Needless to say, with Christopher Moore's newest novel, The Serpent of Venice, coming out this week, we've been obsessing over the new book and Christopher Moore in general, particularly as he is returning to Boswell on May 1. The last novel, Sacré Bleu, reached new levels of lusciousness with its packaging. Printed with the magic blue ink of the French Impressionists, it was also filled with full-color art plates. But I should note, the paperback edition is an ordinary paperback.
The new novel, The Serpent of Venice, is equally lush, even without the color plates. This time William Morrow did Venetian endpapers and a full blue stain around the edges; the black text is accompanied by red highlights for chapter headings, serpent decoration, and the words of the chorus. I can imagine a sticker on the cover of the book saying "words of the chorus in red" the way you sometimes see on Bibles. A number of folks said to me, "I wasn't going to buy a copy of the new book but that book's packaging changed my mind. Why aren't more publishers doing this? The publishers tell us that if the book is reprinted, it won't come with all the bells and whistles.
While I did my typical "don't have time to read Fool dance so I'm just going to jump into the new book blindly" dance, the folks who read both say that while Fool is all jokes, there's more plot to The Serpent of Venice. One doesn't always think of a writer of such ribaldry as maturing, but Jason was mentioning that Moore's later work really has evolved. There's surely a lot more research too.
You see, Jeff and Drool have been imprisoned, and Pocket has to free them, but he becomes entwined in the various Shakespearean plots, a bit jumbled of course. There's the plan to steal Shylock's money. There's the plan to discredit Othello. And yes, there's also Viv, the sea serpent, who may have been brought back to Venice by none other than Marco Polo, who of course (how could he not be?) is another player in the story.
Who would you have suggested? Or is Christopher Moore in a class by himself?
This time our event is ticketed, mostly because we started getting close
to capacity levels last time, and I noticed that a lot of folks have
been ticketing his events. Barnes and Noble does a wristband, so you can
get in, but you must buy a book from B&N to get in line. We've got
$20 a gift card option, for those who have the book already. We
certainly don't ticket every event, even the big ones, such as Deborah
Harkness, who is coming on August 4. In that case, you'll want to come
at least an hour early. The nice thing about ticketed events is that we
put out seats for everyone who pre-buys. For free events, there are less
tickets, more standing room. It's a trade off.
One thing I know for sure is that when a half-decent adaption (I think the limited-edition cable run is probably the perfect format, and advances in CGI have made the books far more adaptable on a reasonable budget) gets made of any of Christopher Moore's books, the question of ticketing or free in store will be academic. We'll either have to have a ticketed event offsite, or a signing in the store, with the line stretching Donald Driver-like around the block. Or even more likely, he won't have time to do second-string cities like Milwaukee. So don't take Moore's continued appearances (this is his third at Boswell, his fifth in Milwaukee for granted. One day you'll have to wait five hours for him at a comic convention and you'll remember this intimate gathering of 300-some souls with fondness.
Don't live in Milwaukee? The Kopps custard flavor forecast* isn't tempting enough reason to plan a last-minute trip? Here's the rest of his tour.
But really, you should come to Milwaukee. The snow has melted. And yes, right now we have a mini-play to be performed beforehand by Theatre Gigante. It turns out that one of their upcoming productions is a new take on Othello.
*You laugh, but our pitch for the Tom Robbins memoir involved getting Kopps, if not another custard stand, to come up with a Tibetan Peach Pie flavor for the event. It didn't happen, even though Robbins supposedly loves Kopps.