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Why My Book Is Better Than The DaVinci Code (tongue firmly in cheek)   (April 27, 2006)

Herewith are the reasons why my book I-State Lines is better than Dan Brown's runaway mega-hit bestseller, The DaVinci Code:

1. Mine is shorter. Hey, time is at a premium, and shorter books are by definition faster reads, right? So you've got more time for TV, wondering why your flight's delayed, etc.

2. Mine is less exciting. With a page-turner like DaVinci, you might get a heart attack or break out into a cold sweat. With I-State Lines, there's no albino assassins, or even tanned assassins, or green-eyed beautiful cryptology experts. So in other words, it's boring and therefore safe. You won't get overly stimulated.

I'm not too desperate to beg, so please please please buy ISL now from Amazon.com. It's only a lousy $13 3. My cover is better. Why? Well for one thing, my name is in smaller print, so there's more room for interesting stuff like girls and cars. And rather than a slice of an old painting (OK, an old famous painting), there's a photo of a beautiful real live young woman on my cover. And if she's not enticing enough, there's a drawing of the guys' Dodge Lancer. Eat your heart out, Dan Brown! No classic Lancer on your cover, ha!

4. Mine actually has a real cryptogram for you to solve. OK, not the book, but the online contest about the book. Not only that, but the ISL contest actually references Kryptos, which will only figure in Dan Brown's next book. So why wait for his next thriller when you can wonder what the heck Kryptos is right here on the ISL website? Not only that, but if you're the first person to solve the ISL crypto-puzzle, you win two free roundtrip bus tickets across the U.S. of A.! (No purchase is necessary, but hopefully you'll wonder what all the fuss is about and plunk down $13 for the book.)

5. My character's names are better. I'm not saying Sophie and Robert are bad names, but come on, aren't Daz and Alex punchier?

6. Tom Hanks will not be wearing a mullet in the ISL movie. Heck, Tom Hanks won't even be in the ISL movie, because there is no such thing. But even if there were, it wouldn't attract such a talented big-name star like Tom Hanks. But really, don't you think it's a blessing that you won't have to see Tom Hanks with a mullet 'do in an ISL movie?

7. I have a better middle name. Admittedly, it's a draw between Brown and Smith, but "Hugh" is a better middle name than whatever Dan's is. (Please don't disagree or you'll hurt my Dad's feelings, as Hugh is his given name.)

8. Having a smart old codger murdered in the Louvre by an albino assassin is such a cliche beginning; practically every thriller has guys getting bumped off in the Louvre by albino assassins. Some meet their Maker in the African Art section (the bejeweled dagger in the heart cliche), others get the ancient Roman spear through the gullet, and yet others expire with a ninja star in their backside, splayed out in the East Asian collection.

I-State Lines starts with the guys getting kicked off a bus on a melt-lead day on the way to Liberty, Iowa. How many thrillers can you name with that intro? OK, so ISL isn't a thriller, it's more of a snoozer, but still, isn't it refreshing to find a book which doesn't start with mayhem at the hands of yet another albino assassin?

9. I-State Lines is cooler than TDC because it's unknown. Real unknown. How cool is it to be reading the same book as everyone else in the airport? That is so not cool, dude, it's almost like showing up for the same party wearing the same torn faded jeans as everyone else. We all know that what's cool is by definition not known to anyone but the in-crowd. Remember when those clunky Doc Martens shoes were so out that suddenly they were the shoe of choice for Manhattan and Santa Monica hipsters?

We both know that ISL isn't cool, it's just unknown, but your friends don't know that. They'll look at you with green-eyed envy (especially if they're a beautiful cryptologist by the name of Sophie) and think, "Woah, I had no idea that they were so on top of the hip lit scene! They are so totally awesome and brilliant and cool!" OK, maybe they won't be thinking that when you walk by, reading I-State Lines, but they may be thinking it. So why not imagine them thinking it? That's as good as them actually thinking it!

10. ISL fits in better with your "special-Friday-deals" stuff you just bought on Amazon.com. You know how amazon has those amazing special deals every week on everything from DVD players to towels? Well, ISL is thin and flexible, and the $13 price tag will get you over $25 so shipping is free. Meanwhile, TDC is sort of bulky and may take up space better left for the other goodies you're buying at huge discounts.

11. ISL has much better slang than TDC. It would be strat if you spent some gitas on my book, and believe me, you'll find it very tropo-electric to use words from ISL because your smart-aleck know-it-all teenagers will be (1) confused and then (2) massively jealous that you're using cooler slang than they are.

12. The books around ISL's Amazon ranking (870,999) are much worthier than the titles hanging around TDC (37). For example: Like a Bullet of Light : The Films of Bob Dylan (871,003), How To Be Twice As Smart (870,994), Mastering Foreign Exchange and Money Markets (870,995), The Painted Word by Tom Wolfe (870,992) (a witty sendup of modern art, I recommend it), Great American Bridges and Dams (870,976), Teaching Your Child to Cope with Crisis (870,977)-- you get the idea. Here is variety, quality and depth, while way up at 37, let's face it, it's the dregs! Lachrymose tales of abuse and phony redemption, or maybe it's the abuse which is phony, who can even tell? 871,000 is where the quality is, and I invite you to check it out.

"Baker's dozen" reason 13: I know where Leonardo is buried. (I snapped this photo of my brother in Leo's tomb last year.) Would I be cheap and gaudy enough to put this sort of thing in I-State Lines, to try to get you to read the book for its exotic locales, mysteries and fast-paced action? Heck no. ISL is set in the U.S., in places you won't find in Dan Brown thrillers, places like Las Cruces, New Mexico. Great place, I recommend it. If something funny or romantic or memorable is gonna happen to you, have it happen in Las Cruces, not the Louvre. Sure, the I.M. Pei pyramid is fun (hot in summer, though), but the crowds are pitiless and there's no comfortable places to sit down. Plus, an albino assassin might take you out. Believe me, there are more intimate, much less crowded museums in Paris, and while you might get assassinated in one, it wouldn't be by a run-of-the-mill albino.
Am I begging you to buy my book? No. I would if I could, but you're too savvy and erudite to be convinced by begging. So here are the reasons, all 13 of 'em. Thank you for reading this all the way to the end; I hope it wasn't too painfully obvious that Dan Brown is a much-lauded multimillionaire and I am a poor, dumb unknown slob with a snowball's chance in Heck of rising to 370,000, much less 37,000, on amazon's ranking. But, hey, it's all good.

For more on this subject and a wide array of other topics, please visit my weblog.


copyright © 2006 Charles Hugh Smith. All rights reserved in all media.

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