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Wednesday, August 09, 2017

Midnight Examiner (1989) by William Kotzwinkle

Book Review
Midnight Examiner (1989)
 by William Kotzwinkle

   It's hard to take seriously a writer whose greatest claim to fame is the novelization of the "E.T." movie, but that is the situation with Kotzwinkle, who hardly covers up the fact in his more traditional books- "writer of the best selling novel of 1982" his book jackets proclaim.   I double checked to make sure that it was a novelization, and that Kotzwinkle hadn't written the underlying story that the film was based upon.

  While it's not fair to call him "forgotten"- after all- he is still alive and has his own website, etc., it is fair to say that he is a surprise inclusion in the 1001 Books project.  Based on Midnight Examiner, I still can't explain it entirely- he writes firmly in the 1960's American tradition of "wowee zowee," that shows influence from comic books an pulp fiction.  Midnight Examiner is based on classic supermarket tabloids like Weekly World News, those that would simply fabricate a fantastic headline for the hell of it.

  As I read Midnight Examiner, it did occur to me that this era was relevant to our own era of "fake news," but I'm not sure anyone is around who is reading Kotzwinkle to care.  With his combination of quasi-serious fiction, genre fantasy/sci fi and popular novelizations of popular films, Kotzwinkle is kind of a real-life Kilgore Trout, the (fictional) muse of Kurt Vonnegut's many novels.

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