The Howling Fantods

David Foster Wallace News and Resources Since March 97

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Upcoming Excerpt from The Pale King - A New Examiner

The Lifted Brow (previously) just emailed to let me know that the approx 2000 word excerpt from The Pale King in their upcoming issue #6 is titled "A New Examiner" and is about Lane Dean, Jr. The issue will ship in about 3 weeks, having been sent to the printer on Monday. I can't wait for my copy to arrive! (Thanks, R)

David Foster Wallace and James Cameron

It's entertaining to see DFW's 1998 essay, F/X Porn, being linked to around the web in connection with Avatar discussions. I haven't seen it yet (we've got a new all digital cinema here in Canberra so I guess I'll go see it there in the next couple of weeks) but this line of DFW's from the essay has me wondering just how good it can be...
"T2" is thus also the first and best instance of a paradoxical law that appears to hold true for the entire F/X Porn genre. It is called the Inverse Cost and Quality Law, and it states very simply that the larger a movie's budget is, the shittier that movie is going to be.
Bonus Avatar review by Maria Bustillos over at The Awl, I Hated 'Avatar' With The Fire Of A Thousand Suns. (Check out her great book, Dorkismo: the Macho of the Dork)
Last Updated on Tuesday, 05 January 2010 18:08

Five Dials DFW Issue Due Soon

I woke this morning to an email from the Five Dials team letting me know that the new Five Dials issue is up for download and that the David Foster Wallace Tribute issue is due very soon. You will need to subscribe to their mailing list to receive the special DFW issue.
Here's the email:
Here it is: our fiction issue has arrived to brighten your first day back at work now that the woeful comedown of early January has begun. The issue contains new work by James Kelman, Helen Oyeyemi, David Vann, as well as contributions from some up-and-comers like Philip Roth and Rainer Maria Rilke. There's also a list of DJ names, in case your New Year's resolution is to become a DJ.

You can download Five Dials 9 for free at:

As we like to overload our friends with gifts for New Year’s, you will also be receiving an email in the next few days to let you know where you can download our special issue on David Foster Wallace, featuring writing by Don DeLillo, Jonathan Franzen, Zadie Smith and others. Don’t worry, you won’t have to sign in, or give us your mobile number, or type in a code word. If you know any David Foster Wallace fans who would like to receive a link to the issue please tell them to subscribe to the magazine. It’s free.

Questions or comments? Get in touch using this address:

This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Thank you for reading,

Craig Taylor

Katie Roiphe on Sex and the Great Male Novelist

Katie Roiphe's Sunday Book Review essay in the New York Times, The Naked and the Conflicted, considers the representations of sex in novels by "Great Male Novelists" with some discussion of DFW and Infinite Jest. (Thanks again, Adam)
Having read some spectacularly intelligent refutations to Roiphe's essay (particularly the Wallace parts) over at wallace-l I'm very pleased Seth Colter Walls has responded at length over at The Awl with An Incredibly Un-Fun Misreading of David Foster Wallace that Katie Roiphe Should Never Do Again. Seth writes:
It's not the only time Roiphe mis- or under-reads Wallace's Updike essay (or Infinite Jest, either).

She writes: "In this same essay, Wallace goes on to attack Updike and, in passing, Roth and Mailer for being narcissists. But does this mean that the new generation of novelists is not narcissistic?"

Let's return to the Wallace essay Roiphe wants to summarize. Is it true that Wallace fails to note or distinguish the narcissism of a past era versus the narcissism of the present one—such that it's appropriate for a gotcha transition in an overbroad trend piece?

No. Just no.
Last Updated on Tuesday, 05 January 2010 02:28

George Saunders Remembers David Foster Wallace

The Guardian has posted Living in the memory  A celebration of the great writers who died in the past decade. It includes a remembrance of DFW by George Saunders - which itself is a shorter version of his talk at the New York memorial. (Thanks, Adam)
Last Updated on Saturday, 02 January 2010 15:03

When Lit Blew Into Bits

I've been following the great Noughtie List maintained by Jenni Leder over at and thought I'd link to one of today's highlights.  Sam Anderson's When Lit Blew Into Bits over at the New York Mag - it contains more than just passing reference to DFW.

The Legacy of David Foster Wallace

Kathleen Fitzpatrick gave me permission to post her wallace-l report of the DFW Session at MLA09 here on the fantods, but before I got my act together she'd already posted it to her blog, Planned Obsolescence. Thanks for the update, Kathleen.
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