Picture of author.
26+ Works 639 Membros 31 Críticas

About the Author

John McNally is the author or editor of seventeen previous books, including The Book of Ralph: A Novel and The Boy Who Really, Really Wanted to Have Sex: The Memoir of a Fat Kid. A graduate of the Iowa Writers' Workshop. McNally is Writer-in-Residence and the Dr. Doris Meriwether/BORSF Professor in mostrar mais English at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. mostrar menos
Image credit: Photo credit: John McNally

Obras por John McNally

Who Can Save Us Now? Brand-New Superheroes and Their Amazing (Short) Stories (2008) — Editor; Contribuidor — 155 exemplares
The Book of Ralph: A Novel (2004) 99 exemplares
America's Report Card: A Novel (2006) 55 exemplares
Ghosts of Chicago (2008) 23 exemplares
Troublemakers (2000) 23 exemplares
Lord of the Ralphs (2015) 6 exemplares

Associated Works

Shadow Show (2012) — Contribuidor — 364 exemplares
Telephone 13 — Contribuidor — 1 exemplar


Conhecimento Comum

Nome canónico
McNally, John



I was really excited when I found this book. I am such a superhero junkie and I was really looking forward to an entire anthology of superhero short stories. What a letdown. Most anthologies are a mixed bag but this one contained more stories that I didn't really enjoy than most. Honestly, I can probably only remember a few of the stories - and the one I remember most vividly I hated. I should have checked this out of the library instead of buying.
wisemetis | 6 outras críticas | Jan 15, 2023 |
2 1/2 It was ok. It was very self-absorbed. Amusing, but kind of nasty (probably knowingly so, but still full of people you would never want to meet.)
Loryndalar | 3 outras críticas | Mar 19, 2020 |
This book is a collection of short stories all connected in some way to the theme of superheroes. It is not published by DC or Marvel, so characters from the "big two" aren't found in these pages. Instead, these are original creations with a variety of supernatural powers ranging from flight to communing with ghosts to being able to gush copious amounts of Slushee out of one's hands and feet.

Being a compilation, the writing styles vary as much as the supers' abilities. There were some stories that were humorous ("The Quick Stop 5"), some that were beautifully poignant ("Bad Karma Girl Wins at Bingo"), some that were frankly bizarre ("In Cretaceous Seas"), and some that were just dull and meandering with nothing resolved or even fully explained ("The Meerkat"). Even with those I liked, the endings off left me sort of "eh." However, that is a common feeling for me with short stories -- they always seem to end just as I am getting into them.

Each story is preceded with a title page including an illustration done in black-and-white. These are a nice add-on, although not strictly necessary to understand the story.

To be completely honest, even after mulling on the contents of this book, I'm not sure that I would recommend it to others.
… (mais)
sweetiegherkin | 6 outras críticas | Jul 28, 2018 |
John McNally has been a writer for over thirty years, but it hasn't been easy, and this collection of essays is proof. He likens the relationship between a writer and his stories to -

"... that of an analyst to her patient. Our job is to meet regularly with our patient (the story) with the hope that each session will bring about a series of illuminations that lead, ultimately, to an epiphany. The process of revision is that meeting ..."

And, like therapy, sometimes these revisions only take a month or two, but sometimes they can go on for years, and sometimes, if a story "has no subtext," it will never take shape, will be " like chasing a mirage."

And McNally admits to having had more than his share of such chases, after stories and novels he worked on for years, and, finally, just had to "let them go."

THE PROMISE OF FAILURE is much more than just an instructional handbook for aspiring writers - although it certainly IS a fine specimen of that. It is also a brutally honest memoir, revealing the growing-up difficulties of always being the fat kid, the child of blue collar parents, moving around between trailer parks and crappy apartments. He also tells of his lifelong struggles with depression, a father who couldn't understand him, two failed marriages, dieting, drinking, drugs, and crushing debt, mostly incurred from student loans for advanced degrees, and from bad decisions.

But McNally has had his successes too, having written or edited more than a dozen books. (One, THE BOY WHO REALLY, REALLY WANTED TO HAVE SEX: THE MEMOIR OF A FAT KID, I really, REALLY want to read.) Reflecting on a couple early successes, he admits that "Being 'on top' ... wasn't all it was cracked up to be." And he lets us in on publisher advances that don't go far, poorly planned book tours, sometimes finding only a few in attendance, getting sick in hotel rooms in strange cities, and other stresses and expenses of being on the road. He writes too of petty feuds , jealousy and hurt feelings within the ranks of fellow writers, all struggling to make a living, many - like McNally himself - teaching.

One of the pleasures of reading these essays is the wry, self-deprecating sense of humor sprinkled throughout. We hear, for example, about "Chunkyobdangle," a play McNally wrote in the fourth grade in which he starred as an overweight superhero. Or a science fiction story attempted with a hero named Nidfo.

On the other hand, the final essay, "194 Days, " about the final weeks, months and days of a dear friend from high school, may reduce you to tears. It is raw, direct and straight from the heart.

McNally says he's spent most of his life in fiction, dabbling some in TV and film writing, and that essays are something new for him, that writing these pieces was hard work. Well, he made them look easy. I was quickly caught up in every one of them. And I suspect writers of every stripe will feel the same way. Very highly recommended.

- Tim Bazzett, author of the memoir, BOOKLOVER
… (mais)
TimBazzett | May 28, 2018 |



You May Also Like

Associated Authors

Owen King Contributor
Elizabeth Crane Contributor
David Haynes Contributor
Kelly Braffet Contributor
Sean Doolittle Contributor
Will Clarke Contributor
Scott Snyder Contributor
George Singleton Contributor
Tom Bissell Contributor
Jim Shepard Contributor
J. Robert Lennon Contributor
Lauren Grodstein Contributor
Richard Dooling Contributor
David Yoo Contributor
Cary Holladay Contributor
Graham Joyce Contributor
Noria Jablonski Contributor
Sam Weller Contributor
Jennifer Weiner Contributor
Stephanie Harrell Contributor
Marly Swick Contributor
Amy Knox Brown Contributor
Richard Russo Contributor
Tod Goldberg Contributor
Michelle Richmond Contributor
Timothy Schaffert Contributor
K. L. Cook Contributor
Erika Krouse Contributor
Zelda Lockhart Contributor
Lisa Gabriele Contributor
Doug Crandell Contributor
Quinn Dalton Contributor
Dean Bakopoulos Contributor
James P. Othmer Contributor
Johanna Edwards Contributor
Emily Franklin Contributor
Brad Land Contributor
Julianna Baggott Contributor
Maud Newton Contributor
Richard Yanez Contributor
Charles W. Harvey Contributor
Daniel Lyons Contributor
Ethan Canin Contributor
Richard Yates Contributor
Robley Wilson Contributor
Russell Banks Contributor
Valerie Martin Contributor
Lynne McFall Contributor
T.C. Boyle Contributor
John Updike Contributor
Bharati Mukherjee Contributor
Max Garland Contributor
Alyce Miller Contributor
Sara Powers Contributor
Ivy Goodman Contributor
Gregg Palmer Contributor
Margaret Atwood Contributor
Robert Boswell Contributor
David Huddle Contributor
Abby Bardi Contributor
Gillian Kendall Contributor
Alex Shishin Contributor
Joe Schraufnagel Contributor
Sondra Spatt Olsen Contributor
Tom Whalen Contributor
Stephen King Contributor
Art Grillo Contributor
Thisbe Nissen Contributor
Dan Chaon Contributor
Ron Carlson Contributor
Thomas Beller Contributor
Lucia Perillo Contributor
Gordon Weaver Contributor
Rebecca Lee Contributor
Jim Northrup Contributor
Sherman Alexie Contributor
Gish Jen Contributor
Charles Johnson Contributor
Lucille Clifton Contributor
Erika Lopez Contributor
Allison Joseph Contributor
Sandra Tsing Loh Contributor
Peter Bacho Contributor
Tim Seibles Contributor
Michele Serros Contributor
Ray Gonzalez Contributor
Paisley Rekdal Contributor
Nick Carbo Contributor
Daniel Chacon Contributor
Chris Burnham Illustrator


Also by
½ 3.7

Tabelas & Gráficos