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In the same vein as Self-Derogatory Advertising, which was first mentioned on this blog and for which Panda Books Australia asserts itself the originator, the title ‘Sortabiography’ is announced with the same claim. It refers to a book that has the actual author as the main character, written in the third person with circumstances reflecting his or her real life along the lines of a ‘Mocumentary’. In Thomas’ case, the Sortabiography refers to his turgid attempts to become a published author, the trauma it induces in others and the threat his ghastly writing has on the publishing industry as a whole. His book ‘Writing Wrongly’ is a Sortabiography, and is based on his blovel of the same name, and continues in the prequel ‘Wrongly Writing’.

Both the terms and descriptions of ‘Self Derogatory Advertising’ and ‘Sortabiography’ have been digitally Timestamped for this purpose.

Sortabiography, as a genre, at least in Thomas’ case, has the following characteristics:

  1. Satirical, black humour

  2. Full-length novel

  3. It is intentionally written with the author as the protagonist, with highly exaggerated traits, particularly weaknesses, leaving him bordering on dysfunctional

  4. Is written in the third person limited point of view

  5. The supporting cast is unlikely to be exaggerated to minimise dilution of the main character’s eccentricities, which would otherwise detract from the author’s responsibility for themselves as the protagonist, except in situations where supportive cast behaviour would otherwise enhances his vulnerabilities

  6. The story world is devoid of exaggeration for the same reason

  7. It permits the author to explore themselves, particularly their less attractive traits, by experimenting with an hyperbole of persona with others

  8. The plot revolves around the author’s real life circumstances, e.g., divorce, love, ambitions etc

  9. The difference between Sortabiography and a story with a similar protagonist not identified as the author is the intentional exaggeration of vulnerability, alongside an admission of his failings, being pivotal part of the story’s architecture, with which the reader might find a special sympathy

  10. Any heroism arises as a consequence of battling the world through inadequacies

The difference between Sortabiography and Thomas’ ideas for New Fable, besides the cast being human, is that the society, politics, behaviours (of others) and conventions in Sortabiography remain realistic. The only absurdism in the story is in the protagonist, whereas in the Dooven books, everything is absurd. In Sortabiography, eccentricity is contrasted with normally. In New Fable, eccentricity is contrasted with itself to become a new normality.


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