'Intelligent discontent is the mainspring of civilization.' -- Eugene V. Debs

Tuesday, December 14, 2004

The Strange Life of Subcomandante Marcos 

You know, he kind of looks like a writer ... with the pipe and all. From the AP:

Only two weeks ago, a Mexican novelist got a clandestine message from Zapatista rebel leader Subcomandante Marcos. The proposal: Let's write a crime story together.

The writer, Paco Ignacio Taibo II, accepted the unusual offer, and within days, the first installment of "The Awkward Dead" was published by the leftist daily La Jornada.

Judging by the first chapter, which appeared Sunday, the novel is based loosely on Marcos' true story: a professor-turned-guerrilla who led a 1994 uprising in the name of Indian rights and continues to champion a quieter social revolution from his hideout in the jungles of southern Chiapas state.

Marcos is writing Chapters 1, 3 and 5, which will revolve around a Chiapas-based Zapatista investigator named Elias Contreras. Taibo will take Chapters 2, 4 and 6, and will focus on the Mexico City exploits of Detective Hector Belascoaran Shayne, the protagonist in past Taibo novels.

In Chapter 7, the characters will meet at the Revolution Monument in Mexico City and begin a joint investigation. Neither author yet knows how the tale will end -- each chapter is spun off the preceding one.

Taibo and Marcos have contracts to publish "The Awkward Dead" in book form throughout the Spanish-speaking world and in Italy. It also will appear in Spanish in the United States, where negotiations are under way for an English version.

He also wrote a children's book several years ago.

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