- Running on empty: EPA slashes biofuel goals because of ethanol shortage
- ‘Gay Jeans’ that fade into rainbow-colored denim created
- Divided court strikes down big porn award
- Jimmy Carter: Don’t hurt Russian people with sanctions
- Oldest ex-MLB player dies in Cuba, 2 days shy of 103rd birthday
- ‘Top Gun’ for drones: Squadrons of carrier-based killers have Navy’s approval
- Bill Clinton to endorse Charlie Rangel for re-election
- Pfc. Bradley Manning is now Pfc. Chelsea Manning: Court says so
- Secret base U.S. special forces used to train Libyans now under terrorist control: report
- 9th suspect in N.C. kidnapping turns self in to FBI
Blogger doesn’t go by the book
Goes digital route to publicize his novel about man’s demise
A disheveled man staggers along a beach at sunset, swigging from a half-drained bottle of liquor, lamenting an unhinged, overpopulated world in which aging has been cured by science, like polio. Next comes a quick-cut montage of explosions, rioting and magnified blood cells, topped off by a blooming mushroom cloud and giant block letters reading “POSTMORTAL.”
It looks like a movie trailer. Sounds like one, too, with ominous music and a professional voice-over. Only “The Postmortal” isn’t an upcoming film - it’s a just-released novel. Its promotional trailer is part of a digital marketing push that comes naturally to author Drew Magary - a rookie novelist but a seasoned, familiar voice in the blogoshpere.
A 35-year-old Bethesda resident and former advertising copywriter, Mr. Magary is best known as a humorous, oft-profane sports and pop culture blogger for websites such as Deadspin and Kissing Suzy Kolber. His gonzo online oeuvre includes verbal vivisections of popular sports columnists and a memorably ill-tempered screed directed toward - no, really - “A Charlie Brown Christmas.”
With “The Postmortal,” however, Mr. Magary offers a serious, surprisingly dark look at an imagined future in which a cure for aging leads to moral fray and social chaos, followed by ecological catastrophe and war.
The novel’s central premise occurred to Mr. Magary while he was watching a television news story about resveratrol, a chemical compound found in red wine that some scientists claim has anti-aging effects.
“It was like, ‘Hey, if there’s no death, we would all end up killing each other,’ ” Mr. Magary said. “Ha ha ha - ah ha. The idea ended up being to take the trajectory of mankind’s decline and sort of accelerate it, put it on steroids.”
In making the jump from online writing to print publishing, Mr. Magary is following the rough trajectory of food blogger Julie Powell, author of the book-turned-movie “Julie and Julia,” and Brooke Magnanti, whose “Belle du Jour” blog later became two books and a television series.
Yet while Ms. Powell and Ms. Magnanti followed the old literary dictum of writing what you know - the latter publishing diaries of her time as London call girl - Mr. Magary chose to extend beyond his comfort zone, in part because he recently had been laid off from his advertising job.
Mr. Magary’s previous book, “Men With Balls,” was a satirical send-up of the sports world instantly familiar to his regular online readers.
“I didn’t want to just write about sports anymore,” he said. “I had this desire to do something bigger. When you blog for a living, it’s like a ticking clock. At some point you won’t be hip enough. People will realize that what you’re doing isn’t making them money. The hard truth is that there are only so many people who read Deadspin.
“Of course, the risk was - and my first agent told me this - that it can be very transparent that you’re a blogger and you don’t know what you’re doing.”
Over a six-month period, Mr. Magary wrote his initial draft of “The Postmortal” as a series of fictional blog entries, the better to make the task more familiar and less daunting. As a matter of habit, he worked without an outline. The end result, he said, lacked strong characters and a cohesive narrative.
When Mr. Magary gave his completed manuscript to his then-agent, she gave him a single line of feedback. This doesn’t work. “All I got was, ‘Well, fiction’s hard,’ ” Mr. Magary said. “I was like, ‘This [stinks], I’ve written all this for nothing.’ “
During a previous, short-lived gig as an aspiring stand-up comic, Mr. Magary said, he found himself in bars near closing time, surrounded by “miserable” fellow comics who wanted “nothing more” than to see him bomb.
The experience led Mr. Magary to start blogging. It also helped him learn how to shrug off rejection. He sent “The Postmortal” to a second agent, Byrd Leavell of the New York-based Waxman Literary Agency.
© Copyright 2014 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
About the Author
Patrick Hruby is an award-winning journalist who holds degrees from Georgetown and Northwestern. He also contributes to ESPN.com and The Atlantic Online, and his work has been featured in The Best American Sports Writing. Follow him on Twitter (@patrick_hruby) and contact him at PatrickHruby.net.
- Taking to Twitter: Everybody's Oscar night in 140 characters
- Glenn Beck, Michelle Malkin cry foul at WWE Tea Party stereotypes
- Oscar Pistorius and the 'roid rage' defense: It's no Get-Out-Of-Jail-Free card
- Spatial media: Astronaut Chris Hadfield live chats from 220 miles above earth
- Hero-worship for a cold-blooded killer: The cult of Christopher Dorner
TWT Video Picks
By Andrew P. Napolitano
Obama's veil of secrecy is pierced
- 'Top Gun' for drones: Squadrons of carrier-based killers have Navy's approval
- Pentagon plans to replace flight crews with 'full-time' robots
- America is an oligarchy, not a democracy or republic, university study finds
- Obama avoids 'red line' for China, prepared to impose tougher sanctions on Russia
- Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy hailed as patriot, ripped as lawless deadbeat
- Texas is next! AG warns BLM wants 90,000 acres after Bundy ranch standoff
- Russian bombers buzz U.K. airspace; jets scrambled to chase off 'Bears'
- Kansas will nullify local regulation of guns
- ISTOOK: Obama's sleight of hand hides hidden government's work
- CARSON: When government looks more like foe than friend
Top 10 handguns in the U.S.
Celebrity deaths in 2014