Sunday, June 12, 2011

The Sadowsky Manifesto

"The Sadowsky Manifesto," by Karen Catalona, in Mystery Writers of America Presents The Rich and the Dead, edited by Nelson DeMille.

I bought an iPad a few months ago. Mostly I have been using it to check my RSS feeds (see the right column of this screen) for which it seems to work better than my desktop. But it's called an eBook reader, so I had to get around to buying a book, and I have done so. (I hasten to add that I bought it through the website of my local bookstore, thereby contributing to the people who sponsor authors' readings in my town. That's how you buy eBooks, right?)

The MWA anthologies are always themed. The editor invites certain authors to submit; the rest of the slots are available for any MWA member to shoot for. I think I have submitted three times and made it in once.

This year the editor is Nelson DeMille and the theme is the very rich. So far, my favorite story barely qualifies on the theme. But that's okay. It's good anyway.

Max Bergen runs a not-too-successful literary agency. One day a pot of gold rolls in over the transom. More literally it is a manuscript from the serial-killer-du-jour, who had just killed himself. The FBI and publishers are clamoring for the book and Bergen stands to make a fortune on commissions.

Of course, there has to be a problem, right? Sadowsky's book is not an angry political rant. It's a science fiction novel, and it's so bad that after fifty pages readers will be rooting for the giant robots to kill the hero. The book is a disaster and there is no ethical way for an agent to make money off it.

But, hey, Bergen is a literary agent. Who said anything about ethics?
I have never heard of Karen Catalona before, but I hope to run into her again.

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