Tag Archives: the panama laugh

The House of Corporate Horrors Guest Post at Suvudu.com

I did a guest post over at Suvudu.com called “The House of Corporate Horrors,” about the writing of my novel The Panama Laugh and what it all means! And also how my zombie novel is one of the extraordinarily few zombie novels (some would say “the only”) directly connected to Occupy Wall Street and Occupy Oakland, like, philosophically speaking.

Here’s an excerpt from “The House of Corporate Horrors”:

The important social observation that inspired The Panama Laugh is simply this, and I’m not the first one to have it: “By limiting the power of the public sector and privatizing things like the military, law enforcement and counter-terrorism, we as a globalized society offer a dangerous amount of power over to multinational corporations that are, at best, benignly amoral. At worst, they careen into soul-crushing evil.”

The premise therefore became, just how evil could they be?

This seems, in retrospect, like a straightforward premise of the sort that’s common in cyberpunk: “Heartless monolithic multinationals do awful things to the little people.”

Don’t get me wrong — I’m not actually 100% anti-corporate. I’m a passionate supporter of small business, and I think when small businesses get big(ish) that’s just dandy. But I believe what we have today is a grotesque conflation of the public sector and the private, where corporations have been allowed to get too big to fail, and therefore have been handed the keys to the kingdom. Public money should not be used to bail out private enterprises — certainly not unless there is some kind of accountability for providing long-term benefit to the people whose money that is, rather than simply the stockholders.

Read the rest at Suvudu.com, or buy The Panama Laugh at Amazon, or, better yet, at Biblio.

 

The Panama Laugh is…a Best-Seller!

Borderlands Books at 866 Valencia Street in San Francisco was my neighborhood bookstore for bazillions of years. It’s one of the largest science fiction-fantasy bookstores in the world (possibly the largest at this point, I’m not 100% sure).

The location is gorgeous, gorgeously-appointed, luxurious, low-key, and most importantly packed with great books. The staff is gracious, chill and knowledgeable about the fields of science fiction, fantasy, and horror, and often about associated genres like noir.

And my novel The Panama Laugh is on the Borderlands Books trade paper best-sellers list for September, according to the Borderlands Books newsletter and Hellnotes.com.

It’s wedged between William Gibson’s Zero History and Max Brooks’s World War Z…two of my favorite writers.

In fact, when I was writing the scene in the middle of Part II of The Panama Laugh with the busted shipping containers, I had some of World War Z‘s amazing subtexts about of globalization in mind.

I’m reading at Borderlands on October 15 as part of Litquake’s Litcrawl, with Ray Garton, Richard Kadrey and Naamen Tilahuh, by the way. Litcrawl readings are some of the funnest I’ve ever been to. So come see us, hear some zombie fiction and argue with me over whether “funnest” is a word.

'Grabs You By the Throat and Punches You in the Face From Beginning to End'

W00t! YA author and clinical laboratory scientist Kelly Swails gave my novel The Panama Laugh a very positive review over at her Live Journal.

In it, she says, in part, “The Panama Laugh by Thomas S. Roche grabs you by the throat and punches you in the face from beginning to end, and I mean that in a good way.”

And did I mention she said this? “There is a lot to like here. The voice is perfect, as are the characters. The pacing doesn’t give you much breathing room, which I liked.” Read more here, and THANKS!

I like getting praised — who doesn’t? But if someone hates a piece of fiction I wrote, I feel like I should thank them for that, too…at least they took the time to read it, which is more than I can say for some people who hate on my nonfiction articles.

Regardless, thanks to everyone who’s taken the time to read The Panama Laugh, and thanks to Ms. Swails for the great review. I’m sort of extra-stoked because Swails’ bio says she is a clinical laboratory scientist by profession, which must mean that however egregiously wrong the science is in The Panama Laugh, there’s at least one scientist my fake-science wasn’t boneheaded enough to piss off!

I put a fair amount of work into figuring the logistics, but science speculation is not one of my strong points. Though I’ve read and loved science fiction my whole life, including quite a bit of hard science fiction, I’ve always felt like more of a crime and horror writer. I take forays into being a fantasist, but bona-fide SF has always been a stretch for me

I was awful proud of myself that The Panama Laugh technically crossed that line.

And I’m awful proud that people seem to be enjoying it.

Thanks to everyone who took the time to read and review the book!