, author of Heidegger's Glasses

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Q: Interview? A: Interview!


As many of you know, I rarely give interviews -- possibly because people rarely ask me to give them interviews. Whatever the case, I just did one with Shawn Vestal over at Bark. Topics covered include: Axe body spray, short story trailers, and the Civil War. Huge thanks to the awesome Shawn Vestal, and everyone at Bark for turning out one of the most consistently great lit blogs on the interweb.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

The Missouri Review's textBOX Anthology


The Missouri Review is about to launch textBox, their new online anthology. The site -- which goes live tomorrow morning -- will feature a selection of fiction, essays and poetry previously published in The Missouri Review.

TMR has spent over three decades putting out one of the best print journals in the country, so, as a reader, I'm incredibly jazzed (yes, jazzed) to see them take this exciting new step. As a writer, I'm even more jazzed (jazzeder?) to point out that the anthology's debut will feature Loeka Discovered, a story of mine that TMR originally published in 2008.

Needless to say, I'm honored to be included in the first installment of this soon to be beloved anthology. Make sure to check it out!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

24 Stories 12 Weeks: The Great Frustration Pre-Publication Read-ebration

My debut short story collection is coming out in three months. In the publishing world three months is a very short amount of time. Whereas, for the rest of us, three months is a massive expanse of time that's as difficult to conceptualize as the distance between two galaxies.

It is for this reason that I've come up with The Great Frustration Pre-Publication Read-ebration (here I want to point out that the word "read-ebration" is a new word I came up with by smashing the word "read" into the word "celebration" and that this new word is my creative property). Participation is easy. And if you have a library card it's also free. For each week leading up to the release of my book, go find and read the short stories listed for that week (see below).

The selected stories are all so mind-bogglingly good that before you know it the three months will be up. There will be nothing standing between you and my book except possibly your own lack of interest. Enjoy!

Week 1
The Glass Mountain by Donald Barthelme (City Life)
Mississippi by Rick Bass (The Watch)

Week 2
The Adventure of the Bather by Italo Calvino (Difficult Loves)
The Rememberer by Aimee Bender (The Girl in the Flammable Skirt)

Week 3
Kafka Cooks Dinner by Lydia Davis (Varieties of Disturbance)
Bigfoot Stole My Wife by Ron Carlson (The News of the World)

Week 4
The Guest by Stanley Elkin (Criers & Kibitzers, Kibitzers & Criers)
Pet Milk by Stuart Dybek (The Coast of Chicago)

Week 5
The Ballad of the Sad Cafe by Carson McCullers (The Ballad of the Sad Cafe)
Some Other, Better Otto by Deborah Eisenberg (Twilight of the Superheros)

Week 6
Realism by Charles Yu (Third Class Superhero)
The Dinosaurs by Italo Calvino (Cosmicomics)

Week 7
The Magic Poker by Robert Coover (Pricksongs and Descants)
B Positive by Michael Czyzniejewski (Elephants in Our Bedroom)

Week 8
Paradise Park by Steven Millhauser (The Knife Thrower)
Dog Days by Judy Budnitz (Flying Leap)

Week 9
Able, Baker, Charlie, Dog by Stephanie Vaughn (Sweet Talk)
A Common Misunderstanding by Franz Kafka (The Complete Stories)

Week 10
Thomas Edison and Vasil Golakov by Lydia Millet (Love in Infant Monkeys)
But Soft ... Real Soft by Woody Allen (Without Feathers)

Week 11
Signifying Nothing by David Foster Wallace (Brief Interviews with Hideous Men)
The Joke by J. David Stevens (Mexico is Missing)

Week 12
The Balloon by Donald Barthelme (Unspeakable Practices, Unnatural Acts)
The Handsomest Drowned Man in the World by G. Garcia Marquez (Collected Stories)

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Cover Letters: Gettin' Noticed

A very serious and well-made video of mine is being featured over on Ninth Letter's blog. It's a little educational film that I threw together early last year during a cold-related Sudafed binge. While you're over at Ninth Letter's site, make sure to subscribe toot sweet. They have a new issue coming out, which, though I'm not in it, still looks like it's going to be awesome.