Kris Saknussemm

Kris Saknussemm

Kris Saknussemm is a cult genre bending novelist and multimedia artist. Born and educated in America, he has lived most of his life abroad, primarily in Australia and the Pacific Islands.His science fiction themed novel ZANESVILLE, published by Villard Books in 2005, was hailed by critics as a revolutionary work of surreal black comedy. It has attracted the devotion of outsider artists like the Legendary Stardust Cowboy and was the inspiration for Michael Jackson to want to have a giant robot of himself constructed to roam the Las Vegas desert. It has become a cult hit in Russia as well.Another novel, an erotic supernatural thriller PRIVATE MIDNIGHT is set in a noir crime world of jazz, junkies and shadows from out of time. It became a bestseller in France and Italy.He has now in total published ten books that have been translated into 22 languages.The RumorsSoon after the publication of ZANESVILLE, reports began circulating around Hollywood that the actor Kevin Costner was furious about being featured as the “voice” of Dooley Duck, one of several animated hologram characters in the story, who serve as advertising vehicles in the fictional world of the novel. Under the magical influence of the protagonist, Elijah Clearfather, Dooley not only comes to life and breaks free of his commercial masters (a monolithic children’s day care empire) he develops a penis and becomes an advocate for sexual enjoyment and the leader of a social and political reform called The Surprise Party.A second rumor that began making the rounds that ZANESVILLE had actually been written by the late David Foster Wallace under a pseudonym, while another related and more detailed story had it that Kris Saknussemm is not an individual author at all, but rather a name taken by a collective of writers who wrote the book as a collaborative experiment, in something of the same spirit as Nicholas Bourbaki phenomenon amongst mathematicians.This latter view gained some extended support as Saknussemm had written about the “Bourbaki Conspiracy,” and an earlier published story was based on the premise that the reclusive Thomas Pynchon was just a composite entity—an on-going project and artistic prank which such writers as Vladimir Nabokov, Kurt Vonnegut and J.D. Salinger had participated in.Appearing at Elliott Bay Book Company in Seattle in 2006, Saknussemm fielded questions about the rumor, remarking, “As ZANESVILLE has much to do with the idea of the Conspiracy Theory as the folk religion of our time, I’m somewhat amused. But I’ve heard something similar about Poppy Z. Brite. I think we all just like hoaxes and rumors. They reassure us that we can actually participate in the manufacture of reality. But as one of my characters says, ‘I’m real enough.’” A series of readings in New York and appearances on public radio and at the Squaw Valley Community of Writers helped to dispel the rumor.
Sea Monkeys, Kris Saknussemm
Kris Saknussemm
Sea Monkeys
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