Mr. Cope’s Cave: Oh, and Did I Mention I Wrote a Book? It’s Called …


If you read the column I wrote for Boise Weekly that came out this past Wednesday, you will remember it consisted almost entirely of me trying to convince my readers to buy a novel I wrote—Artists Save the Galaxy!. Essentially, it was nothing but a 1,000-word plug of that book (Artists Save the Galaxy!), and in the last few lines, I promised that it was to be the one and only time I would use my column space for such a self-serving purpose as hawking something I wrote—i.e., Artists Save the Galaxy!—completely independent of my work for BW.

I intend to keep that promise. It may be an old-fashioned notion, but I feel newspaper print should be reserved for lofty and noble uses such as relevant news, cogent analysis and, of course, the funnies. If a tree must die, it should not be to the end of some guy with a column incessantly trying to sell a book —e.g., Artists Save the Galaxy!—that has absolutely nothing to do with his normal subject matter.

However, I made no such promise regarding this endless space I have been given in the World Wide Virtual Cloud Internet Blog Web HTTPS Site Thingie. As I have said from the start of Mr. Cope’s Cave, my senses tell me that if I am speaking to any constituency at all here, it could not possibly be anything beyond a handful of asocial misfits who waste their precious lives staring at a computer screen, reading things like Mr. Cope’s Cave.

So what would it matter if I spent the rest of my blogging career, however long that may last, telling about what a wonderful tale I have told in Artists Save the Galaxy!, and how happy and enriched your lives would be were you to purchase it—perhaps several dozen copies of it, even, to use as Xmas presents and graduation gifts for years to come—and how in many ways, it is the greatest story ever told?

Hah! Just screwing with you. I’m willing to admit it’s not the greatest story ever told—probably—and I’m sure you’re not an asocial misfit. And even if you are, I absolutely would not take advantage of your condition by yapping on and on about how great a book Artists Save the Galaxy! is and how you really, really need to buy it—it being Artists Save the Galaxy!.

Still, I don’t see the harm in using Mr. Cope’s Cave for at least one little plug (for Artists Save the Galaxy!), and I will even throw in a brief synopsis of the plot (of Artists Save the Galaxy!), something that the regular newsprint-reading people didn’t get Wednesday.

It is called Artists Save the Galaxy!, this novel I wrote, and it is the story of an aging writer—gee, I wonder where I got the idea?—who is abducted from his home one night by shape-shifting aliens. After the initial shock, he is to learn that he and 143 other humans—artists, all—have been whisked away to become soldiers in a campaign to rid the galaxy of a most hideous threat to all living things, everywhere.

As the humans are being prepared to battle this mysterious and lethal nemesis, they come to respect, admire and even grow emotionally involved with the creatures who have abducted them. (In fact, at one time I was considering titling this novel Artists Save the Galaxy!: A Love Story.)

Now, possibly you’re thinking, Yeah, all well and good. But I don’t read science fiction.

Ah, but you see, as a rule, I don’t write science fiction. I write humor, for what it's worth, and it so happens I believe that genre fiction—be it sci-fi or romance or crime or whatever—offers a fertile bed for humor to blossom, whether it be within the outlines of the plotting itself, or from outside, as an overview of the stylistic conventions of the genre as a whole.

Of course, I’m far from being the first writer to think of this. As just one example, Kurt Vonnegut was doing it decades ago, realizing it was the element of humor that could most effectively coat fiction—even fantastic fiction—with a patina of reality. Nothing gives a made-up character more flesh-and-blood than a sense of humor. (It was Mr. Vonnegut’s death seven years ago that prompted me dip my quill into that rich metaphorical reservoir of which he will forever be the master, and I dedicate the book to him.)

Oh, and in the event you have forgotten what book I have dedicated to Kurt Vonnegut, it is Artists Save the Galaxy!. Within it’s beautiful cover—done with loving attention to detail by the exquisite talent of Mike Flinn, Boise’s own surrealist savant and, to my great pleasure, my friend—you will find the names of Leonard Bernstein, Helen Mirren, Vice President Al Gore, Captain Horatio Hornblower… and many more. I won’t tell you what they’re doing there. But for the price of three extra-fruity caffeine fixes at any Starbucks, you can read for yourself.

And here’s where you can go to buy it: Artists Save the Galaxy!

Thus ends my plug. If I have bored you, be assured the novel (Artists Save the Galaxy!) is written with a great deal more excitement than this blog. And if you like what you’ve read in this blog, you ain’t seen nothing yet!… not until you’ve read Artists Save the Galaxy!.