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While HarperCollins was in the process of considering Breakfast at Cannibal Joe’s for publication, the editor in charge of my manuscript pressed ahead confidently with the edit. Here are the notes made on the front page when the book was returned to me for revision. You can see that besides the main themes of the book (Moral Apathy, Technology ≠ Civility, Social/Cultural Stratification, Violence), there are also titles of already-published works that the editor felt Cannibal Joe’s most resembled, justifying the genre “Social Satire/Black Humor.” I have to confess that of these works, I had only read A Clockwork Orange and that some of the authors were completely unknown to me. Naturally, I rushed off to the local library and devoured them greedily, eager to find out whether I’d been insulted or not.

Not, as it transpired. Tom Robbins even mentions the Mekons! Anyway, for the record:

T. C. Boyle: East Is East and A Friend of the Earth

Anthony Burgess: A Clockwork Orange and The Wanting Seed

Katherine Dunne: Geek Love

Matt Ruff: Sewer, Gas & Electric

Kurt Vonnegut: Mother Night

and of course everything by Christopher Moore, Mark Twain, and George Orwell (his humorous works, I guess, like Keep the Aspidistra Flying and 1984).

Interestingly, the editor also suggested removing genuine brand names and replacing them with fake ones, in order to avoid dating the story. Readers of the prologue can see for themselves how closely I followed that advice.