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Wednesday, December 11, 2013

XVII Seventeen: Book One

Readers, please help me welcome author Mark Diehl. Mark, we're so glad to have you.
What is your favorite television show?

Back in the ‘90s, Mike Judge did a cartoon on MTV called “Daria,” that went for five seasons. My daughter and I watched every episode together, and I recommend the experience to anyone with a girl in middle school. Daria is a teenager attending a typical American high school. She’s smart and witty, but high school forces her into an artificial hierarchy where sports, fashion, and other conformist pursuits determine one’s position. Episode by episode, she’s confronted by pressures that reduce her peers to caricatures but she survives (though does not necessarily thrive – it is high school, after all), wrapped in a protective bubble of dry sarcasm.

Mike Judge was also the guy who did “Beavis and Butthead,” which I think is one of the most underappreciated shows ever. On the surface, it’s about two high school freshmen whose incredible stupidity gets them into trouble, but there’s another, more substantial story beneath. Beavis and Butthead don’t seem to have any responsible adults around them at all. They’ve spent their entire lives in front of a television, and we shouldn’t be surprised that shallow consumerism has become their only value. Their adventures amount to little more than searching for whatever’s “cool” while avoiding all that “sucks,” and always leave them as empty as they were when they started, albeit usually somewhat more physically damaged. It does feel rather satisfying to watch them meet hilarious ends they’ve brought upon themselves, but there’s a measure of sadness, a sense of waste to the show that tends to stick with you.


What kind of music you like?

The last two major concerts I’ve attended were both by Roger Waters of Pink Floyd. I saw “Dark Side of the Moon” in Chicago and “The Wall” in Boston. I can appreciate all kinds of music but my favorite type by far is anything dark and hypnotic that stands for something or makes a point. I can take one or the other. Bob Dylan makes a point and I love his work, but he’s about as hypnotic as a kazoo. Enigma makes trippy sounds but doesn’t say much. I’m hooked on lyrics, baby. Artfully tell me something real.


How would you spend ten thousand bucks?

Assuming I was barred from doing something boring and responsible, I’d buy a motorcycle to replace the one I left behind in South Korea. I taught myself to ride there, and at the time, that country led the world in traffic accident fatalities. In Korea, as in much of Asia, mass times velocity equals right of way, and nobody bluffs. I had no safety course, took no test, and had no idea what I was doing, but I bought a bike for a big brick of cash and followed all the other motorcyclists, weaving between cars, passing on sidewalks, and flirting with death moment by moment.

Here in the States, I’d love a bike big enough to take on the highway, maybe for a book tour. This time around, I’ll take the safety course.



Mark Diehl

 Most of the world's seventeen billion people are unconscious, perpetually serving their employers as part of massive brain trusts. The ecosystem has collapsed, and corporations control all of the world's resources and governments. A bedraggled alcoholic known as the Prophet predicts nineteen year-old waitress Eadie will lead a revolution, but how can she prevail when hunted by a giant corporation and the Federal Angels it directs?
The old man wrung his hands, looking Hawkins up and down. Hawkins scrolled through some text and found the name again: Stuckey. Another gee-whiz dimwit citizen, eager to please. Stuckey’s eyes went back up, from Hawkins’s acid-resistant all-traction black shoes, to his flexible, abrasion-proof gray uniform – cut in the old-fashioned suit style with lapels – to his perfectly Gold complexion and salt-and-pepper, closely-trimmed hair.
 “Never had a Federal Angel in my place before,” Stuckey said, though Hawkins barely heard him.  The Agent was closely observing the movements of a young, redheaded waitress setting plates on a table. As she leaned over, the girl kept her knees pressed tightly together, as her panties were clearly exposed with every bend of her waist. “I wish I could help you more; dropped that danged computer in a pot of soup when it was all going on – corporate’ll be furious, of course, but you’ve gotta tell ‘em so you can get the information you need. I hope my blunder doesn’t slow down your case, though. God’s will, right? God to the President to you, the Federal Angels. Geez. I never thought I’d actually meet one of you.”
Mark D. Diehl writes novels about power dynamics and the way people and organizations influence each other. He believes that obedience and conformity are becoming humanity’s most important survival skills, and that we are thus evolving into a corporate species.
Diehl has: been homeless in Japan, practiced law with a major multinational firm in Chicago, studied in Singapore, fled South Korea as a fugitive, and been stranded in Hong Kong.
 After spending most of his youth running around with hoods and thugs, he eventually earned his doctorate in law at the University of Iowa and did graduate work in creative writing at the University of Chicago. He currently lives and writes in Cape Elizabeth, Maine.
Author’s Website:
Mark is giving away a $50 gift certification to either B&N or Amazon. To enter the drawing go to the rafflecopter address listed below.


Goddess Fish Promotions said...

Thank you for hosting today.

Unknown said...

Thanks for featuring "Seventeen" on Hope. Dreams. Live ... Love today!

Natasha said...

Thanks for the chance to win!
Seventeen sounds like a great read!!
natasha_donohoo_8 at hotmail dot com

Catherine Lee said...

I enjoyed your description of Korea. Traffic in China was very much the same--chaos!
catherinelee100 at gmail dot com

Karen H said...

Sorry for the late post. I’m playing catch-up here so I’m just popping in to say HI and sorry I missed visiting with you on party day! Hope you all had a good time!
kareninnc at gmail dot com