Fri 11

Retrospective #8: Nothing Happens, Film at 11

Max It’s probably time for a big update on what the hell is going on with some of projects I’ve mentioned in the past. On the one hand, the reason I haven’t posted any news is because I have nothing to report. But on the other, it’s probably annoying of me to post some big announcement then go quiet for months about it. So here’s the latest.

The Syrup Movie

There has been some good stuff happening, but I’m on strict instructions not to talk about it. Essentially, the producers at Fortress are trying to match the script I wrote with some appropriately cool film-makers. At this stage I’m reasonably hopeful that this is going to happen. Which means there is a non-zero chance of seeing a good Syrup movie some time this decade. I know! I’m excited too.

The Jennifer Government Movie

Section 8, the production company owned by George Clooney and Stephen Soderbergh, recently broke up, and I got the film rights back. Clooney and Grant Heslov have formed a new production company called Smoke House, and it’s possible the project might re-form there. Or it might not. If it doesn’t, there are some other good potential homes for it. So while this film is about as far away from production as ever, it has lots of potential.

The Company Movie

Nothing to report here yet; it’s very early in development.

My next novel

I’m working on a book. I would love to tell you how it’s going, but I know if I do it will be the last coherent sentence I ever write. I’m superstitious like that. But I am making plenty of progress. I feel like this time I might end up doing much less re-writing than usual. Of course, I always think that.

This is my top priority by far, and what I’m spending most of my time on.

The Maximum Words strategy has proved difficult to stick to. I keep cheating, like deliberately not checking the word count when I know I’m over. Still, I think it’s helping.

The sci-fi TV series

I wrote up a proposal, which I’m actually quite fond of. It probably needs another polish or two and then my agent will see if anyone but me likes it. This is a very long shot, since it’s insanely hard to get a TV series up. I am not packing my bags for LA just yet.

The Australian TV show with Wil Anderson

Hasn’t progress due to the enormous trouble Wil and I have locating ourselves in the same city simultaneously. We have a good concept, though, so I hope we can get something on paper this year.

Foreign editions of Company

I wish I had something to tell you. This bugs me like nothing else.

Project S

There’s something else I’m brewing up, but I’m not allowed to talk about it. It would be one of the coolest things I’ve ever done, though, so I’m seriously hoping it comes off. Yes, you heard it here first!

And I think that’s it. Huh. That was kind of underwhelming. But now you’re up to date! That’s got to be worth something, doesn’t it?

Fri 04

The Joy of Text

Max (Language warning: Today’s blog contains profanity. And how! There’s tons of it. Not from me; I’m quoting someone else. But if you prefer your computer screens unsullied, you probably don’t want to scroll any further down. Or, as another tactic, you could squint a little and tilt your head to the left. Quotes are italicized, you see; so you might not be able to quite make out the words. Of course, you won’t make any sense of the blog, either. And you’ll look kind of stupid. But it’s up to you. I’m just providing you with sufficient information to make an informed choice.)

Today I stumbled upon some guy’s list of his favorite blogs. All right, when I say “stumbled upon,” I mean I heard about Google Blog Search, and immediately typed in the subject I care about most, i.e. me. Anyway, my site is on this list—which is not a ringing endorsement so much as the anthropic principle in action. But here’s what he said:

Max Barry. Author of several really good books. Seems to be one of the few authors who really maintains a blog just for the joy of occasional communication instead of promoting an agenda.

This pleased me very much. I do love that communication, and while I can’t claim to be agenda-free—not with this many arch-enemies—I’m very happy that, to one guy at least, that’s not what I’m here for.

A lot of my e-mail is indeed a joy. A lot is spam for Viagra and hot stock picks, too, but I get more warm, funny, and fawning e-mail than anyone really has a right to. As an example, here’s one I received a couple of weeks ago. I wasn’t going to post it, because whenever I do that quite a few people e-mail me in a similar vein, presumably hoping I’ll post theirs, too. And in this case, that would be scary. But in many ways it represents everything that’s great fun about what I get to do here.

From Kale:


Hey Maxeroooooney, ever read Everyone in Silico? Or Torture the Artist?

P.S. I want to marry Six…Is there anyway I can OFFICIALLY marry a fictious character? Because if so…Im marrying that woman.

I don’t usually reply to my email (which is terrible, I know), but I banged out a quick response to this one:

Yes, no, and if you try that, I’m calling the cops.


Then Kale responded:


Your books, Mr.Barry, are incredible. I weep everytime I think on them. When bystanders at the arcade I work at ask me whats wrong, I just cry harder…FUCKING BEAUTIFUL…BRILLAINT…NO MORE WORDS. …FUCK, I would love to meet and help ANY of your characters in WHATEVER way they needed. Do me a favor…and im completely serious… PLEASE… PLEASEPLEASEPLEASEPLEASEPLEASE… name a character Kale. NAME A CHARACTER KALE. KALE…It’s a rare name! It’s the name of a vegetable. It’s hawain…it mean’s strong man. WADDAYASAY??? Just…ANY character at all!!!!! I know the use of “!!!” and “…” can be annoying, but that;s just where im at in this point of my life. Lots’a passion. Im a 21 year old man. I love your books. I love the show Home Movies. I get depressed thinking about life. I have so many questions. I enjoy Jerri Blank and The UCB. I love Lobo. They should make him read Syrup when they UNCANCELL the series. Front cover. I like OINK. Ever read that? JTHM was, at one point, the only thing i ever cared about.

I’ve spilled my gut’s and I still have’nt said anything I wanted to you…the man who’se stories make me happy. THANK YOU. THANK YOU, THANK YOU THANK YOU, THANK YOU…

How awesome is that? I read something like that, I feel like a superhero. Thanks, Kale. And to all of you who write to me or post on this site. I mean, I don’t want to get too mushy here, but—aw, hell. Come here. Yeah, that’s it. Thanks, guys.