Douglas Shoback scribbles down words that, for some odd reason, are published and read. By actual people.
He has a Masters in English, Cultural Studies, and Film.
In the mid-2000s, Douglas taught Creative Writing and Composition Studies at the University of Northern Colorado. He went on to teach high school English and then moved to London for five years--ironically teaching English Literature and Composition to British Secondary School students.
Teaching became too overwhelming and he moved back to the United States and rebooted his life in his home, Colorado.
Douglas writes Speculative and Science Fiction and essays about pop culture.
He is a proud Whovian. Bow ties are cool and kindness means everything.
Douglas is currently working on a collection of two short stories due at the end of 2020.
**Please bug him to write more at firstname.lastname@example.org**
What are your five favorite books, and why?
Five favorite books? Yikes! Ok:
1: "Pattern Recognition" by William Gibson.
This is his first book dealing with the near future and focuses on brands and identity. I absolutely love how Gibson writes about our culture. Especially when it's about our current culture, not some far off future.
2: "The Handmaid's Tale" by Margaret Atwood.
I first read this as an undergraduate in a North American Literature class. The story blew me away. I always held Feminist ideals, but reading about Offred and the dystopic world that Atwood created, and viewing our current culture at the time and how we treat women, it just solidified my stance as a Feminist. Plus, Margaret Atwood writes a damn good story.
3: "The Crying of Lot 49: by Thomas Pynchon.
I love Thomas Pynchon. I can barely understand his works, but I love him nonetheless. The paranoia and spiraling into conspiracy that permeates all of his novels is just what we need in an America run by Trump. When nothing makes sense, turn to Pynchon and find his humor and his intelligence comforting. I know Pynchon hates The Crying of Lot 49, he says it's his worst work, but I just love the Oedipa Maas and Mucho and the Trystero (or Tristero?) and W.A.S.T.E. It's just amazing and it influenced my writing.
4: "The Hunger Games Series" by Susan Collins.
Yeah, it's Young Adult fiction, but I adore the Hunger Games. The world Collins creates is simply astounding--how people justify horrors as a means to survive. I mean, sacrificing your children for a game in order to maintain order in a tyrannical system simply shows the cognitive dissonance humans will stand to survive. It's a great insight into our psychology.
5: "House of Leaves" by Mark Z. Danielewski.
I picked up this book in graduate school. It just seemed interesting. I hadn't heard much about it, but the cover looked neat and the writing was unique. To this day, I have no clue what it's about. I have read this book about 20 times and I still can't figure out what it's about! A professor of mine said it was about the internet. I can see that, with the ever-expanding room and the darkness and changing structure. But there's also other meanings locked inside. It's fun to try to figure it out. And Danielewski is an amazing writer, which helps.
When did you first start writing?
According to my mom, I was writing stories at age four. About a purple pony that took me and my sister on adventures.
Our identities are reliant upon modern Capitalist methods of branding. We are cyborgs of the 21st century, both through technological enhancement and in identity formation. Our bodies the playground of the sign, the signifier controlled by the company or the CEO.
And in Trump’s America, our identities are in constant flux. Fake News, gaslighting, all cogs of the brand that makes up ourselves.
What is truly disturbing about the rooms is not their construction—they're only as big as a walk-in closet, minus the clothes and shelves and racks—but what is held within them. Virtual women created solely for the pleasure of men. Except, these virtual replications are for a more visceral type of enjoyment: killing.