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Ask Chuck Palahniuk: the Kuro5hin Interview

By mikepence in Culture
Fri Jun 25, 2004 at 03:38:54 AM EST
Tags: Interviews (all tags)

Chuck Palahniuk (Fight Club, Choke: A Novel, Survivor) is back. Of course, in a community like K5, where Fight Club quotes in signature lines are considered cliche, Palahniuk needs little introduction.

His most recent work, Stranger Than Fiction: True Stories presents a pastiche of interviews (Marilyn Manson, Juliette Lewis), articles and essays presented through the minimalist, dystopian perspective that is uniquely his own.

In short, Chuck has a book to pimp and he is willing to do an interview with K5, so this is your chance to ask Chuck Palahniuk.

Please include your questions for Chuck in the comments below. Questions in comments that are highly rated will be given slightly more weight in terms of how carefully I consider including them.

You may want to review Salon's several interviews with Chuck for some additional background. I don't intend to needlessly repeat that content, unless it is relevant to the flow of the interview.

Also, I would like to clarify that I offer no guarantee that any questions submitted here will actually be included in the interview, though I welcome and encourage your submissions. Nor will I be crediting questions to their authors. This is not a Slashdot-style interview and I wish to maintain editorial control.

Thank you in advance for contributing.


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Related Links
o Slashdot
o Fight Club
o Choke: A Novel
o Survivor
o Stranger Than Fiction: True Stories
o Salon's several interviews with Chuck
o Also by mikepence

Display: Sort:
Ask Chuck Palahniuk: the Kuro5hin Interview | 107 comments (81 topical, 26 editorial, 0 hidden)
the first rule of kuro5hin interviews is... (1.23 / 13) (#1)
by circletimessquare on Thu Jun 24, 2004 at 04:34:31 PM EST

you do not talk about kuro5hin interviews


no seriously, this is way cool, i admire chuck's work, thank you submitter

+1 fp ;-)

The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

Nice job on the nonobvious Fight Club quote. [nt] (2.71 / 7) (#4)
by Green Cup on Thu Jun 24, 2004 at 05:38:55 PM EST

[ Parent ]
I think you meant to say (2.81 / 11) (#7)
by GenerationY on Thu Jun 24, 2004 at 06:09:59 PM EST

I am Jack's complete lack of surprise.

[ Parent ]
If this were slashdor (2.50 / 6) (#38)
by JayGarner on Fri Jun 25, 2004 at 12:38:01 AM EST

variations on parent and grandparent would be 66% of the comments.

[ Parent ]
3, true and insightful [nt] (none / 0) (#82)
by Green Cup on Sat Jun 26, 2004 at 09:18:49 AM EST

[ Parent ]
3.00 (none / 1) (#62)
by alby on Fri Jun 25, 2004 at 02:10:28 PM EST

Best. Possible. Chuck. Palahniuk. Interview. Comment. Evar!

[ Parent ]
The first rule for joining kuro5hin is .. (2.84 / 13) (#41)
by Highlander on Fri Jun 25, 2004 at 02:15:02 AM EST

The first rule for joining kuro5hin is that you cannot join kuro5hin.

Moderation in moderation is a good thing.
[ Parent ]
wait a second (1.00 / 12) (#3)
by circletimessquare on Thu Jun 24, 2004 at 05:37:08 PM EST

how can you prove you are really interviewing him?

The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

See my other comment (2.00 / 4) (#15)
by mikepence on Thu Jun 24, 2004 at 06:38:13 PM EST


[ Parent ]
well... a question and a comment (2.41 / 12) (#9)
by circletimessquare on Thu Jun 24, 2004 at 06:24:17 PM EST

we don't know you can get chuck for real, but i'll take it on faith that you really can, because to me, voting down this story down and missing the chance to interview him is a greater risk than voting this up, asking an earnest question, and it turns out you are some prank-playing troll

so, a question:

chuck, what do you think of blogs/ newsgroups, and the whole trollish nature of them? "fight club", where people showed up at survivor support groups who weren't really survivors, seems distilled straight from classic trollish bheavior on the net... are you a lurker/ troll yourself? do you extrapolate form trollish behvior on the net in your works?

do you think that trollish behavior is the future of the web/ society at large? what do you think of japan's channel 2? ...which seems to me to be just a giant vat of trollish japanese behavior... however, since it is so successful, and practically part of japanese culture, i think this really says something about the future of blogs and trolling on the internet and in society- would i wrong to say that with your emphasis on trollish behavior in your works that you think that the social phenomenon of trollish behavior is our future as well?

The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

Jeez... (2.80 / 5) (#14)
by mikepence on Thu Jun 24, 2004 at 06:35:46 PM EST

Given the level of trolling on this site of late, I can understand your suspicion. Still, I have not fabricated stories on this site, and it was kind of embarrassing when the Kucinich campaign was inundated with inquiries about my legitimacy when I was preparing the Kucinich interview.

So, I guess you are just going to have to trust me. Put yourself in my shoes. I am not going to give out the email contact for Chuck's people and have them asking me -- again, like the Kucinich people -- why all these K5'ers are questioning my integrity.

So, let me give something of value to the community here and have a little faith.

[ Parent ]

i apologize (1.77 / 9) (#16)
by circletimessquare on Thu Jun 24, 2004 at 06:43:33 PM EST

i love this interview, i thank you very much for it

you are a credit to this website

and i apologize if i have impugned your character

i do have faith in you now, and i have outline a reason to have faith in you, despite the risk, above, and i have asked a question as well

so those who have faith in you will simply dismiss me as someone of little faith

while those with suspicions like i do will find a rationalization for trusting you anyways in my words above: we risk too much in rejecting you

so again, i apologize, the work you do is wonderful, and please forgive me for my lack of faith in this troll-addled web we weave ;-)

The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

[ Parent ]

3.00 can actually spell impugn -nt (2.00 / 5) (#33)
by Kasreyn on Fri Jun 25, 2004 at 12:14:14 AM EST

"Extenuating circumstance to be mentioned on Judgement Day:
We never asked to be born in the first place."

R.I.P. Kurt. You will be missed.
[ Parent ]
I hope he is a prank playing troll (none / 3) (#37)
by JayGarner on Fri Jun 25, 2004 at 12:36:29 AM EST

If executed properly, that could be every bit as entertaining as a real Chuck interview.

[ Parent ]
Trolling (2.60 / 5) (#53)
by SoupIsGoodFood on Fri Jun 25, 2004 at 08:35:33 AM EST

"fight club", where people showed up at survivor support groups who weren't really survivors, seems distilled straight from classic trollish bheavior on the net

Trolling on the net is usally done to get a reaction. Trolls troll to make themselves feel superior by having emotional control over others.
A tad different to going into support groups because it's an easy way to get a sholder to cry on.

[ Parent ]

um, i asked chuck (none / 1) (#77)
by circletimessquare on Sat Jun 26, 2004 at 03:05:25 AM EST

but thanks for the input

The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

[ Parent ]
That's OK (none / 0) (#79)
by SoupIsGoodFood on Sat Jun 26, 2004 at 04:10:37 AM EST

I was just saving you from asking a silly question :)

[ Parent ]
there are no silly questions (none / 0) (#80)
by circletimessquare on Sat Jun 26, 2004 at 04:13:58 AM EST

only silly answers ;-)

The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

[ Parent ]
Hey Chuck, (2.90 / 21) (#12)
by misfit13b on Thu Jun 24, 2004 at 06:32:01 PM EST

In Survivor, there were a lot of little "home ec" tips, i.e. concealing wall bulletholes with toothpaste, repairing stab holes with nail polish, etc.

Not that the majority of them would be all that useful to me *ahem*, I found them fascinating. How did you create/discover them, and how accurate are they?

Substance versus Style (3.00 / 19) (#19)
by braeburn on Thu Jun 24, 2004 at 06:51:06 PM EST

Most of your books tell radically different stories (although it could be argued that Fight Club and Choke, were - very loosely - about young men coming to terms with life), but a connective thread between all of them is the distinctive way they're told. For example, without knowing the author, after reading Fight Club I could've easily guessed that Choke and Diary were both Chuck Palahniuk books. Sometimes when I do writing exercises, I put a lot of effort into developing plot; other times, I put the bulk of my effort into developing a style of storytelling.

So, my question: Is the style of your writing something you consciously engineer? Is it simply the way you naturally write? Is it a combination of both? Basically, would you say you give equal measure to developing the style of your writing and to the plot, or favor one over the other?

It's to bad he can't really participate (2.38 / 18) (#22)
by Big Sexxy Joe on Thu Jun 24, 2004 at 07:09:31 PM EST

in the interview, since he doesn't have a K5 account and all.

I'm like Jesus, only better.
Democracy Now! - your daily, uncensored, corporate-free grassroots news hour
surely ye jest (none / 0) (#61)
by zenofchai on Fri Jun 25, 2004 at 02:09:42 PM EST

I have a couple spare accounts I'd be willing to part with ...

... for a price!
The K5 Interactive Political Compass SVG Graph
[ Parent ]

have you ever had a rash before? [nt] (1.06 / 15) (#25)
by the77x42 on Thu Jun 24, 2004 at 07:25:50 PM EST

"We're not here to educate. We're here to point and laugh." - creature
"You have some pretty stupid ideas." - indubitable ‮

Have you ever (1.11 / 9) (#44)
by CheezyDee on Fri Jun 25, 2004 at 05:07:04 AM EST

seen a grown man naked?

been to a Turkish prison?

[ Parent ]
Fight Club to Survivor (2.62 / 8) (#26)
by thelizman on Thu Jun 24, 2004 at 07:26:07 PM EST

I enjoyed 'Survivor' as much as I enjoyed reading - and watching - Fight Club. What are the chances of seing a movie based on 'Survivor'?

"Our language is sufficiently clumsy enough to allow us to believe foolish things." - George Orwell
It is in the works (n/t) (none / 2) (#27)
by mikepence on Thu Jun 24, 2004 at 07:39:51 PM EST

[ Parent ]
Sure about that? (none / 2) (#43)
by SoupIsGoodFood on Fri Jun 25, 2004 at 05:05:52 AM EST

I know it was in the works at some stage. With rumors of such actors as Kidman and Spacey being interested. But the plans seemed to have been abandoned after Sept 11. I don't think the studios liked the idea of a film involving a plan crash as a main part of the plot.

[ Parent ]
w00t! (none / 3) (#45)
by alby on Fri Jun 25, 2004 at 05:28:37 AM EST

Originally Jake Paltrow was writing a script for Trent Reznor's production company. Then 9/11 happened and it all went tits up. Now apparently the Survivor movie is back with a different team.

And can I just say OMFG! Chuck, you're my favourite author and I have *all* your books (photo of bookshelf available on request!). Plus I bought "The Contortionist's Handbook" 'cause of your quote on the jacket.

I really wish I didn't have to go to work now, but I'll be back in this thread ASAP!

[ Parent ]

</FANBOY> (none / 1) (#63)
by alby on Fri Jun 25, 2004 at 02:12:50 PM EST

[ Parent ]
Hypermacho cultures and homosexuality. (2.80 / 15) (#31)
by waxmop on Thu Jun 24, 2004 at 11:11:12 PM EST

It's a cliche how lots of hyper-macho cultures have a big underground gay streak; Samurais, ancient Greece, pro bodybuilding, etc. Our biggest cultural male icons have all been co-opted into gay icons. Cowboys, construction workers, bikers, and firemen are now all now Village People.

Meanwhile, Ward Cleaver, who by any metric is somehow less macho, remains the archetypal straight man. What does this mean? Is there something inherently emasculating about settling down and raising children?

Finally, why didn't this show up in Fight Club?
The threat of losing all of your shiny possessions is what keeps us slaves to the machine. --

IAWTP NT (none / 2) (#57)
by nlscb on Fri Jun 25, 2004 at 01:05:19 PM EST

Comment Search has returned - Like a beaten wife, I am pathetically grateful. - mr strange
[ Parent ]

Didn't it though? (none / 3) (#88)
by zeigenfus on Sat Jun 26, 2004 at 06:47:49 PM EST

I caught a really strong undertone of sexual tension between the male characters in fight club. It just didn't seem to be acted upon because of how little value the fight club subculture placed on the sex act. Destruction versus creation and all that. Of course where gay sex falls onto the destruction/creation matrix (not to be confused with the love/fear line) is a debate that could go on for ages./

[ Parent ]
Yeah, it was a little in there... (none / 2) (#90)
by waxmop on Sun Jun 27, 2004 at 03:45:14 PM EST

I though that the line "I am Jack's broken heart" was the biggest sign of that undertone, but it never broke into the main theme of the flick.
Of course where gay sex falls onto the destruction/creation matrix (not to be confused with the love/fear line) is a debate that could go on for ages.
I never thought about that -- gay sex is sort of like wanking to the extent that you're gaming the system that means to entice us to reproduce. Hmm.
The threat of losing all of your shiny possessions is what keeps us slaves to the machine. --Parent ]
Three questions (1.05 / 19) (#32)
by RandomLiegh on Fri Jun 25, 2004 at 12:05:50 AM EST

Have you been trolled?
Have you lost?
Will you have a nice day?

Thought of the week: There is no thought this week.
sure, i have a question for chuck. (1.24 / 25) (#35)
by rmg on Fri Jun 25, 2004 at 12:17:07 AM EST

can you hook me up with a gmail account?

your daily shot of schadenfreude

dave dean

gmailswap.com is where I got mine (1.00 / 4) (#51)
by Vilim on Fri Jun 25, 2004 at 08:02:23 AM EST

[ Parent ]
Lullaby (2.75 / 8) (#42)
by jotango on Fri Jun 25, 2004 at 04:24:20 AM EST

The last Palahniuk book I read was Lullaby. While the style of writing has started to get a bit repetitive, I really liked one idea behind it: a lethal virus which is transferred through sound waves. This is quite clever, all characteristics of the virus stay the same, only the method of transfer is changed. What I was wondering is what prompted this idea? I believe the background may be quite fascinating...

The Accordian (n/t) (none / 1) (#85)
by MeowChow on Sat Jun 26, 2004 at 02:59:40 PM EST

[ Parent ]
Mr. Palahniuk, (2.40 / 15) (#47)
by MotorMachineMercenary on Fri Jun 25, 2004 at 06:35:01 AM EST

As a male who is increasingly aware and worried about, and fighting against the emasculation of western societies I am very interested in what you - as the author of Fight Club - have to say about it. I'm not only talking about how men are marginalized in our cultures, but also how most if not all male traits and behavior patterns have become entirely unacceptable and/or something that women can and should do as well as men. Do you feel this has a leveling effect or further polarizes the relations between the sexes?

"In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act."
-- George Orwell

Just out of curiousity, (none / 0) (#65)
by spcmanspiff on Fri Jun 25, 2004 at 06:58:11 PM EST

something that women can and should do as well as men

How exactly is that "emasculating"?

[ Parent ]

It isn't (none / 1) (#72)
by epepke on Fri Jun 25, 2004 at 10:30:17 PM EST

How exactly is that "emasculating"?

It certainly isn't, any more than having services for male victims of domestic violence or letting fathers get custody is "anti-feminist."

Oh, wait a minute. Almost every feminist in the country went ape-shit and still go ape-shit over this one. Tender years doctrine and diverting resources from The Real Problem™ dontcha know.

The truth may be out there, but lies are inside your head.--Terry Pratchett

[ Parent ]
Irrelevant. (none / 1) (#75)
by spcmanspiff on Fri Jun 25, 2004 at 11:39:51 PM EST

I don't know the history of either of those things, but they certainly don't apply to my question. If I had to guess, I suspect that much of the outrage was of the same sort as that experienced by environmentalists over the Bush Administration's Clear Skies initiative.

I could be totally wrong about that, but my original question stands.

And I might as well add another, while I'm at it: Why the vitriol?

[ Parent ]

Hmm (none / 0) (#84)
by MotorMachineMercenary on Sat Jun 26, 2004 at 01:40:53 PM EST

Are you asking "just out of curiosity" or trolling?

If just curious, I'm not going into a circle-jerk over semantics (there's way too much of that here), just saying that our societies' insistence on women doing the same things and possessing the same traits as men lessens diversity. Not only that, but often "women doing the same things" means women copy our (men's) worst qualities. I, for one, don't want women like that in my life. I have my buddies for those kinds of relationships.

"In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act."
-- George Orwell

[ Parent ]
Neither. (none / 1) (#92)
by spcmanspiff on Sun Jun 27, 2004 at 11:52:40 PM EST

I actually find that kind of attitude fairly offensive. Our society doesn't "insist" on women doing anything at all (except, of course, being skinny, attractive and available, with all the best designer clothing, etc etc etc). In no case does a woman take up a role traditionally held by men by force: it is by choice. I fail to see how making those choices available is a bad thing. RE: "women copy our worst qualities": hogwash. Do you mean, "qualities" such as promiscuity, crudeness, or sexual agressiveness? The only reason those are considered "male" qualities at all is because they have been explicitly denied to women while men had much more leeway to do as they see fit. Now that women are freer in their behavior, a portion of them act on it. In short, the only way that increased freedom for women is "emasculating" is if you define masculinity as some sort of exclusive man-only club instead of a trait. If your masculinity is truly threatened by anything some women are doing or not doing, than perhaps you had less than you thought to begin with.

[ Parent ]
Well, (none / 0) (#95)
by MotorMachineMercenary on Mon Jun 28, 2004 at 09:51:35 AM EST

While I admit I'm not up-to-speed with modern feminism (which I believe is quite moderate compared to the femi-nazi form), I am quite sure there's a good proportion of feminists (female and male) who "insist" on women doing manly things.

As for women having the choice to do manly things, this is exactly the mindset I'm talking about when I say emasculation of our societies. I'm all for equality of the sexes in many areas (same pay for same work, access to education, personal freedoms, etc.), but I don't see it right that society encourages women to do the same, 'bad' things that men excel at - your list of manly characteristics is a good starting point.

Women have had that choice in many societies for hundreds or thousands of years and/or they have engaged in such behaviors behind closed doors, but only now it's openly encouraged. Open any Cosmo or watch Sex and the City and you're bound to see examples of female behavior which was not encouraged just 10 years ago. I concede that often there is discussion on whether women should in fact engage in such activities, but being pop culture the discussion is usually of the "it's bad, but what the hell!" variety.

What this leads to is women who would never engage in these 'bad' male acts before, do so because our cultures feed them the notion that it's the right thing to do. I'm sure that's one major reason why women in the western world are feeling so pressured, and it results in increasing number of broken relationships at one end clinical mental problems.

Since we're still talking on civil terms (I'm disregarding your last sentence), I'll say this for the record: I'm no woman-hater; quite the contrary. I'm no proponent of oppression of women, but I'm no male apologist, either. But I do think we (men and women) would be better off celebrating and accepting that we are, in fact, physiologically, physically and mentally different beings. The last thing I want to see in my lifetime is a society of androgynous things.

"In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act."
-- George Orwell

[ Parent ]
When was the post vote threshold (1.06 / 15) (#48)
by Hide Teh Hamster on Fri Jun 25, 2004 at 06:49:01 AM EST

lowered to 80? I'm sure I'd have the answer if a certain someone was kind enough to provide regular site updates.

This revitalised kuro5hin thing, it reminds me very much of the new German Weimar Republic. Please don't let the dark cloud of National Socialism descend upon it again.
Jeez. Will you ever lay off? (3.00 / 14) (#73)
by rusty on Fri Jun 25, 2004 at 11:23:21 PM EST

Listen, I know sometimes the guy doesn't communicate with us as much as he should, but rmg did post a diary when the threshold was changed. rmg's got a lot of other things going on in his life, and he can't just drop everything to inform you when something changes on the site. I think we should thank him for his hard work and give him a break sometimes.

Not the real rusty
[ Parent ]
oh great. (3.00 / 5) (#74)
by rmg on Fri Jun 25, 2004 at 11:39:05 PM EST

now they know i'm running the site. thanks rusty. now i'll have to get a new email address.

your daily shot of schadenfreude

dave dean
[ Parent ]

Wait.. don't you mean (2.81 / 11) (#76)
by rusty on Sat Jun 26, 2004 at 02:20:38 AM EST

a new Gmail address?

Not the real rusty
[ Parent ]
rusty, I feel alienated (none / 1) (#89)
by Hide Teh Hamster on Sun Jun 27, 2004 at 09:49:15 AM EST

I feel like I'm your girlfriend, and you're not calling me often enough. rusty, I want to know if we can *really* make this work or if you are just playing me. You buy me pretty things then you go days without calling me. Is there another out there for you? Is he a political activist?!?

This revitalised kuro5hin thing, it reminds me very much of the new German Weimar Republic. Please don't let the dark cloud of National Socialism descend upon it again.
[ Parent ]
Hamster, it's just because you're a dick n/t (none / 0) (#103)
by D Jade on Wed Jun 30, 2004 at 02:19:44 AM EST

You're a shitty troll, so stop pretending you have more of a life than a cool dude -- HollyHopDrive
[ Parent ]
Can we know too much? (2.75 / 12) (#49)
by brain in a jar on Fri Jun 25, 2004 at 07:06:38 AM EST

In choke, the main character had some kind of medical background, and as a result of this he seems to see sickness everywhere he looks.

The newspapers are forever filled with new scare stories about violence, pollution, bad food, scams etc. and one of the points Michael Moore made in Bowling for columbine is that we seem to be stuck with a culture of fear.

So, finally the question:

Do we know too much? are there things we would be better off not knowing?

Life is too important, to be taken entirely seriously.

Another Question. (3.00 / 11) (#50)
by brain in a jar on Fri Jun 25, 2004 at 07:45:11 AM EST

A major theme of both Choke and Fight club, seems to be guys looking for a way of putting meaning into their lives by doing something concrete, tangible. Be that by fighting, or collecting stone for a house.

Do you think that this lack of meaning is a modern problem, or one that has always been with us? And are there any real solutions, aside from finding meaning by writing books about how hard it is to find? :-)

Life is too important, to be taken entirely seriously.
[ Parent ]

Talmud (none / 0) (#100)
by eberkut on Tue Jun 29, 2004 at 04:52:38 AM EST

Not that I'm a great theologist, but I like quote, and you made me remember one from the Talmud.

"If the eye could see the demons that people the universe, existence would be impossible."
Talmud, Berakhot 6

Plus, if I was a little bit more motivated, I think we could argue a long time about your question by taking into consideration Rousseau (with the myth of the "bon sauvage") and all the philosophers who based their systems on a more peaceful and naive man separated from society and all its troubles.

Nice question actually :)

"you can tune a file system but you can't tune a fish" (man 8 tunefs, BUGS)
[ Parent ]

All rhetoric counterproductive (1.00 / 11) (#54)
by redelm on Fri Jun 25, 2004 at 09:58:53 AM EST

The purpose of rhetoric is to convince people of a position. It is very likely to alienate those who it fails to convince.

Libertairian rhetoric seems expecially distructive because the party platform has elements anathema to both Democrats and Republicans, and these differences are inevitably highlighted: "Libertairians are like you but ..."

did this comment traverse alternate universes? (none / 0) (#78)
by circletimessquare on Sat Jun 26, 2004 at 03:07:49 AM EST

or just alternate stories?

The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

[ Parent ]
Disappeared by zero ratings (none / 0) (#104)
by redelm on Fri Jul 02, 2004 at 12:31:23 AM EST

I was wondering what happened to this comment myself. It wouldn't show in my history.

Now magically it has reappeared and I can see it had attracted a number of zero ratings (likely from denizens who confuse agreement for quality).

[ Parent ]

My question: (2.69 / 13) (#56)
by LilDebbie on Fri Jun 25, 2004 at 11:49:54 AM EST

In Survivor, you included a ton of odd little domestic tips as part of Tender Branson's background. Having the book practically memorized, I've used it as a source for said domestic tips but the bacon trick (putting it in the freezer for a few minutes before frying to prevent curling) doesn't seem to work. Did you make some of these up for the sake of the story or am I just not leaving it in there long enough?

My name is LilDebbie and I have a garden.
- hugin -

Ask This: (1.21 / 19) (#59)
by collideiscope on Fri Jun 25, 2004 at 01:53:01 PM EST

Are you gay?

Hope is a disease. Get infected.
Favourites. (2.16 / 6) (#60)
by alby on Fri Jun 25, 2004 at 02:07:25 PM EST

Which of your books is your favourite?

For me it's a close thing between Survivor and Choke. What have fans said is their favourite book?


What Scares You? (2.62 / 8) (#64)
by billglover on Fri Jun 25, 2004 at 05:06:23 PM EST

And what do you love?

Help create a reputation economy.
Inside the Writer's Studio (none / 3) (#66)
by SocratesGhost on Fri Jun 25, 2004 at 07:59:25 PM EST

You should conclude the interview with a series of questions provided by Bernard Pivot for Bouillon de Culture.

What is your favorite word?
What is your least favorite word?
What turns you on creatively, spiritually or emotionally?
What turns you off?
What is your favorite curse word?
What sound or noise do you love?
What sound or noise do you hate?
What profession other than your own would you like to attempt?
What profession would you not like to do?
If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates?

Some more questions (based more on my own interests as a writer):

How does he approach the editorial process? Does he begin re-writing immediately. Does he ask for feedback early in the process?

How does he write? Computer? Typewriter? Morning? Evening? What conditions work best for him?

I drank what?

No he should not /nt (none / 0) (#69)
by jongleur on Fri Jun 25, 2004 at 09:43:30 PM EST

"If you can't imagine a better way let silence bury you" - Midnight Oil
[ Parent ]
Are you sick of (2.50 / 12) (#67)
by tempysmurf on Fri Jun 25, 2004 at 08:29:51 PM EST

people asking you stupid fucking questions about fight club?

Questions (1.12 / 8) (#68)
by xmedar on Fri Jun 25, 2004 at 08:52:11 PM EST

Why arent there more overt Discordian references, with a capital Fnord?

If you were going to rewrite the film script would you put more overt references in so that you can give the audience hooks so they could explore the ideas more or themselves?

Do you think there are is any relationship between Fight Club and The Matrix?

Is Osama Bin Laden Tyler Durden?

My question for Chuck: (1.83 / 6) (#70)
by Russell Dovey on Fri Jun 25, 2004 at 10:22:29 PM EST

Why don't you write in proper sentences? James Joyce  did it, and now everyone's jumping on the bandwagon.

"Blessed are the cracked, for they let in the light." - Spike Milligan

why? (1.33 / 6) (#81)
by voltron on Sat Jun 26, 2004 at 04:15:51 AM EST

why is lullaby the same book as fight club?

eh, i kid.

if you were a tree... (1.13 / 15) (#83)
by rmg on Sat Jun 26, 2004 at 12:50:37 PM EST

could you hook me up with a gmail account?

your daily shot of schadenfreude

dave dean

My question: (1.00 / 14) (#86)
by werner on Sat Jun 26, 2004 at 04:28:06 PM EST

How much wood would a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood?

A Big "Fuck You" (2.75 / 12) (#87)
by epepke on Sat Jun 26, 2004 at 06:39:15 PM EST

A couple of years ago, I was at a writers' convention, and there was a panel of writers talking about how hard it is to get published. One of them claimed that you wrote Fight Club partially as a big "Fuck You!" to publishing companies after having recieved several rejections of manuscripts. It's a great story, but is it true?

The truth may be out there, but lies are inside your head.--Terry Pratchett

Indeed (none / 0) (#107)
by Zelucifer on Tue Jul 13, 2004 at 05:46:52 PM EST

If I remember correctly, this is mentioned in either one of the salon interviews or one of the interviews on his official website. The story is basically true, they claimed his first book was too graphic to be published, so he wrote something even more graphic.

[ Parent ]
Terrorism and Responsibility (1.77 / 9) (#91)
by Patrick Bateman on Sun Jun 27, 2004 at 11:30:46 PM EST

Considering the destructive climax of Fight Club, do you feel at all responsible for inspiring al-Qaeda's attack on the World Trade Center?

I have to return some videotapes.

my pathetic question (2.80 / 10) (#93)
by ljj on Mon Jun 28, 2004 at 03:39:01 AM EST

What do you think of David Fincher's adaptation of your book? Is it in any way the way you imagined it?


questions about the writing process (none / 3) (#94)
by CAIMLAS on Mon Jun 28, 2004 at 08:10:49 AM EST

What do you find helps you get into the writing mood the best - to get the ideas flowing from your brain to the paper/keyboard? I often find that once I get started, I'm gravy, but I might as well stop and pull up my pants if I can't push anything out within the first couple minutes.

Also, what is your experience with publishers in reguard to your eccentric writing style? Did you get dismissals due to 'nitpicky' things such as sentence structure or development technique? Do you still get such dismissals (if I might be so bold)?

Is there a certain process through which you go when including factual oddities into your plot outlines? Odd smathering of facts and devices, and throw the plot and characters in afterwards? Write as you come to it? Characters first?

Do you think of your books as a study of an idea, a perversely long film script, or simply as a novel?

The geek in me has to ask: what physical entities do you use to write? A laptop? Pen? Paper? Pencil? Dirt and a stick? Additionally, what kind of environment?


Socialism and communism better explained by a psychologist than a political theorist.

Fight Club (1.12 / 8) (#96)
by FredBloggs on Mon Jun 28, 2004 at 10:56:57 AM EST

Is the book as tedious as the film? I was going to read it, having had it suggested by a friend. But the film was the usual generic Hollywood nonsense which could have been a cheap copy of Trainspotting, only with unrealistically portrayed violence (the characters wounds seemed to heal overnight, so in place of eyes forced closed by extensive bruising he instead had a few cuts and slight bruising) in place of heroin.

Really Asking Chuck (none / 1) (#97)
by projectpaperclip on Mon Jun 28, 2004 at 11:53:19 AM EST

As others have said, I don't know if mikepence really is going to conduct such an interview, but Chuck WILL be reading at my office tomorrow (they bring in authors all the time, and Mr. Palanhiuk has been in once before for Diary), so I reserve the right to steal any of the questions here and do not obligate myself to report back any of the answers, but if you have a question you think should be asked, keep firing away.

Re: Palahniuk (1.14 / 7) (#98)
by Bum Bum on Mon Jun 28, 2004 at 08:53:53 PM EST

I was sorely disappointed to read Fight Club and realize that Chuck P. is on the same level as Vonnegut (and maybe not even that): he will become immedeatly irrelavant in about 5 - 10 years. Because, Fiht Club really sucked. A total first novel, with all the boring propaganda of a young writer. And, unfortunately, the movie is not much better. Very polemic and ultimately boring propaganda aimed at college kids who will swallow that crap up.

The facts. (2.60 / 5) (#99)
by bchan on Tue Jun 29, 2004 at 01:52:15 AM EST

There's something about almost all of Chuck's books. The facts, the supposed facts. These are the things that get ingrained in my memory, that I should wind up my window or wind it all the way down so that way it doesn't shatter so badly, what muscles are used in particular of smiles, or how to clean a particular type of stain. Are these really facts? Or were they just creatively made up? What kind of research does he have to do when he writes his books? Any chance of that Survivor book being made into a movie any time soon?

Fuck you, Chuck Palahniuk. (none / 2) (#102)
by grendelkhan on Tue Jun 29, 2004 at 07:02:10 PM EST

This isn't a question, but I feel I need to say it.

Hey, remember that "we have no war" shit from Fight Club? Yeah, now we have a war, we have a new fucking Cold War, of undefinable length, arbitrary government-ordained fear (the (terror|commun)ists are going to blow us all up tomorrow! or not) and... well, it's the fifties all over again.

So fuck you, Chuck Palahniuk, and fuck your facile assertions that we're oh-so-sad a people. Now we have a war. Hope you're happy.

-- Laws do not persuade just because they threaten --Seneca

Fuck you grendelkhan (none / 0) (#105)
by bloodnose on Sat Jul 03, 2004 at 05:34:17 AM EST

My question, is do you feel any backbeats in the creative process?

Lately I've become very interested in entropic patterns. Like others(?), I disapproved of the immorality of stealing the laundry in Fight Club and use of violent revolution. On the other hand, it was a very stimulating film, partly because it took on the coolness of cinema. No one complains about Matrix violence.

3 out of 10 mathematicians are employed at the NSA. Sometimes I've wondered about a world where firebreaks would be used in the War on Drugs. I.e. deliberately insinuate crack cocaine in certain neighborhoods using predator-prey models etc. Math is curious.

By backbeat, I mean, you wrote what has been called here, angry young man crap. And then it was made into a successful, powerful film. I have not read your book but I did see that movie. When I write sometimes I write fiercely stuff that would never be successful for an audience, but appeals to me so that I can bounce off it like a trampoline. Do you have backbeats like that? or other [anti]entropic curiousities in the creative process?

Fight club is controversial - (none / 0) (#106)
by liquidcrystal3 on Wed Jul 07, 2004 at 05:56:54 PM EST

because of the violence and terrorism, did you consider that when you wrote it or were you surprised it made it into film and the general publics awareness?

Are you glad people were confronted by the question of what is acceptable and what is your philosophy on where to draw the line?

Giving up your 9 - 5 job and consumerist lifestyle, living communally, joining or organising a movement and dedicating your energy to something other than buying things is a radical idea - are you aware of having inspired anything?

Ask Chuck Palahniuk: the Kuro5hin Interview | 107 comments (81 topical, 26 editorial, 0 hidden)
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