It’s come to my attention that some people – by which I mean all people – misunderstood an earlier post I wrote, announcing the publication of Brilliance, my brother’s sixth novel. In this, the post announcing the publication of A Better World, my brother’s seventh novel, I will endeavor to set the record straight.
In that earlier post, I made an effort to explain that while my brother’s books are good, he is bad. That he is, in point of fact, a stingy, miserly, tightfisted, funny-lookin’, ungrateful hack of middling talent and no small amount of arrogance who has failed utterly to do the one thing expected of a famous older brother, which is to give me money.
Personally I thought I was pretty clear on these and other facts. I thought I’d left little room for doubt. I’d even recounted, earlier still, his crimes against my powers as a creator of clever titles for his books. But everybody thought it was a “joke” of some kind, that I was being ironic or intentionally contrarian or something. People read my earlier expose on my brother – a work of delicious slander - and took it to be some kind of fraternal nudgewink, a little inside joke whose intended meaning was the opposite of its stated meaning.
Its intended meaning was its stated meaning, god dammit, and why nobody gets that is frankly beyond my massive powers of comprehension.
Marcus himself found the Brilliance announcement so amusing that he asked my permission to use it as an introduction for himself at some keynote speech he was giving, an event for which they undoubtedly paid him and for which I saw nary a cent. His email on the subject, excerpted:
Dude! Got a weird request for you. I’m giving a talk at [REDACTED] and they’ve asked each of us to provide an introduction that describes who we are. Silly, I know, but I was wondering if I could use that article you wrote for Tap about Brilliance as mine. It was hilarious, and a more unique introduction than I’d come up with on my own. Figure it would give the audience a laugh. I’d cut it a little, to make it less about you, but I’d leave it mostly intact. Sound okay?*
My God, where to begin. Sentence fragments, missing articles and pronouns, careless structure, and a glaring lack of adverbs are just the beginning of its offenses.
Now he’s gone and written A Better World, the second novel in a planned trilogy that started with Brilliance (though Marcus stated on more than one occasion that he never planned to write sequels because he’d be sick of the characters by book two, so he’s also a liar). It’s his seventh novel, and his second under the Thomas & Mercer imprint. And though it pains me to say it, it’s even better than the first because though Marcus has (and I stress this) though Marcus has very few gifts, one of them is the ability to couch intimate stories and profound social commentary inside the framework of thrillers and adventure novels that can be read for meaning or enjoyment or both.
I’ve tried glossing the facts (in earlier posts about his novels I described him as a “swell, humble guy”); I’ve tried being honest, I’ve tried everything. NO ONE HEARS MY VOICE, THOUGH MY VOICE IS THE VOICE OF TRUTH. I AM THE FUCKING TOM JOAD OF BROTHER NOVEL PUBLICATION ANNOUNCEMENTS WHICH I ADMIT IS A SMALL NICHE BUT STILL. I’m at my wit’s end here. He’ll read this post on a solid gold iPad, while floating on an innertube of money in his Scrooge McDuck Money Bin, and then he’ll probably post how “funny” it is to all his fans on Facebook and here I’ll be, working nights again at the homeless shelter, trying to make the world a better place (a better world – he stole that from my very purpose in life, the swine).
When I first posted about his novels, it was meant as a helping hand. He was a nobody, he’d sold a grand total of like three copies and all of those were to our Mom and Dad. I thought I’d throw him a bone. Then he became this huge bestselling novelist and A Better World is just one of the pieces of great news he’s getting (his novel Good People has been made into a redolently awful film that will arrive in cinemaplexes worldwide on September 26 – look, a trailer)
and he still hasn’t given me any money though he did buy me lunch a couple weeks ago and people still say he’s nice even though he’s not nice and WHY DOES EVERYTHING HAVE TO HAPPEN TO ME?
It’s not fair. It’s just not fair.
If you must, click the picture below to buy his new book. I guess you should buy Brilliance first though, because A Better World won’t make much sense without it – being a sequel and all – and while you’re at it you should probably buy all his other books and probably pre-order tickets for Good People as well.
I know, I know. “Steerpike, you’re so funny,” “Steerpike, Marcus is lucky to have a hilarious publicity outlet like you,” “Steerpike, you are as devilishly handsome as you are modest.” I’ve heard it all before, people. I see through you, and one day when I rule the earth I’ll… I don’t know, I’ll have a big lawn party or something. BUT I WON’T COME BECAUSE I’M MAD AT YOU.
*I couldn’t find the actual email so I made that up, but it’s pretty much what he said.
Send Steerpike that whole “devilishly modest” thing by clicking firstname.lastname@example.org.