Chabon Discusses Genre Fiction

The Los Angeles Times has a Q&A posted this week with Michael Chabon on the topic of genre and pulp fiction as Chabon continues to promote Maps and Legends.

“Every so often a writer hacks and crawls out of the brambles of genre,” Chabon says. “Somebody like Philip K. Dick clearly began in the pulps, writing mass commercial fiction. Almost by dint of the passion of his fans, and the intensity of his vision, and all of that stuff, eventually he ends up getting canonized in Library of America. But those are much more the exceptions.”

Chabon gives a list of authors who have inspired him over the years: Raymond Chandler, Ross Macdonald, Ross Thomas, Ursula K. Le Guin, Frank Herbert, Michael Moorcock, Ray Bradbury, Jack Kirby, Steve Gerber, Alan Moore. “And there are a whole list of borderland writers — John Crowley, Jorge Luis Borges, Stephen Millhauser, Thomas Pynchon — writers who can dwell between worlds,” he adds.

The rest of the interview can be read here.

Chabon’s Spidey 2 Script Online

More than three years after the release of Spider-Man 2, McSweeney’s has posted online the never-before-published script Michael Chabon wrote for the film.

McSweeney’s released the script in honor of the publication of Maps and Legends, Chabon’s first nonfiction book.

“Chabon was the third of four screenwriters assigned to the project; he ultimately received shared ‘screen story’ credit,” McSweeney’s Web site says. “As far as we know, this script hasn’t been seen anywhere else, and it won’t be seen here for long.”

To read the entire 252-page script, click here.

New Chabon Book This Spring

Michael Chabon’s first non-fiction book, Maps and Legends, will hit stores this spring.

Published by McSweeney’s, the 200-page book, according to Chabon, “is a collection of writings on reading and writing, many but not all of them previously published, most of them retooled and shaped, hopefully, into a thematically unified whole.”

McSweeney’s is touting it as Chabon’s first nonfiction book. It is not to be confused with a previously announced, untitled nonfiction essay collection on what it’s like being a man in terms of being a son. That book is expected in spring 2009 from HarperCollins.

Maps & Legends, according to McSweeney’s, features 16 essays “in praise of reading and writing.”

“Throughout, Chabon energetically argues for a return to the thrilling, chilling origins of storytelling, rejecting the false walls around “serious” literature in favor of a wide-ranging affection,” McSweeney’s says.

Though exactly which stories are available isn’t known, it is possible to guess on some thanks to McSweeney’s synopsis, as some fans did at Wikipedia. According to them, the book likely includes:

“Guidebook to a Land of Ghosts,” from Harper’s Magazine in October 1997.

“The Recipe for Life,” from The Washington Book World in 2000.

“Maps and Legends,” from Architectural Digest in April 2001.

“Inventing Sherlock Holmes,” from The New York Review of Books on February 10, 2005.

“The Game’s Afoot,” from The New York Review of Books on February 24, 2005.

“On ‘The Mysteries of Pittsburgh’,” from The New York Review of Books on June 9, 2005.

“After the Apocalypse,” from The New York Review of Books on February 15, 2007.

The publication date seems to vary on who you check with. McSweeney’s says February; Amazon claims March 28.

The book is priced at $24. According to Chabon, all proceeds go to San Francisco-based youth writing center 826 Valencia and McSweeney’s. HarpersCollins will publish a paperback version in 2009, Chabon said.