Ben Parzybok

situation ambiguous

Some 4000 miles later the author notices specks of foam on his shirt

I’m in Northampton, Massachusetts and am about midway through my little book tour. It’s been tremendous fun. 

Powell’s in Portland was my first reading – it was a lovely time with many friends in attendance. It was there that I realized that I suffer a taste of battle madness. Battle Madness – popularized by vikings – is when you go into battle and perform admirably with your axe, and then can’t remember a thing about it later. So it was in Portland. I remember being very graciously introduced by a Powell’s employee Amber, and then I came to in the Under Wonder Lounge with a pint in my hand and my axe at my feet. Sure there are a few fleeting images here and there, and I remember thinking – ah, I’m getting Theo’s voice right, but that was about it.

Thus by the time I read at the Elliot Bay Book Co.  (introduced by Anthony – thanks!) in Seattle I’d decided to start photographing the audience at the beginning to prove to myself later that I’d actually been there. Here’s the evidence (click for full view):

I had to take it in three shots – there were so many awesome, awesome people there, thanks in no small part to the review in The Stranger. I should also admit that I prefaced the photo-taking by saying I would not post it to my blog with nude photos of myself. True! Lucky for you, there are no nude photos of me. The reading was just incredibly fun (what I remember of it) and they sang me happy birthday at the end. I love you Seattle! The next day I got on a plane and flew over the surface of Jupiter:

Which was unexpected. And then landed in Russia:

Where I read with Caitlin Kiernan at the Fantastic Fiction reading series hosted by Matthew Kessel and Ellen Datlow – which was, apparently, just a great, great time, from what I remember of it.

Incidentally, one of the symptoms of Battle Madness is foaming at the mouth. So I’m told.

Tonight I read in Amherst at Amherst Books and tomorrow in New Jersey – if you have friends in the area I’d be grateful if you let them know, as these might be a bit on the quieter side and then what am I to do with my axe? My tour schedule is here.

Incidentally – Amitav Ghosh also reads from his book Sea of Poppies at Amherst tonight – I tried to find something to link to here for time/place but  the intertubes failed me. It looks like just a great book, which is a shame, since I suspect that after our simultaneous readings we’ll have to joust or something.


Author: Benjamin Parzybok

My name is Ben Parzybok and I'm a novelist and programmer living in Portland, OR. @sparkwatson



  1. Hi, I’m a new reader and enjoy your writing. Wasn’t able to get to your tour schedule through that link, but I do have friends in the newark/nyc area that I could let know about your tour if you will be there.

  2. Hey – yeah that tour site can be sort of crabby.
    I’ll be in Metuchen tomorrow:
    Friday, November 21, 7:00 PM
    Raconteur Books
    Metuchen, NJ

    Thanks a million @timmyjimi

  3. After hosting the Jonny Carson Show for the first time, Jay Leno was asked how he liked it: “It was a lot like sex for the first time. I have no idea what what I did, but I knew I wanted to do it again.”

  4. Ben. This is your roots. Your Swedish roots. It’s not just called Battle Madness, it’s the BERSERKERS. Yes, you have it in your DNA. Sad, but true. Maybe you’re only 35% Swedish though, so there’s hope of overcoming it. They say, though, that once a Berserker, always a Berserker so it is probably too late.

  5. Pingback: The berserker comes to rest — Secret.

  6. Hey, I’m on the internet! Except I’m fuzzy.

    Also, I just finished Couch and posted my review. Pretty good book.

  7. Hey @KingRat – I remember meeting you in Seattle. Thanks for the review – I’ll link to it in my next post.

  8. Pingback: The berserker comes to rest | Levin of Earth

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