Journalist and political raconteur Jason Heller's work has appeared at the A.V. Club, Village Voice Media, Alternative Press, Tor.com and Weird Tales. His debut novel, Taft 2012 (Quirk Books, January 17, 2012), explores the 2012 presidential campaign of William Howard Taft. Heller lives in Denver, Colo.
On your nightstand now:
The Death of Bunny Munro by Nick Cave and My Song: A Memoir by Harry Belafonte. I love books by musicians. Especially in those rare instances where they don't suck.
Favorite book when you were a child:
Pawn of Prophecy by David Eddings, the first of many books to render me voraciously awaiting the sequel.
Your top five authors:
J.G. Ballard, Michael Moorcock, Lester Bangs, China Miéville, Umberto Eco. Moorcock, however, is the one who seems to age most gracefully. Chalk it up to the archetypes.
Book you've faked reading:
Moby-Dick. I've spent far more time reading books about that daunting classic--for instance, Dan Beachy-Quick's superb A Whaler's Dictionary--than trying to finish Melville's original itself.
Book you're an evangelist for:
The Crystal World by J.G. Ballard. Sharp, cruel, merciless psychedelia of the highest order.
Book you've bought for the cover:
Pretty much all of them. Most recently, though: The Silent Land by Graham Joyce. (Spoiler: As stunning as the cover is, the insides are better.)
Book that changed your life:
Catch-22 by Joseph Heller. I still can't tell if the book sculpted my burgeoning sense of perversity or merely nourished it. Either way, I wish our surname were more than a coincidence.
Favorite line from a book:
"Now, as he sat on the balcony eating the dog, Dr. Robert Laing reflected on the unusual events that had taken place within this huge apartment building during the previous three months." --J.G. Ballard, High-Rise
Book you most want to read again for the first time:
Perdido Street Station by China Miéville. An utter revelation. I wouldn't have become a novelist without it.