Monday, September 13

Considering Thuy-Dzuong Nguyen's "The Truth Lenders"

Know what I like about most about Scott Pilgrim vs. the World? The passion. And Brandon Routh, Kieran Culkin and Mary Elizabeth Winstead. But mostly the passion. Mostly. Scott Pilgrim was the most exhilarating films I have seen since Kung Fu Hustle. There was such a sense of joy in the entire piece. At any given moment most anything could happen because they were works of utter passion, and the creator had so fully fused the work with their interest and essence. Edgar Wright and Bryan Lee O'Malley like indie music and 8-bit video games as much as them. They're going to make a film about them, and not in some minor way where the main character enjoys a little Minus the Bear or Double Dragon in their down time. Their entire world and lives are consumed with these things. It's like an enormous middle finger to the audience. I don't care if you like all these things as much as me. I'm going to make a movie about them.

That's what Thuy-Dzuong Nguyen's first novel The Truth Lenders is like except, this being Thuy, more like a tongue sticking out than middle finger. Thuy likes journalism. The Truth Lenders has journalism and lots of it. Measurements are made with picas. Reporters and editors are a hunted species, atomically rearranged into eggplant and pitchers of water for Eastern European and African families when caught but still don disguises and creep through air vents to report on city council meetings. The News Now! Corporation is developing a pill that immerses consumers in the events of the day in their dreams.

Thuy likes home-cooked meals, and the Chef Machine, which makes any dish perfectly, is disparaged in favor of the inconsistency in quality brought on by human hands. Thuy likes dinosaurs, and they have been cloned. Thuy likes architecture and fashion, and both receive special attention. Thuy likes Eastern philosophy and creates Zen English. You get the idea. There is a sense of anything goes throughout as it all really comes down to what interests Thuy. She doesn't pander to what her audience might want to read about. First and foremost, she's writing for herself and creates in the process something unique and unlike most anything else you are likely to find.

It's appropriate that the plot centers around the development of the immersive journalism pill. Thuy calls this a multimedia novel, one designed to create a more fully realized world. On the one hand, this is done through a CD including songs performed and produced by musician friends of Thuy to represent those played by the bands SpynSpeck and Binman and the Flaw in The Truth Lenders. Myriad footnotes and short chapters include scraps of official documents and recipes for popular drinks that flesh out the world still more.

I would like to point out that The Truth Lenders was self published by Thuy and last I heard she was somewhere between one-third and one-half the way toward breaking even. Should being on the forefront of what best ought to be the next step in literature in creating an immersive environment well suited to taking advantage of the technologies offered by e-readers not be your thing, do consider supporting the efforts of a young writer. You can buy the book and read more here. Please do.

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