Tuesday, March 10, 2020

Jack Pendarvis on Scott Phillips

For a brief period, and without what anyone would describe as “qualifications,” I taught classes at a university, where, to make an unfair generalization, I discovered that undergraduates are very judgmental toward fictional characters. They really want fictional characters to behave properly. Then they opened The Adjustment by Scott Phillips, and their faces melted. Their objections were obliterated in a blinding white-hot flash of putrid stardust. Now there’s a blurb!

Maybe after a parade of narrators who ooze with squirmy postmodern rationalizations, it’s a relief to meet a cheerfully efficient monster like Wayne Ogden, the world’s only completely reliable narrator. Or maybe he’s so unreliable that he stretches around the world and kisses reliability on the mouth. It’s like what Nicolas of Cusa said about God, that he is “neither nothing nor not nothing, nor is God both nothing and not nothing.” Right? Now you can see why I don’t teach anymore.

I was lucky to have Margaret audit almost all my classes. She was an octogenarian and up for anything, except for The Adjustment, which she stopped me after class to tell me was “pornography without the pictures.” And this was a woman who had known nine murderers—so far!—over the course of her life. That’s an average of over one murderer per decade! She liked to tell me their horrible murder stories. One high-school chum threw his mother in a cistern. But Scott Philips is where she drew the line.

That Left Turn at Albuquerque, the latest novel by Scott Phillips is available now. Grab a copy at your favorite local bookstore through Indie Bound or from

Subterranean Books (they'll have signed editions)

Barnes & Noble


Jack Pendarvis mostly writes for animated TV shows. The Place Where Jack Pendarvis Has a "Blog" may amuse you, as might following him on Twitter @JackPendarvis.

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