Yesterday, Matt Briggs read and taught a workshop about appropriating other authors' characters into your own fiction at Pilot Books as part of Small Press Fest. Briggs read from "The Dadaist," a very clever mashup between Lila Mae Watson, the elevator inspector protagonist of Colson Whitehead's The Intuitionist, and the glass elevator from Roald Dahl's Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator. Briggs unashamedly referred to the book as "fan fiction." He nails the voices of both Whitehead and Dahl:

“Mr. Wonka?”
“Wonka has retired,” he said. “I'm Bucket. What can I do for you? Factory tours are Saturday from noon Saturday to eleven a.m.”
“You mean from eleven to noon?”
“No, we get you on your way before you start. We don't have time to waste on tours. But they can't be avoided. It's a solution we can all live with.”
“I don't understand,” Lila Mae said. There really was nothing to understand, she knew. She could see where the elevator was. She recognized the gearbox in one of the towers. She understood that was where the elevator was, but it was most unusual because it went up, but there was nothing to go up into. It was an exposed elevator shaft. Just the shaft and no floors.

The whole story (which does, unfortunately, maintain the fan fiction tradition of being riddled with egregious typos) can be found over here.

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In the talk after the reading, Briggs discussed his work for Publication Studio, a Portland-based "sustainable publication" project. Briggs was most pleased with Publication Studio's ebook annotation service, in which people can comment directly on the passages of an ebook with other readers, starting a conversation that lives on the virtual page, allowing the readers to discuss, socialize, and "live," as Briggs put it, "inside the book." The conversation, which covered ebooks, Espresso Book Machines, and book jacket design, was intelligent and very accepting of new ideas. It was a hopeful night for readers.

Briggs's new novel, The Strong Man, is available from Publication Studio now. Pilot Books' Small Press Fest continues all month long.