Can Stephen King write anything well besides horror? What lessons can studying the literary techniques used in King’s story, “That Bus is Another World” yield? The Austin Writing Workshop debates and discusses these issues and more, including analysis of a member’s story and a breakdown of the movie “Zeitgeist.” Fans of Dave Eggers, Jennifer Egan, Haruki Murakami, and David Foster Wallace would enjoy this podcast.

More detailed information about the podcast is outlined in the approximate timestamps below.

0:00 Excerpt from “That Bus is Another World” by Stephen King

1:22 Frank’s introduction to the podcast

6:05 Group analysis of “That Bus is Another World” by Stephen King, including the story’s publishing history and King stretching out into literary fiction, history of Esquire magazine and its publishing of short stories, naming of real-world details in the story, lack of subtlety, theme vs. message, dialectics in literature, real-world details as a hook for the reader, the story as a moral quandary and the purpose of that attempt, metaphors in the story and the parallels to real-world events, the authenticity (or lack thereof) of the details and the descriptions in the story, British Petroleum advertisements after the Gulf of Mexico oil-spill disaster, moral philosophy and the ought-is fallacy and how that plays out plot-wise, the inability to determine the nature of reality, complicity of everyone in society for using oil and oil-based economic systems, character likeability, contract with the reader in the beginning of the story, real-life anecdotes, trying and succeeding in literature with regard to theme, string theory, Neil deGrasse Tyson, the possibility of humans having 25 senses, the sixth sense and empiricism, Stephen King taking too many risks than necessary for writing a successful story, literary stories by Stephen King, hypergraphia, inventing words, and the 1010 WINS jingle.

32:15 Group analysis of “Fighting Chaos” by Frank Marcopolos, including discussion of chaos theory and the theme of the universe’s chaotic nature, societal structure to fight against chaos, mixing up of characters, pursuit of joy as a social end, effective detail description at the end of the story, enjoyable and clear details of character description, burying the best part of the story at the end, flat spots in the descriptions of places, inconsistency of narrative tone, kissing Frank’s story, romantic elements, bromantic elements, comedic elements, narrative confusion, comparison with the movie “Zeitgeist: The Movie,” inconsistent voice, background on the history of the 2 main characters, the “Ladies Love Frank’s Fiction” fake Internet meme, latent homosexuality, too many similes, having sex in the face of danger, using the word “trite” as an objective criticism when it actually is a subjective opinion, real vs. magic in the storytelling, character differentiation, military vernacular and jargon, likes and dislikes of the setting descriptions, vague writing, haymakers, brevity, visible philosophy in the dialogue, changing it to a frame story, and comparison to “The Hangover.”

1:19:46 Group analysis of the documentary film, “Zeitgeist,” including its tendency to put viewers to sleep, summary of the movie, big social impact of the movie, the solution of socialism as a horrible idea, choices of the people used in the movie to provide information, George Carlin, Bill Hicks, Bill Hicks’s Jesus jokes, the faking of social revolutions as opposed to real historical revolutions, the fundamental ideas of Karl Marx, modernist thinking, the documentary as propaganda, Ayn Rand, child vaccination, Medicare costs, philosophical inconsistencies, human nature, liberty, differentiation from Marx, manipulation of financial markets, the ultimate message of the movie being that the root of all evil is human competition, the classic essay “I Pencil,” the nexus of art and philosophy, the need to be a philosopher to be a writer, John Stuart Mill, Austin’s attempts to ban everything, Ancient Aliens, the science side of the 9/11 conspiracies, Treme, and the John F. Kennedy Assassination.

1:42:53 End of podcast

Posted by Frank Marcopolos

Frank Marcopolos founded "The Whirligig" literary magazine in 1999, which has been called "a landmark, demonstrating the power of the literary underground." It has been said that "you get this true lion-roaring sense that Editor Frank Marcopolos knows what he likes, and how to read, and how to publish, and he has guts, and eats insects on Wheaties with bleach." His long-form fiction has been reviewed with such praise as "thorough-goingly entertaining" and "highly readable...recalls the style of Michael Chabon or John Irving. A literary gem that should not be missed." A broadcasting-school graduate, his unique literary-audio work has been featured in movie trailers, scholastic environments, and on YouTube, with one of his audiobooks achieving over 100,000 "views" there.

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