Gary Brandt

Born the year Revolver was released, Gary was sort of named after Cary Grant, because it had a nice ring to it, his mother thought. Early literary efforts include give up Joe [sic], published in a small run of one copy in 1974 on high-quality construction paper, a minimalist thriller, in hindsight notable for precocious employment of the Faulknerian idiot narrator. It begins, suspensefully, “Joe has been in Jail [sic] for 10 years, last night he escaped and killed two men.” The plot thickens considerably in the next line—“I did not know he was a killer so I in vited [sic] him to dinner . . .”—which keen readers may note adroitly scuttles traditional approaches to point of view.

In adolescence he took up plagiarism after reading The Borribles by Michael de Larrabeiti, a fun book he liked well enough to submit a B-grade report on and more than enough to attempt to replicate. On a half-size legal pad that had the effect of seeming to double the number of pages he produced, Gary labored in a feverish state, due to his tending to crouch against the wall above the heater duct when writing, on the work-in-progress for something on the order of a couple of weeks, finally running out of steam once the weather warmed and there was no longer any reason to obstruct the floor vent. The first of many relievedly abandoned projects, the untitled, unfinished fantasy manuscript is now safely deposited in a box, unmarked, in the attic.

Encouraged by a cheery rejection that read “Some of this stuff moved our soul, but not enough to print it,” Gary, at 19, assailed the small-press scene with submissions in a campaign not unlike the Blitz, and with nearly as much enthusiasm from its targets. One brave publication, however, called, fittingly in a way, Industrial Sabotage, relented, and printed a poem of his in its thirtythird issue. Heartened, Gary embarked on a program of procrastination that resulted, a brief three decades later, in the novel The Vault Apocalyptia, a satire that lampoons the atomic age and America’s rush to win the arms race. It’s experimental, dark in some places, funny, and more than a little word-drunk.

Gary lives in Northern California, is married, and works as a copy editor for the North Bay’s weekly newspaper.