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Tom Bradley

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Tom Bradley

Tom Bradley is an American novelist, essayist and writer of short stories. He is the author of The Sam Edwine Pentateuch, a five-book series, various volumes of which have been nominated for the Editor's Book Award,[1] the New York University Bobst Prize,[2] and the AWP Award Series in the Novel.[3] His essays and short stories are anthologized extensively in America and in Europe. Tom Bradley's nonfiction is regularly featured by Arts & Letters Daily, and has also appeared in Salon.com, McSweeney's, and Ambit Magazine[4]. He has been characterized as an "outsider" by the LA Times book blog.[5]


[edit] Biography

Tom Bradley was born in Utah during the era of above-ground hydrogen bomb tests, and claims to recollect seeing fallout in the air during kindergarten.[6] In later life he met Edward Teller, inventor of the latter device, and was told "We had arms limitation from the very beginning. It commenced already with the second detonation."[7] He lived in the People's Republic of China for many years and lost friends in the Tiananmen Square Massacre.[8]

The author has stated that as an unintended victim of US nuclear testing,[9] he gravitated to Hiroshima[10] and Nagasaki,[11] where his books and articles are stridently critical of the Japanese educational system.[12][13] In the opinion of Israeli journalist Barry Katz, who writes for 3:AM Magazine in Paris, Tom Bradley deliberately courts controversy: "He does seem bent on leaving absolutely nobody unpissed-off. His venom’s no less ecumenical than gratuitous."[14] Rain Taxi Review of Books expresses the notion as follows: "As proof of his leaving no one un-offended, he's been nudged out of every university where he has taught. For the past two decades he has lived the life of an ex-pat laugh assassin, tucked away in a volcanic mountain on the island of Kyushu".[15]

NPR commentator Andrei Codrescu's Exquisite Corpse Journal goes even further, referring to Tom Bradley's "megalomaniacal urge for public self-annihilation... [and] his unwholesome Christ complex."[16] However, in composing the Critical Appendix for Fission Among the Fanatics, Advocate writer Cye Johan arrived at a very different set of conclusions regarding his personal motivations: "I tell you that Dr. Bradley has devoted his existence to writing because he intends for every center of consciousness, everywhere, in all planes and conditions (not just terrestrial female Homo sapiens in breeding prime), to love him forever, starting as soon as possible, though he's prepared to wait thousands of centuries after he's dead".[17]

He claims paternal descent from a loose clan of very large Mormon handcart pioneers[18] who were excommunicated almost immediately upon arriving in Deseret.[19] It is from this lineage that Tom Bradley has inherited his "whole hefty metabolism"[20] and his remarkable height.[21] 3:AM Magazine describes him as "sociopathically tall."[22] He also claims to have descended maternally from an earlier Nagasaki expatriate, Thomas Glover, the "Scottish Samurai[23]." Known as the Founder of Modern Japan, Glover's heavy industrial pursuits eventually attracted America's second atom bomb.[24] It's been speculated that certain esoteric activities Tom Bradley has undertaken in Nagasaki are intended as atonement for this hereditary guilt.[25]

Regarding the question[26][27] of the extent to which his fictional alter-ego, Sam Edwine, is autobiographical, Tom Bradley has written that while his character is more intelligent and has had a great variety of experiences that he has not, they are essentially alike.[28]

[edit] Literary Career

His sixth book, Fission Among the Fanatics, was named Non-Fiction Book of the Year 2007 by 3:AM Magazine, with the citation, "a literary giant among pygmies".[29] NPR commentator Andrei Codrescu called this book "the first appearance of a genre so strange we are turning away from naming it..."[30] With the appearance of his prose in London's Ambit Magazine,[31] Tom Bradley has become associated with British transgressive writers and artists such as J.G. Ballard and Ralph Steadman.

The publication of his seventh book, Lemur, by Raw Dog Screaming Press[32] is part of the Bizarro fiction movement.[33] According to The Advocate, "Lemur could do as much to raise the rainbow flag as two medium-size Midwestern Stonewall Day parades."[34] Furthermore, the novel has "introduced a type that seems new to the public eye, but has been there under our noses ever since alternative sexuality began."[35] Tom Bradley has meanwhile contributed to the theoretical elucidation of the Bizarro aesthetic with his criticism[36][37] and his interviews.[38][39] His eighth novel, Vital Fluid, is based on the life, writings and performances of stage hypnotist John-Ivan Palmer and was published by Crossing Chaos Enigmatic Ink.

The defunct web-based magazine Identity Theory described the characters of Bradley's fiction as "a harelip with a six-figure book advance, a Palestinian abortionist, a seven-foot-tall banjoist losing his mind in the London tube, a peyote-eating teen killer, a rent a-Frankenstein on Purple Haze, a Chinese compulsive masturbator, cannibal organist in the basement of the Mormon Tabernacle, and Japanese schoolgirls conscripted to stir the vats in a poison gas factory.[40]

His twentieth book, Family Romance (illustrated by Nick Patterson), is forthcoming from Debra Di Blasi's Jaded Ibis Press, described by Forbes Magazine as a "hotpoint where the novel is undergoing radical transformation to reflect its time."[41]

What others are saying: Denis Dutton, editor of Arts & Letters Daily, "among the most influential media personalities in the world"[42], writes as follows: Tom Bradley is one of the most exasperating, offensive, pleasurable, and brilliant writers I know. I recommend his work to anyone with spiritual fortitude and a taste for something so strange that it might well be genius.

[edit] Interviews

[edit] Major Critical Studies of Tom Bradley's Books

[edit] Selected Books


(Both recipients of the 3:AM Magazine Non-Fiction Book of the Year Award)

  • Felicia's Nose (illustrated by Nick Patterson), Mad Hat Press, 2012
  • My Hands Were Clean, Unlikely Books, 2010
  • Epigonesia (with Kane X. Faucher), Blaze Vox Books, 2010
  • New Cross Musings on a Manic Reality (editor), Dog Horn Publishing, 2011


[edit] Spoken Word[43]

Four performances from The Sam Edwine Pentateuch[44]

(podcast by London's nthposition Magazine, archived at the British Library)

Live televisual performance of Lemur's second chapter

[edit] References

  1. The Spirit of Writing, Tarcher Putnam (NYC), 2001 (ISBN 1-58542-127-8)
  2. The Edgier Waters, Snow Books (London), 2006 (ISBN 1-905-0052-02)
  3. Sudden Stories, Mammoth Books, 2003 (ISBN 0-9718059-5-4)
  4. Ambit Magazine, Issue 189, Summer 2007 ISSN 0002-6972 (London)
  5. Los Angeles Times, August 12, 2008
  6. Fission Among the Fanatics, Spuyten Duyvil Books (NYC), 2007: page 5: "Tom Bradley was born downwind in Utah in the heat of the aboveground hydrogen bomb test era... [he] remembers in kindergarten peeking out the lunchroom window and seeing the sky blacker than midnight. "
  7. nthposition online magazine: A sense of no place
  8. Gadfly Online
  9. nthposition online magazine: My public ministry among the heathen
  10. McSweeney's Internet Tendency: Holiday in Hiroshima
  11. identity theory | alphabet zen - "the bloodsucker of nagasaki" by tom bradley
  12. Exquisite Corpse - A Journal of Letters and Life
  13. Salon Books | Turning Japanese
  14. King Kong Vs. Godzilla: Tom Bradley Happy-Fucks Osaka; see also Critical Appendix 2, Put It Down in a Book, The Drill Press, 2009, pages 315-354
  15. Rain Taxi Review of Books, Vol.13, No. 2, Summer 2008
  16. Review of The Curved Jewels
  17. Critical Appendix, Fission Among the Fanatics, Spuyten Duyvil Books (NYC), 2007, page 289
  18. ibid., page 129
  19. The Evil Glee
  20. The Spirit of Writing, Tarcher Putnam (NYC), 2001 (ISBN 1-58542-127-8), page 46
  21. The Practical Writer, Penguin Books (NYC), 2004 (ISBN 0142004006, ISBN 978-0142004005), pages 190-191
  22. 3:AM Magazine reportage of a public performance in Osaka
  23. identity theory | alphabet zen - "the bloodsucker of nagasaki" by tom bradley
  24. The Scottish Samurai, Canongate Books Ltd,1997 (ISBN 0862417465 ISBN 978-0862417468)
  25. Exquisite Corpse - A Journal of Letters and Life; see also Cye Johan, Afterword, Bomb Baby, Enigmatic Ink Books, 2010 (ISBN 978-1-926617-04-6), pages 125-197
  26. Review of Acting Alone: a novel of nuns, neo-Nazis and NORAD, Dr. Dalma Brunauer, Journal of Evolutionary Psychology, March 1995
  27. A Japan of the Mind (3:AM Magazine, Paris)
  28. "...are you Sam Edwine?" All Hands On, Elephant Rock Books (Chicago), 2004 (ISBN 0-9753746-05)
  29. 3:AM Magazine » 3:AM Awards 2007
  30. back cover, Fission Among the Fanatics, Spuyten Duyvil Books (NYC), 2007
  31. Ambit Magazine, Issue 189, Summer 2007 ISSN 0002-6972 (London)
  32. Raw Dog Screaming Press
  33. Bizarro Central Article on Tom Bradley
  34. The Advocate, review of Tom Bradley's Lemur
  35. The Advocate, review of Tom Bradley's Lemur
  36. The Nab Gets Posthumously Bizarroized
  37. Dream People; see also "Ovid Reanimated," Put It Down in a Book, The Drill Press, 2009, pages 3-19
  38. Novelist Tom Bradley Interviewed at Unlikely Stories
  39. Bizarro Central, Interview with Tom Bradley
  40. Identity Theory Magazine's Featured Author Profile of Tom Bradley
  41. The 21st Century Novel: Jaded Ibis Sees a 'Mashup'
  42. Time Magazine, 14 June 2004, U.S. edition
  43. "How to Give a Rousing Reading: Advice from an Amplified Author," The Practical Writer, Penguin Books (NYC), 2004 (ISBN 0142004006, ISBN 978-0142004005)
  44. "...are you Sam Edwine?" All Hands On, Elephant Rock Books (Chicago), 2004 (ISBN 0-9753746-05)

[edit] External links

This article uses Creative Commons licensed content from Wikipedia's Tom Bradley, See History:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tom_Bradley_(author) 10/19/2010.
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