Exciting news on the I am Falun Gong front — after putting it online and taking it down and putting it back up in excerpt and taking it back down — watch as I battle with the new dynamics of publishing, the needs of nurturing a viewer/readership, the slim possibility of making some money, etc. etc. etc. — I’ve decided to put the book up on Richard Nash’s new website Red Lemonade. (After asking him if I could and his saying yes and etc.–when it gets out of beta I believe any and all are welcome to post.)
[Richard Nash used to be the editor of Soft Skull, the publisher that had some brief interest in I am Falun Gong some years ago -- courtesy a recommendation from Kate Bernheimer and Lydia Millet -- thanks ladies! Anyway, Richard ended up leaving Soft Skull before anything happened and they (Soft Skull) kind of lost track of me and my book. But, I've been eagerly awaiting his next project and when Red Lemonade launched I shot him an email and he graciously invited me aboard with the words, "Yes! Holy Fuck." How could I possibly not put it up after that?]
Now, I admit I don’t totally understand what Richard is thinking for the website and the future of publishing, but he seems to be an exceedingly competent guy and exceedingly knowledgable about independent fiction, so I’m going to trust he knows what he’s doing and attempt to ride the wave some. I found this blog post/comic online that seemed to explain Red Lemonade pretty well, along with gives some bits about Mr. Nash’s bio. Upon consideration it seems like how bands use myspace: putting up music, show information, cultivating fans, is how Red Lemonade could be for writers — and that sounds good to me.
In short, yes, I am Falun Gong is back online!!! (Actually, I’ve only put up the first 70 or so pages as of now, seems enough to start with and the formatting takes some time.)
In celebration of this, and in order to make it prettier/more interesting, I have constructed a hilariously, hideously ugly mock cover, as well as written a new, jazzier blurb — the other one was so dry I didn’t even want to read the book.
So please head on over to Red Lemonade, read some (or all) of the book, make comments, tell me it sucks, whatever! I’ve actually already gotten into a minor snit in the comments section over an allusion to Camus! Top that for literary fun times!
The new blurb (sounds exciting don’t it?):
Part sci-fi, part political thriller, part good old highbrow literary fiction, I am Falun Gong tells the tale of two people intimately involved in the complex world of the Chinese spiritual movement Falun Gong. From their outright disdain, to grudging acceptance, to full-throated fanaticism, I am Falun Gong explores the complex and often dangerous situation surrounding the movement’s adherents and detractors in China and throughout the world.
It is a work of importance in our particular time, as it deals with China’s ascension, the United States’ perceived decline, and, through a variety of voices and styles, the increasing fragmentation and subjective character of media.
Falun Gong was founded in 1992 by the charismatic Master Li Hongzhi and grew rapidly throughout the 1990s until it could claim as many as 70 million practitioners in China. With this great popularity came great scrutiny however, and in 1999 the Chinese Communist Party banned Falun Gong.
Notice of Falun Gong came to the West in early 2001 when several members lit themselves on fire during a demonstration in Beijing’s Tiananmen Square. The ritual self-immolation has been disputed by the group as an elaborate fabrication concocted by the Chinese Communist Party to discredit its members. This event is central to the novel.
I am Falun Gong is about rebellion and acquiescence. About lies and the truth of and the ways each are shaped. It is about two people enveloped in the events that day: Tong Bai, a journalist who moves from being a government apparatchik working for The People’s Voice to a follower of the teachings of Falun Gong, and the mysterious Yu Tien, a young girl supposedly killed in the fire in Tiananmen. Most of all, it is a novel about the world today.
New (fake) cover: