I’m in love with short stories – McComas | Independent Newspapers Limited
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I’m in love with short stories – McComas

Posted: Apr 26, 2015 at 12:03 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

By Yemi Adebisi

Though a seasoned writer of influence to generation of writers across the world, one may not be able to quantify the impact of the art of reading in the profile of Paul McComas.



He is the author of five critically acclaimed books: two novels, Planet of the Dates (2008) and Unplugged (2002); two short-story collections, Twenty Questions (1998) and Unforgettable: Harrowing Futures, Horrors, & (Dark) Humor (2011) and the novella, Fit for a Frankenstein (2013).

He is also the editor of two anthologies, First Person Imperfect (2004) and Further Persons Imperfect (2007).

Paul co-authored the novel Logan’s Journey (slated for 2014 publication) with William F. Nolan, bestselling author of the SF classic Logan’s Run, and is co-authoring Exile on Poverty Row: The Life and Films of Edgar G. Ulmer for 2015 publication by an academic press.

Research records established that when he was 14 in 1976, he read the futuristic sci-fi novel Logan’s Run for the first of seven times because he had broken leg and was bored beyond belief.

This same boredom led him to write The Logan’s Run Reference Book, a companion compendium of all things Logan.

“I am forever haunted by some of the images in the 1979 Body Snatchers remake with Donald Sutherland. Logan’s Run created very mixed feelings in me as well about that young, naïve, pleasure driven society (another excellent metaphor for the Flower generation). There was a part of me that said, Wow, if that’s all I had to do all day long…hang around a mall doing futuristic drugs and dialing up sex dates from a public booth,” he said.

What authors does he like to read? What book or books have had a strong influence on him or his writing?

His words: “Since Twenty Questions is a short-story collection, I’ll mention two of my favorite short-story books: Black Tickets by Jayne Anne Phillips and Cruising Paradise by the playwright Sam Shepard. Phillips’ prose is dense and poetic, Shepard’s lean and gritty, but in both cases, the author’s command of the language is phenomenal. These are both must-reads for fans of the short-fiction genre.”

A two-time (2003, 2006) recipient of the Chicago Reader’s Critic’s Choice in Theater/ Performance, Paul ‘came up’ in Chicago’s mid-1980s to mid-’90s spoken-word/ performance-art scene, and he is as acclaimed for his live presentations as for his writing; the Chicago Tribune calls his performances “urgent and mesmerising,” and the Chicago Sun-Times says, “No one else is giving author events this lively.”

He has performed his own work at 90 theaters and other venues nationwide, as well as on National Public Radio’s “Tavis Smiley Show” and on numerous NPR affiliates.

Born and raised in Milwaukee, Paul earned a BA in English from Lawrence University and an MA in Film from Northwestern.