What does it really mean to chart ‘new vistas of irreality’, as the UK-based publisher Chômu Press claim to set out to do? As part of our ongoing temporary ‘partnership’ with the Press this month, Schlock speaks to Chômu co-founders Léon and Quentin Crisp (no, not THAT Quentin Crisp). In a rich and revealing interview, the duo delve into just how they burrow through the interstices of genre to deliver work that – even in this jaded age – feels truly vital.
Perhaps in many ways, Chômu Press is ‘the thing that should not be': an indie publisher focusing on odd books that appear to scream ‘lunatic fringe’. What was the spark that first led you to decide to set up the imprint, and what keeps you going to this day?
Léon: When Quentin and I were exploring the idea of creating Chômu Press, we were discussing how the world of literature could really do with pushing into the 21st century and unleashing an explosion of creativity and experimentation like we have seen in other areas of art such as music, painting, film, but which seems to have been absent from literature for a while. In particular, we were excited about the possibility of breaking the spell of sleep that seems to have fallen over culture, popular and otherwise, and turning people’s gaze more to the vastness of the as yet unexplored universe of human existence.
We discussed how, although mainstream literature contains a huge amount of variety, this variety is actually microscopic compared to the capabilities of human imagination and perception, and the possibilities within existence itself. It is as if the human race has consented to the sleeping spell mentioned, and it feels like the time is right to question that consent and break the spell. We were excited about finding and encouraging the creation of works of literature that would shock, stir, liberate, energise, and give people that exciting feeling of having woken up in the middle of a dream. Perhaps this would even act as a catalyst, a kind of viral awakening to the possibilities in literature and in life generally. There is a growing sense of unrest (wanting to wake up?) around the world, and a diminishing sense of willingness to simply accept the status-quo. It feels like there is something almost being said, or just about to happen.
We should be clear that when we say “encouraging the creation of works of literature” we mean literature without the usual boundaries associated with the word. Just as music, especially today, is not simply something that you listen to, but may be an index of someone’s personal identity, a tribal catalyst, a kind of religion in that it is worshipped, something intrinsic to how people look and behave and talk and what they wear, a source of energy to get through each day, a weapon used in personal conflicts, and so on, so we’re looking for literature that doesn’t stay on the shelf, but becomes part of people’s lives in unpredictable ways.
It’s a difficult thing to do, though, as pushing past the mainstream necessarily goes out of the general ‘comfort-zone’ into areas that are strange and unfamiliar, and can’t be judged and measured in the ways people are generally used to. By definition, the masses can only see and understand the value in something, when it has already become mainstream. Seeing and experiencing the value in something that is initially incomprehensible, before it is culturally assimilated, is much more difficult, and this is where our real challenge lies in promoting the books we publish.
So Chômu Press is like the Start Trek of publishing. We have a mission to discover and make available these mind-awakening works, and also to encourage and support authors in creating such works.
Quentin: There’s an episode I haven’t mentioned before that provided motivation for me in terms of publishing. While I was in Taiwan, there was a peripatetic guy by the name of Feng who lent me a manuscript he’d written, called The Valley of the World, or something. It read like a novel, though I’m not sure it was intended that way. It was basically about Jesus in his second life, reincarnated in China in the 20th century. Aside from the fact it read like it was written by a Daoist Henry Darger, in his second language – or because of that fact – it was easily a candidate for the best novel I’ve ever read. Anyway, as he only had this one manuscript, he didn’t trust me with it for long, and after I gave it back to him I lost contact, so it’s always haunted me that that manuscript has probably gone unpublished, and partly, my wanting to find another novel like that—not wanting to let similar novels go unpublished – has informed the founding of Chômu.
Having said that, I have, personally, not taken much initiative in founding things. Ages back, Justin Isis suggested we start a print magazine, but it seemed unlikely we’d ever do it. We had a name for it, anyway, which was ‘Chômu’—taken from the pen name of an obscure Japanese poet mentioned in a list of poets in an essay by Lafcadio Hearn (incidentally, pronounced, more or less “chore-moo”). Anyway, one day I got an e-mail from Justin saying, “There! I’ve set up the magazine!” or words to that effect. Obviously despairing of our doing anything about the print magazine idea, he’d set up a blogzine, which is still extant.
Later, while I was languishing in South Wales, Léon suggested we experiment with the rapidly improving and more accessible print-on-demand technology (this must have been in 2009—2008 at the earliest). The question arose as to the name for an imprint—I suggested “Chômu Press” in the hope of continuing the spirit of the blogzine.
I think the scene in which I have had work published has, necessarily, coloured the development of Chômu Press, so that it has more of a ‘weird fiction/supernatural’ flavour than the original blogzine, but I think that blogzine spirit will increasingly emerge.
It may be asked, “What is that spirit?”
This is a surprisingly difficult question. On the one hand there are generic-sounding answers like: “magic” or “imagination”, and on the other, one can only resort to quite outlandish analogies, such as: “That spirit is like the moment when Adam Ant leaps through the window onto the banqueting table in the video for ‘Stand and Deliver’.” Either way of explaining things leaves a lot out.
(Incidentally, Darby Crash, lead vocalist of punk band The Germs, apparently visited London towards the end of his brief life. While there, he contracted an obsession with Adam and the Ants, and returned to Los Angeles with a Mohican haircut. It seems that the L.A. scene didn’t know how to handle the new outlandishness of the returnee. I find this an oddly poignant story, and like to imagine a Darby Crash who had never committed suicide but, instead, transformed further, thus instigating a parallel history where American punk gave birth to American new romanticism, influenced more by Adam and the Ants and Japan (David Sylvian’s band) than by Duran Duran etc. I think if Chômu had been there, we would have encouraged Crash to go in this direction rather than killing himself, and the world would be a very different place now.)
The genre of weird fiction – which, for better or for worse, you seem to be associated with – is arguably going through something of a revival (to say nothing of the wonderfully unexpected attention it’s getting thanks to HBO’s True Detective over the last couple of months). But because a) Chômu does not appear interested in settling comfortably into any pigeonhole and b) weird fiction itself appears to exist in a constant flux, how would you go about setting an editorial tone?
Quentin: I never personally had a problem with genre until becoming a published writer – it always seemed to me that genre was just a label of convenience after the fact. Since being published, and now becoming an editor, I increasingly feel like genre is deeply related to everything that is wrong with the world. If we need broad labels for creative endeavours, then, as far as possible, they should only apply in conclusion. The more you start with a conclusion in mind, the less exploring there will be. I suppose I feel about genre as I have heard libertarians feel about government: some government is necessary or inevitable, but it should be kept to the absolute minimum (not necessarily my political views by the way); so, I think, if genre is inevitable, it should be kept to a minimum… well, that in itself might tell you something about the editorial tone.
I suppose there are some clarifications to make here:
1) Mainstream social realist fiction is basically a genre for comfortable Oxbridge graduates and tends to reduce the universe to the size of a middle-class drawing room (which, admittedly, can be quite large).
2) Some people might imagine that reducing genre content is a way of achieving only a middle-of-the-road product. This is a mistake, since what I mean by ‘genre’ is precisely the limitations of particular kinds of literary convention and the derivative approach to writing that these limitations encourage. In other words, the more something conforms to genre, the more likely it is to be mediocre or bad, though this isn’t a strict correlation.
3) A purely contrarian position will eventually implode – banishing genre is a negative reinforcement of its existence. Therefore, one must keep an open door. The point is, really, that there is so much more ‘out there’ that a focus on genre doesn’t let in, and which we want to give a home to.
(Obviously, I don’t actually know what a drawing room is, and am just saying that for effect.)
I don’t think I would ever have considered being involved with a publisher who publishes only one genre or even a list of specific genres. But, as your question suggests, some kind of editorial tone is important, firstly, to help us eliminate surplus candidates, and secondly, to give a sense of direction to what we do. I’ve said before that there is a secret aesthetic, which we use as one essential criterion. This is still true. By keeping it secret, we can also keep it open-ended. That is, hopefully it doesn’t turn into just another label.
There’s more than one reader for Chômu, and, of course, everyone’s taste differs to some extent, but if I can presume to speak for Chômu as an individual for a moment, I think I have a decent eye for the genuine article. Maybe I can explain it with some kind of analogy related to filters, lenses and so on.
I think mostly, in the arts, what is popular has a more or less ‘transparent’ style. In literature, for instance, the attitude is that the words are a window onto the story. For Chômu, the words are the story. That, too, can be a misleading statement, but basically, we favour styles that are not transparent. They have tone and texture, to give a different view of things. Anyone can do something eccentric and call it style, but the genuine article has achieved an inner consistency.
Looking the word ‘Baroque’ up in the dictionary years ago, I was intrigued to find that its etymology is something like ‘deformed pearl’. A pearl is necessarily something with consistency – something that has ‘gelled’. If it’s a deformed pearl, that basically means, even having its own consistency, it’s not usual or conventional. Whether they have anything in common with the historical artistic style or not, I think our books are like that.
(As a quick postscript to this question here, it should probably be noted that there are definite complexities to the genre situation. For instance, in the case of True Detective, mentioned in your question, some fans of Ligotti feel that the writer of the series basically plundered the genre, and particularly the work of Ligotti, because of a dearth of his own ideas. There’s a question here about whether Ligotti’s work is genre, but in these circumstances, I definitely see why genre fans get protective. On the other hand, I remember going to a reading and talk by J.G. Ballard, and he felt that he had been rejected by the science fiction community, as if – he said – he had been a burglar in their house. This is a different problem –the problem of the writer who is too original to be accepted by the hardcore fans of a particular genre while having a general aura of a that genre in their work.)
Who were some of the first writers under your wing, and how did you acquire them? Has the way you amass and develop relationships with writers changed since then?
Quentin: Necessarily, we already had a number of books lined up before 2011, which was the year that we started releasing in earnest (our first release was in 2010). I honestly can’t remember all the chronological details, but I do know that the texts came to us in a satisfying variety of ways. Justin Isis was one writer who we definitely wanted to publish, seeing his work as definitive to our projected catalogue. Reggie Oliver trusted us very early on with the first volume of The Dracula Papers, which was very flattering, as, of course, we were an unknown quantity at that point. Daniel Corrick, of Hieroglyphic Press, sent me Brendan Connell’s Metrophilias to read, just as something I might be interested in. I was, and promptly wrote to Brendan myself to tell him so (by some startling coincidence, he’d procured a copy of my first collection from someone who used to know me), which led in a very natural way to the publication of The Life of Polycrates and Other Stories for Antiquated Children. Daniel Mills was among the very first to submit typescripts (I’m attempting to re-establish the distinction between manuscript and typescript– and there should be a new word for the digital age, such as ‘digiscript’ or ‘softscript’ or something), and was, for us, a very happy discovery; we had the honour of publishing his debut novel, Revenants, which doesn’t read like a debut at all– very assured and atmospheric.
I should also mention Jeremy Reed, who I had met a couple of times prior to the founding of Chômu Press. I wrote to him asking if he would be interested in writing a blurb for Justin’s book. Very generously, he read the book and provided a great blurb for it. He also promised he would submit something. He’s been published by Penguin and Peter Owen, amongst others, so, although he was on our list of writers we’d love to publish, I somehow imagined we’d work up to that. But Jeremy tells me that he loves independent presses, and he’s been very supportive. We’ve published two of his books now – a novel, and a collection of poetry and essays.
We actually might have published more books in 2010, except that Brendan advised us on certain reviewers we might like to try sending ARCs (advance review copies) to. We realised that, if we were going to do this, we needed to delay release of the books we already had lined up, but we built this into our process from our second release (I Wonder What Human Flesh Tastes Like) onward.
Broadly speaking there are five different ways to acquire works:
- You already know the writer and can negotiate at ease.
- Open submissions – sometimes called ‘the slush pile’.
- Via agents.
- On the recommendation of someone whose opinion you trust.
So far, we have acquired works in all of these ways except number 3. I’m especially pleased at some of our serendipitous finds through open submissions, such as I Am a Magical Teenage Princess, by Luke Geddes. Open submissions, however, are a lot of work, and we didn’t quite calculate the workload for this right the first time round, so we’re currently restructuring our submissions system so we can get back to people quicker. Part of the problem—showing my good side, I’m afraid, under cover of my bad—is that I have taken too long deliberating and delivering a verdict on some texts. Unfortunately, with the volume of submissions one receives, it looks like one has to be merciless and reject everything as soon as there is the least urge to reject. That’s what the volume of submissions is like—writing is a game with very daunting competition.
Did the reception of any of your titles ever surprise you?
Quentin: Well, we knew from the start that we’re not dealing with mainstream or easily categorisable work, so we weren’t expecting it to be easy to find our readership all in one place. And, in fact, I don’t think we have yet found our potential readership—just a small portion of them. I do find it surprising when a reviewer describes a reaction to one of our books that I can’t relate to from reading the book myself, but since becoming an editor rather than just a writer, as I was before, I realise that you can’t quibble with reviewers when they’re doing the job of promotion you were asking for.
What I do like, however, and one of the reasons we exist, is when readers are themselves surprised by their reaction to a book. For instance, I’ve heard from a number of readers how surprised they were by Joe Simpson Walker’s Jeanette, and I’ve heard the same thing about I Am a Magical Teenage Princess by Luke Geddes. These two, of course, are not ‘weird fiction’, or not in the sense that that phrase has conventionally come to mean.
Are there any authors whom you’ve seen ‘grow’ under your banner, with each subsequent book they’ve released?
Quentin: Not exactly. We’ve published three books by Michael Cisco so far (The Great Lover, Celebrant and Member), but we’d already received these in one go early on, so I don’t know what order they were written in. What we had to decide then was which order to read them in, then which to publish them in, if they were to be published, and then specific scheduling. Also, Cisco didn’t debut with us, so all the material he sent was already that of a mature writer.
The case is different with each writer. We have published four debuts so far: I Wonder What Human Flesh Tastes Like, by Justin Isis, Revenants, by Daniel Mills, I Am a Magical Teenage Princess, by Luke Geddes, and Jane, by P.F. Jeffery. But as yet, only one book by each of these authors (though Justin was co-editor of our Dadaoism anthology).
In fact, I probably have most justification in talking about seeing growth under the Chômu aegis in the case of Justin’s writing. Naturally, I’ve had more than a ‘sneak preview’ of Justin’s next book, which, all going well, should come out with Chômu. The title is Welcome to the Arms Race. From what I’ve read of it, I’d be surprised if it doesn’t make an impact.
Anyway, I think it might be of limited interest describing exactly why, for each writer, I can’t yet claim to have seen them grow strictly under the umbrella of Chômu publication. Unless one means simply that their published oeuvre and readership grows.
But in another sense, actually, the word ‘grow’ is very appropriate, because running a publishing company seems very much like tending a garden, planting seeds and watching them germinate, etc. Not only that, but you start to witness cross-pollination and develop a wider understanding of the ecology of literature as a human activity.
In fact, what I can say is that I have grown in my understanding of how to edit, how to work with people and of what constitutes literary originality, depth and skill. For that reason, my appreciation of the writers we’ve published has grown.
Recently, I set up a Facebook page called ‘Read Living Authors’—one of the interesting things about reading the work of an author who is still alive, or publishing it, is that history hasn’t yet passed its judgement and put things into a settled context. You have to make your own judgements. Will this be a classic? Won’t it? Does it matter? Maybe it does—all that kind of thing. It’s a bit like the difference between watching a live event at which you are present, and watching a recording of it some time afterwards. So, it’s not at all that I see and experience the work of our writers as static—I see it as living, dynamic, organic and so on. It’s something you can have a relationship with.
To some, this might sound a trivial way of putting it, but I don’t think it is: a friend of mine once visited me in Japan, and we did a bit of travelling together. He’s an amateur ornithologist, so we often stopped to photograph birds. He remarked at one point that an interest like ornithology adds interest to travel, because you always have your eye out for something extra that other people might be oblivious to. In the same way, an interest like literature, for instance, gives you a chance to be a kind of ornithologist in life generally, spotting this or that thing that relates to your interests. At the very least, I would say, there’s a big difference between being stuck in a cell with someone and having nothing to talk about, and being stuck in a cell with them and discovering by some incredible chance that you are both interested in the work of Bruno Schulz, say. But Bruno Schulz is dead, of course—with living writers, we do, in fact, have more of a sense of the question how things will turn out.
What would you say are the biggest dangers of the book in the digital age?
Quentin: Data storage, career sustainability and the perhaps more nebulous question of how we value culture and experience.
The printed book is actually a format that doesn’t date. Other formats do. You can easily see this by comparing musical recording formats with the written word. 78 rpm phonographs gave way to 33 and 45 rpm records. These were joined by cassette tapes. Then came compact discs, and now we have mp3s and so on. If you have a music library, you need to keep updating the formats. This problem doesn’t exist with printed matter.
There’s a very simple reason why. With music recordings you have intermediary technology that changes. Kindle and other e-readers are billed as cutting out the middle man between you and the text, but, as far as I can see, the situation is exactly opposite to this. The e-reader is the technological middle man, and as such is the beginning of a ‘format race’ in books similar to the one we’ve seen in music.
Compare the vinyl format of music with printed books. You can’t buy a record and run your eyes over its grooves and thereby hear the music. You need the technological infrastructure of record players and record player manufacturers. With printed books, however, you really can ‘run your eyes over the grooves’ and extract the information, without any intermediary technology. You have the technology built in—your brain and language/literacy. The same ‘technology’ can be used to read books written hundreds of years ago. With extensions to the software (learning older versions of a language, or dead languages, such as Latin), you can directly read texts written thousands of years ago, only using the technology of your own brain.
I think that there’s a danger, if we rely too heavily on digital storage of information, that we will lose it. This is a problem that will become increasingly clear to us, I think.
The next problem is simply this: e-book piracy is very easy. If we agree that literature has value (and why even pirate it if it doesn’t?) then we must support those who produce it. There is no way around this. So-called ‘free culture’ can only exist in a world where absolutely everything is free. As long as we exist in a monetary system at all, then anything of social and cultural value must be supported financially—through taxes, private enterprise, charity, advertising revenue, or something. Basically, if you don’t support something financially, it will disappear from the public realm and, for instance, with literature, it will cease to be anything but a hobby. I think literature is worth more than that.
Thankfully, I think a good number of readers—maybe most—realise this and will pay for something even when a pirated version is available.
For all I know, Jaron Lanier has already put this idea forward, but, in case his hasn’t, I suggest this: a way of registering, on the internet, with global legal efficacy, private intellectual copyright INSTANTLY, simply by uploading your text or music or image or software to a global copyright website. Then, every time your work is used, this website should register the fact, and extract royalties as appropriate. That is my suggestion for how to keep alive the creative classes in the digital age.
Now we come to the more nebulous issue I mentioned, which might turn out to be the most important: how we value culture and experience. I mentioned Jaron Lanier above. In the introduction to his book You Are Not a Gadget (which I’ve dipped into here and there), he suggests we’ve reached the beginning of the end-game. What end-game? Well, as far as I can determine, the end-game of all those questions that began to arise most noticeably, in connection with human destiny, with the advent of the Industrial Revolution. In short: will technology free us or enslave us? Recently, Bill Gates, that embodiment of geeky optimism, has announced that robots will definitely be taking our jobs in the next, say, twenty or thirty years. That might be all very well a) if we trust robots to be nurses, to have the final say over pushing one red button or another and so on, b) if it means freeing humans to make more creative use of their time, c) the technological infrastructure is socially and ecologically sustainable, and d) the technology is driven by the needs of the end-user and is not merely a trick for spying on, controlling and exploiting them. But precedent is not wholly reassuring on these points. For instance, there’s the case of Stanislav Petrov who averted a nuclear war in 1983, because he didn’t trust the warning system that told him a US missile strike was on its way and correctly refused to set in motion a retaliatory measure. And, on the front page of the Independent (18March, 2014), I see a story concerning the waste of young talent in Britain, even without robots. As Lanier has pointed out, something like automated taxis will make one person very rich (the person who invents the system) and make thousands of others (those who lose their jobs) very poor. And the real nightmare scenario for me is the cyborg one. If we see how Yahoo can mess up our e-mail in-boxes, and if we are increasingly aware of how we’re being spied on by Google, Facebook and the like, why would we want these companies to annexe us to their monopolistic product by putting their microchips in our brains, etc?
Now, the idea of an end-game evokes a kind of eschatological seriousness, and perhaps we are, for ingrained reasons we’re not always conscious of, too prone to eschatology. For instance, James Lovelock did a volte-face recently on his pronouncement that there would be a ninety percent reduction in the human population this century as a result of anthropogenic climate change. (For some reason, these very privileged people are always grinning in the photos used for interviews when they announce how horrible things are going to be for the rest of us—I say “the rest of us”, of course, because Bill Gates is untouchably rich and James Lovelock is on the threshold of death.) Unlike some people, my amygdala appears to be fine-tuned not only to present ‘fight-or-flight’ scenarios, but future ones, so I tend to lose sleep and ruin my days over this kind of pronouncement, which also makes me more prone to disillusionment in this area than most, I think. So, personally speaking, my view of James Lovelock has been completely devalued by what appears to me to be irresponsible climate-change trolling on his part. But of course, just because Lovelock appears to have ‘cried wolf’ this time, that doesn’t mean there isn’t a real wolf.
And so with technology: my feeling is, as Jaron Lanier says, that we might easily be faced with the end-game now. I certainly don’t think we should be complacent. If we’re not careful, we could, for the sake of looking cool with a pose of pop cynicism, throw away the future of the human race. That could easily happen. For that reason, I entirely support David Gelernter’s recent admonishment, in his article ‘The Closing of the Scientific Mind’, that “The world needs a new subjectivist humanism now—not just scattered protests but a growing movement, a cry from the heart.”
One part of this, of course, is a resistance to the apparent dogma of the technophile that the application of electronics to everything is always an improvement. Evangelising advocates of e-book readers are apt to say that “what matters is the text itself”, with the implication that book covers, paper and even typography belong to some age of superstition (shades here of Puritanism). But this kind of declaration appears to be a smokescreen, since it is used to advance the superiority of e-book readers. In other words, it hides the fact that e-book readers are culturally situated just as printed books are. My suspicion is—and don’t take my word for it; observe for yourself—that there is a significant proportion of people who say “what matters is the text itself” while really, what they believe is “what matters is this gadget, by dint of which I am keeping up in the arms race”. (I think that Justin’s book title, by the way, is extremely resonant for our age.)
I wish the text really did matter for these people, or I hope it does. I hope that the texts go on mattering. Mattering enough that we believe their creators deserve to make a living, for instance. Mattering enough that the texts themselves are presented with care, and preserved for the future. Mattering enough that we don’t let the materialist reductionists treat art and the humanities as a business acquisition in their megalomaniac project of monopolistic control.
Finally… while the debate on genre vs. mainstream may be all but exhausted, it’s hard to ignore it when discussing Chômu Press because you appear to exist on the periphery of both. As your editorial aesthetic inclinations continue to develop, in what way do you see yourselves straddling that line in the future?
Léon: Just my simple thoughts on this. Because we’re not interested in classifying what we publish into genres, this isn’t something we’ve paid much attention to. As mentioned before, mainstream is just the name given to things that have become familiar, accepted and popular, therefore, almost by definition, it excludes the new areas that are being discovered and created. Chômu is interested in pushing at the edges, so this means that anything we publish is unlikely to qualify as mainstream at the time it is published, although it is possible it may be called mainstream at some later time. I guess that there is a complication to this in that a piece of literature isn’t just one thing, so it could be called mainstream due to its satisfying those criteria in a certain area, but it might also have a side to it that is new and not at all mainstream, which would be what qualified it specifically for Chômu publication.
Quentin: I think we just want to put out books that make people feel alive, and make them feel the possibilities of being alive. I might be wrong here, but I think that anyone who wants to promote peace has to understand hatred. I hope that art has the ability to manoeuvre in these very thorny areas of human experience—such as hatred, and so on—in a way that is ultimately affirmative and, as it were, bonding. The main thing is not to get trapped.
So, the positivity in what we do, I think, comes from a sense that “there’s not only this.” That way you don’t have to go into a bland-out mode. You can explore specific and what seem quite extreme things, but you can keep your balance, because you know, even as you’re teetering, that you’re teetering on a springboard to something else.
I suppose that’s pretty non-specific, but at the moment we’re handling projects pretty much one at a time. That’s not quite true. There’s still juggling to be done, but our specific schedule is not fixed very far ahead at present.
I don’t know, I suppose I think it would be nice if Father Christmas decided to put Chômu books in everyone’s stockings one Christmas—even if they didn’t put a stocking out—and everyone woke up to find that reality had become infinitely renegotiable once more so that it’s no longer at all obvious what is mainstream, or genre, and what isn’t. There’s a line in ‘The Wine-Dark Sea’ by Robert Aickman, that goes, “Indeed, nothing, probably nothing at all, was obvious any more.”
To find out more, log on to the Press’ official website. Meanwhile, look out for reviews of two Chomu volumes in the upcoming edition of Pop Culture Destruction, and two stories from the Press’ stable in our upcoming April issue.