Book Club Wednesday: The Large Ant, Indeed!
TODAY’S book club selection is “The Edge of Tomorrow” by Howard Fast. This is available in paperback from Bantam Books for 45¢ at, I think it was that thrift store on Sherman Way in Reseda across from CVS. Ignore the “Book Castle” price tag on it, that’s old. I’m pretty sure it’s only 45¢. Well, it was, anyway. I bought the only copy they had.
The thing is, folks, if you’re going to be part of this book club, it’s going to eventually become evident if it hasn’t already that you’re going to have to get to the thrift store before me.
Anyway, a little background on Howard Fast: Howard Fast was— You know what? You know how to use Wikipedia. I’m not cluttering up this post up with a biography; besides, I think the hosting company I use charges me by the word. That’s how they do it, right?
Okay, let’s get this show on the road: “The Edge of Tomorrow.” Okay. Okay.
Awright, here we go.
It’s got this enormous freaking ant on the cover!
If that doesn’t entice you to pick up this book and spend 45¢ on it, I don’t know what the hell is wrong with you, but get off my website.
I’m kidding, I’m kidding! Come back here. You’re the only one who’s been here all week.
Okay, all month.
Anyway, look at that ant! Look at that big ol’ hairy ant! And I’m not talking about the Italian woman your uncle married, hey-o!
I’m kidding! Get back here! Get back here, sit down, have some coffee. Let’s talk ants.
Now look carefully and you’ll see three people cowering in terror beneath the giant ant. Well, wouldn’t you cower? The thing’s as big as a house!
So I did some figuring and I’ve decided that an average man is about, what, 5’9”…? (You and me, though, we’re taller. I did say “average.”) Regardless, I’m estimating those three poor bastards at about five-nine in height. Got it? Then I took a piece of paper and marked off the height of the tallest guy, and then counted how many of him it would take to reach the top of the ant. Look, this was all very scientific and mathematical and I can’t get into it here. It’s much too complex to explain. Long story short, I estimate that monster ant on the cover to be about thirty-one feet, nine inches tall. Got it? 31’9”.
Inside the book there are seven short stories. The second one is titled “The Large Ant.”
Again, can we have another shot of the cover, please?
Okay, fine, scroll up if you need to. The thing isn’t large; it’s enormous! It’s behemothic! It’s gargantuan, cyclopean, and any of another two dozen synonyms for ‘gigantic’ which I won’t list here because I can’t afford another huge word bill at the end of the month from JoyHost LLC.
So you can imagine, having plunked down 45¢ for this this, my stomach’s already feeling a little unsettled reading the title “The Large Ant.” And then I get to page 37!
Am I allowed to transcribe stuff here? Is that legal…? You’re sure…? Okay.
And then I get to page 37!
“…It’s the first time I saw an ant fourteen, fifteen inches long. I hope it’s the last.”
Well, for God’s sake, I don’t! I hope they just keep getting bigger! Because “fourteen, fifteen inches long” does not equal “thirty-one feet, nine inches tall.” And this isn’t ruining anything; you wouldn’t be here in the book club if you hadn’t read it, too – so as you know, that’s it! One lousy “large” ant that isn’t even a foot and a half long!
What are these paperback publishers trying to do to us with artwork on the cover that bears no resemblance to the story inside? Isn’t there some law against this? Well, this is exactly what internet petitions are for, so I need you to get started on that, but for the love of Christ, let’s not do double work and have multiple petitions going around there because it’s just going to be more work for me and I’ll have to spend hours checking for duplicate names and then even more time and effort to consolidate them all into one cohesive document before my attorney will even look at it.
In the meantime, I need any of you who knows Bennett Cerf to get in touch with him. He lives in Mt. Kisco, New York, I think. Do we have anyone here from Mt. Kisco?