Ben Parzybok

Deep sea sandwiches!

February 24, 2013
by Benjamin Parzybok
1 Comment

New cyberpunk story, anthology

There’s a great new cyberpunk anthology out by Underland Press called:

Cyberpunk: Stories of Hardware, Software, Wetware, Revolution and Evolution.

I contributed a story called Los Pepenedores, about a kid living in a Mexico City dump in a future where androids are sent  to the dumps to reclaim rare materials that the past threw out. I’m really proud of it. The rest of the collection is outstanding, and I feel honored to be included with such masters whose names you will no doubt recognize the majority of (I’m in line right behind Jonathan Lethem!).

The cover / TOC below. Check it out!

Powell’s | Local bookstore | Amazon

photo 1photo 2



December 18, 2012
by Benjamin Parzybok

Sherwood Nation – to be published by Small Beer Press

I’m very happy to announce that my second novel will be published (most likely Spring 2014), by the same great people who published Couch, as well as a ton of other truly awesome fiction.

I can’t begin to say how happy I am to have Sherwood Nation delivered (thanks Eddie!). It’s been a long haul on this book, which I started  in earnest during a two month trip to Brazil in 2009, influenced greatly by visiting favelas there. The book was written pretty much entirely in daily short episodes before dawn and has grown much longer than my original conception of it, to officially be, at least word-count-wise, a large book (~500 pages/160k words). I also consider it to be a ‘big book’, at least in my book, but I suppose that’s for the world to determine. I’m also very happy to have yet another book very much on its way (The Voyage, in collaboration with David Naimon) and a fourth in its infancy. Things feel, as they say, to be rolling.

There was a dark period in my writing life after the completion of Couch (~2006) until 2009. Having to do with, in unequal parts, the raising of young children, general artistic malaise, and an interest in other projects. In my 2009 Brazil trip I did a sort of reboot and have kept a disciplined schedule since, turning out, I’m guessing, about a half million words since if you count short stories, rewrites, and work on the novels. While this is certainly way less than many writers, considering how busy my life is I’m very content with the progress.

Sherwood Nation takes place in Portland, Oregon, a town I love. What do they say?: If you love something, first destroy it, and then rebuild it?  I’m sure you will hear much more about the book in the coming months.



December 10, 2012
by Benjamin Parzybok

Grace Paley tribute/birthday reading

I’m going to be reading from Grace Paley’s work at the Clinton Theater tomorrow, along with a list of other wonderful people, in an event organized by Judith Arcana.

In addition to being a renowned author, poet and essayist, Grace Paley was an ardent political activist and all-around sassy broad. Celebrating what would have been her 90th birthday, local authors and fans—including Ben Parzybok, Constance Hall, Harold Johnson, Khanh Pham, Laura Moulton, Liz Woody, Michael Heald, Sandy Polishuk and Steve Williams—will read a collection of Paley’s work and screen the documentary Grace Paley: Collected Shorts. This event will be the last of the annual gatherings. — Willamette Week

There will also be a film. December 11th at 7pm, admission is free! Read more here. If you come, say hi.

November 6, 2012
by Benjamin Parzybok

Voyage reading at the Waypost on Nov. 27

Hey Portlanders:

On November 27th at 8pm at the Waypost (3120 N. Williams Ave), as the public component of our RACC grant, David Naimon and I will be reading from our novel-in-progress, The Voyage, and talking about the process of co-authoring fiction.

It all started rather innocently in 2010 when we thought it might be fun to try to co-write a short piece of fiction. We started by passing it back and forth, chipping in a few hundred words at a time, building it piece by piece. Fast forward to now, some hundred thousand words, a Regional Arts and Culture Council grant, and many heated creative arguments later, and we’d like to share a little bit of what we’ve been working on.

There will be some quibbling, there will be some beer drinking, and there will be some reading… if I’m not mistaken this will be David’s first public reading. So come see!

We hope you’ll join us!

Here’s the Facebook Event page  and  Here are directions to the Waypost

October 4, 2012
by Benjamin Parzybok

‘Git’ as the anti-borg brain

I really loved this talk from Clay Shirky on how the ‘Internet’ could transform government (below). In it, he primarily talks about Git (and GitHub). Git is a wicked cool tool that I use every day as a programmer. It’s a version control system for collaborative software development. Think of it as a library, in which all manuscripts are being written simultaneously. Each author can pop in and contribute to every other author’s book. And all previously versions of the library (as it expands) are saved. It’s democratic project management. More or less.

But it has no easy learning curve, especially if you’re not a techie. What I find most interesting about Git is that as human knowledge accumulates and as  scientists are conceivably unable to know all of the requisite fields to draw new incredible cross-disciplinary revelations, that the combined, de-centralized brain of a Git project might allow for discoveries once science is beyond the scope of our own ability to synthesize it. Cool.

I like the idea of government running off of git, though it’s a little hard to imagine what would precipitate that type of power shift. However, where there’s not a huge power difference between parties, it can be an ideal platform. Writing software is very similar to writing novels, in my mind. They’re often big and sprawling multi-year projects where one loses track of various threads. You constantly battle against a sea of information. I can certainly imagine co-writing a future novel in Git.