IF MY BOOK: Michael J. Seidlinger


Welcome to another installment of If My Book, the Monkeybicycle feature in which authors shed light on their recently released books by comparing them to weird things. This week Michael J. Seidlinger writes about his latest novel, The Strangest, just published by OR Books.


the strangest

If The Strangest were a musician, it would be the sort of musician that talks the talk but almost never actually picks up a guitar and plays. It would be the sort of musician that knows how to look the part but when it comes time to play, it prefers to play, rather than jam, play a completed song rather than something incomplete.

If The Strangest were a video game, it would be a fighting game that does it’s best at replicating the successful formula utilized in the Mortal Kombat series, but ends up falling short, inadvertently stumbling upon its own unique game design mechanic. Think Killer Instinct. Yeah, if The Strangest were a videogame, it would be Killer Instinct.

If The Strangest were a disease, it would be the common everyday cold. It wouldn’t be curable and would often be something people fear catching. It’s the sort of virus that everyone else can get, and what people certainly relate to, because they’ve all had a horrible head cold.

If The Strangest were a beer, it would be an IPA like Ruination IPA, the sort of beer that a drinker looking for a nice strong punch prefers. It would be not one but four or more, and it would be the kind of beer that leaves you breathless(ly drunk) at the end of the night.

If The Strangest were a car, it would be a beat up Honda Civic after having had a few minor car accidents.

If The Strangest were a tweet, it would be the sort of tweet that reads clever and comes off as almost memorable. It would be the sort of tweet that most people would favorite but never actually retweet. It would be the sort of tweet that you’d read a few days later and wonder why you never favorited it before.

If The Strangest were a person on Tinder, it would have its profile picture as the book cover. It wouldn’t show Zachary’s actual face. It wouldn’t get very many swipe-lefts as a result and it would begin to worry that it’s not the right sort of thing people are looking for these days, and then it would go eat an entire pepperoni pizza all by itself.

If The Strangest were a joke, it would be the sort that you’d read and chuckle lightly to yourself rather than tell someone else and laugh out loud.

If The Strangest were a holiday, it would be Halloween because everyone wants to dress up and pretend to be someone else, if even for one night.

If The Strangest were a type of boredom, it would be the kind you experience in a waiting room. That slow, seemingly futile sort of wait, distantly aware of what’s ahead. It could be good, could be great, or a real pain in the ass (like when visiting a proctologist) but either way, it’s still waiting and really, if anyone were in a waiting room it would wonder why you weren’t reading it.

If The Strangest were an article, it would be this article. If it were a sentence, it would be this sentence. If it were this thought, it would be this thought.


Michael J. Seidlinger is the author of a number of novels, including The Laughter of Strangers, The Fun We’ve Had, and The Face of Any Other. He serves as Electric Literature’s Book Reviews Editor as well as publisher-in-chief of Civil Coping Mechanisms, an indie press specializing in unclassifiable/innovative fiction and poetry. Find him on Twitter at @mjseidlinger.