Review: Brave Men Run by Matthew Wayne Selznick (plus launch day wrap-up)
Numerous podcasts that I listen to made note that today was the Swarm Press release of Brave Men Run by Matthew Wayne Selznick. When I heard that Mr. Selznick would be doing an 8 hour live broadcast to promote the launch, reading new material for the first time, it sounded like something I’d enjoy being a part of, so I listened to the audio book yesterday. First I’ll review the novel, and then I’ll talk about the launch day excitement.
Brave Men Run, reviewed
There are actually quite a few interesting superhero novels on the shelves right now. Not graphic novels, just novels. Brave Men Run falls into that category, but it’s grounded in a simple bit of alternate history. In this world, comic books were banned in the 50’s, so we won’t find any of the normal superhero tropes, caped crusaders and the like. The special charm of this story is that it takes place in 1985 and is mostly about a boy coming to terms with his place in the real world of high school and teenagers. This boy happens to be different and it’s revealed that there are other people that are different and all these differences come with the problems that always seem to follow differences. Theres a little bit of really good action. There’s a great teenage romance. And there’s an amazing amount of nostalgia if you grew up in the 1980’s or enjoyed The Breakfast Club and similar fare. And there’s nanotechnology. (I love them itty bitty robots) I’d highly recommend you experience this story, either the audio book or the print release.
The release day craziness
On June 13th, every hour, on the hour Matthew Wayne Selznick, via video cast, read new stories set in the same universe as Brave Men Run. He rounded out the day with a reading from the sequel, for a total of 8 readings. I’ll do a slightly longer review of these once they’re available on podiobooks.com. The stories included a chubby vampire, a new street drug, a psychic mechanic, an invisible girl, a glowing girl and a “water witch.” There was a great story told from the POV of the antagonist. All the stories captured a similar 80’s charm as they were set in the first year after the events of the novel and most had titles taken from songs you’d recognize from ’85 – ’86. They also showcased the talents of a who’s who of pod-cast novelists.
While hearing the new fiction was a blast, it was even cooler to experience the rise of Amazon’s #1 mover and shaker for July 13th 2008. About 100 people at any given point in the day were watching the action live and a ton of books were purchased. Mr. Selznick’s mission was to showcase the power of the producers and consumers of new media, and the screen shot above shows the results at the end of the web-a-thon. He was ranked 3rd in Action & Adventure, 7th in Genre Fiction and 70th on amazon’s book list. At the time I’m writing this, the day isn’t over, so that can still be improved. I had a blast sharing this experience with a ton of interesting people.