Thursday, July 7, 2016

Christian McKay Heidicker

Christian Heidicker is an awfully charming young author from Utah.

Cure for the Common Universe is his debut novel.

Recently I asked the author about what he was reading. His reply:
Here are the books I’ve been smitten with/gobsmacked by lately.

Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell

You never know if an ├╝ber-popular book is going to crackle (Beloved, East of Eden) or crumble in your mouth like gluten-free bread (Ben-Hur, DaVinci Code). I started reading Wind because I wanted to find out if Margaret Mitchell was actually racist or if she was simply being honest about her characters and the era in which they lived. (The good people of Goodreads definitely lean toward the former.) Having just written a book with a main character with whom I did not see eye-to-eye, I was worried people might perceive his shortcomings as my own, and I wanted to see if there were others like me.

I stopped looking for clues hundreds of pages ago. I’m too delighted by the work. It’s funny. It’s intense. And thirty-eight hours into a fifty-hour audiobook, it hasn’t skipped a beat. Scarlett O’ Hara is one of the most fascinating train wrecks I’ve ever had the privilege of watching. Rhett Butler is a master conversationalist. I don’t want to meet either of them, but I love them.

Somewhere along the way, I think I may have found a clue as to what Mitchell thinks of her characters. Many of them deride reading books (“I swear he would rather pick up a book than a hunting rifle and I am not even joking.”) Meanwhile, here you are reading one of the longest pieces of classic literature. Mitchell shines a light on the nuances between southern and northern racism (Even in the 1860’s, Scarlett is horrified that a Northern woman refers to one of her employees as the ‘n’ word, arguing they can only call each other that). Margaret Mitchell is constantly winking at you—that is, when you aren’t so swept in the story that you forget there’s an author at all.

The Stars My Destination by Alfred Bester

This is the Mad Max: Fury Road of books. It’s fast, it’s intense, you have to do a lot of filling in yourself, and it has a hilarious premise. A passenger ship neglects to pick up a dude stranded in a wrecked spaceship so he spends the rest of the book seeking vengeance on its captain.

Invincible by Robert Kirkman

I’ve never been able to stomach large ensembles. I forget who people are. I mix up names. I don’t care when someone supposedly important dies. For me the last few Marvel movies have felt like bloated affairs, stuffed to the brim with Styrofoam character arcs that leave me feeling somehow simultaneously overwhelmed and rather empty.

Robert Kirkman has found a way to solve this problem. He realizes that a universe jam-packed with superheroes is ridiculous. So he plays up the gimmick, throwing in as many absurd heroes as he can dream up. And it works. Kirkman is a master of the slow burn, sprinkling story seeds that don’t start sprouting until a dozen issues later, but his dialogue is sharp enough to keep you riveted from panel to panel. He is a writer to be studied and envied. I hear he works primarily in his pajamas, after all.
Visit C. M. Heidicker's website.

Cure for the Common Universe is among Shaun Byron Fitzpatrick's top seven geeky love stories that prove nerd love is the best love.

The Page 69 Test: Cure for the Common Universe.

--Marshal Zeringue